If nothing else, science-fiction offers exceptional variety. Often in fantasy, the scope of a story tends to revolve around cities. Sometimes kingdoms or regions, but often the focal point of the tale is fairly specific. This is not necessarily the same in science-fiction.
Science-fiction requires a re-imagining of the whole planet. Therefore, it invites diversity in a way that fantasy often does not. Everyone needs to be included in order for the world-building to operational.
Not only does it necessitate that Earth is re-defined, but every other planet is as well. Space exploration doesn’t need an entire intergalactic senate to look compelling. Even just one sentient race is enough to make the story interesting. I’ve seen numerous sources discuss the existential crisis human beings would likely go through once they discovered another intelligent life-form. In the world of table-top gaming, this offers very intriguing possibilities for narrative and steering game play in and around encounters.
Another way this variety presents itself is in the way world-building a sci-fi game asks for answers to contemporary problems. For example, if you’re playing a game that assumes cryogenic space travel (some kind of stasis pod like the ones in the Alien movies), how might such a thing be created. This isn’t an obligation, but having that kind of information available to players could push the game in interesting directions.
Gene Roddenberry believed that space travel would unite people all over Earth in a way never before seen, as evidence in his creation, Star Trek. Maybe this is the case, and maybe it’s not, but its an example of how technology in a sci-fi setting can radically alter how we view the world we currently live in. This is food for thought for the gaming table as well.
Science-fiction asks for solutions to contemporary problems. Not just little answers, but big ones. Let your imagination run wild, and embrace diversity and variety in your gaming. It’s a core concept in science-fiction, and something that should be at the heart of table-top gaming narratives as well. You won’t regret it.