Saturday, March 16, 2013

Custom Gloom Card Box Part 2

Finished my box up today and have the photos to show (almost) start to finish.  I say almost because I did not take photos of the box before I got the wood burner out.  So I took the before photo from the Hobby Lobby website (same box because I bought it from Hobby Lobby).  The photo from their online store shows 3 boxes.  The one I bought is the middle box, with these dimensions:

Medium: 6" x 4 3/8" x 3 1/2"

Another note about the boxes on the Hobby Lobby website - they state they cannot break the boxes up.  This might be an online only issue, because they did not have the boxes in sets at the store, you could only buy them individually.

So the first step I took was to make a template of the Gloom logo.  If you are not familiar with the game, I will provide a review in the upcoming week or so.  The game is published by Atlas Games and has had 2 incarnations - regular Gloom with 3 expansions and Cthulhu Gloom with 1 expansion.  All of the card sets are compatible with each other, you just need to have one of the core boxes. 

I printed this image out on card stock, then used a swivel pen knife to cut out the letters.  My template wasn't perfect, but this wasn't going for perfection.  I wanted the unique antique sort of look - something you might find in the attic.  After I cut out the letters, I set the template to the side and took the hardware off the box.

The box without hardware and with the template resting on top.

With the box disassembled, I used a template to sketch the Gloom logo on the box top.

Next it was time to break out the wood burner.  I considered just painting the logo, but that didn't feel right.  Burning, yes, burning the box felt right for Gloom.

Wood burner gets HOT!  While the wood burner was warming up, I took measurements of the interior of the box and made a pattern to cut out my felt sections (2 sections, 1 for top, 1 for bottom, but used the same template for both).

I prefit the felt after I cut it out.  There was a little lip at the top that I knew I would have to trim, so the first shot with the pattern worked as planned.

Just a note here, if I were going to make another one of these, I would try cutting these out in sections.  The single felt piece looks good, but there were some issues when laying it in with the glue.  Speaking of which, I used the Elmer's Spray Adhesive, and I do not plan to use it for anything like this again.  The can puts out a LOT of spray, kicking a lot of adhesive in the air.  Also, I think brushing the adhesive on would be better if I made another.

Now that is jumping ahead a bit, so back to where we are.  The wood burner got to the right temperature (we have a multi temp wood burner) and I took my first foray into using a wood burner.  I used a practice piece of wood first, just to see how it worked.  I proceeded to burn the Gloom logo into the box lid.

I was pretty happy with how this turned out.  And with the logo burned in, it was time to start the staining process.  I went with 2 coats for the exterior and 1 coat for the interior using Minwax Tudor Satin polyshade.  This is the same stuff some people use for sealing and shading miniatures (also the same reason I have it).

After the stain had dried for a bit over 24 hours, I took a very fine sandpaper and went over the exterior of the box.  If you feel the stain when it dries, you get little bumps and rough places.  Going over lightly with very fine sandpaper gets rid of these and gives the box a smooth finish.  Then a damp paper towel to get any of the sanded stain cleaned up.

Next up was lining the interior with felt.  Yeah, back to that spray adhesive.  Never again for something like this.  I could see some use if I were interested in trapping flies or spiders, but hobby projects?  No thank you.  So the first step is to tape off the box.  I used a wide 2-3" painter's tape and taped off both top and bottom at the same time.

This worked well as it provided a good lip for using spray adhesive.  I didn't take photos of the steps where I applied the felt due to the whole adhesive thing.  I applied the adhesive, let it dry for 24 hours, then trimmed the felt.  The last step was putting the hardware back on, which took all of 5 minutes.  Here is how everything turned out.

I've got room for maybe 1 more expansion if they release it.  I would have liked to have a larger box, but this was the largest they had in stock at Hobby Lobby.  But the lessons I've learned through this project will help me out if I need to expand it.

I think my next project of this nature might be etching an acrylic box for my Netrunner cards.  But I'll have to do some thinking on that first.

Also, thanks to my wonderful wife for her assistance during portions of this project.  She was an invaluable help!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Custom Gloom Card Box Part 1

I stumbled across a thread on a couple of weeks back, wherein a poster was asking for input regarding the Gloom family of card games.  Another posted the link to the Tabletop web show where Wil Wheaton and crew played Gloom.  I was enamored with it instantly and needed to add it to my gaming collection.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, the whole stable of Gloom and Cthulhu Gloom reside in my possession.  But there are just too many cards to keep them in the original boxes, so what to do what to do.  After a couple of trips to the local Hobby Lobby, I have a pine wood box that fits the cards quite well, some cranberry colored felt to line the box, and project "Custom Gloom Card Box" is a go!

