About this project
Our debut game, Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration, was launched on Kickstarter in October 2015. The game met with huge success, being named a Best Family Board Game for 2016 by Good Housekeeping magazine, a Top-5 STEM Toy by City Kids magazine, an Awesome Math Game by MathsInsider, the Top Solar System For Kids Science Toy from Fractus Learning, and more! Xtronaut has received positive reviews from players and parents. Based on this success, we continue to grow our team and expand our line of fun and educational games.
Humans have gazed into the night sky since the dawn of time. Dreaming, wondering, and developing stories around patterns of stars. These star patterns are now associated with some of the most intriguing and well-known creatures from mythology and nature.
With the introduction of telescopes, we have learned so much more about stars. They have different sizes, colors, locations, and characteristics. This knowledge has made looking at constellations all the more fun. We developed the Constellations game to bring our amazing sky, with its rich history, mythology, and science to your game-playing experience!
In this game, players are stargazers, exploring the night sky and collecting stars to define constellations. They compete to find the right stars to fit the needed pattern -- are B-type stars or F-types required to complete the constellation? Players compete with each other to strategically collect the right stars, reserve patches of the sky for observation, and explore the universe. Once you have your constellation, add it to the map of the night sky being assembled right in front of you. The closer you get to putting together the actual map of the heavens, the more points you score!
The game involves drawing Star Cards, which represent the seven types of stars classified by astronomers. Each constellation requires a unique combination of star types to place in the sky. As the game progresses and more constellations fill up the night, players must use their puzzle skills to fit the hexes on the board to score the most points. The player with the most constellation points at the end of the game wins!
The game also includes an educational workbook about stellar evolution, star classification information, and the history and mythology of the real constellations.
Each Constellation Hex has two sides: the Illustration Side and the Information Side.
Setup is easy. Players tailor the length of the game to time available and age groups -- shorter and simpler versions are available -- or you may choose longer and more advanced gameplay.
Based on the desired length of the game, players randomly select a subset of the Constellation hexes for that round. Players start the game by placing a Zodiac or Milky Way hex in the middle of the table, illustration side up. This hex is the starting point for future placements.
Players shuffle and deal five Star Cards to each player. Then, they place five cards face up in a row. These are the available stars. The remaining cards are placed face down and become the draw pile.
The full rules are here: http://tinyurl.com/ConstellationsRules
On a player’s turn, they may take two of the following actions. The player can do the same action twice.
- Draw a Star Card
- Reserve a Constellation
- Play a Constellation
Player's may draw Star Cards from either the face-up set or from the draw pile.
To reserve a Constellation, the player takes one of the available Constellation cards and places it in front of them. Only that player may complete that Constellation.
To play a Constellation, the player plays the required set of Star Cards for the desired Constellation. The player then places the hex adjacent to another Constellation on the board, illustration side up. The player scores points equal to the Constellation's point value plus bonuses for matching gems and desired adjacent hexes.
Points are tracked using star tokens, which remain hidden from other players until the game is over.
The game ends when a player adds the last hex to the available constellations. Each player takes a final turn, and the game ends. The player with the highest score wins! As a bonus, a beautiful sky map has been created before your eyes!
Backer Exclusive Items
Backers that support us at the $22 level and higher will receive the Kickstarter-exclusive Constellations Mission Patch!
Backers that select a reward level that includes Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration will also receive an exclusive mission hex. In addition, backers of our original Xtronaut campaign will receive this mission when they back Constellations at the $22 level and higher. Players will be able to plan a mission to the Rosetta target Comet 67/P Churymov-Gerasimenko!
Xtronaut is proud to have Constellations sponsored by Meade Instruments. Meade is acknowledged as one of the most innovative and dynamic companies in the telescope market. Known for its groundbreaking telescopic designs, Meade has introduced dozens of improvements over the years that have made amateur astronomy easier and more enjoyable than ever.
For the first time in 26 years, a total solar eclipse will occur in the United States. This is an opportunity of a lifetime - to see an amazing astronomical event, maybe even from your own backyard!
