Space Tub has now been in development for over a year. The basic game principal is that each player has control of a single space frieghter (a space tub) and must buy and sell commodities in order to achieve financial success. The game involves a simple comodity market, a large board which represents the map of the known galaxy, player cards to represent the tubs, contract cards to compete for, round event cards which drive the market and cause other events to occur.
Here's a breakdown of what is going on in the box so far. Remember that this game is "in development" - which means we could change any of it at any time.
3' x 2' Map Board
The map is intended to be a hard-board, folding board. It should end up being a six fold board, and hopefully collapse down to 12" x 12". The major features to look at are:
Node based movement: Each player moves his or her "Tub" by following the path of the red circles on the map. Each "star" system counts in this. Movement is generally not allowed outside the red circles and must be made along a connecting line.
Grid Index: Along the edges of the board are a grid index. This may be used with grid coordinates on the contract cards to easily find any system listed on a contract.
Commodity Display: Around the colored star graphic for each star system is shown the commodities which may be purchased in the star system. Specific commodities are always shown in the same "compass" or "clock" position around the star.
Influence Display: Many nodes have a sphere of influence showing the nodes alignment to a specific star empire. This both gives the players a sense of the politics of the region as well as showing the likely operating areas for privateers.
2.5" x 2.5" Contract Cards
The contract cards introduce the competitive aspect of the game. At any given time there are a limited number of these contracts available for the players to compete on. The number of available contracts is determined by the number of players and the desired difficulty of play. As all of the players are competing for all of the contracts, any of the players may deliver the commodity shown to the location a fill the contract. This removes the contract from play, adding it to that players victory point total.
Each contract card has a legal (top or yellow half) and black market (bottom or black half) contract listed. Completing the contract involves delivering either commodity to the shown location on that half of the card and removes the whole card from play. This means that if a player delivers the influence commodity to Tandelus, another player will no longer be able to deliver radioactives to Alnilam.
Legal contracts are less lucrative than black market contracts, and most likely easier to deliver. Also, at the end of the game, the victory point value of a contract is the legal value listed on the card. Further, participating in black market dealings may cause the player to gain reputation points, which may draw the attention of privateers.
Each contract card shows (for both legal and black market contracts) the desired commodity, a name plate for the star system to deliver to and a grid short cut to find the system on the map. Name plates are color coded if the star system is part of an empire or alliance. A large stack of contract cards is included to allow for high re-play value.
2.5" x 2.5" Round Event Cards
The round event cards are played after each round of player (each player gets one turn before the next one). They are used to drive the commodity market pricing, indicate whether pirates or privateers will act, and occasionally other large events. The card shown here indicates that the price of the materials commodity has gone up one spot on the market board and the radioactives has also increased by by one spot. The black ship with red trim indicates that pirates will act this turn. The closed border condition is in effect this round for the "green" empire, which means that it is now harder to operate in nodes that have the green shaded influence zones.
The market board will be used to keep track of both the buying and selling price of commodities on the open market. Each commodity, there are 8 total, will have its own value listed here for buying. One unit of the commodity will cost the player the listed value in "k" to buy and load on his tub. Each tub may, initially, carry up to three commodity tiles which may be the same or a combination of commodities. Commodities may be sold back to the market at a reduced price, but it is almost always more lucrative to use commodities to complete contracts.
The game will also include die cut counters for player ships, pirates, privateers, tub upgrades, reputation points, commodity units and money. Each player will have a personal tub board to keep track of their respective cargoes, earnings and the like. As the design is still being tested, these are subject to change.
Space Tub is currently completing the design and testing phase of development. The next phase will be to determine the manufacturing process and cost of the game. We anticipate having production prototypes available for viewing (and more importantly playing) early next year. We hope to have Space Tub available for purchase by the middle of next year.