What is A Billion Suns?
A Billion Suns is a tabletop science-fiction miniatures wargame of interstellar combat for 2-4 players from the team behind Gaslands, due for release by Osprey Wargames in February 2021. Each player commands a fleet of mighty battleships, sleek destroyers and agile fighters as they join a mad gold rush to claim the new frontier of humanity’s conquest of the stars.
When combined with some spaceship miniatures, a tape measure, a deck of playing cards and some dice, this rulebook provides everything you need to play exciting and tense tabletop games of interstellar exploration and combat.
What makes this game different?
No pre-selected army lists!
Each player begins the game with no ships in play. In the Jump Phase of each game round, players spend CMD tokens to requisition and deploy jump points and battlegroups. Players do not need to select a fleet in advance, they select and deploy ships as the strategic situation emerges.
Play across multiple tables!
A Billion Suns is designed to be played across multiple tables at once. It will seem weird at first, but playing with multiple opponents across multiple tables creates a joyously chaotic deep space gaming experience of jumping ships in and out from table to table. It is one of the unique elements of A Billion Suns, and is much simpler to achieve than you’d initially imagine.
Army build points and victory points are the same resource!
In the hyper-competitive war for corporate dominance across the vast depths of interstellar space, resources are utterly critical. Deploying ships costs you the very victory points you are seeking to capture and defend.
Choosing the “right” number and type of ships to deploy, and at what stage of the game, is the tension at the heart of A Billion Suns. Invest too heavily and you may not be able to earn enough revenue to get a positive return on your investment. Invest too meekly and you may not be able to compete effectively for even the small number of credits you need to cover your outlay.
CMD Tokens for exciting tactical flexibility!
Players have a limited resource, called Command Tokens, which can be spent on a range of tactical abilities, from seizing the initiative and jumping in new battlegroups, to diverting power to weapon systems or shields during play.
Intuitive combat system that models the massively disparate sizes of interstellar craft!
Each ship class has a silhouette value. Larger ship classes have higher silhouette values, and larger weapons roll attack dice with more sides (e.g. the lightest weapon types roll a D6 and the heaviest weapon types roll a D12). Because of this, it is both statistically easier to hit a small ship with a lighter weapon than a heavier one, and also statistically easier to hit a larger ship (a barn door, if you will) with all weapon types!
The bigger the gun, the more damage it does, so if you do score a lucky hit on a small ship with a big gun, it will be creamed. Most larger ships in A Billion Suns also have a shield system, which acts as a saving throw and can be powered up with CMD tokens.
Design Your Own Faction!
In order to provide maximum flexibility for folks to play the sci-fi tropes of their choosing, the game doesn’t have pre-set factions, but instead has a “design you own faction” system.
Players buy “competitive advantages” for their fleet, which provide access to special rules and unique powers, and in turn unlock access to more powerful perks, in a sort of “tech tree”. Players can either buy these up front for one-off games or earn them through the in-built campaign system.
How “big” is the game?
A Billion Suns is a game for 2 to 4 players.
When setting up a game of A Billions Suns, the players agree the “scale” of the game. This scale of the game affects a number of rules within the game, to ensure the game remains balanced regardless of its size.
A game can take as little as 30mins for a small scale game, up to several hours for a larger scale game.
The larger the scale of the game, the more objectives there are to fight over. With more objectives to claim, you’ll need to jump more ships in to get the job done. With more ships on the table, your opponents are more likely to jump additional ships in to contest objectives and attack your key assets. The speed of this escalation is largely dependant on the players and their play-style, creating a fascinating new dynamic for a tabletop wargame.
This means that the game scales from a handful of small ships to battles between massive fleets, and remains carefully balance for tension and fun at both ends of this spectrum.
At “scale 3”, expect a handful of small craft and a game that takes around 45 mins. At “scale 8”, you can expect to see twenty or more ships of various classes on each side.
Will I like it?
- If you want to tell exciting and cinematic science fiction stories on the tabletop…
- If you want to fight chaotic deep-space battles with ships and fighters swirling in every direction…
- If you want to create a four-dimensional chess puzzle for your opponent and watch her try to solve it…
- If you want to fight hard and then hit the self-destruct button when your crazy plan doesn’t come off and take them all with you in a ball of fire…
- If you want a uniquely science-fictiony gaming experience unlike anything you’ve played before…
…then A Billion Suns is the game for you!
Check out how to get started.
If that all sounds like your kind of tabletop game, you can pre-order it today!
Hear from the Designers!
If you want to learn more about the game’s more unique features, and hear more about it’s design and development, check out this conversation between Mike (Game Design) and Glenn (Lead Developer):
If you want to watch the game being player (albeit virtually on Tabletop Simulator, as the UK is still in lockdown), check this video:
If you want to hear even more about the game, check out the clutch of podcast interviews Mike has done, talking about the game.