Far Away Design Ideas

Far Away is a two-player, cooperative game about exploring an alien planet. You and your partner must overcome starvation, a dangerous ecosystem, and the crushing loneliness that comes with being the only two people for lightyears. Far Away is likely to be Cherry Picked’s fourth title and is going through the playtest/design iterations now. We want to start sharing our new idea with everyone.

Far Away is a sandbox for making worlds with scenarios and campaigns resting on top. Players pick a mission (or series of missions) and land planet-side. Exploration reveals the planet’s features and the ecosystem of the world. Creatures wander the land, interacting with the new arrivals and each other. How the players react to these beasts is up to them: domestication, avoidance, and removal are all valid options as the players’ operations expand.

A central theme in Far Away is loneliness. This is expressed in two ways: as a mechanical need in-game and by limiting player communication. Players may only speak freely if they are on the same hex. They use the opportunity to plot complex series of actions, or just check in and make sure everything is okay. Newer players can choose to place this limit only on game strategy, while advanced players can choose to stay completely silent when wandering afar. We have found this communication limit not only reinforces the idea of being alone together on a planet, but counters issues of quarterbacking.

As missions progress, players may uncover Plot Cards. These are cards laid out in particular sequences which are triggered by certain events (e.g.: a creature reaching the landing pad). When the trigger happens, a new plot point happens. It could be a change in the mission, a new challenge to overcome, or a new action available given the circumstances. Most Plot Cards will not happen in a single session. This combines with the differing terrain, resources, and creatures to make each session unique. Plot Cards also add a “pseudo-legacy” element, letting effects from previous games impact later rounds in the campaign. Our goal is to have short campaigns with widely branching stories.

John and I found a den of terrifying lion-like creatures near a bunch of resources. So we peaced out like true heroes.

John and I found a den of terrifying lion-like creatures near a bunch of resources. So we peaced out like true heroes.

The mission of Far Away is to be a two-player game with depth. This is a game for people who play together frequently and need something more than a cute card game. Each mission can be replayed with new challenges and twists. Someone could play a round in a rich jungle world that pits them against horrible carnivores the entire time, and then play a game on a desert planet relying on small burrowing creatures and abandoned alien relics to find sustenance. Our early playtests have all been different, yet promising. We are excited to keep pushing forward exploring this new world.