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A GM-less, planet-hopping, neo-noir RPG for 3-6 people inspired by the greatest sci-fi bounty hunter anime of all time

It’s the turn of the 25th century, and humanity has spread throughout the Inner System, a network of colony clusters connected by Transit Gates that make faster-than-light space travel possible.

Of course, anywhere people go, crime goes with ‘em. And when you can blow jurisdictions at the punch of a hyperdrive, The Man just can’t keep pace.

That’s where bounty hunters like you and the rest of your crew come in, with a license to run down and arrest the System’s Most Wanted throughout all six colony clusters.

But remember: this ain’t some license to kill; you only get paid if you hand over a bounty that’s still breathing.

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(45 total ratings)
AuthorThe Nerdy Paper Games of Rob Hebert
GenreRole Playing
TagsAction RPG, Anime, Noir, Sci-fi


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

spacebountybluesv14.pdf 30 MB
spacebountybluesv14 single pages.pdf 31 MB
space bounty blues one-sheet.pdf 256 kB
Space Bounty Blues en Una Hoja.pdf 1 MB
Space Bounty Blues en Español v1 31 MB

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Hey! This looks amazing - is it possible to play this solo?

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Thank you for the kind words! Unfortunately, the Lead/Follow mechanic (which requires at least two people) is a pretty integral mechanic in SBB, so I'm not sure how one would go about playing solo, but Spawny Toorte figured it out (see below)

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If you wanna try, I've written a solo adaptation of it, with a few random tables and suggestions to play it by yourself : <a href="<a href=" https:="" toorte.itch.io="" en-lonesomebounties"="">https://toorte.itch.io/en-lonesomebounties</a>

As said by the author I think it alter the feel but it's an interesting experiment imo ^^

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Oh my stars and garters... Spawny Toorte with a solo adaptation of game by lil ol me???

It's really more like a "guide", with random tables and ideas for each part ^^

This looks absolutely incredible! Can't wait to play and get a proper review out.


See you space cowboy...

I love this so much that I need to hack it - with credit given of course - could I get your blessing to do so?

Absolutely! Please link it here when you publish!

Thanks so much!! Here's my hack:



I finally got this on the table! It plays as wonderfully as it reads. The crew of the Comin' Home Baby had a great caper. I love how being the Lead in a Solo lets me combine my GM-energy with actually having a character to play.

We went into our Moment of Truth with +4 hold and still barely broke even! The dice deserted us at the last moment.

The companion playlist is so great, and other players seamlessly leaned into the mood of whatever song was currently playing. It led to effortlessly moody noir scenes all through our investigation.

Thank you! I really appreciate the feedback on the playlist!

I second @toorte who I played with in one of two awesome sessions of Space Bounty Blues I had lately.

In the first game I was playing as a biker Operator with an old score to settle with her former gang leader (and bounty’s ex-girlfriend) on Mars and a rival cyber-legged hunter on her heels. After a face-off at a casino black jack table and a hacking scene, the grand finale involved grappling the bounty during a car race in the burning Martian desert.

In the second session my crew member was a broke priest with a burnt-down church, an old gun and little left to lose. We chose the most juicy bounty - a miner's union leader gone mad after his daughter had died in a firedamp explosion. We tracked him down to a dirty town near the Karis Mine on Luna City and captured him after an epic rooftop chase...

The rules are a perfect match with the space bounty hunter theme and light enough that you can pretty much learn the game as you play. In our case I had laid out the main gameplay sections translated in French on a Miro board and we just followed that. I would still suggest one player reads the pdf once beforehand but it’s pretty much zero prep - just bring your Bebop love to the table!

Thank you for the kind words, I'm so glad you enjoyed the game!

My pleasure! Please let me know if you're interested in a French version of the game. I actually translated the bulk of it so it might as well benefit others :)

That would be so awesome, let me know whatever assets you need

Hello ! Astia and I have completed a full translation of your game into French ! How would you like us to share it with the community ? If you agree to send me your PDF model, I can take care of the layout for publication on your itch page:)

Wow, that's incredible! Apologies for the delayed response (I was OOO during the holidays), but if you email me at hebert(dot)rob(at)gmail(dot)com, I can send you the indd file.

Hello ! This game is like... GREAT !
I had in my backlog for a while and jumped at the chance to try it and boy I wasn't disappointed !

Lately I'm playing a lot of solo-ttrpg, and I noticed this one game was particularly easy to turn into a solo game, with no GM, random character creation, and a pre-defined structured already here.
So I wrote document, a few random tables and some tips, to play it in Solo.
It's only in French for now, but would you mind if I uploaded it on Itch ?
It's really an "addon", you still need you game to play the thing, so I believe it's more polite to ask you first.

