Thunder Alley is an innovative stock car racing game for 2-7 players with the feel and flexibility of a card-driven simulation.
Updates on the future of Thunder Alley will be coming soon (especially for people who took advantage of the sponsorship opportunities). In the meantime, we would like to thank everyone for the support they have showed the Kickstarter campaign. Even though we didn't reach our overall funding goal, it means a lot to us that people pledged more in one month than was raised in the previous year of crowd-funding over on the GMT website (the P500).
While we will send out updates to all Kickstarter backers on the progress of getting Thunder Alley printed, you may also follow the development of the game over at the GMT Games website:
Thank you for visiting the Thunder Alley Kickstarter page.
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GMT Games is proud to announce its first Kickstarter: THUNDER ALLEY, an innovative game about stock car racing designed by husband and wife team Jeff & Carla Horger.
You may know Jeff Horger from his first design for GMT Games, Manoeuvre, a fast-playing game of battlefield command set in the early 19th century. When Manoeuvre was released in 2008, it was nominated for two Golden Geek awards by the popular Board Game Geek website.
The following video preview was provided by Tom Vasel of the Dice Tower:
Q: What makes Thunder Alley unique?
INNOVATIVE MOVEMENT: The heart of the game is managing a hand of cards to initiate the innovative movement where cars push, pull, and draft each other. Will you drive like a leader and clear a path that pulls in everyone behind you? Will you take a pursuit approach that keeps you glued to the cars in front of you as you relentlessly push them forward? Or will you slip between your opponents and ride with the pack? Positioning is everything—don't get left behind!
EVENT CARDS: Between each turn the lap leader gets a scoring bonus, the players decide if any of their drivers must pit, and the Events Cards trigger the inevitable dramas of stock racing; accidents, yellow flags, worsening track situations, and deteriorating cars all enter into the evolving narrative. Will a yellow flag ruin your lead or grant you a new hope?
TEAM PLAY: One of the most interesting features of the game is that you don’t play just one driver—you control a team of three to six drivers trying to place consistently. Capturing the checkered flag is not enough to bring you victory in Thunder Alley, your whole team must do well.
Q: How many people can play?
Most racing games require a large number of players for the game to play at its very best. Thunder Alley possesses the unusual bonus of having a very robust and exciting 2-player version. The 2-player game is a brutal battle for position as players navigate six cars each requiring a much more aggressive style of play. As player count increases, the game evolves into opportunistic alliances and a quest to find the right time to make your move; break too early, and the pack will gang up and reel you back in.
Q: How much development has gone into the game?
A lot. The game started as a heavy, cumbersome simulation—thankfully Carla's role in the design process is knowing what to take out.
Four years of work has gone into getting the game to where it is now; GMT assigned Chad Schrieber to work as an outside developer to work with the designers, Jeff and Carla have been demoing the game at conventions such as Origins and the Buckeye Game Fest, over 40 playtesters have been involved including a team in Europe, and the game recently made a splash with seasoned wargamers at the GMT West gaming weekend.
If you want to understand the game better, you may:
- Read a rough draft of the RULES (updated)
- Watch Tom Vasel's VIDEO PREVIEW (above)
- Investigate the BLOG: Jeff has been faithfully documenting the development of the game since August 2011.
- And if that isn't enough, YOU CAN TRY IT OUT! Jeff has prepared a streamlined 2-player print-and-play version for the Kickstarter campaign so that you can actually play the game before you make your decision.
Q: Do you have to be a fan of stock car racing?
No, not at all.
Do you like interactive games with lots of theme? If so, you're all set. Many people who were reluctant to play the game because they were not fans of stock car racing became hooked as soon as they completed the first turn.
Do you like racing games? If you are a big fan of racing games, Thunder Alley is a must have for you. The innovative movement mechanisms push, pull, and draft the racing genre forward into new territory.
Thunder Alley is a game all about stock car racing, but you don’t need to be a fan of the sport to feel the excitement of controlling a whole team of drivers. You'll manage a hand of cards, negotiate shifting alliances in tightly packed formations, push your luck on vehicle wear and tear, stalk the leader, hunt for opportunities, and—if you're fortunate—you'll lap the weak.
Q: Why Kickstarter?
In 1997, GMT pioneered a new approach to producing games to help them mitigate the inherent risks of publishing. The Project 500 (AKA the P500) established a crowd-funding campaign that would green light a game to begin pre-production once roughly 500 people choose to support the game with an advance order. The P500 is the original crowd-funding program for boardgames and has worked very well for GMT's traditional wargames. You may have noticed, however, that Thunder Alley is not exactly a wargame.
The P500 campaign for Thunder Alley launched in September 2011 and currently has almost 300 people who have already signed up for the game. While that many early adopters is impressive, the game still has a way to go before it will fund and be able go into full pre-production.
- We need to hire the artist. All of the game components that you see and that have been crucial to developing the game content are still in prototype form. While this has worked well for refining the game design, art direction is the next big step for Thunder Alley. The sooner the project is funded, the sooner the work can begin.
- Kickstarter expands the audience that will see Thunder Alley. GMT believes in Thunder Alley and recognizes that Kickstarter can help get the game in front of people outside of the niche that has traditionally supported GMT's games.
- We are eager to make the game available. If you too see the potential of this game, your support can help make it available as soon as the end of next summer. In the ideal scenario, the games could be out for fullfillment and Jeff and Carla could debut the game at the World Boardgaming Championships in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in August of 2013. Without Kickstarter funding, it is difficult to predict when the game would be able to go into pre-production.
Note: Even though Jeff's first game, Manoeuvre, was a wargame—it still wasn't a traditional wargame in the modern sense of the term. Since it was also his first design, it took six years to fund on the P500. Presently, Manoeuvre is on its second printing and it has an expansion up for funding on the P500 right now.
But wait, I still have more Questions?
Of course you do. We intend to address the following topics more fully in updates as the campaign continues. Here are the basics up front:
- Are there any exclusives for people who pre-order Thunder Alley? Yes. The first detail we are able to release is that there will an exclusive race track released to people who pre-order the game (this includes the P500 supporters). If the Kickstarter is successful, the extra track will automatically be included with your order. We are hopeful we can bring more value to the pre-order experience as this campaign continues.
- What if I already backed on the P500? Thank you. This Kickstarter would not be possible without your previous support for Thunder Alley. At this time, you should not feel compelled to do anything. We designed the pledge tiers to function 'a la carte' for P500 backers and Kickstarter backers alike—so as not to limit either audience or to lock them into redundant purchases. Kickstarter and the P500 can coexist.
- How do I learn more about the sponsorship opportunities? If you have specific questions before selecting a sponsorship opportunity, please ask us. If you want to combine multiple sponsorship elements we have been making that work for people. And if you pledge for a sponsorship, we will be in touch with you directly to help you select appropriate details. As sponsorship backers add to the Thunder Alley narrative, we look forward to sharing those details with you in our updates.
Supporters of the project are able to leave comments, but you can always reach us by clicking on the blue 'ASK A QUESTION' link below.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Delays related to game production and fulfillment are two areas of concern for boardgame projects on Kickstarter. GMT has been around for 22 years and in that time has produced nearly 300 titles. GMT has also completed large pre-order campaigns with worldwide fulfillment. There is considerable experience behind this Kickstarter when it comes to producing games and getting them out to people.
While delays can happen, the target of having the game go out to you in August of 2013 is realistic. We are focused on delivering the game responsibly.
The regular retail price for the game is expected to be $64.
BASE GAME - Rules, Player Aid Sheet, 2 Mounted Tracks (Super Speedway & Short Track), 7 Player Mats, 26 Event Cards, 42 Double-Sided Car Counters, 84 Racing Cards, Assorted Utility Counters
EXPANSION TRACKS - 2 Mounted Tracks (Triangle Track & Road Course)
PRE-ORDER BONUS - Additional Track (details forthcoming)
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Pledge $15 or moreYou selected
EXPANSION TRACKS - Thunder Alley comes with two mounted tracks included in the base game (a Super Speedway and a Short Track). This expansion adds two additional mounted tracks to the game—a Road Coarse and a Triangle Track. The Expansion will be shipped to you with your game at no additional expense. This is an ideal way for P500 backers to pick up a copy of the expansion and support the Kickstarter campaign.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $57 or moreYou selected
UNITED STATES - The purchase price for the Thunder Alley game on Kickstarter is $44 plus shipping of $13 in the US. To add the Expansion Tracks to your game, please add $15. You may add additional copies of the game to this tier for $50 each.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $60 or moreYou selected
CANADA and MEXICO - The purchase price for the Thunder Alley game on Kickstarter is $44 plus shipping of $16 to Canada and Mexico. To add the Expansion Tracks to your game, please add $15. You may add additional copies of the game to this tier for $50 each.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $64 or moreYou selected
EUROPE and SOUTH AMERICA - The purchase price for the Thunder Alley game on Kickstarter is $44 plus shipping of $20 to Europe and South America. To add the Expansion Tracks to your game, please add $15. You may add additional copies of the game to this tier for $50 each.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $69 or moreYou selected
ASIA - The purchase price for the Thunder Alley game on Kickstarter is $44 plus shipping of $25 to Asia. To add the Expansion Tracks to your game, please add $15. You may add additional copies of the game to this tier for $50 each.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
17 backers Limited (12 left of 29)
DRIVER SPONSORSHIP - you name one of the drivers in the game using our conventions (subject to designer approval). Copies of the game and Expansion Tracks are NOT included in this pledge tier price; please add $50 per game you would like and $15 per expansion. Worldwide shipping included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $200 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)
TRACK SPONSORSHIP - you get to sponsor the name of one of the four race tracks and will specify where the track is located (subject to designer approval). Copies of the game and Expansion Tracks are NOT included in this pledge tier price; please add $50 per game you would like and $15 per expansion. Worldwide shipping included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
7 backers All gone!
TEAM SPONSORSHIP - you will be the team owner of one of the seven driving teams in the game. In addition to naming the team and one of the drivers on your team, you will help select the two team colors (subject to editorial review). Copies of the game and Expansion Tracks are NOT included in this pledge tier price; please add $50 per game you would like and $15 per expansion. Worldwide shipping included.Estimated delivery:
- (31 days)