Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Rayguns in Rayguns and Rocketships

I've been bursting to share this announcement ever since IDW Games first showed me their plans for this super-rad add-on. Check it out! Miniature Rayguns!!! They are so cute, but deadly!

You can add these on to your existing pledge!

It comes with 23 rayguns - enough for all four rocketships!
They are perfectly scaled to the Planeteer crew member miniatures!

So cool!

Keep it up, Planeteers!

The latest report just came in and you've already defeated more Blaarg! Great work! Keep going! WE CAN DO IT! ONWARD TO VICTORY!!

Only YOU can defeat the Blaarg!

A visit to IDW Games!

Hey Planeteers!

Even though I live in Los Angeles, IDW Games is (relatively) close in nearby San Diego for me to come in for a Rayguns and Rocketships related visit.

IDW Games is located above the awesome Comic Art Museum - which is housed in a beautiful Southern California mission-style building. It has a cool collection of original comic book art.

However, I was there to see Rayguns and Rocketships! And on this visit, they had a surprise for me, a production copy of the game!

I was thrilled to see the game finally looking how I always imagined it
Now keep in mind, there are still a few tweaks here and there to be made - THIS NOT THE FINAL VERSION OF THE GAME - but this is pretty close.
The painted cards by Ron Salas are gorgeous!
This board will look even better with tokens and rocketships on it!
This is just one of the token sheets for the game. Note the raygun-shaped 1st player token
The box on the top is the final size - plenty of room to fit the game and (hopefully) expansions!
Needless to say, I was thrilled to see the high-detail miniatures (what final size they will be in still be discussed) and the beautiful card and board art.

The miniatures look amazing on the new rocketship game board!

The Planeteers are ready for action!
A big thanks to IDW Games for hosting me. They are doing an awesome job with the game. I can't wait for YOU to see Rayguns and Rocketships for yourself!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Rayguns and Rocketships Prototype

My brother recently shared these photos of an early prototype of Rayguns and Rocketships from my birthday party from a few years ago. This would probably be version 2.0 of the prototype of the game. Sharp eyes will not only spot the hand-drawn rocketships and star map, but also the four-armed Blaarg captain and the male Astro-Ranger captain!

Thanks to Chris Rogers for the great photos!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spotlight on Captain Cards: Count Ventura

Anyone who knows me knows I love pirates. But despite my best efforts to not be so predictable, pirates have always managed to find their way in my game designs. However, with Rayguns and Rocketships I knew I had to have pirates in the game. The Star-Pirates Planeteer faction was always a big part of the game from the beginning.

In the Rayguns and Rocketships universe, the Star-Pirates are actually the military who have decided it would be much more profitable to turn to piracy. As a result, they have the strongest rayguns and the skills to use them. They operate from a bolt-hole in the Samadi asteroid belt, where their rocketships emerging to prey on passing merchant and pleasure rocketships.

Count Ventura concept art by Scott Rogers
Count Ventura color guide by Scott Rogers

The Star Pirates are secretly led by Count Ventura, a dashing nobleman who lives a double life as a ruthless pirate. The Count can be found supporting public works and attending gala balls, where he is viewed by all as a charming liar. Count Ventura is inspired by some of my favorite pirates - Captain Hook, Captain Morgan, and space pirate Captain Harlock as well as Prince Barin, as played by Timothy Dalton in the Flash Gordon movie.

As the leader of the Star Pirates, Count Ventura is a deadly opponent who gives his victims no quarter. However, there is one victim whom the Count will always spare - Princess Persevone of Vaporia, whom the Count is infatuated with.

Prototype card shown. All content subject to change.
I wanted Count Ventura's Captain cards to reflect both natures - dashing rogue and ruthless pirate.The first build of Count Ventura features the Count's sword fighting skills in Expert Duelist. The count may re-roll one missed melee combat roll per opponent per turn.The Count's second ability, Ruthless Pirate lets the player sacrifice one Star Pirate crew member to steal up to 6 banked action tokens from an opponent once a game. No victory points are awarded for crew sacrificed this way. Clearly the Count will do anything, even kill off one of his own crew members, to insure victory!

Prototype card shown. All content subject to change.
The second build of Count Ventura gives the player a choice: should I stay or should I go? Master Gunner gives the player a powerful advantage when manning a raygun. And if that raygun should get shot at, the Count can always absorb a hit or two to protect that raygun. However, with Bloodthirty, the Count can immediately join a crew member who has boarded an enemy's rocketship. Is it better to leave Count Ventura on the ship or with his crew? That's for you to decide!

Stay tuned as we spotlight more content from Rayguns and Rocketships!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spotlight on Captain Cards: The Masterbrain

"There are heroes on both sides"

One of the biggest challenges for me as a game designer on Rayguns and Rocketships was making sure that no one Planeteer faction ended up feeling like "the bad guys". I wanted there to be something to like about each faction - be it the speedy Astro-Rangers, the powerful Star-Pirates, the noble Zard or the crafty Blaarg.

