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Subject: SST is just a WWII paratrooper sim! rss

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Mike Hoyt

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You see that comment a lot, that SST the original game was essentially a WWII paratrooper sim. Well, it's not and that is just silly.

It is true that the procedure for dropping the Mobile Infantry looks almost exactly like the procedure in any number of games for dropping and dispersing paratroopers. Set down the stick, then for each man, roll two dice, one for direction and one for distance of scatter. I don't see anything wrong with that, it lets you "aim" the stick, but then takes into account all the factors that lead to scattering. In that respect, MI really aren't any different from WWII paratroops. But what the heck, that is part of Science Fiction, extrapolating from known cases....

But to then say the whole game is just a WWII sim based on that one shared mechanic is silly. SST does indeed capture the book's flavor. The Skinny's are humanoid and fight on the surface. The Bugs live in hidden underground hives, which have to be discovered, isolated and destroyed. In a few scenarios, the MI have to blow a breach and drop down into the hive system. There are tactical nuclear weapons and psychic "Special Talents" and air cars and whole host of stuff nobody had in WWII.

Now, if you want, you can dismiss the bug hives as similar to the Vietnamese tunnels, and the shoulder launched nucs as glorified bazookas, and the aircars as helicopters and.... But what you are really doing is not dismissing the novel or the game, you're just noticing that military operations tend to have certain similarities across eras even as the weapons evolve. Which is a pretty well accepted insight and one Heinlein was certainly aware of, so no surprise his Mobile Infantry can trace their ancestry back to WWII paratroopers and beyond.

And if you really want to confound the critics who are hung up by the shared mechanic for scattering paratroopers or MI, point out that Avalon Hill used the exact same mechanic for the initial scattering of the clouds in Flat Top! Do we really want to dismiss all WWII paratrooper games as nothing more than South Pacific weather sims?
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Darrell Hanning
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I agree with your disagreement with the assertion.

However, and in contrast, I offer up SPI's venerable StarSoldier: Tactical Warfare in the 25th Century, which - unlike AH's Starship Troopers - does a pretty good job of modeling the MI powersuits, and their ability to fly.

This, combined with pre-plotted movement, makes for a very different (and, IMO, more tense) game. However, the "enemies" in StarSoldier: Tactical Warfare in the 25th Century have comparable abilities, possibly due to how lopsided combat would be without comparable abilities. While I still love RAH's novel to this day, I think he gave the Arachnids more credit in combat than they would be due in real combat, against an opponent who can fly at will and target tactical nukes with minimal effort and optimal accuracy.
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Mike Hoyt

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Thanks Darrell. I agree with you as well, though I've never tried Star Soldiers. Pre-plotted movement for individuals eh? That does sound like Dunnigan...
 
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Sam I am
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There is a lot of plotting but movement is not plotted.
 
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Tim
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This is on my "to play" list, however, with the spring coming on and a lot of work to do in the yard, I may not get to it until next winter.

I do agree with you though and never really saw it as a negative aspect of the game.
 
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Ethan McKinney
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DarrellKH wrote:
However, and in contrast, I offer up SPI's venerable StarSoldier: Tactical Warfare in the 25th Century, which - unlike AH's Starship Troopers - does a pretty good job of modeling the MI powersuits, and their ability to fly.

....snip...
DarrellKH wrote:
While I still love RAH's novel to this day, I think he gave the Arachnids more credit in combat than they would be due in real combat, against an opponent who can fly at will and target tactical nukes with minimal effort and optimal accuracy.

The MI couldn't fly, they could to really long jumps. Minimal control in the air and no ability to stay airborne for longer than the ballistic path.
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