"With silent, lifting mind I've trod, The high untrespassed sanctity of space" John Gillespie Maggee, Jr., High Flight
"Depart, depart from solid Earth, no returning to these shores" - Walt Whitman, Sail Out for Good
Star Patrol is the second Pocket Option minigame created as a tribute to the $2.95 hex & counter games from the 70s and 80s. In Star Patrol, you design and build customized ships using chassis, weapons, and special technological breakthroughs to give each design a unique play style. Ships are designed and built in secret, with all design elements (except chassis) remaining secret until each is used for the first time. You will duel your opponent in a deep space arena that may include asteroids, moons, and planets, both as physical obstacles and as gravity wells. There are thousands of possible ship designs to try out, accommodating hundreds of combinations of weapons and upgrades.
Star Patrol includes everything you need to set up and play a game.
- Reversible Hex Map with multiple gravity wells of varying strength and navigational hazards
- Record Cards for ship designs & for tracking inertia, fuel, crew, & starfighter squadron status
- 18 Weapon & Upgrade Cards summarizing the rules for each system
- 135 Counters for ships, weapons, upgrades, and for tracking fuel and crew
- Ziplock Bag the exact size of the game, to protect it during shipping and afterwards
8 SHIP TYPES
The game includes everything from the tiny Starfighter, which can still deliver a deadly sting if used correctly, up to the mighty interstellar Battleship, which brings entire star systems to heel. Each ship performs differently; a battleship that can chase down and defeat an up-gunned battlecruiser may lose to a well-designed destroyer commanded by a wily captain.
8 WEAPONS & 11 UPGRADES
With six customizable frames, up to six mounts on each ship, and up to 18 choices per mount, you can build thousands of different ships. Stand off at a distance and lob long-distance sniper shots. Get up close and brawl it out. Send swarms of starfighters to harass the enemy. Launch wave after wave of space marines to board the enemy ship and take it over. Build a heavily armored behemoth to simply outlast your opponent.
5 PRE-GENERATED SHIPS
- Defender - "Storm'd at with shot and shell, boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, into the mouth of Hell." Choose this pre-build if you like to be able to take a beating.
- Skirmisher - "Don't discount our powers; We have made a pass at the infinite." Choose this pre-build if you like to be able to dance around the board, giving enemy targeters fits.
- Slugger - "The work for giants, to serve well the guns." Choose this pre-build if you like to launch enormous amounts of heavy weaponry at your enemy.
- Carrier - "Be at the bursting of the doors of doom, and in the dark deliver us." Choose this pre-build if you want the ultimate in flexibility: commanding squadrons of starfighters.
- Assault Ship - "Hell is empty, and all the devils are here." Choose this pre-build if you like to get up close and personal, winning the battle in the halls of the enemy's own ship.
Design your starship in secret. Each player secretly designs a ship, mounting one of seven weapons or 11 upgrades on each of up to six hardpoints, depending on the size of the ship and orientation of the hardpoint. All weapons and upgrades are added to the player's ship card face down, to be revealed only when the player uses it the first time.
Take advantage of (or fall victim to) Newtonian space flight mechanics. Ships have linear acceleration and orientation thrust values. Linear acceleration is how much inertia they can add in their current vector. Orientation thrust is how quickly they can change their vector. Ships keep track of inertia and continue to apply it to movement until they fire their engines in the opposite direction to cancel it.
Power is your ship's life blood. When it is gone, your systems will fall dark and silent. Each ship has a limited amount of power. It takes power to fire weapons, to activate shields, to trigger your engines, and nearly everything else. Your fancy weapons will become fancy dead weights, if you lack the power to fire it. A ship without power is a worthless derelict.
Manage your crew; they are the catalyst that activates every weapon and system. Each turn, you must assign crew teams to activate various parts of your ship. Weapons won't fire without teams manning them. Orientation thrusters won't work without teams monitoring them. Flight decks can't launch or recover fighters without teams running them. As you take damage and lose crew teams, you'll have to make critical decisions about which systems to activate.
- Design - done
- Alpha Playtesting - done
- Graphic Design - done
- Prototyping - done
- Beta Playtesting - done
- Editing - done
- Artwork - done
- Production Proofing - done
- Domestic Test Mailing - done
- International Test Mailing - done
- Kickstarter Crowdfunding - Saturday, August 1 - Monday, August 31
- Funds Deposited - estimated Tuesday, September 15
- Print Run Commissioned - estimated Tuesday, September 15
- Print Run Shipped - estimated Tuesday, September 22
- Print Run Arrives - estimated Monday, September 28
- Incentives Mailed - estimated Monday, September 28 - Wednesday, September 30
- USA Incentives Delivered - estimated beginning Tuesday, September 29 (NOTE: The longest it took for one US game to arrive with LotD was 23 days after the postmark. Most will arrive within a week, but I have no control over the USPS.)
- Foreign Incentives Delivered - estimated beginning Monday, October 5 (NOTE: My experience has been that most European incentives arrive in 5-7 days; Spain and Italy 6-9 days; rest of the world 10-16 days; Australia and Canada are slowest, sometimes taking over a month.)
UNLOCKED! ... Die-Cut Counters & Cards – I already have the die set up at the printer, so as long as I keep the design of the counter sheet the same as Lord of the Dead, your counters will be die cut. I’ve already confirmed that it will work on the 18pt sheets from the stretch goal, so we’re all good to go on that.
UNLOCKED! ... Modular Gravity Wells – A additional sheet with modular gravity well hexes as an overlay for the board. Modify your maps by adding these pieces to it.
UNLOCKED! ... Star Patrol: Under Siege Expansion – I’ll commission new artwork and add new units to the game. These will be new units, weapons, and upgrades:
- Space Station: an immobile deep space ammo dump & refueling station. This unit can be taken over by space marines just like starships.
- Star Base: a large orbital platform, stronger than a space station, but must be placed at the edge of a gravity well. This would have to be controlled before you could safely land your space marines on the nearby planet or moon.
- Fortified Planet: land space marines on a planet, turn it into a giant artillery piece that can shoot at nearby ships.
- Tractor Beam: upgrade that allows a ship to grapple another, so that they share inertia. Just when you thought the limpet rockets were pesky ...
- Starbomber Squadron: slower than the starfighters, but longer range and packing a heavier punch.
- Asteroid Tug: rules and counters that accommodate mobile asteroids. These tractor beam-equipped ships lock on to asteroids and drag them around on the battlefield. Modular terrain? Psh. How about mobile terrain!
- Advanced Sensor Suite: scan a ship to reveal one or more of its unrevealed weapons or upgrades.
- Civilian Ships: for scenario play, science vessels and cargo ships will be available for use as targets to hit, victims to rescue, or supply convoys to raid
UNLOCKED! ... Star Patrol: Carrier Commander – I've been pondering a microgame that casts off the burden of inflation and can be published and shipped anywhere in the world for the original 1970s microgame cost of $2.95. This is it! Star Patrol: Carrier Commander pits two starfighter carriers against each other, sending wave after wave of starfighters to shoot down opponent spacecraft and torpedo boats to destroy the carrier. Star Patrol: Carrier Commander will be a separate Kickstarter microgame (picogame?) with one backer level: $3 worldwide!
$18,150 Thicker Counters – The counter sheets will be upgraded from 14 pt cardstock to 16 pt cardstock.
$21,450 Star Patrol: MechArmor Commando – I'll commission new artwork and put together a large-scale planetary action game, where players control titanic advanced mechs, smaller medium mechs, and light space marine infantry mechs. The game will be compatible with Star Patrol, giving players the option to unite the games into one wargame. Like other Pocket Options games, it will ship anywhere in the world for ≤$11.
I'm not a huge add-on sort of person. The project is the game, not t-shirts or inkpens or whatever. And I always feel self-conscious about advertising my stuff. But I'm willing to send out a copy of my other games, if you're interested. Both were Kickstarter Staff Picks, and you can check out their project pages by clicking the links below.
If you would like a copy of my previous hex & counter game Lord of the Dead, please add $8 USA/$9 International to your pledge. It funded on May 24, 2015, and all incentives have shipped.
If you would like a copy of my simultaneous turn card game Templarmech Inquisition, please add $11 worldwide to your pledge. It funded on July 27, 2015, and we're waiting on artwork for the stretch goals.
Multiple copies are fine, just increase your pledge by the appropriate amount. We'll sort out what you backed for when I send out the survey. NOTE: Each game will mail separately, to stay within the size and weight limits of a letter.
Pocket Options was started by me (C. S. Ferguson) to reintroduce microgames as an accessible format to the international board gaming community.
In 1977, Metagaming Concepts introduced their Microgame line, beginning with OGRE. Each game consisted of a 4-fold hex map, a counter sheet, and a rule booklet, all in a ziplock bag for $2.95. They were portable, playable, and accessible. Unfortunately, Metagaming Concepts went bankrupt after less than a decade.
Fast forward 30 years to the present. Board games have seen a colossal explosion in size, weight, intricacy, and price. But not everyone has the energy, time, or finances to access these games. So my goal is to reintroduce microgames. $2.95 in 1977 US dollars, adjusted for inflation, is $11.52 in 2015 US dollars. Pocket Options picks up where Metagaming Concepts stopped. My purpose is to create small, lightweight, fun games that can be produced and delivered anywhere in the world for $11.52. You can slip one of my games under the cover of a book, in the corner of a handbag, or into a jacket pocket. That's what makes them Pocket Options.
Risks and challenges
1) Project must fund. (duh)
2) I must remain of sound mind and body. (highly likely)
3) Printer & postal service must stay in business. (even more likely)
- (30 days)