Tonight I disassembled the box and hardware, then took the wood burner and burned the Gloom logo onto the top of the box.  So far, it looks pretty good.  I hope to have time to post the in-progress photos tomorrow.  I already have some Minwax Ebony stain, which is the steps that will start tomorrow.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Saw this on another blog today and decided to take the quiz while waiting for a report to generate at work.  Looks about right:

You Scored as Butt-Kicker
You like a streightforward combat character. After a long day at the office, you want to clobber foes and once more prove your superiority over all who would challenge you.
Method Actor
Power Gamer
Casual Gamer

Thursday, March 7, 2013

RPG review - The Ultimate Vehicle

The Ultimate Vehicle

Game Type:  Roleplaying Game
Author:  Bob Greenwade & Steve Long
Publisher:  DOJ dba Hero Games
Medium:  8.5” x 11” paperback, 230 pages
Price:  $24.99

The Ultimate Vehicle is Hero Games fourth printed publication in the Ultimate line-up, though it is the second for Hero 5th Edition.  The first foray was The Ultimate Martial Artist for Hero 4th Edition.  The second publication was The Ultimate Mentalist, again for Hero 4th Edition.  Third was The Ultimate Super-Mage, a pdf only sourcebook, and once again, written for Hero 4th Edition.  I loved the books for Hero 4th Edition, still actually having my copies on my bookshelf (even the copy of The Ultimate Super-Mage I printed on my home printer).  When Hero 5th Edition came out, I eagerly anticipated the return of the Ultimate books.  After the publication of The Ultimate Martial Artist for Hero 5th Edition, I was ecstatic.  The martial arts and combat system for Hero has always been one of my favorite bits, so the return of The Ultimate Martial Artist was a godsend.  When I heard the next book in the Ultimate line-up was going to be The Ultimate Vehicle (hereafter referred to as UV), I was baffled.  Why do a book on vehicles when so many areas could use it more?
After getting into UV, my understanding was broadened as to why.  The 4th Edition books focused more on the super-hero genre, largely due to the fact that the driving genre behind Hero 4th Edition was Champions, the superhero setting.  While Champions is still a large factor for Hero 5th Edition, the current approach to the game appears to be trying to reach a broader spectrum.  And this is one area where UV shines.
So what is The Ultimate Vehicle?  Is it a guide to building vehicles in Hero 5th Edition in any genre?  Yes, and more.  The Ultimate Vehicle gives you rules, guidelines, and concepts for building vehicles that range from bicycles to living spaceships, from jets to cars, from boats to Mechs.  In addition to the guidelines for construction, The Ultimate Vehicle also gives additional rules for dog-fighting and car chases.  While the book does include new rules, these rules are designed to fit in with the standard Hero 5Th Edition rules.  They integrate, rather than separate into a different rules set.
Chapter 1 is a 28 page discussion of general vehicle creation rules for Hero.  The discussion covers whether or not a vehicle is a vehicle or a character, what kinds of skills, characteristics, talents, powers, power advantages and power limitations.   The chapter discusses some disadvantages for vehicles as well.  Included is an expanded size table covers all the way up to monstrosity-sized vehicles.  All in all, this is a very crunchy chapter.
Chapters 2 through 6 cover different types of vehicles over a total of 76 pages.  Chapter 2 covers ground vehicles, 3 is water vehicles, 4 is air vehicles, 5 is space vehicles, and 6 is mechs.  Each chapter begins with a discussion of different types of locomotion used for the vehicles, along with factors of real world physics and other vehicle basics.  The discussion includes different components of the vehicles, such as engines & engine types, rudders, sails, wheels, and so forth.  Each chapter ends with a sampling of vehicles for that ground type.
Here is a brief idea of what kinds of vehicles are given in the samples for each chapter.  Chapter 2 gives write-ups for 16 vehicles, ranging from ancient chariots to modern-day sports cars to sci-fi cybertanks.  Chapter 3 gives write-ups for 10 watercraft, ranging from a rowboat to an aircraft carrier to a nuclear submarine.  Chapter 4 gives write-ups for 12 aircraft, ranging from a flying carpet to an Apache attack helicopter to a flying powered armor suit.  Chapter 5 gives write-ups for 8 space vehicles, ranging from a space yacht to a military space cruiser to a time machine.  Chapter 6 gives write-ups for 4 different mechs; a small sleek mech, to an animal mech, to a transforming mech, to a combining mech.
Chapter 7, in a fashion similar to the Until Powers Database, provides 52 pages of discussion on vehicle equipment along with pre-made equipment write-ups for vehicles.  The chapter begins with a general discussion on vehicle equipment.  The meat of the chapter is the equipment, which is broken down into sections and subsections, with each subsection giving a discussion of the particular type of item.  The major sections are weapons, defenses, movement systems, personnel systems, power systems, sensors/communications, and miscellaneous equipment.
