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Does this game exist?

Does the following or an approximation exist?

  • Frontier setting, for example cowboys, space, or colonial/pirate
  • Asymmetrical game where players are archetypal agents of such a setting, for example:
    – The outlaw and marshall on either side of the law
    – The vigilante out for revenge because the powers that be won’t help
    – The small landowner/entrepreneur vs. empire-building land baron / corporation
  • The transition of territory from wilderness to frontier to tamed due to spread of colonists and technology (e.g., railroads and telegraphs in a cowboy setting)

For example, imagine a Firefly-like setting where some players are ships captains who can ferry trade, become pirates, or hunt bounties; or players can start local industries dependent on interplanetary trade and trying to stay afloat; meanwhile the spread of fast, policed hyperspace lanes means the frontier is shrinking but the reach of the unsympathetic central government is expanding.

What about Xia? Quinn’s reviewed it. You explore and can freely change between merchant, pirate and even bounty hunter as the opportunities arise.

I think ultimately though it lost out to merchants and marauders but that’s purely Earth based. Yar!!!

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I’ve taken a few notes about a game design around this concept. It’s currently about 8 bullet points in a Google Doc that I forced myself to write down so it would stop haunting me while I was busy doing other tasks.

I think primarily my concept was around a 3-faction design: sheriff/marshall/etc, colonists/settlers, and outlaws all competing for the same resources.

I’m not sure any game I have experience with really touches on the “settling the west” trope.


It came to mind (as did the Firefly game), but I was wondering if there was an asymmetrical game a la Root where players represent parts of the while ecosystem as opposed to everyone just being ship captains.

That was basically my 7 bullet points so I get this idea out of my head. :stuck_out_tongue:


Of course there’s the Firefly board game itself which I’m guessing is out now? I lost interest ages ago when the previews bombed it, sadly. Hey, YMMV and all that.

Edit; you were already aware haha!

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I have the Firefly board game where you’re all ship captains. I found it unsatisfying as it’s basically a space trader game with a Firefly setting. Basically players race to invest money into good crew and equipment before completing the objective. It doesn’t really capture the feel of Firefly of just getting by from job to job, getting into scrapes with alliance and reavers and people out to settle a score.

Western Legends came to mind. Players don’t have a defined role as Marshall/Outlaw, but can choose to go down that path as and when it suits them. It ticks your first point, maybe the second, but fails to hit the third.


Okay, so that’s a general no then. Shame, the theme has such potential! Ah well. I bet the RP is the way to scratch that itch.

I know this doesn’t exactly answer your question, but, heck, this is really ripe for The Quiet Year. The only problem is TQY is kind of a top-down RPG that doesn’t focus on individual characters.

Fiasco is a great candidate for a module, I think there’s already a PnP out there that comes close (I won’t deceive you though, as much as I like you (because you are actually truly awesome) I’m not going to hunt it down. It’s because I have good excuses, family/work whatever, but mostly because I’m lazy).

I have been campaigning for a multiplayer tabletop version of FTL: Faster Than Light with Justin Ma and Matthew Davis, and that seems like something that could be re-skinned pretty easily in those themes. Ma and Davis have been pretty awesome with with corresponding with me, but I don’t think that’s in their career path right now.

Hardly FTL: the board game, do check out Deep Space D-6. Scratches a similar itch over your morning coffee.

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(FYI, everyone, I’m starting to get uncomfortable with this morning coffee itch analogy :rofl: You guys have some weird allergies :joy:.)


I’ve only ever looked at the back of the box, but maybe The Expanse comes close to what you’re looking for?