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Creating Cool Sci-Fi Props for RPG Games

2012 July 23
by Stan Shinn

This weekend I ran a game called ‘The Starship Rescue’ at Texicon in Fort Worth using the ENnie award Nominated Savage Worlds rules. Gamer and freelance writer Mark Chance did a  review of the game on his Spes Magna blog.

The game was well received with some players asking for a continuation of this game and setting at the next Texicon. I’m making plans to do just that. :-)

Several folks have asked me how I created the visual props for the game.

I used both figure flats, starship schematic handouts and a nice starship map that were visually impressive and really helped set the tone of the game. Below is a list of resources to create your own ‘Starship Rescue’ type game — but really, any system set in a Sci Fi universe where you would like nice maps and inexpensive paper miniatures would benefit from these resources.

Figure Flats

Figure Flats:

Figure Flat Stands:

Starship Map Artwork

You can get the Spaceship Artwork here:

Or here

With a nice preview here:

Map Printing

I printed the Spaceship map using this service:

You can also print normal 24×36” posters at Office Depot for about $20. Alternatively, you can also order prints online here:

Creating Stories for Sci Fi Games

Lastly, though I didn’t actually use this for my ‘The Starship Rescue’ game, a recent Firefly sandbox toolkit PDF has appeared which would be a very valuable resource in coming up with story ideas for a space western type setting:

That’s it. What do you think — are these resources helpful? Any other resources to create this sort of game that you would recommend?

7 Responses
  1. July 23, 2012

    Thanks for the plug for my Firefly toolkit! :) It was fun to make and I’m glad to see people are getting use out of it and enjoying it.

    Appreciate it!

    • Stan Shinn permalink*
      July 23, 2012

      That toolkit is is totally awesome — I’m so glad you created and shared it :-)

  2. Chris Kirby permalink
    July 24, 2012

    Thanks for posting this. As a player in that game, I was really impressed with the game prep and the scenario. Would love to play in part two.

    • Stan Shinn permalink*
      July 24, 2012

      Thanks Chris! Should be a nice game as I will be planning for it for a year :-)

  3. Stan Shinn permalink*
    July 27, 2012

    @Scott — thanks for sharing. Sounds like you have about the same experience as me — resolution / print quality on vinyl isn’t 100% at the level of normal poster print, but it still looks good and is on a nice spill-proof, over-sized and affordable banner.

    • July 31, 2012

      Someone on another website also did a banner through them, and had the genius idea to do a blank hex-map on one side (for wilderness areas) and a blank square map on the flip side (for dungeons). I think wet-erase markers come right off of the banner material, so that seems like a nice option.
      I wonder if there’s a relatively cheap way to have this done in a higher-resolution product?

  4. Stan Shinn permalink*
    August 1, 2012

    Banner with custom hex/squares idea sounds cool, and with the vinyl banners it should work fine (though if you’re wanting a size that already makes, I would just use one of their banners which is exactly like this and with great production quality).

    I don’t know of a higher-resolution vinyl solution. I believe some OfficeDepot stores can print vinyl posters but I’ve never tried it.

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