Quatro-Decadal Review, November 1979: A Brief Look Back

Sunday, October 7th, 2018 | Posted by Adrian Simmons

Star Trek Let That Be Your Last Battlefield-small

When you seven years old, you do not see what is coming next between these two

I’m about to get into the November 1979 science fiction magazines. Dive Deep. But, there is a fundamental difference between November 1969, and November 1979 — I was born in 1969, but by 1979 I was 10 years old. I remember 1979. Or pieces of it anyway.

Before I got into the magazines I thought I’d see what I could recall from my younger years. In short — Star Wars is what I remember.

It loomed large over almost everything in my life at the time. I think I went to see it like… 7 times? And back then, back in 1977, that took work, dude.

I remember disco, I remember “Disco Duck.” I had, by 1979, watched the entire run of Star Trek (and I have to say, when you are 8-10 years old, each Star Trek episode was almost as good as Star Wars).

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Modular: Take Command of Star Trek Adventures

Monday, March 12th, 2018 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Star-Trek-The-Command-Division-Cover-No-LogosFans love Star Trek for different reasons, and when a fan moves into gaming within the Star Trek universe, those reasons usually inform the type of character they want to emphasize in their games. Do they want to be, like Spock or Data, the science officer who can coolly reason through any problem that comes up? Do they want to be the medical officer who saves lives while chaos erupts around them? The security officer who goes hand-to-hand with a Klingon warrior? The engineer who can make any technological miracle into reality? The hotshot pilot who can maneuver through any cluster of asteroids? Or the Captain of a starship, in charge of herding together all of these elements as they explore the distant unknown regions of space?

A handful of games have been versatile enough to cater to all of these types of fans. The video game Star Trek Online just celebrated its 8th anniversary, and it has a diverse style that allows easily for group or solo play, where players can create characters and take missions that interest them. There are missions that are mostly story-driven diplomatic missions, and some that are primarily about shooting the bad guys, either on ground away missions or in starship combat.

Last August, at GenCon, Modiphius Entertainment released the public version of their tabletop roleplaying game Star Trek Adventures. I’ve been running a group through since December 2016, when the game came out in a public playtest, and have been really pleased with it through all of the transformations into the official release. The system does a great job of allowing for diverse characters and capturing the feel of an episode of whichever Star Trek series is your cup of tea. (Earl Grey, hot, of course.)

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Tell Me A Story: Levar Burton Reads

Monday, February 12th, 2018 | Posted by Elizabeth Cady

Reading Rainbow

Admit it. You are singing this song in your head right now. And possibly craving fruit loops.

I’m a child of the 80s. And 90s. I’m technically a member of a little sliver generation in between Gen X and the Millennials, and even that depends on who wrote the chart you’re looking at. But the point is, Levar Burton was a pivotal figure in my childhood. First through “Reading Rainbow”, the long running and highly acclaimed literacy program for children on PBS, and then via “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. I still remember the first season of Reading Rainbow: it premiered in 1983, and I was an avid watcher. When “The Next Generation” premiered four years later, I was just at an age to appreciate it. So when I heard that Burton was launching a new podcast series for adults via Stitcher, I was quick to subscribe.

It has been an outstanding addition to my podcast feed.

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Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Desperate Hours – A One-Two Combo

Saturday, September 30th, 2017 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

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This week saw the first new Star Trek TV show debut in a long time. If you missed it, or because subscribing to CBS All-Access for a single show irks you, it was more than pretty good. In fact, I downright enjoyed myself in a way I haven’t since the Star Trek: Enterprise debuted in 2001. And it was my 12-year old son’s first real experience of Star Trek.

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GenCon 2017, Pt. 2: Science Fiction Edition

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

starfinderScience fiction themes were front and center at GenCon this year, in a way that surpasses what I have seen in previous years. Usually the science fiction games are almost entirely tied into existing property lines, like the various Star Wars miniature battle lines produced by Fantasy Flight Games. These were certainly present, but they were matched by new science fiction games that had an appeal independent of being tied to well-established and beloved properties.

I’ll dig into several of these games more deeply in future full reviews, but for now here are some high-level looks at some of the new science fiction-themed games and expansions from GenCon.

Starfinder

The release of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game was one of the central events of the convention, the science fiction/space fantasy game set in the distant future of Paizo’s Pathfinder universe. We’ve spoken about Starfinder previously (see here, here, and here). I’ve been enthusiastic about the prospect of this game since the day it was announced, so it’s a pleasure to see that its release was an astounding success. As Erik Mona of Paizo explained to me, the company had looked at their past records and brought more copies of the Starfinder Core Rulebook than the number of any previous book they’ve ever released at GenCon … and it sold out in less than 7 hours. (The PDF, however, is available through Paizo.com for only $9.99!)

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Modular: Star Trek Adventures is Versed in Multiple Techniques

Friday, April 7th, 2017 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

startrekadventuresThis week marked the -46th anniversary of First Contact Day, the date in 2063 when Zefram Cochrane was the first human to create and engage a warp drive (time travel situations excluded), as depicted in the film Star Trek: First Contact. As such, it seems appropriate to look at the state of affairs with the upcoming Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game, slated for a 2017 release from Modiphius Entertainment.

