Skip to Content

Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

21 replies [Last post]
Ska_baron
Ska_baron's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2008

No, not which do you like more - but rather I was thinking I might actually have an original slant to a game. Thematically, is there any boardgame that pits sci-fi armies against fantasy armies?

I'm thinking it's original only because I've never heard of a game mixing the two and I've searched BGG to no avail. So I'm looking to you guys to give me a heads up as to what's already out there as I start tinkering with the possibilities of mechs vs. dragons, space marines vs. mages, and all the other cool images such a battlefield can conjour.

Epigone
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Well, there's the upcoming Starcraft game. As far as I'm concerned the Zerg are fantasy armies.

Ska_baron
Ska_baron's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

True. I guess for me fantasy is more classic, as opposed to another race that's classically "alien."

In theory, ogres could be aliens, but not in my easily compartmentalized world. ;)

Scurra
Scurra's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/11/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

I fully expect Battlegrounds to extend into the Skiffy realm but maybe not in the short-term; it's clearly a flexible enough system to handle it.

DSfan
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Fantasy Fiction is described as the following:

Merriam-Webster wrote:
imaginative fiction featuring especially strange settings and grotesque characters

While Science Fiction is described as:

Merriam-Webster wrote:
fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component

So, by using these definitions you could actually place the popular book Harry Potter or the movie Star Wars into both genres of writing.

Ska_Baron wrote:
Thematically, is there any boardgame that pits sci-fi armies against fantasy armies?

Actually, there is. The expandable board game HeroScape by Hasbro takes both the fantasy and science fiction genres and mixes them quite well in my opinon. To have a game that merges these two genres, though, I believe you would need to have a good narrative or backstory that tells why space marines are fighting along a dragons side, or why the elves now have star cruisers. This is where I believe HeroScape fails. The backstory given does not tell you enough about the land of Vahalla and why these creatures are fighting for a land that is not their own. Do this and I think you could a winner on your hands!

Good Luck!
Justin

phpbbadmin
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2013
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Not necessarily on the armies scale, but both Duel of Ages and Heroscape have *units* from different eras/genres fighting each other.

Just a thought.
-Darke

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

The problem with mixing sci-fi and fantasy is to create a ruel system generic enough to manage any unit what ever it`s origin.

This was the original goal of GURPS role playing system which made any setting fit together. But if you take a look at AD&D 2nd edition, the system was made for a medieval fantsy setting, so adding sci-fi stuff would mean change many stuff to balance the system.

Hero scape seems to have made a generic system good enough to manage any unit. In fact, people on the net are taking any miniature and import it easily in the game. I even saw a `Bill Gates` miniature as a heroscape character.

Phantasy Star somewhat mix sci-fi and fantasy too. The world is sci-fi but there is magic and fantasy creatures. I really like the setting of Phantasy Star. Attacking a dragon with lazer riffles is just so cool.

FateTriarrii
Offline
Joined: 01/04/2009
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Well, this seems to be done in the computer game world plenty. You could look at Rise of Legends, that shows it clearly.

Personally, I would categorize WarHammer 20k as a fantasy/tech mix, but that is just an opinion.

I think the idea of mixing fantasy and sci-fi is actually kinda old around now (I mean, the genres cater to the same audience for decades, there has gotta be some mixing...). What IS still needed is a NEW and GOOD combination.

So I say, go all out. Sci-fi and fantasy have the potential to create all the clash you want, as long as they work. :)

Krakit
Offline
Joined: 11/26/2011
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

(edited) Whoops, pointless post. I thought I was the first to bring up Heroscape, but I've since read the thread.

Carl

Jebbou
Jebbou's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/29/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Considering only boardgames, no game comes to my mind, unless those previously mentionned, which I have not played yet. The theme you suggest has often been used in videogames (especially in the Final Fantasy series), table top games, CCGs and RPGs (such as Shadowrun).

Maybe complex and unintuitive theme setups require more visual support from the game. For example, in CCGs, you have pictures on each cards, and sometimes, descriptive text or quotes. In table top games, the rulebook is often filled with stories, pictures and descriptions, and the figures are well represented.

When building a boardgame, it could be more difficult to represent a non-straightforward theme, especially with wooden tokens! By straightforward I mean a theme that is not made up, and that any new players can immediately understand what the game is about without going through the rulebook. For example, by looking at Caylus' components, you see that you are going to build a town in a medieval setup. There is no confusion.

