On Friday I announced my project for this year’s NaGa DeMon. It will be a near future hard science fiction roleplaying game called Astronauts. And after making that announcement I realized two things: a) a lot of people are quite excited about this and b) it’s going to be harder than I thought.
One major problem is that the way I imagined the game in the first place it’s extremely hard to actually run it. While being in space, exploring the surface the Mars etc. is extremely exciting a lot of the things astronauts do during those missions is terribly boring when played in a roleplaying game. As HyenaSpotz pointed out in a comment to my announcement post:
What sorts of conflicts would this game have? If there are no aliens, most of the immediate threat is environmental, the sweeping threats are politics back on Earth, and there’s always the “Why did you bring a gun into space?” scenario among the team…
I have been thinking about this over the weekend and I also checked out Paul Elliott’s game Mars which commenter rainswept recommended. And I realized that I can circumvent a lot of the major problems by moving the game from “First Mission to Mars” to the “First Colony on Mars” without having to abandon all of my initial ideas.
I already started working on a future history which spans from the early to mid 21st century. In my version of the future a new space race starts in the 2020s with a international mission to Mars led by the USA against a Chinese Mars project. The game will probably be set into the 2050s or later when a permanent research colony on Mars has been established and when private companies start looking into exploiting the natural resources of Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies.
When it comes to game rules I am currently torn between a dice pool mechanic and a 3d6-roll-under mechanic. But in either case I intend to use a system light on rules. The focus of the game should be the story, the characters and not the rules. Since I am still in an early design phase I am of still open to your ideas. What are your thoughts on the whole project? Please share your thoughts below.