The Meade EclipseView™ 76mm Telescope comes complete with everything you need to view the wonders of the sky, DAY and NIGHT! This portable reflecting telescope comes with a removable white-light solar filter and is a SAFE and FUN way to view the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse! Even better, you can use this scope to view the wonders of the night sky including the Moon, Planets and more, by simply removing the solar filter and changing the viewfinder. Get your EclipseView™ Telescope through our campaign and receive a free copy of Constellations by selecting the $129 reward level.
Note: If you don't see your country in the shipping options, please ask!
Add an additional $25 to order a second copy.
We sent Constellations to some of the top game reviewers for feedback.
"Like Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration before it, Constellations is a family-friendly game that's both engaging and educational. I really enjoyed playing it with my kids and, as each game progressed, we learned a little bit ... while having a lot of fun."
Dave Banks, Games Editor at GeekDad.com
"Constellations is a remarkable game which manages a feat that I feel is pretty rare: bridging the gap between light and accessible mechanisms and an educational experience. It can easily be taught to novice gamers, is strategic enough for veterans, and never loses sight of the fact that above all else its primary purpose is to be clean, fun, and engaging."
Chris Rowlands, NPCcast
"I had the chance to play Constellations at UnPub last weekend, and I can see this becoming one of my favorite games. The simple rules, the ones we played with for the demos, are easy to understand and ideal for younger players. The advanced rules, which involve minor penalties for over-spending your stars to build a constellation, add strategic depth to the game. In both cases, the game feels immediately intuitive after a few rounds, and this is one that I am sure is going to get countless plays in my house at game nights."
Doug Levandowski, Nerd Nighters, Northeast chapter
Playtesting and Feedback
We have play tested the game extensively -- and players have enjoyed the excellent gameplay, science, and puzzle solving -- while becoming more connected to our amazing sky.
Constellation's lead designer, Ian Zang, took Constellations to the Unpub Convention in Baltimore on March 17-19th. Many designers and playtesters there got a chance to play the game, and the experience was highly rated.
Here are some notable reviews from our feedback:
"It was both educational and enjoyable. It's a great game to help teach younger players about the stars and constellations, yet it is engaging enough to satisfy older gamers." - Matthew Shade
"I also appreciated the educational aspects of the game without it "feeling educational", preachy, or requiring advanced knowledge." - Bob Eckert
"I think this game is great as a casual and fun game-night game. The level of interactivity is low-medium which is great for groups that talk more than play. You don't have to explain each and every turn you complete as you do so and it makes it a great and fun game. I'm impressed by how much research into the constellations and the night sky went into this game. It is a beautiful game and would buy it as is. My game-night friends would enjoy this greatly." - Christina Weigand
We formed Xtronaut to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and citizen scientists through space mission-related games and education programs. Professor Dante Lauretta, the leader of the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission (launched September 2016, to an asteroid named Bennu), and Michael Lyon, a leader in the space tourism sector (organizing the first tourist flights on the Soyuz Rocket to the ISS) founded Xtronaut. Our games are distinguished by their family-friendly engaging play and adherence to real scientific principles.
We have a great creative team at Xtronaut. Ian Zang works to create and develop great games. He has worked on games such as Rayguns and Rocketships, Ashes, AssassinCon, and Seafall, with much more to come! He is the lead designer on Constellations.
Ashley Kenawell has a passion for educational games and interactive storybooks, which has led her to be involved in indie game development on titles like Biota and Wandering Tales. She is currently using these illustration skills to help bring Constellations to life.
We have worked hard to be ready for this Kickstarter. When our campaign is funded, we will immediately place the order for production of the final product -- all materials are ready to go, and the game has undergone extensive and fruitful playtesting. We have proven out our manufacturing and distribution system with Xtronaut and look forward to getting Constellations in your hands as soon as possible.
Dante, Mike, Ian, and Ashley
Risks and challenges
As with any project that involves the production and manufacture of tangible product to be delivered, there is a real chance for production delays and other factors presenting challenges along the way. Many board game projects on Kickstarter have been seriously hampered by art production delays, problems with an overseas factory, missing units, and shipping mistakes.
Fortunately, the designers of this game are used to managing large projects. Just like in building a spacecraft, we developed plans to handle a wide range of contingencies. Our success with Xtronaut has resulted in a streamlined system for design, testing, production, and distribution. Constellations will be ready to go as soon as the campaign ends!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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