This week I discovered a new game, well, new to me at any rate. Alone Among the Stars by Takuma Okada is a solo play game that is designed to help you simulate space exploration by using a deck of cards and a d6. The rules for the system are simple to understand and fit neatly on three pages.
The story of Alone Among the Stars is that you are a solitary adventurer exploring the universe. Your adventures are guided by the die roll, which will tell you how you arrive at the adventure, and the draw from the deck, which will tell you what you find when you get there. What happens during that time is all up to you and your imagination.
One of the things that I really liked about Alone Among the Stars was the suggestion of writing down your adventures in a journal. I found it a fun exercise as it allowed me to push myself narratively. I’ll include part of it below and if you’d like to see more please let me know and I’ll add more later.
Alone Among the Stars Journal
Morning, Day 1: I left the Trusive at 0700 hours as my friend, the Computer, instructed. I’ve been sent out to explore the Catlin system in hopes that I will be able to find a suitable new habitat to relocate our colony. Friend Computer has instructed that I keep this journal along the way so I shall do so.
Evening, Day 1: Exploring the world of Broken Railion I came suddenly upon the Gillfolk. They’re an odd looking lot. They have large, protruding eyes on either side of their massive heads and mouths that take up nearly the entirety of their lower face. Gills run along the sides of their “necks,” though you’d be hard pressed to call them such as the Gillfolk must turn their whole upper torso to look about. They would be easy prey for other mutants and terrorists. Unsure what to do I looked up in Friend Computer’s book, Happy Thoughts and Nuclear Dreams, for a solution. The book is a bit confusing so I flipped open to a random page and followed the advice thereon: thermonuclear annihilation. Friend Computer always knows best.
Morning, Day 7: After a restless night I came upon the world Carrion’s Wake. I landed with the spin and was able to witness a glorious dawn – or rather I would have had it not been for a massive obelisk that blocked my view. It was decorated with obscene drawings and a lot of glyphs that hurt my head to look at. I consulted Happy Thoughts and Nuclear Dreams to determine what to do about the obelisk. Page 45 said, “. . . remember that when you find troubling information you must destroy the obscenity and those who made it. Then report your discovery to Friend Computer.” So I blew up the obelisk with the forward lasers and lit the surrounding jungles on fire with my thrusters as I took off. I hope Friend Computer will be pleased with my faithfulness.
Evening, Day 14: My navigation software has been malfunctioning for the last ten days. I passed through a solar storm after leaving Carrion’s Wake and my software hasn’t been of any use since. I shall have to report my poor performance to Friend Computer when I return. Today, though, I have finally found Endurance’s Stronghold. This massive asteroid was where our forefathers (and mothers) mined out the crystals that would help Friend Computer maintain our glorious society and keep us safe. It is a glorious site and I wept at the memory of Friend Computer.
Morning, Day 16: I have arrived at Idoru. The world is covered in gigantic ferns and at night they glow with the most magnificent hues of purple and pink. I landed and the atmosphere felt like a warm hug. I decided to stay here for the week and build a bungalow overlooking a massive river I’ve named after my favorite person: Friend Computer. It is glorious here and if this week is successful I shall rush home to Friend Computer and tell them of my success!
Evening, Day 23: Idoru was not a success. I hate the color purple and the next person I see wearing pink shall find out exactly how hot a Cornelis 4500 Ray Gun gets! There were bugs there! Gross! Friend Computer would never allow such a thing back home. This place will NOT do.