Category Archives: News

Star Traders BGG Con 2016

BGG Con 2016 Recap & Happy Holidays

Category : News , Star Traders

Greetings, Fellow Traders!

We’ve been very busy since our return from BGG Con. This was our first time attending this convention, and it was fun. As advertised, playing games was much more emphasized than tournaments or dealers’ rooms. We did have a dealer’s booth for one day, and played a few games there, but ended up playing more once we got out into the open gaming area.

One of the things we were really looking forward to was showing off the pre-production prototype of Star Traders and being able to play with the actual d4 Contract dice that Panda brought to the show, newly delivered from the manufacturers. They were too big (more about that, later), but they worked really well.

Overall, the game was well received. We’d been told that the typical BGG Con attendee is an alpha gamer — someone who drives decision-making on game purchases for his or her gaming friends, and who deeply analyzes games. After four days there, we can vouch for that description. One gamer sat down with about 15 minutes to spare between games and asked for a description of Star Traders. We started with the backstory, as usual (“you are a star trader …”), but he wasn’t interested. He simply wanted the mechanics, and he needed no explanation of why we had included any of it — he knew right away why there were five actions per turn (rather than four or six), what the pros and cons were of the Prestige Meter, and the various effects of the Trader’s Luck cards. I have no idea whether he will eventually get the game, but he seemed satisfied that the game worked.

We also got a chance to connect with several backers whom we hadn’t met before — it was exciting to show them the game that they have been helping us make. All of them seemed pleased with the updated components and a few even had time to play a game or two or three 😉 with us. One of the cool things about taking the game to shows is getting to play with first time Star Traders. Some take to it really quickly, while others gradually discover the intricacies of the game as they play. Either way it’s always an enjoyable time.

And talking about playing with gamers; I got into a conversation with another player who wanted a diceless variant. (Actually, I think he would have been happier if there weren’t any dice in the box at all.) Having discussed it with him, I realize that we could design a game very much like Star Traders, without any dice — but it wouldn’t be Star Traders. Meanwhile, another player at the same table was vociferous in her desire to keep the dice in the game — she repeatedly told me that it would be much less fun without the dice. These kinds of interactions aren’t normal at the other shows we’ve been to, but it’s always good to get detailed feedback from knowledgeable gamers.

Dice pros and cons are something I haven’t discussed much. Star Traders obviously bucks the trend toward games with fewer random elements and more long-term strategizing. I can enjoy a game like Through the Ages or Race for the Galaxy (while they each have a deck of cards, they are definitely less random than a game like Star Traders). I enjoy them, but I have much more fun playing a game like Star Traders. And I definitely have less fun playing a game like Agricola, where there is little randomness and the resources are painfully limited — a game like that is too much like work for me. 🙂

Which isn’t a knock against any of those types of games; they are just less what I’m personally interested in playing.

In general, I prefer a game with equal parts luck and strategy, so that:

  • everyone (even the least skilled or newest) has an actual chance to win the game,
  • every game has “you’ve got to be kidding” moments,
  • more game time is spent talking and interacting with each other than with single-minded focus on each person’s next best move, and
  • everyone walks away from the table rehashing their favorite moments

That’s been my overall objective with Star Traders: fun. It certainly isn’t the game for everybody, but I am convinced that it will be fun for a wide range of players, from young to old … once we get it into your hands!

We also had the chance to play some other games while we where there, chat with fellow creators and even meetup with some of the Steve Jackson Games design team.

BGG Con is a great show and I can see us returning there again, but first we need to get this game out to you all and that’s what we’ve been focusing on since we got back.

Read more about that in our latest Kickstarter Update.

Meanwhile, back to the pixel mines! Along with trying to keep the manufacturing on track we’re also focusing on getting the other backer rewards ready for y’all. So if you’re a backer you can look forward to those coming together very soon.

Here’s wishing you all happy holidays and a merry new year.


Star Traders Origins 2016

Origins 2016 Recap & Game Components Update

Category : News , Star Traders

Greetings, Fellow Traders!

I’ve been to Columbus and back, spending four very full days at Origins, the national tabletop game convention. Will and Jesse (my two sons and two valuable members of the Emperor’s Privy Council) went with me.

Star Traders at Origins Star Traders at Origins Star Traders at Origins

Our principal objectives were to demonstrate Star Traders and to sit down with the people who will be manufacturing the game. That, and since we were there, take the opportunity to play a few other games … which were all valuable research opportunities.