Thanks for the good work !


Thank you for the wonderful feedback! It means a lot that it inspired you to make new tech for it.

You have my permission to upload your solo rules to itch so long as you link back to my page. And please let me know when it goes up so I can link from here, as well. Thanks!

Wonderful, thanks !

Just to let you know : i just posted the solo-module !
Thanks again for all this !

So cool! I just downloaded it and can't wait to read it.

Are there any example characters out there?

Sorry for the late reply, I didn't notice your comment. Here is a screenshot of the character keeper from a session we played. A lot of the PC definition comes from play, but I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need anymore guidance!

Oh, this is nice! Could you make this character keeper available?


Hi TheGiftofGabes! The character keeper can be found here tinyurl.com/sbbcharkeep 

Just copy it to your own Drive account and it should become editable for your own sessions :)

Awesome! Thank you so much!!!

Great work, Rob! Just letting you know that we're actually playing this RPG on stream (they'll be just 3 episodes, though). We're having a great time!! The only thing is that we're roleplaying in spanish, so if you want to check it out, Episode 2 will be this Sunday August 8 on ReRoll's Twitch channel, and Episode 1 (and the others) will be published on Youtube the next days.

Thanks a lot! Already waiting for the CAMPAIGN UPDATE.


Holy crap, that's awesome! If you'd been interested in being part of an official Spanish-language release, please contact me!


Space bounty blues is just an absolute gem : taking storytelling in a jazz form, has great game design and layout design, simplet yet elegant.

Wait, there's more ? A complete playlist of 10h+ awesome score to play your hunts ? A fillable character sheet ?

The game would have been perfect if its inspiration was a perl of japanese animation.

Wait a minute...

You convinced yet? So,

Let's Jam!


Wow, thank you so much, Gates! This review absolutely made my day


I think it's time to blow this thing, get everybody to start together. 





Let's Jam!


[brass instrument sounds]

There seems to be a lot of discussion here about this awesome looking game! Anyone know of any communities / servers of folks online talking about this game? 

I’d like to find a group and try a one shot!

Glad you found us, Brett! There's not a dedicated server, although apparently it's pretty easy to get together a group on general RPG Discords (esp ones that focus on indie or story games) because it's GM-less and on the shorter end of a one-shot. If you have trouble finding other players, reach out to me directly and I'll see if I can find other players.

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It's been a while since v14...is that the final version now?

I'm planning to facilitate a few sessions of SBB at a local online convention this coming weekend and I'd like to provide the correct info to players. :)

Oh, and would it be possible to get an image file of the solar system map?


Cool! Let me know how it goes. Map is attached.

v14 is probably the last major update for a while. I might drop a full campaign appendix later this year, depending on what happens with other work.

So many teasers! "last major update for a while", "campaign index", "other work"!!  :)

Thank you for the map.

And fwiw, my group reskinned the game for a high fantasy one-shot last night; it worked just fine as we played a group of adventurers who answered the call of a wanted poster. The only large change was that "Hacker" became "Arcanist".

Oh, that is an awesome idea!

Can you offer some advice re: Flashbacks? There's not much to go on in the rules. Do players tend to narrate just one per session (assuming a session = a one-shot)?

When you say "illuminate a character's past" does that include mundane topics like "That time I went grocery shopping and they didn't have the melon I was looking for"? (Hey, we're learning that character likes a specific kind of melon!) Or are Flashbacks supposed to be relevant to the character's Trouble or the current Bounty?

What about trying to come up with new Flashbacks for the same character over a long-term campaign? That could be a lot of "past" and "motivation" to wring out of one character.

So far, my group hasn't been interacting with the Flashback mechanic, and I think that's because it doesn't seem to have a direct impact on the narrative surrounding a session's current Bounty, where all the action is.

You can have multiple Flashbacks for one character as long as they're not too same-y or uninteresting.
For the melon example, is it really "illuminating" in context? Probably not. That being said, I can imagine a scenario where it would be, because Cowboy Bebop can be really silly sometimes, and that's totally fun to play. Like if a character is obsessed with a melon that only grows on their homeworld, and they haven't been able to find one for 5 years or something. That actually *would* illuminate something about their past, and is totally something that could become something of a running gag.
The Flashbacks don't have to be connected specifically to a Trouble or Bounty. You could use a Flashback to show how you know a particular contact, or why you were kicked out of your gang, or what growing up on Venus was like, pretty much anything. It's basically a way to sneak extra "moments" into a session.
For campaign play, you can use multiple Flashbacks to show how your character's motivation has changed or deepened, explore a new facet of their past, or anything like that.

