RPG a Day 2023 – Game You’d Like a New Edition Of … Star Frontiers

The game I’d love to see a new edition of is Star Frontiers … but as they say, be careful what you wish for.

Star Frontiers was the second role-playing game I ever owned. It was a space opera RPG set in a “frontier” region of space with a mix of settled and unexplored star systems. There were four playable species – Human (your typical evolved simians), Dralasites (intelligent space blobs), Vrusk (giant mantis-like sentients), and my favorite, the Yazirians (flying – ok, gliding – space monkeys).

Star Frontiers Boxed Sets

I had all the rules: the original blue boxed set, the re-branded Alpha Dawn boxed set (same rules, new cover) and the Knight Hawks boxed set (which introduced starship combat rules). I had a bunch of the modules and excitedly bought (but never got to use) Zebulon’s Guide to Frontier Space (a rules reboot of sorts).

Actually, I didn’t get to play most of it. I ran a few games in middle school, but never got much farther than that … at least with other people. When Knight Hawks came out, I spent way too much time building new starships and space fleets for my homegrown star system of Starrior, and its signature megacorp, AMF (Astro Mining and Freighting … named for my dog, Astro … who yeah, was named for the dog on The Jetsons).

The game has languished since Zebulon’s Guide came out in 1986 and sadly never saw a new edition or reboot.

Warning: Reboot Approaching

And then, in 2022 a resurrected TSR announced it was releasing Star Frontiers: New Genesis, a reboot of the original game. And not a better reboot.

Multiple gaming news reports mention that a leaked playtest version of the game included alleged racist and transphobic rules in the character generation section (and I’m only using “alleged” here because I haven’t seen the PDFs myself but if true … it’s bad stuff). Wizards of the Coast even sued the new TSR in response to this alleged content.

Wizards itself isn’t doing an awesome job when it comes to racism and Star Frontiers, given the controversy over the depiction of the Hadozee in the new Spelljammer edition (the Hadozee being the Spelljammer equivalent of the Yazirians; same look, different backstory).

I’m not saying the original Star Frontiers was perfect, and it’s been years since I revisited the books, but I remember it being a relatively benign space opera, with interesting and different player species. Some folks over on Reddit back me up.

So do I want to see a new edition of Star Frontiers? Definitely. But I want a good version of the game. Right now, it looks like New Genesis couldn’t be further from that.

Featured Image Meta

Cover art for SF-2: Starspawn of Volturnus, one of the Star Frontiers modules. Credit: TSR/Wizards of the Coast.

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