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In 1999, Dr Reiner Knizia designed a classic game about a classic train. Now, with A+ illustrator Ian O'Toole, we're bringing it back!
In 1999, Dr Reiner Knizia designed a classic game about a classic train. Now, with A+ illustrator Ian O'Toole, we're bringing it back!
1,247 backers pledged AU$ 98,815 to help bring this project to life.

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Stephenson's Rocket - The classic board game returns! project video thumbnail
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AU$ 98,815

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On September 15, 1830, the age of the railroad began with the opening of the first line between Liverpool and Manchester. The locomotive that ruled those rails was George Stephenson’s Rocket. With a top speed of 45km/h (28mph) Rocket, was the most advanced engine of the day, and its arrival marked the beginning of the modern railway.

In Stephenson’s Rocket, players take on the role of rail barons in 1830s England. By investing in the various new rail lines, transporting passengers, and building up the local industries, players will vie for the honor of becoming the most prestigious rail baron in the early days of the steam locomotive.

 

  

Stephenson's Rocket is considered by many board gamers as one of Dr Reiner Knizia's great games. However, unlike his other greatest hits (Tigris & Euphrates, Ra, Medici, Lost Cities, and Samurai, for example,) Rocket has never been reprinted since its original release in 1999.

The fact that it remains in the top 950 board games as ranked on BGG, despite it not being available in stores for 18 years, can be seen as a testament to its high regard and fantastic game play.

But tastes have changed in 18 years, and that's where we and artist Ian O'Toole come in. Grail Games is flattered and excited to present an all-new edition of this classic game. Please help us make it a reality!

What has changed?

For those who know and love the original edition of Rocket, here is a brief outline of what has changed for the new edition. Please ask questions if you would like further clarifications...

  • Updated and improved artwork and components (see What Will I Receive and Stretch Goals, below).
  • Shares are no longer recorded with cards, but player pieces on tracks.
  • Paper money is no longer in the game, instead, players track their score as points on the Prestige track.
  • City tokens are no longer in the game, instead, players track what industries they have invested in using a chart on the board itself.
  • An all-new USA map has been designed by Dr Knizia and will be included in all Kickstarter copies of the game!

For the reasons why these changes were made, stay tuned to our regularly posted updates...

 

Stephenson's Rocket does many things in its relatively short and straight-forward game play: it is a tile-laying game, a route-building game, a set-collection game, and a bidding game - all in one.

In brief: The game is about the early years of competing rail roads in 1830's England. There are seven different rail companies that players can expand. Each time you extend a rail, the other stockholders can veto your action, but it might cost them their shares. When two companies' rail lines touch, the railways merge to become one. The game is over when only one company remains or there are no rail tiles remaining, and the winner is the player who earned the most Prestige as a rail investor over the course of the game.

Watch this how to play video to get an idea of how the game works (using the original version):

>> Benjamin blabs about Stephenson's Rocket in 15 minutes

And feel free to download the draft rule book by clicking on the image below!

 

 

     

Each copy of the game will come with the following components:

  • 1x game board (560 x 840mm) ...double-sided! (see below)
  • 1x rule book
  • 7x locomotives (wooden, as well as plastic minis UNLOCKED!) so you can choose your preference
  • 60x double-sided track tiles
  • 12x city indicator cubes
  • 9x passenger pawns UPGRADE UNLOCKED!
  • 28x wooden stations (in 4 player colors)
  • 36x wooden industry cubes (in 4 player colors)
  • 32x wooden player markers (in 4 player colors)
  • 4x player aids UNLOCKED!
  • 6x "X" signs UNLOCKED
  • 12x Connector (switch) tiles to show merged rail lines UNLOCKED!
  • And more should we unlock future stretch goals!

... All inside a sturdy, 2-piece cardboard box (300 x 300 x 67mm)

A render of what we plan the game to look like.
A render of what we plan the game to look like.

Special bonus for all Kickstarter backers!

As a special thank you to all our backers, every copy pledged for during this campaign will come with a double-sided board, featuring the all-new Eastern USA map! This map brings a new feel to the game, without changing any of the core rules.

In the future, this map will only be available to purchase as a separate expansion board.

The new England map (art not final)
The new England map (art not final)
The ALL-NEW eastern USA map (art not final)
The ALL-NEW eastern USA map (art not final)

UPDATE: Should we reach our final stretch goal (see below), all backers will receive a THIRD map - Eastern China! The artwork is being finalised now, but here is a draft...