What about Leverage-style Flashbacks where we learn that the characters had prepared something ahead of time to deal with the current problem or obstacle? (Something like "Oh yeah, I did some research yesterday and set up a fake account that I can use to get past this checkpoint. Let me tell you about it..")

I'd support it. Especially if it was interesting, cool, or moody (and not just some perfunctory procedural stuff).

Rob, in your playtests, how often does "You may end up rolling more than once in a single scene, depending on

how the story develops" come up?

I'm asking because one of my players dislikes the possibility of outright failure during the Tension ("6-, things go real bad; you fail, and it costs you dearly").

Depends on the table. Usually when we get to the end of the scene a little too quick so we added another short "set piece" to the sequence.

One time, a Hacker PC tried sneaking into a high-roller casino and rolled a 6- trying to use a fake ID with the front desk guy, so we had security take her into custody. The guards left her alone to get the head of security and she pulled a panel off the wall to access the ductwork (second roll, which was a 10+). We decided that she got out the room (that was the success) but we didn't gain the Hold since that didn't seem right given the initial 6-.

The main point I was trying to make was that you can roll to "let the dice decide" what happens before you answer the question of the scene with the Release.

What does your player dislike about a 6- on the Tension?

Another of my players just summed it up nicely; "the [Tension] rolls weren't so much the problem, the problem was failure in a [Tension] roll blocking the intended path of the solo. Removing the [Tension] rolls and letting the [LEAD decide to] take conditions or consequences or narrating a stylish and clever counter would be more fun."

So, it looks like my group will probably just keep the Solo to a single roll from now on. :)

In this week's game, my group chose to avoid mid-solo rolls by asking the LEAD to include a cost whenever they were overcoming an obstacle. We didn't put a lot of nuance into it and just left it up to the LEAD to decide how severe the cost was. It worked really well and kept the game flowing nicely.

Going forward though, I'm thinking about having the LEAD consider whether they were using their EDGE or a TRAIT at the time to give a better indication of how severe the cost should be.

Still having a blast! :)

Can you talk about the Stars & Wishes instructions a bit? What led you to include them? How have you used them?


Stars & Wishes is a tool designed within the Gauntlet RPG community, which I've found super useful. The creators can speak on it much more effectively (and authoritatively!) than me, so here's a cool thread about it: https://www.gauntlet-rpg.com/blog/stars-and-wishes

At my own tables, we use the basic version. There's no mechanical effect to Stars & Wishes, it's just a nice way to end on a positive note and generate constructive criticism in a kind and supportive way.

Cool. I've seen similar tools in other games, but I've not come across this one from the Gauntlet before - thanks for the link!

Long feedback comment ahead...

Played in another great game last night, with a group of 4 this time instead of 3. Our bounty got away in the end and one of our crew now owes a major debt to the Black Dragon Crime Syndicate for not coming through on his promise to take down the target!

There were parts of the game that we didn't engage with this time (including Flashbacks and Troubles) as we focused on the rules surrounding Solos.

Specifically, the LEAD, FOLLOW and BACKING BAND roles.

We fumbled our way through this a bit, as some players kept falling into the "I'm a PC, who's the DM?" mentality and stopping their Solo narrations at points like "I open the door...", and then waiting for someone to tell them what they see or what happens.

I think this mindset was harder to shake as our Follow players were heavily invested in bringing NPCs to life with great dialogue and descriptions of their actions. Which was great and amazing and fun, but I think not the point of the game. I think that the Solo's would have been smoother if the Follow kept to a third-person narration of NPC's actions and reactions. Something like this;

SOLO: I walk up to the reception desk. There's a bioroid behind the desk, filing her nails. I tap on the desk to make sure I've got her attention and say, "I'm here to see Dr. Kincaid."

FOLLOW, interrupting: The receptionist asks to see your appointment card and then hands over a tablet and tells you that you will have to fill in the NDA before you can be escorted in to see DR. Kincaid. (Two obstacles, the NDA and an escort, are introduced quickly in this fashion.)

SOLO: I fill in the NDA with one of my fake ID's, hand it back to the bioroid and wait for my "escort" to show up. When they do, I follow them into the main lab area and keep an eye open for a terminal...

Instead, what we had was our Follow taking to the roleplay instruction in the rules, which lead to 20-minutes of the Solo interacting with the receptionist and waiting for the Follow to allow them to gain access to the building or call for a roll. Amusing, yes, but it didn't really add anything to the game.

