Bringing Startropolis To Life

Bringing Startropolis To Life

When I joined Jeff to help bring Startropolis to life, he already had it in a pretty good spot. Jeff and I  have worked together for years on various projects and he has always been a great idea man.

However as fun as Startropolis was, we both knew it wasn’t ready yet. One of the main issues I noticed with revolved around its auction mechanic. Auctions in board games can be really tricky to get to work. With Startropolis, I saw a couple of issues. The first was that auctions rarely work well with only 2 players. That meant that Startropolis really need 3+ to shine. Not ideal. The other issue with auction games is knowing how to value what you are bidding on. Experienced players had a massive advantage in knowing how to value the modules they’ve played with in the past. This created a run away leader problem as the rich get richer. Again, less than stellar (see what I did there?).

After many playtest sessions trying to fix this, we decide it was time to move in a new direction. The auction mechanic went into the bin and was replaced with a build track. To say that the game was immediately improved would be an understatement. Players no longer had to gauge the value of something before experiencing it, and in addition, were giving almost twice as many choices for purchase on their turn. This gave players many more options to tailor their strategies.

With the games underlying mechanics solved, Jeff and I turned our attention to refining and balancing the modules in the game. Startropolis features 6 different types of modules (not counting the core module), so we had to make sure they all could shine in their own way. This again, required not only many playtest sessions, but also lots of spreadsheets as we tried to wrap our heads around all the different ways the numbers could interact with each other.

However, what we ended up with was a game we feel is not only incredibly unique, but also a ton of fun to play. After countless hours of development, we are excited to finally see Startropolis come to life on our gaming tables.

Graphic Designer
Petersen Games

Bringing Startropolis To Life

Startropolis Sneak Preview

Sneak Preview

One of the titles Petersen Games will be Kickstarting later this year is Startropolis. This is one of those rare games that was NOT designed in house by Sandy or me, but rather brought to us by Jeff Petersen (no relation!), and Tony Mastrangeli of Steel Squire Games. The basic version of Startropolis is very fun, and a worthy game on its own. But they wanted us to add advanced rules to their core game. Hence, Sandy tasked me with developing extra rules – including some surprise asymmetric abilities! (You know you can’t have a Petersen Games game without those).

Build an Actual Space Station

The basic idea of Startropolis is that you are collectively building a space station. Though you construct it together, Startropolis is emphatically competitive – there is no cooperation here! On his or her turn, each player purchases and attaches a new module.

The type of module, as well as where you build and attach it changes your revenue and other stats. You win by earning the most money at the end, and where and how you attach the modules each round determines your income.

Success Strategy

Today we’ll be talking a little bit about supply modules. Supply modules make more revenue for you when you connect them to two of the same type of module. They have two connections (one slot, or female connection, and one tab, or male connection). If the supply module is connected to a single other module, or to two different module types, then you only earn 3 credits from it each round.

However, if your supply module is connected to two commercial modules (one on each end), then you get more than twice as much – your revenue jumps up to a whopping 7 per round! You’re thinking that this is probably really difficult to ensure your supply module is attached to two similar modules, and well it is mostly.

There is a solution though on how to get it to work by using the rule that you don’t HAVE to attach the module you bought that turn. You can save your supply module and on your next turn you can connect two modules. So, it’s possible for you to buy a supply module and then wait to connect it when you can squeeze it into the perfect spot!

Just be wary of people noticing you didn’t attach as they’ll try to make it impossible for you to attach your precious module!