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.
How many people can play?
The suggested ages for the game are 10 and up—so the game is surprisingly easy to learn. In fact, before the end of the first turn you'll be making difficult decisions, leering at the player who stranded one of your cars, and elbowing other players for position. The game supports 2-7 players and takes roughly 20 minutes per player up to about two hours for 7 players.
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)
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.