We also ended up with some Roleplaying scenes that resolved the goal of the Solo before we realized it; in one Solo, the PC's goal was to convince Dr. Kincaid to arrange a fake appointment with the Bounty (who was blackmailing the Dr.) so that we could be there to apprehend him (and make the Dr.'s troubles go away). The roleplay went so smoothly that we had made the agreement before we remembered that we needed to make a dice roll to end the Solo! :D

Both of these are great ways to play, but the first makes for a tighter game where the Solo is in charge of the narrative, with the Follow only issuing challenges (introducing obstacles) when an opportunity is presented.

My Conclusion: In the end, after 5 hours where we rushed The Head Out and The Tag as it was getting very late, I think that having the Follow's duties include roleplaying of NPCs detracted from the game. We saw a lot of Follow vs Solo being played out, which often derailed the Solo's progress toward their stated Goal. Also, because all this amazing roleplaying was going on, we often forgot to add any other threats, obstacles or complications that didn't originate from the NPC being roleplayed.

Next time, I'm going to suggest that we strikeout the roleplay instructions and run with more of a "Tell us a story" Solo where the other players can interject with "But what about <this obstacle>? How did you proceed?", call for a roll because "it might not be that simple", or just ask questions and offer ideas.

Aside: we also interjected some roleplay scenes between Solos that involved our characters sharing information and updating their plans (unless a player felt that they would have been pursuing their own objectives at the same time as another character was). These were a lot of fun for everyone as our crew got to interact with each other and showcase their personalities a bit more.

Love the side scenes where the crew shares information! 


So, your group certainly isn't playing the game "incorrectly" or anything. If they prefer a lot of roleplaying, that's a perfectly fine!

But it does seem like the Lead in that case was not really "Leading," they were letting the Follow take control of the scene and more reacting. During a Solo, the spotlight is on the Lead, so they have ultimate control of the narrative. The Follow is a supportive role; if the Follow is spending too much time on one thing (RP or otherwise) and preventing the narrative from moving forward, then that sounds like they're stealing the spotlight (which gets a thumbs-down from me).

The third-person/first-person thing is not a huge distinction for me. For instance: "FOLLOW, interrupting: The receptionist asks to see your appointment card and then hands over a tablet and tells you that you will have to fill in the NDA before you can be escorted in to see DR. Kincaid..." is still roleplaying, because they're controlling the NPC.


Regarding the situation where a scene wraps up without a roll, that happened in a playtest once as well. There are a couple of ways you can play that.

The first is to treat it as an automatic 7-9, and figure out what the cost or limitation is. For instance, in your Dr. Kincaid example, maybe he agrees to make the appointment, but only under the condition that you destroy the information/item being used to blackmail him, or you give him a share of the reward money, or something like that.

The second is to roll after the fact, and decide how to interpret the outcome of the dice sort of "off-screen." Let's say you do that and roll a 6-; maybe Dr. Kincaid is in cahoots with the bounty, or he decides to double-cross you for the money, or he just runs away and leaves your crew holding the bag, or he plain screws the whole thing up accidentally and your crew has to pick up the pieces.

Oh, I don't think any of us were intending to steal the spotlight, it's just too easy to get carried away when you're acting out a role. :D And it's easy for the Lead to forget that they're supposed to be controlling the spotlight when they're too focused on acting out their PC - there's a lot of "default" RPG-behaviour to overcome from all those other games.  ;)


Those are both excellent options! I'll add them to my growing list of play aids. :)

We ended up ret-conning the conversation - rewinding it to a point where it made sense to make the roll to see if the Dr. would give up a Bonus, or ask for an additional Cost (the result was a solid 6, so the PC ended up making promises that he couldn't keep in the end, so now he's got an additional Trouble for the next session).

In the TAG section, are we supposed to play out the hand-over scene before getting into each character's individual after-scene, or is that skipped over as off-screen action?

It depends on what happened in the Moment of Truth. I didn’t make it a required scene because sometimes you don’t get the bounty.

If there’s some narrative juice there, like the person you’re handing the bounty over to is a character with a connection to a PC, then that player will do it as part of their Tag scene. If it’s not interesting or important, though, we can just have it happen off-screen.

"sometimes you don't get the bounty" :O

True. I'd enjoy playing out the scene where you tell your "boss" what happened though.  :D

Either way, I can see the "reporting to the boss" scene as an opportunity to add Campaign-level narrative. Did we see something we shouldn't have? Do the boss' employees look nervous about something? Have they got a "special" mission for us?

I'll add it to my Toolbox of Options for SBB. :)

Are Injuries and Conditions supposed to be interchangeable? As in, If you take a Condition in the Solo, and then choose to take an Injury in the Head Out, are you still Taken out for the Moment of Truth? Are these basically the same thing?


