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Men in Black and Starship Troopers inspired this bug-busting sci-fi tabletop RPG

It won’t let you remember.

Artwork for Bug Busters rpg.
Image credit: Dieku Games

Fight space bugs in this upcoming tabletop roleplaying game inspired by Men in Black and Starship Troopers.

Bug Busters is a rules-light tabletop RPG that has players becoming working class defenders of Earth against a secret invasion of intergalactic insects.

The tabletop RPG takes inspiration from several classic mid-90s sci-fi movies such as the Men in Black series, with the original trilogy seeing Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones becoming partners in an underground organisation designed to maintain law amongst extraterrestrials on Earth, without the rest of humanity knowing.

Artwork for Bug Busters RPG.
Image credit: Dieku Games

Another key influence on Bug Busters is the 1997 film Starship Troopers directed by Paul Verhoeven – a movie that seeks to satirise the intense violence and pro-nationalism of ‘80s and ‘90s action films with a plot revolving around a war to exterminate a species of space-faring bugs, no matter the cost.

Other notable inspirations cited for Bug Busters are shlocky disaster flicks such as Tremors and Critters and the 1986 action-focused sequel Aliens, that sees Alien’s Ellen Ripley joining a band of marines who are attempting to liberate a colony of humans from a horde of Xenomorphs.

In Bug Busters, players will be able to make their characters within a few minutes by combining answers from random tables, with various options for 1990s inspired backgrounds including radio shack salesperson, gym trainer and video store clerk. Players then choose a fight song and a chill song for their mixed tape in order to devise their character’s personality. There’s a variety of gear to equip your character with, all designed to detect and eliminate space bugs.

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The gameplay system for the sci-fi TRPG is based on the Ghostbusters tabletop RPG published by West End Games back in 1986, with players rolling d6s and taking the result from the top two dice against a difficulty scale of up to 12. You can gain dice to roll from your characters’ main attributes of handy, agile, tuff and cool – with players having the option to combine their stats to work together on tasks. Should a bug buster suffer any trauma, then it is tracked through a stack of dice called the Doom Stack. If the Doom Stack ever topples then something bad happens to that character.

Bug Busters was created by Garry Snow, the founder of Dieku Games and the host of Game Pitch – a series of livestreamed videos in which designers can pitch their games.

A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Bug Busters is set to be launched sometime soon.

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In this article
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Bug Busters

Tabletop Game

About the Author
Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Senior Staff Writer

After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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