What Are Some Great Sci-Fi RPGs?

I don't have a lot of experience with sci-fi role-playing games, but I dig the genre. What are some great sci-fi games?

Also, is there a sci-fi game that is similar in content and theme, etc. to Blade Runner? That said, I'm looking for all types. As always, thanks everyone :-)

Comments

  • Remember Tomorrow is a very enjoyable, GMful game that bears some similarity to Blade Runner: it's about the conflicts between individuals and organisations in a dystopian cyberpunk near-future.
  • Looks interesting. I think I will pick it up. Thanks :)
  • There totally exists an unlicensed Blade Runner rpg, an excellent and innovative police procedural slice of life game. Unfortunately, it only exists in Finnish in draft form - the designer Tuomas Kortelainen, lazy ass that he is, hasn't moved on to finish the game despite my glowing playtest reviews. Quite frustrating.

    That aside, for scifi games in general, consider Traveller, Paranoia, 2300 AD, Cyberpunk 2020 and Twilight 2000 as the classics in the genre. For more recent games, Burning Empires, Stars Without Number, Shock:, Bliss Stage and Space Rat come to mind first - all worthy games. There are many more out there, of course - these were just the ones that occurred to me just now.
  • edited September 2016
    @Eero_Tuovinen
    Awsome, thanks so much for your suggestions :) Do you recommend a specific edition of Paranoia over another; despite it being old school the game looks really interesting to me. Thanks again, for your help :)
  • If you like PbtA, I recently ran a story arc with Uncharted Worlds. It has a lot going for it in my opinion. Lasers and Feelings is really light, but it gets great mileage out of sci-fi tropes. If you want a little post apocalypse in space, check out Void Vultures.
  • Thank you for the recommendations :) I picked up Void Vultures. I love dystopian and post apocalyptic games :) L&F is great as well. I also love PbtA systems so I will take a look at UW as well. Thanks again, these games seem like they are right in my wheelhouse :)
  • Also, I just wanted to add that I love Phillip K. Dick's work; if anybody knows of any RPGs that have similar themes (etc) or are inspired by his work, I would love to here about them. Thanks :)
  • Shock: Social Sci Fi (http://glyphpress.com/talk/shock-2) is my favorite. Ran it for three years, across many different groups. Including massively multi-player versions.

    I still dig the 3 little black book of Traveller for a certain type of Sci Fi.

    The d6 version of Star Wars (West End games) is fun.

    Stalker (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/100243/STALKER--The-SciFi-Roleplaying-Game) is another little gem.

    Free Market is a great post scarcity, transhuman sci fi game.
  • edited September 2016
    @akooser
    These look great! Thank you so much for the suggestions :)
  • edited September 2016
    I've mentioned Sign in Stranger already in response to your questions about best and favorites and design... but it's also a sci-fi game, so I'll mention it again. (If you check the link, scroll down under "Games in Development.")

    I will also second FreeMarket. The resolution mechanic isn't my cup of tea, but the concept is one of my favorites of any RPG ever. I like project-y games. On that note, I've always wanted to check out Flatpack, an "Optimistic Apocalyptic RPG."
  • Oh yes, Stalker's quite interesting - it resembles old, staid-yet-intelligent scifi literature and games. Perhaps the best published Finnish rpg :D
    @Eero_Tuovinen
    Awsome, thanks so much for your suggestions :) Do you recommend a specific edition of Paranoia over another; despite it being old school the game looks really interesting to me. Thanks again, for your help :)
    Didn't I answer this question recently in some other thread? Anyway, Paranoia XP is very likely what you'll want - I prefer the considerably older 2nd edition for certain mechanical details, but the overall tone and quality of XP is superior, and it's much easier to get right as your first version of the game. It's not the easiest game overall, but then again it's no more difficult than any other game from the '80s, either - the games from that era almost invariably require a master GM to run cleanly. The XP version is supposedly modernized and post-Forgite, but it's only partially successful in that regard, I feel - not willing enough to commit to a creative agenda, which leaves it up to the play group to figure out whether they're doing back-stabby wargaming or a scifi rendition of McBeth or what. Better than the poisonous pop culture "comedy" of the 2nd edition, but still not perfect.

  • I will also second FreeMarket.
    Cool, thanks for the suggestions :) I think only 1,000 copy's of FreeMarket were made. I can buy a box in brand new condition still shrink-wrapped for $65 + $10 S&H...I'm considering it :) Of course, I could just go with the PDF but I really like having a physical copy. Anyway, thanks for pointing it out :)

  • Didn't I answer this question recently in some other thread?
    Oops, yeah you did :) Sorry about that. Thanks for answering again in such detail; I appreciate it :)

  • @Dreamer
    Very cool, thanks so much :)
  • I pretty much exclusively play While The World Ends when I want Sci fi. Though, I wrote it so I might be a little bit biased. I do eat my own dog food in that regard, which must count for something.

    Remember Tomorrow has been mentioned already.

    There's a Vurt RPG coming. It was recently kick-started.

    Burning empires seems very nice, but to play it you must commit to a long term campaign. And it is not rules light.
  • Epi's Vast and Starlit is a SF game poem.
    Will Hindmarch's Always/Never/Now is a cool little cyberpunk story game.

    Though it's already been mentioned, I'll put in another plug for Traveller. The Mongoose version is quite fun and there's tons of great setting material out there for the dozen or so editions. The "Classic" (little black book) version is still very good, too.

