This week’s guest post comes from Thorin Thompson as he presents the ideas behind Fortress Moon and the work that has gone into making it a reality. Take it away Thorin.
My Father and I are creating a Boardgame!
The initial idea to make a boardgame came from my Father, Alan Thompson, who for eons has wanted to develop his own games and had done so on a very small scale before, but never farther from the prototype stage.
One day he was telling me about this old scifi dime store novel he was reading and, “Wouldn't it be cool to turn something like that into a boardgame.” I decided why the heck not and that's how it all started.
We began by creating a storyline for the world the game was set, so that we could further develop the pieces/ cards/ and mechanics of the game.
The Story goes something like this:
The Second World War lasted longer than expected. It wasn't until 1953 that the fighting ceased. War torn Earth was in shambles and precious energy sources has been fast depleted.
However, technologies brought about through the war allowed Man to land on the Moon. There scientists discovered Element X (remember this is set in the 50's), which when refined was found to be a powerful source of energy.
Mine-bases were soon built by the Great Nations of the Time; the United States, the USSR, and the Republic of China. With the new energy source being sent back to Earth times were looking up, but the Lunar Miners and their families felt they weren't being treated fairly. Conditions were getting worse everyday. Riots began and soon a Great Revolt. The Miners stood as one calling themselves the Lunar Colonists. They drove off anyone not sympathetic to their cause. Earth was feeling the strain of this Revolt and as a last ditch effort launched space ships loaded with armies to the Moon!
This is were are game takes place. The beginning of a 6 Wave Attack from the combined Earth Forces. The Lunar Colonists have converted their mining equipment into weapons of war. Why even the Mechanical Operated Miners (or M.O.M. Units) were reprogrammed for fighting!
We've even gone as far as writing up stories for different units in the game, like the MOM Unit that was designed by a company that first started making vacuums. There's a unit called a Battle Craft that is a converted McCarthy Shuttle that transported VIP Personnel from one Mine-base to another.
My Father and I love telling stories (which is why we have bi-weekly D&D sessions and why he played a monster in my short horror film 'Oil & Blood.' But that's a whole other story!)
So with the story established we when onto developing what the ascetics would look like. It wasn't always gonna be a Retro Style Scifi and in fact we had some early designs that were pointing more along the lines of Halo. Not something we wanted! So we scratched all those idea and started from beginning. We hired Jordyn Boci to sketch out our designs and together we looked from dozens of old pulp art from the 50's
In the mean time I started designing the game board. Having never designed a game board before this took a lot of trial and error before I got it right. There were always going be Mine-bases, that one player, posing as the Lunar Colonists, had to hold against 3 Invading Earth Armies.
I first found a bunch of high res images of the moon and pieced them together then started spacing out all the zones. Like I said it took it a long time to get it right. Then I went out and took pictures of different metal textures and doo-heckies and started piecing them together to form the “control panel” for the board. My idea was that all the players could pretend to be looking down at a computer panel from some hidden bunker on the moon!
Initially all the Earth Forces were on one side of the board, but that's been done so many times that I decided it'd be fun to stick the USSR player at the top of the board. Once that was all figured out it was time to design the Game Cards.
The cards in the game are like transmissions from command and so with the metal textures I had for the board I began working on the cards, giving them a rusty used feeling. Like this is some transponder that an infantry guy would carry around with him to receive the messages
The Cards were just another idea that we eventually decided to bring into the game to change it up from other war games that focus mainly on how many troops you have on the board. They really do a wonderful job of changing up the game entirely and I honestly can't remember a playtest where the game has been exactly the same.
Some time along the way my Father met up with Buzz Setzer, Darryl Banks, and Charles Barnett III, all these guys have worked with Marvel and DC comics in the 90's! They became interested in our boardgame so we sent them some sketches that Jordyn did for the Units and they began drawing up pictures. We loved their art work and decided they were the right guys to draw up not only the cover art for the game but also the pictures that will be associated with each of the game cards.
We just recently got our sculpts in and they're really cool! We can't wait to get some copies made for the prototype so that'll start feeling like a real game.
It's be a little over a year since we sat down with Jordyn in a coffee shop and started spit balling ideas back and forth about what the story was and what the pieces should look like. It's been a fun ride and we're all ready to see this journey through.
Right now my Father and I are “taking the game on the road” and playtesting it with strangers in local game/comic shops around the area. At the same we're getting ready to go the DragonCon and Launch our Kickstarter Campaign. We're hoping to raise enough funds to make a small run of a 1000 units of the game.
And of course our website: www.fortressmoon.com
Contact Thorin Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org