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Star Trek: The Role Playing Game is a 1983 tabletop multiplayer role playing game (RPG) that was developed and authored by Guy W. McLimore, Jr., Greg Poehlein, and David F. Tepool for the FASA Corporation game company. Theirs was actually the fifth development team brought in to bring the project to fruition, as the efforts of the four previous teams focused too much on combat and armed conflict, which did not fit in with Gene Roddenberry's vision of a more utopian future. The fifth team was the one that ultimately came up with a version that was met with approval by both the franchise and FASA. (Designers & Dragons, p. 120, ISBN 190770258X)

A commercial succes from the moment it was launched, a second edition was already deemed opportune a mere two years later where it were William John Wheeler and FASA co-founder Jordan K. Weisman who became responsible for the game's updates and upgrades. Its success was in no small measure due to the imaginative line of pewter gaming miniatures FASA concurrently released with the game, expanding on it as the years went by.

For six years, the game was riding high on its popularity among "Trekkies", precipitating a constant flow of new additional game supplements until 1989, when its license was suddenly and irrevocably pulled by the Star Trek franchise. The predominant reason for the Paramount Marketing and Licensing Department ending the relationship was its desire to establish a more coherent "franchise" approach by exercising a firmer grip on content and continuity. This new approach was exemplified by Paramount's expressed displeasure with FASA's new Star Trek: The Next Generation supplement publications for the game, which contained information upon release that was already contradicted by aired episodes from the then-new series, instantly rendering them non-canonical. (Designers & Dragons, p. 123)

Furthermore, reports made the rounds again that the increasingly warlike, aggressive nature of the game (in its game supplements especially) reared its head anew as an additional source for the franchise's concern; a supplement about the Star Fleet Marines and a related game involving a scenario where the Federation preemptively attacked the Klingon and Romulan empires was in development at FASA at the time of the licence retraction. [3]

Summary

From the US 2nd edition back covers,
"Space…the final frontier,
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.
Its five-year mission: to explore strange new
worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations,
to boldly go where no man has gone before."
In STAR TREK: The Role Playing Game, each player assumes the identity of a character in the STAR TREK universe. While controlling the actions of his character, the player leads him through one adventure after another, facing new challenges and unknown dangers. Each game is an ever-changing story as players solve near-impossible puzzles, complete dangerous missions, or simply battle to survive.
The game may be played by 3 or more people, age 12 to adult.
Now you can join the USS Enterprise; all that you need is right here. Included are the following:
  • Star Fleet Officer's Manual – This 40-page book contains information on how to play the game. With it you can create and train your own Star Fleet Officer, as well as direct his actions in ground-based adventures. Included are an introduction and a glossary for players new to role playing games.
  • Cadet's Orientation Sourcebook – This 40-page book contains information about the STAR TREK universe. It includes illustrated sections on the races and governments in the known universe, as well as photo-illustrated sections on the organization and equipment of Star Fleet. For players new to STAR TREK, there is a timeline of events and a glossary of STAR TREK terms.
  • Game Operations Manual – This 48-page book contains information necessary for designing and running games. It has sections on designing adventures and presenting them to players. There are sections on judging character generation and actions planetside and in space.
  • Two Dice.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Background information

  • The first Basic Game edition had two issues in 1983, and while the contents remained identical, the bottom box art was changed from black and white to color for its second release issue. [4]
  • The first edition came with one "Adventure Book" – besides the "The Basic Rule Book" and the two blueprint sets – that was for the second edition replaced by the three seperate books listed in the summary. [5] [6]
  • The Basic Game's second edition saw a 1985 British release by Games Workshop under its own catalognumber 24362 within a slightly differently executed box where the FASA logo was absent, though the company was mentioned as the licensor.
  • Games Workshop was also the mother company of Citadel Miniatures that partially issued FASA's gaming miniatures-line that went with the Role Playing Game for the UK market.
  • Collectors have reported an extremely rare limited edition of the 1st edition, in which the adventure book was signed by either James Doohan or Walter Koenig; which performer had done so was indicated by a sticker on the box. Similarly, an equally rare early "Special Limited Edition" version was reported for the Second Edition "Deluxe Game", and which was imprinted as such on the back cover of the box. [7] This version came with the game's first edition two blueprint sets (which were reissued by FASA as stand-alones within their own individual box sets) and adventure book, that were omitted from both the second and its regular "Deluxe" editions. [8] [9]
  • Confusingly, the Second Edition Deluxe Game, received the same catalog number as the first edition Basic Game, "2001", which was incidentally also the starting number for FASA's entire Star Trek game line.
  • Later 1986 issues of the "Deluxe" version of the second edition contained as an extra bonus supplement, the contents of the Star Trek: Starship Tactical Combat Simulator, released in 1986, whereas the early issues from late-1985 of this version (featuring the old FASA logo as mentioned below) included the 1985 second edition of the Star Trek III: Starship Combat Game. [10]
  • While one of the very first Star Trek RPGs, it was not the first, that distiction fell to FASA's competitor Task Force Games with their Star Fleet Battles tactical ship-to-ship combat game, released four years earlier, which was however, eclipsed in popularity by the FASA game the moment the latter appeared on the market.

Variant edition box & component covers gallery[1]

  1. Note: Only components originally packaged within the game boxes are showcased in the gallery. Game components later released as (standalone) supplements, which include the gaming miniatures, can be consulted on their own page.
  2. The copyright text block on the center bottom left, is not an imprint but rather a sticker put over a photo of the Deep Space Station K-7 at a later point in time. [1]
  3. Early issues from late-1985 are known, bearing the old-style FASA logo on the box cover instead of the around the turn of 1985-1986 introduced new logo seen here – though the old logo remained featured on the box back cover. [2]

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