I’m on a study project to improve my understanding of roleplaying games. To this end, I already have two reading projects, A Game Per Year and An Adventure Per Year. This is the third, with the goal of reading or playing 52 games made in the last few years. Originally I considered making this “A New RPG Per Week” and that’s where the number 52 comes from, even though a weekly schedule is probably not within my abilities.
Vast & Starlit is a scifi nanogame. This means that in the 16 page PDF I got called Vast & Starlit Library there’s not only the core game (445 words long) but also the supplements Bodies in the Dark (sex and warfare), Stellar Atlas (a galactic setting) and Renegade’s Technical Manual (gear!).
At a wordcount this low, Vast & Starlit is all mechanics. If you know how to use rules and play roleplaying games, you can use it to play a game in which the characters escape their oppressors in a rogue starship.
The mechanics are co-creative, focused on building the story, the characters and the setting together. For example, there’s a mechanic for creating alien species the characters can encounter during their escape.
Indeed, the much of the mechanics are about facilitating and structuring group inventiveness, allowing for the generation of game content on the fly.
Although the supplements are fun, they also seem like a jab at the flood of supporting material that followed the release of a big roleplaying game especially in the Eighties and the Nineties. And still does if the game is big enough.
Personally, my favorite is the mechanic for how to make alien species more sexy, found in the Bodies in the Dark supplement.