A preview? Of a game that's more than a decade old? WHAT ARE YOU DOING, JONATHAN?
Well, this game has been on the scene for a long time but in the last few years it's slipped out of the spotlight. As an OSR sci-fi game it has kind of been eclipsed by other games of the same ilk.
I've been through the other games and, as good as they are, I chose X-plorers because of it's simplicity, which meant I didn't have to worry too much about stats and figures and I could concentrate more on stories and adventures.
Player Characters are class-based - Scientist, Soldier, Technician and Scout - and they level up as a good OSR game should. They have four attributes; Agility, Intelligence, Physique and Presence, scored from 3 to 18, and each class has skills which is basically a score the player has to beat on a D20 roll. It's quick, simple and smartly laid out, and the rules for aliens, robots and starships are fully fleshed out with enough room for referees to make their own game out of it.
Even though the game is about 'Galactic Troublshooters' in a Golden Age sci-fi kind of setting, with a 'Buck Rogers' action adventure feel to it, it can be used for any kind of sci-fi; action, mystery, horror, you name it. It's roots are firmly placed in the D&D ground with levels and experience points, and the grind that may come with that, but it's flexible enough to do what you will.
I'm also giving it a preview because I'm going to be writing new material for it under the OGL and releasing it through Farsight Games on DrivethruRPG. The rules can be bought from DrivethruRPG but you can also download the entire rules for free from the game's owners, Brave Halfling Publishing. And, at only 40 pages long, you can print it off quite cheaply and use it as an old-school black-and-white RPG book.
I've purchased the POD version in book form and it's smart and incredibly old-school, even down to it's presentation, and I like that a lot. Let's give X-plorers some love.