Recommend
24 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Works in Progress

Subject: [WiP] Space Race rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Michal Mikes
Czech Republic
Brno
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
I think there's a thingy here somewhere.
badge
Where have you gone to, Dreamer? Whose dreams are you dreaming?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Space Race

Updates:
2018/11/29: dev thread started
2018/12/13: First Prototype of the Board
2019/01/01: Launch Test #1: All in!

About the project:
We're starting this thread so that we can share the development progress of the upcoming Space Race from start to finish with everyone. We'd really appreciate all your comments, insights, feedback, and ideas! : )

In this thread, you will find everything we are trying to do with the game as well as how we are thinking of implementing it. I'll keep posting regular updates whenever anything changes, including playtesting feedback we'll get so you'll always stay in the loop.

The first spark that started the development of this game came from the overwhelming number of backers of Space Race: The Card Game who have expressed the interest to have a playmat for the game. The idea of a playmat/board was appealing, but we immediately knew we didn't want the it to be just a nice thing to put the cards on, expecially when it can be so much more. As we started looking into ways we can upgrade and tweak the mechanics of the original card game in a way was not possible with cards alone, the story of Space Race began.

What we're aiming for:
Players: 1-5
Length: 90-120min
Design and development: Jan Soukal and Boardcubator
Kickstarter launch date: spring 2019
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michal Mikes
Czech Republic
Brno
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
I think there's a thingy here somewhere.
badge
Where have you gone to, Dreamer? Whose dreams are you dreaming?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WiP] Space Race: The Board Game


Foundations: Space Race: The Card Game and Interkosmos

(If you know Space Race: The Card Game, you can skip this part.)

Print and Play:
Space Race: The Card Game PnP Kit
Interkosmos Expansion PnP Kit

Space Race is a tableau building card game for 1-5 players based on finding synergies and constructing powerful combinations out of different abilities on cards. As the directors of newly established space agencies, players strive to build the most developed agency during the seven rounds of the game. This is done by recruiting leaders, launching space projects, developing technologies, funding your laboratory, achieving breakthroughs, and claiming achievements.

Core gameplay mechanics:

There are 4 types of cards in the game and they are sorted in the universe (a pool of cards available for all players to acquire) according to their types:
Propaganda
Technology
Space Programs
Breakthroughs

Simultaneous action selection:
At the beginning of every round, all players select one of their available Control Cards from the set of 12 they get at the start of the game. These cards are separate from the cards in the game and are only used to activate abilities and bid for cards. There are 4 types of Control Cards, corresponding to the 4 types of cards in the universe.

Secret bidding:
The Control Card you choose for the round represents a secret bid on the type of card that you want from the universe. If you lose the bid, you might get a different card than the one you aimed for.

Resource management:
Everyone needs to plan their action carefully as each Control Card can be used only once during the game.

Engine building:
Control cards also allow players to activate the corresponding stripe of abilities on the cards the have already acquired into their agency (tableau).



Competition over the universe:
Even though you have a hand of cards, it is rare to play the cards from your hand directly into your agency (your tableau). Instead, you secretly place cards into a central area of play called the universe, which is a shared pool of cards that all the players can compete for. The cards players put there are revealed at the beginning of the next round, so they become available for you, but for the rest of the players as well.

Available cards are not random:
Players themselves influence what cards are possible to get every round by placing cards from their hand secretly next to the universe (shared pool of available cards) to be revealed at the beginning of the next round.

Player interaction:
Opportunities are the same for everyone – predicting your opponents' intentions and hiding your own is a crucial element of the game. The game includes an intense battle for the cards in the universe, and a race for reaching breakthroughs and claiming achievements.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michal Mikes
Czech Republic
Brno
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
I think there's a thingy here somewhere.
badge
Where have you gone to, Dreamer? Whose dreams are you dreaming?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WiP] Space Race: The Board Game


Space Race Development

Starting Point:

Based on the feedback we have gathered over the two years since the card game was published, we have started with a few things we wanted to improve and several mechanics to build upon.

Cards in the universe:
In the card game, the number of cards in the universe isn't limited in any way. However, with board comes a definite spatial limit. We tried to solve this by having a 4x4 grid in the universe for 4 cards of each of the 4 types. Once a fifth card comes in, you cover the first card in the row with the new one. The card below becomes unavailable for players until the card on top of it goes away.

