Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interview with Frank Chadwick, creator of classic Steampunk RPG Space: 1889

Andy Frankham-Allen, a science fiction fan, writer, and editor who runs the blog The Welsh-Londoner, recently interviewed Frank Chadwick, creator of the classic 1980’s steampunk role playing game Space: 1889. In a captivating discussion, Chadwick reveals the various Victorian SF, British colonial, and horror films that influenced him; the genesis and development of Space: 1889; and the revival of his classic RPG and its relation to the explosive growth of the Steampunk movement. Here’s an excerpt:
Andy Frankham-Allen: Can you tell us some more on how the initial idea led into the RPG; indeed, how did you go about creating an RPG and what kind of pitfalls were you met with initially?

Frank Chadwick: From the beginning my ideas on the game were ambitious, perhaps to a fault. To me the essential defining characteristic of Space: 1889 was flying ships, particularly the match-up of steam-powered armoured gunboats against wooden-hulled wind-and-muscle-powered Martian cloudships. As a result, the first product, which was the set-up for the role-playing game, was Sky Galleons of Mars, a board game with plastic playing pieces. That project was very nearly the reef upon which the entire game foundered.
San Francisco-based Untreed Reads Publishing just released the first publication in the new Space: 1889 & Beyond ebook series. The fifth book in the series, A Prince of Mars, written by Frank Chadwick, will be released in November 2011.

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