Space Marines by A. Mark Ratner
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 10:18 am 
 

I was not familiar with this product (but I've done some research now), and a search of the Acaeum turns up no previous threads related to it, so I thought I would post it here.



Space Marines by A. Mark Ratner



Here's a recent auction that completed in April:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 8799159072



Here's the printing info and description garnered from the auction/photo:

Title: Space Marines

Subtitle: "The Game of Tactical ground combat between Humans and Aliens in the 22nd Century. Archaic and Fantasy rules included"

Author: A. Mark Ratner

Publisher: Fantac [Ratner's company]

Printing: 2nd printing, 1977, 72 pages, saddle-stiched



Here's the seller's (dachsylady) description:

a set of tactical miniatures rules for ground combat between humans and an assortment of aliens in the 22nd century. Many of the alien species are obviously similar to those of particular fictional settings, with the names changed. The rules were fairly complete and could be used with minatures or homemade counters for those not into miniatures. There were two very interesting sections at the end of these rules: "Space Marines in Dungeons and Dragons" and "Space Marines in Metamorphosis Alpha" which provided rules are using the aliens and equipment in those two games -- Blaster Rifles in D&D, what fun!  Seriously, I ran any alien invasion of a fantasy world mini-campaign using this info back in the late 70s...




From what I gather, these rules were later used as the basis of the FGU Space Opera game (~1980):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Opera_%28game%29



And there was a 1980 FGU Space Marines release:

http://www.nobleknight.com/ProductDetai ... GenreID_E_

(presumably this version does not have any D&D/MA conversions?)



The cover art looks a lot like David Sutherland...can anyone confirm this? How about interior art?



Anybody ever use these rules in D&D or Metamorphosis Alpha?

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Post Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:06 pm 
 

I think I have a copy of the FGU edition.  I will dig it out when I get home and see if there is any mention of the D&D/MA conversions.

I picked it up with some Space Opera stuff but since the book cover didn't specifically say Space Opera I thought it was a seperate set of rules which also made me wonder why FGU would release more than one set of space rules.  I figured that maybe Space Opera was more popular so it got developed.  I think I have a complete set of FGU Space Opera so if you have any questions about that let me know.

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Post Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:01 pm 
 

Interesting how the amateurish first edition of games always looks much better to me than the professional second edition.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:07 pm 
 

Mars wrote:I think I have a copy of the FGU edition.  I will dig it out when I get home and see if there is any mention of the D&D/MA conversions.


That would be very cool to know about.

Ratner was one of the LG crowd, and played in the original GH campaign.


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:42 pm 
 

I always pictured Mark Ratner as a thin guy with a bristly chin who always demands cheese as treasure.


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:54 pm 
 

Okay, I have pulled out the FGU Space Marines.  

The cover art is actually by Jeff Dee but the interior illustrations are by David Sutherland.  The book is copyright 1980 and there is no mention of any previous edition.  I don't see any sections on how to use it with D&D or Metamorphosis Alpha.  I guess that isn't too surprising though since they probably want to promote its use with FGU products.  The book is 80 pages.

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:00 am 
 

Mars wrote: The cover art is actually by Jeff Dee but the interior illustrations are by David Sutherland.  The book is copyright 1980 and there is no mention of any previous edition.  I don't see any sections on how to use it with D&D or Metamorphosis Alpha.  I guess that isn't too surprising though since they probably want to promote its use with FGU products.  The book is 80 pages.


Thanks for the info, Mars. My guess is that FGU replaced the cover with a Jeff Dee but retained the interior DCS illustrations. Just a guess until confirmed, but that 1977 cover sure looks like a DCS. Check out the giant mushrooms by the Marine's foot. Just like the Metamorphosis Alpha and mono B1 covers.

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:08 am 
 

Mars wrote:Okay, I have pulled out the FGU Space Marines.  

The cover art is actually by Jeff Dee but the interior illustrations are by David Sutherland.  The book is copyright 1980 and there is no mention of any previous edition.  I don't see any sections on how to use it with D&D or Metamorphosis Alpha.  I guess that isn't too surprising though since they probably want to promote its use with FGU products.  The book is 80 pages.


FGU but out some really cool RPG products in the day. Skull & Crossbones, Odysseus, Flashing Blades, Daredevils and of course Villains & Vigilantes. I have always wanted to run a Daredevils campaign; havea still SW boxed set and all the modules, maybe someday.......! Their quality was always good due to good artwork from Jeff Dee and others, the production values always seemed to be a little better than just average.  Now that I think about it, I'd love to run a Flashing Blades campaign someday also.....and dig out all the old V&V stuff....and now that Pirates of the Caribbean is big maybe a Skull & Crossbones...and....

:wink:

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:08 am 
 

Looking throught the interior art, the original cover piece is also an interior art piece (although the left-right direction is flipped) so the original cover is definitely Sutherland.

