Sunday, 3 April 2011

Spacefarers, ahoy!

During my celestial search for adventurers willing to brave the depths of cold space and the quiet hum of a space craft engine (and my cups of tea/coffee), I stumbled across a little known gem of a rule book for tabletop sci-fi encounters/gun battles and the odd adventure in the form of 'Spacefarers'.

No sooner had my grubby little fingers began turning the pages, exposing the gloriously imagined characters of this little space opera illustrated within, was I bitten.  Add to this the fact there was not another copy to be found where it lay.  Clutched to my chest like some ancient, long lost treasure, I scurried to the chap at the cash register, happily handed over my glorious find and the cash required to secure its release, and watched with impatient delight as the shop assistant placed it carefully into a brown paper bag, sealed with a strip of sellotape.

Funny, isn't it, when you have something in your possession that almost makes you giddy with excitement you never really notice the journey home, even though part of your mind thinks it is taking longer than normal?  Well, that's how it was for me as I carried this tome of sci-fi delights to its new destination and home.

Once in my room, the brown paper bag with its lovely brown paper aroma that only a brown paper bag has (yes, you know what I mean, don't deny it), was pulled open with a sharp tearing sound.  Sat on my bed, I opened the first page, a broad grin spreading across my face.  Below is what greeted my eyes ...

... the phrase regarding a pig and organic matter springs to mind - I'll leave that one for you to work out.
These are the kind of illustrations I have always loved.  The pen & pencil drawings put into print.  The atmosphere (for me) that it evokes is priceless.  They are not always precise, often quirky and sometimes rough in appearance, but that is the magic they possess.  Add to that the fact they are in black and white/greyscale just heightens everything about them.  I suppose it is an indication of my age and the books I had access to.  Books whose pages were graced by engraved pictures of immense detail and skill, very rarely in colour, but nearly always in that graphite silvery-grey.

Moving along ... 'Spacefarers', being produced by, the then great, 'Games Workshop Ltd', even had its own range of 25mm figures produced, of which I own several.  The following link will show you the entire collection (not mine) - Spacefarers 25mm figures - one of whom was an Imperial Marine Officer with Laser Pistol (seen as S38 - which, by the way, is also missing the end of his laser pistol!), posed in a stalking position, laser pistol at the ready.

Now, a lesson I learnt from owning said figures was as follows: DO NOT leave your prized Spacefarer figures on your bedroom window shelf where your four year old nephew can get hold of them!
To my utter horror, and anger, my Imperial Marine Officer now advanced with only half a laser pistol in his grip.  I swear he looked less enthusiastic now.  Checked for teeth marks I was thankful my nephew hadn't chewed it, on two counts, the main one being the fact these figures did contain lead.  But, to my added relief, the remaining figures had been left unscathed.  Grrr... children!

The figures I own, including Space Pirates from the game, have been left unpainted, which I feel is only fitting, as they are no longer available, unless of course you stroll through eBay *spitting sound*.  But there was a nice collection produced for this game, in addition to some manned and unmanned vehicles and larger battle droids.

Regretfully, I cannot comment of the game play, as once more I was thwarted in my attempts to garner player interest, as sword and sorcery seemed to be ruling the day.  Eventually, both figures and rule book were carefully packed away never to see the light of day, nor experience the clatter of dice and the thrill of table top engagements.

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