An important part of this balancing act was designing the Captain characters. I wanted them to not only look interesting but to be fun to play. They are meant to be powerful characters - much like the Queen in chess - used skillfully in battle rather than held back.
Blaarg Captain character design
Blaarg Captain color guide by Scott Rogers
Captains are fairly robust characters. They can take 3 hits of damage (which can be healed) and every Planeteer Captain has the "Captain" ability, which awards the player 1 extra action token as long as there are friendly crew in play. After all, the Captain is only a captain if he has someone to boss around! 

In addition, each Planeteer Captain in the game comes with two versions or "builds" of the character. Each side of the card highlights a different set of abilities.

Prototype card
The first "build" of the Masterbrain allows him to move a Blaargling aide-de-camp along with him for free. This allows you to get a crew member to a location in the Blaarg saucer faster or accompany him on a boarding action. The other ability emphasizes his deadly metal tentacles - every successful melee attack allows him to do damage to two adjacent targets with one strike!
Prototype card
The second side of the Masterbrain Captain card features more bizarre abilities. First, Mind Control makes an opponent re-roll a die roll once per turn. This can be extremely useful during melee or ranged combat attacks. Or you can be extra sneaky and make your enemy fail an attempt while fetching that spare raygun from the hatch! Mechanical Pants gives the Blaarg Captain a burst of speed - up to 8 spaces in one turn! That cyclopean horror charging is sure to strike fear into the heart of any Planeteer!

Stay tuned as we spotlight more content from Rayguns and Rocketships!

Gameplay spotlight: Playing the Astro-Rangers

Hey Planeteers!

The Kickstarter for Rayguns and Rocketships is LIVE! ( Thank you to everyone who has pledged so far! As the campaign charges forward, I wanted to highlight the some of content and game play you'll find in the final game.

 Let's first take a look at the GALACTIC ASTRO-RANGERS!

In Rayguns and Rocketships, rocketships are moved using a deck of command cards. Each Planeteer faction's deck of command cards is designed to encourage their specific behavior. Astro-Rangers are fast! They are skilled pilots; whether at the helm of their rocketship or when flying with their jetpacks. Their cards were designed to take advantage of their speedy nature.

A command deck consists of two types of cards: regular ones that turn or move the rocketship around - forward, turn starboard or turn port - and star cards that are used for more spectacular and daring maneuvers and actions. Star cards are pre-programmed by the player and require some strategy to use correctly. Remember once star cards are used they are discarded. But a discarded star card is worth 1 victory point, so it's worthwhile to use them. Let's take a look at three command star cards exclusive to the Astro-Rangers' deck.

NOTE: The following card art and designs are from the game's prototype. Examples of the final card art can be seen at IDW

This star card allows the Astro-Rangers do what they do best - fly around obstacles like asteroids and move quickly out of shooting range of other rocketships. You remember that scene in The Empire Strikes Back when the Millennium Falcon dives down and away from pursuing TIE fighters? This card is like that. It leaves the opponents saying "I didn't think something that big could be that maneuverable!"

"I'll try spinning - that's a good trick!" Sometimes a desperate situation requires a desperate move. But while the Astro-Ranger player doesn't gain any crew action points for this move (the crew are all hanging on inside the ship for their lives) they become ridiculously hard to hit for the duration of the turn. It's the perfect move when you are surrounded on all sides.

Rangers Attack! is my favorite Astro-Rangers card in the game. On the crew movement/action phase, the Astro-Rangers blast out into outer-space with plenty of action points to mount a boarding action or race across the stars to retrieve an atomic core! It even works great as a last minute escape plan if another player's captain boards your ship with murder on its mind!

Keep in mind, these are just some of the Planeteer specific cards you'll find in the game. Keep tuned as we spotlight more content from Rayguns and Rocketships!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

And in this corner... The Battlin' Boxx!!

Today I was taking inventory of the characters in the Kickstarter campaign for Rayguns and Rocketships.

Let's see... Fearsome Star-Pirates? Check...
Sword-fighting Lizard-Men? Check...
Jet-pack wearing Astro-Rangers? Check...

Cyclopean brains in mechanical pants? Check...
 I feel like I'm missing something... What could it be??

I know!! A ROBOT!!!

The Battlin’ Boxx was formerly the super-heavyweight-class boxing champion of the galaxy. After refusing to take a dive against a human opponent, Boxx went on the run. He eventually "took care of the situation" (his words) and is now is a bot-for-hire as a mercenary captain. Boxx refuses to use weapons in combat; finding them both distasteful and unfair. But why use weapons when you can batter your enemies both up-close and from a distance with rocket powered fists?

Concept design by Scott Rogers
Model sculpted by Simon Grell
Color guide by Scott Rogers

The Battlin' Boxx is a Kickstarter exclusive and a character that is great fun to play. Since he only fights with his fists, Boxx only performs melee attacks. Fortunately, he can fire his rocket-powered fist up to 4 spaces away. And this attack cannot be riposted! Once the Battlin' Boxx gets going, he becomes a deadly combatant:

Jackhammer Punch: If Boxx hits with a melee attack, he can keep making melee attacks as a free action until he misses.

This robot really packs a punch! Let's hope the Battlin' Boxx gets unlocked as part of the Rayguns and Rocketships campaign! Only YOU can make that happen!