Thoughtful Games

Francis the Specialist

Damn good with complex systems*. Meticulous. Defensive. Physical fit.

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 and start my own business. Maybe buy a return ticket to Earth just to see the old neighborhood again.

*During the prologue, after the montage of the colony, pick the most complex and critical system. You made it. Announce that you are the only one who knows how it works and the only one who can fix it if it breaks.

On your mind

Explore these questions during play.

  • What difficult and important task have you been trusted with solving?
  • What is the worst thing about being on Mars?
  • Who in the colony annoys you the most?

Someone back on Earth

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

  • Your aging parent Tony who is so proud of what you have achieved.


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)

  • Sorry guys, I fucked up.

Story seeds

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

  1. A souvenir from Aqua World
  2. A package with home knitted socks
  3. A crucifix
  4. Red dust running into a shower drain
  5. The bitter taste of recycled water
  6. A faraway voice distorted by interference
  7. The freezing cold hand of the Martian night
  8. Earth rising in the night sky as a tiny bright dot
  9. The worn out glove of a bio suit
  10. Debris reflecting the sun in the Billion Dollar Desert



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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