Image. An astronaut wearing a street style inspired space suit reaches into a tight space between two metal panels. They are trying to grab a spanner. From the darkness, many formless red eyes stare at the viewer.

One Breath Left Plain Text

Posted by Brian Tyrrell on

This is a plain text version of the One Breath Left Kickstarter campaign, available at the following link:

Move with caution. Reveal the ship’s schematics. Investigate rooms for clues. Reclaim useful tools. Track your oxygen levels. Survive.

GIF. An explorer, dressed in a street fashion inspired space suit, peers over scattered papers and notes aboard a wire-strewn space station. Claws have scratched the nearby metal walls; what could have done this? Caption reads: "The EXPLORER investigates the WRECK."

What is One Breath Left?

You are an Explorer, attempting to determine what happened aboard a now-abandoned spaceship, known as the Wreck. As you explore, you’ll document what you find while trying to avoid a perilous fate, and count every breath you take (in case it becomes your last!)
The Explorers you play, the Contracts you undertake, and the Wrecks you explore are all customisable and interchangeable, leading to thousands of perilous adventures through the vacuum of space.
One Breath Left is a debut game from writer Ian Howard, published by Brian Tyrrell / Stout Stoat Press.
GIF. Square cards showing different rooms aboard a spaceship float together to form a map, used to play One Breath Left. The final room, labelled Escape Pod, shakes as it separates from the ship; all of the cards soar off screen, and the animation loops. Caption reads: "Place custom cards to procedurally build a unique Wreck for each playthrough. Art not final."

How do you play?

One Breath Left is played in three phases:
  • 1 - Set Up. Choose who your Explorer is by answering prompts on richly illustrated custom sheets. Decide which Contract they have undertaken, and which Wreck they are visiting.
  • 2 - Exploration. Draw cards from the Navigation deck to generate a truly random Wreck to explore. Spend Oxygen from a limited supply to investigate rooms, uncover useful tools, and advance your Contract. Be careful; as you spend Oxygen, you reveal Perilous Events that make exploration more dangerous, and eventually outright lethal.
  • 3 - Epilogue. Concluding each game by finding out if your Explorer survives, and what their life is like after their time aboard the wreck. Spend hard-won Cash and Favours to fulfil your Explorer’s Desires, and secure them a happy-ever-after (if there is such a thing in the cold depths of space).
Image. A digital mock up of a spread from One Breath Left. On the left page is a red spaceship against a white background, annotated with blocks of text and labels. The right page is a dark red, with white text and an upwards trending graph. Caption reads: "A digital mock up. Artwork not final."

What will it look like?

The design of One Breath Left is heavily inspired by late 20th century textbooks, maps and car manuals. Clean lines and large borders mesh with intricate diagrams, filled with immersive notations.

Screenshot. Sketches of pages from different books, aligned on a grid. They feature care manuals, maps, mathematical diagrams, and scientific textbooks. Caption reads: "Layout studies from Brian's sketchbook."

Interior layouts are will feature bold duotones, using bursts of bright colour to help readers easily navigate to different phases of play. Depending on support and backer numbers, we'd like to riso print and staple bind the zine for this game, evoking the feeling of old floppy-cover instruction manuals.
Screenshot. More layout design drafts. Caption reads: "Design drafts from Brian's sketchbook."

What rewards are there?

In true Zine Quest spirit, I'm keeping it simple for this campaign.
  • Digital. The game with print'n'play and Virtual Table Top (VTT, such as Roll20) ready files, including accessibility copies (such as a plain text version with image descriptions and a tagged PDF suitable for screen readers). 
  • Physical. Printed zine (A5), a deck of cards (30-50 cards, 1 to 2 inches squared), and a grey Meeple token (thumbnail sized) contained in a customised box for neat and tidy storage.
  • Deluxe. Everything from the Digital and Physical, plus a unique physical ID card with your own name and bonus rules designed by author Ian Howard, used to set up a game of One Breath Left

Estimated Shipping

All rewards will be shipped from Scotland, using Royal Mail’s services. Their prices have remained mostly consistent since mid-2021. 
  • UK. £3.00 to £5.00.
  • Europe. £7.50 to £10.00.
  • International. £8.30 to £16.60. I will try to work with a local distributor to bring these prices down.
Orders to Europe and International addresses will be sent using the cheapest possible option, and that means they may take up to six weeks to arrive, and won’t have individual tracking. These services can cost up to £30 per parcel, more than the actual game itself. (Thanks, Brexit).
Shipping will be collected via BackerKit after this campaign, aiming for some time from November to December 2022.
GIF. A view from inside the Explorer's ship, looking out at the shadow of the Wreck before it. We see glowing command consoles, flashing buttons, mechanical controls and monitors with constantly updating read outs. Caption reads: "The bridge of the EXPLORER'S ship watches the horror unfold."

