Space Warrior Review
I’m an avid collector of microgames, especially the older ones. When I saw Space Warrior on eBay, I immediately bought it even though I didn’t have a clue what it was like. It turns out; Space Warrior is a very rare microgame from 1980 that depicts boarding actions on space ships. Each player builds one or more characters and fights to the death. Characters that survive 10 missions can level up.
The components for Space Warrior are very simple, like most microgames. It includes a map, counters, 2 charts, rulebook, character sheet and nothing else.
The map looks really simple and the only terrain it has are rooms, doors and walls. Really, even a non-artist could have made a more visually appealing map. It doesn’t have any terrain that gives partial cover, so that really limits its usefulness.
Space Warrior’s counters for this game are not die cut and they have an overhead picture of a trooper with the front 3 sides of a hex and a number. Since there are not many uncut copies of this game, I decided not to cut the counters and just use some counters from another game when playtesting this.
The game setup starts with each player creating their characters. Each side can have more than one player. There are 4 build points for each character that are spent to determine the number of wounds, offensive class, armor and weapons. This was too little as it means there are only a very small number of different characters that can be created. 5 build points would have worked much better.
After character creation, a dice is rolled to see which side will be the attacker or defender. The attacker writes down what starting area he will enter on and the defender sets up his troops. After that, the attacker sets up in his starting area and the sequence of play begins.
Sequence of play:
2) Initiative winner goes first and one of his characters spends 5 actions. Each side then alternates activating characters until all characters have activated.
Action point costs:
Move 1 hex = 1 point
Move through doorway = 2 points
Change facing without moving = 1 point
Reload pistol = 3 points
Reload rifle = 4 points
Fire weapon = 2 points
As an optional rule, each character can have facing. A character can fire through his front 3 hexes without penalty. If he fires to the side, he gets a -1 penalty. Firing to the rear is prohibited. The character may only move into one of his front 3 hexes. Each time he moves into a hex, he may rotate one facing for free.
If a character is killed and has not activated yet this turn, he may fire off one shot before dying unless he was shot in the back. This is the only easy to forget rule in the game.
The last optional rule is written orders. After initiative, each player writes down exactly what actions his character will take.
This game is extremely simple and is missing some basic features that a skirmish game like this needs. The first is partial cover. There are no tables, chairs or object you can fire from behind to get partial cover. This game is essentially move into range and shoot. Some grenades would have been useful if your enemy is hiding in a room and you don’t want to enter and get shot up. Locked doors requiring an engineer to blow them up would have been cool also.
Space Warrior doesn’t have the features and mechanics I would expect from a space infantry skirmish game. With 2 characters on the board, it ends way too fast and it only seems viable with at least 6 troops. There’s really very little strategy in this game and as such, no reason to continue playing it. One of my playtesters thought this game was ok though and you can hear his comments in the video below.
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