Year Published
# of Players
1 − 2
User Suggested # of Players
Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players
(12 voters) [poll]
Mfg Suggested Ages
12 and up
Playing Time
120 minutes
User Suggested Ages
(8 voters) [poll]
Language Dependence
Moderate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(8 voters) [poll]
(28 voters) [vote]
Primary Name
Starship Troopers
Alternate Names
Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers
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Description Edit | History

Starship Troopers is based upon the popular novel of the same name written by the dean of science fiction writers, Robert A. Heinlein. In the novel, Heinlein describes a futuristic war involving homo sapiens from our Earth (Terrans) against a Humanoid race (nicknamed the 'Skinnies' for obvious physical attributes) and their cobelligerents, the totally alien Arachnids. Since this is a story of future wars and future advances in technology, much is changed in the fields of weaponry and tactics and strategy. One thing remains the same, however; the fighting still rests on the shoulders of the individual infantryman. Although great starships has shuttle men between the distant solar systems and the power of individual weapons has risen to awesome heights, wars still cannot be won unless men venture onto the face of alien planets and fight the enemy on their home ground. As Juan Rico, the protagonist of the novel, relates:

"We are the boys who go to a particular place, at H-Hour, occupy a designated terrain, stand on it, dig the enemy out of their holes, force them then and there to surrender or die. We're the bloody infantry, the doughboy, the duckfoot, the foot soldier who goes where the enemy is and takes him on in person."

Although the mission remains the same, future inventiveness has changed the method considerably. In a galaxy-wide war, manpower is at a premium. Platoons fight where entire armies once tred. But these platoons possess the firepower equivalence of a Twentieth-Century mechanized division. More importantly, each man in the platoon is provided with a piece of hardware that allows him to fight and survive in the holocausts of future combat—his powered armor suit. As Rico describes it:

"A suit isn't a spacesuit — although it can serve as one. A suit is not a space ship but it can fly—a little . . . Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla, armed with gorillasized weapons. But the suits are considerably stronger than a gorilla. If a Mobile Infantry man in a suit swapped hugs with a gorilla, the gorilla would be dead, crushed; the man and the suit wouldn't be mussed . . . The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit, you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin . . . Even riding a bicycle demands an acquired skill, very different from walking. But a suit you just wear."

With the suit and the incredible array of weaponry that go with it, the Mobile Infantry soldier is an exceedingly formidable opponent. He had better be. The enemies he faces are the most awesome adversaries in the galaxy. Of the two extraterrestrial races fighting the Terrans, the Humanoids are the least revolting. Rico describes them as

" . . . humanoid, eight or nine feet tall, much skinnier than we are and with a higher body temperature; they don't wear any clothes and they stand out in a set of 'snoopers' like a neon sign."

In early scenarios they are fighting on the side of the Arachnids. In later scenarios, after successful negotiations with Earth, they switch over to the Terran side. They're only effective fighters within the confines of their small city terrain and strong points on the board.

But the 'Skinnies' were mild looking in comparison to the Arachnids:

"The 'Bugs' are not like us. The Pseudo-Arachnids aren't even like spiders. They are arthropods who happen to look like a madman's concept of a giant, intelligent spider, but their organization, psychological and economic, is more like that of ants or termites; they are communal entities, the ultimate dictatorship of the hive . . . But don't make the mistake of thinking that they act purely from instinct . . . their actions are as intelligent as ours (stupid races don't build spaceships!) and were much better coordinated. It takes a minimum of a year to train a private to fight and to mesh his fighting with his mates; a Bug warrior is hatched able to do this ..."

As the Arachnid Player, uses an Alien Control Pad sheet to record the placement of his underground central Hive cell complex and the attached tunnels radiating outward. Tunnels are used to move the Warrior units, along with Worker units mixed in as expendable decoys, to locations where they can pop up to the surface through a breach hole and attack the Terran units. Completely unseen, and only paper recorded, Engineer units are used to create the breaches and, later, to extend the tunnels.

The game is set up in a "Programmed Instruction" system of scenarios to slowly introduce the game concepts. Scenarios range from Scenario I, which starts players off with a basic MI raid on a Skinny city (just like the book. "Flores died on the way up") to Scenario VII, The Battle of Klendathu: the final Terran assault on the Arachnid Homeworld.

Warfare in the Twenty-second Century is the ultimate test of survivability of the human race. It was a very near thing.

Avalon Hill Complexity rating - 5

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More Information Edit | History

From "The Avalon Hill General Index and Company History, 1952-1980"

Starship Troopers (1976)
Designed by Randall Reed

SST was fortunate in that it came out during the height of the science fiction craze sparked by the phenomenal success of the STAR WARS movie. The similarity of the title obviously helped it to the top of the sales picture in 1977. The unique game system using charted movement and setup on a pad replica of the mapboard was quite popular but to some inexperienced players play balance can be an issue.

Solitaire Note: The game is listed as solitaire. A 2 page article in Avalon Hill General Vol. 20 #4 added solitaire rules that were not included in the original game.

Magazine References:

The GENERAL Index Article List:

Moves Article Index:

Panzerfaust and Campaign Article Index:

The Space Gamer Article index:

  • No.13 (Sep/Oct 1977)
    • OGRE meets STARSHIP TROOPERS (Variant introducing Ogre tanks), by Mike Lazich
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Pg. 1
Starship Troopers
Avalon Hill edition
Publisher: Avalon Hill
Artist: George Goebel, Richard Hamblen, Looking Glass Photographics, Emily March, Randall C. Reedmore»
Year: 1976
Product Code: 820
Size: Avalon Hill Bookcase
2.20 pounds
Release Date:  
Link Image
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Title | Hot | Recent
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Pg. 1 of 3 »
16 SST Combat Charts with SW&E Loss
Corrected file.
24 "The General" (Mar-Apr 1977)
The Starship Troopers Cover issue of "The General" from March-April of 1977. Now public domain.
34 Starship Troopers Rules of Play
Rules of play
4 Starship Troopers Module for WarGame Processor
This self-extracting Zip has the files necessary to play Starship Troopers by mail using the WarGame Processor. Set up your Alien tunnel complex right on the map using WGP's hidden movement feature! Fight for control of the galaxy as if you were sitting across from your opponent. Save your move and send it to him, and he can watch it unfold in a visual replay. Get the WarGame Processor at http://wargamesbymail.com/
18 Starship Troopers components list
Starship Troopers components list, including a complete breakdown of all the counters.
14 Starship Troopers Combat Charts
Self made Combat Charts for Terran and Alien with some charts from variants. I have uploaded it because those charts were not in the game box and it seems that many people have this problem.
17 Mission Scenarios with Expansions Added
These files add most of the other variants to the Mission Scenarios variant. There's also an Excel spreadsheet for doing all the force selection & victory calculations as well as a control pad to handle the new rules for the Aliens.
21 And What of the Skinnies
Variant from Dragon Magazine, June 1979
17 Log Pad.pdf
Log Pad
22 Enlarged Alien Control Pad.pdf
Double-size Alien Control Pad
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Board Game Rank: 1868
War Game Rank: 568
Num Ratings: 951
Average Rating: 6.42
Standard Deviation: 1.38
Num Views: 136379
GeekBuddy Analysis: Analyze
Similarly Rated: View
Avg. Game Weight: 3.1
Fans: 76
Personal Comments: 465
Users Owning: 2626
Users Wanting: 42
Users Trading: 199 [find trade matches]
Has Parts For Trade: 2
Want Parts In Trade: 11
Price History: View
Total Plays: 375
Plays This Month: 1
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Num Ratings 2
Average Rating 5.50
Average Weight 5.00
Num Owned 4
Prev. Owned 0
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Want in Trade 7
Wishlist 4
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GrogCast Season 3, Episode Uno!
30.96 MB
I've Been Diced! episode 47: Ignoble successes and serious SF games
97.76 MB
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