Thoughtful Games

Brice the Explorer

Goes where no-one has gone before. Cheerful. Curious. Martian Geology. Colony reporter.

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 buy a large chunk of the planet. Exploit those newcomers. Or as a custodian, showing around the schoolkids and telling them of the old Mars. Or buy a ticket to Ceres, Europa or wherever the next colony will be.

On your mind

Explore these questions during play.

  • What are you most excited to be doing on Mars right now?
  • What — if anything — do you miss about Earth?
  • Whose company in the colony do you enjoy the most?

Someone back on Earth

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

  • Your mentor and sponsor Morgan has relentlessly worked for you to be able to pursue the dream of going to Mars to stay.


You haven’t told anyone

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

  • I’m scared and want to go home

Story seeds

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

  1. A rock from Mars that has been on Earth
  2. A field of ‘blueberries’ – small structures on the surface rich in hematite that can be reduced to metallic iron
  3. The Yesterday Crater. It wasn’t there the day before yesterday
  4. A bottle of pure Martian H2O
  5. A flag on a hill
  6. A sinkhole swallowing up a rover, revealing an underground cave
  7. The yellowish Martin sky turning dark from a magnificent storm
  8. A postcard from Mars for the holiday season
  9. A worn out toothbrush
  10. Olympus Mons, the biggest volcano in the solar system



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.



You will roll one die at the end of three chapters to determine how successful you are with your projects on Mars.






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.
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