We’ve been playing them as basically the same thing. For some characters, injuries are less likely just because of the types of actions they attempt. A hacker, for instance, might get their mnemonic implant fried, preventing them from entering the neural net. An operator’s “condition” might be getting taken hostage. Just do whatever feels right for your group.

I have a question about HOLD. I've only been playing with small groups so far (3 players, total), but I've noticed that it's quite possible for a group of 6 players (the maximum suggested for this game) to have +12 Hold for the Moment of Truth. Is that a bit over-powered?

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It's possible, but highly unlikely bc you'd have succeed on every roll. The math works out so that you're most likely to *gain* HOLD during the Solos and *spend* HOLD during the Build-Ups, and since everyone gets one of each they tend to cancel one another out the more rolls (e.g., with more players or across multiple sessions).

It can happen, though. But you'll still only get the 12+ result on the Moment of Truth anyway, so it doesn't break anything long-term.

Another option is to make double-sixes automatic successes and double-ones automatic failures no matter what HOLD you have. But I generally don't play with that rule because it can make it feel like all the HOLD stuff you went through during the session simply didn't matter.

I guess I'm slightly concerned about experienced players ;) In their Solos, if they managed to get bonuses for their Trait, Edge, and Style for a total of +3, then they're getting +1 Hold on a die roll of 4 or higher. And in the Head Out, they would get that +1 Hold on a 7 or higher.

It sounds too easy to get a lot of Hold for a bigger group, but since I haven't played with a group that big yet, I don't know how it actually feels at the table.

And yeah, I don't like that double-6's/1's idea either. :)

I’m going to playtest an alternate Moment of Truth mechanic, where you essentially have a dice pool instead of a mod. The pro is that the math probably works out a little bit better, but I’m wary about introducing a new mechanic at the very end. We’ll see how it plays.

I look forward to seeing what you've come up with.

I have a question about the Injury mechanics; I haven't seen them add much to in-session play so far - are the bits about being taken out of the action on pages 12, 15 and 19 really necessary? They just seem like a threat to remove PC agency from the end of the game. As it is, I think the HOLD mechanic provides plenty of tension as we get to the Moment of Truth in the game.

That said, I really like how Injuries (and Scars) have some nice bite for campaign play though.

Afterthought: I wonder if giving players an additional campaign-level mechanic to ameliorate Scars would be fun (maybe by having them take additional Troubles)?

I've changed the text to better align with the way we've been playing it.

The way it's supposed to work is that you really shouldn't be Taken Out during a Solo. There's no, like, rule against it or anything, but it's much, much more likely that you'll be Taken Out during the Build-Up, and usually as a result of choosing to bump up your roll.

For example, in a playtest a PC jumped through a window to knock the gun out of the bounty's hand. This was in the Head Out during their Build-Up, and they'd already taken an injury during their Solo. So they ended up Taken Out and on the floor with glass sticking out of them for the Moment of Truth. It just made sense that the maneuver had really cost them something.

Oh, wow - I totally missed that Injury wasn't in the actual Head-Out results table anymore but, instead,  that it's a result of a choice that players can make. :D Nice!

For the Moment of Truth - is it meant to have only one player narrate the take down, or should everyone get a say before the roll?


RAW, the person “closest” (whatever that means in context) to the bounty has narrative control, so they can choose whatever makes the most sense.

In practice, though, the most satisfying outcome is usually fairly obvious and we just talk it out at the table. Sometimes the whole crew works together, but sometimes the bounty has, like, a personal connection to one of the hunters.

Another excellent time was had by all, but one thing I noticed during play is that players were flipping back and forth between pages 7 and 12 whenever they were trying to figure out which Trait applied to a roll. I think the issue there is that the language is a little bit different when comparing one section to another.

And then Traits are only mentioned in the HEAD section (Describe your character’s attempt and roll 2D6 +TRAIT, plus your EDGE BONUS and STYLE BONUS), so players would then go back to flipping between pages 7 and 12 to confirm the definitions.

Maybe the information on page 12 should be folded into pages 6 and 7? The SOLO and HEAD sections could then use the same formula set up, and if you can fit the instructions for the STYE BONUS onto page 6 somehow, then everything that might get added to a roll is on one page.

Afterthought: Should a character's TROUBLE be treated as a -1 if it's an issue during a roll?

Hmmm... What do you feel is different about the descriptions of the Traits on pp. 7 and 12? They should cover the same situations and uses.

I'm working on the one-page player aid today, which has a character sheet and the descriptions of the Traits, so that will hopefully remove the need to flip around so much.

Regarding the Trouble, I wouldn't give a penalty for it coming into play (it might disincentivize bringing them into the fiction). In fact, it's more likely for a PC to get a bonus for it, as it can trigger a Flashback. In other words, you're incentivized to complicate your character's Solo with backstory.

