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Official Hard Vacuum Website, maintained by HV designer Darrell Hayhurst. Scenarios, ships, tactics, and more!


Hard Vacuum is a board/miniatures game of WWII space combat in an alternate universe that should have been.  Fly a Nazi spaceplane or a Space Corps rocketship in the battle for orbital supremacy.


A simple, intuitive movement system handles both realistic spaceflight and simultaneous action, yet still plays quickly and smoothly.  Weapons run the gamut from ordinary machineguns to atomic death rays and space mines, all using the same basic combat mechanics.



12/1/2004 - Now available are the final 2 special supplements for Hard Vacuum on the Official HV Site:

The Highest Ground - In the last year of the war, spiraling technologies sent more and more ships into space. As the war turned against the Germans, their leaders turned more attention to the heavens. Earth may be lost, but the highest ground, the moon, was still theirs. And from there they could initiate their final solution. If they couldnít have Earth, no one would. That threat alone should force most of the world to submit. And so the space war escalated to undreamed of proportions as the Allies launched a desperate bid to stop them.

Bright Sun Ascending - The Nazis had been driven off, and Germany surrendered. For a brief moment the war seemed on the verge of winding down. After all, Japan had no space fleet. Allied space superiority would insure Japanís swift defeat. But then without warning, defying all expectations and possible projections, Japan had a space fleet.

Also available are a full set of counters to download for Bright Sun Ascending.  

These supplements wrap up the Alternate WWII era for Hard Vacuum but the 'War's End' conclusion at the end of Bright Sun Ascending hints at much more to come if the Hard Vacuum timeline were to continue. 


10/8/2004 - Big news from Darrell "HardVacuumGuy" Hayhurst: 

It's Red October, and the Russians are finally ready to be unveiled. Learn the secrets of the Foo Fighters referenced in Science Gone Mad. Learn just why the heck we mention the Tunguska impact in the first book's timeline. This one has been waiting in the wings for a long time!

An 8 page PDF file of rules and designs for Russians is now available on his website (

A couple more releases are planned: 

November 2004: The Germans and the Americans fight it out over the cold surface of the moon. The Constitution, America's first Space Battleship is launched, and the Germans unleash the ultimate weapon: The Void Bomb.

December 2004: War's End! The ascent of the Japanese and the last shots of the war fired in orbit.


12/7/2001 - Science Gone Mad is back from the printer and now available.  Copies are available directly from the Wizard's Attic or get your local game store to order a copy for you.


11/6/2001 - Science Gone Mad has gone to the printers and should be back and shipping to distributors by the end of November and in stores in early December.  Here is the full blurb on the supplement:


Technology runs amok as the Battle for Orbit grinds into 1945! Can you survive a world where science itself has gone mad?

Science Gone Mad is an expansion for Hard Vacuum that extends the game's timeline to 1945. New rules sections cover pilot experience, bailing out, ace skills, ramming, docking & boarding, specialist crew, carrier operations & resupply, radio-controlled torpedoes, Tesla magnetic rays, and new hardpoint mounts. A special "Flashback: 1942" section adds the liquid-fuelled combat rockets and orbital bombers that opened the final frontier. Eighteen new spaceship and space station designs include ones for the British Royal Space Force and the Flashback era. Eleven new scenarios, dossiers on eight famous aces, and an expanded construction system round the book out. 

Format: 48-page saddlestitch book (full color cover) with full color marker and play-aids sheet 

FMG-4031 Suggested Retail: $14.95"


8/13/2001 - I talked with Neil of FMG at GenCon and It seems that the date for Science Gone Mad has been moved back to around November if I remember correctly.


7/13/2001 - The FMG web page for the Science Gone Mad expansion has been updated with a picture of the cover and the following info:

The first expansion for Hard Vacuum adds a plethora of new material to the game as the Battle for Orbit grinds into 1945.


