While it might take some time before we encounter aliens in real life, there’s now a way to do it in 60-90 minutes from the comfort of your own home. The best part is that if and when the universe ends, you’ll still be around to tell about it.
In the new board game Chaosmos, players assume the roles of aliens who are racing to find the Ovoid, an artifact that ultimately determines which civilization survives the collapse of the universe. The Ovoid is one of number of different cards that players collect, along with ones designating weapons and other equipment. Players trick and fight one another to gain information, supplies, and the coveted Ovoid, which is the one card a player needs to have in his hand when the universe goes kaput.
As the hunt for the Ovoid transpires, players visit other planets, war with other races, and even travel through time. Each planet in the game comes with corresponding cards that you take for yourself, leave for others, or hide from competitors. Some of those cards protect the planet, while others can be hoarded for future use. Each race has a distinct personality and culture that determines their abilities. During a game, players use the cards and exploit the strengths and weaknesses of other people, and must devise a strategy to obtain the Ovoid artifact at the exact right moment.
I don’t know about you, but this space-and-game-nerd loves the sound of this. So do others, apparently. The Chaosmos Kickstarter has already met its $40,000 goal and still has 15 days left. A $10 pledge will get backers a downloadable and printable version of the game, and pledges of $55 or more will get backers a complete set. Some of the stretch goals have already been met, too, which means that the playing pieces have been upgraded, as have the cards. Additional large-scale goals will result in add-on accessories and pieces, as well as a modular board upgrade if met.
Mirror Box Games is the brains behind Chaosmos. Four friends founded the game company in 2012. The core group has been collaborating to make games for upwards of two decades, mostly for the Mac World Builder environment. Lead designer Joey Vigour says that one of the inspirations for the game is sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison, particularly Ellison’s 1981 story “Grail,” which features a love interest named Siri and the quest for a priceless artifact. Fortunately, prospective game players can find the Holy Grail without trekking across the cosmos, if they can outsmart their opponents, that is.