Bucket of Bolts is a game of iconic spaceships and their infamous captains for one player.
She may not look like much kid, but she’s got it where it counts!
The Bebop. Serenity. The Millennium Falcon.
You can’t have a good space story without an iconic spaceship. Of course, more often than not, the heroes of the story aren’t flying some shiny new cruiser. Those are for the wealthy, the elites—not our lovable scoundrels. No, they fly the bucket of bolts—the outworn, patched-up junker held together with hope, prayers and duct tape.
These ships weren’t always hunks of junk though—they have long and storied histories, and might even have been respectable vessels at some point. We only ever see a slice of that story though, a single captain and their motley crew.
The eponymous 'bucket of bolts'
This game flips the perspective.
Bucket of Bolts is a hack of Artefact, my game from last year's ZineQuest. Instead of creating a magical item, this time you'll be telling the story of a single spaceship. You’ll create a brand new freighter, fresh off the manufacturing line, and explore its history through each of the people who captain it. Your ship will change as the decades pass - new names, new parts, fresh paint, fresh starts - until your story draws to a close.
You’ll choose your Captains, bringing them to life with names and details, and create stories of their time with your ship using prompts and tables. When you‘re ready to move on, you’ll choose a Fate for your ship. Maybe it’s traded away fairly, but more likely it’s stolen, captured or even wrecked. You might drift for a while as you wait for your next Captain, or the seat might still be warm when a new one takes over. Either way, the galaxy will change around you, and you’ll see it all from the view in the cockpit.
Like the original Artefact, it’s a great way to spend an hour or two; sketching, world-building and storytelling in your own company. It's also a fantastic way to generate really unique ships for tabletop games like Edge of the Empire, Traveller or Scum & Villainy, with rich backstories, fun details and tonnes of personality.