Astronauts — Samples of wooden astronaut meeples with silkscreen print arrived, and they're just splendid! We'll be tweaking the black Private Sector Astronauts in order to make their table presence more prominent, and so we'll get another set of samples to make sure they are ready for the first mission. Apart from that, the Astronauts are ready for production. Which one is your favorite?
Rocket models — Rocket samples have landed successfully! Since the rockets are the most difficult part of the whole production process, we're so excited to say that the samples have passed the pre-production check! Compared to the picture below, the only tweak we made was rendering the characteristic cross pattern on the N1 (third from the right) more prominent. With the samples are approved, the manufacturer has already started the tooling process, which means that molds for them are now being made. Once the molds are finished, we'll get the rocket models in the final quality to make sure everything is perfect, after which the production gets a green light.
Plastic tray — We've made several upgrades to the tray that will hold the components. It will be manufactured using an aluminum mold instead of the usual copper mold, which will make a significant difference to the level of detail it can produce. The tray itself will then consist of 1.5 mm polystyrene instead of the standard 1 mm to make sure it is strong enough to handle all the custom compartments.
New illustrations — Our illustrator Dalibor has completed all the illustrations for the rocket-specific Control cards! Each Control card in the game has an initiative value between 0 and 7, and the higher one you use, the more likely it is that you will be the first who gets to play. However, this is not just a number on the card: All illustrations on the Control cards have unique elements that reflect not only the specific rocket / faction you play for but also its initiative value! Check out the examples below.
Rulebook — The graphic layout and most of the text is now finished, and it amazing to see the piece of art that Paul Grogan and Pavel, our graphic designer, have created together. What's left is just a round overview that goes to the last page and a final check to make sure that the text corresponds to the layout (references to page numbers and so on). We'll share the rulebook with you once this is done.
Printed components — All the other printed components are finished, and today we have submitted the data to the printer. Among these are cards, Mission tokens, Player Aids / Faction HQs, and Projects.
Giveaway: What's your take on game components?
You have probably noticed that we pay a lot of attention to the quality of the components and to the tactile aspect of games, so it is great to both play the game and play with it. Being so grateful for all the amazing feedback we keep getting from you, we'd also really love to hear what you think about what kind/shape/material of components you enjoy in games, and we want to give away one of our games in the process.
Let us know what you think by following the link below — we would appreciate is so much!
This is all from us for now. Which rocket model is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
Thank you very much for you amazing support!
3 months ago
– Sun, Apr 19, 2020 at 02:27:24 AM
First of all, we sincerely hope that you are healthy and well, and that it will stay like this throughout the difficult situation that everyone now has to face. In this mission control briefing, we'd like to show you pictures of finalized components and let you know what's right ahead of us.
Production status — plenty of new things to check out!
Next steps and what we're currently working on.
Faction HQs / the Player Aid: Both ready. These are actually two sides of the same thing. The Faction HQs (see the Soyuz Faction Headquarters picture below) are used for the game setup. They show you the rocket that belongs to your faction with technical information about its real counterpart and a bit about it's history. They also contain the standard and thematic setup. In the standard setup, all players start on the same position, and if you play with thematic setup, the HQs will tell you how to prepare your set of Control cards by switching the Rocket-specific Control cards for some of the standard ones, how many Astronauts you get in the game and where they land at the beginning, and the starting position of your rocket on the progress tracker.
Once you finish the setup, you can flip it to the other side (see the image below) so it shows the Player Aid that contains the most important information that you might need during the game, such as what the icons mean and how to read abilities on cards. This side will be especially useful when learning the game.
Astronauts: The data for the Astronauts are ready as well. Take a look at the image below which shows the custom wooden meeples for each faction with the silkscreen print outlining their space suits.
Mission tiles: Also finished. The front side of the tile (they will all be like this at the beginning of the game) show you what will happen at the end of each round when you check the mission status. New Projects can open, old ones can close, and there can be scoring of the Breakthrough Domination, Lab Research, or the Stage Output.
But one thing will certainly happen: The Mission tile for the current round will be flipped over, so as the game progresses, an illustration corresponding to the Mission you're playing through will gradually reveal.
The text of the rulebook is now finalized, so our graphic designer is working on the visual side of it. In the meantime, Max, the illustrator responsible for all the art on cards, is working on the updated artworks for the Rocket-specific Control cards. Once he finishes them, all the cards in the game will be ready for print. Since the Mission tokens and Projects are also ready, we'll now prepare the print data for the die cutting process according to the manufacturer's specifications.
We're also working with the manufacturer on the updating several aspects of the rocket models to make them possible to be manufactured while preserving as much detail as we can. As soon as this is finished, we will receive samples of both the rockets and the Astronaut meeples so we can give the production of them a green light.
This concludes the mission briefing. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Thank you very much for all your support.
Production Status and Updated Delivery Estimates
4 months ago
– Fri, Mar 06, 2020 at 12:22:03 AM
This regular command center broadcast includes a detailed summary of the project status, next steps in the production, and updated delivery estimates.
