Introducing: Thunder Run to Gratis-3

Thunder Run to Gratis-3As I went into great detail about in my previous post, I am planning to release an updated edition of Jump Gate by the end of June.

In the meantime, has a game design contest that I plan to have an entry ready for.  It’s due by mid-June, so that means I’ll be putting my attention from now until then on my contest entry.

I’ve actually been working on the game since the drive home from Protospiel-Milwaukee back in March. While at that design get-together, I had just finished playing Tuesday Night Tanks with Chevee Dodd and Brett Myers (yes, I like to link things and drop names … it something I just do), and we were sitting around talking about our favorite super-trashy, blow-stuff-up games (which is what TNT is about — if you like that sort of thing, click on the link and buy a copy).

Brett brought up Thunder Road, which I have never played … but I have watched a game of it, and it fits that bill perfectly.  Check out the pictures of the game and tell me that doesn’t look like a ton of metal-crunching fun!  And then I said “I should make something like that … in space!” And so my brain got to work on that very idea.

By the time I had made it from Milwaukee to Madison for an invited stop at’s HQ to visit JT Smith, I had something of a core game already forming.  And then JT showed me the Buck Rogers ships available via the TGC shop, and mentioned that they would work for the the miniatures design contest … and that locked it in.

So, here’s the backstory …

The resource survey for the third planet in the Gratis system was NOT supposed to get out for public consumption … but it did, and it was brimming, and that’s when it all started. Your resource extraction company had a spare carrier free, and you were put in charge to jump to the closest gate and get to the planet ASAP.  Of course, every other company with a carrier available had the same thought, and you all emerged from the gate within visual range of each other.  To make matters worse, the only way from the gate to Gratis-3 is a very narrow, treacherous path … hemmed in on all sides by asteroid fields and EM-charged nebulae.  The only way to be sure your company gets the best grab of the resource-rich planet is to slow the other ships and cause them enough delay and damage that you will arrive first and be able to get your claims staked before the others join you planet-side.

Thunder Run to Gratis-3 Board

The game is intended to be a straight-up, sloppy, slug-fest in space!  Your carrier is equipped with shields, some big guns, some longer-range weapons (EMPs and Nukes) and the ever-pestering “Remote Attack Vehicles” (RAVs) — both fighters and bombers.

Thunder Run to Gratis-3, Beta Prototype, End Game LookEach player has their own “command deck” that allows them to take actions and involves a “cool down queue” to add-in some logistical challenges, and lots of dice-based combat.  The true goal is to deal as much damage to the other ships as you can along the path, with some bonus to arriving at the planet first. I’ll go into more detail on some future posts around the different components and mechanics involved.

I will tell you this though: There is a ton of silly-fun gaming in this box, and I’m barely able to keep this thing under the cost limit for the contest — but it is under the limit and I expect it to compete for the title.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *