Players will start by drafting sections of a scientific probe rocket, then fly their constructed rocket through an asteroid field. Everyone will lose sections of their rocket as they Boost around and take damage from asteroid collisions. The player that makes it through the asteroid field with the best rocket remaining wins.
Shuffle the tiles, draw randomly and lay them in a grid as wide as the number of players plus one, and exactly seven tiles long:
2 players = 3x7 grid
3 players = 4x7 grid
4 players = 5x7 grid
The grid represents an asteroid field for the players to traverse. Set aside any asteroid tiles not placed in the asteroid field, they are not used in the game. Place cubes, representing rockets, near the tiles at one end of the asteroid field for each player.
Shuffle the cards and deal a hand of 5 cards to every player. Players will be drafting cards, representing rocket parts, out of these hands and building rockets with them.
Each player chooses a card from their hand and places it in front of them, starting a horizontal line of cards representing their rocket they are building.
Red cards represent Jump Boosts making it easier to move through the asteroid field.
Green cards represent Shields that absorb damage from asteroid collisions.
Amber cards represent scientific equipment that don’t help with movement through the asteroid field but are worth the highest points at the end of the game.
Every player then passes the 4 cards remaining in their hand to the player on their left. If there are only two players, just swap your hand with your opponent. Out of those cards, each player chooses another to place in front of them, next to the card already on the table, choosing which end of the rocket they place the card. The end of the rocket line pointing in the same direction as the asteroid belt is the front of their rocket. The end pointing in the other direction, away from the asteroid belt, is the rear of their rocket. Players cannot place cards in between cards already placed in front of them in their rocket, nor can they place cards above or below their rocket. Players pass the 3 cards in their hand to the player on their left again, chooses another card to add to their rocket at either end of the rocket then passes the 2 cards remaining a final time. Now, each player may choose one of those 2 cards to add to their rocket OR may instead take a random card from the top of the deck, look at that card and choose which end of their rocket to place it. Then every player discards the 1 or 2 cards left in their hand to a discard pile in the centre of the table.
Deal another 5 cards to every player from the rest of the deck. Players continue drafting cards and adding them to their rocket with these new hands, following the same procedure as before, except when passing cards to another player, they pass to the player on their right. After the final cards are discarded, deal a third and final hand of 5 cards to every player and draft the final four pieces of their rockets, passing their hands to their left again, as before.
When this drafting process is complete, everyone will have a rocket in front of them consisting of a line of 12 cards. If the deck runs out when dealing out the final hand, shuffle the cards previously discarded to form a new deck and continue dealing.
The player with the smallest printed numbered card on the front of their rocket takes the Start Player token. If that is tied, then determine who gets the Start Player token randomly out of the tied players with the lowest number.
The Start Player takes their rocket cube and places it on one of the asteroid tiles in the first column at the start of the asteroid field. Then that player compares the very first card on the front of their rocket with the symbol on that asteroid tile. If the symbols are the same then no damage is taken and the next player in clockwise order takes their turn. If the symbols are different then that player collides with the asteroid and takes Collision Damage equal to the difference between the value of the symbol on the card at the very front of their rocket (not the printed number) and the value of the symbol on the asteroid tile.
When a player takes damage, they must remove one card from their rocket for every point of damage taken. The first damage taken in a turn, the card must be the front card of their rocket. The second damage taken each turn must be the last card at the back of the rocket. The third and following damage taken each turn can be taken from any combination of the front or back as the player chooses, but not the middle. So in the above example, when player A took 3 damage, that player removes the card from the front of their rocket, the card from the back of the rocket, and then chooses to take the next card from the back for the final damage.
The next player in clockwise order takes their turn and moves their rocket cube onto an asteroid tile in the first column of the asteroid field. Players may never move onto the same asteroid tile as another player. After that player calculates and removes damage as appropriate, Players take turns until everyone is on the first column of the asteroid belt. Then pass the Start Player token to the player with the fewest cards remaining in their rocket. If there is a tie, break ties as follows:
Fewest cards in rocket.
Lowest numbered card on the front of their rocket.
Next tied player in clockwise order with the fewest cards AND the lowest number.
The Start Player moves their rocket cube to any asteroid in the next column of the field. If a player stays in the same row as before, they will take no Jump Damage. If a player changes rows, they will take Jump Damage equal to the number of rows they jumped. For example, if a player starts the turn in row 4 and moves to row 1, that player will take 3 Jump Damage that turn. However do not remove the damaged rocket parts yet. Once you have calculated Jump Damage, then calculate Collision Damage as above, comparing the symbol on the front card of your rocket to the new asteroid tile. Add the two types of damage together, if any, to determine the total damage to take that turn and remove that many cards as above. The first from the front, the second from the back and the third and subsequent damage taken that turn can be from any combination of the front and/or back. Note that if another player moves to the asteroid tile directly in front of your rocket cube, because only one rocket cube can be on an asteroid tile, you must move your rocket cube to an asteroid tile in a different row, taking Jump Damage.
Then the next player in clockwise order takes their turn to move their rocket cube to the next column, ensuring they don’t place their rocket cube on the same asteroid tile as another player, and determines their damage taken. And so on until everyone has had a turn and everyone’s rocket cube is in the same column. Pass the Start Player token to the player with the smallest remaining rocket, breaking ties as above and continue until all players have either exited the asteroid field at the far end, or exploded by removing the last card from their rocket. After a player’s rocket explodes, they remove their rocket cube from the asteroid field and take no further part in the game. If, at the end of a whole turn around the table, there is only one player remaining, that player wins.
If a player has a green (Shields) or a red (Jump Boost) card as the first card in their rocket, that card can lower the damage taken in that turn.
Red Cards - Jump Boosts
If it’s a red card, then that player takes fewer damage from Jumping to different rows in the asteroid field. Look at the actual number printed on the red card (not the value of the symbol) and subtract that Jump Boost value, either 1, 2 or 3, from the Jump Damage taken that turn. However, that player still suffers the full amount of Collision Damage that turn.
Green Cards - Shields
If it’s a green card, then that player takes fewer damage from asteroid collisions. Look at the actual number printed on the green card (not the value of the symbol) and subtract that Shield value, either 1 or 2, from the asteroid Collision Damage taken that turn. However, that player still suffers the full amount of Jump Damage that turn.
Amber Cards - Scientific Equipment
If it's an amber card, with a printed number of 4, 5 or 6, then that player takes the full amount of Boost and Collision Damage without any reductions.
So, when assessing damage to a player’s rocket each turn, compare the very first card in that player’s rocket to the asteroid tile and apply the following formula:
(Number of rows jumped LESS printed number if front card is a Red Jump Boost card) (minimum = 0) +
((Difference between value of symbol on card and value of symbol on asteroid tile) LESS printed number if front card is a Green Shield card) (minimum = 0)
After a player’s rocket explodes, keep their rocket cube on the asteroid field. Every turn, before the Start Player takes their turn, those players with exploded rockets move their rocket cube forward one asteroid tile in the same row. Essentially this removes that row from the game, but that row is still counted when calculating Jump Damage. Players without cards left in their rocket can't gain the Start Player token nor win the game.
If multiple players reach the end of the asteroid field, those players add up the printed number of all cards remaining in their rocket (not the value of the symbol), the highest total wins.
Created by Adam Guarino-Watson (Urutsini), Richard Vickery and Luke Thomson.
Mentored by Steve Dee as part of the Sydney LFG 2017 Iron Game Designer Challenge.