The Birth of an Idea
The original concept for Astro came out of the 2017 Boston Beyond Tabletop game jam by Colby and Diamond Kraybill— a father-son team. Over the course of the 2 Day Jam, they came up with a slow and strategic asteroid mining prototype and a hockey game with Diamond providing all the conceptual work and sketches and Colby coding the prototype. Fun fact, at the time of the Jam, Colby was a key software developer working on an early release of Scratch programming language.
Astro was originally outlined as a turn by turn movement game with a hexagon grid board acting as a map of space terrain. Each Blink would have to charge up and then move in Real Time navigating space(s). Each ship would be attached to ore and had to return to a home base for scoring. During play testing, the graphic "transfer" of ore to ship was a show-stopper in the room, making for a memorable experience for all.
Astro in its final form came out of the need for more games to include in our original Kickstarter Release. And with their blessing we pulled it out of the library of ideas and sketches to be included into the Expansion Set.
Dan King, lead game designer says "We wanted a more kinetic game not limited by a board. We also wanted one that would include elements of uncertainty. Maybe a Flicking game, a way to attach and return to home base with a complex scoring system."
He continues, "We then took a step back and looked at the basic mechanics...Ship Meets Asteroid and the Transfer/Scoring Mechanism and realized that what would happen if we play as fast as we can?"
So we took it out on the conference table we tried it out with some office mates.
What happened? It was a total melee, Free for All, Immediately fun for us.
So we saw that there was no need for turns, points, or even a home base. With a few more visual tweaks it was stripped down to a more open concept. Just 6 quick missions for players to complete first with asteroids respawning sporadically with colored ore. With these changes Astro became fun, chaotic, and fiercely competitive. We even tried it with a group of 8 with like 20 asteroids. Mayhem!
Ultimately, Astro remains of the teams favorite games and is included as one of the 9 games in the brand new Blinks Game System