Modiphius has been playtesting the game since late last year as an open live playtest, using gamers from across the world as guinea pigs to find bugs in their design and crowdsourcing improvement suggestions. In addition to the Alpha set of rules for playtest, the Round 1 included a generic “starter” adventure that all of the playtesters could run through. I discussed my thoughts on this shortly after I playtested it, back in December, playing the group with a mix of Star Trek enthusiasts and their less-enthusiastic spouses, all of whom are relative novices at roleplaying games.

Earlier this year, based on feedback from the first round, Modiphius released a second round of playtest, as well as new adventures focused on the specific ship that you signed up to test for, allowing them to test science/exploration missions vs. combat-oriented missions vs. diplomacy missions, and so on. The new set of rules contained updates to earlier rules, but also a key new gaming system: starships. Once we provided feedback on the Round 2 playtest, playtesters were given access to the character creation system.

So let’s take a moment to dive into Star Trek Adventures …

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Star Trek Movie Rewatch: Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 | Posted by William I. Lengeman III

star-trek-first-contact

As a TOS fan who came to the other Star Trek series relatively recently, I have to admit that The Next Generation, although entertaining, didn’t grab me as much as its predecessor. Nor did the first entry in the TNG run of movies — Generations.

Fortunately, First Contact fares quite a bit better than that installment.

Part of the appeal this time around, in this the eighth of the Star Trek movies, is that it centers on the Borg. Who were the most effective of all Star Trek villains, in my opinion. They first appeared in Star Trek: Next Generation and then in each of the TV series after that. They turned up very frequently in Voyager, which featured Seven of Nine, a “recovering” Borg/human, as a regular member of the cast.

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Modular: Boldly Go … with Star Trek Adventures RPG Playtest

Monday, December 5th, 2016 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

A Starfleet away team encounters some complications in Star Trek Adventures RPG.

A Starfleet Away Team encounters some complications in the Star Trek Adventures RPG

Though Star Trek is one of the most popular franchises in science fiction and fantasy, it’s been over a decade since there has been a tabletop roleplaying game in production set in the Star Trek universe. That’s about to change in 2017 with the release of Star Trek Adventures from Modiphius Games.

The game is currently in development, but if you’re interested in checking it out, you don’t have to wait until 2017. Modiphius has just begun an open alpha playtest, allowing people across the world to begin playing games set in the world, test out the rules system, and provide feedback in time for the final design of the game.

Last Friday, I was able to get together a group to do a trial run of the first open playtest adventure. Though there’s no telling exactly which mechanics will stay the same through the playtest process, what is clear at this very early stage is that Modiphius is putting together a game that captures the feel of Star Trek in a tabletop roleplaying game.

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Celebrate a Glorious Half Century with The Best of Star Trek: Volume 2 – Fifty Years of Star Trek

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

50-years-of-star-trek-volume-2-smallI’ve been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek in my own way. Meaning I’ve been giving in to impulse buys, and snatching up those commemorative photo-books and magazines when I see them. Yeah, they’re sometimes a little lacking in depth, but it doesn’t matter. I buy them mostly for the marvelously nostalgic photos, for the way they manage to make Star Trek — one of our most venerable franchises — young again.

Titan Comics has been publishing the official Star Trek magazine since 1995, and they collected collected some of the best articles from that magazine in The Best of Star Trek: Volume 1 – The Movies (June 2016). This is the second volume in that set, covering the various broadcast series. It will be available at the end of the month.

The 50-year history of Star Trek, as told by the people who were there – every cast member interviewed.

From the vaults of Star Trek Magazine, we celebrate a half-century of Star Trek in a volume packed with classic archive interviews with every lead cast member, from William Shatner to Patrick Stewart, to Chris Pine and beyond. Featuring every incarnation of world’s favorite sci-fi saga, including the stars of the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and the Trek movies, familiar faces reveal the true story behind the greatest moments in the fifty-year history of Star Trek.

Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the world’s favorite sci-fi saga, this special collection of cast interviews tells the true story behind the making of Star Trek. Join us as we revisit classic interviews with the entire casts of every Star Trek series, including William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Spock), Patrick Stewart (Jean Luc Picard), Brent Spiner (Data), Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway), Jolene Blaylock (T’Pol), and many more. We’ll also discover how actors Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), and the stars of the recent movies made the characters their own.

The Best of Star Trek: Volume 2 – Fifty Years of Star Trek will be published by Titan Comics on November 29, 2016. It is 176 pages in full color, priced at $19.99 for both the trade and digital editions.


Star Trek Movie Rewatch: Star Trek: Generations (1994)

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 | Posted by William I. Lengeman III

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I think the statute of limitations on spoilers has probably run out 22 years after this movie was released… but be advised that there’s a sort of big spoiler ahead.

I suppose I should also mention that I was a TOS guy back in the day and didn’t even get around to watching the other Star Trek series until about a decade ago. I ended up liking The Next Generation well enough, although oddly it always seemed to me that it might have been more dated than its predecessor. But that’s neither here nor there.

What I’m getting around to, perhaps awkwardly, is that even though I’m mostly a TOS fan, I thought that six TOS movies were enough and perhaps even a bit too much, and it was probably a good time to switch things up a bit. But not before some TOS crew members appear on the scene, early on in this movie.

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