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In this most unusual of role-playing games, players are Planetary Leaders (PLs) controlling interstellar societies at odds with each other. The Overlord (or OL) controls the action of the game and takes on a number of interesting roles. The OL creates the societies for the game and lays out the situation between the various cultures; requires players to document various aspects of their government, budget, security arrangements, etc.; decides the outcomes of programs and covert (and overt) missions the players undertake against each other; acts as the voice of the populace of all the societies; creates media reports (both true and false) to disseminate to the players; and even acts as an impartial advisor to each player.

Though not a play-by-mail game, the game requires PLs to write down mission plans in as much detail as possible and submit them to the OL. The OL then decides, based on previously collected security data, the success of the mission. This approach means that much of the life of the game can be conducted remotely through phone calls or by other methods, and that players rarely, if ever, need to meet in person.

The system also uses percentile dice to introduce an element of chance and has a modest number of charts, mostly to use during the space battles that erupt when diplomacy breaks down.

Ultimately the system combines elements of wargmaing, PBEM/play-by-mail games, and negotiation games like Diplomacy, with both traditional and story-telling RPG mechanics. Created in 1983, this free-form approach is a conscience response to the popular RPGs of the era which often reduced characters to a series of stats, and adventures to an exercise in rolling on various charts.

Text from a one sheet ad...

CONQUER THE GALAXY... IN YOUR SPARE TIME

LORDS OF SPACE

A dream come true for serious gamers -- Total freedom of action and continuous play.

Imagine a game which allows you to be ruthless as you want!
Imagine having the resources and population of entire planet at your command!

LORDS OF SPACE is a new role-playing game that pits your imagination and intelligence against your friends in an interstellar free-for-all using spies, military, scientists, and trade. AND...

There are no rules restricting the methods used by the players!

LORDS OF SPACE is played continuously, at a pace set by the players, for weeks, months, or even longer. This unique feature provides an environment where you control when and how often you play. Since LORDS OF SPACE is played whenever you--or your opponents--are thinking about it, you live your role. This allows you extra time to carefully plan ways to manipulate your opponents.

Since each player has control over the resources of his planet, he may: move fleets, barter with other players over trade items, create new inventions and weapons and do any number of things with his spies (including stealing secrets, destroying projects, arranging assassinations and leaking to throw off the spies and leaders of the other worlds.)

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