    If you want Traveller without actually using Traveller rules, look at Stars without Number, as sort of OSR love letter to Traveller, or Uncharted Worlds, which is PbtA Traveller.
  • I pretty much exclusively play While The World Ends when I want Sci fi.
    Wilhelm, I've actually been thinking of picking this up for a bit, but I couldn't find it in print. Is it available in print. I might still pick it up but I prefer if it's an option. Thanks :)

  • @Adam_Dray
    Thanks so much for the recommendations :)
  • "Science fiction" could mean a lot of different things, but I'll recommend the following:

    * West End Games' STAR WARS d6 was a really fun older RPG (and more "sci-fi" than "Star Wars" would suggest)

    * Diaspora is a "hard sci-fi roleplaying game powered by FATE. Has some interesting conflict mechanics.

    * Durance is something like a sci-fi hack of Fiasco, by Jason Morningstar (much darker in tone, however).

    * My own Land of Nodd makes a great conspiracy/mystery sci-fi game. I'll be typing up a revised document for this soon; it's not currently publicly available.
  • edited September 2016
    Never played it, heard things about the rules that didn't sound appealing, but Eclipse Phase has a cool concept.

    If you dig cyberpunk, there's Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, and the new PbtA The Sprawl.

    I know little about Fading Suns, but the setting sounds a bit like Iron Empires, which makes an awesome setting for Burning Empires. I also love the setting for Warhammer 40K, which I believe they've turned into several RPGs.
  • I liked Fading Suns and Blue Planet. I don't quite have my mind wrapped around Burning Empires, but it's definitely worth a look.
  • edited September 2016
    My own Land of Nodd makes a great conspiracy/mystery sci-fi game. I'll be typing up a revised document for this soon; it's not currently publicly available.
    Thanks for all the great suggestions Paul. BTW, I printed out Land of Nodd the other day; it is still available here:
    http://ihousenews.pbworks.com/w/page/7707031/Land%20of%20Nodd
    Would love a revised copy if you end up writing one :) Thanks :)
  • I liked Fading Suns and Blue Planet. I don't quite have my mind wrapped around Burning Empires, but it's definitely worth a look.
    Very cool, Lisa. These look super interesting; playing a game like Water World sounds fun :)

  • edited September 2016
    Never played it, heard things about the rules that didn't sound appealing, but Eclipse Phase has a cool concept.
    Cool, some of these games with super cruchy rules and cool concepts are good to hear about because it's pretty simple just to covert them to Fate :)

    If you dig cyberpunk, there's Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, and the new PbtA The Sprawl.
    Cyberpunk 2020 looks really cool to me. I'm glad you dig The Sprawl, I've been thinking of picking it up and it's good to know it comes recommend :)
  • As a fellow Sci-Fi fan allow me to be shameless for a moment and suggest a playtest of my powered by apocalypse game Planet of the Week. This link is the post here in the forum. Its currently being playtested but its absolutely playable. Id love to hear your thoughts.
  • @Jeff_B_Slater,

    That version is from 2005! Definitely and hopelessly out of date.
  • edited September 2016
    @Jeff_B_Slater,

    That version is from 2005! Definitely and hopelessly out of date.
    Haha, yeah, I figured it was something you put up a long time ago and forgot about (being that it hadn't been edited for 7 1/2 years :))...when you get the new one done please let me know :) Do you have a site where you host your games? If you don't it seems like you should...you've been designing for a long time :)
  • As a fellow Sci-Fi fan allow me to be shameless for a moment and suggest a playtest of my powered by apocalypse game Planet of the Week. This link is the post here in the forum. Its currently being playtested but its absolutely playable. Id love to hear your thoughts.
    Thanks, k_man, I will definitely check it out :)


  • Thanks, k_man, I will definitely check it out :)
    I'm working on a overhaul based on the feedback from here and elsewhere but I'm not sure when that will be up. That being said this is pretty playable to anyone familiar with Apocalypse world stuff.
  • I pretty much exclusively play While The World Ends when I want Sci fi.
    Wilhelm, I've actually been thinking of picking this up for a bit, but I couldn't find it in print.
    Sorry. The first edition was available in print. But the sales of print books was so small that I couldn't justify proof copies when I updated it for the second and then the anniversary edition.

    You might be able to get one of the old 1st edition books from Noble Knight.
  • @Wilhelm
    Cool, I will check Noble Night and if I can't find it there I'll buy the PDF. Thanks :)
  • An advantage of the current PDF over the old book is that it includes two expansions. Not that the game was very hard to hack in the first place, but still.
  • An advantage of the current PDF over the old book is that it includes two expansions. Not that the game was very hard to hack in the first place, but still.
    Cool, it looks like the book isn't available so I will go with the PDF; thanks for the extra info :)

  • I like DayTrippers by AsIf Productions (old school with player narration), STALKER: The SciFi Roleplaying Game by Burger Games (GMed with player narration; no dice) and Left Coast by Steve Hickey (story game based on the life of Philip K Dick).
  • edited October 2016
    Just to clarify: While the core rules of Daytrippers could indeed be used for any type of RPG setting (very simple unified mechanic, hybrid of trad and modern techniques), and while Philip K. Dick was indeed a strong influence on me, the theme and scope are rather different than those of Bladerunner. In Daytrippers, the emphasis is on alternate realities and multiversal exploration. The Dickian influence is mainly from his early planetary adventure fiction and his later "transrealist" works. If that sounds interesting to you, there's more info at http://daytrippersrpg.com

  • I've been playing Stars Without Number lately and is splendid.

    Shock: Social Science Fiction has been my go-to for science fiction world-building with friends.
  • I'm weighing in late but if you like Fate and are up for a more gonzo game, Fate Core Bulldogs is fun. It reminds me of Firefly meets Farscape.
  • Hulks and Horrors is oriented to dark space opera.
    It's available for free and I quite liked reading it (but never actually played):
    http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/111781/Hulks-and-Horrors--Basic-Black-Edition
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