Thursday, April 19, 2007

Blockade Runner (formerly Kessel Run)

I discussed the Kessel Run idea at length with a friend of mine, Boyan Radakavich, who then proceeded to build a prototype and fill out some more specifics of the game. We now have a working game which is called Blockade Runner.

In the world of Blockade Runner, the ominous Empire has imposed a blockade on one of the systems within its borders because the governing planet in that system (which for now we'll call Kessel) was "out of line" politically. Imperial Gunships patrol the borders of the system, and merchants are forbidden by law to trade with any planet in the system.

As rogue merchants, the players have broken through the blockade, and are trading their way to Kessel. An Imperial Gunship is on their tail, and if they can make it back to the Blockade without getting caught then the player who's earned the most Prestige on the Blockade Run will be the winner!

The blockaded system is made up of 10 planets and Kessel. To get from the Blockade to Kessel and back, players pass by 5 planets in each direction, making a loop - they can't go back the way they came, because there's an imperial Gunship after them! 5 of the planets are smaller, uncivilized planets which won't trade with the players. The the other 5 are civilized and will trade for the resources players can deliver.

The game is played in a series of rounds, each round containing 5 phases. Each phase is played simultaneously, so game play can be fast - games take 15-30 minutes depending on the number of players. In each round players first allocate 2 of their resource cards (if they don't have enough resource cards, they use Bluff cards to hide their intentions) to each section of their ship - Engines, Tactics, Bridge, and Cargo. Then, each of those sections is used to Move, Fight, Earn Prestige, and Trade (respectively).

When a player (or players) finish the round at the Blockade then the game is over. The players who return to the Blockade earn bonus Prestige, and players who didn't lose some prestige, and the player with the most Prestige wins.

The game is not as deep or epic as I'd originally hoped, but it is tight and quick playing. We're going to enter Blockade Runner into a game design contest in Italy, and if it wins, DaVinci games will actually produce 100 copies of it, and offer us a contract to publish the game.

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