Cards in hand:
One of the mechanics we like about Interkosmos is the added focus on cards in hand as they become a currency to be used for paying some of the cards. This is something we consider exploring more in the board game as it strengthens the drawing abilities a bit and puts additional pressure on players to plan in advance and think through their turns.

Cards in lab:
Cards that are in lab give players points for research and also can be put directly into the agency through some of the abilities on leaders and space program cards. One of the things we are looking at is whether the cards can be "spent" from the lab in exchange for doing a predetermined action, like uncovering a card or drawing cards - with mechanics that would represent using the laboratory resources for research.

Breakthrough tracking
It's clear that tracking the distribution of breakthrough symbols among players is not too easy at the moment, especially when playing with 4 or 5. A breakthrough tracker on the board should solve this to make breakthroughs symbols transparent.

Power tracking and agency development
Similarly to breakthroughs, we'd like to take away the need to constantly count (and keep in mind) the agency levels of all the opponents in order to be able to decide which control card to play in a round. We're thinking about adding a tracker on the board that would clearly show which player is strong in which area. This could also be an opportunity to add the feeling of actually building a space agency instead of adding cards with different levels into your tableau.

Achievements
We'd love to give achievements a feeling that when you have claimed one of them, you're building something tangible - that you have created something in your agency and you can benefit form it now and possibly also in later rounds of the game.

Control Cards Integration
Similarly to Interkosmos, we're looking into way to add more focus to control cards, as they are the very core of Space Race. We are always looking into ways to make the control cards even more pronounced part of the game.



First prototype of the board as shown on Essen Spiel 2018. You can see first attempt to implement some of the mechanics above. There are 4 slots for each of the type of cards in the universe and an agency level tracker above each of the slots. There is also a breakthrough tracker in the lower left-hand corner, and a round structure that includes a setup guide and an initiative tracker between the breakthrough tracker and the slots for cards. I'll add a picture from above so you can see it better.



Klobouk (on the left) presenting Space Race at Essen Spiel 2018.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michal Mikes
Czech Republic
Brno
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
I think there's a thingy here somewhere.
badge
Where have you gone to, Dreamer? Whose dreams are you dreaming?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


First Prototype of the Board

This was the initial idea of addressing as many mechanics we wanted to improve/bring to the game as possible. You can see that streamlining the game a bit is what we are looking into as well.



First prototype of the board that was in Essen SPIEL 2018.

Board step by step:

Face-down cards: Deck, Investments, and Unexplored Universe
All of these are places to hold stacks of cards face down. The deck is self-explanatory and the Unexplored Universe works exactly as in Space Race: The Card Game.

The Investments area is for the Building Cost ability from the Interkosmos expansion. This ability requires you to put cards from your hand at the bottom of the deck. The Investments area removes the hassle of picking up the deck every time you need to pay for a building cost, so the Investments area is basically a discard pile. However, there is a twist: Whenever there aren't enough cards in the Unexplored Universe so you should put extra cards from the Deck there, you use the Investment cards instead.

Round Structure Tracker:
The Round Structure area effectively replaces the player aid cards that show round structure and scoring. The wooden racket now (instead of being the initiative marker) marks the stage of the round the game is at and goes clockwise. You can see that the Bureaucracy, Preparation, and Upkeep parts all have instructions on what to do in each part.

In the Upkeep stage, there is a initiative tracker that includes setup instructions and also tracks the number of rounds for the players.

Breakthrough Tracker:
This is one of the most exciting additions, even though it is incredibly simple. Whenever you acquire a breakthrough card, you put a meeple into the area specific for that breakthrough, so tracking who has what is incredibly easy. There is a smaller version of meeples for the Interkosmos breakthroughs that make you lose ties. :)

The Universe and the 4 stages:
The Universe remains basically the same, with the exception that there is a limit of 4 cards being available from any given stage at the same time. Cards above the limit cover the previous ones from the smallest stack to the highest (and from left to right).