Project status recap — The state of our mission in detail.
Next production steps and updated delivery timeline.
However, before we delve into it, we want to thank all of you so much for the amazing feedback and suggestions we have received for the name of the "buffer" section associated to Projects (Update #29). There was a great number of ideas to think about, and after weighing them against the thematic foundations of the game, potential clash with other zones, and graphical considerations, we leaned towards "Standby". Thank you again very much!
Rocket models: Production data for the rocket models are finished and are 100% ready, so the manufacturer can proceed with the next step of the mass-production, which is the sampling process. If you have missed it, check out the visualizations of the rockets from the previous update (Update #29).
Astronaut meeples: Just like the rocket models, production data for the astronaut meeples (wooden with silkscreen printing on them) are ready for the manufacturer (see Update #28 for visualizations of them).
Rulebook: We have started working with Paul Grogan (Gaming Rules!) at the end of February, and it has been an absolutely amazing experience! He was able to finish most of the rulebook wording by now. What's left is mainly the solo rules section, which will be finalized as soon as all the core rules are 100% done. The next step is to pass the rulebook document to our graphic designer, in order to produce the final printing data with graphics and final component images. We honestly can't wait to show you the result!
Cards: With the balance, mechanics, and also the new iconography finished, all cards were updated with an improved layout and wording (see the picture below). We're now looking forward to when Max, our illustrator, finishes updating the artworks on the Rocket specific Control Cards, which will mean that all the cards are ready to be printed.
Board / Playmat: The layout of the board was updated to better match the flow of the game. The game starts in the upper-left part of the board (the top of the rocket) and moves clockwise through the zones. Players start the round by drawing cards and placing some of them in the unexplored universe. The game then proceeds clockwise through the board as you play through the individual stages (Propaganda, Technology, Space Programs, and Breakthroughs) and then proceed to resolve Bureaucracy effects. The Investments area and the Breakthrough tracker are nearby as playing through the stages may affect them. At the end of the round, you update the Projects (these were initially placed next to the board) and possibly also scoring, which in turn resolves the bottommost part of the mission. Then you are ready to start the new round.
Many of these changes were a result of the feedback that we have received during playtesting. Thanks to the updated board layout, it is now much easier to explain the rules and to internalize the round structure. Other changes to the board we have implemented (Update #29) include longer progress tracker with larger individual spaces (to fit the bump-proof rocket bases and their colored rubber snap bases), separate Launch Pad area of the Breakthrough Tracker (more Astronauts can wait there for the start of their mission), and initial turn order for the standard setup (the square on the bottom-left). The whole board is also slightly smaller so it doesn't require as much table space.
The overall design and layout of the board is now finished and what's left is to double-check it to make sure all the changes were integrated.
Mission tiles: Print data for the front side are finished. The next step is to add artworks for the backs of the mission tiles, which will gradually appear as you play through the 7 round of the game. At the end of each round, the bottom tile will be flipped over and reveal part of the mission artwork relevant to the actual mission being played.
Faction HQs / Player aids: The faction HQs will have an illustration, standard setup, and thematic setup on one side and will work as player aids from the other side. The information on the Faction HQ side is needed for the initial setup, after which it can be flipped and serve as reminders of the most important aspects of the game. Mechanically, the Faction HQs are finished, and they are waiting for the graphic designer to make them pretty, which, along with new illustrations that will be on the Faction HQ side, is the next step concerning them.
Project tiles: Print data for both the front and the back side of the Project tiles are finished. Based on the playtesting feedback, we made sure the readability of the project tiles was increased.
Next production steps and delivery estimates
Non-printed components: (rockets, playmats, and astronauts) During the following weeks, the manufacturer in China will start working on the production data for the rocket models and astronauts. Production of these components is the most difficult part of the whole process, which is why are triple-checking everything to make sure the components in the finished game will be absolutely perfect. The manufacturer will then begin the sampling process, after which we will receive pre-production samples to check. Once we confirm they are ok, the tooling will start, and the final rockets and astronauts will be made right after. This whole process from the start of the sampling to the final components will take approximately 13 weeks. Once the rocket models and astronauts are finished, they will travel on boats to the EU (this takes about 7 weeks) for the final assembly.
Printed components: (the box, rulebook, cards, player aids/faction HQs, mission tiles, and project tiles) Before the astronauts and the rockets models arrive to the EU for assembly, the printed components will be manufactured — it's the faster part of the production. Based on our past experience, we knew we wanted to produce as much of the game as possible locally so we can be present during the production in person, which makes the quality checking process much more reliable. Once all the components meet in the EU facility, they will be assembled into the final games and shipped to you.
Updated delivery estimates: Our topmost priority was always to produce and deliver the game in the best possible shape both from the standpoint of gameplay and the quality and design of its components. This is why we took extra time (more than we originally anticipated) to make sure that every part of the game is working perfectly. As a result, we did additional iterations of the graphic design, cards layout, mechanics balance, and subsequent playtesting during the pre-production stage of the project, which cut through the buffer period we initially had. This, together with issues caused by the extended period of time during which the factories in China were shut down due to outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, led us to the following update of the delivery estimates:
09/2020 — EU
10/2020 — USA and rest of the world
Now that the gameplay mechanics with the graphical design combines together as well as we can imagine, we can't wait to get the first production samples so we can share them with you.
