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Per Aspera Ad Astra - Pick up and deliver in space

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schattentanz
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Joined: 02/18/2014

Per Aspera Ad Astra
# of Players: 4
Playing time: unknown
Age: 10+

Components

54 cards
- Planet cards: [4x ressource 1, 3xressource 2, 2x ressource 3, 1x ressource 4] available in sizes small, medium and large. A planet card comes with the icons "demand" (1x), production (1x, basically an icon synonyme for the planet's colour), and "colony" (4x)
- 18 cards "empty space"
- 4 cards "spaceship" (1 per player)
- 1 reference card
- 1 card "homeworld"

What you need to add

- Cubes of 8 colours: 4 colours for players, 4 for resources. 20-30 per colour should suffice.
- Dice. 36 should do it. (That's a whole box of chessex dice .. oh my!)
- 1 marker "spaceship" per player, preferably in a colour corresponding to his cubes. (Lay a Meeple down - close enough).
- Some means to track money

Set up - basic game

Place the homeworld in the centre of the table. Shuffle the "planet" cards with the cards "empty space".
Pick the top 36 cards from the shuffled deck and put the remaining 12 back into the box - those are not needed for this session.
Place three cards face up to the left and another three to the right of the home world.
Place 6 cards face up shifted half a card one row above and one row below the first row.
Place 5 cards face up shifted half a card as the new top and bottom row.
Finally place 4 cards face up shifted half a card as the new top and bottom row.
Basically you are building a hex grid - just with cards instead of hexes.
(You are doing this step that way, so I can make the cards for this game available via artscow ..)

Now you roll a number of dice per planet according to its size:
1 die for small planets
2 dice for medium planets
3 dice for large planets
For the medium as well as for the large planets pick the die with the highest result and discard the other di(c)e.
Place the die on the icon "demand" on the planet card.
The result shows the demands of a planet:
1 - Pirate
2 - Ressource 4
3 - Ressource 4 + Ressource 3
4 - Ressource 4 + Ressource 3 + Ressource 2
5 - Ressource 4 + Ressource 3 + Ressource 2 + Ressource 1
6 - Tax
Ad 1: A Pirate planet has a demand for each ressource (like a result of 5). Since pirates have a hard time getting ressources, they pay double the price of a ressource - if you can make it past their interceptors.
(See below: combat)
If you rolled multiple dice for a planet and one die showed a "pirate" result, that result gets precedence.
Ad 2-5: Each planet has a certain demand of ressources. If you deliver a required ressource, you earn money (see below, "Unload Cargo").
Ad 6: Up to 5 times the "homeworld" may demand "tax". If it does, place a die on the "homeworld" card on an icon "tax". For each icon "tax" with a die on it, the amount of money you will have to pay back to win raises by 10 Megacredits (MCR).
If you rolled only one die for a planet and it showed a "tax" result, pick a new die and roll it. Each planet may produce the "tax" result just once. Re-roll all further "tax" results for a planet. A "tax" result may happen, even if another die comes up as a "pirate" result!
Also, if for a ressource 4 type planet the result 2 comes up, re-roll it.

Set up - players

Deal each player his "spaceship" card.
On a "spaceship" card you have got 3 columns à 5 squares representing 5 ascending quality levels of the following "attributes":
- Warp Speed
- Cannons
- Hold
Set apart, there is a 4th column "pirate".
Also there are 2 rows à 10 squares for the tank.

Each player gets 100MCR to configure his spaceship.
The price to buy a level in an attribute is 10 times the level in MCR and you have to buy the levels in ascending order (so you cannot buy level 2 without having bought level 1). You have to buy at least 1 level in each "attribute" in order to have a fully operating spaceship.
The first 10 "tank" squares are 1 MCR each and the last 10 "tank" squares are 2 MCR each.
Fueling your spaceship is 1 MCR per unit of fuel.
Use cubes of a player's colour to mark the bought levels.
Also put a cube on the 0 level in "pirate".

If you are unsure about what you should do here, pick the following configuration:
Warp Speed 2
Cannons 1
Hold 2
Fuel 10, fueld with 10 units
10MCR remaining on hand.