The Traits seem more <specific> on page 7, more <defined>;

HARD is used to...
- Harm with fist, foot, or weapon
- Resist force or fatigue
- Threaten with violence

SHARP is used to...
- Read a person or a situation
- Notice an important detail or potential clue
- Reason with someone or through a problem

SMOOTH is used to...
- Avoid harm or detection
- Manipulate with charm or dextrous coordination
- Maneuver a vehicle or around obstacles

Page 12 seems more <generic> while at the same time not covering quite the same ground as page 7;

- If they use force or threats, they roll +HARD
- If they use perception or intelligence, they roll +SHARP
- If they use charm or dexterity, they roll +SMOOTH

I think this became noticeable when my group was focused on making very obvious Social Threats in our games (along the lines of, "I will go to the IRS and show them the proof of your real earnings - they will be up in your business, auditing you so fast, your head will spin");

If we're only looking at page 12, that's not really what we think of as charm, so it's not SMOOTH, right?

But does that mean it falls under HARD? Seems like it, from the description of HARD on page 12.

But, according to page 7, HARM is all about the physical and violence, right? So, that's not right either.

But page 7 does include "manipulate" as part of SMOOTH, so yes, we're back to using SMOOTH for the roll.

Hmm...maybe just a tweak to the wording on page 12, though?

- If they use violence, physical force, or physical threats, they roll +HARD
- If they use perception or intelligence reasoning, they roll +SHARP
- If they use social interaction to charm, threaten, or manipulate, they roll +SMOOTH.
- If they use fine physical skills to avoid, manipulate or maneuver, they roll +SMOOTH.

It's a bit nitpicky, I realize, but deciding on a Trait was the roughest part of the game so far - specially with players used to games with huge skill lists (D&D, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, Fate, and so on).

But I guess the more important thing is that the Traits are defined in detail on Page 7 during Character Creation, mentioned in slightly different detail on Page 12 for the Solo roll, and then only referred to on page 15 for the Build-Up roll.

I feel like there's consistency missing there, and instead of adding more text to page 15, I think it would be better to have Page 12 refer to Traits in the same fashion as page 15 while having them completely defined on page 7. This way, players only have one page to go looking for when we can't quite remember what the Traits cover.

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I would still say that threatening someone with turning them in would be +Hard. “Do this or else something I’ll make something bad happen to you” has the finesse of a sledgehammer.

The Traits are more like Approaches in Fate, as opposed to abilities in D&D. Hard can be social, emotional, or physical. You can even be a +Hard hacker, who uses brute force tactics to break through firewalls and password protections.

ETA: It's also totally fine to play a little loose with the Traits. If someone has a good argument for why they want to use +Smooth instead of +Sharp for a particular action, I say let them. It won't hurt anybody.

Ah! Yes, I do like FAE's Approaches approach. I hadn't considered that SBB's Traits were to be handled that way; they don't read that way to me. Now I'm thinking that the descriptors and examples in the SBB rules are TOO specific. :)

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Page 16, first sentence: "In the Moment of Truth, you launches" should be "In the Moment of Truth, your group launches"?

Page 16, second last sentence: "then throws to spotlight to someone" should be "then throws the spotlight to someone"?

Page 16. last sentence reads: "Once you’ve checked in on every crewmember, move on to the HEAD." Are we meant to loop back to the beginning here, or should this reference the end-of-session page that comes next (Stars & Wishes)?

Thank you! These typos have been fixed in the newest version.

Found one more:

There's a typo on page 7: "Dextrous" should be "Dexterous"


Awesome stuff! I'm looking forward to trying out the latest version with my groups.

I really like the changes to the HEAD section! Could you add some sub-headings to highlight the different parts there (Pick a Head, Declare Details)? That paragraph about having each player establish a fact about the Head could use more emphasis; I think that's going to have a huge impact on both the narrative and the game as it's played.

Sub-headings added!

I'm not sure about the changes to the SOLO section; it reads like the game becomes a one-on-one GM'd game during a player's solo, instead of a distributed GM game.

One of the issues I see here is that some players might refuse the Follow role, leaving it in the hands of a single player each time, even if that player doesn't really want to become the unofficial Bandleader.

Also, I can see the Backing Band players just sitting back and watching, instead of interacting with the Solo and Follow.

Combining the Follow and Backing Band roles into one role might work better to keep everyone interacting with the narrative.

Finally, I think the note at the end of the chapter about rolling more than once during a solo would be more useful in the Tension section, indicating that rolls can happen, but to ignore the +Hold options (if that's the intent).

