Here’s more proof that Victorious‘ 10-year development wasn’t the longest in RPG history. Or even Steampunk for that matter. Space: 1889 was published by Game Designers Workshop in 1988. However, the below is the first reference to the game I’ve found. Apparently the wargame company SPI was interested in it; as noted in the below Strategy & Tactics mag description from the Feedback questions:
56. Space: 1889: in 1889, Professor Eckhardt of Boston, with typical American ingenuity, invented the amazing Ether Flyer, and, along with his lab assistant, Master Neil Armstrong of Yale, made the first human voyage of discovery outside the bounds of the Earth’s atmosphere and gravity, and to the far side of the moon. Soon news of his marvelous discovery spread around the world, and the race of colonial prestige on Earth’s neighboring planets was on. The area around Tycho crater was claimed by the Frenchman Raymond Beaujolais, and France quickly began to exploit its colonial possessions by the export of aluminum found in the area. The Moon was quickly partitioned between Britain, France, Germany and Belgium, with small, relatively inconsequential areas going to America, Spain, and Austria- Hungary. However, little profit was obtained from our sister planet. It was not until the inhabitants of Mars were discovered, and the British East Martian Corporation chartered by Parliament that colonization began in earnest. The spices and liquors of Ares quickly became the rage throughout Europe, and competition from the Dutch, French and German for the Martian trade exacerbated European tensions. However, brave Martian troops (led by European officers, of course) managed to fight off all attempts from the non-English power for Martian domination. The United States quickly discovered the lushness of Ganymedian farmland, and the New Frontier on Ganymede opened up just as the exploitation of the American Frontier came to a close. The Aboriginal natives were quickly confined to Reservations, and the Union Ganymede Railroad, spanning the Jupiterian satellite from end to end, was opened in 1897. Russia and Germany, not to be left out of the race for spatial colonies, quickly expropriated Venus and the other Jupiterian satellites, but got little gain from them. Italy began to exploit the satellites, which was in part responsible for the wealth and dignity of the Italian Monarchy towards the close of the century. When the Great War broke like a storm over Europe, the conflict quickly spread to the colonies. European- led Martian troops contended with Venerian dragons over the soil of Mars; and Germany’s aborted attempt to ally with the oppressed Ganymede natives against the American colony was in no small part responsible for bringing America into the war.
Space: 1889 depicts the struggle for the mastery of the solar system that occurred during the Great War. Through its unique game system, you will be able to reproduce the battles between the gigantic Ether-Flyers of the nations of the world.
— Strategy & Tactics #60, Jan–Feb 1977
So, that’s 11 years…just thought I’d share!