When every player has configured his spaceship, you are ready to go.

Determine a start player (highest roll should do it).

Turn Order

On his turn, a player performs the following actions in that order:
- Load cargo/fuel
- Move ship
(- Combat)
- Unload Cargo

Load Cargo
On the "Homeworld" a player may
- pick up 1 unit (=1 cube of player's colour) of colonists for 10MCR. Colonists are stored in a ship's Hold
- fuel his tank for 1MCR per unit of fuel
- upgrade his ship: each level in an "attribute" costs its level times 10 in MCR, each level in "Tank" costs its level in MCR.
On a non "Homeworld" planet a player may pick up a number of units of the ressource that planet produces depending on that planet's size (small = 1 ressource, medium = 2 ressources, large = 3 ressources).
To pick up a ressource, you have to pay its price.
Additionally to the above, on a pirate planet a player may roll a die. If the result is equal to or lower than his level in "pirate" he may fuel his tank for 2MCR per unit of fuel.

Move Ship
A player may move his ship a number of cards up to his warp speed. Each card moved across or into removes 1 unit of fuel.

Combat
Combat ensues, when a player has finished his movement and
- is on a card with another player's ship inside
- is on a card with a pirate planet and is hostile towards pirates
- is on a card with a non pirate planet and is challenged by a local interceptor

On a card with another player's ship inside
On "empty space" cards, players may attack other players. To do so, the attacking player and the defending player each roll a die and add their Cannons "attribute" to the result. Compare both results. Higher result wins, on a draw the defender wins. The winner may add 1 ressource from the loser's hold to his own hold (if there is still space). If he does, move his "pirate" counter up 1 level.
Combat between players is entirely optional and does not ensue on planets. (The players' ships are safe on the spaceport there. You don't start firing your cannons inside the space port!)

On a card with a pirate planet and hostile towards pirates
If a player has any levels in "pirate", upon ending movement on a pirate planet roll a die. If the result is equal to or lower than the players "pirate" level, the player goes by unharmed and may proceed with the next action. Otherwise he is attacked by pirates: An opposing player rolls a die and adds the planet's size (small = 1, medium = 2, large = 3) to the result. The active player also rolls a die and adds his Cannons "attribute". Higher result wins, on a draw, the active player wins. If the active player wins, he may proceed with the next step. If the opposing player wins, he may remove 1 unit of cargo from the active player's hold (without adding it to his own hold). The active player may then proceed with the next action.

On a card with a non pirate planet and challenged by a local interceptor
This event can only occur, if a player has any levels in "pirate". If he does not, just go on with the next action. If he does, roll a die. If the result is equal to or below the "pirate" level, a local interceptor attacks the player. An opposing player rolls a die and adds the planet's size (see above) to it. The active player rolls a die and adds his levels in Cannons to it. Highest result wins, on a draw the interceptor wins. If the active player wins, he may proceed with the next action. If he does not win, he is denied access to the planet and has to skip the next action.
On the "homeworld" card, a player with levels in "pirate" gets challenged automatically by an inerceptor. The opposing player adds 4 to his die's result.

Unload Cargo
As determined above, each planet has a certain demand of ressources. A planet does not have any demand in the ressource it produces! Just ignore those demands.
If any of your ressources in your Hold meet the demands of a planet, you may unload them. Per ressource unloaded you gain money equal to the ressource's number (=its value) times the distance to the closest planet that could deliver that ressource.
If you unload your cargo on a pirate planet, you receive double payment for everything!
Remove any unloaded ressource from your ship card.
If you have got colonists in your hold, you may unload them on any non pirate planet, by placing the according cube from your hold onto a "colony" icon on a planet. You may only have 1 colony per planet.
If you do so, each time you unload ressources on that planet, you get +1MCR per ressource unloaded.

Pass the game on

That's it. You're done .. Pass the game on to the player on your left.

Winning the game

The first player with 100MCR (+10MCR for each "Tax" die on the homeworld) on his hand AND ending his movement back on the homeworld wins the game.

Variation 1: Scanned sector, unknown demands

In this variation, just the planet and empty space cards are placed as described above. The first player to end his movement on a planet may roll the required dice for a planet's demands.

Variation 2: Foray into the unknown

Only the homeworld is placed face up. Place all other cards in rows as described above, but face down. Upon ending movement on a card, a player turns the card face up and rolls the required dice for demand if that card is a planet.

=======================================================================

Things I'm not satisfied with:
- The term "tax" - I need a new one.
- The term "attribute" - a ship does not have "attributes" ... "Features"??
- The victory condition. Sounds dull. Hmmm ... Also: If you go the "pirate" way, you should get a different condition. But what kind of? Hmm..
- A "motivation" for the players a.k.a. background story

Thoughts?

Thanks for reading and kind regards,
Kai :)

theMikeAG
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Joined: 03/30/2015
Economic Sci-Fi, huh?

I might have a few suggestions for the things you asked. In this context, it seems like the attributes could be called technology instead. As for the victory condition and motive, since winning is based on earning money, you could make it something like buying back the freedom of your planet. That would certainly give a heroic side to the whole affair.

I'm curious by the way, what exactly does your title mean? Is it in Latin? Star Latin?

schattentanz
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Frankly ..

Frankly, I'm not content with the economic aspect of winning ..
"Paying something back" sounds a bit dull to me .. I'd rather go for something like .. uhmm .. dunno .. something else ^^
Hmm ..

The title is Latin, yes, meaning "through hardship to the stars"..

theMikeAG
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Joined: 03/30/2015
Maybe your victory condition

Maybe your victory condition could be something related to combat then? The first player to destroy [insert enemy here] wins. That way the game would follow a logical progression; you are gaining money to upgrade your ship, to get better weapons, and then to win the game.

schattentanz
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Hmmmmm ...

The only non player enemy in the game are the pirates ..
And even though chances for no pirates at all are low enough, they do exist ..

Hmmmm ...

Maybe some greater evil is approaching and players must work in some way together to ward it off?

Hmmmm ...

Also: I just had a test run with a quick mocked up prototype:
The resource 1 planets didn't get any love at all. Only when no other option was available (which occured just once during the test), a "1" resource got picked up.
Ressource 4 was available on 2 planets - one of which was a pirate planet.
The only demand for ressource 4 has been on the other side of the sector ..
The player with 2 cargo, 2 speed and 1 cannon thus had an easy time collecting wealth and leaving the others behind ..
Not exactly, what I had planned ..

Hmmmm ...

Thoughts?

Thanks for reading and kind regards,
Kai :)

schattentanz
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Eyecandy

Meanwhile: a prototype to toy around with:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/per_aspera_ad_astra.pdf

Also, I thought of using only the "foray into the unknown" variant; maybe this will force players to go for the ressource 1 planets ..

Hmmm ...

Some Random Dude
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Joined: 01/30/2014
Ad Astra Per Aspera is the

Ad Astra Per Aspera is the Kansas State Seal meaning "To the stars through difficulties".

But it is used the world over, in either order.

debiant
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Joined: 05/03/2015
Hi Kai, Just a thought, but

Hi Kai,

Just a thought, but the planets that get no attention could have additional random resource added to them at the end of each round. That would incentive them.

Best,
Gary

schattentanz
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Joined: 02/18/2014
Another thought:

Another thought:

Planets not getting much love might be "working as intended": They are almost as unattractive as a completely empty space - yet offer a little bit more ..

Hmmmm ..

Maybe I should just change the options, a colony gives you? Maybe you can fuel up your ship at a colony?

Hmmmm ..

Sounds like another test :)
(Will keep the "random resource" option in my mind, though)

Kind regards,
Kai

schattentanz
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Joined: 02/18/2014
And another thought :)

What if the level of your hold determines, what kind of ressources you can ship around?

Like:
Level 1 - Ressource 4 only
Level 2 - Ressource 4+3
Level 3 - Ressource 4+3+2
Level 4 - Ressource 4+3+2+1

(Level 5 - colonists? And make colonists more important overall?? Hmmmmm ...)

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