T minus 12 weeks

Red Alert! With Gaslands: Refuelled in the can, I am returning my full attention to A Billion Suns. Here’s the plan…


My objectives for this last 12 weeks are:

  1. Have a well-edited rulebook the successfully explains this odd little game at a “cold” read
  2. Have three sets of ~10 contracts that create endlessly varied and interesting games, with each contract set feeling meaningfully different as a game.
  3. Ensure each contract, and each game, tells a science-fiction narrative on the table
  4. Make sure it’s fun
  5. Replace moments of nothingness with somethingness

Core Rules

I’m comfortable that the core rules are stable now. The combat and order systems are really slick, although the command helm is feeling like an optional extra, rather than the focus of the game. The last version seems to work really well once “Dead Slow” was cut (which it is in the next version).

Silhouette: I know there’s an outstanding question about the wisdom of folding silhouette and integrity into a single stat, but I’m convinced it’s the right choice for now. I’ll be playing with the numbers in the next versions to see if that gets the feeling right.

D12: D12s are back, as I love those little guys. Damage being consistent for each dice type felt very clean in the earlier versions.

Out of Scope

With the deadline looming, I need to be realistic about where I focus my energy to ensure the core game is as crisp, polished and fun as I can make it. There are some extra elements I’d love to include, but which might not be possible.

Factions: While I would love to achieve this in the 12 weeks, I don’t think that the “build your own faction” system I have planning can be successfully completed and balanced in the time limit. I might compromise by including the “stub” of the system and then releasing the fuller system as a free download.

Campaign System: I think the Credits/OpEx system very natural suggests a campaign system, in which you have a global “bank balance”, and spending less money or earning more from game to game impacts your ability to win the campaign. However, having spent nearly three years writing the campaign system for Gaslands, I know how bastard-hard they are to get right. Again, the right approach might be to provide a functional but unsophisticated “stub” and expand upon it in a downloadable expansion.