What's new is that all the stages now have a separate level tracker on which all players track their level of their agency in that particular stage. This makes it easy to see who can beat you for the initiative in each round, and, similarly to breakthroughs, is one less thing to keep track of (and breaking your head counting all the agencies for all your opponents) because you just look at the board and see where you're at.

Achievements
There is no change in mechanics compared to Interkosmos. Just a place for the Achievements to go to.



Jan in action. :)


Playtesting and feedback:

What's fun:
Breakthrough tracker, cards stacking in the universe, round tracker, setup cheat sheet all work as intended, making the same game much more streamlined and easier just because players don't need to worry about these things. Especially the breakthrough tracker. Also, climbing the levels of stages is fun because when your agency grows, it really shows. :)

What needs more love:
There is a high amount of fiddliness to updating the stage level trackers every time you get a new card into your agency. Given that in some rounds, you may get two or three, it's not enjoyable to keep moving the meeples all the time. Also, if the tracker should stay, it should probably to have some sort of extra bonuses for upgrading your agency past certain thresholds while maybe getting a more interesting bonus for getting to 10. This may, however, lead to the runaway leader problems, so we'll see how this goes.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michal Mikes
Czech Republic
Brno
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
I think there's a thingy here somewhere.
badge
Where have you gone to, Dreamer? Whose dreams are you dreaming?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Launch Test #1: All in!

The first big test was aimed at looking to see what are all the possible things we could add to the game. Basically, we started up with brainstorming everything that could potentially be part of the game now that it has a board (and the possibility of different tokens, meeples, etc.) in it. Rather than honing the details, this first version was to see all the different ways the mechanics can go, which work together well, what's fun (and what isn't), so we'll end up with a launch pad for the next development. Therefore, take all the additions with a reservation, they weren't supposed to be balanced or "just right" at this point.

So, this is what it was like. : ) Bunch of custom dice and tokens and things and even more other things! Right!



New stuff on the board:
There is a scoring tracker and you keep track of your points as the game goes. (It's actually right behind the board so you can only see the shadow it casts in the top left corner.) At the beginning of the game, there are 12 cubes for each stage (4 small, 4 medium, and 4 large). You start the game with the small ones. Each cube shows resources, and the bigger the cubes are the stronger / more resources their sides show.

The resources are:
E points (Gloomhaven cardboard points)
E money (green tokens)
E specialists (colored tokens).



Scoring:
Breakthroughs are scored according to the original Space Race: The Card Game.
Whenever you take a cardboard point token (1, 2, or 3), you score that many points.
Once you reach the end of any stage level tracker, any extra level that you get in that stage gets you extra points.
If you put at least one card in the unexplored universe at the end of the round, you get 1 point.
Some Specialist Actions can earn you points.
Resource Spending Bonus (see below)
Nothing else (not even the things you expect from the original card game). : )



Setup:
* Roll the all the stage dice and put the resources the dice show into the corresponding stage.
* Put point tokens, money, and resources on the stage level tracks (random). Apart from the normal resources, there is also a brown token (joker) that can be used as any resource and a +X wooden marker at the end of each stage tracker. These will give you permanent bonuses to initiative for the corresponding stage.

Achievements:
You can only claim achievements using the PR specialist action and you get no point for claiming it. Instead, at the end of the round, you can choose one of the resources (which can be the point tokens) that are on the achievement card.



Gameplay Rules:
E When you get to play, you play your whole turn (in the card game, players in the same stage take turns after activate a single ability).
E Every time you get a Breakthrough card in your agency, place a meeple into the corresponding area on the Breakthrough Tracker on the board.
E Agency cards do not count towards the initiative in a round. It's only the Control Card and the initiative tracker now.
E Whenever you take a card from the universe and put it in your agency, you get all the tokens that were on that card as well (if any).

Resource Spending Bonus:
There is a stack of 7 spending bonus point tokens going from 1 (on top) to 7 (at the bottom) and every player has a special discard pile for all the resources they spend during the game (that can be all the different tokens, discarded cards from Lab and discarded cards from the Hand). At the end of every round, the player who has the most things in their discard pile gets to keep the spending bonus point token from the top of the stack. However, that player also empties their discard pile so they start again from scratch.



New Mechanics During the Round:

Start of the round:
Same as in Space Race: The Card Game except for the initiative.

