The Orion Cygnus Arm

The Orion-Cygnus Arm is a sandbox game of space exploration and piracy set in the not-too-distant future of our own little section of the Milky Way galaxy, the spiral arm we call the Orion-Cygnus Arm.

Play it now on screentop.gg!

You’re a space jockey, your freighter pilot contract is up, and you’re free to trade goods and are also available for hire by any or all of “the Big 3” corporations handing out contracts for exploring and exploiting the nearby galaxy, or you can take on jobs for the government.  But, be careful who you work for and what you do for them, as the corporations are always warring with each other and success with one can make you a mark with another.  Oh, and any time you’re carrying goods or important people, you’re a mark for the many pirates around the galaxy as well.  As you push deeper into space, you’ll bump up against aliens and mysteries of the unknown, and discover that your actions can have lasting impact on the galaxy.

The Orion-Cygnus Arm is a sandbox style of game with the space exploration feel of Eclipse, the space faring feel of Xia, the pirating spirit of Merchants & Marauders, the captain and crew relationships of Firefly, and the character driven narratives of Star Wars Outer Rim.  But, it’s not just a combination of those games, as I’ve challenged myself to find the fun heart of the game and added several unique elements to OCA such as space exploration, permanent galactic events driven by the successes and failures of the players in completing certain missions, and the element of cooperation as the players have to occasionally join together to fight off galactic threats.

The goal of the game is gain the most Prestige for your pilot.  You will do this by completing missions, exploring space, delivering big payloads of merchandise, and winning fights against other ships.  Build up your ship, hire a crew, and develop your skills to help you take on greater risks and earn greater rewards.  Discover ancient alien technologies that give you the advantage.  Will you search to unravel the mysteries of the history of our galaxy, even if they take you away from your life of trading and piracy?

  • I first laid out my thoughts for such a game in this blog post.
  • Then I further laid out the vision of space exploration, a key element of the game, in this post.

Sound fun?  Hit us up to demo it on screentop.

This game has been in development for many years, but for the first time we can discuss 2024 as a potential Kickstarter launch.  There will be stretch goals galore, as I can only provide a tiny little “MVP” version of the game as I’m envisioning it — using the above example, I can only manage purple and blue space, and even that is hundreds of cards just to bring the bare bones to life.  We can do a lot more within purple and blue, let alone the ideas I have for green, yellow and red space above, but we’re already at 91 tiles and hundreds of playing cards just to get this ship off the ground.

As of right now the game includes the following elements:

  • Deep, dynamic space exploration:
    • All depictions of star systems are based on the latest science.  Look below and get a fairly accurate picture of the closes star systems to our own (though they are not laid out with any true geography in mind — Struve I and Luyten I might be in the same direction for all I know, but here they are in opposite directions in this game).
    • There are 91 tiles in the base game with a vision of 331 total.  The middle tile is Sol, our solar system.  The 19 purple tiles (with 3 bright spots and a central blue spot) in the middle are referred to as “Settled Space” and they are the same every game.  Beyond Settled Space is New Space, which will have a unique arrangement of tiles every game.
    • Further, the tiles themselves have randomly selected ownership — some might be part of Atarax Corporation, others Columbia Corporation, others still will be settled by the mysterious Amorphite or Hexapod species.

  • Dynamic space:  Using the system from Firefly the Game, you draw a space card for every space you move.  This deck of 105 cards reveals threats, opportunities, and sometimes galaxy-wide events.
  • Government centers full of missions, trade centers full of goods at various prices, and cantinas full of opportunities and threats.
  • Highly customizable ship-building system:  Your ship is essentially a “shell” that you can fill up with guns, armor, crew quarters, cargo holds and more.

  • Unique combat system:  Battle it out with your opponent on a mini hex map.  Ships can even be built for grappling and boarding instead of straight fighting.  If you can’t outgun them, try to out-maneuver them!

  • Alien races, ancient mysteries and more.

What would you want to see from a game like this?  Let us know in the comments.

2 comments

  1. Phil says:

    Just found this page. I’ve been working on a game that looks almost the exact same! I have my prototype of 91 hexes, and a separate mini hex map (although I use mine for a different purpose that you do). I’ll give your game a whirl. If it scratches the itch that made me start designing mine, I’ll just stick with yours 🙂

    • roman says:

      Hey Phil! Thanks for your interest. Yes, I am working on it. You can see the prototype on screentop.gg. Still has a long way to go, so if you’ve got the ideas, go for it and maybe we’ll publish yours! Or, maybe we can collaborate because there’s so much that needs to be done. The map wasn’t that hard and the ships are looking interesting. Now it’s about giving the different sectors of the galaxy their own unique feel, and about adding some mysteries to be solved as you explore deep space.

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