A beginner-friendly sci-fi RPG inspired by the classic New Wave novels of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s crams an entire universe into just four pages - making it the perfect thing to play while you’re waiting to embark into the vast galaxy of video game Starfield.
Deep Space comes from Jonathan Hicks, who previously drew on a love of Ridley Scott’s seminal movie Alien and gory video game Dead Space in his debut space-horror RPG Those Dark Places.
Even compared to Those Dark Places’ accessible rules-light feel, Deep Space keeps things concise, weighing in at a mere four pages in its core rulebook.
Its rules are as tight as that word count suggests, with players rolling a 12-sided die against a target number in tests, aiming low when applying their character’s skills or high when opposing another roll - in situations such as combat.
The miniscule booklet somehow manages to find space for rules on character creation, background on making NPCs, vehicles, and aliens, and guidance on generating an entire star system alongside those core mechanics. Characters include the likes of mercs, scientists, spies and traders wrapped up in the setting’s mixture of political intrigue and sci-fi action.
The rulebook is accompanied by four adventures - each designed for one or two sessions - and three supplements that delve deeper into its setting, which takes place against the backdrop of an interstellar Cold War after exploration was revolutionised by the advent of a Singularity Engine a century into our future. The supplements also provide additional rules for the likes of starships and gear. Each of those expansions is a mere two pages, making the entire collection less than 20 pages in total.
Each Deep Space book costs a quid - or just over a dollar - so the whole set can be had for under a tenner over on DriveThruRPG.