Up close on the USA map
Up close on the USA map

As an example of how stretch goals will improve the components, on the left is an example of the wooden locomotive from the earlier edition of Rocket. On the right is the upgraded plastic mini we hope to put in the game in its stead..

Wooden train photo by Matt Robertson (Bixby on BGG). Mini will have a 30 mm base.
Wooden train photo by Matt Robertson (Bixby on BGG). Mini will have a 30 mm base.

BUT please see updates 6 and 7 for info on why our train minis will now look more like this...

And here is a render of the game in action on the USA map, with some of the components we hope to unock via stretch goals (better passenger pawns - "period" men and women - and "X" signs, for example)...

 

With your support, we hope to reach these over-funding goals which will help us make the game even better for you! Should we finish these, we have plans for more. Stay tuned!

Thank you! All stretch goals unlocked. Here are the second level. For more info on these, please see this update.

And here's the big one...!

 

For more details on the China map, please see update 9.

Please read our updates for images and info on all these upgrades.

 

"I highly recommend this game for any group of three to four gamers willing to wrap [their] brains around a very interesting tile placement game." - Review by Derk.

"I simply love this game. I find it Knizia´s finest hour. For me it´s a brilliant piece of German board game designing." - Review by MGBM

"Out of all the Knizia games, Modern Art is the cleverest, Tigris and Euphrates is the most unique, but Stephenson's Rocket is the best “game”. It is more complete than Modern Art, and less strange and less random than Tigris and Euphrates. Stephenson's Rocket is the quintessential Knizia masterpiece." - Review by DrunkenKOALA

...And more! Click here to check out these and other reviews in full.

 

During the campaign we are happy to offer the following games that you can add-on to your pledge, simply by selecting "Manage my pledge" and increasing the dollar amount (in AUD). We will collect information from you after the campaign to be sure how many copies of each you may have added to your pledge. Thank you!

For every extra copy of Stephenson's Rocket you wish to pledge for, please increase your pledge by $70AUD (approx $55.50USD). There is not a discount for extra copies because we are already covering shipping costs.

If you are pledging at the discounted level because you also backed King's Road, you may add-on extra copies for $64AUD up to the number of copies of King's Road you pledged for.

Our new, English edition of Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road, will be available at approximately the same time as Rocket. Feel free to add-on copies of Kashgar for $46AUD each (approx $37USD).

>> For more info on the game, please visit our website or BGG!

Also, our new, English edition of Criss Cross, a new roll-and-write game from Dr Knizia, will be available at approximately the same time as Rocket. Feel free to add-on copies of Criss Cross for $16AUD each (approx $13USD).

>> For more info on the game, please visit our website or BGG!

What about extra copies of King's Road?

At this time we have a limited number of copies of King's Road available for Rocket backers. We may be able to increase the quantity later, but for now, if you would like a copy, please pledge at the ROADS and RAILS level.

>> For more info on the game, please visit our website or BGG!

 

Q: Is shipping for this game actually free?!

Well... yes and no. Worldwide shipping is certainly not free! However, we are happy to swallow this cost if it will mean getting this great game into your hands! Your pledge includes shipment to you, no matter where you live. 

>> Backers who also pledge to receive copies of our other titles will receive these in October, except for Kashgar, which should ship with Rocket.

Yes! Stephenson's Rocket will be sent to EU backers from within the EU. Should our project prove very successful, we will be able to look at shipping the game from within other territories also. Currently, all non-EU copies will be sent out from China. We have partners in the US and AU that we can call upon to fulfill the games, but to send large quantities by air is very expensive, so stay tuned...!

 

By supporting Stephenson's Rocket on Kickstarter, not only are you helping us to produce the game in the first place, but if you back now, you also receive these perks:

  • YOU WILL GET THE GAME! :)
  • PRICE! You will receive your copy of of the game at, or below, retail cost - especially considering that worldwide shipping is included in your pledge! (MSRP will be approximately $60USD/$70AUD.)
  • MAPS! The US map will not be included within the base game outside of this KS campaign (we may have a few KS copies left over that will be sold via the Grail online store or at conventions). In the future, the US map will only be available as an extra cost (if it is ever available again at all).
  • EARLY! You will receive your copy at least a few weeks prior to the game being made available to online and bricks & mortar game stores.
  • NICE! Your support will make the game better! More stretch goals means more components and a better quality.
  • AND! We are also providing copies of some other titles to backers of this campaign at a reduced price as a thank you to you! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SPECTRACKULAR SUPPORT!

