In case you missed it there are some cool updates for this project:
- We added a new Solo mode to the game
- We did a gameplay video on the core mechanics of the game
- We hit 100% funding
- We are being supported by the European Space Agency (ESA)
What is Mars Horizon: Blast Off?
In Mars Horizon: Blast Off! each player is aiming to complete the first crewed mission to Mars.
To achieve this galactic task you run your own space agency and must make all the key decisions of what rockets to build, what missions to run, where to spend resources and what risks to take to make space-history.
Will you be the first to successfully launch a satellite, to put the first person in space, to land on the moon or finally complete a crewed mission to Mars? Or will your family or friends get there first? The sky's the limit provided you’ve got the vision and the nerves that space exploration demands!
Mars Horizon: Blast Off! Is easy to learn yet full of strategic challenges with plenty of risks and rewards. There is a whole new red planet to play for! Based on our many months of intense research for both this and our digital sister project (called ‘Mars Horizon’ too) and drawing from the support we’ve had from both the UK Space Agency and other space organisations, the game is as authentic as it can be while ensuring all the players will be having fun
The game has a card-based gameplay that mixes both tactical choices for cards with the luck of the draw. Each turn each player gets to spend their resources of their space agency either developing rocket designs, building mission infrastructure or launching actual missions.
Missions are tense yet fun - use the game’s unique count-down cards to begin a launch - then roll to see if the launch was a historic success or a sombre disaster. Success in missions both moves the space race forward for all players and gives the successful player prestige which in turn helps them reach further for the stars.
However as space exploration is difficult and dangerous when missions fail it can set back your plans (but you do learn from mistakes both in reality and the game!)
The game will come with a galaxy of cards and counters to bring the missions to life! All of the card art, gameplay, events and missions are inspired by actual space vehicles, missions and events.
There is much more to reveal - so if you’d like to be in the know as the updates land on your desk at Mission HQ - become a Mars Horizon backer!
Auroch Digital This project is being created by Auroch Digital, an indie game studio based in Bristol Games Hub, Bristol, UK. We’re known for games that mix real and digital worlds. For example, our acclaimed news game initiative GameTheNews won a Tech for Good award and we created the free newsgame Trick Rocket featured by Wired and shared by SpaceX.
This is our 4th Kickstarter - the other three being successfully delivered with many, many happy customers!
Auroch Digital has a long and well-established track record of delivering projects and innovative ideas, so with your help we’re going to make the best game possible!
We’ve also created and successfully delivered three Kickstarters. You can view our developing Kickstarter campaign win-list online.
Mars Horizon: Blast Off! is a low risk project and your backing means the only way the game can develop is forward! The development team behind the game are a combination of talented up-and-coming designers as well as veterans in their fields.
We have a dedicated support team who will be responding to your queries, so please ask any questions you have and we’ll get back to you as soon as humanly possible.
Your crowdfunding will allow us precious development time to deepen the gameplay experience. This may invite originally forecasted dates to be pushed out slightly but it’ll be worth it as the content will have been greatly added to with your support. We will of course re-calculate the project plan and share the changes with you immediately as they drop.
Of course things can happen and the team needs to remain flexible - with so many people involved in the project, illness and the challenges of game development can sometimes add hurdles. We react sensitively to this and try to help people work around it, or can quickly find alternative staff to fill the gap in an emergency.
Our studio creates an excellent working environment and we will continue to do our absolute best in managing this development cycle and the supportive community that surrounds it.
It's very easy to become a Mars Horizon backer!
If you need any help completing your pledge simply message us and we'll be glad to help, or post in the comments!
Here is how the different tiers compare:
Choosing extra items with Add Ons is really straightforward:
By pledging to this project, you acknowledge that the final look, materials and content of the rewards (and the project) are subject to change and may differ substantially from what is presented while the Kickstarter project was active. All dates advised are aspirational and non-binding. If you do not log in and confirm your pledge within 8 weeks of our notification via email to confirm your pledge, you agree that we have fulfilled our obligations to you in full for payment or donations received. However, we may, at our discretion, ship your pledge, in whole or part, if you contact us and confirm your pledge after the 8 week window has elapsed. Unconfirmed pledges make it difficult for us to plan production and logistics, and in the past have led to project delays.
For this project we do not intend to allow this to happen, which may mean if you confirm your pledge too late, certain items may not be produced in sufficient quantity for your pledge. If you confirm your pledge within 8 weeks of our notification via email, you agree that our responsibility to you is to ship your order as entered into our pledge manager system, that title and risk passes to you upon delivery to a common carrier for such shipment, and you are responsible for import duties or any other duties that may be payable to the relevant tax authorities, providing correct information information and ensuring this address is deliverable by normal methods.
We regret we are unable to send any physical rewards we may offer to PO Boxes. If you do not accept these terms, please do not pledge on this project but instead wait for the general release.
What is the relationship between the digital and physical games of Mars Horizon?
We developed the physical game, originally as one of a few prototyping tools for the digital game. We had such fun playing it that we realised we had a game in it’s own right. As such Blast Off! shares a theme, some art assets (mainly the rockets) and a huge pool of research. Few have the funds needed to create the digital game, so none of this is needed for it. Each has their own development team but continue to share ideas, art and research as this helps both get better and better.
What is your relationship with the UK Space Agency?
Early on in the process of making the digital game we applied for, and received, a small grant that allowed us to research and prototype the original. Indeed that funding committee suggested a physical game might be a good idea. We agreed and after lots more development - here we are!
The UK Space Agency have been a huge help in terms of research and understanding the reality of running a space agency and we have encoded much of that into this game. Individual staff members have also been kind and generous in giving us time to playtest this game, and their feedback has helped to shape it (thanks all!).
What is your relationship with the European Space Agency?
Thanks to the assistance of the UK Space Agency, we have been able to created a partnership with ESA for both the card game and the digital game.
ESAs involvement will prove invaluable for adding an extra level of authenticity and realism to the game. Head of ESA’s Partnerships Unit Emmet Fletcher said, “We’re pleased to be involved in these games because not only do they capture the golden era of space travel and discovery from an inspirational and educational point of view, but they also increase engagement and stimulate the imagination.
“We believe this is a great opportunity for us to engage a totally new audience and give a taste of how real-life space projects and organisations are run,”
What about other space agencies and companies?
We approached a bunch of other agencies and companies, some said possibly, we're still talking to people. We’re always open to new partnerships so do suggest them to us! Also if you’re from an agency or company - get in touch!
Risks and challenges
We have a long track record of delivery and have worked with and received backing from notable publishers such as Games Workshop, Ripstone, Steve Jackson Games, and Modiphius, shipping titles across multiple platforms - both digital and physical. We’ve successfully complete three previous Kickstarter projects with many, many, many happy backers (we know as they’ve messaged us to tell us so!) We’ve already done a huge amount of work on this game - your support allow it to blast off into the final approach!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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