Then for some reason late last year I got a hankering to watch some Trek and picked up Seasons 3 and 4 of NextGen on DVD. Now I'm hooked again. There has never been such an imperfectly perfect TV series, and I doubt there ever will be again.
Naturally this has me thinking about the age-old problem which has haunted gamerdom for generations. I believe Marcel Proust put it best:
"In his younger days a man dreams of possessing a Star Trek role playing game which he loves; later, the feeling that he possesses a Star Trek role playing game may be enough to make him fall in love with it."
Or; why are we satisfied with substandard Trek role playing games, dammit?
It is my firm belief that the ultimate tool for Star Trek role playing is Risus. This is because, let's face it, Trek is fundamentally about things which can't be covered by rules - i.e. morality, logic puzzles, exploration and weird aliens with funny heads. That's the essence of the show in my opinion. Working out how much damage a phaser does, exactly how much a Klingon can lift, or how quickly a ship flying at Warp 4 can get to Tau Ceti Alpha Gamma 6 from Beta Delta Centauri Alpha entirely misses the point. What you need is a rules-lite system that doesn't get in the way of the derring-do, the exploration, and the debates over the Prime Directive and whether androids are sentient - which is the heart of the series. (That doesn't mean the game has to be turned into a comedy, mark you - Risus works surprisingly well as a 'serious' rules-lite system too.)
The thing about Risus is that it can be easily used to emulate 'social combat' - way better than any Forge game ever could. And as a heavy element of Star Trek is social combat, it seems a perfect fit. Think of Picard (Interstellar Diplomat 3) debating with Gowron (Raging Klingon 4) over whether or not to go to war. Or Riker (Spacefaring Casanova 4) trying to seduce that sexy genderless alien (Genderless Alien 3) who just came aboard. See?
Barking Alien has some good posts about this too, in which he talks about how to run a Star Trek campaign (or 'series'). Take a look.