Tuesday, April 19, 2022

"BUYER BEWARE: So this book is so big it pushes the limits of what the printing company can handle"

Apollo 47 Technical Handbook:
In a somewhat alternate Earth in a rather different 1987 you will explore the Moon on the 47th Apollo Mission!  The Moon!  Where forty-six other moon missions have gone before.  Forty-six.  That's an awful lot of successful Moon missions.  

And that's the point:  Apollo 47 imagines a future where walking the surface of the Moon is a little bit boring.  You engage in workaday astronaut activities using a simple improvisatory rules set to play in a quiet world of technobabble and the slow progression of science.  If something exciting happens please stop play immediately and go do something else–you are in the wrong game.

This zero-prep game of improvisatory radio chatter can be played through just about any communications medium for any length of time.  Five minutes to spare?  Spend it recalibrating a JLDO unit that's gone out of alignment.  Tighten the tamping line using the three baseline screws.  The blue screen torques the focus to the left, the green screw adjusts the dust pan height.  You should have a yellow-handled size 20 tamping gun and a slot puller in your work bag.  Got them?  Okay, so next...

One astronaut is supported by a team of voices on the radio.  Work, banter, and cause gentle problems for each other.  

I... I just can't explain this game any better than that.

What you get:

You are buying a twelve-hundred page book.  It's 8.5x11 and over seven pounds.  It's just stupid big.  The books pages are distributed roughly this way:

1 page contains the game

9 pages contain advice on how to play the game

13 pages contain useful prompts for operating the game

1177 pages are reproductions of NASA manuals and papers related to the Apollo missions which can, if you need it, provide prompts to spur you on.  Spoiler:  I never use the prompt pages and don't really expect you to do so.  They just aren't necessary for play.

This book is a tremendous folly.  It's ludicrous and bloated and couldn't make me happier.  If you aren't joining me in hearty guffaws at something this THIS then stick with the PDF.  You'll be fine.