Thoughtful Games

Alex the Shepherd

Keeps a caring eye on everyone. Turns the ideas of a team into concrete actions and practical plans. Psychology. Leadership.

We all signed up for 20 years of working for the foundation, building the colony. They provide food and lodging and we promise to not run away. Like there is anywhere to run. With a big bonus paid out at the end and who knows what happens then? Maybe become a custodian, showing around the schoolkids and tell them of the old Mars. Or enjoying life with my Martian grandchildren.

On your mind

Explore these questions during play.

  • What is the most important thing for the team to do right now?
  • Who is not doing well and needs your help?
  • What do you miss most about Earth?

Someone back on Earth

The previous player in the player order plays your connection back on Earth.

  • Sasha, a kid with a fucked up crazy past that you connected with and for whom you are a role model.


You haven’t told anyone

Set a scene where you reveal this to another main character to re-roll one die (once per game).

  • I cheated to get a seat on the mission

Story seeds

Include one of these in your scene description when you set a scene.

  1. The words “To protect and serve” on a silver badge
  2. An empty newsfeed on a computer screen
  3. Gentle fingers exploring naked skin
  4. A blue line on a pregnancy test
  5. A cockroach disappearing into a narrow crevice
  6. A Martian wind covering a line of footsteps with a layer of dust
  7. Frozen blood on a pierced bio suit
  8. A box of chocolate chip cookies
  9. The moist windshield of a rover
  10. Ashes from someone you knew back on Earth



To set a scene:

  • Choose a story seed and describe the situation
  • State who is present in the scene and invite players to play characters in the scene
  • Say what the scene is about (or play to find out)

To play a scene:

  • Start the scene by saying Action!
  • Narrate and play out the scene until it has reached a satisfying conclusion.
  • End the scene by saying Cut! Help each other keep scenes short and sharp.

Pregnacy test


You will roll one die at the end of three chapters to determine how successful you are with your projects on Mars. You do not roll dice to resolve tasks, actions, or conflicts between characters.






A mishap, misfortune, or setback



Not much to show for your efforts



Your hard work paid off



Great progress!

Main characters

  • Alex the Shepherd. Keeps a caring eye on everyone.
  • Brice the Explorer. Goes where no-one has gone before.
  • Francis the Specialist. Damn good with complex systems.
  • Glen the Inventor. Creates innovative technical solutions to problems.
  • Mason the Scientist. Sees what everyone else overlooks.
  • Shane the Visionary. The reason we are all here.


  • Adrian, Glen’s foster parent. A teacher who took Glen in from the streets.
  • Jade, Mason’s child. The grownup child of Mason from a marriage gone bad.
  • Kim, Shane’s spouse. The spouse of Shane to join with the next mission.  
  • Morgan, Brice’s sponsor. Has worked relentlessly for Brice to be able to go to Mars.
  • Sasha, Alex’s foster child. A kid with a fucked up crazy past for whom Alex is a role model.
  • Tony, Francis’ aging parent. So proud of what Francis has achieved.

Supporting characters

  • Evan (just Evan). Everybody’s friend. Medic.
  • Kelly the Hammer. Gets things done. Practical, efficient. Mining.
  • Lewis the Joker. Cracks jokes you have all heard before. Electrical engineering.
  • ‘Clockwork’ Robin. Reliable and always on time. Farming.  
  • Stacey the Kid. Wants to prove worthy to be on the team. Computers.
  • Terry the Veteran. Has seen it all before and has tried worse. Operate Heavy Machinery.
© 2021 Thoughtful Games