Easy — Space: 1889. It was novel at the time, but now there’s a bunch of contenders in the Victorian sci-fi venue. There’s the fantasy meets romantic sci-fi of Victoriana or Castle FalkensteinBrass & Steel, and other games — but they’re essentially Shadowrun with corsets and some Marxist politics thrown in.

Space: 1889, the corsets — as in real life — are on the inside. There was a real attempt to meld Verne’s sci-fi with the events of the period. No elves and dwarves. No mystical churches, and magic. Science — steam, electricity, aether, and a Mars and Venus straight out of Percival Lowell’s imagination. The creatures weren’t as out-there as Barsoom, they were more human. Liftwood was about as “magic” as the game got. It was wonderful, and it spurred me to study 19th Century history through to my masters. (My doctorate, due to necessity of a collapsing department and a new interest in the ’30s, tracks with my move into Hollow Earth Expedition and ’30s pulp…)

So, while I love the Battlestar Galactica setting, my first sci-fi gaming love is Space: 1889.

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