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The 7th Way

Photo by B S K from FreeImages


Last time, in Vive la Resolution I outlined 6 mechanics I was considering for resolving actions in Spaceship 47. Two of my friends  (@InterregnumThe and @Grami_WER) commented that I could combine two of the mechanics. They suggested spending tokens with a dice roll that adds or takes away from the number of tokens you spent.

One of them went much further and outlined the skeleton of an entire system for me! I’ve tweaked it a little bit, but this is essentially @Grami_WER‘s system.

The Mechanics

Each of your attributes – Physique, Vision and Intelligence has a track (think Terraforming Mars resource trackers) denoting how many points you have left of each. These points are spent to try to succeed when taking actions such as attacking an enemy or for overcoming obstacles on the map – swinging over ravines, hacking the keypad to get open a door etc. However, once the player has decided how many points they will spend to succeed at an action, they then roll an eight-sided dice which adds points, subtracts points or leaves the number of points alone. The sides of the eight-sided die are:  -1, -1, 0, 0, 0, +1, +1, +2

For example, you attack the enemy with your Plasma Rifle. The Plasma Rifle is a weapon that is Vision versus Dodge. Your enemy’s Dodge value is 2. You spend 2 Vision points (moving the cube on the Vision track down by 2) and roll the die. If you rolled a -1 then your result would be 1 (the 2 points spent plus the -1 on the die), so you would fail. If you rolled a +2 on the die, then your total would be 4 (the 2 points spent plus the +4 on the die) which means you succeed. For now I’m thinking if you equal or get 1 more than the defence score, then you deal normal damage. If you get 2 or more points more than the defence then you deal double damage.

The low variance of the dice means that most of the time, the player should be able to know how many points they need to spend to succeed, but there is always that nagging doubt that they might not succeed if they roll a -1. The player could spend enough tokens to be certain that they will definitely succeed, if the task is one that they feel that they must pass.

Defending Against Attacks

Another thing the tokens could be spent on, is mitigating damage from enemy attacks. Each token spent reduces the amount of damage taken by one. So if an enemy attack  that targets Fortitude would deal 4 damage, then you could spend 2 Physique points to reduce the damage to 2 damage taken. Each of the three attributes would be tied to one of the three defenses – Physique with Fortitude; Vision with Dodge; Intelligence with Will.


This system opens up a lot of design space, especially with equipment.

  1. Sniper Rifle: the first Vision point you spend on attempting a task counts as two.

  2. Nanobot Gun: If you roll a 0 on the die, you may re-roll the die. You must take the second result.

  3. Black-hole Blade: You roll the better 10-sided die for attacks.

  4. The Security Officer Power: If an ally you have line-of-sight to has failed an attack roll, you may spend one point of the appropriate ability to add to there points score. (Not equipment I know!)

  5. Thermal Armour: The first point you spend to mitigate damage dealt by an attack with the Cold keyword counts as three points

  6. You may use a Physique point for a Vision task (and all variations of this) – this would be hard to make thematically appropriate.

  7. If you succeed your task you get one point back

  8. If you fail your task you get one point back

To differentiate between characters, the values of the attributes: Physique, Vision and Intelligence should influence the points consumed over the mission. There are three ways this could occur:

  1. The attribute controls how many points you start with for each mission

  2. The attribute value is the maximum number of points you can spend on a single action

  3. The attribute determines how quickly you recover points

I wouldn’t want to use all three of these as that makes a high score way more powerful than a low score.


In Spaceship 47, you will choose a Species (HumanChimpanzeeStishak and Robot) and a Profession (Deadeye, Lawyer, ScoutSecurity OfficerEngineer and Spy). Both the Species and Profession will give you half a player board that you put together to make your whole player board.

The Profession half of the player board will contain the three tracks for the attribute points, denoting the starting number as well as the recovery rate.

The Species half of the player board denotes how many points can be spent reducing the damage from attacks. This will either be:

  1. The maximum number of points that can be spent for each defence, so the big burly Stishak, would have a higher maximum number for Fortitude/Physique.

  2. How much damage is reduced by spending points. so the Stishak would reduce the damage of attacks against Fortitude by 2 for every Physique point spent.


This seems like a pretty neat system. I do worry how long it will take to resolve actions though. I also need to work out about when a player recovers points.

But, I am quite keen to get a prototype of this up and running to play test it!

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