Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Steampunk Lives!

Welcome to the Space: 1889 blog. For those of you new to the subject, Space: 1889 was the original Victorian science fiction (steampunk) role-playing game, subtitled "Role-playing in a more civilized era." It's been around for about twenty-five years now, making it one of the original steampunk worlds -- probably the original fully-developed steampunk setting -- and has many devoted fans.

The last twelve months have been very exciting, with the release of Pinnacle Productions' Red Sands Space 1889 source book for their popular Savage Worlds role-playing system and the finalization of the agreement with Untreed Reads to release a series of Space: 1889 e-novels starting in the summer of 2011. Pinnacle did a great job with the art and background and I know Untreed Reads will do as well with their e-books. They have one old Space: 1889 hand overseeing the project, but more on that later.

I just had some fun last week at the Cold Wars game convention in Lancaster, PA, running Mars Needs Steam!, a miniatures battle game set on Mars in the Space: 1889 universe, complete with land dreadnoughts, Fenian rebels, angry Canal Martians, and a very dangerous steam-powered electric cannon. Those rules will probably be published by Test of Battle Games, but we don't have a tentative release date yet. Within a month or so I should have a miniatures license to announce as well, so stay tuned for more news.

Next time I'll talk about developments in the Space: 1889 world itself, making it an even richer environment.


  1. Frank,

    This is excellent news. I have all of the orginal 1889 material as well as Red Sands. I look forward to the new Men Under Fire Rules.
    I've always regarded Space:1889 as the best of the Steampunk settings. We've been playing it on and off for many years now.
    You should see what I've done with the Tossian Empire! Thymiamata is quite the place to go for adventure. I've also expanded the timeline of the Oenotrian War.
    Again, it's good to see it back.
    Frank Frey

  2. Frank,
    Good to hear from you, and I still fondly remember being your guest down at the convention in Florida lo those many years ago. The "world" background on Earth has changed slightly for two countries (the USA and France), and that will be reflecvted in the Untreed Reads books. I'll cover some of that background soon, but Mars remains unchanged, so no disturbance to any campaign settings there.
    Frank Chadwick

  3. Frank,
    I remember that convention and see where you will be the GoH at this years HurriCon convention in September. I look forward t it.
    BTW, I will be more than happy to host a game using your new rules. I do have 6 sets of the Legions of Mars infantry that I'm getting ready to send off to the painters. Do I need extra figures or are they good the way they are?
    Frank Frey

  4. Frank,
    Thanks very much, and that would be great. They're good the way they are and I'll be sure to get the draft rules to you so you can be good to go.

  5. Frank,
    This is exciting news! Are the new rules related to Soldiers Companion or are they something brand new?



  6. Excellent news!

    I look forward to hearing more about Mars needs steam! in the future.

  7. Good to hear about Space:1889 getting a new lease of life, will the RPG be suing the old system or something new?

  8. Chris,
    No, the new rules are a development of my upcoming (this summer) skirmish rules MEN UNDER FIRE. They are an easy fit with them, however, and we've also been playing around with a Pulp version.

  9. Alkighost,
    There is no plan at the moment to change the RPG, which is still available from Heliograph (see the link on this page). The RED SANDS book is a campaign book for the SAVAGE WORLDS RPG from Pinnacle. There is the possibility of a new version of the RPG appearing before the end of this year -- but not in English (at least not at first). More on this news later.

  10. Great to see you still working with Space1889 Frank! Red Sands has really rekindled my interest in Space 1889, and I recently got my hands on the original game again as well. Looking forward to reading more on this blog!

  11. "Within a month or so I should have a miniatures license to announce as well, so stay tuned for more news."

    Ok so... anymore news on this yet?

  12. Please hurry... my paint brush hand won't stop shaking!

  13. Great News! My interest in Space 1889 as a penniless lad lead to my renewed interest now I have some cash to spend. This in turn lead to my wife looking over my shoulder and asking "What's that?" Which followed on to her very strong interest in Steampunk which finally lead to the first Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition held this weekend past and attracting 400+ people.

    So thank you Frank for lighting the fuze so many years ago.

    The Mechanic.

  14. Pat,
    Welcome and thanks for sharing that story. Do I understand that your wife and/or you helped organize the SNSE? If so, well done! It looks like a great time and I added the link to the site.

  15. I saw this blog mentioned over at The Piazza forums (for old roleplaying campaign settings):

    It is strange that Space 1889 started out in a world where books get pushed out and fans could not really tell who else liked the setting, but now the Internet means that people can connect with each other.

    It kind of makes you wonder how the Internet would have been if Charles Babbage had invented it for the British Empire.

  16. David, welcome to the blog.

    As I recall, there's a steampunk novel abouyt that very subject, but I forget its title. Maybe one of the other readers remember and can help out.