Have I mentioned that I really like this game? :)

So I created the Follow role because in recent playtests I found that designating a specific person to really focus up and play off of the Lead sort of gave them "permission" to make bigger, more interesting choices. I don't think tables where everyone already knows one another have a problem with that, but when you have strangers playing together, you get some awkward silences because no one wants to step on any toes. Or you get the opposite, where one person sort of dominates the whole session.

*That being said*, I really like your idea of combining the Follow and Backing Band for tables that want it to be a little more freeform, so I added it in as an alternate option!

As for where to put the note about rolling, I went back and forth on it :/ I even tried making it an inset, but it just interrupted the flow in a weird way, and in the end I put it at the end because it really is less of a rule than a soft guidance. Of course, I'll probably change my mind again. Such is life.

I guess it's not entirely a GM-Less game anymore, more like a Distributed-GM or GM-Optional one. :)

The Bandleader optional rules are brilliant! Kudos for hardwiring that into the rules! Such a simple idea that makes the game even more accessible to players of traditional GM-led games. I can see myself introducing SBB to new players this way at conventions especially.

Just played this today - and it was great! Everyone had fun, and we all agreed that it really felt like an extended episode of a certain anime.  Our characters infiltrated a hospital, stole a tranquilizer machinegun, crashed a shopping cart, and finally cornered our bounty in a run-down aquarium - only to see them eaten by a shark.  But we did stock up on bean dip!

As for questions and areas that could be tightened up:

* I think the game could use a character sheet - I made one up in Google Sheets, but then kept realizing that I had left something out, and had to edit it.  Maybe it could be combined with the player aid you are working on?

* Injuries/Conditions are introduced in sort of a piecemeal fashion.  You don't learn for a few pages after they are first mentioned what they mechanically do - take you halfway to being knocked out.  In part because of that, partly because I misread the rules, we didn't do much with them - usually we would add some sort of narrative twist or complication to the character's success (i.e. you get through the door BUT now the guards are on high alert).  And since we would do 2 or 3 rolls in each of our solos, there is the possibility that someone could have taken two injuries before we got to the Headout - what would happen then?

* I could see a slightly different player group struggling to find the flow of collaborative narration early on - maybe a slightly more structured opening, that holds the players' hands through introducing story elements and complications for each other, would be useful?

Again, great game, 5/5 would complain about having to eat vegetables again.  Thank you for making it!

Also if you are still doing promotional sketches, I would love to have you sketch my bounty hunter!  His name is BRADBURY 'SHARKTOOTH' PYLE, he is a COOL OPERATOR with BLUE CYBER EYES, and he is a FUGITIVE from the corporation that raised him.

Thank you for the feedback! Character sketch of SHARKTOOTH is incoming!

I think the version I uploaded today addresses a lot of your points above, please let me know if it helps.

As for the injuries/conditions, you played it exactly right with the "narrative" cost--they don't have to be physical injuries. You might owe someone a favor, or alert the guards, or trash your ship or whatever. All perfectly troperific.

Regarding the character sheet, there is now a character keeper that will continue to be updated, and there will be a section on the player aid as well.

Here’s “Sharktooth”! Thanks for taking me up on the art offer!

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Making this my sig pronto! :)

OMG can't wait to try it, this is so amazing.
I'll update for a feedback ;)

Thank you! Can't wait to hear how it goes.

This looks most excellent, and I can't wait to bring this to my gaming groups this week.

I'm wondering about the transition from Solo to Head Out, though - specifically the "determine how much HOLD your crew has over their bounty." section; it seems a bit too hand wavy (and a bit of a stumbling block) when compared to the rest of the game. Would a points bucket filled and emptied from the Solo's 10+ and 6- results be appropriate? Then if it's positive, that's +1 Hold, negative is -1 Hold, and zero is +0 Hold?

I think that would work, although I might center the starting Hold in Head Out to +0, +1, +2? If you try it, please let me know how it goes and I’ll add it as an optional rule for the next version (I’ll give you credit of course)

Cool! I'll get my groups to play it RAW first, of course, but here's what I'm prepared to test if needed;

{Added to SOLO section}
When you are ready to determine the success of your character's contribution to the investigation, describe how you handle that and roll 2D6+TRAIT:
If you use _force or threats_, roll +HARD
If you use _perception or intelligence_, roll +SHARP
If you use _charm or dexterity_, roll +SMOOTH
EDGE BONUS: If your EDGE applies, you get +1 to your roll.
STYLE BONUS: If your description is particularly clever, stylish, or detailed
you get another +1.

