A downloadable game

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printed copies now available for purchase!

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 BebopSerenityThe 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 EmpireTraveller or Scum & Villainy, with rich backstories, fun details and tonnes of personality.

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:

00 - Introduction.txt 1 kB
01 - Bucket of Bolts.zip 9 MB
02 - Bucket of Bolts (Printable).zip 12 MB
03 - Bucket of Bolts (Plain Text).zip 276 kB
04 - Audio Files.zip 39 MB
05 - Bucket of Bolts Soundtrack (Highest Quality).zip 365 MB
06 - Ship Generator.zip 42 MB
07 - Cosmic Cock-ups.zip 29 kB

Community Copies

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

Community Copy

Claim a free copy of BUCKET OF BOLTS if you are marginalised/in need. Copies will be limited but I'll be adding more here as people donate.

Donate a Community Copy

For $20 you'll get a copy of BUCKET OF BOLTS and donate a copy of the game for others to claim. 

Development log

Comments

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Hey, I'm having some trouble with the ship generator. The main menu has no options anywhere. Am I just missing something? 

Hello, is the bonus content included in the zine on your shop ?

(+1)

Not the printed stuff no, but you get all the same digital content :)

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Ran this with three friends, two of whom are not roleplaying types, in pure co-operative "What do we all think is coolest" format, and we had to stop after unexpectedly encountering tragedy at the end of the second captain's (the Charming Scoundrel) time with our Bucket. Amazing experience - it felt familiar from my time with Artefact, and simultaneously very different.


One question: There is only one type Ship (the mid-sized hauler), right? We were a bit confused at times about how some of the Captains - for instance, the Galactic Senator - might be involved with such a ship.

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Hello! Glad you had a good time with the game :)

Yeah there’s no ‘mid-sized luxury yacht’ for those sky-hopping senators, because I couldn’t make them different enough from the basic ‘ship’. I explored a couple of ideas with smaller single-seat fighters and much larger capital ships, but ultimately neither worked with the bulk of the rest of the prompts. So it’s more about the size of the ship (medium, 5-20 crew members, etc) than the purpose (that changes with each Captain to some extent!)

I'm not very experienced with zines, so I couldn't quite rule out the possibility that I had just unfolded it incorrectly and other ships were on a different page! I'm interested to your thought on the prompts, as our group kept finding (much more than in Artefact) that significant numbers of the prompts didn't fit, make sense or apply. This didn't cause us undue difficulty (plenty of prompts via the extra content pages, and/or the use of extra creativity), but I mention it because you said similarly.

(+8)

Amazing! I'd never played a solo game before, or anything in zine format, and this is exceeds my expectations. I started playing with my sons and they took to it immediately, and enjoyed writing all the awesome ideas without ever knowing how to play. I'm going to be getting Orbital and Artifact as well 😄

(+2)

This has brought the biggest smile to my face! Absolutely in love with those drawings 😍😍😍

Thanks so much for sharing 😊

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I played through this over the last week. Took 5 or 6 sessions. I loved it. I wrote a 5000+ word story of a ship. It took twists and turns I'd never have invented on my own. The story prompts were very inspiring (especially those in the Bonus Content). I loved writing a story from the perspective of an object within the space. I'm going to have to play Artefact soon!

(+1)

So glad you had a good time with it 😊

(+6)

Had a very good time with this. Here is some rambling I did about it.
https://stuartwrites.blogspot.com/2021/10/bucket-of-bolts-my-life-as-spaceship.h... 

(+2)

Thanks for taking the time to write that Stuart, it was lovely to read :)

(+1)

really lovely blogpost

Thanks :) 

Is the soundtrack available and I missed it? Can't find a link...

There's a link in the PDF, but as of this comment it's a dead end - updates on the Kickstarter say the soundtrack is coming later this year, and to try using the Artefact soundtrack for now. Gave that a shot, and it worked pretty well (although the track names don't go 1:1 with the Bucket time periods, so check the actual lengths of the tracks).

Thanks for the reply. Considering the short rest times in Bucket, the soundtrack isn't that big of a deal, but I'm playing a lot of sci fi RPGs lately and want it as a resource.

(+2)

hey! yeah the link is placeholder right now, I needed it in place for the print version. soundtrack should follow later in the year :)

(+1)

soundtrack is now available!

(+2)

A simple solo experience that let's you effortlessly create a galaxy of space pirates, ruthless empires, and a spaceship that ties it all together. I wish I had played this before my first Scum & Villainy game, and I certainly will in the future.

Thanks! That’s so good to hear (and if you group is anything like mine, they’ll blow up their current ship sooner rather than later)

(+2)

Hi! Could you provide a Print Friendly version of the Single Sheet?

I’m intending to provide all files in printable form after the next update! I hadn’t realised so many people had access to A3 printers.

(1 edit) (+2)

It's mostly readability. The relatively dark background color makes it a bit hard to read. A white or lighter background is easier on the eyes.

(+4)

It's everything I hoped it would be. Fantastic job.

(+1)

Thanks so much :)