Kepler Run Rules

a game by Orion McClelland


It is the dawn of interstellar travel for man. New technologies have been developed which allow interstellar star pilots to over come challenges like stellar debris, warped space, and black holes. Mass production has finally brought the costs of these technological marvels down enough to be accessible to the private sector, and like any good space civilization you capitalize on the opportunity.

In Kepler Run you play an independent space runner attempting to win the most contracts while being the first to reach the new Kepler system while improving your ship and collecting resources along the way.



Kepler Run is a drafting game played in a series of 3 rounds. After 3 rounds, the player with the most points wins. On your turn, you will gain points charting new star systems, complete deliveries, collect resources, and upgrade your ship to be the first to reach Kepler. After 3 rounds, the player with the most victory points (VPs) wins.




Anatomy of a Card

card anatomy.jpg


  1. Shuffle the game cards. Place them to the side of the play area.

  2. Place the Port card and Kepler card in the center of the play area. Deal 2 of the game cards between Kepler and Port, face up. These cards are called the Kepler Run.

  3. Give each player 1 of each of the 3 contract cards, a ship card, and a booster card. Contracts are held in a hand, while the ship and booster are placed on the table as shown.

  4. Give each player all pieces matching their ship color, and 4 modules. Place the modules on the ship card in the boxes (the ship’s hold).

First player

The last player to have visited space goes first. In the event that no one at your table has been to space, then the last person to have received a delivery goes first. The first player should place their player pawn at the top of the Kepler card with all other players lining up their pawns in clockwise order. This is the starting turn order.


How to play

Kepler Run is played in three rounds. Each round has four phases: drafting, flying, scoring and cleanup.

Draft Phase

The draft phase is where you discover new sectors, improve your ship, and take special actions.

To begin the draft, deal 2 cards per player, face up, to the middle of the play area, plus 1 additional card.
(In a 2 player game deal a total of 7 cards.)

You will draft these cards in turn order, starting with the first player. Once all players have chosen 1 card: Draft again, beginning with the last player, now in reverse order. By the end, you will have chosen 2 cards.
(In a 2 player game, draft proceeds from the first player an additional time, resulting in both players selecting 3 cards.)

To draft a card, you will pick a card, and use it for one of the following actions:

  • Discover a sector

  • Gain a ship part

  • Gain a module

  • Play a special action

Discover a sector:

Place your card in the Kepler Run immediately before the Kepler card. Gain 1 VP.

Gain a ship part:

Discard a module for each wrench icon on the card. You must be able to discard the correct number of modules to take this action. (Ship parts have a green or yellow background.)

Place your card under your ship with the icon on the right. It can now be used during the flying phase. (see Activating A Ship Part)

Gain a module:

Discard your card, and place a module cube on your ship. You cannot play this action if you have no open spaces in your ship’s hold.

Play a special action:

There are three special actions. Perform the action indicated on the card, then place the card (gray side up) to the left of your ship as a Delivery.


Ending the Draft:

After all players have chosen 2 cards (3 in a 2 player game), you will add the last card to the end of the Kepler Run, before the Kepler card.


Flying Phase

In the flying phase, you all will take turns traversing the run, from Port to Kepler, using fuel and ship parts to move.

First, you will all select a contract secretly. Place your selected contract face-down in front of yourself. This contract will gain you fuel or VP’s as you pass sectors matching it’s icon.

Next, you will all fly your ships in turn order.

Preparing for Take off

Collect 1 fuel token for each module on your ship. Place them on the back of your selected contract (marked Fuel). Optionally, you may also move fuel tokens from your ship’s hold onto the contract. Fuel on your contract is in your “Fuel Tank” and may be used during the run. Fuel in your ship’s hold will not be used this run.


You move through sectors from the Port card to the Kepler card.

In turn order, move your pawn from port to the first sector card to begin your flight. You will continue to move through sectors until you can not or do not wish to keep moving.

You will fully complete your flight before proceeding to the next player.

Once every player has completed their flight, you will proceed to the scoring phase.


moving through Sectors

To move through a sector, you must pay the fuel cost at the top of the sector card you are currently on, then place your pawn on the next sector card.

Instead of paying the sector cost; you may use ship parts to move through the sector.

