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Rayguns and Rocketships: A Dual-Scale Tale

Scott Rogers’ prototype of Rayguns and Rocketships

The first thing that caught my eye when I saw designer Scott Rogers showing off Rayguns and Rocketships (with a gleam in his eye, mind you) at UnPub San Jose was the fact that it had multiple boards with action going on simultaneously between the two. It was incredible to watch. In seconds I was having a fantasy that this was FTL the boardgame. And in a way, it very much is, without the added complexity or punishing difficulty.

A lot of what I saw that lit me up about Rayguns was the back and forth between the star map, and the ship boards. I watched as players pre-programmed their rocketships, and then took turns moving their crew members around their ships, timing boarding actions as their ships passed one another through space in precise moments. What a trip to watch!

Massive ship battle on the star map

After watching for a few turns, I had to play. No more than five minutes into the game, not only was I impacting how my ship operated on the star map due to my crew placement on the ship board, but I was also setting myself up for daring boarding missions as my spaceship passed an opponent’s spaceship mid-flight.

My Blaarg crew have unwanted visitors aboard their ship!

Scuttling a few of my precious crew aboard an opponent’s ship proved to be a huge choice. I was sacrificing potential crew to man rayguns (thereby increasing their accuracy), and crew to operate the engines (increasing my ship’s speed) or to stay and defend in case of an enemy incursion, but I felt it was worth it to send them into an opposing player’s ship to sabotage their engines.

The aftermath of a huge dogfight

That was what really got me. How successful am I at blasting an enemy ship apart with my rayguns from a distance? Could I send a few crew aboard their vessel to distract them while I continue the barrage from afar? What if another player sees that I’m low on crew, and decides to board me instead? The back-and-forth between these types of decisions heightened the experience to a wonderful level.

The duality of the scale is not an added benefit, it’s a necessity. In the days we live in now, where everyone is making miniatures games, doing something innovative is truly an oversight. IDW Games has certainly seen the beauty in something so cool as having a dual-scale system, and we’re leveraging that as much as we can to give the public a truly unique experience, set in a rich and colorful world.

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 1.15.09 PMThat’s what I got, when I played Rayguns and Rocketships for the first time. This experience was, without any doubt, a novel and fortunate new type of game.

– Bryan Merlonghi, Marketing Manager IDW Games