Playing stages:
When you get to play in a stage, you place a resource token from the pool next to it on any of the achievements (preferably the one you have claimed first or you are about to just claim) and take any die in the section and upgrade it to a larger die (there are three sizes).

Extra Stage Actions:
Propaganda: Spend 1 PR token to get your meeple one space ahead on an achievement you have claimed. (So if you have claimed an achievement as the 2nd player, you switch places with the 1st player who claimed it).
Technology: Spend 1 Constructor token to take 2 money tokens from the bank.
Space Program: Spend 1 Researcher token to get move to the same space on any stage tracker as the leader.
Breakthrough: Spend 1 Ace token to move 1 Breakthrough meeple to a neighboring section of the Breakthrough tracker.

'Specialist Actions:
Press Release:
Spend 1 PR token and 2 money: Claim an achievement.
Spend 1 extra PR token to score a point for all the achievements you have claimed so far.

Construction:
Spend 1 Constructor token and 2 money: move exactly 2 spaces further on any stage tracker.
Spend 1 extra Constructor to score 2 points.

Research:
Spend 1 Researcher token and 2 money: Uncover a card.
Spend 1 extra Researcher to score 2 points.

Breakthrough:
Spend 1 Ace and 2 money: Put a "breaktrhough" meeple on any place on the tracker.
Spend 1 extra Ace to get points for all the meeples in that breaktrhough area.

2 money are the equivalent of discarding:
E 1 money token
E 2 cards from lab
E 4 cards from hand

Upkeep:
* Take 1 card and 1 money token.
* Place tokens on the cards in the universe and those that are left over on the achievements.
* Roll the all the stage dice and put the resource the dice show into the corresponding stage.

Onto the New Round:
Same as in Space Race: The Card Game.



Playtesting and feedback:

What's fun:
It was crazy to see all the possibilities that the Space Race engine can take. One of the most interesting things was to see the cards in the lab being used as actual resources. The point tracker provides a great feeling of accomplishment throughout the game as you can see how far away the competition is without the need of counting all the point in the agencies. The game also got a bit faster and friendly with getting a new card from the deck at the end of the round automatically, which was a nice touch. An unexpectedly nice addition, or rather removal, was the fact that Control Cards got a lot more strength and strategic depth thanks to the fact that they alone decide the player order in a stage. Moreover, it was fun to influence the resources on achievements and choosing which die should get bigger in a stage.

What needs more love:
There are a lot of mechanics that either didn't fit together, weren't balanced at all, or just didn't seem to go with the spirit or flow of the game. This was expected, as we were just trying to see what it can take and test out as many new ideas as possible. The achievements have the potential of being something you build and then benefit from it. However, in this iteration, it was a lot of hassle to keep track of all the tokens and what goes where. Generally, it was a bit too fiddly considering also the 12 dice that make you set up the corresponding tokens every round of the game.

What's next:
There are so many ideas left still untouched, so it continues with round two of "let's see what else we can cram in". The rest will be mainly polishing stuff from the batch of mechanics that got through the "fun and sensibility" filter.

Overall, this iteration is incredibly thinky given that it is basically Space Race: The Card Game played on top of another euro game (all the extra stage actions, tokens, tracks, etc.). Least of all, it is very interesting to see how adding certain type of completely new mechanics (tokens, actions, and paying for the actions) layers the game into basically two separate but interwoven gameplay cores.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Todd Suesz
United States
Renton
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I hope I am understanding the above concept. The current cards for both Space Race and Intercosmos will be used in the new board game edition? I would hate to have to decline the board version, if the original cards were useless.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Win So
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I believe they’ve said that there will be an upgrade pledge option if you own the original game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Rake
United States
Richardsville
VA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zseus wrote:
I hope I am understanding the above concept. The current cards for both Space Race and Intercosmos will be used in the new board game edition? I would hate to have to decline the board version, if the original cards were useless.

I hope that's the case. I completely missed the previous Kickstarters and you can't buy the card game anymore except through 3rd party options at inflated prices. Being able to get everything in the upcoming KS would be great. I would expect an upgrade pledge level to bring previous backers up to date.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andreas Hellström
Sweden
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
trakes wrote:
I hope that's the case. I completely missed the previous Kickstarters and you can't buy the card game anymore except through 3rd party options at inflated prices. Being able to get everything in the upcoming KS would be great. I would expect an upgrade pledge level to bring previous backers up to date.
+1.

