Thursday, 16 June 2011

CINEMATIC GAMING - Space: Above And Beyond

The year is 2063 and man's first extra-solar colony, Vesta, is destroyed by an unknown alien race, thus igniting a war between Earth and a race that will come to be known as the "Chigs". Thrown into the midst of this conflict is the 58th Squadron of the USMC's Space Aviator Cavalry, otherwise known as the "Wildcards". The squadron is made up of a group of freshly minted young lieutenants, barely out of flight school when the war begins. The series follows their exploits as they mature and develop into one of Earth's best fighting squadrons...

Welcome to the first post in a series about the cinematic gaming of one of my favorite shows, Space: Above And Beyond

Even though this show only lasted 24 episodes, it gathered a small but faithful following, and it's a shame that it did not run the entire 5 seasons originally planned by its creators. This show had lots of potential. And it still does. Space: Above And Beyond is probably one of the best shows around that lends itself to "cinematic gaming". Within the 24 episodes there are quite a few scenarios that one can devise and game, and since the final episode of the series was pretty much "open-ended", the gamer is presented with an opportunity to continue the exploits of the surviving members of the "Wildcards" or create their own group of protagonists to carry on in their stead.

To begin, I needed to find miniatures to represent the "Wildcards". Rebel Minis Earth Force Marines are are a near perfect match to environment-suited Marines from the show, and Rebel's Earth Force Home Guard match up nicely as Marines in standard combat gear. Finding miniatures to represent the Chigs is a bit more difficult, but not impossible.'s Retained Knights can be drafted in to service as Chig infantry in a pinch. Since I'm planning on mostly doing skirmish gaming, I don't need to worry about finding a proxy for the Marine's SA-43 Hammerhead Endo/Exo-Atmospheric Attack Fighter, or the Chig's space fighter. There is however, one flying vehicle common to the show I would like to have available for use in certain scenarios, and that is the Marine's Inter-Solar System Cargo Vehicle, or ISSCV. Luckily, Rebel Minis has a vehicle that proxies nicely, the Earth Force Saber-class Dropship. While not an exact match, it will serve the purpose well.

I really like Two Hour Wargames' rules sets and I will be using their 5150 science fiction skirmish rules for the batrep. 5150 works well for solo gaming and is perfect for scenario driven campaigns. Right now I have a few scenarios in mind, but I'm going to do a little more research, so I'll save those ideas for one of the upcoming posts.

Cinematic gaming is a really fun way to relive the action of your favorite movie or television show, and isn't as difficult as some people might think it would be. It just requires a little bit of creativity and some research, and it will reward you with many hours of enjoyment.

Spartan 117


  1. No need for proxies of both the Hammerhead and ISSCV, both appear as resin grage kits regualrly on Ebay as a spin out of the former mini-model madness company

  2. 5150 Star Army has just been launched by THW. Basically update 5150 to CR3 mechanisms and focuses on military actions.

  3. Now this is something im really looking forward to following, i was never a huge fan of the serise when it was on TV but i was bought the DVD box set a few years ago and i have to say for a long time i was missing on a cool little sci-fi show. I think there a quite a few of the episodes would make a great basis for some games, i think the new Praesentia phase shifters by Critical Mass games if all painted up in dark grays and black would be perfect representations for Chigs. Zac

  4. An huge 5150 fan myself I'm eager to follow your campaign.

  5. This is pretty cool stuff as movies and tv-series can provide such a huge amount of inspiration. And much of it visual!

    I just started on my own version of this project the other day as a small package arrived from Taiwan...

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed Space Above and Beyond campy and predictable parts included.

    I'll enjoy seeing how this progresses.

    The latest incarnation, 5150 Star Army is really good stuff.