To get an idea of what kind of equipment is provided, here are some samples of the subsections from the major sections of Chapter 7.  Weapons discusses beam weapons, anti-personnel weapons, bombs, cannons, electronic warfare, guns, incendiary weapons, mech weapons, rockets, torpedoes, and more.  Defenses discusses armor, disguise systems, electronic counter-measures, force fields, point defense systems, security systems (including a brig), smoke, stealth, protections for individual subsystems, and more.  Movement systems covers things such as autopilot systems, improved fuels, offroad suspensions, and more.  Personnel systems include life support, medical, gravity, teleporters (transporters anyone), and more.  Power systems discuss external power sources (such as carts being pulled by horses), using END reserves, and other real-world and sci-fi or fantasy power supplies.  Sensors/Communications discusses various sensor-related systems such as 360 degree sensors, bug sweepers (to detect homing devices), computers, radar, probes, global positioning systems, sonar, and more.  Items covered in miscellaneous equipment are things such as ejection seats, laboratories, signaling devices, elevators, and more.
Chapter 8, covering combat and other activities, is the second longest chapter in the book at 48 pages.  This chapter provides some new rules which integrate into the existing Hero 5th Edition rules.  There is much discussion given to showing how vehicles are handled in the existing rules, only adding new rules to provide additional nuances and flavor.  Essentially, combat treats the vehicles as characters, with the limitations that vehicles have.  An example of a new rule is the character damage table, a tool used to add a cinematic feel to a game, adding a risk of minimal injury to a character to help emulate the risks of being in a vehicle during combat.
There are quite a few pages in Chapter 8 dedicated to hit location and damage effect tables. Not every vehicle type gets a damage effect table, but they all get a hit location table.  Some types get more than one.  The hit location tables provided are for aircraft, cars, boats, buses, motorcycles, helicopters, mechs, naval ships, starships, submarines, and tanks.  Each of these has a different hit location table.  Damage effects on vehicle powers, such as movement rates and such, is also discussed.  Rules for chases are given as well.  While these are designed primarily for vehicle chases, they could also be used for non-vehicular chases.  One bit from the chase section that will make it into many other games I run are the random event, the random road generator table, and the random hazard/obstacle table.  Further discussion includes such things as non-mapped vehicular combat, stunts, and dog-fighting.
Chapter 9 is the shortest chapter weighing in at 8 pages. This chapter discusses creating characters based around vehicles, in regard to skills, talents, perquisites, and even buying a vehicle. While this chapter is only 8 pages, it is also the one which is most pertinent to the players of a Hero System game.
Hero Games continues the tradition they are setting in their new releases with a thorough Table of Contents and an extensive Index in the back.  Since the rebirth of Hero Games, they have truly been outdoing the rest of the industry with their reference sections.
Overall, the art is average.  This is, of course, extremely subjective.  What is not subjective is that the art throughout the book is pertinent to the discussion at hand.  While I am not a fan of some of the pieces, they do fit in with the section being discussed at hand.
Though I really like this book, there are a few small issues I have.  First is a clumsy cludging together of a concept and a word in the ground, air, and water craft sections.  The section titles are [type] Vehicle Everyvehicle Equipment.  While this is a play on the concept of Everyman skills, the phrasing of Air Vehicle Everyvehicle Equipment is awkward.  The second issue is the references to other sourcebooks.  For example, in Chapter 1, in the discussion of living vehicles, you are referred to a section in Star Hero or the Bestiary for rules on large characters.  This information was printed in two other books, so it would seem that reprinting it here would not be a problem.  Since I have both other books, this isn’t a problem for me, but it could be for others.  Again, these are small issues.
I really like this book, but feel it is more of a GM book than something players would use.  This is not intended as a negative statement against the book.  The book feels like it is geared more toward a heroic level game rather than a superheroic game.  In my experience, the equipment in heroic level games is normally built by the GM rather than players.   As such, if you are a player in a heroic level game, definitely check with your GM about whether you are allowed to scratch build the vehicles for your characters.  However, I feel it is a great tool for a GM if you plan to have much vehicular activity in your games.

