Race to the Moons

Race to the Moons
1-4 Players - 90-120 minutes
Availability: The Game Crafter
Status: Pitching
July 2016 - 24 Hour Contest Entry - WINNER
June 2017 - The Game Crafter Big Box Challenge - Semi-Finalist

Protospiel Tested

The year is 2169 and mankind has pretty much filled up the Earth.  It has been 200 years since man first set foot on the Moon.  Now there are cities on the Moon and Mars, and mining communities in the asteroid belt.  But our Solar System is just the beginning.  It might be home, but Earth is the only truly hospitable planet nearby.  However, recent breakthroughs in warp travel mean that interstellar voyages are finally a reality.

There are several extrasolar systems that have been discovered to have planets and moons which appear to be very Earthlike, and likely hospitable.  The nearest of these is in the Gamma Leporis tri-star system, 29 light years away from Earth.  A series of moons orbiting a gas giant named Yutu show breathable atmospheres, tolerable radiation levels, reasonable temperatures, liquid water, and plenty of land.  Now, the race is on.  Terran, Lunar, Martian, and Belter organizations are competing to be the first to send humans to one of these habitable moons and establish a permanent human colony.  It will take research, determination, and a bit of luck to be the first to arrive.  Do you have what it takes to drive the next great space triumph and win the Race to the Moons?

Race to the Moons is a worker placement game where 2-5 players (solo variant included) are working to research the technology needed to complete an interstellar mission and be the first to found a human colony on a moon system around a gas planet in another solar system.  Players must research four technologies that affect four parts of the mission: Launch, Journey, Arrival & Landing, and Colonization.  Players must also work on building ships, building facilities (research, factories, launch stations, and more), managing money, and improving public opinion.  Players must successfully build and launch ships, develop technology, have a successful journey, arrive at the destination, and set up a successful colony to earn enough points to beat the competition.

2/7/2017 - I played the game solo for the first time, finally, and made some adjustments to the solo game to make it a bit more intuitive.  I also updated the game board with some solo play indicators as well as fixed a few typos I found.

6/5/2017 - It's been a while since I added any updates, but I've continued to develop Race to the Moons and just entered the contest into The Game Crafter's Big Box Challenge contest.  Since my last update I've done a lot of playtesting and have made a lot of changes to the game, some pretty significant.

  • Research Labs went through a number of tweaks, adjusting the number of research tracks, operations costs, and length of research tracks.  I've settled on each research lab having three tracks, but higher levels have fewer spaces in each track.  This gives a good balance between cost of the labs, flexibility in conducting research, and good speed for developing technology.
  • Factories have also gone through several changes, namely what they can produce besides just rockets.  Originally factories could be used just to earn money, but I added resources to the game, and now factories can produce resources that can be sold for cash or saved for future use.  Factories also now allow up to three workers per production line.  This ensures that factories are flexible and rockets can be built quickly.
  • I added several new facilities that can be built.  Credit Unions allow players to user workers to increase income or decrease income to gain immediate cash.  Drone Workshops let players build research drones that go out on quick missions, adding to research value and helping gain technology.  These help provide more options for gaining income and technology, speeding up the game and providing additional strategic paths to victory.
  • Technology gains now also boost popularity at certain levels.  And at levels 5 and 8 players can gain Proprietary Tech Certificates that are worth points.  These also allow players to license technology from other players.  Essentially allowing players to purchase technology if they choose an economic strategy.
  • Each player now has 12 workers available.  Income and Popularity tracks have been extended.  The player boards also have been expanded to track resources.  Resources can be produced in factories or by investing and are used to increase tech rolls or to keep a rocket at certain locations in the mission.
  • When investing players can choose to invest financially (gaining money and a resource) or invest in production (forgo the financial gains and add outsource the production of a rocket, that they can purchase at a later point - the longer they wait the cheaper the rockets will be).
  • The mission track on the main board has been enhanced.  Each mission location has a higher value needed in a tech roll for success.  Rockets will not just progres automatically through the mission.  There are two spaces where rockets can stop.  These spaces require a Mission Control action (formerly Launch Rocket) to proceed.  Resources must be spent to keep rockets at these locations.  This means players can launch rockets earlier and keep them at certain locations until they develop the technology to proceed.  This means that the first player to launch isn't necessarily the first to colonize.  Rewards and penalties at each mission stage have been tweaked and adjusted.  There is also a new mission stage - Arrival and Landing are now two separate stages.
  • Debt has been eliminated.  Now if a debt is owed facilities must be sold to compensate, however players can sell facilities to the bank or to opponents.
  • When playing with 2 players one space will have it's first user bonus blocked.
  • A solo variant has been added.
  • A number of other tweaks have been made for balancing and efficiency.
I haven't tested the game with the alternate abilities yet, but I have tweaked them a bit to support the other changes made.  I also haven't fully tested the solo variant yet, but it's showing promise.  I have tested the game with 5 players and it works great with 5.  So officially this game will eventually support 5 players, but for now it'll remain a 4 player game due to component restrictions for The Game Crafter's Big Box Challenge.  Also, each player only has 8 rockets instead of 10 due to component restrictions.  Once the contest is over I'd like to bump the rockets back up to 10 and add components to support a 5th player.

Other news include an expansion for the game that I'm working on.  This will include new technologies to research, espionage, mission events, battles with opponents, and possible alien race encounters.  I've worked on the rules for this expansion, but haven't developed any components for testing yet.  I'm also working on a stripped down dice version of Race to the Moons called Roll to the Moons.  This will be a dice drafting, roll-and-write game that incorporates the same theme and some similar mechanics, using drafted dice instead of worker placement to build rockets, develop technology, and launch missions.

1/8/2017 - I finally made the components for this and have given it a few solo playtests and one full 3 player game playtest with my family and I'm happy to say that the game went very well!  I did make a few adjustments, but overall it felt very solid and had a great flow.  I adjusted how many workers could be placed on Upgrade Facilities, the cost for Publicity Campaign, the monetary rewards for Raise Funds, made Invest require you to place all remaining workers here, and added an alternate action for Launch Rocket that lets you purchase Save the Day tokens if you have already launched rockets.  I also slightly tweaked some of the penalties for failed dice rolls, added the ability for players to buy the first player token from each other at the end of the round, and cleaned up a number of minor items in the general rules.  I also added in support for special faction abilities on the reverse sides of the player mats.  This allows for each faction to have different starting abilities if players want to try different strategies.  I haven't playtested this yet.  I'm also considering bumping up the player count to 5 (although I'd need more components).

PnP Files:

Game Box Bottom

Game Box Top

Factory - Level 3

Research Lab - Level 2

Launch Station - Level 3

Credit Union

A card back.

A card back.

Drone Workshop

Card Back

Production Outsourcing Card

First Player Card

Game Board

North American Alliance special action.

Lunar Research Conglomerate special action

Proprietary Tech Certificate

Proprietary Tech Certificate

Standard Player Board - Martian Free Business Coalition

Alternate Player Board - Asteroid Developers Union

Reference Board

Old Images

Original Game Board

Second draft player mat.

Original factory
Original Launch Station

Original Research Lab
Original Player Board

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