I'm really hoping for this as well!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michal Mikes
Czech Republic
Brno
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
I think there's a thingy here somewhere.
badge
Where have you gone to, Dreamer? Whose dreams are you dreaming?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
retainerbox wrote:
I believe they’ve said that there will be an upgrade pledge option if you own the original game.
trakes wrote:
I would expect an upgrade pledge level to bring previous backers up to date.

Considering the upgrade pack, when we started working on the board for Space Race, we wanted the gameplay with it to be a clear improvement over the original game and not just more of the same with a placeholder. During the development, there was a point when we realized that it is not an expansion anymore but actually a new, improved game. We are incredibly excited about the changes to the mechanics, about how streamlined it is now, and about the new additions that make the game more interesting, although the extent of these changes has made the upgrade pack not possible. Let’s take a look at how far the gameplay has evolved in the upcoming dev thread posts. I also can't wait for the first previews to arrive to show you. :)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michal Mikes
Czech Republic
Brno
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
I think there's a thingy here somewhere.
badge
Where have you gone to, Dreamer? Whose dreams are you dreaming?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Launch Report #2: This Changes Everything

While it might sound exaggerated, in hindsight, I don’t think we immediately know what effect it would have on pretty much every single aspect in the game. I’m talking about such a (seemingly) simple thing as the Progress Tracker (mechanically a victory point tracker).



How it started:

In the original card game, you score points at the end of the game for:
E sum of all levels on cards in your Agency
E Breakthrough domination (“who has the most kind of” set collection mechanic)
E number of cards in your Laboratory
E extra points according to the order you claimed Achievements

What we wanted to improve:

Because everything was counted only at the end of the game, the transactions between your Hand, Lab, Universe, and your Agency did not matter as much as the final shape of your tableau at the end of the 7th round. In other words, the final result/look of the Agency was much more important than how you got there.

While such design of scoring is very simple, it makes it incredibly hard to keep track of both your points and of your opponents’ points during the game, which was also one of the most repeated feedback we kept hearing throughout the years since the original game was published. Moreover, the “end-game-only scoring” held the game back from mechanics that would allow us to make the whole race (not only the endpoint) even more interactive and engaging for players.

Goal: Make every move count and every decision matter! Not at the end but every turn.

Solution: Continuous Scoring



To improve the areas outlined above, we introduced the Progress Tracker, which allows easy tracking of changes and development (i.e. points) of all Agencies as the game is played and not only after the end. This changes the game on two levels:

More enjoyable game for players:
It allows a constant overview of how you are doing compared to your competition, while also supporting the feeling that you’re in constant race given that you can track your progress of the space exploration in terms of years on the Progress Tracker (which are basically points).

Tighter integration of gameplay mechanics:
It interweaves with the rest of the gameplay mechanics, allowing for different viable strategies / tactical reactions, and more interesting decision making during each round. It also holds all (updated) scoring mechanics closer together, bringing a bit of extra tension in the decision of get points now or invest in development for (perhaps) better payoff in the future. Everything you do has a consequence on your progress and how your agency will develop.

The Progress Tracker directly affects all the scoring mechanisms and is a foundation of two new additions to the game: Stage Output and Mission Progress.

Stage Output:

The levels in your Agency are now scored every round (right after Bureaucracy). This, however, applies only to the stage that is active (according to the Active Control Card).

I still remember as Jan and I have walked home around 4AM from a longer playtesting sessions when we had this “what if” moment. We immediately tried it the day after in the office and we just knew that this is exactly what the game is supposed to be. The race is there every single round of the game, we could see the rockets (for tracking points) flying past each other in a desperate attempts to get ahead. Space Race just became so much more interactive.

This change has also ignited a reevaluation of all Space Race cards to make sure their abilities complement the new mechanics.





Mission Progress:

Mission Progress dictates in which turns certain areas of the game will be scored as well as note whether you should open a new Project (these are reworked Achievements) or close the oldest one. Now every single round in the game makes a significant difference both in terms of longer-term planning and in the importance of making the right reaction based on what kind of situation appears on board. Thanks to this, the gameplay feels streamlined because you clearly see what will happen and when. Moreover, it allows players to choose between a lot of different strategies based on what part of the Mission Progress they want to focus on.