Playability: **** (very easy to pull in and use in a game)
Game Mechanics: ***** (does not introduce new mechanics, but uses Hero mechanics well)
Character Creation & Advancement: *** (creation focuses on vehicles, but covers it well)
Presentation: **** (entertaining to read, well laid-out, excellent reference sections)

Originally written 6/26/2003

Boardgame review - Steam Tunnel

Steam Tunnel

Game Type:  Card Game for 2-5 players
Designer:  James Ernest
Publisher:  Cheapass Games
Medium:  black and white card-stock
Price:  $4.00

            Steam Tunnel is a member of  the Hip Pocket Game line from Cheapass Games.  Designed to be inexpensive games that are easily portable, this game succeeds in that aspect.  For your $4.00, you get 48 cards and a rulebook that is smaller than an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper folded in quarters.  The decoration on the cards is sparse, consisting of a tunnels on one side with a gray background on the back.  The tunnel side has  a glossy finish and the gray side is cardstock.
The goal of Steam Tunnel is to capture as many tunnels as possible.  There are 4 cards that are start points for tunnels.  These are played face up.  The remaining cards are played face down in a 6 by 6 grid.  The start cards are placed in the 2nd row 2nd column position from each corner.  You play the game by flipping a card, then placing a token to ‘capture’ a portion of a revealed tunnel.  The restriction here is that you cannot capture part of a completed tunnel.
When all cards have been turned, you tally up points.  Each start position has a number in it.  You determine who controls a tunnel by the number of tokens a player has in the tunnel.  The person with the most controls the tunnel.  A tie is a tie, in which case points for the tunnel are split.  You add up the number of points in the start position(s), multiply this by the number of sections in the tunnel, and that is the value of the tunnel.  It is easy for one tunnel to win the game if it is extremely long with multiple start positions.
However, the game is not without problems.  Due to the way turns work, in a 2 or 4 player game, the 2nd or 4th player, respectively, starts off with a disadvantage.  Since you cannot place a token in a closed tunnel, but you flip a card at the start of your turn, the 2nd or 4th player ends up not getting to place a token in their final turn.
Worse than this skewing of advantage, tallying the tunnels and points at the end of the round is a headache.  While not difficult, you do need to keep track of which start positions have already been accounted for.  I used a token to cover any start positions that connected to each other so tunnels were not counted multiple times.  All in all, this part made the game less fun that it could be.  Plus, the multiplication means the game isn’t for young children.
            The question of whether the game is worth $4.00 is up to you, but I would much rather spend the money to pick up one of the other Cheapass Games.

Playability: **
Game Mechanics: **
Presentation: **

Originally written 3/17/2003

RPG review - Star Hero

Star Hero

Game Type:  Roleplaying Game
Author:  James Cambias & Steve Long
Publisher:  DOJ dba Hero Games
Medium:  8.5” x 11” paperback, 322 pages (plus 4 additional pages for notes)
Price:  $29.99