New rules cover:

          pilot experience

          ace skills

          fiendish Nazi weapons

          ramming and boarding

          Tesla magnetic technology


          space carriers

          battle stations

          and much more!

Over a dozen new ships are included, along with full rules for adding the British to the space war. A special "Flashback: 1943" section rounds the book out, with stats and rules for the early rockets that opened the space frontier.


4/26/2001 - FMG has released the following press release:


          The best World War II space combat game in the universe is about to get even better. Famous aces, space cruisers, fiendish new Nazi weapons, space battle stations, and magnetic Tesla rays all show up in 1945 -- and in Science Gone Mad, the upcoming new expansion for Hard Vacuum.

          The expansion adds rules for early liquid-fueled rocketships and introduces the war-torn British. "We also add collisions, carriers, larger battle rockets and a system that allows individual pilots to gain experience and become better space warriors,'' said Darrell Hayhurst, Hard Vacuum game designer.

          Hard Vacuum is a game of spaceship combat set during the 1940s of an alternate universe. The board and/or miniature game explores what World War II might have been like if fantastic rocketships had existed the way scientists and dreamers of the time envisioned them. The Hard Vacuum book is the core upon which Science Gone Mad builds and expands.

          Hayhurst said he decided to do an expansion because his local group of gamers has been playing Hard Vacuum for years and the game has grown quite a bit during that time. He added that the expansion allows him to get more of this great material into the game.

          Neal Sofge, Fat Messiah Games' Super Genius and Hard Vacuum line developer, said  that Science Gone Mad adds more play options, scenarios and spaceships. It also extends the alternate history timeline by an additional year.

          "There's a lot of space games on the market, but this one is unique in that it combines a realistic movement system with a very original alternate universe," Sofge said. "The overall theme of the expansion is that just like in our own World War II, this is a war fought by technology and to some extent that technology has run amok."

          Science Gone Mad is expected to ship in August of 2001. Like the original Hard Vacuum it will be a 48-page book including a sheet of full-color game markers for a retail price of $14.95.

          Fat Messiah Games, based in Los Angeles, Calif., has been producing unique fantasy and science fiction adventure games since 1991. FMG products feature tactical richness, innovative mechanics, and high playability.


2/23/2001 - The latest word on Hard Vacuum from Neil Sofge of
is that they are currently alpha testing the rules for British hydrogen-powered capital ships and are hoping for a summer release.


12/14/2000 - Hard Vacuum is now available, Go to the Wizard's Attic website to order your copy.  Available soon are special dice for the game (d6s numbered 0-5).  It also looks like supplements are in the works covering Soviets, Brits, larger ships and more.


10/31/2000 - Hard Vacuum has gone to the printer.  It should be available late November.  FMG's website has been updated with more info and a cover picture.


10/13/2000 - Hard Vacuum has hit a few delays and is now set for a mid-November release.  Also FMG is looking at the possiblity of minis for this game.


8/18/2000 - Hard Vacuum is set for an October 2000 release,  here is FMG's blurb about the game:


Kick the tires, light the jets, and roar off into the hard vacuum of 1940's outer space!  Fly a Nazi spaceplane or a Space Corps rocketship in the battle for orbital supremacy. Do you have what it takes to become an atomic-powered Ace?


Hard Vacuum is a board/miniatures game of WWII space combat in an alternate universe.  A simple, intuitive movement system handles both realistic spaceflight and simultaneous action, yet still plays quickly and smoothly.  Weapons run the gamut from ordinary machineguns to atomic death rays and space mines, all using the same basic combat mechanics.

Four ships from each side are provided, along with a comprehensive design system so you can make your own.  Special rules cover visibility, deflection, armor, Tesla power coils, solid-fuel rocket boosters, critical hits, and more.


The rules are built for a hexgrid, but they're flexible enough to handle tabletop miniatures battles too.  So there's no excuse not to join up -- We Want YOU for the U.S. Army Space Corps!


Players: 2+


Suggested Retail: $14.95