Axanar Gaming: Star Trek Starship Tactical Combat Simulator

Chris Carver is a guest writer for the Axanar blog.


My first introduction to Star Trek gaming was in the mid 1980s.  At that time, video games were nowhere near as prolific as they are in current times.  The vast majority were in arcades or required an expensive home computer (which was still something of a novelty at that time).  Star Trek video games did exist, but were not accessible to most.  Those of us who longed to become part of the Star Trek universe and lacked a home computer, or an endless supply of quarters to play the hard to find Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator arcade game,  had to look for a low-tech option.

The solution could be found in FASA Corporation’s Star Trek: Starship Tactical Combat Simulator, which was a standalone spinoff from Star Trek: The Role Playing Game.  This game was pure starship combat and arguably more fun than any of the video games of the time.  The game-board was a large map of hexagonal grids which made up the “spaces” that the starships would occupy and move through.  This format allowed players to move their pieces in six directions as opposed the linear layout of a checkers or chessboard.  Player’s pieces were represented by a cardboard chit printed with a dorsal view of a particular starship.  FASA also made die cast miniatures of the game pieces for real enthusiasts. These pieces came disassembled and unpainted with hexagonal stands that would fit the grid spaces of the board.


The miniatures were incredibly detailed and, at the time, the best (and sometimes only) examples of a number of Star Trek ships, both canon and non-canon.  These miniatures were made of a tin/lead base and, much to my chagrin, it was very difficult to find any glue that would bind them together.  I tried model glue (didn’t hold), hot glue (not only did it not hold but the ships had bulbous areas due to excess glue), and even soldering (not smart since the pewter melts at a low temperature).

Several iterations of Starship Tactical Combat Simulator were released from 1983 to 1986, but another game gets even closer to the fan film we love. One of the supplements to the Star Trek RPG was “The Four Years War,” which helped influence the current Axanar production.  This add-on to the RPG contained a backstory and the names of several ships and ship classes, including the Marklin Class USS Xenophone, Captain Garth’s first ship or the war.  It’s even referred to in the Prelude to Axanar film!

four years war

The world of Star Trek is far more interconnected than one might think.  Anyone can make a contribution that may impact the Star Trek universe years later in a way they could never have imagined.  Star Trek Axanar is just one example.  By contributing to Axanar, you may also impact the future of Star Trek in a greater way than you can imagine.

If you would like to learn more about the game, you can check out these links.




We’ll have some more stuff on the FASA RPG next week, but we’re also interested in hearing about anything Axanar-related in terms of video games. So if you’re working on a mod, or part of an Axanar influenced fleet in Star Trek Online, or just a fan of Trek video games, let us know! – DH


  • JT McNally says:

    Super glue (Cyanoacrylate) is always the answer!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Fleet_Battles – more detailed and involved then the FASA iteration (I had the FASA and liked it also.)
    Plus the guy who runs it is a bit of a pill…

  • T Nakai says:

    Ah, “board” games that didn’t have boards, but hexes! Nice article, and it’s fun to see the FASA ST line being carried forward into Axanar. I spent many a night in the 80s hunched over these models on a tabletop, but using the “Star Fleet Battles” line of products. By most standards, “SFB” was superior game, but the FASA line had a distinct appeal of actually using Star Trek. SFB, having only a license that connected to TOS indirectly, never acknowledges the movies (let alone TNG, et al) and actively distanced itself from ST over the years. I loved the look and feel of the FASA products and tried on occasion to use the FASA RPG alongside SFB starhips combat. Gaa! If only I had that time anymore!

    ps, why did you not ever try superglue? My Loknar and Birdof Prey are still staring at me from the shelf next to me, despite the battles they fought….

  • KellyJ says:

    I was always more partial to Star Fleet Battles, but even by todays standards the models for both games were really well done with each race having unique characteristics that tied the entire fleet together.

  • Christian Wimmer says:

    Hi, i´m Chris from germany.
    Th FASA combat simulator is still agreat game. I´m working at an overhaul right now. New playing map, counters, sheets and a complete excel list for all ships with date entering service and DF/WDF.
    Who else is still a fan of the game and would like to share ideas and stuff.



  • Chris says:

    Thanks to everyone for your input! I’m not sure why I never used superglue. I guess it’s because we never used it in our other projects around the house. Or maybe the story my friend told me about his dad gluing his fingers together with crazy glue was on my mind!