I have been looking to play Triplanetary for years, and I finally found the rules online. Ever since I saw something by Steve Jackson on wanting to do something with the rules, I have been hooked by the idea. Unfortunately, SJG never did anything with it. Now I’ve found Full Thrust.
For those of you who may not know, Triplanetary is a classic game of space warfare. Originally published by Games Designers’ Workshop in 1973, it used a set of dead-simple rules to incorporate vector movement in a realistic manner. Even Steve Jackson admitted it was hard to top.
Finally, I just did a Google search for it to see if there were any resources out there–and found a PDF of the rules to download. (Who would have thought?) I found the rules, counters and map–but not the clear overlay that you can wipe and play again.
The rules are just what I wanted: simple, clean and easy to understand. As I read them, I can see why some people would want more. The combat rules were very simplistic, in classic wargame style (odds ratio, roll a die). Ship design was also pretty limited. But the beauty was that the game mechanics were what counted, and it was easy to learn, and fast to play.
I also found a game called Full Thrust, which may be a descendant of Triplanetary. It uses vector movement as well, but is a lot more complicated. Full Thrust adds a ton more rules for ship design and for resolving combats. It even adds in an optional political backstory and campaigns.
At first I was going to try Triplanetary and then grow into Full Thrust–but I’m jumping in with both feet to Full Thrust. I read through the rules (all 4 books) and they are just not that complicated. The majority of the rules are for ship building, not the actual combat. I think Full Thrust has the detail that I am looking for, plus the vector movement of Triplanetary.
I am also building my own background universe for Full Thrust, which can be found at farjewel.com. This is a convenient place to list all of the optional rules I will be using with my campaign, as well the universe background.
What do you think? Are there any other space combat games that are better? Let me know in the comments!