Dark Stars has been in development for a very long time, since early 2005. It began as a Cyberpunk 2020 campaign that I ran a year or two before that, where the players were part of a UN mission to re-establish contact with outposts on Mars in the aftermath of the 4th Corporate War. I must confess to some relief now that the Jumpstart Kit for Cyberpunk Red is released, I am glad that Mike Pondsmith’s vision of the aftermath of the 4th Corporate War differs from mine.
In seriousness though, the group that I played with liked the concept of a future Cyberpunk with spaceships and aliens, so we decided to make our own. We were not content with just making a setting for an existing game though. In our first attempts we wanted to take the influence of our favourite systems and eliminate the things we perceived as shortcomings in other systems, and the first Dark Stars was born. Over the years we have made the system and universe truly rich and unique.
It was a long and difficult labour though, initially we only wanted the game for our group, we never really gave any thought to publishing it so there were several things that just were not priorities for us, such as a good name. We just called it “The Space Game” for about 10 years. During this time we went through several iterations of the system, we designed and re-designed as we playtested and players complained about various features. Eventually we got the game to a point where our players were very happy with the result and we were able to have several long running campaigns as well as many shorter games.
At some point in 2017 we decided to publish the game and devoted a lot of time and resources to sourcing art work, getting the book formatted by a graphic designer and writing new content and source material. The editing and re-editing of the book seemed like a herculean task. Something about stables and an endless pile of dung… Eventually though, we got there after many trials and false starts Dark Stars and some supplements are up for sale online, and now we’re doing a Kickstarter to try and share our game with more people!
It’s been a long road and this is not yet the end, but seeing our work as a book that people can buy is a great feeling. I will be releasing more blogs and in the next one I am going to talk about some of the failed systems and mistakes that we made along the way.