Who is involved?

Like all Stout Stoat projects, One Breath Left aims to highlight new creators to TTRPG spaces. These are some of the folks we’re working with, but more will come to the project if we successfully secure funding.
  • Writer - Ian Howard. Ian is a debut game designer, stay-at-home dad and a writer/reviewer and associate editor with tabletop site Meeple Mountain (link: Outside of the game industry, he enjoys hiking, traveling, and watching hockey.
  • Editor - Vi Huntsman. Vi is a widely experienced editor, and runs Collabs Without Permission (Link:, a podcast reviewing indie RPGs and interviewing creators.
  • Designer - Brian Tyrrell. Brian is an award-nominated game designer and the founder of Stout Stoat Press (formerly Dungeons on a Dime). Alongside graphic design, he will be supporting Ian's writing and game design. Brian is known for his previous titles Scurry, Apawthecaria and Adventures on a Dime.
  • Trailer Artist - Norrie Millar.  Norrie is a freelance comics artist and illustrator based in Dundee, Scotland. He is a Rood Dood with Attitood.
GIF. The Explorer uses a metal stylus to update a tally-tracker on their arm-mounted device. The tracker is partially full. Caption reads: "The EXPLORER tracks every breath."


One Breath Left is functionally finished; the base rules are complete, the Navigation Deck is full, and a roster of Tools have been designed. With funding, we’ll be able to polish this game into a truly terrifying classic.  
  • September & October 2022. Ian will be fine tuning the game, and expanding the different ID Cards, Contracts and Wrecks you can play through. Vi will be editing all final work, ready for layout.
  • November 2022. Brian will be laying out the game, and commissioning art.
  • December 2022. Test prints are ordered for the rewards.
  • January 2023. Ordering books, beginning fulfilment for rewards.
  • February 2023. A month’s leeway time, in case of delays.
  • March & April 2023. Additional accessibility work.


This budget is a set of estimates, and contains both leeway for unexpected changes (like a sudden leap in the cost of paper), as well as compromises so that the base project can come about (such as Brian paying himself less than his standard rate for design work).
  • Printing (Books, Deck, Meeple and Box) - £2,300
  • Writing - £1,400
  • Design - £500
  • Editing - £360
  • Artwork - £950
  • Kickstarter fees - £500
  • Wiggle Room - £990
Plans for success. Our primary plan is to reinvest profits into future projects aimed at uplifting debut game designers, and to increase the pay of those involved on the project proportionately. There are soft plans for stretch goals, but we won't indulge in that until we've hit our base target.
GIF. The Explorer moves cautiously through an ever ongoing corridor, their shoulder-mounted torch revealing metal panels and shadowy support beams. Caption reads: "The EXPLORER moves with caution."

Accessibility Measures

After the campaign is completed and fulfilled, time will be dedicated in March and April 2023 to create Accessibility Companions for all game materials. This includes dyslexia and screen-reader friendly PDFs of the rules. These materials will be available as free downloads for all backers, and alongside all purchases of One Breath Left.
If resources allow, we'd also like to explore alternative ways to play the game (such as without placing cards, an action which isn't easily accessible to those who are blind, or who have difficulty with manual dexterity).

Risks and Challenges

One Breath Left's core rules are complete, as is much of its customisable content. It needs editing, graphics design and artwork, but these are all things Brian / Stout Stoat are familiar with organising.

Two identifiable risks are Delays and Production costs.

  • In situations where those working on the campaign need to take time for personal reasons, we're always in favour of delaying.
  • Production costs may drastically increase. It's undeniable that the printing market is in constant flux right now. The estimates for what this project needs to complete are conservative, and we've left plenty of spare budget to absorb unexpected changes.

Whatever happens, we will be transparent with any and all progress made through regular Kickstarter updates.

Sustainable Materials

All books will be printed with recycled or FCC certified paper where possible.


End of Campaign.


Kickstarter Plain Text