            Star Hero is the latest offering from Hero Games.  It is a journey back to the science fiction genre for the multi-genre game, Hero System Fifth Edition.  This is the second time Star Hero has been released, but this edition is not a rehash of the previous edition.  This edition has more than twice the pages of the previous edition, and well more than twice the information to assist a game master in running a Star Hero game.
            So what is the purpose of this book?  This book is designed to be used as a tool for the game master wishing to run a Star Hero game.  While the book will be a great assist for the game master, it is also useful for the players.  The discussion of different genre of science fiction can help a player get their mind around the campaign the game master is running.  The discussion of powers, equipment, vehicles, skills, disadvantages, races, and other factors can also help spur the ideas of the players and the game master.
            As the other Hero Games releases since the release of Hero System Fifth Edition, the book hosts a good table of contents and an excellent index.  Between these two sections are an introduction, twelve chapters, and an extensive bibliography.  Over one hundred sources are cited in the bibliography.
            Chapter One despite being the shortest chapter in the book, is chock full of information.  This chapter discusses different genres of science fiction, ranging from apocalyptic games to utopias.  The book gives a brief discourse on the typical ideas behind the campaigns in the genre, as well as providing guidance on the what kind of  power levels the characters are typically built on in the genre.  In addition to the genres, this chapter also discusses different elements which appear in science fiction, though not all appear in the same campaigns.  Ranging from aliens to the concept of travel and exploration, further ideas are touched upon to help the game master decide what fits in his campaign, referring to later chapters in the book for more details on handling these tropes in Star Hero.  Also discussed is the inclusion of meta-genres such as mystery, comedy, and romance.  Chapter One rounds out with a discussion of crossing genres, such as a Champions Star Hero campaign, or a Fantasy Star Hero campaign.
            Chapter Two is the one many players will spend time pouring over, examining all of the crunchy bits of character creation goodness.  The chapter provides many different packages, including racial, professional, cultural, environmental, and size/weight.  There are enough of these to fill the first seventeen pages of the chapter.  Chapter Two goes on to discuss stats and skills, including a martial art called “Energy Blade Fencing,” also known as light saber dueling.  The chapter also covers uses of perks, talents, powers, advantages, and disadvantages.
            Chapters Three, Four, and Five all discuss the setting of Star Hero.  Not a particular campaign setting, but the universe itself.  Chapter Three covers galaxies and stars, including some good scientific information to lend credibility to your campaign creations if you don’t have an astronomy background.  Chapter Four goes over planetary systems, providing enough material to create somewhat realistically plausible planets.  The chapter rounds out discusses other stellar bodies such as asteroids, comets, space stations, and Dyson Spheres.  Chapter Five takes a narrower focus and looks at our solar system.  Facts about the planets and other features in our solar system are discussed, providing more detail to allow a non-interstellar game.
            Chapter Six moves the focus back toward the game master, though if players are allowed more free reign in character creation, this is certainly a very usable chapter by them.  This chapter covers civilizations, both alien and future.  The chapter also discusses creating alien species and civilizations, ranging from how to build alien features to building package deals.  Further discussion covers the systems behind the scenes in the alien civilizations, such as forms of government, economics, and culture.
            Chapter Seven is about technology in science fiction.  The chapter opens with a discourse on tech levels, providing the game master with an idea on how to create his own scale of tech levels without dictating a set scale for Star Hero.  The chapter goes on to discuss different weapon and defense systems, including building them in Hero System Fifth Edition terms.  Included in the weapons is the light saber, to go along with the light saber dueling martial art in Chapter Two.  A wide variety of weapons and defenses are discussed and provided.  But the chapter doesn’t just focus on combat; the chapter goes on to cover other areas of technology such as computers, cyberspace, robots, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and others.  One of the more useful bits of the chapter comes in the last two pages, where tips are provided for the game master on how to determine the ‘in-game’ price of items.
            Chapter Eight moves into the realm of vehicles.  The chapter discusses in great length the design and building of vehicles, focusing initially on spacecraft.  Weapons systems, defense systems, and a many other considerations in spacecraft design are discussed.  The chapter moves on to cover ground based vehicles, mecha, and space stations.  Next is a space combat system in Hero System Fifth Edition terms, including options for realistic and dramatic movement of ships.  Chapter Eight rounds out the following example vehicles: three spacecraft, one mech, and two space stations.
Chapter Nine considers the concepts of time travel and the ways to work it into campaigns.  The chapter helps the game master consider the types of time travel, as well as the implications of time travel.  Discussion is also given to campaigns based around time travel.
Chapter Ten is all about the mind, psionics that is.  From the initial considerations of how powerful should psionics be, to the ramifications of a psionics society, this chapter covers it.  Various powers that are attributed to psionics are discussed, as well as setting psionics in frameworks.  Psionic campaigns and different campaign types for psionics are also covered.  The chapter rounds out with an example campaign setting for psionics in a Terran Empire, providing a good framework for considerations on including psionics in your own campaign.
Chapter Eleven is primarily the game master chapter, simply because it is about creating and running a Star Hero campaign.  While the other chapters provide a wide basis of information and tools, this chapter helps the game master bring all of it into a cohesive ball.  Further discussion is given to the subgenres, themes, and setting.  Guidance on plotting out storylines is given, along with a random plot generator for the times when writer’s block is manifesting.  Tips are given on handling potential issues in the game, as well as using a character’s disadvantages to enhance and bring life to the game.  The chapter also gives more detail on the effects of the environment in Star Hero.  Ranging from gravity levels and how it affects encumbrance to the effects of vacuum on living tissue, the potential hazards of a Star Hero game are discussed.  The chapter winds up with a discussion on villains and nonplayer characters.  Plot hooks and motivation templates are provided to help bring the secondary cast of the game to life.
Chapter Twelve is the least generic of the chapters, but that is because it provides a group of heroes and villains as an example.  The setting is the Terran Empire, which is in a sourcebook that has yet to be released.  Five heroes are provided as well as five villains.  The chapter rounds out with a few generic nonplayer characters: a doctor, a merchant, a scientist, and a security officer.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the art.  The cover is the first thing you will notice about this book, and the cover art is one of the best roleplaying game covers I have seen.  Jason Engle did a masterful job in capturing the scope of Star Hero in a single image.  The interior art ranges from good to excellent, with very few pieces that are below good.  The art inside captures different feels of science fiction, from pulpy sci-fi to high tech cyberspace.  The art is complementary to the material being presented, without being intrusive.
Overall, this book is an excellent resource for a Hero System game master considering running a science fiction game; or a modern to near future game as well.  While I initially thought this book was going to be strictly for the game master, I also saw a lot of usefulness for the player as well.  This book will help both the player and the game master flesh out their characters and setting.  This resource does not dictate how the setting is or works, but helps the game master and determine this on his own, with the assistance of a supporting hand.