Special Thanks to the Malted Meeple

Malted Meeple Origins 2016

The Malted Meeple Booth at Origins Game Fair 2016

We were “headquartered” at the Malted Meeple booth in the Exhibit Hall, where we ran demos Saturday and Sunday. I really appreciate the Malted Meeple making space available to us — thanks to Jim, Karrington and Savannah! And I got to play other games in development, including Kung Fu Zoo (a dice-flicking arena game … seriously!) and #Storytags (hash-tagging stories that each player relates). Congratulations to #Storytags — they just announced a deal with a publisher. And I’m looking forward to the edited version (on YouTube) of the podcast that Jeremiah and Scott recorded at the booth on Sunday. In the meantime, here’s the initial version:

Theology Of Games – Meet you at the Meeple live from Origins


We also got a chance to play Star Traders a few other times, out in the open gaming area. We had the new board and Trader’s Luck cards (I think the cards are nailed down now, and we’ve only got a couple more authors to sort out), and we had the new Personality cards with character art on them.

Star Traders Personality Card Prototypes

Star Traders Personality Card Prototypes

Star Traders Contract Arrow Prototypes

Star Traders Contract Arrow Clay Prototypes

We also had clay prototypes of new d4 contract markers. We’ve played several games with them now, and while they make finding pick-up and delivery worlds easier, a normal d4 is wider at the base than we’d like it to be, sometimes making it difficult to place among the station rings. We’re going to try narrowing one side down, and opening up the space around the closer worlds on the gameboard a bit more.

And we’ve decided to run the Personality cards larger, to allow more room for the character art and text. Combining that with fewer player mats (since we now won’t need a player mat for each Personality) means a tidier and better looking game for you guys. We’ve also been able to make additional improvements to the components that we think you all will enjoy.

Speaking of components, we’ve begun pre-press verification on files, the first step toward actual printing and publication. More slowly than we had wanted, but it’s happening! And while I was galavanting around Origins, our artists were busy crunching on Personality and Cargo art — it’s all getting done.

Chatting with Long-Time Designer Friends

It’s been about thirty years since I was last at Origins. With the renaissance of board games, there are plenty of game designers still going strong that I hadn’t seen in that long, and it was great to be able to introduce them to Will and Jesse — the new generation of gamers. Just among the members of the Academy of Adventure Gaming’s Hall of Fame, we were able to chat with:

  • Lou Zocchi (creator of the 100-sided Zocchihedron); the boys grabbed one of his new 24-sided roll-anything dice
  • Darwin Bromley, who wasn’t all that interesting to the boys until he mentioned designing the train game Empire Builder, at which point Will suddenly realized he was talking to one of his gaming heroes (Darwin was also key in getting Settlers of Catan into the U.S.)
  • Mike Stackpole (Flying Buffalo designer and author of some of the most popular Battletech and Star Wars novels; my favorite Stackpole series is the Age of Discovery trilogy)
  • Rick Loomis (who started Flying Buffalo, which ran play-by-mail games long before there was an internet, and which published Tunnels & Trolls, Nuclear War and other classics)

Origins and Gencon are both great to attend, because you get a chance to talk to the people who actually create the games — there are far fewer marketing guys and far more designers than at the electronic game conventions I’ve attended over the past few years. Having said that, I don’t know if I’ll have time to attend Gencon or Dragon Con (over Labor Day), but we’ll let you know if we’re able to get to either of those shows.

Meanwhile, back to the pixel mines! I have another twenty authors to write up for the lore book, and those last component tweaks, and we’ll have a game!

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Kickstarter Pre-Launch Party

Category : News

Join us at Titan Moon Comics February 20th at 4pm for our Kickstarter Pre-Launch Party.

Play Star Traders, win FREE stuff & help us spread the word for our Kickstarter campaign.

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PAX South 2016 Review

Category : News

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PAX South was a tremendous success! Over 150 gamers played Star Traders and gave us written feedback — that’s about 20 games a day. The verdict: 5 didn’t want to play it again. 145 did. We’ll take those odds. 🙂

We also had a chance to find old friends and meet new friends. (I’m talking about you, Star Citizen Twitch Streamers.) And it was great to discuss Kickstarters with Dani Demarest, who was there with Cuisine a la Card, InMotion’s own successful kickstarted game (that Dani designed).

We really appreciate all the help Andi and the rest of the PAX South staff gave us as PAXS neophytes. Putting the boardgaming booths in the table-gaming area and running them all day long gave us a much better opportunity to present our baby to the gaming world. Which meant that we all, including intrepid volunteers Becca and Jonathan, were kept on our feet.

It was all very encouraging as we gear up to jump off the cliff into our own Kickstarter in a couple of weeks.



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Star Traders PAX South 2016

It’s Official! We’ll be at PAX South 2016

Category : News

We’ve just signed the paper work for our booth space.

It’s in San Antonio, TX, Fri-Sun, Jan 29-31. We’ll have a booth in the table games area — not sure exactly where yet, but we’ll let you know when we find out.

We plan on non-stop gaming the entire show, with two games going at our booth all the time. Come by and say hi if you’re at the show, and maybe sit in on a game with us.