Star Smuggler: Actual Play

I’ve been tinkering with a little (free) print and play game made available by DwarfStar Games called Star Smuggler (available here)In it, you take on the role of Duke Springer, star smuggler.  You have a ship, a full load-out of fuel, 2000 spacebucks, and 120,000 mortgage on your Antelope-class spaceship.  It’s a clever game with lots of neat little surprises, and I recommend it to anyone with a hankering for solitaire sci-fi hankerings.
It’s pretty much Traveller: The Solo (not that Solo) Game.
You can expect a more detailed write-up on the rule set itself at the Castalia House blog in a few weeks.
Here, I’m going to talk about me and my problem with solo rule sets.  It’s not a complaint, it’s an admission of my own weaknesses as a gamer.  I play too fast. 
Without somebody sitting by my side, forcing me to slow down, take my tame, make sure I’ve considered everything, I tend to race ahead, too eager to get to the next thing.  Particularly with solitaire games that include a dose of repetition, I want to speed through the checkboxes, finish the turn so I can find the next new discovery.
I’m also limited in my play time, so games that require extensive book-keeping and cross referencing just don’t get played correctly.  In Star Smuggler, you wind up with a lot of conditional payloads – X is worth Y if sold to Z but only worth A to B unless you get it there by C in which case it’s worth D.   When you only have an hour to play each week and wind up with a hold full of 10 trade goods like that it makes you long for a phone version of the game that can do all the remembering for you.
Star Smuggler is a great little game, and one you can dive into without reading the rules, but it really challenges me to slow down, write that down, look over everything twice, and only then make a decision. 

About Jon Mollison

Jon Mollison was weaned at the literary knee of Tolkein, Howard, Moore, and Burroughs. He spent decades wandering in the wilderness of modern genre fiction, wondering when the magic and wonder went out of the world of dragons and space ships. In his darkest hour, he encountered a wise man who handed him the open secrets to crafting works that emulate the stories of the great authors who built the genre. They are easily summarized in but two words: Regress Harder. Now one of the twelve champions of the Pulp Revolution, his self-published works represent a more direct lineage to the tales of action, mystery, romance, virtue, and pure unalloyed adventure than the bland imitations churned out by New York City publishing houses in recent decades.
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