Also, I think most boardgame target a broad audience, which could be why a straightforward theme is used. I really wonder if Puerto Rico would have had the same success having a sci-fi + fantasy setup (Joe's turn: I pick the Nano-Shaman and I summon the Dragon Starport! :D ). Although I would really like that, I suspect that my GF would not ;)

PS: Starcraft is not a clash between fantasy and science-fiction, unless you consider the movies Alien and Starwars as such. :)

bluesea
bluesea's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Quote:
I'm thinking it's original only because I've never heard of a game mixing the two and I've searched BGG to no avail. So I'm looking to you guys to give me a heads up as to what's already out there as I start tinkering with the possibilities of mechs vs. dragons, space marines vs. mages, and all the other cool images such a battlefield can conjour.

It seems, from the posts above, that the scifi + fantasy bridge has clearly been crossed (successfully or not). It is also clear that you were truly excited that you may have stumbled onto a bit of the ever elusive originality. But I wouldn't be discouraged by this: Look now at the opportunity to cross pollinate two OTHER genres. Scifi + Fantasy seems fairly vanilla + chocolate as far as originality. Think more chocolate + peanut butter (who knew?!?)

For example, take the success of the TV show/ Movie Serenity (cult following success nonetheless, but who is your market again?!!?). It combined the Old West with SciFi, elegantly, IMO.

So that is what I am challenging you to do. Don't think mechs v. dragons, think dragons v. soccer moms. Or space marines v. pirates. Or slimy green creatures from the underworld v. politicians…oh wait… (Insert joke here.)

Anyway, I hope you get what I’m trying to say. And I’m not suggesting to just re-chrome your game either, but think about the X v. Y and brainstorm- brainstorm- brainstorm.

John

Epigone
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Jebbou wrote:
Starcraft is not a clash between fantasy and science-fiction, unless you consider the movies Alien and Starwars as such. :)

I would say Starcraft, Alien, and Star Wars are all combinations of fantasy and science fiction. Clash? Nah. But both elements are definitely present. And no, I can't define what those elements are. There's a continuum getting in the way of black and white definitions. :)

bluesea wrote:
For example, take the success of the TV show/ Movie Serenity (cult following success nonetheless, but who is your market again?!!?). It combined the Old West with SciFi, elegantly, IMO.

Other movies have also combined these two genres. The Wild Wild West, for instance. Only replace "elegantly" with "and then I tore my eyes out to avoid watching".

But I have a different challenge for you than bluesea. Do think mechs v. dragons. 'cause I want to play a board game where mass skeletons can overwhelm your flying tank before you get it off the ground.

Hedge-o-Matic
Hedge-o-Matic's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/30/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Funny, the very first boardgame I ever created pitetd a fantasy army against an SF army. Taught me plenty about how unbalanced having hundreds of unique powers can be. Interestingly, it also revealed one reason why it's perhaps not a very effective boardgame subject, and works better in literature, where it's very old hat, really.

The main issue is this: When placed together in a boardgame context, the mix of SF and fantasy is perfectly reasonable and doable in a mechanical context. The problem is that the presence of the two are guided by the same rules sets, more or less (to ensure they can interact in the same game), and this tends to make the actual mechanics very apparent, and break the suspension of disbelief.

Somehow, in my opinion, when firing a tank round and lobbing a fireball both use the same basic procedure, it feels more like just rolling dice. They become jsut an attack, rather than a super-sonic depleted uranium round, or a vortex of energy binding a pinhole-gate to the elemental plane of fire. For some reason, going back and forth between technology and fantasy strips the glamour from either one, and the mechanic that allows them to co-exist is left behind, unadorned.

Perhaps this is just my thinking on the subject, but I feel that in most cases, the combination of the two doesn't work because the immersive quality of the theme and setting disappears in a strange way.

Ska_baron
Ska_baron's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

I guess more information would better define what I'd been thinking about putting into a game.

Imagine Star Wars + LOTR.

Now imagine that it wouldn't suck. =)

Then take out all the specific characters that you know.

But seriously, if a starship landed on a newly discovered planet and found a world like LOTR with magic and "aliens." Similarly, I was thinking about the dynamic of a "good" and "bad" side from each. In this example the good guys would be the Rebels and Free folk of Middle Earth and the bad guys would be the Empire and Sauron & Co. Now of course any group can be hostile to any other. Again, in this example, maybe Palpatine would be suspicious of Sauron and want to ally with Gandalf. Or maybe the Rebels would be at odds with Aragorn as King. Anyway, like I said before - take OUT the specific characters and let me know what you think of that general dynamic.

