The Universe Compendium

(based on original list by Steve Clark and revised June 09, 2002)

Universe 1st Edition, 1981 SPI

In two forms: a Basic set in plastic envelope and a Complete boxed set.
The Basic set included a 76 page Gamesmasters' Guide, 24 page Adventure Guide (including a 10 page starter adventure called "Lost on Laidley"), and a four-color 22"x34" star map. The Complete set included the above and added a bookcase box, 2 20-sided dice, a plastic counter tray, and the Delta Vee tactical space combat system (16 page rulebook, 4 section 17"x22" map, and 200 cardboard playing pieces).

A "Universe Addenda as of June 1981" sheet appears to have been included with the game. It is a single sheet listing of rules corrections and additions to the game.

Universe Gamesmaster Screen Pack, 1981/1982

An 11"x44" screen (with many of the game's charts and tables printed on it) and a 96 page booklet of blank Star System, World, and Environ logs.

Universe 2nd Edition,1982 Bantam Books

A single 116 page softcover book with the star map as a pull-out insert. The 2nd Edition contains all of the material from the original Gamesmasters' and Adventure Guides (somewhat reorganized), incorporates all of the changes from the Addenda sheet, and makes a few other minor changes.

The Universe Font

The font used for the headers for published Universe material is called Pump (it comes in Demi and Bold).

Pump itself is based on the Bauhaus Heavy/Bold font.


ARES SPI #4 9/80
Feedback question 93 -- Universe game proposal (39).

ARES SPI #7 3/81
Designer's Notes (33).

ARES SPI #8 5/81
Full page ad (3).
Designer's Notes (16, 36).

ARES SPI #9 7/81
DeltaVee game -- Tactical Space Combat System (insert).
Designer's Notes for First Contact (28).
Feedback questions 88 -- Universal Hardware, 89 -- Spacestations and Orbital Craft, and 90 -- The Harmonics Catalog (33).
Full page color ad (back cover).

ARES SPI #10 9/81
Designer's Notes: Mini-Adventure #1 -- The Devil's Eye (4).
DeltaVee Enhanced (25-27, 35).
Design Notes (28, 32).
Feedback questions 92 -- The Cygnus Carina Arm and 93 -- Metropolis.
Full page color ad (back cover).

ARES SPI #11 11/81
Full page ad, includes Gamesmaster Screen (2).
Feedback questions 89 -- The Gamma Leporis Atlas and 90 Federal Forces.

ARES SPI #12 1/82
First Contacts ad (8).
Designers Notes for First Contacts (18, 38).
StarTrader game (interstellar trading game set in the Universe universe -- insert).
Feedback questions 89 -- Bestiary of Known Space (100-150 creatures) and 90 Combat Expansion Set (34).
Universe CommLink (37). Discusses a planned trilogy of adventures (planned for June of `82) and various future Universe products.
(SPI taken over by TSR...a sad event for board gaming, though Ares 13 was still very SPI-like...)

ARES TSR #13 winter 83
StarTrader Enhanced (16, 43).
Universe CommLink (37). Adds Perception skill and NPC card format.
Feedback Questions 91 -- Iowa 5 and 92 -- The Moons of Vega 6 (55).

ARES TSR Special Edition SE#1 summer 83
First Contacts: the Sh'k'tlp (34-56, 58-62). Adds new professions, skills, and extensive info. on the Sh'k'tlp alien race (inc. a stellar display and charts). (Evidently only about 1/3 of what SPI designed and was set to publish in 1982...)

ARES TSR #17 ?/84
Mongoose and Cobra game module (25-40).
The Federation Strikes Back (47-52). Adds additional spaceship types, pods, and scenarios for DeltaVee.

Additional Material

ForeSight Enhanced by Tonio Loewald
A generic role-playing system for use with human, and near-human characters in realistic, and nearly realistic settings. These rules have been published in various forms over the last ten years (leading to their being in a somewhat muddled state at present). Rules were apparently based on James Bond 007 and Universe Games.

Bughunters: Amazing Engine worldbook TSR circa 1994 [ISBN 1-56076-623-9]
This is the best Amazing Engine campaign I've read. The star system map is inspired by SPI's Universe rpg (review to follow), by admission. I believe Universe also provided the groundwork for the awesome modular starship construction rules. Bughunters' system provides for standard and custom starships with various capabilities and includes deck plans. Do not confuse this with TSR's Bug Hunter (no "s") / Sniper supplement, which has no map.

Traveller 2300 GDW
Comes with a fold-out 3-d starmap and a booklet with star data (xyz coordinates) up to 50 light years from Earth as opposed to Universe's
30 light years. Annoyingly, the starmap does not have the Z co-ords printed on it. This makes it rather difficult to use. Stars are printed in different sizes according to Z co-ord, but this doesn't help much. They are color coded by spectral class. The booklet is useful, though.

A couple of Near Star Lists based off of the 2300 lists.

Picture of Delta Vee Set

Fan Sites

Ian Taylor's Universe Plus Page
THE premier page of Universe Material on the Web. Many
reproductions/additions of the printed resources mentioned above.

Ian Edwards' Universe Campaign (with Universe adapted to GURPS)

Jim Goltz's Universe pages

Steve Clark's Universe Page