Watching Star Wars in the cinema in 1977 was the most amazing cinematic experience that I’d had to that point in my life. I loved the beat-up, used and lived in universe that was portrayed. I loved the starting point that placed it in a distant past, far far away. I loved the exciting space fights, the mysterious jedi knights, the light sabres and blasters. Like everyone else, I had never seen anything like it, and the wonder stayed with me.
So naturally when I was first designing Starguild, one of the primary influences was Star Wars. I wanted to have exciting space battles. I wanted to have people blasting away at each other with futuristic weapons. I wanted to have a mysterious order of knights from the old days who used some kind of hand held energy sword.
There were a few things I didn’t want to import from Star Wars. I didn’t want to have the smorgasbord of alien life forms, and I didn’t want to have the giant spaceships which were the size of small countries. My upper limit for spaceship size is roughly the same as the size of modern naval aircraft carriers or similar capital ships.
While I enjoyed the somewhat hard sci-fi of Traveller and later 2300AD, I was happy with leaning more towards the Space Opera genre with my game. Futuristic pseudo-science is still an important grounding for the game, and much of it isn’t far-future technology. You won’t find any self aware robots, let alone the Star Trek magical transporter devices, matter creators or holodecks.
Most of all though, I wanted the rules to support playing the kind of adventures which I would see in Star Wars. Rip-roaring adventures. Plucky individuals taking on fearsome opponents at long odds and winning through regardless.