This is all from us for now. What do you think about the updated board?
Thank you very much for your amazing support.
BackerKit Deadline & Projects
5 months ago
– Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 02:29:20 AM
New command center briefing is here with important BackerKit information and a progress memo. Let's take a look:
BackerKit deadline — Finalize your pledge by Monday 24 February.
Projects — Help us name a section of the board.
ProjectStatus — Check out what we're working on at the moment.
BackerKit deadline: Monday 24 February
BackerKit surveys will lock on Monday 24 February (you will still be able to change your shipping address). Please make sure to finalize your survey by then. After that, your card will be charged for shipping and any extra add-ons that you have added to your pledge.
You can find more information about BackerKit and how to finalize the survey in Update #25. If you can’t your survey, retrieve it by following this link. If you encounter any problems, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Projects — Help us name a section of the board
At the beginning of the game, 5 random projects are placed on a designated place on the board, 4 of them closed (face down) and one opened (face up). As the game progresses, new projects open and old projects close. This represents opportunities to advance specific projects that are in demand at a particular time. The more an agency works on a project, the further ahead it will move on the progress tracker (working on projects are one of the ways to gain points during the game).
How can the agencies work on a project you wonder? That's simple: by fulfilling the condition on it. Such a condition can be, for example, to place a card into your lab. Every time you fulfill a project's condition, you place an astronaut meeple on a "buffer" zone next to that project. When your turn ends, these astronauts will move from the "buffer" zone to the actual project (see the picture below that shows astronauts on projects).
We thought that Standby could be a good name for this "buffer" zone, but we'd love to hear your thoughts. Can you think of a better term? Let us know in the comments!
Project status and next steps
During the last weeks, we have focused our attention towards finalizing the printing data, so it is ready to be submitted to the manufacturer (now 90% done). Let's take a look at what's new:
Board: This is the big and exciting one! Certain sections of the board has been rearranged so it provides natural guidance to players in terms of the round structure and user experience. The structure of the board is updated based on playtesting feedback and seeing how different people approach the game. It's also a little bit smaller in order to comfortably fit into the box. To further preserve table space, we have moved the projects onto the board itself (they were originally supposed to be placed next to the board). The progress tracker now has 100 instead of 70 spaces, which are larger to provide more room for the enlarged "bump-proof" rocket bases. The sections of the breakthrough tracker are also a bit larger so more astronaut meeples can fit inside.
Solovariant: All the game rules and developments are now implemented into the solo variant, which works as an extra AI player (or more of them) that you can add to play either against. The overall difficulty is based on the mission you choose and on how many of the AI opponents appear in the game. We will now continue testing the behavior of the AI opponents in multiplayer games.
Iconograpy: We have finished updating the iconography, so the next step is adding the new icons on the board with and finishing the layout of the cards. What's left is designing the reverse side of the projects and mission tokens.
This is the end of the command center report. What do you think about the name of the "Standby" zone?
Thank you very much for your support!
The One With The Rockets
6 months ago
– Fri, Jan 03, 2020 at 12:26:59 AM
Happy New Year!
We hope you'll launch a lot of successful missions in 2020! Let's look at the latest Space Race news, including finished designs for the rocket models.
Production news — Designs for the rocket models are ready, check out the renders!
Next steps — We're working on finalizing the visual design of the game.
What's your take on KS updates — The results are here.
Rocket miniatures: Design of the remaining rocket miniatures is finished — which one is your favorite?
Rulebook: We've started working on the rulebook with Paul Grogan from Gaming Rules, and we can't wait to show you the result along with the live tutorial and playthrough video of that he will make.
Visual design: Our visual design team is now working on finishing the iconography and the layout of the board (see the Next steps below).
At this point, we're finalizing the visual and UX design of the game. The step number one is the board, which includes rearranging certain areas on it so it better facilitates the gameplay experience and guide players throughout the game. The progress tracker will be longer (adjusted for higher scores) and the individual fields of the tracker larger to fit the bump-proof rocket bases with colored rubber snap bases on them (the rubber snap bases are not on the pictures). We're also working on the layout of the Projects since we'd love to include a designate place for them on the board in order to save table space.
The next steps also involve finishing the iconography of Breakthrough-related abilities and updating the cards with these new icons. Finally, we continue with playtesting to make sure the visual and mechanical parts of the game fit together perfectly.
What's your take on Kickstarter updates — Results
In one of the previous updates, we asked what you like and expect from Kickstarter updates, and it is incredible that 559 people joined the discussion! If all the responses were boiled down into just one word, it would be balance.
Yet, this is much too simplified and deserves a deeper commentary with charts and whatnot, which is exactly that you can find here. Check out what people look for when reading Kickstarter updates as we delve into the topic in detail. Do your own expectations match these? Let us know in the comments!