As Hedge-o-Matic noted about this being done a lot already in literature, this whole idea come about because of a friend's short story a long while back. So maybe this is just an attempt to force a cool novel (which I could never write, but always want to) idea into a boardgame (which I have at least tricked myself into believing I can create).

Thanks for all the thoughts thus far!

Ska_baron
Ska_baron's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Quote:
But I have a different challenge for you than bluesea. Do think mechs v. dragons. 'cause I want to play a board game where mass skeletons can overwhelm your flying tank before you get it off the ground.

That's pretty much where I'm coming from =)

Quote:
Anyway, I hope you get what I’m trying to say. And I’m not suggesting to just re-chrome your game either, but think about the X v. Y and brainstorm- brainstorm- brainstorm.

I think so. You're suggesting taking either SF or F and pitting it against something in the real world? I'm interested to understand where you're coming from so please correct/inform me if I'm just not getting it.

Quote:
(Joe's turn: I pick the Nano-Shaman and I summon the Dragon Starport! :D ).

What the hell? Did you hack into my computer files or what? =)

Jebbou
Jebbou's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/29/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Actually, I hacked your brain.

No actually, I just tried to find what could Puerto Rico could look like in the theme suggested.

I put random fantasy + sf stuff together to replace the builder role of PR and create a new building that would fit the theme.

Nano = Sounds cool + sf enough
Shaman = From shadowrun and looks fantasy
Dragon = Sounds fantasy enough
Starport = Starcraft !!!

bluesea
bluesea's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Epigone wrote:

bluesea wrote:
For example, take the success of the TV show/ Movie Serenity (cult following success nonetheless, but who is your market again?!!?). It combined the Old West with SciFi, elegantly, IMO.

Other movies have also combined these two genres. The Wild Wild West, for instance. Only replace "elegantly" with "and then I tore my eyes out to avoid watching".

can't stop laughing...:)

Ska_baron wrote:

Quote:
Anyway, I hope you get what I’m trying to say. And I’m not suggesting to just re-chrome your game either, but think about the X v. Y and brainstorm- brainstorm- brainstorm.

I think so. You're suggesting taking either SF or F and pitting it against something in the real world? I'm interested to understand where you're coming from so please correct/inform me if I'm just not getting it.

I’m not suggesting specifically taking SF or F and pitting it against the something in the real world, more suggesting pitting two things together that really shouldn’t be put together, yet somehow work together. I gave the example of the Sci-Fi Western just because I had an easy ‘real world’ example of it being a success.

By ALL means pit things together that should not be together and aren’t necessarily from the real world. Off the top of my head, try a Fantasy Western…what would that be like? Or what about Sci-Fi pitted against Fairy Tales…what would that be like? Or Killer Clowns From Outer Space against Secret Agents from Atlantis… I guess that’s what I’m saying, ask a really outlandish question and try and answer it…ask enough of them and you will have something…is this making any sense?!!?

John

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Quote:
maybe Palpatine would be suspicious of Sauron and want to ally with Gandalf.

I'll bet 20$ that Palpatine will kick Sauron's a?s!

Sorry, Palpatine is my idol ... he is the Imperial Idol.(^_^)

MPT
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Whilst not quite Fantasy v SciFi - there was 'High Crusade' in Ares #16 - a strategic level simulation game of Poul Anderson's High Crusade novel in which knights battle an interstellar empire.

Ska_baron
Ska_baron's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Quote:
I’m not suggesting specifically taking SF or F and pitting it against the something in the real world, more suggesting pitting two things together that really shouldn’t be put together, yet somehow work together. I gave the example of the Sci-Fi Western just because I had an easy ‘real world’ example of it being a success.

Alright - I see what you're saying now. I'll have to give it all some thought.

Also, I happened to randomly remember that movie about dragons taking over the world in the future or something... IMDB says it was 'Reign of Fire.' Never saw it though.

Ska_baron
Ska_baron's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2008
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Quote:
Actually, I hacked your brain.

Ah yes, the ol' brain hack.

I wondered why my head hurt after blacking out and waking up in a pool of my own drool...

I told my boss not to worry about it and that it happens all the time.

lordpog
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

In my mind, fantasy means pseudo-historical settings: like medieval plus elves, magic, etc.

Sci Fi means futuristic with lasers, spaceships etc.

Star Wars is technically both, since it is set a long time ago and involves magic, but it could easily have ben set in the future: 40K and Necromunda etc. have psychic powers.

just my 2p

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut