In lieu of having any contract work to finish up today, I let myself get distracted into updating the design of the Project:Orbits cards, Planets and Tracks based on the rules I playtested the other night with my daughter. The main updates to the planet tiles include a range of prices for remedies you can buy at different Planets – some planets will remedy your Engine Trouble but not let you refuel, some will remedy an Alien Attack but not help you against Meteor Showers, and there’s a range of costs for each Remedy as well.

Remedies can be purchased at these worlds with Credits, which is a new value added on to all of the Speed, Status, and Remedy cards you might have in your hand. This way, if you find that having Engine Trouble is slowing you down and you just can’t seem to draw the right Remedy for it, you can stop at a Planet that offers that remedy, and turn in a number of cards in your hand to buy the Remedy you need. In a sense, it’s a form of trading, and the only cards that don’t have any Credit value are the Equipment cards (which you’ll want to be holding onto).

Tomorrow I’ll update the written rules to reflect all of this, and then post the updated rules here (I’ll post the planet cards and the action deck as well at some point, so you can playtest at home if you want). I still need to test one or two more times before this one’s ready for a final release. I’m still not sure about the current Dashboard layout, specifically the scoring area.

At the moment, the scoring area has three different sections, allowing a combination of markers to display a score of up to 499 points. I haven’t tried playing a game for points yet, so I don’t know how worthwhile this idea is. It might be better to drop the scoring down to just 10, and have the game be played just for laps. The whole point of playing for points was to encourage longer, more intricate webs of planets and tracks, with laps of different length being worth a different number of points (many short laps might equal one or two long laps, for example). I’ll have to try playing for points once or twice to see how well it goes.

Also, I haven’t yet tried the game with Homeworlds in effect. Homeworlds give distinct advantages to each player, and disadvantages as well. For example, if the player of the Red rocket lands at their own homeworld, repairs are cheaper and they get an extra speed boost when they break orbit. However, if they land at the Green homeworld, repairs are not available, and they must use more speed to reach Escape Velocity. Homeworlds only take effect if all players’ homeworlds are on the racetrack, otherwise the dis/advantage is too great for some players.

Playing for points, and using Homeworld advantages are two of the facets of this game that I think sets it apart from most other racing games of this kind, so I’m looking forward to really giving it a proper test. Now that the basic gameplay has (hopefully) been streamlined a bit, I’m looking forward to giving Project:Orbits a thorough test-run.