As the name suggests, Auroch Digital make, well digital stuff. A couple of years ago they had successfully got support from the UK Space Agency to help with research and development of a video game about running a space agency called Mars Horizon. In the real agency's feedback around running a fictional agency was the thought, “This would make a great boardgame.” Auroch Digital liked the idea and set about making it a reality, spinning up a separate development team alongside its ongoing digital game to explore the idea wherever it led.
Mars Horizon: Blast Off! is a card game in which each player controls a space agency seeking to complete the first crewed mission to Mars, setting the stage for humanity to become a multiplanetary species. Drawing from the real and inspiration by the history to the future of space exploration, the game has its feet firmly in the stars and you undertake real missions using actual spacecraft. The core gameplay a mix of risk/reward balancing combined with resource management – using research tokens to gain a rocket design and money tokens to built it. When you are ready to launch, then comes the nerve-wracking bit as space exploration is challenging – first the launch has to be a success.
Using a unique count-down mechanic the player must countdown to zero drawing cards at the count of three, two and one. If these are green, then the launch has been a triumph and blasted off into space. If they are red, then Houston has a problem. As well as rockets the player has a whole host of missions, events, buildings and more they can use in the race for the red planet.
Mars Horizon: Blast Off! is the fourth Kickstarted project by Auroch Digital and you can see how we might make humanity a multiplanetary species on Kickstarter right now.