A science-fiction paper and pencil
roleplaying game from the early 1980's. It was published by TSR
and expanded by a series of adventure modules, a boxed set of starship combat rules called Knight Hawks, and a companion volume called Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space.
The game took place in a region of space controlled by the United Planetary Federation (not to be confused with the United Federation of Planets). This body was a confederation of four spacefaring species; Humans, Dralasites, Yazirians, and Vrusk. The creation of the UPF was prompted mainly by the aggreassion of a fifth species, the mysterious Sathar.
The game was a strange mix of hard and soft SF, especially with regard to space travel. All ships took exactly one day to travel one lightyear and, hence, travel routes were labeled with days of travel time. However, this did not take into account the fact that ships had to reach a certain velocity before they could go translight and, therefore, a fast ship would have been able to trim time (sometimes quite a bit of time) from the routes in comparison with other ships.
Despite its lack of realism, the Knight Hawks starship combat expansion was a lovely product, with loads of colorful counters and a large hex map upon which to wage battles. It was one of the best early TSR releases.
Fan enthusiasm for the game was never matched by output from TSR. Modules for Star Frontiers were slow in coming and no sourcebooks were published until Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space, which came out after most players had assumed TSR had dropped the line and moved on to other games.
Part of the poor handling this game received may have been caused by TSR's indecisiveness about which SF game it was going to support, Star Frontiers or Gamma World. Both games suffered alternately and were, of course, poor cousins to TSR's flagship Dungeons & Dragons line. Player frustration at the lack of support -- particularly the cancellation of the announced "Proton Fire" robot supplement -- contributed to the demise of the otherwise promising game.
While Gamma World was resurrected in future editions, Star Frontiers never managed to find a new place in the TSR lineup. With the advent of the Star Drive universe for Alternity, there was some hope of the UPF flag flying again, but it didn't happen.
It wasn't until the d20 revolution of Paper and Pencil gaming that Star Frontiers truly got another incarnation, this time contributing content to "d20 Future," a Wizards of the Coast product released in 2004.
Alpha Dawn - Basic Rules Boxed Set
Knight Hawks - Starship Combat Boxed Set
SFAC1 Character Sheets (AD)
SFAC2 Referee's Screen + Assault on Starship Omicron Mini-Mod
SFAC3 Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space
SF1 Volturnus Planet of Mystery
SF2 Starspawn of Volturnus
SF3 Sundown on Starmist
SF4 Mission to Alcazzar
SFAD5 Bugs In The System
SFAD6 Dark Side of the Moon
SFKH1 Dramune Run
SFKH2 Mutiny on the Eleanor Moraes
SFKH3 Face of the Enemy
SFKH4 The War Machine
2001 A Space Odyssey
2010 Odyssey Two
d20 Future (Not an official Star Frontiers release, but containing some converted content.)