Design Principles

A strong game needs clear design principles. These are the principles I will use to guide the design process for A Billion Suns:

  1. Cinematic physics
  2. Minimum clutter
  3. Highly scalable (players, fleet size)
  4. Uniquely Sci-fi (not reskinned naval)
  5. Create moments to remember
  6. Allow every possible sci-fi trope
  7. Flexible to every miniature range (scale agnostic, requires no specific basing)

Cinematic physics

Cinematic physics rather than physics physics. Ships in ABS should behave in a way that feels dramatic, weighty and visually exciting. If the real physics of a given situation is less exciting than the cinematic physics, the fun should always win.

Never sacrifice fun on the alter of realism.

Minimum clutter

This is a game about sweeping interstellar battles between fleets of spaceships, don’t clutter the board up with tokens and dice.

Wherever possible remove clutter. If it’s really unavoidable, find aesthetically delightful ways to represent the effect.

Highly scalable

A Billion Suns must support more than two players natively. ABS should be no less satisfying to play with 4 ships a side or 50. Game length must not grow linearly with fleet size.

The game is about the Admiral of the fleet, focus complexity into that single point, to increase scalability, rather than making the ships more complex.

If possible, solo play is desirable but not mandatory.

Uniquely Sci-fi

ABS is a game about combat in the unbounded three dimensional vacuum of space. It should be a uniquely science-fictiony wargaming experience, not a reskinned WWI naval game.

Do things that could only make sense in a sci-fi setting. Add enough real-feeling science that it isn’t pure space opera.

Create moments to remember

Engineer opportunities for the game to throw out heroic moments.

Let the captain self-destruct his ship to take out the enemy admiral. Let there be a 1:1000 chance that the lone fighter can disable the last destroyer. Let that final crew member of the corvette elude capture by the enemy.

Allow every possible sci-fi trope

This is an Osprey “blue book”. One of the strengths of that product line the flexibility of the titles to bend to the setting the player wants, rather than mandating a heavily fleshed out universe of their own.

A Billion Suns must allow players to fight out cinematic space battles with spaceship miniatures across the full gamut of sci-fi tropes. Whether you want to game Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Enders Game, Gothic Sci-Fi, Eve, Halo… everything will be supported and full of flavour.

Ideally, therefore, players should be able to easily create flavourful but balanced factions of their own, to capture the theme and personality of whichever sci-fi trope they wish to play.

Flexible to every miniature range

This is an Osprey “blue book”. One of the strengths of that product line the flexibility for players to use any miniatures that they have or want, rather than mandating a specific tie-in miniature line of their own.

A Billion Suns must allow players to fight out cinematic space battles with spaceship miniatures from any manufacturer. This means the game must be scale agnostic, and require no specific basing.

Let’s see how we get on!

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