Every round, after Bureaucracy, the Mission Progress token corresponding to the current round will tell you what to do (and then it is discarded). At the moment, this can be: open and/or close a Project (these are the new Achievements), score Breakthroughs, or score Lab.

According to the basic mission progress, Lab is scored 2x during the game (round 4 and round 7), which means that if you build your in Lab early, a lot of the cards in your Lab will be scored twice throughout the game. At the same time, Breakthroughs are scored 4x (round 2, 4, 6, and 7), so it is not only a good idea to claim a Breakthrough early, but also to make sure that no one completely dominates the Breakthrough categories. Altogether, there are more possibilities in Space Race then there ever was.



Result:

The bottom line is that because the new game is much more streamlined, we were able to add more viable strategies and interesting decisions for players without making it more complex to play. Even first-time players were able deep into the game thanks to the fact that they didn’t need to keep track of so many things anymore, and they have just been enjoying the possibilities the new game offers.

I’ll explore the Stage Output, the Mission Progress, and the rest of the mechanics that are new in the following updates to the dev thread in more detail.



6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michal Mikes
Czech Republic
Brno
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
I think there's a thingy here somewhere.
badge
Where have you gone to, Dreamer? Whose dreams are you dreaming?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Launch Report #3: The New Space Race

Finally, let's put all the pieces of the puzzle together, and let's take a look at everything that is different step by step. In this post, I'll describe the mechanics and also outline the significance for the gameplay and possible strategies, trying to quickly summarize what's relevant from the previous posts as well.

Game Mechanics in Detail:

Space Race is a stand-alone strategy game that shares some of its fundamental mechanics with the original card game while having a considerable portion of mechanics, cards, components, and the overall gameplay new and different.



Space Race: The Card Game and Space Race mockup box comparison.

Propel Your Rocket into the Land of Tomorrow

In Space Race, you score points for the Level of your active Stage every round, gradually moving your rocket model further ahead on the Progress Tracker that goes all the way from from 1950 to 2020. Your Lab and the overall Breakthrough Domination will also score multiple times during the game. The continuous scoring makes space race engaging all the way from the start until a thrilling finish. Moreover, it also enables a completely new set of strategies to exploit.

The continuous scoring and it's effects on the game was explored in the previous post in the dev thread if you'd like to take a look.



Bear the Mission Progress in Mind

Mission Progress is a variable set of tokens on the board that indicates when (and if) players will score Breakthroughs, Labs, and whether to open or close government Projects at the end of the round. Evaluate the scoring opportunities of your mission and whether it’s worth to pursue short term boosts or focus on building your engine for the decades to come. All this will change based on the mission you currently play, allowing a high the replayability and completely different viable strategies.

Take a look at the previous post for more details on the Mission Progress.



Ongoing Breakthrough Scoring

The tension is palpable every round as players send their Astronaut meeples to dominate the Breakthrough Zones! Focusing on taking an early lead will let you score each Breakthrough Zone many times during the game, though it may also leave other areas of your Agency develop slowly. Pay attention to weaker, exhausted Astronauts and abilities that allow relocation to different Breakthrough Zones: the tide can turn every round!

Mechanics and Gameplay:
Given that the Breakthroughs are now scored multiple times during the game (depending on the mission that you play), it can be worth a significant amount of points. It also means that the Breakthrough race is relevant right from the beginning as grabbing the area majority in several of the Breakthrough Zones may force your opponents to battle with you, perhaps instead of executing their previously prepared plans.

