[ExI] Transhumanist/sf themed tabletop games

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 27 01:14:29 UTC 2015

I was perusing the Noble Knight Games website, and came across this
innovative new transhumanist themed rpg....  I would love to play this with
Anders, Max and Spike, as well as many other people on this list!  :  )


"Posthuman Pathways is a one-shot roleplaying game that focusses exploring
what individuals are willing to sacrifice in the name of progress. It
explores the themes of transhumanism, seen through the eyes of the player
characters during their lifetimes. During play, you explore how the world
is transforming and what impacts that has on the people within it. You can
play this game multiple times to explore different potential futures. This
game is both diceless and GM-less, designed for three people to play over a
single 3-4 hour session."

I think of Eclipse Phase as one of the two best truly transhumanist rpg's
out there...  Though a friend thinks it is "too much fantasy, and not
hardcore sf to the extent of Transhuman Space..."

"Eclipse Phase is a post-apocalyptic game of conspiracy and horror.
Humanity is enhanced and improved, but also battered and bitterly divided.
Technology allows the re-shaping of bodies and minds, but they also create
opportunities for oppression and put the capabilities for mass destruction
in the hands of everyone. And other threats lurk in the devastated habitats
of the Fall, dangers both familiar and alien.

In this harsh setting, the players participate in a cross-faction
conspiracy that seeks to protect transhumanity from threats both internal
and external. Along the way, they may find themselves hunting for prized
technology in a gutted habitat falling from orbit, risking the hellish
landscapes of a ruined Earth, or following the trail of a terrorist through
militarized stations and isolationist habitats. Or they may find themselves
stepping through a Pandora Gate, a wormhole to distant stars and the alien
secrets beyond…"



The first Lawnmower Man film is one of my all-time favorite movies!  I
think it is superior to Transcendence and Lucy...  I had no idea a rpg had
been based on it...


Mindjammer is an updated take on space opera, and won an Ennie game
designer's award!

"Grab your blaster, thoughtcast your orders to the starship sentience, and
fire up the planning engines - come and Defend the light of humanity's
greatest civilization as it spreads to the stars! The ENnie Award-winning
transhuman science-fiction RPG setting returns, in a new edition updated
and massively expanded for the Fate Core rules. Mindjammer is an
action-packed tabletop roleplaying game about heroic adventurers in the
galaxy of the far future, filled with virtual realities, sentient
starships, realistic aliens, and mysterious worlds. Using the popular and
award-winning Fate Core rules, Mindjammer lets you play hardened mercs,
cunning traders, steely-nerved pilots, intrigue-filled spies and culture
agents, aliens, divergent hominids, artificial life forms, and even
sentient starships. It's a standalone game with everything you need to
play, including innovative new rules for alien life, planets, and star
systems, organizations, culture conflict, hypertech, starmaps, background
material, virtual realities, techno-psionic powers, and much more. It's the
Second Age of Space - the transhuman adventure is just beginning!  Made in
the USA."


My favorite transhumanist themed rpg, Transhuman Space...  :  )  I've read
that David L. Pulver, it's creator, has been having financial struggles...
I suppose Steve Jackson is the exception to the rule, about game designers
living lives of poverty.

"It's the year 2100. Humans have colonized the solar system. China and
America struggle for control of Mars. The Royal Navy patrols the asteroid
belt. Nanotechnology has transformed life on Earth forever, and
gene-enhanced humans share the world with artificial intelligences and
robotic cybershells. Our solar system has become a setting as exciting and
alien as any interstellar empire. Pirate spaceships hijacking black holes .
. . sentient computers and artificial "bioroids" demanding human rights . .
. nanotechnology and mind control . . . Transhuman Space is cutting-edge
science fiction adventure that begins where cyberpunk ends.

This new Powered by GURPS line was created by David L. Pulver and
illustrated by Christopher Shy. The core book, Transhuman Space, opens with
close to a hundred pages of world and background material. The hardback
edition includes a customized GURPS Lite - no other books are required to
use it, although the GURPS Basic Set and Compendium I are recommended for


I am fascinated by post-apocalyptic settings, and this is one which reminds
me of Poul Anderson's classic sf novel, Brainwave....

"Mankind has changed. Between the Mutts, Roms, Rippers, and Rejects,
humanity is but a shadow of its former glory, especially now that the
animals have developed sentience. Prepare yourself for the new face of the

This expanded game compiles the EarthAD.2 core book, companion Enhancement
Pack, and submarine pack"

Another post-apocalyptic rpg, with this one involving deadly asteroid
strikes...  It has overtones of David Gerrold's "War Against the Chthorr"

"Degenesis is the story of mankind’s struggle in the wake of Earth’s
greatest catastrophe: a rain of massive asteroids. Europe and Africa have
been cut off from the other continents and battle against each other for
control of the known world. In Europe, the people are finally emerging from
a dark age that spanned half a millennium, whereas Africa has become
complacent and corrupt after centuries of wealth and splendor. Meanwhile, a
new threat to mankind has emerged. With the asteroids came a new and
sinister life form which poisoned the earth and its creatures."


This science fantasy rpg came out in 1981, during the Star Wars craze, and
was truly crazy fun and over the top, with game mechanisms where were ahead
of it's time...  I have lost my copy of the game and for the last three
years have been on various waiting lists, in an attempt to get a copy.  If
I had the money to burn, I would hire a creative team to write and publish
the expansion modules that were never made, but discussed in the basic set
manual.  Of the two rpg creators, one has died, but the other is still

"THE FIRST STEP in your journey to the outer limits of your imagination!
This introductory module fuses the worlds of science and fantasy to form a
space/fantasy role playing game which is easily learned by beginners, and
gives the experience gamer future worlds rich in technology, equipment, and

STAR ROVERS is a game system of interlocking modules which allow you to
create whole universes to explore, and supplies you with everything
necessary to generate realistic and well-rounded player characters. It is
also an ideal sourcebook for ANY space role playing adventures. Complete
rules allow you to quickly create deadly firefights, narrow escapes, and
bizarre encounters in all conceivable times and places among the stars.

MODULE ONE CONTAINS over 130 pages of fully illustrated, easily-referred-to
rules, Starship Floorplans, Quick Reference Sheets, 5 Dice, a Mapboard of
Moondog Maude's Cantina, Encounter Charts, a Time Line Chart of all ages
and technologies, and everything you need to create whole star systems and
explore them. Journey with STAR ROVERS into the future and learn the
incredible secrets that await you!"


This could perhaps be viewed as not a transhuman, but posthuman, rpg...  A
particular quote by Arthur C. Clarke comes to mind!

"Solipsist is a diceless role-playing game for 2 or more players. Stylishly
presented with a luscious green cover it features the artwork of author
David Donachie as well as Gregor Hutton (Best Friends), Kurt Taylor and
Frieda Van Raevels.

Solipsists are people who think so strongly and individually, that they can
literally change reality, teasing out the fabric of the consensus and
changing it.

In this game you and your friends play a group of balanced Solipsists,
struggling to fulfil your grandiose dreams, retain your desperate grip on
reality, and fight the un-making of the Shadows before they can end the
world for good."

*“Imagine that someone offered you a door to an alternative world in which
everything you ever dreamed of was fact. Would you go?”*


Now for the ultimate horror scenario rpg, life as a highschool student!

*"Alma Mater* is a role-playing game in which players may choose to be a
Jock, Cheerleader, Tough, Brain, Criminal, Average, or Loser. Their
challenge is to successfully live as a teenager through four years of
modern-day American high school. The game rules cover nearly every aspect
of teenage life, including sports, social situations, fights, and hot rods.

In *Alma Mater*, you can act out your wildest fantasies and do anything
that you would normally consider exceptionally foolish, suicidal, or
down-right crazy."


Sexy alien rock musicians come to Earth to help us chill out and learn to
really love life!  If rpg's had been around during the sixties, and
embraced by hippies, this would have probably been very popular...

 "In 2073¸ the alien Starchildren arrived on Earth¸ following lifetimes of
rocking among the stars. Expecting to find a musical utopia here on Rock's
home planet¸ they instead land upon a quiet¸ fearful world¸ where music has
become a controlled substance and free speech is a thing of the past.
Undaunted¸ the Starchildren secretly walk among the Resistance¸ sowing the
seeds of the rebellion to come! Starchildren: Velvet Generation provides a
breakneck Rock & Roll setting and a fast¸ innovative card-based system.
With full rules for live performances¸ strange alien abilities¸ and the
occasional ballroom blitz¸ this lavishly illustrated hardcover rulebook
contains everything players need to save the world - one Rock concert at a


A fun non-fiction work about the gamer subculture, and who inhabits it....

"The funniest gaming book of the year!

When Jonny Nexus (The Jonny Nexus Experience and Game Night) and James
Desborough (The Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming) come together to cast an
irreverant eye on gamers, expect weirdness and much hilarity!

"Sex, Dice and Gamer Chicks" casts an introspective and irreverent eye onto
gamers themselves. Just what drives a rules lawyer? What are the secrets to
fame, success and riches as an all-star games designer? Are female gamers

These questions and many others are ignored as Sex, Dice and Gamer Chicks
tweaks and teases apart the very fabric of gaming and those who call
themselves gamers. Written by James Desborough and Jonny Nexus, both
World-class Gaming Personalities themselves, Sex, Dice and Gamer Chicks
will have you in stitches from beginning to end!

Essential reading for gamers, gamer spouses, gamer family members and gamer
widows provided they have a sense of humor."


This is actually a fantasy boardgame, based on my beloved John Carter of
Mars novel series, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I remember lovingly looking it
over when I was around twelve, and eventually I plan on buying it.  It can
be played solitaire!

"This game simulates the legendary world of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Barsoom.
Players are involved in Barsoomian epics in the role of one hero or one of
his companions, and strive to perform as nobly as those heroes of the past.
There are evil villains to be met, Martian wildlife to be tamed, great
treasures unique to Barsoom to be gained and lovely lasses to be wooed and

Players do not strive for victory points, but for greater glory, high
romance and their attendant acclaim."


This is the mother of all super-detailed science fiction galactic empire
wargames!  A game can sometimes take up to around 12 hours...

"Twilight Imperium continues to be the board game that all other science
fiction games are measured against. A big box Fantasy Flight game, Twilight
Imperium can last a staggering 11 hours, but players will be enthralled
throughout the game. You’ll take control of an alien race with their own
special abilities, technologies and ships and must trade, negotiate,
develop and battle your way to galactic dominance."


 A major award winner…

"Eclipse is the latest hot 4x (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate)
science fiction board game. It has a streamlined, almost Euro-game-style
approach to the 4x genre that focuses on the explore, expand and
exterminate aspects of the genre. Great designs and graphics keep Eclipse
streamlined and fast, keeping everyone involved through the entire game."


The decades popular classic....

"Cosmic Encounter has been reprinted multiple times since its initial
release, with various publishers editing the game slightly. Through the
years, the highly popular core mechanics of racial abilities and a simple
combat system has stayed the same. Cosmic Encounter is a fast, highly
interactive game that provides players with few, but significant, decisions
as it plays out."


I hope I am not the only one who has enjoyed this walk down memory lane.  I
look forward to any replies about these games, and those not on my list...

One day we should have an Extropy List Gaming Con!  Lol....

 John  :  )
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