Jim’s Blog – Five Parsecs From Home

Five Parsecs From Home

My daughter was born recently, which is why I took a break from posting blogs. I’m still working on my Accessible Mega-Dungeon with a focus on roleplay each day, but I want to share something I’ve been doing in my free time while stuck at home without much hobbying.

I have been playing Five Parsecs From Home (FPFH), a solo skirmish game with some roleplaying elements. What makes FPFH noteworthy is that its latest addition features combat rules designed specifically for theater of the mind combat. This update now makes the game’s combat accessible to visually impaired players.

Over the next few blog posts I will provide an account of my first two campaign turns in FPFH. This initial blog post will give you an overview of the game and in my final blog I’ll make a review of my thoughts.

Adventure Skirmish Game

FPFH sees you building a small party of characters to pursue adventures in space. The setting is malleable enough that it can work with whichever science fiction setting takes your fancy, but the general vibe of FPFH is Star Wars outer rim, mixed with Firefly and Mass Effect.

Most of the narrative excitement in FPFH is drawn from you creating backstories for each character during their creation and then rolling on various random tables for narrative outcomes during each campaign turn. Over the course of the game you find yourself creating the narratives in your mind as things progress and this creativity is by far the most enjoyable part of the experience. Gain rivals, trade, gather information, find a new patron, figure out your next job; twists and turns can happen each time you roll, limited only by your imagination.

Most campaign turns end with your party going on a job. These jobs can include searching a derelict ship, escorting a diplomat through mega-city slums or killing alien creatures in the desert and much more. Combat is typically a component of any job yo take on.

No-Minis Combat Resolution

As someone who began playing tabletop skirmish games like Gorkamorka and Mordheim when I was 9 years old, it was a hard pill to swallow when I couldn’t really do that anymore. FPFH now features what it calls “No-Minis Combat Resolution” to allow folks to participate in the skirmish combat without using miniatures, and it does what it says on the tin.

There are rules, random tables and resolutions for each step of combat, where all you need is to write-down notes. I won’t go through each component of a combat encounter here, but I will say that it is simple and the dice rolls for outcomes make it feel like a hectic battle where action is happening all around your characters.

Combat is narrative, much like the tables you roll on during campaign turns for story beats. At no time have I felt combat was a weak component in playing theater of the mind, combat is another enjoyable storytelling tool that enhances your game’s narrative. The part of this game I was unsure of was playing a skirmish game alone.


The social component of tabletop games has always been the best part to me. Meeting up with folks to hang out, making friends, having a shared obsession with nerdy nonsense. I was skeptical of hopping into a solo game. FPFH has been a different experience to a traditional skirmish game, but that’s not good or bad, it’s different.

Playing solo is mostly for people who enjoy participating as the game master. I love random tables, organizing notes, creating characters and NPC’s; I love the bookkeeping of tabletop games. Playing alone affords you the time to patiently review information, make notes, reference rules and build a story within your imagination. I found playing a tabletop game alone, to be calming.

If you are someone who couldn’t care less about a character sheet, you hate taking notes and you are here solely for the social component; then solo games are likely not for you (but, you already knew that). If you enjoy time to yourself and creating fun stories; I would highly recommend trying out a solo tabletop game.

Next Blog

In my next blog I will be detailing the creation of my FPFH party. I will be sharing what decisions were made, how dice rolls effect things and how these outcomes manifested into a story for my characters.

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