On a 12+, you succeed with a bonus. Take +2 PREP for the group.
On a 10-11, you succeed flat out. Take +1 PREP for the group.
On a 7-9, you succeed with a significant limitation or cost (usually an injury or condition). Take +0 PREP group.
On a 6-, things go from bad to worse; describe what happens. Take -1 PREP for the group.

{Modification to the HEAD OUT section}
Decide as a group where the showdown should occur, the determine how much HOLD your crew has over their bounty. HOLD represents your whole crew's ability, as a group, to corner, capture or control your bounty:
- If your group's accumulated PREP is > 0, take +1 HOLD for the group.
- If your group's accumulated PREP is = 0, take +0 HOLD for the group.
- If your group's accumulated PREP is < 0, take -1 HOLD for the group.

If, during the HEAD OUT, your crew introduces a _cool twist_ or _ties the mission back into the background of any number of characters_, your group gets +1 HOLD.

Thanks again for a really well put together game!

Hi Rob!

I played SBB RAW with my group last night and we had a blast! Thanks for a great game!

Some things we noticed;

1) Regarding Flash Points - is the intention to risk having a worse outcome on the re-roll? One player rolled 2d6+3=11 on their Build-Up roll and was considering using a Flash Point in hopes of up-ing the result to a 12+ to avoid the cost, but we realized that they were much more likely to end up with a worse result, so that FP was never spent.

2) On the dice result tables, is the intent to have the "with a significant limitation or cost" text apply to each lower result as well? That's how we played it in the later stages of the session, because it made the tables make more sense for us.

As far as my previous comment, there were only 3 of us playing, so it wasn't too difficult to decide how much Hold we had in THE HEAD OUT, but we did still keep track of our Solo dice results to make that decision easier (7, 8, and 10, so we went with "just okay" and Hold +0). I'd like to hear what other people experience here, though.

We've decided to make a campaign of it, too, so thanks again! 

Awesome, admutt! Thank you for the feedback, it really helps. To answer your questions:
1) The intention was that you would use a Flash Point when you rolled a 6-; there's not much benefit to using it on an 11. That being said, I'm thinking about amending the use of Flash Points so that (a) you can give them to other people (so they can, for instance, re-roll a 6-) and/or (b) you can spend them after you roll to increase your result by +1.

2) The intent is that things just go terrible for you on a 6-; sometimes the failure is a big enough cost in itself, but other times it makes sense to also include an additional cost--either because it makes sense in the narrative or you just rolled *really* crappy. I'll make this more explicit in the next version.

3) I'm glad it worked out. I'm currently rewriting that section based on your previous feedback to be more explicit. In the next version, you start the session with 1 Hold and track changes to it throughout, so you don't have to stop the action at the beginning of the Head Out.

Can't wait to hear how the campaign play goes!

PS: tell me about your bounty hunter so I can draw them!

Just a quick thought on the FLASH POINT expenditure - my group was thinking of requiring an FP to be spent *before* the roll to modify the dice roll to 3d6, keep the two highest. This would remove the uncertainty of a re-roll, but keep the roll exciting!

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The only problem with a "roll 3, keep 2" advantage mechanic here is such a valuable benefit that it breaks the math, especially considering a player only rolls dice a few times per session.

I playtested the new rule that lets you spend a Flash Point to increase your result by +1, and it seems to work.

But if you try the advantage mechanic, let me know how it feels.

I've never seen a GM-less system before. Is there anywhere I could watch a session of this or something similar so I can get the vibe of how it works? I'm also down to join a group for playtesting if anyone's looking.

Totally get that, it took me a while to wrap my brain around GM-less! I’m planning to record a play-through of Space Bounty Blues this week, but in the meantime you could check out this series on GM-less games: https://gameswithoutmaster.blogspot.com/

Fiasco is probably the best one to watch played—it somewhat fits SBB tonally and structurally, and there are some really entertaining sessions on YouTube!

The writing and layout give off the right vibes.  The rules look to be just enough to work with without getting in the way.
I can't wait to pull up the playlist and play this game.
Can we get the pages separated for home booklet printing?

Absolutely! I will post an update to the devlog when that version goes live.

Well done ! Your Space Bounty Blues is already very cool. Hope I can play it quickly

Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!

Gorgeous design and layout, an interesting spin on story structure, a great adaptation of the setting and excellent writing make this a great read for anyone interested in role-playing games. Looking forward to my first playtest.

Thank you for the kind words! Please let me know how it goes :)

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This looks so dang cool

Thanks, Ian!


This is great, and the look is just gorgeous!

Thank you for the kind words!


This looks amazing. I can't wait to play it!

Please let me know how it goes!


This is amazing

You’re amazing, Christopher Grey, creator of Great American Witch ;)