The newest supplement for the sci-fi skirmish wargame Stargrave is out in two weeks! Hear from author Joseph A. McCullough about the design process, new rules for ships and more...

Welcome to Bold Endeavour, a new frontier for Stargrave: Science Fiction Wargames in the Ravaged Galaxy. While this book is the fifth full-length supplement for the game, like all the others it stands alone, and only ownership of the core rulebook is necessary to use this one.

Now, in truth, the book you hold in your hands is not the one I originally envisioned writing. I thought this book was going to be a large, sprawling campaign set in the less-explored corners of the galaxy, with a few new rules for spaceships and space encounters thrown in. Instead, I had so much fun crafting the rules for flying and maintaining ships and for all the dangers and strange phenomena crews might encounter during travel, that those became the central theme of the book.

A photo of fully painted miniature figures and terrain for wargaming: a heavily armed crew of humans and aliens stand in front of a strange ruin surrounded by green jungle.

Since I first released Stargrave, players have clamoured for more rules regarding ships. So I have created a system where the player must determine which member of his crew is piloting the ship, who is manning the guns, and who is down with the engines trying to squeeze out just a bit more power. Once I had those rules in play, it allowed me to introduce mechanics that bring more narrative coherence to a campaign. No longer do crews just appear in one scenario and then disappear until the next. Now, it is likely a crew will have encounters while travelling to and from scenarios. Crews might get ambushed by pirates, get trapped in the pull of a black hole, discover a derelict spaceship, or even encounter a space–time anomaly with all the strange effects that it can cause. Of course, with all of that going on, your ship is almost certainly going to suffer damage – hopefully not critical damage – and if it does, now there are rules for repairing the ship. In many ways, handling your ship and its journeys becomes a little game you can play between scenarios.

And there are still scenarios; five of them in fact, including a solo one. My goal for these adventures was to create a slightly different feel from the scenarios that have come before. Instead of focusing on the rough end of survival in the Ravaged Galaxy, these scenarios are about exploring new frontiers, encountering new types of life, and playing games in different environments. These scenarios aren’t connected in any narrative or mechanical way, so they can be slotted into a campaign at any point to provide a bit of a change.

An illustration of a tall half-fungal, half-insectoid alien standing in front of a row of experiment tanks filled with corpses. In the background an armed unit of futuristic soldiers is entering the room.

Of course, I also included some other fun extras. There are two new backgrounds available for captains and first mates, along with a few new powers. There are several new soldiers, including experts to help you handle your ship, and a bunch of weird new monsters. There is also more loot – because that’s mainly what it’s about, right? There is a new Advanced Technology Table and a new Alien Artefact Table, so there is plenty of treasure out beyond the settled sectors.

In the end, this isn’t the book I set out to write, but by following where the fun and creativity took me, I believe I have ended up with a better supplement. Instead of a campaign that you play through once, the bulk of this book contains rules that can be applied to all campaigns, that bring new aspects of adventure and storytelling to the game, and finally creates the possibility of your navigator’s console exploding in a shower of sparks, sending them tumbling across the bridge. And if that isn’t something you’ve always kind of wanted, you might be playing the wrong game!

As always, I want to thank everyone for their support. Your enthusiasm and shared creativity continues to drive me forward and ensures that designing these rules and adventures is so much fun. I hope this book adds a new chapter to your campaigns, and I look forward to hearing about your bold endeavours!

Stargrave: Bold Endeavour is out 19th October in the UK and 17th October in the US.

Pre-order now.

And check back in on our blog this time next week for a sneak peek at an extract from the book...

A footer banner for the Stargrave series, with the quote "The very best of the sci-fi games we've played" from Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine alongside awards crests for the series wins at UK Games Expo, all against a blue and purple nebula background.