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:10 am 
 

Here's an interview Mark Ratner where he discusses the original Space Marines and the relationship with Space Opera:

http://www.space-opera.org/GB/interviews/mark.htm

Here's some Space Marines-related info from that interview:
Mark: I first met Scott at a Gencon; as I recall it was the one at the Lake Geneva Playboy Club, the event having outgrown the American Legion Hall where it had been held for years.  Scott was selling C&S, which was brand new.  Some time thereafter, he expressed an interest in publishing SPACE MARINES, and we made a deal that lead to the publication of second edition SPACE MARINES under the FGU logo. I published the original SPACE MARINES as FanTac Games.  The other two games I published before FGU became the publisher were GIAC MY and ORBIT WAR.

Dom : Coming back to Space Opera, the rules are using "Space Marines" as a background. What was the origin of this wargame and how did it proceed? Do SM rules evolved to match SO universe?

Mark: SPACE MARINES was the SF wargame I wrote (long ago.)  I had talked of doing an RPG game associated with it, Scott suggested that I collaberate with Ed, etc.  I agreed.   Unfortunately the collaberation was NOT a happy one. While I don't want to start an argument with Ed; I did not have any word in the process.  I will never work with Ed again.


Dom: back in the 70's, Stan Johansen, sculpted the original 25mm figures for Space Marines (and he still produces these figures). Also, a license has been granted to T-Rex of Fort Worth, Texas to manufacture and distribute an approved line of Space Opera micro-armor, usable with the rules contained in Ground & Air Equipment. Did you met Stan or T-Rex to design the line up of this figures?

Mark: I met Stan for the original "Space Marines" figures, which predate FGU taking over publication of "Space Marines"; I have had nothing to do with T-Rex.


Dom : As a designer, where does your inspiration come from?

Mark: For the original "Space Marines" it was from existing games, reality, and disgust.  About that time the main SF miniatures rules were "Starguard', which were not a bad set of rules.  But they added an appendix for "obsolete" 20th century weapons, and it was clear that in many cases, by their own rules, the 20th century weapons were superior to their Hi-Tech ones.  Then Travelor came out at about the same time, and I was disgusted by the crap they had.  My National Guard unit (which had obsolecent gear by US Army standards) could have taken the non-powered armor troops of the Imperium apart, with ease!  And if their starships had entered Earth orbit back then, they would have been toast.  We still had one ABM site, with 100g acceleration missiles with ERW (neutron bomb warheads) that should have been unstoppable to forces that had 6 g acceleration missiles.


Stan Johansen's website is here: http://www.stanjohansenminiatures.com/25mm.htm

Here's an interview with Stan Johansen where he discusses the Space Marines miniatures:
http://www.sden.org/jdr/spaceopera/GB/i ... s/stan.htm

Stan : ...my involvement with FGU came thru the meeting with Mark Ratner. He wanted figures made for his game this was when it was his company FanTac games and the deal was simple: I made the figures and they were mine. He did the rules and they were his. Then he sold the rules to FGU, and Scott just continued with the original deal. He liked my work and asked me to sculpt the figures for his MERC Game, which I still produce today.

Dom : You met Mark Ratner when you've sculpted the original 25mm figures for Space Marines in the ‘70. How did you worked together? Did you met other members of the FGU staff?

Stan : There were only 2 meetings with Mark. At the first he gave me the rules and drawings of what he wanted, at the second I showed him the master figures by his request all were done with separate arms. He liked everything except the Hiss, which he said, were too large. They stood about 35mm high and he wanted them normal human height. So I resculpted the hiss as you see it today. I forget how many races we started off with but I was to add races over a period of time until all the races in the original space marines rules were done. The only ones I did not get to before FGU closed were the Mertuns and bugs. It wasn't until I started the MERC project for FGU that I went to Scott's HQ and I only meet with Scott. We had talked about other miniatures projects for FGU like vehicles for Space opera but he closed before anything got going.


So, Fantac was Mark Ratner's company, and the other products were at least GIAC MY and ORBIT WAR (Fantac 0001)

Here's info on Starguard by John Mcewan (1974):
http://www.tin-soldier.com/sg/sg1.html

I've heard of Starguard before; J.E. Holmes mentions using a Dreenoi (insect race) as a PC in D&D in Dragon #52. The above link has pics of Dreenoi and other Starguard races.

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 12:47 pm 
 

I read the first interview...interesting reading.

Mark Ratner does not sound too enthused about his loose association with Space Opera.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:44 pm 
 

*bump*

There was a Grognardia post today highlighting a lot of the Space Marines interior illustrations by David Sutherland:

http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2011/02/ ... d-art.html

Just discovered that Finarvyn typed up the section on converting Space Marines to D&D:

http://oldschooltrek.proboards.com/inde ... thread=207

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:28 pm 
 

There was an auction for one of these the other day.  I couldn't remember if I had one or not so I bid and won:

** eBay auction listing blocked.  Please enable cookies in your browser for this site and for eBay! **


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:09 am 
 

Mars wrote:There was an auction for one of these the other day.  I couldn't remember if I had one or not so I bid and won:

** eBay auction listing blocked.  Please enable cookies in your browser for this site and for eBay! **





And at a great price. My rule of thumb is that if it is pre 1980 and I can get it for less than $25, I usually take a stab.

Nice win!


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:19 pm 
 

I have a similar philosophy when it comes to early RPG items though I tend to be willing to spend more.

Now I'll have to add this to the never-ending growth of things to find primarily because I want that Metamorphosis Alpha "expansion."


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