Easy — Battlestar Galactica. I love the “new show” setting, the old Cortex mechanics, and the post-apocalyptic politics while fighting killer robots works right into my sensibilities.

I’ve run Star Trek with shocking success in the early 2000s; prior to that all Trek efforts had proven to be lackluster and died quickly. I’ve run a successful 2 year campaign in the Babylon 5 universe that was fun, but died once my army service was over and I moved back to Albuquerque. I’ve always wanted to run Jovian Chronicles — I love the look and the politics, am not so hot on the giant robots (but one of my players is), but the denseness of the setting has actually been a bar to entry…I just don’t know where to fit my stuff in. I ran a short Serenity/Firefly campaign that was fun, but ultimately lost steam as we went along. I really want to do a transhuman game, but I’m finding my buy-in hard…

Thinking on it, I realized that the Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica games both found themselves overrun by transhuman ideas and elements, and it made sense to introduce them…but that seems to be the key: that this transformation to post-human and machine intelligence be happening around them. Most transhuman settings are post-Singularity, where the technology is, well, mundane. Look at the Culture novels of Iain Banks — while those stories are big, bold, and he paints an interesting universe, the events are separated by hundreds of years. There’s no scarcity, no real threats (or they would be distressingly similar — some big bad with even bigger tech), and no real drama. Kinda like The Next Generation movies of the 1990s.

You have to set them in the Singularity, discover a society in the midst of it, or pull a Rip van Winkle, where the characters come in and the tech is new. I don’t think it supports a long-term campaign, but that could also be my lack of imagination on the subject speaking.

An honorable mention has to go to Space: 1889 — a Victorian sci-fi game (I’m not calling it steampunk — gad, what a terrible tag!) where steam powered marvels of Verne and Wells combine with imperial efforts of the Great Powers, and courtly behavior is still cool. It’s just as sci-fi as anything else out there, and is one of the reasons I like Firefly, but I drifted away from it because we were playing Serenity and the two games had a lot of the same themes and motifs.

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