Game Preview: Lensman (or Return of the Retro Rockets)

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From io9 comes news that a wargame based, sort of, on E.E. Smith’s Lensman space opera series, will be republished in a tidied up version. Originally published by Phil Pritchard in 1969, Lensman features multiple levels of play, from basic conquest to full-blown exploration and expansion:

Lensman provides three versions, each more complex and detailed than the last. Game 1 is a fun, quick game that plays in a few hours. Game 2 is a longer game with exploration, industrialization, production and lots of combat. Game 3 is the most complex version with tactical combat in deep space or in star systems uniquely generated for each game.

Most interesting is the design decision to provide two versions of the map and counters, one version keeping the essential look of the original and another updating the graphics to more contemporary standards. I assume that the map and counters will be double-sided, with one version on each side.

Playtest Lensman counters, taken from http://www.lensmangame.com/ppl-newgraphics.html

I suppose that’s one solution to the age-old debate between NATO symbols and figures on wargame counters, though I’m fairly sure there’s not an established symbology for interstellar dreadnoughts at present. I’m partial to the “retro” version, if only because it allows me to imagine the dreadnought’s appearance myself.

No firm ETA or pre-ordering information on the Lensman game site as of yet, but the world needs more science fiction wargames, so I’ll be monitoring this one.

(Via io9.com; image from Phil Pritchard’s Lensman)

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