Uranus and Neptune

Updated: Sep 14, 2019

OK, since we are approaching play test en demo time, some prototypes of the game with the new artwork and design try-outs are being prepared to be printed by Carta Mundi's Make My Game.

I found a fitting lamp for the AstroNavigators miniatures (Armillary Games)

Some people might be wondering when the launch for this game is coming. Well, because it might take a while, I have already setup up a website to entertain you with a lot of background content in the game and to have some feedback during the process. Because this version is not a set out project idea with a deadline, or a commercial money grabber, perceive this board game as an attempt to create a piece of art that is going to be finished, when it feels like being finished ;-). And only when everything is set and done, having all the cards on the table, after some decent pre-campaigning, will I launch a KS with an affordable starter.


With all these blogs and entertainment as a foreplay, I hope to pick the brains of many board gamers fancying the idea of implementing practical astronomy in a fast paced, adventurous, but brainy racing game.


First I will give a short overview of what changed in comparison with our previous version of the game. Then follows a summary of the gameplay versions and a prototype table of contents for the rulebook. This blog should be treated as a prototype teaser. Not everything will be disclosed just yet.


Fun fact: although Uranus and Neptune can only be observed with a decent telescope, it is the time to observe Neptune with your telescope at home or at your local public observatory. The furthest planet we know up until now in the Solar System is aligned with the Sun and the Earth in such a way, that the planet reflects about the maximum amount of sunlight visible to us from Earth.


The new Orrery prototype module will have Uranus and Neptune included, seemingly immovable in the time frame of a game and only visible in the game when using a telescope (Armillary Games)

New features of the game

Biggest changes:

-artwork (Diego Sanchez)

-enhanced design (Guilhem Bedos)

-navigator endgame play with CM 8-ball gyroscope and telescope/sextant

-solo "AvsZ story" game (Apollo vs Zond)

-no coloured cubes, but marked tokens


Minor changes:

-Baikunor launch site options

-characters with background culture

-observing stars from the Moon

-starry flag quests

-technological device secrets to unlock with new powers

-new hidden character and character upgrade

-Orrery (planet) module adds Uranus and Neptune, only observable with telescope


What's the game about?

AstroNavigators is about Astronomy and Navigation.

The aim of the game is to observe objects in the sky and travel across the world as efficiently as possible in order to get more navigation knowledge (NK) to tackle difficult procedures in the endgame and being the first one travelling to the Moon and back to Earth.


Navigation knowledge is acquired by observations or completing cultural and historical quests. Navigation skills (NS) are sets of constellations and/or planets, and will help to steer your command module faster towards the Moon by plugging the right set tokens into the on board sextant and by calibrating the dashboard gyroscope. On top of that, every lunar phase that has been observed during the right week in the month will grand you perfect lunar observations with the on board telescope.


Main Board prototype (Armillary Games)

Game modes

A Beginner (no abilities, no quests, no secrets, no return, no hidden agenda, no orrery)

This is a gateway game to get to learn the basic mechanics of travelling the world map and observing the star map. The endgame is simplified and limited without return trip to Earth. Recommanded as first game, with kids interested in the matter, or as a filler game.


B Standard (Special abilities)

-Adventure added

In this mode, the continent tile back is used to indicate special vehicle benefits, quest encounters or a change in launch site location and procedures for the start of the endgame. Quests are e.g. country flags of another continent than your character's or where the tile was acquired from with specific constellations or instruments on it. Bringing the flag back to a specific coordinate and having observed specific constellations grands you a new instrument to use.

-Hidden Agendas added

This adds a choice between two (three with Orrery module) unique hidden missions per character to complete in order to get a powerful endgame ability.


C Advanced (All in)

-Secrets added

In an event of having fulfilled 2 quests in a specific chain of 3, some secret will be triggered, granting you access to mysterious instruments or even the assistance of another hidden character.

-Orrery added

This version includes the Orrery module with other planets in the Solar System. The star map already has a moving Sun token on the ecliptic, but this adds a board with yet more moving parts, stimulating careful planning.


Below follows the prototype observation cards for the constellations, moon phases and planets.


Short 'table of contents' overview for the rulebook

Components

A list of the components can be already found on the home page

Setup


1 Astronomy part

Turn sequence (first game)

Abilities (standard)

Quests (standard)

Secrets (advanced)


2 Navigation part

Turn sequence (first game)

Return (standard)

Stellar navigation (standard)

Hidden Agenda (advanced)


Endgame

First to Luna (first game)

First back on Earth (standard)


First draft idea (VIncent Verhoeven)

First player board restyle for prototype without dial covers (Guilhem Bedos)


New fan shop

We had an idea to have some hoodies made for helpers during demo sessions, and we ended up by creating an AstroNavigator spreadshirt shop.

These kinds of articles will also end up as gifts for game testers, demo helpers and for loyal and new backers.

Each time new art is generated, like game box art, final observation card art, background artwork etc., new content will be added to the product selection.


Deadline for the start of first prototype demos with the new system and artwork is set for October.


Campaign ideas:

No meeples, but standees with artwork and in the long run looking for 3D miniature options...


Miniature game pieces by McDowall Design

Starting with cardboard standees

Then upgrading to miniatures:

-miniatures planets

-miniatures CMS/LM

-miniatures Zond 5

-miniatures rockets

-miniatures characters






Miniatures on my desk (Armillary Games)

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