The UK release of Starblazer Adventures caught even Cubicle by surprize after their UK distributor unexpectedly brought the release date forward, but early response to the game has been positive, with the new release already attracting plenty of press interest.
Mindjammer, set for release in November, is a sourcebook for the Starblazer Adventures game inspired by the 1980s DC Thomson comic and is set in the strange and distant future of our own planet Earth, "a cool yet believable science-fiction setting of lost worlds, incredible technologies, and clashing civilizations," according to the company. It draws upon the "far future" works of writers like Cordwainer Smith, Larry Niven, Iain M. Banks, Dan Simmons, and Peter F. Hamilton for inspiration, with nods to the pulps, space operas, and planetary romances of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Harry Harrison, and Leigh Brackett.
"It was the Second Age of Space, the Rediscovery of Mankind. The light of human civilization, which had flickered and threatened to die, suddenly burned bright again with contact with the thousand worlds of space. Humankind laughed, filled with the joy and power of a new-found youth, and strode forth to bring its message of hope and regeneration to the stars..."
The Mindjammer setting, which provides everything needed to play using only the Starblazer Adventures rules, introduces the New Commonality, the nascent interstellar state attempting to dominate the Rediscovery Era, a time when ultra-advanced technologies rub shoulders with lost and regressed worlds. Offering a unique and action-packed setting of epic high adventure, Cubicle 7 describe it as "something a little different from more conventional space opera settings."
"Were we on the brink of extinction? I'd say so, yes. Three or four centuries ago, no one had any interest in anything. It was like everything worth knowing had already been known, everything worth doing already done, and a million times over. We were happy enough, with our drugs and our slaves, and our endless diversions. But we were on our way out: something had gone, some zest, some spice, that made it all worthwhile.Now you get to live as long as you want, as long as you don't get killed. Life is dangerous again. And, somehow, that suddenly makes it all worth living."
Mindjammer contains exotic races and new careers, sentient starship characters, far future technologies including the interstellar "Mindscape" and technological psionics, new skills and stunts, new starships, rules for interstellar cultures and cultural conflict, starmaps, worlds and a detailed background of a huge Star Empire and its allies and foes.
There's also a complete campaign of four linked scenarios, "The Black Zone", including some spectacular Starblazer action with combat walkers, mass battles, and terrifying alien technologies.
Mindjammer is the work of a passionate industry writer Sarah Newton, whose work includes post-apocalyptic, horror, and techno-fantasy material for Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying and soon-to-be-published short Lovecraftian fiction. She's also working with Starblazers' Chris Birch on the forthcoming Starblazer Adventures: Chronicles Of Anglerre fantasy RPG and is currently writing several adventure supplements for Mindjammer.
"Mindjammer and Starblazer is a match made in heaven for me," said Sarah. "Starblazer has the rules, the flexibility, and the sheer gaming vision to allow for truly up-to-date, 21st century science-fiction with its hyper-advanced technologies and transhuman themes. It's a game which gives you tools for some spectacular action, and with Mindjammer we've really tried to take full advantage and blaze some new trails through the stars!"
It's a busy time for Cubicle 7 whose games include not only Starblazer Adventures but Victoriana and SLA Industries. Last week, they announced joined the Rebellion Group of companies.
Founded in 2006 Cubicle 7 Entertainment was set up by Angus Abranson and Dominic McDowall-Thomas, two gaming entrepreneurs who wanted to create a games publisher fostering some truly iconic brands. The company joins 2000AD, Abaddon Books, Mongoose Publishing (another British RPG publisher) and Rebellion itself, the massive UK based video games developer established in 1992 by brothers Jason and Chris Kingsley.
The company will be now based out of Rebellion Group offices in Swindon, UK and spokesperson Chris Birch told downthetubes Rebellion's support will allow Cubicle 7 to focus on a major, as-yet-unannounced licensed mainstream release later this year as well as a busy monthly release schedule.
"This is a great move for the company and one that will certainly benefit the fans of our games.” feels Angus Abranson of Cubicle 7. "It allows us the time and resources to fully support our existing lines as well as giving us the backing to bring new ideas – and licenses – to the marketplace."
“It places us firmly were we wanted to be in several years time, right now,” added Dominic.
Jason Kingsley felt Cubicle 7 was a great addition to the Rebellion Group’s circle of creative companies. “We have been aware of Cubicle 7's ambitions and enthusiasms for some time and approached them with a view to combining resources to make a good thing great. Rebellion is very excited to be welcoming C7 into its family. Wonderful things await!”
• The Starblazer Adventures game is on sale now in the UK and available from the Cubicle 7 online store: it goes on in the US in July.
• The 160 page Mindjammer supplement is due to be released in November with further supplements due in 2010. Mindjammer has its own dedicated website at www.mindjammer.com
• You can find out more about the Mindjammer supplement by downloading the Introduction To Mindjammer free pdf over at www.mindjammer.com or www.rpgnow.com where you can also find the free introductory adventure Escape From Venu.