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moonscape



"Apollo 47 asks you to sit with boredom and stupidity in a way that boring, stupid games cannot come close to. When you play Apollo 47 there is a constant tension around wanting things to happen - interesting things, dramatic things - and every time they don't the game just gets better. Apollo 47 is easily one of my favorite games, ever."

                                                                   -Jason Morningstar

"Apollo 47 makes the mundane enveloping. You start playing, and soon you'll have a crowd listening in to the latest issues with the RCU cable. It's a chill vibe of tech-speak improv that just makes my brain buzz pleasantly."

-James Stuart


Note:  You get a PWYW PDF here at itch.  You can get the 1200 page hardback book consisting of 23 pages of rules and 1177 pages of NASA manuals for prompts over at DriveThruRPG.  You can also get the optional cards there but you -really- don't need them.


In a somewhat alternate Earth in a rather different 1987 you will explore the Moon on the 47th Apollo Mission!  The Moon!  Where forty-six other moon missions have gone before.  Forty-six.  That's an awful lot of successful Moon missions.  


And that's the point:  Apollo 47 imagines a future where walking the surface of the Moon is a little bit boring.  You engage in workaday astronaut activities using a simple improvisatory rules set to play in a quiet world of technobabble and the slow progression of science.  If something exciting happens please stop play immediately and go do something else–you are in the wrong game.

This zero-prep game of improvisatory radio chatter can be played through just about any communications medium for any length of time.  Five minutes to spare?  Spend it recalibrating a JLDO unit that's gone out of alignment.  Tighten the tamping line using the three baseline screws.  The blue screen torques the focus to the left, the green screw adjusts the dust pan height.  You should have a yellow-handled size 20 tamping gun and a slot puller in your work bag.  Got them?  Okay, so next...

One astronaut is supported by a team of voices on the radio.  Work, banter, and cause gentle problems for each other.  

I... I just can't explain this game any better than that.

What you get in the PDF here on itch.io:

1 page contains the game

9 pages contain advice on how to play the game

13 pages contain useful prompts for operating the game

7 pages of thematic art and etc

What you get in the print book:

You are buying a twelve-hundred page book.  It's 8.5x11 and over seven pounds.  It's just stupid big.  The books pages are distributed roughly this way:

1 page contains the game

9 pages contain advice on how to play the game

13 pages contain useful prompts for operating the game

1177 pages are reproductions of NASA manuals and papers related to the Apollo missions which can, if you need it, provide prompts to spur you on.  Spoiler:  I never use the prompt pages and don't really expect you to do so.  They just aren't necessary for play.

The book is a tremendous folly.  It's ludicrous and bloated and couldn't make me happier.  If you aren't joining me in hearty guffaws at something this THIS then stick with the PDF.  You'll be fine.


the book

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StatusReleased
CategoryPhysical game
Rating
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(16)
Authortimhutchings

Purchase

Buy Now$10.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $10 USD. You will get access to the following files:

AP47_TechnicalHB_Rules.pdf 0 bytes

Exclusive content

Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

Apollo 47 Community Copy

A completely free no-strings attached copy of the game intended for folks who are uncomfortable spending $10 on the PDF.  

Comments

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(+1)

This is a fantastic work of absurdist art. I just received the hardback and man it is ever a bloated masterpiece. I love Apollo everything, and this spoke to me on a visceral level.

One question: What is an elevator pitch I can use when I encounter puzzled looks from people who are not the Apollo nut I am?

I have had people ask me, "What's the point?" They can't seem to wrap their heads around not getting XP, a character sheet, or a wild adventure. They hear the words "mundane" or "absurdist," and their eyes glass over.

Any advice besides getting new friends?

(1 edit)

I have no idea!  Absolutely none.  Maybe just do it?  

Stan:  I don't want to play this.  There's no character sheet.

Kcnieman:  There's no charsheet anywhere in the worksite?  Mission Control says to check your auxiliary R-A-2 pouch.  

Stan:  What?  No.

Kcnieman:  Look on your right leg, bright orange stripe.  Pull it and it velcros off.

Stan:  No, I want to do D&D.

 Kcnieman:  The pouch has a clabber tie to untwist, then the packet unrolls.  Charsheet is a pull out in the third case slot.

Stan:  Stop.

Kcnieman:  Okay.


 

(+1)

OMG, that was priceless. That may be the inspirarion I needed. Thanks, Tim.

The rules reference the Spotlight Player drawing a moonscape card, but there doesn't seem to be any indication of what moonscape cards are. Am I missing something?

(+1)

Ah, I thought I removed that!  The cards are no longer used!  Totally unneeded.  I'll try to update it.

That's what I figured, but I wanted to be sure. Thanks!

(+3)

I would LOVE to see a version of this game where you're investigating Cthulhu Mythos mysteries!  One Primary Investigator, others are consultants/compatriots on the telephone or wireless or what have you.  Like when Harley Warren goes down into the ghoul caves in the HPL story 'The Statement of Randolph Carter,' carrying a microphone and trailing a wire back to his friend Carter on the surface.

(+4)

"He's dead, you fool" was such a great line!

This game had its start, believe it or not, in recreating two things:  The film trope where someone in a headset is guided through a heist by others AND 1970s astral spirit research where a researcher asks someone in a state what they see and where they are going.  

The fit is there, sort of.  I qualify this because in those stories things happen, and usually with economy and speed.  Apollo 47 is Harley Warren saying "Okay, I see more steps.  Corkscrew to the left.  The walls are damper now.  AHH, oh it's a root.  A root touched me. <three minutes of silence> Hang on, the cable is tangled <two minutes of silence> The walls are pure dirt now..."

I'm making all sorts of negative noises but, dang, I'd love to listen to a half hour of people picking their way through cyclopean masonry and reminding each other ever five minutes to take a pull on the bottled oxygen and have you been marking the path properly?

(+4)

You've actually gotten me re-excited about work I put down some time ago.

(+1)

Is there a way to get the NASA manuals in digital form? Can't quite afford the full asking price and shipping - so I'll go for the PDF, BUT I reaaaaally want to see these manuals - even though I'm not missing much allegedly :D

(+5)

I... I... It just doesn't feel right to include the manuals in the PDF.  The game isn't about the manuals, it doesn't need the manuals.  The book isn't about the game because it has the manuals.  The book is about bloat and comedy. 

They are two separate things.  

The good news is that the NASA manuals for the entire Apollo series are on the NASA website, free for the downloading:  https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/alsj-LMdocs.html is just a sample.  There's lots of pages like this.

(+4)

Holy shit, they've ADDED SO MUCH since last time I looked!  

There are thousand+ page mission transcripts!  https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/alsj-rawtrans.html