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"Back in 1969 a
unique wargame was published, 'Lensman'.
As far as can be determined, this was the
first published space wargame. It looked
great! The map was glossy black with white
hexes and richly colored stars. And the
colors weren't just decoration, crucial
decisions needed to take the color, and
therefore the type of star into account.
Game play was excellent too. It was the
kind of game you could play again and
again and still find interesting. The
rules were moderately complex, enough to
keep you involved, but not too much, so
the game wasn't hard to play.
very well liked and over the next few
years several thousand copies were sold,
excellent sales for a wargame. And it was
influential, it established the space game
genre and inspired designers to create
their own science-fiction games.
But, by the mid-seventies
the game was out of print and increasingly
hard to find."
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,
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."
"Tactical combat is
particularly cool with orbital forts,
torpedoes, tractor beams, mines,
freighters, troops, planetary bases,
asteroid belts and gas clouds. The forts
orbit the planets they defend and if you
do it just right you can slip a ship up to
the opposite side of the planet from where
the fort is. That lets you drop troops or
fire on a base or wreak havoc on the
industry of the world without being fired
on by the fort. But it's not easy to
- Phil Pritchard's Lensman
was released at Origins this year and is
now available online for their website.
- An update of the status of this game
from the Lensman site:
will not make the November 2004 release
date, please accept our apologies. Our
goal is to make the new edition as good
as we possibly can and that may take
some time. However, despite delays, we
are making progress and we will,
eventually, release the game. We've
waited more than 30 years, please be
patient while we do this right.
STATUS: Playtesting in progress,
Graphics development in progress"
- The original version of this game was
self-published back in 1969 by Phil
Pritchard. This new version is due
in November 2004 and will include the
classic version of the game along with a
new ultramodern version with updated
rules, counters and maps.
your space fleet battles on the
beautiful strategic map. Transfer play
to the new tactical map to chase your
opponent through one of the many
detailed solar systems. Close in on a
heavily industrialized planet complete
with orbital fortresses. But plan wisely
or it will be your planets under attack!
Or instead of emphasizing military
action, seek victory through exploration
and economic expansion. The game has
three levels of rules complexity. The
introductory game is a simple, fun, beer
and pretzels game with a limited number
of turns and a fixed reinforcement
schedule. The Basic game brings in
economics and production. At this level,
you must plan the exploration of worlds,
their economic development and what
these worlds produce. The Advanced game
brings in the battle board for tactical
combat in solar systems. Each solar
system is individually generated, so
until you explore a star, you are
completely unaware what that system
contains. Don't forget your scouts and
playtest games were run at Origins 2004
and got a positive and enthusiastic