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The Terran Hegemony rules the inner systems with an iron fist, and their cruisers patrol the charted star lanes.

Out in the Periphery, things are a little more... wild. On the countless worlds away from the galactic core, hard-working terraformers, shady crime lords and local bigshots carve out a living for themselves as best they can.

The gray economy of the Periphery depends on independent freighter pilots carrying cargo, smuggling contraband and doing various jobs to pay off their ships and keep flying. They are called: Free Traders!

Free Traders is an attempt to make a minimalist sci-fi RPG. It is a love letter to Wing Commander: Privateer, West End Games' Star Wars D6 in general and the Tramp Freighters sourcebook in particular, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy and doodling space ships in my notebooks in school.

Games that have inspired this design are Nathan Treme's Wander, Meguey and Vincent Baker's Apocalypse World and John Harper's games Blades in the Dark and Lasers & Feelings.

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(25 total ratings)
AuthorLari Assmuth
GenreRole Playing
Tagsbusiness-card, Minimalist, Sci-fi, Space


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Free_traders.pdf 95 kB


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Packs a real punch in such a small space! I've played many sessions, and this is the go-to quick game for my and my partner's 12yo. Each Job is like a mini session, which you can play through in 10-20 mins, depending on how much you elaborate. Perfect for playing in those awkward break times. Love it, and highly recommend!


I would like everyone to know that the 12yo and I enjoyed our adventures so much that we're making a comic about them! 7 issues, each covering a Job we ran, plus trivia and a word search in the back!

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Amazing job! It would be awesome to have a business-card official supplement to play it solo : )

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it! That's a cool idea about making a solo play supplement, I'll let it roll around in my head for a bit. :-)

(unless you want to do it, in which case: go nuts!) :-D


There's no genre I love more than space trading. I like this verry much.


I am sucker for little sci-fi games like this! You made a true gem

Thanks! Very glad you liked it!


This is an outstanding little business card game. Well done. Obviously it's hard to put a complete system on a business card (w/art!). I think the two biggest things you leave up to the gamer are a) how to work stress/damage to a character and b) what to do with ships and their tags. I would handle the former fictionally, and perhaps by taking away a die or two from rolls for major stress until it is healed/relieved.  Ships I guess I would just treat like characters and consequences are relative. (Same is true for dealing with alien monsters.) All rolls player-facing, I'm assuming. So if you (or your ship) is being chased by a giant alien (dreadnaught) you roll as normal (no dice penalties for being outclassed). Since you are being chased and (let's assume) your goal is to get away, a character would roll maneuver, and a ship would roll dice for "sleek" and "nimble" and "fast." On a loss the consequences would be worse because it's a large alien/dreadnaught rather than a voracious squirrel or alien scout boat. How far off is that from how you would play it?


Also, hav eyou printed any? I would buy a dozen copies or so to share around.


Thanks! I’m glad to hear you like it! I haven’t gotten around to printing any, and to be honest I might just do a first “print run” with a home or office printer on some slightly heavier paper.

If you have access to a printer yourself I could try to make a DIY print & cut sheet in A4 and letter paper sizes, so people can print it out themselves. That might be a more economical alternative since I’d have to ship the cards from Finland. :-)


Definitely do it. Print and play is the way to go!