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Here we go again

Updated: Apr 23

1. Status

After a break of the project and after finishing other tasks in my life, I have taken hold again of AstroNavigators. Although my full attention for the project has only returned now, I did manage to contact Richard Ham (Rhado Runs Through) last month and he accepted to cover the solo version of the game. I worked on some redesigns of the cards and player boards to improve player interactions and made contact with a team of miniature print specialists to be able to get miniatures for the prototypes. I spoke with Dina Said So to look at PR-strategies and the monthly costs for doing so. Getting all the investment price tags was my main goal up until now, because one of the biggest recovery next to the psychological part, was the financial recovery. Since I finally got to a new healthy status in that regard, I can start outsourcing small tasks for the new campaign.

2. Rulebook

The rulebook will be split into several books. One to explain the Astronomy version and then the Astronavigator version (with Astronaut endgame). A play example book (in the Jon Gets Games style) will be provided with references at the end. The part with planets and other add-ons will be left out, because they will come in separate expansion boxes. The biggest difference, like I have announced previously, is that the base game will not have the planets module included. This will have implications for the design of the player board and the instrument abilities in the game. Yuri Newton's telescope ability for planet searches into the planet deck will be changed into the new base game condition. Sphen Easdive's octant will also need to be redesigned without the Venus transit. Initially I wanted to move the instrument quest and abilities to a separate expansion, but I found the quest and instrument so vital in order to enjoy the base game (for me personally) that it would take away a lot travelling charm.

As a summary, you could say that the old rulebook will be dissected into 3 books:

  1. Astronomer rules and Astronavigator rules

  2. Game play example and references

  3. Solar System rules in the expansion box

In order to have play modules that stay interesting beyond first play, I try to not only easy in the rules by dissecting and separating modules, but also by giving each module a full gameplay experience. In order to focus on the observation cards, the Astronomer version focusses only on the interplay of positioning and timing to score observation cards within 12 rounds (one year). After that a scoring of reputation will decide who the winner is. The most rewarded play will be focused on scoring constellation sets and amount of lunar phases, this together with continent/vehicle sets and quests. In the Astronavigators game however, scoring hidden agendas and winning the space race is going to weigh more than the previously mentioned accomplishments.

Other expansions and stretchgoal modules will add planets, alternative launch sites and super inventions into the mix.

For those going all in into the campaign, the gameplay options will stay about the same. The biggest difference will be for the base box version (you might call it a retail version). It will be much lighter than initially intended. It has a big impact on the starting price and weight.

As a reminder, the box will be changed into a standard square box without the animals in the front box. I have to consult my illustrator for the changes. A second box for the planet expansion will also be created. One reason to omit the original animals on the front of the box, is to make it less fluffy for some, and also to add an alternative version during the campaign that requires only a small change. The base version however stays as it is with all the references I intended in the game via the animals.

The initial focus of the relaunch will be on the non-deluxe version. The miniatures version will only be available, once a certain number has been reached. For now it is impossible to put a number on it, but it probably will be starting from 40,000 EUR. This means that the initial raise of pledges is based upon the standard game and add-on choices. Thanks to downsizing the focus and content of the basegame, the end goal for the base game and the lowest rewards can be made cheaper. This last paragraph is still under debate for speculation. That is why I will have more news on these numbers once I have reviewed the new manufacturing quotes with the manufacturer.

3. Player board and cards

I have added the outline in gold on the player board to indicate the 20 bonus navigation knowledge (NK) points you get for visiting all continents and for using all vehicles (accept for the command module). I have enhanced the icons for the northern and southern hemisphere (Big Dipper and Crux) by adding the lines between the starpoints, like I initially did for for the orientation icon (Orion). Without the lines, people tent to get the icons mixed from time to time in the previous prototype.

The observation cards have undergone a facelift in design and in case of the lunar phase also in illustration. Before I used a more realistic image of the moon phases, but a more vibrant illustration is better for the visibility in the game. I also try to simplify the design of the cards by omitting all the business from the frames and scroll backgrounds in the previous version. The only thing still missing are the amount of NK points you get for observing the card.

In order to save space around the player board, I have changed the orientation of the observation cards. During the the observation action the illustration, coordinates and names are meant to be seen in landscape mode, but once the have been observed and collected to be archived next or under the player board, the are gathered in portret mode (vertically) now instead. This avoids a collection of cards passing the edge of the table.

Little tweaks have been added to this last configuration. Because some of the cards have the same collection types, it was impossible to distinguish a card from the some copy without lifting the card. Now, the short three-lettre abbreviation has been added at the top in portret mode to make that distinction. You can see the example in the the picture with Aquarius (Aqr), Cygnus (Cyg) and Orion (Ori). For ecliptic purposes, when using one of the super instruments, called the Philosopher's Orrery (an unlockable stretch goal), the sign has been added to the zodiac constellations, underneath the collection types. Aquarius is the example you see beneath.

4. Next steps

In order to get more visibility, I will be focussing on getting the new rulebook version together with the observation card designs ready for prototype upgrade. This way, Richard from Rhado Runs Through and those interested (for download) on BGG are better informed of the new base rules. Next, real painted miniatures are important to showcase on camera to get the interest and attention needed for the game to reel more people in to get to unlocking the miniature part in the game. Also cutting down costs to only the essential miniatures is a priority. I am trying to get to Silver Heron in the Netherlands in order to weigh the option for prototyping and painting miniatures. For me the basic animal and the Apollo CSM miniatures are needed tot represent AstroNavigators as a whole, like I intended it to be.

Please don't forget to follow and like the game on BGG, and I will inform you of the relaunch page. I contacted Gamefound to ask what the best course of action is regarding this. On the previous page, there are still 1341 followers. It would a shame to start from scratch. Thank you so much for following me on this website. And write to you again soon.

Ad Astra!

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Happy to hear you are back working on the game. 🙂

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