In other games I have played that are similar to Spaceship 47, they always include a few predefined character cards that include the characters stats and special abilities. Usually, the character card has a name and a picture of the character. Customisation only tends to come from choosing equipment.
Owing to its RPG heritage, I would like to make the characters in Spaceship 47 more customisable. I imagine that other games have attempted this and decided it was not worth the effort to balance all of the various combinations, but I am going to give it a go. I really want the player to have a connection to their character and this level of customisation should help with that.
However, I don’t want to go overboard as this will increase the set up time of the game. This might be OK if the player designed their character once and played the same character for the entire campaign, but the character could die or the player may not get on with the character as well as they thought they would and want to switch.
My current thinking is to have two choices, which Species the character is and which Profession the character is. The Species card and the Profession card would sit together to make up the character sheet for the player to use.
It might be possible to make there be a further choice. Each side of the Profession and Species cards could be different – reflecting two slightly different characters. For example a Doctor that has a nice bedside manner (higher Personality) versus one that is a narcissist (better Physique).
Here is a mock up of what the Chimpanzee half might look like:
CHIMPANZEE Roll twice for Careful Movement checks ATTRIBUTES Physique 2 Vision 2 Intelligence 3 Personality 1 COMBAT STATS Speed 6 Initiative 10 Fortitude 8 Reflex 9 Will 8 Max. Confidence Points 8
This gives the scores for the four attributes, the 6 combat stats and notes the Species’ specific special ability.
A quick note about Attributes
- Vision is used to determine how many dice you roll for Light Weapons (these are weapons like rifles that require good hand-eye co-ordination)
- Intelligence determines how many dice you roll for programmable weapons.
- Physique determines how many dice you roll for Heavy Weapons (these are weapons that are less about precision and more about holding the gun steady while it fires).
- In the RPG, Personality was used to determine how many dice you rolled for attacks from the red shirts under your command. I am not sure whether having a character leading 3 or 4 red shirts as well as their own character is a good idea for a board game.
And here is what the Doctor may look like:
DOCTOR INT times per mission you: * can remove a condition from an adjacent ally as a free action * can grant 1 adjacent ally Resist All 1 to the next attack they are hit by +1 +2 +3 +1 +2
This is what the character looks like when the Species card and the Profession card are put together:
CHIMPANZEE DOCTOR Roll twice for Careful INT times per mission you can: Movement checks * remove a condition from an adjacent ally as a free action * grant 1 adjacent ally Resist All 1 to the next attack they are hit by ATTRIBUTES Physique 2 +1 Vision 2 Intelligence 3 +2 Personality 1 COMBAT STATS Speed 6 Initiative 10 Fortitude 8 +3 Reflex 9 +1 Will 8 +2 Max. Confidence Points 8
Tokens will be provided to go on top of the scores so the player isn’t constantly doing maths in their head when calculating what they need.
When they are put together you can see that this character has:
- Physique of 3;
- Vision of 2;
- Intelligence of 5;
- Personality of 1;
- Speed of 6;
- Initiative of 10;
- Fortitude of 11;
- Reflex of 10;
- Will of 10;
- Max. Confidence Points of 8.
Looking at it now, that does seem to be a lot of numbers. I can’t think of any other board game that has that many stats for a character. I know of a lot of RPGs that would have more than this, but I am creating a board game, so maybe I should try and condense the numbers down. The likeliest candidate is the turning 3 defences into 1. Or maybe getting rid of the Personality if I am not going to include Red Shirts for players to command. The enemies will be simpler as they will not have individual attributes and will just tell the Outlander what number of dice to roll for each attack.
So anyway, that is how character creation works at the moment. The next few blog posts will talk about the Species.