My Debt to Star Wars Games

Okay, I’m a nerd. But a confident nerd. Because of that, I don’t mind tell you that I am who I am because of Star Wars.

A Long Time Ago…

It started when my oldest brother showed me Star Wars: A New Hope. I was hooked. Now I really like epic stories and mythology.

However, two other Star Wars items positively influenced me — Star Wars the Roleplaying Game (2nd edition) and Star Wars: Rebellion.

Star Wars the Roleplaying Game

I’ll face it: Star Wars the Roleplaying Game is Dungeons and Dragons in outer space. And that’s a good thing. Some of my best traits and preferences emerged from playing this game for so long.

The game engaged my imagination. I was told stories, and my mind created new worlds and space battles. To this day, I get lost in my own little world.

It got me into reading. I loved the game so much that I wanted to read everything I could about it. I read over two dozen game books (and lots of comics). When I discovered the Internet in 1996, I read even more. The Internet was a gold mine for nerds like me. People published all their materials and adventures.

A natural extension of reading was writing. I ended up being the gamemaster for a friend. I had to write adventures for him. I was given a hand-me-down IBM computer for th

is task. (It was awesome because I didn’t have DOS by this time; Windows desktop had emerged).

I’m very thankful that this game also brought me closer to my Grandma. She didn’t have to play this game, but she loved me. Playing this game with me was her way of showing her love thought I didn’t recognize it at the time.

Star Wars: Rebellion
Then there was the other game, Star Wars: Rebellion. You can see the reviews. It was released in 1998 and often received poor reviews, but there is a core group of people that loves the game. I’m among that group.

I logged hundreds of ho
urs on that game. You may call it a waste. I call it my introduction to project management. This is easy to back up.

  • Scope: 200 planets.
  • Cost: You construct and protect mines and refineries. Need both to create money to build ships and armies.
  • Schedule: You coordinated building schedules from over a dozen shipyards to build you fleets in order to beat the best time to achieve your objectives.

The game also taught you strategy. You didn’t attack an enemy directly; you destroyed his economy. You did this in two ways. First, you sabotaged his mines and refineries. That way, he had to scrap his ships and armies to keep his economy afloat. The end result was the same as attacking him directly, but less costly. Second, you controlled popular opinion. You used diplomats to bring planets under your control and destroyed his armies on occupied planets. Once an army occupying a planet friendly to you was freed, the nine nearest planets also had their public opinion swayed; often enough to join you.

By the end of the game, there were two results: You often had produced and strategically and tactically managed thousands of units over a span of 200 planets.

That, my friends, is how you learn project management.

So I am eternally indebted to Star Wars, particularly the Roleplaying Game and Rebellion. But I’m still getting over the trauma caused by Jar-Jar Binks.

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Stephen Peteritas

Truly engaging imaginations is something that we do with kids and then around the teen years it drops off… leading to less creativity down the road in work life. Imaginations and creativity need to be celebrated at all ages.

Jeff Ribeira

Way to be nerdy and proud, Sterling. I’ve played my fair share of those strategy games growing up…I always hoped they would benefit me at some point down the road, so thank you for opening my eyes to their correlation with Project Management! And Stephen, it sounds a bit like you are proposing we start holding Star Wars the Roleplaying Game activities at work…I bet there are some agencies who would seriously go for that!