Your ship has a built in ship part. You may always move through a sector of that type at no cost.

Some ship parts show a sector icon, these are called engines. Engines may be activated to move through a sector matching the shown icon. (see Activating A Ship Part below)

Some ship parts have a special ability. These can be activated regardless of what sector type you are in. (see Ship Part Cards below)

Players can only spend fuel that was moved onto their Fuel Tank during preparation for take off. Spent fuel must be discarded to the common supply.

When entering a sector with one of your space station tokens on it, gain 2 fuel and place it onto your fuel tank.


Sector Types

The sectors that you will encounter during your flight may apply bonuses or penalties as you move through them. When entering a sector, apply the following rules, according to type.


Activating a ship part

To activate a ship part you must pay fuel equal to the number of dots found below the part’s icon (between 0 - 2), then resolve the effect of the part activated.

If you can not spend all the required fuel to activate the ship part, then the part may not be activated.

Once a part is activated, slide it to the right to indicate that it has been used. It may not be activated again this run.

Once scoring is complete for the round, you may reset all of your ship parts to their starting positions.


Ship Part Cards



Deliveries are action cards that you have used on previous turns. After a special action card is used, it should be placed to the left of your ship, gray side up.

When you enter a sector of the same type as indicated on the delivery card, gain 1 VP and activate the card (nudging it upward) to indicate that you have made the delivery and cannot make it again until next turn.

You may not make more than one delivery in a single sector. You must enter a different sector of the matching type in order to make the second delivery.


Sector resources

Some sectors will have icons on them indicating the presence of Asteroids, Comets, and Salvage. These icons will provide you a benefit during scoring, depending on your contract.


space stations

When you end your run on a sector with a visible Space Station icon, you may place one of your colored disks on to the sector card, covering the station icon. You have established a space station there!

Space Stations gain you 2 fuel into your Fuel Tank when entering a sector with a station of your color.


Scoring Phase

You will all begin scoring by revealing your contract card.

To complete a contract, you must have reached the Kepler Card during your run, or gotten the closest to Kepler.

In the event of a tie, the player with the most fuel remaining in their Fuel Tank wins the contract. If there is still a tie, the player earliest in the turn order wins.

If you complete a contract, gain VP as indicated on the lower-left hand corner of the card (featuring the winner’s ribbon).

All other players instead receive secondary prize on the lower right corner. Secondary prizes are (as indicated on the card) either:

  • 3 fuel added to your ship’s hold.

  • 1 module added to your ship’s hold.

  • 1 Space Station placed on any sector you’ve entered this run, where you do not have a space station currently placed.
    You do not cover any Space Station icons that may happen to be in that sector.

Finally, all players gain either 1 VP or 1 Fuel (to your ship’s hold) per resource they crossed during the run matching their contract’s icon. A resource is considered crossed if it is on the sector the player currently occupies, or a sector the player moved through during the run.

Remember, the Kepler Card features one of each resource.

You will all place your chosen contract to the side (face up for other players to see). You may not use this contract again for the rest of the game. This means that you will end up playing all 3 of your contracts, so choose carefully.


Cleanup Phase

Turn order for the next round is determined by closeness to the Kepler card. Place your pawns on the Port card starting with the player that won their contract then proceeding by the next closest player to Kepler. In case of a tie, the player with the most remaining fuel in their Fuel Tank is next followed by turn order in the previous round.

Any ship parts and deliveries are now ready to be used on the following turn; reset them back to their inactivated position.

Discard all remaining fuel from your Fuel Tank.


Final Scoring

Once 3 rounds are over, you will calculate your final score.

You gain 2 VP for each Space Station you have on the Kepler Run. The player with the Space Station closest to Kepler gains a bonus 3 VP. In case of a tie, all players gain 3 VPs.

The player with the most VPs wins!

In case of a tie, most remaining fuel wins.

In case of further ties, you become bitter rivals for all eternity. Or bask in a glorious shared victory.



Game Design Orion McClelland
Graphic Design Orion McClelland
Publishing Orion McClelland
Rules Copy Zintis May and Orion McClelland
Video Production Orion McClelland
Software Engineering and Infrastructure Orion McClelland