Striker is the armor miniatures wargame of the Traveller universe since 1981. Using 15mm miniatures with individual vehicles and infantry fire teams as the basic unit, Striker provides a detailed system for Trav ground warfare.
Striker's handicap as a game system was its elaborateness and detail; it was the first game in the Traveller family to show the "Monstergame Carcinoma" that plagued GDW's later releases. The complex vehicular design system later metastasized into the even more complex and detailed Megatrav and TNE design sequences, which reached its superdetailed peak in Fire, Fusion, and Steel, where the player had to design not only the vehicles, but every weapon on board and every round of ammunition used. (And Internet FF&S boards demanded and added even more detail!)
Long before this, the game had lost all appeal to anyone with a job or a life. This was also the period of the "Magic Card Extinction Event", which put heavy evolutionary pressure away from Monstergames into simpler and faster-moving game systems.
During this period (the mid-Nineties), I first heard of a new SF armor-miniatures wargame, recommended as a replacement for Striker: Dirtside II.
Dirtside II is one of a family of three SF wargames by Ground Zero Games (GZG) of England; all are designed for simplicity and speed of play:
- Full Thrust - quick-and-dirty starship combat; the earliest and simplest of the three. Due to its coarse level of abstraction and background assumptions, FT does not easily cross over with Traveller. (Power Projection is the best attempt to do so; a previous High Guard crossover attempt was optimized for a big-ship universe and was too abstract for the small-ship encounters of the typical Trav campaign. Power Projection is divided into Power Projection: Escort for Book 2 small-ship campaigns and Power Projection for High Guard and later big-ship campaigns.)
- Dirtside II - 1/285th or 1/300th (5mm) SF micro-armor using GZG's proprietary FMA ("Full Metal Anorak") game system. Handles up to battalion-sized forces, with one miniature representing one vehicle or infantry fire team; ground scale 1 inch = 100 meters (scaled to fit a scenario on a tabletop). In stock form, handles Trav/Striker Tech Levels 9-12 reasonably well; with modifications, adapts to TL 6-15.
- Tech Level and Available Systems (Ken Pick)
- Britannic Empire Royal Marine Commando Battalion (Ken Pick) TL-13 Royal Marine Battalion TO&E
- Corporate Security Force (Ken Pick) Corporate Mercenary light infantry company TO&E
- Death's Head Hussars (Ken Pick) TO&E converted from GURPS Traveller: Star Mercs
- East Harn APCs (Ken Pick) APC/vehicle family and company-level TO&E
- The Merry Fellows (Ken Pick) TO&E from a 1905 Jules Verne novel, converted for use in the Glavion Cluster campaign.
- Querion Battalion (Ken Pick) From the scenario "Soft Bunk" in JTAS 8
- Rifles, Inc. (Ken Pick) TO&E converted from GURPS Traveller: Star Mercs
- Traveller Small Craft (Ken Pick) Lifeboat/Launch; Gig; Slow and Ship's Boats; Standard and Slow Pinnaces; Standard, Slow, and Stretched Cutters; Shuttle; Light, Medium, and Heavy Fighters
- Stock Traveller Small Starships (Ken Pick) Type S [Suleiman] Scout, Type A [Beowulf] Free Trader, Type Y Yacht, Type K Safari Ship, Type R [March Harrier] Subsidized Merchant, Type L Lab Ship, Type T Patrol Cruiser, Type M Subsidized Liner, Type C [Broadsword] Mercenary Cruiser
- Stock Traveller Vehicles (Ken Pick) Jeep, ATV, Hovercraft, Air/Raft, and G-Carrier
- Supersheridan/Zelda AFVs (Ken Pick) TL-9 Supersheridan and Zelda vehicle family
- Third Imperium Armored Vehicles (Ken Pick) Antrim APC, Thrasea Grav Tank, and Imperial Company-level TO&Es, based on JTAS 9 profile of the Duke of Regina's Own 4518th Lift Infantry Regiment.
- TransCanopus Campaign Vehicles (Ken Pick) Thylacine APC and "flying turret" Grav Tank
- Trantaxer Company (Ken Pick) TO&E converted from GURPS Traveller: Star Mercs
- Zhodani Combat Group (Ken Pick) Based on the Zhodani organization described in JTAS 11
- Zyran Thunders (Ken Pick) Based on the scenario "Thunder on Zyra" from JTAS 11
- Stargrunt II - 25mm small-unit infantry companion to Dirtside, using a later rev of the FMA system. Scaled around reinforced platoon-sized forces, with one miniature representing one man; ground scale 1 inch = 10 meters (again, scaled to fit a scenario on a tabletop). Like Dirtside, can be adapted to a Traveller universe.
- Mercenary Light Infantry Platoon (Ken Pick) Typical mercenary platoon for Broadsword- or Longsword-class privateers
- Supersheridan/Zelda-equipped Platoons (Ken Pick) Typical platoons using TL-9 vehicles from the Supersheridan or Zelda family
- Terran Federation Shipboard Marines (Ken Pick) TL-12 or higher platoon assigned as Ship's Troops
- Third Imperium Lift Units (Ken Pick) TO&E for Imperial companies using Antrim APCs and/or Thrasea Grav Tanks
- Zyran Thunders Mercenary Mechanized Infantry Platoon (Ken Pick) converted from the scenario "Thunder on Zyra" from JTAS 11
Dirtside II is Copyright ©1993 by Jon Tuffley; Stargrunt II is similarly ©1996 and Full Thrust ©1992; all are published by Tuffley's small-press company, Ground Zero Games of Suffolk, England. Rulebooks are highly professional and well-organized, on slick paper in A4 format (the European equivalent of American 8 1/2 x 11).
Recommended theme music for Dirtside and Stargrunt:
Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo
Jungle Work by Warren Zevon