  

Dr. Reiner Knizia is one of the world’s most successful and prolific game designers. More than 600 of his games and books have been published worldwide in over 50 languages and have won him numerous international awards.

Ian O'Toole is widely regarded as one of the best illustrators working in the tabletop gaming field today. Most recently, his work has adorned such games as Nemo's War, The Gallerist and Lisboa. Ian is able to turn board games into visually fluid and engaging experiences.

 

Grail Games is a card and board game publishing studio located in Sydney, Australia. Founded over three years ago, we have already run nine successful Kickstarter campaigns. We focus on reprints, and producing English language versions of great games from Asia.

Grail Games’ aim is to produce board and card games that are:

  • Family-friendly: We believe that games can strengthen friendships and families. All of our games can be enjoyed by players of a variety of ages.
  • Fast to teach: our games have clean, straight-forward rules sets to decrease the number of barriers to entry.
  • Replayable: Games blossom when they offer a variety of pathways to explore.
  • All of our games have a high Game Play Depth > Box Size ratio.

If you would like to find out more, please visit www.grailgames.com.au and/or www.grailgamesshop.com.au

 

➼ Follow Grail Games on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!  

➼ Check out Stephenson's Rocket on the Grail Games website!  

➼ Visit Stephenson's Rocket on BGG for videos, forums, photos and more!  

And feel free to show your support across social media with the following downloadable avatars:

 

 

Risks and challenges

Grail Games has already produced twelve games, all currently available in game stores around the world. Since our first Kickstarter campaign was received EARLY by backers in January 2015, we have continued to send high quality products to backers on time! We have our systems well in place and use a top manufacturer to produce and ship quality games around the world. Grail Games is beginning to forge a track record of delivering fun games with quality components… on time!

However, unforseen circumstances can hold up a project. This can happen at the point of manufacture or during shipment. Grail Games has given a time-frame for delivery of Stephenson's Rocket that we believe is certainly achievable. If anything does affect the project, backers will be kept in the loop via regular backer updates at every step of the production and shipment process.

Note that the currency conversions in the pledge level blurbs are a guide only. Currency values may fluctuate during the campaign.

Also note: Pledge levels do include all shipping costs, and backers will receive their games before retail stores, but Grail Games cannot guarantee that retailers will not sell Stephenson's Rocket at a cheaper price than Kickstarter supporters will “pay.”

Finally, Grail Games will happily send replacement copies of any game damaged in shipment to backers, etc., but if backers fail to inform Grail Games of a change in shipping address or similar, backers may be asked to pay extra costs for a replacement copy of the game.

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    Pledge AU$ 1 or more About $0.79

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    DISCOUNTED TICKET

    (Approx $50.50US or £39 or €42.50)

    Receive one (1) copy of Stephenson's Rocket - including all unlocked stretch goals - shipping costs included.

    THIS PLEDGE LEVEL IS SET ASIDE FOR BACKERS OF OUR PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN - KING'S ROAD.

    If you would like to include other titles to your pledge, see the ADD-ONS section.

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    BLAST OFF!

    (Approx $55.25US or £43 or €46.50)

    Receive one (1) copy of Stephenson's Rocket - including all unlocked stretch goals - shipping costs included.

    If you would like to include other titles to your pledge, see the ADD-ONS section.

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    ROLL 'N' RAIL

    (Approx $68US or £53 or €57)

    Receive one (1) copy of Stephenson's Rocket - including all unlocked stretch goals, AND (1) copy of Criss Cross - shipping costs included.

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    ROADS & RAILS

    (Approx $91US or £70.50 or €76.50)

    Receive one (1) copy of Stephenson's Rocket - including all unlocked stretch goals, AND (1) copy of King's Road (shipped in October) - shipping costs included.

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    Pledge AU$ 115 or more About $91

    ROADS & RAILS #2

    (Approx $91US or £70.50 or €76.50)

    Receive one (1) copy of Stephenson's Rocket - including all unlocked stretch goals, AND (1) copy of King's Road (shipped in October) - shipping costs included.

    PLEASE NOTE THESE COPIES OF KING'S ROAD WILL NOT BE EU-FRIENDLY

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    Pledge AU$ 116 or more About $92

    SPICE TRAIN

    (Approx $92US or £71 or €77)

    Receive one (1) copy of Stephenson's Rocket - including all unlocked stretch goals, AND (1) copy of Kashgar - shipping costs included.

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Funding period

- (22 days)