What's new:
Apart from the 4 Breakthrough Zones, there is a "neutral" Launch Pad Zone which is not scored.
Breakthrough cards now tell you into which zone(s) place your Astronaut(s) when you add the card into your Agency.
Whenever Breakthroughs are scored (according to the Mission Progress), whoever has a majority in a Breakthrough Zone scores 4 points (3 points in a 2-player game).
All players start with one of their Astronauts on the Launch Pad at the beginning of the game.
There is a new mechanics of exhausted Astronauts. which is important for resolving ties for the majority in Breakthrough Zones. When there is a tie, the player with less exhausted Astronauts (those lying down) dominates the Zone alone.
Breakthrough cards from the Interkosmos are different: They either let you place exhausted Astronauts on two different Zones, or they let you place two Astronauts on the Launch Pad immediately and then move one of them to one specific Breakthrough Zone during Bureaucracy.
Breakthrough 1 Control Card now has a new ability that says: Bureaucracy: Move one of your astronauts from one Breakthrough Zone to another; or place one Astronaut on the Launch Pad, or refresh all your exhausted astronauts.
Space Race cards now have abilities that let you move Astronauts from one zone to another as well as get new Astronauts on a Launch Pad.



Feedback from playtesting:
From the games that we have played and observed, it becomes clear that the Breakthrough battles are now very much alive and interesting throughout the whole game. The race for area majority also feels very different in 2-player and in 4-player games, for example, which gives an interesting twist to the gameplay when playing with different player counts. In two player games, the Breakthrough Race is much more cut-throat and unforgiving, which generally reinforces the heads-up encounter against another superpower that the 2-player games have. Players really need to try anticipate the moves of the opponents as outsmarting them is one of the crucial aspects of victory.

Generate Stage Output Every Round

Every round, you will score your Agency Levels in a Stage that matches your active Control Card. This leads to plenty of crucial decisions and a need to devise innovative strategies, as you will constantly face the choice of whether to activate a Stage or wait before you raise its Level. Meanwhile, the importance of Control Cards is further elevated by the fact that Agency Levels don’t influence the turn order initiative.

This leads to crucial decisions and need for innovative strategies, as you will often face the choice between using a Control Card to:
E Activate the Stage that will generate the most points;
E Get a card from the Universe whose level you want to score in the following rounds;
E Activate or set up for powerful combos;
E Secure better position for dominating the Breakthrough Tracker that is about be get scored;
E Finish a Project before it closes (you have a limited time to complete each of them)

Take a look at the previous post for more details on the Stage Output.



Variable Player Powers

The rocket model for each faction come with several unique Control Cards that you exchange with the basic Control Cards to access special abilities and extra options. These abilities are tailored to fit each of the factions, so controlling NASA with Saturn 1B is different than playing as Private Sector with Falcon Heavy.



The Blueprint Board:

The Board becomes an integral part of the game as it is crucial in holding all the mechanics together. It provides the necessary foundations for turn-by-turn scoring through the Progress Tracker, it allows tracking the ongoing battles in the Breakthrough Zones, and allows implementation of the Mission Control and Initiative Tracker into the game.

Apart from that, the Round Structure walks new players through the game step by step, making it easier to enjoy and entangle all the interweaving aspects of the deep gameplay that Space Race: The Board Game offers.



Miscellaneous:

Space Race cards:
Almost half of the cards from are different from the card game. They are either tweaked to better align with the board game mechanics or they are completely reworked.



Projects:
Classified Government Projects score immediately when you complete them. However, your time to do so is limited. During the game, Projects you can work on are constantly changing as old ones close and new ones open.

Borders of the Universe:
There is a maximum of 4 cards per Stage in the Universe. Once more cards appear in a Stage, they stack on top of the previous ones, making the old cards unavailable to players. This additional control over the Universe brings more player interaction and requires a bit deeper strategic planning on your part.

You may, for example, put a lot of Technology cards in the unexplored universe with the plan to make them cover some of the Technology cards already present in the Universe so your opponents won't be able to access them.



What the Gameplay is Like:

Space Race is full of amazing plays, where you might change your whole strategy several times during the game as a reaction to other players, your position, and the changes you make in the universe.

Given the number of different combinations of card that you will encounter during the game, even focusing on the same strategy, playing the Control Cards in the same order again and again will feel like you are playing a completely different game each time!

There may be games where you stay at zero points for the first half of the game, carefully building your engine step by step, making every single puzzle piece match the whole picture before you unleash all your powers, overtaking all the opponents who were too oblivious to try to stop you. There may be games where you play every ace you are dealt at the beginning, building a significant lead only to realize that your engine has lost all the fuel and comes out barely scraping at least a few points the last rounds of the game.



2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls