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Race for the Universe

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Grudunza
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Okay, I don't know about that title... heheh... but anyway... I had an idea for a race game where each player has a custom built rocketship and is trying to get to the end of the universe and back. Just some vague thoughts so far...

I'm picturing four different boards, where first everyone has to get out of our solar system (the first board), then out of our galaxy (2nd board), then out of our galaxy cluster (3rd board). Then the last board is for the "outskirts" of the universe, with a big fence around it (so obviously this game will be very cartoonish and tongue-in-cheek). You have to touch the fence and then turn around and be the first to get back to Earth. When I say "four boards", there could just be one big board that encompasses everything, but I imagine the scale of each area being quite different in order to make it all fit and make sense, proportionately.

I'm thinking of a system whereby;

  • each area (solar system, galaxy, etc.) has different destinations with resources that you'll need to upgrade your ship, and the values of certain things may go up or down depending on what's in demand or what's already been taken (so you may be out in the lead, but the guy right behind you might pay less for his upgrade)
  • you'll need to develop technologies over time that allow you to break time/space speed barriers or otherwise advance in a way that will help you win
  • you need to reproduce your crew so that future generations may be the ones to actually finish the race (the meeples that you start with as your crew will die off at a certain point, so you'll need to have reproduced a newer batch by a certain point)
  • there is potential to sabotage your fellow racers, "Cannonball Run" style, and there is also the danger/opportunity of battling alien ships on occasion
  • random interstellar obstacles may get in your way, like passing comets or asteroid fields, and the layout of everything beyond our own solar system could be modular and different every game
  • allusions or parodies could be made to well-known sci-fi/space tales like The Hitchhiker's Guide, Star Trek, Star Wars, 2001:A Space Odyssey, etc.

    In a broad sense, I think this could have sort of the feel of games like Galaxy Trucker, Ave Caesar and Jamaica. Mostly light and fun with racing and battling, but also with some resource management and development and maybe even some negotiation and diplomacy.

    Thoughts, comments and suggestions are very welcome...

  • MatthewF
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    Nice

    I like the theme, and the multiple-scale boards sounds like fun! Not much else to add right now, but it definitely sounds neat.

    Gizensha
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    For some reason this reminds

    For some reason this reminds me of the space bit of the educational film Powers of 10, especially with the multiple boards.

    Love the theme, though. And the styling you suggest mean it should make for quite an amusing race game.

    Grudunza
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    Gizensha wrote:For some

    Gizensha wrote:
    For some reason this reminds me of the space bit of the educational film Powers of 10, especially with the multiple boards.

    Yeah, no doubt. I'm a big fan of that kind of thing. And that's why I was thinking of the multiple boards, because the sheer distance we're talking about (even with pure speculation about how big the universe might be and if there's even an end to it) makes it so that travel around the solar system would be on an incredibly smaller scale than travel through the galaxy, galaxy cluster and outer universe. I imagine there being some outposts or obscure planets in the outer universe section, where the racers would hook up with the final fuel or resources they need for that last leg of the trip... and even though those outpost planets are possibly billions of light years apart from each other, they would look to be at about the same scale on the board as the planets in our solar system.

    Presumably, if everyone is traveling through the boards 1-2-3-4-3-2-1, then only 1 or 2 of the boards would be in play at any given time, unless a player is way ahead or behind. I'm trying to minimize the total space needed, so each board can be a decent size... I guess if someone is that far ahead or behind, there could be some kind of "pace lap" thing, to keep it within 2 boards.

    kodarr
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    2 boards

    if someone gets to a 3rd board away from others those that are more than 1 board behind get pushed to the bottom of the second board gaining a lost in space card that is worth negative points in the end of the game.

    Grudunza
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    Yes, but...

    kodarr wrote:
    if someone gets to a 3rd board away from others those that are more than 1 board behind get pushed to the bottom of the second board gaining a lost in space card that is worth negative points in the end of the game.

    Yeah, that's what I was thinking, too... something along those lines to help keep everybody within the same board or two.

    The thing is, though... I'm not sure about the negative points thing, because I'm not crazy about the idea of VPs for a race game. To me, a race is a race; if you win the race, you should win the game. I can accept the winning condition in a race game like Jamaica because it's about pirates and they would probably be happier having grabbed more gold and treasure than from actually winning the race... But ideally, I'd rather keep this one as a more straightforward "1st place wins" kind of thing.

    Perhaps, if that situation arises where someone would be on a 3rd board (2 boards behind the leader), they are given some kind of card that indicates a handicap (lose a turn, etc.), which they have to play at some point before ending the race. Each board could be broken down into certain "legs", so if you were two legs from finishing that board when another player got to the second board ahead of you, you would have to take two of those negative event cards.

    Then again, I suppose that if VPs could make sense, thematically, then I could go for that. For example, if your race team develops more technology during the game that will end up benefiting mankind more once they return to Earth, then that would seem to be more of a long-term "victory" than having finished first. And maybe the more battles and predicaments you were in are worth something, because you'll have the best stories to sell to the media. Hmm yeah, that kind of thing could make it more interesting, whereby you can play the game a few different ways, to win the race, as a civ-builder of sorts, or as a space battle adventure game.

    kodarr
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    Elimination?

    I forget what racing game it was but it had similar thing but without vps it was post apocolyptic racing. When someone lagged behind 2 boards they were simply removed from the race and eliminated from the game. You could do this which would add some strategy that someone could shoot for speeding through rather than grabbing tech upgrades to see if they can beat out the opposition.
    Almost like in RTS games where you have people that rush the other team before the other team builds up. That might pose as interesting. So you might be able to win before anyone even reaches earth by speeding by.
    Of course upgrades will probably increase speed too.

    MatthewF
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    It could be easily kept to

    It could be easily kept to one board by racing for position. Finishing positions on the first board, where everyone starts even, determines uneven starting positions on the second board, which determines positions for the third board, which determines positions for the fourth board.

    Dex1138
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    kodarr wrote:I forget what

    kodarr wrote:
    I forget what racing game it was but it had similar thing but without vps it was post apocolyptic racing. When someone lagged behind 2 boards they were simply removed from the race and eliminated from the game.

    That would be one of my favorites, Thunder Road
    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/804

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