Originally released by Fantasy Games Unlimited in 1978, Starships and Spacemen was one of the earliest RPGs released. Around 2010 Goblinoid Games purchased the game and re-released it intact. More recently they have released an all-new second edition, bringing the rules and style in closer alignment to Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future.
Like all of their other releases the layout and artwork in S&S is very good. It’s easy to read and follow along, with artwork and tables providing breaks in the text. As a “traditional” rules-set this isn’t a large volume, so it’s not too hard to learn the rules and read the entire thing.
One of the oddities of S&S is that there is a Combat skill, and like the other skills you need to roll below the number to successfully hit. That’s right, unlike all other games using a D20-based attack S&S uses a descending-based attack system. Why Goblinoid Games decided to use this for this one game while Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future proudly follow the classic D&D games I don’t know.
Is it a big deal? In the long run, perhaps not, but it’s still something that encourages me to use Fate or D6 for a sci-fi genre game. While I happily stick to Labyrinth Lord for an old-school style of fantasy gaming, for me I just think it isn’t the best choice for any other genre or style. I have really enjoyed re-reading the WEG Star Wars RPG, and Fate is slowly starting to click. I think it’s fun to learn a new rules system (up to a point!) for a different kind of game, and you never know what you may end up finding as the best fit for your game!