Playability: **** (provides many different examples that may be lifted straight from the book)
Game Mechanics: ***** (uses Hero System mechanics extremely well)
Character Creation & Advancement: ***** (very well thought out guidelines, useful for both game master and player)
Setting: ** (there is not a default setting provided, with only small amounts mentioned, but the equipment could all be considered setting material)
Presentation: **** (this is a beautiful book, and enjoyable read, and an excellent resource)

Originally written 12/24/2002

Card game review - Light Speed

Light Speed

Game Type:  Card Game for 2-4 players
Designer:  Tom Jolly and James Ernest
Publisher:  Cheapass Games
Medium:  cardstock with color on one side
Price:  $5.00

Light Speed is a real-time card game of space combat.  The premise is simple, the game play is simple, and the game is almost too much fun.  The players each have 10 ships.  Each of these 10 ships are different, but each player has an identical set with the exception of the color.  In addition to the 40 ships, there are 2 asteroid cards.  The cards are on cardstock with the ships being printed in color with a glossy finish, while the back of the card is gray cardstock without a finish.  The rules come on a page slightly smaller than an 8 ½” by 11” page, folded in quarters and printed front and back.

Each ship card has the following details:  a number in the top left corner, the name of the ship beside the number, a number of health dots in the lower left corner, and a number of laser shots firing from the ship in a specific direction.  Some ships also have shields, which are represented by red lines on the border of the card.  The laser shots come in three colors, representing 3 different power levels of shots.  The colors are distinct, so there should be no confusion on which is which.

The goal is to score points by mining and destroying other ships.  You lose points by destroying your own ships.  And it is very easy to shoot your own ships.  One of my playtesters continually ended up in the negatives because he kept shooting his own ships by accident.  If the game were not real-time, you probably wouldn’t shoot your own ships, but a lot of the flavor of the game would be lost as well.

You play the game by shuffling your 10 ships face down.  You do not see which ship is next, so it is random and a surprise for you.  Once all the players are ready, someone says “Go” and the race begins.  Everyone places their ships at the same time, at whatever speed they want.  Some people will slap their ships down haphazardly just to get them all out.  Others will go the methodical route, but end up with fewer ships on the board.  The first person to place their last ship says “Stop”, and the remaining players can drop whatever ship is in hand wherever it is, or they can not play it.

Then you proceed to the scoring round.  The different laser colors do 1, 2, or 3 points of damage.  You start with the lowest number ship, and trace the lasers from it.  The first card the laser crosses, be it ship or asteroid, will be hit by the laser.  If the asteroid is hit, the ship counts as mining the asteroid for points equal to the damage of the laser.  If the laser hits a ship, it does a number of damage points to the ship.  Once all of the ships for the lowest value have fired, you removed destroyed ships and proceed to the next lowest ship value.  Continue this to the highest ship value on the board.  Higher value ships tend to be stronger, but might not be around if they get shot by smaller ships before their turn.  Whoever does the most damage points to a ship collects the ship for points.  Then you tally up points from mining and ship destroying to determine who wins the round.

All in all, this game is a blast to play.  It is simple, quick, and fun.  The ease of the rules makes it a game children can play as well.  Just be sure they don’t eat whatever you use as damage tokens.  This game is a great game to get out and play while waiting for the rest of the group to show up, or in those times where you don’t have anything scheduled, or anytime you just want to play a quick, fun game.  I highly recommend this game, and for the price, you cannot go wrong.

Playability: ***** (great fun to play and easy to pick up and get going)
Game Mechanics: ***** (very easy to learn and simple to play)
Presentation: ***** (simple, efficient, and very well done)

Originally written 3/17/2003