Signs in heaven and earth indicate that news has already reached you that Martin Wallace’s latest game will premiere in Europe on April 12, and in the US it will be available in stores in April/May 2021. So what does this mean for you? You will soon be able to dive into one of the most innovative deck-building systems ever created!
Are you ready to take part in the race to conquer space and win against companies modelled on real space industry institutions (like Elon Musk’s SpaceX)? We hope so, because this game will keep you entertained for hours. The elegant, thematic setting will allow you to feel like a tycoon in the space industry, managing huge enterprises, focusing on environmental protection, discovering advanced technologies and sending out various missions, which will become the mainspring of colonization of deep space. In turn, revolutionary changes in deck-building mechanics make everything logical and dynamic and give the player a huge range of options for managing their own deck.
How does it work?
The player is given a starting deck, containing missions and resources. Each card can usually be used in two or three ways, which means that we will always be able to realise its potential and it will not linger in our hand. With the help of the initial cards we will expand our company with new technologies, equipment and resources, making the achievement of our missions faster and more reliable.
Finally, when we feel ready to act, we choose a mission objective and start preparing, using the unique abilities of the cards and the resources available, each of which will contribute to achieving the objective and securing the mission from any problems.
Something can always go wrong. As we can see from what is happening in the industry – for example with SpaceX projects – even the best prepared mission can fail due to random factors. But does Elon Musk give up because of this? No, for him every failure is a valuable lesson that becomes an asset in subsequent missions – so here, too, a failed mission gives the player not only a lesson, but also some opportunity for immediate modification in mission preparation.
What makes the game special?
- a unique hand and deck management mechanism, allowing you to temporarily “remove” less needed cards from your deck;
- thematic gameplay, showing what the space industry might look like in the near future;
- elegant visuals that correlate with the theme of the game;
- extremely well thought-out slot machine with three levels of difficulty;
- two versions: economy, basic version and the deluxe one with plastic components;
- high replayable, thanks to the different modules that make each game unique;
- excellent scalability.
Maybe you want to find out what the designer – Martin Wallace – thinks of his project?
What captivated you so much about space that you decided to use it as the setting for your new game (Rocketmen)?
It was not one that I thought would make a good one for a game, as space race games are difficult to do. However, the twist of basing it around the modern space race gave me more to play with.
What do you think sets Rocketmen apart from other deck-building games?
I suppose the main feature is that you place cards to build your rocket. This changes the dynamic of the game as you are actively thinning your deck while doing this, but then ending up with a larger deck after launch.
Has the Rocketmen game changed much over the course of its design?
Once I settled on using deck-building as the main mechanic, then the game has not changed significantly. I had another design before this one which did not work well at all, but I cannot remember the details.
What was the inspiration behind the creation of Rocketmen?
I felt that the space theme was the strongest one and followed that one up. I did a lot of reading up on the modern space race, mostly on Elon Musk, as a lot has been written about him. That gave me the idea to combine building rockets with having to have a good Earth-based company, which allowed me to incorporate all sorts of emerging technologies, not just those connected with space travel.
What is the most difficult aspect of working on a new title?
When designing a new game you are always stuck with the same problem, which is how to deliver a fun game but using a new set of mechanics. You always have the same goal in game design, you just have to find a different route each time.
What is more important for you in a game: theme or mechanics?
For me, theme is nearly always my starting point. Mechanics should be wrapped around a theme, not the other way around.
Where do you start from when designing a game?
I nearly always start with research, as you have to work out what story it is you are trying to tell. To have a good story you need to know the details around that theme, so reading is critical.