kickstarter Game Preview: oddball Aeronauts

Posted by Jim {Power Gamer} | 25-Feb-14 | 10 comments

oddball Aeronauts game in play

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There are just a few days left to back oddball Aeronauts on kickstarter.com. Should you back this game? Hopefully this preview helps.

It’s worth noting that oddball Aeronauts has already reached its funding goal and is now on its way to hit some awesome stretch goals!

Overview

In oddball Aeronauts, two players take the roll of airship captains with aspirations of controlling the skies. As battles take place, players must balance the skills they use and how many cards they play, trying to win battles while not running out of cards before their opponent. The first player to run out of cards has lost the battle.

odball Aeronauts factions

Gameplay

There are plenty of games that are easy to learn and quick to play, but oddball Aeronauts takes that to a new level by not needing a play surface and taking less than a minute to set up!

Speaking of set up, it couldn’t be easier. Players choose which faction they’ll play (Pirates and Pendragons), draw two random event cards, and then shuffle their faction and event cards together. Players then keep those decks in their hands and the air battles begin!

Events

Before each round starts, if either player has an event in their top three cards, that event will immediately take effect (unless both players have events, in that case they are both discarded). Events add an extra level of variation to the game. They usually involve seeing which player’s top card has the most or least amount of a specific skill, and then something good or bad will happen to that player (like gaining a bonus or having to discard a card).

The Game Rounds

Each round will involve players choosing which skill they will be using, simultaneously announcing how many cards they’ll be playing and then comparing the skill totals to see who wins or if it’s a tie. Cards played are discarded by being flipped face down and put at the bottom of the player’s deck. Depending on the skills chosen and who wins, players may recover cards or have to discard additional cards. To recover a card you simply flip over the top face down (discarded) card in your deck. Rounds will continue until one player has discarded all their cards. Now for the specifics…

oddball-Aeronauts-pirate-cards

Choosing a skill

Each card has three skills to choose from: Sailing, Guns and Boarding. The lead player will announce the skill they’ll use first, then the other player announces their chosen skill.

There are three things to consider when choosing a skill: What win effect do you want, will your total skill value possibly be higher than your opponent’s, how can you use the Trick of your top card to your advantage?

Win Effects

oddball Aeronauts card stats

  • Sailing: If you choose this skill and win the round, you’ll recover two cards
  • Guns: If you choose this skill and win the round, your opponent will discard two additional cards
  • Boarding: Winning with this skill lets you recover one card while your opponent discards one card.

Skill value

The stats on cards will vary, but you’ll see for each skill there is a large number to the right of the skill icon and a smaller bonus number underneath. The top card will use the large skill number, and then any additional cards you use will use the bonus skill numbers. Each round you play your top card, but can also support it with one or both of the two cards directly under it. The higher your skill total, the more likely it is you’ll win.

Tricks

Each card has a special ability called a “Trick.” They add a lot of extra fun to the game because they make it so it’s not purely a numbers game. There are a variety of tricks, some examples are: giving you skill bonuses, allowing you to swap cards, letting you recover cards if you win, etc.

Declaring the number of cards

Since the highest skill value wins it can be tempting to play all three cards, but remember, the first player to discard all their cards loses the game. You’ll want to play just enough cards to have the edge, and if you think you’re definitely going to lose, it might be wise to just play one card.

Once players have had some time to plan how many cards to play, the lead player counts to three and on three players use their fingers to show how many cards they’ll play.

Determining the winner

The lead player says their skill total, and then the non-lead player states theirs. The highest skill total wins and you apply the appropriate win effect. However, if it’s a tie, no win effect occurs. Players then discard the cards they played that round. If after discarding, a player no longer has face up cards, they have lost the game.

Learning Curve

Easy. The basic mechanics are really easy to pick up, and the tricks are very straight forward. After just a round or two of play you’ll quickly start getting a sense for the deeper strategies.

Who would like this game?

Family Gamer {yes}
The art is fantastic! Kids and adults will enjoy the animal characters mixed with the steampunk theme. The mechanics are easy to learn and the game plays very quickly. Since you don’t need a play surface, it’s perfect for family trips!

Social Gamer {no}
Being a two player game, you won’t be pulling this out during a group gathering.

Strategy Gamer {no}
There’s probably too much luck for strategy gamers to maximize their strategic skills.

Casual Gamer {yes}
oddball Aeronauts is great for casual gamers. Newcomers will be up to speed in no time at all, and there’s just enough depth to keep you playing over and over… no brain strain required.

Avid Gamer {yes}
Avid gamers will enjoy how they can play this game with almost anyone in places they couldn’t play other games. With no playing surface required, it’s great for when you’re out and about or traveling.

Power Gamer {yes}
oddball Aeronauts is the perfect game to keep on hand for whenever you’ve got time to fill. It’s very portable, so you can easily keep a deck with your other cards or in your miniatures bag. Though light on mechanics, power gamers will enjoy the character art and multiple stats to choose from.

Final Thoughts

Note:We played (and took photos of) the prototype version of the game with the core set of cards. The full game will include even more cards to add deck crafting and even more replayability!

It’s very common these days to see people filling their time with games on their smartphones and tablets. A big reason for that is because they’re easy to keep with you wherever you go, and the games are designed to be quick to play during small chunks of time. But at the same time, it can be sad seeing a couple in a restaurant staring at their phones instead of interacting with each other, or to see a family sitting in the living room all staring at their phones and tablets.

Enter oddball Aeronauts! Because this game is so portable and quick to play, you can actually pull it out in those smaller chunks of free time where you’d be tempted to pull out that smartphone. All you need is one other person to play with.

The fact that you don’t need a table or play surface also puts oddball Aeronauts in a very unique space for a “physical game.” I didn’t understand the full appeal of that aspect of the game until I started playing. I then realized that there have been plenty of times I’ve tried to play games on the go (in the car, on an airplane, on the train)… but because they required a surface, it didn’t take long to see they weren’t going to work (cards falling off the small seat trays, getting lost in between seat cushions, etc.). I’m excited to see where oddball Aeronauts goes with me now that it has opened up new opportunities for me to play!

oddball-Aeronauts-pendragon-cards

The art in oddball Aeronauts is outstanding! The characters are just the right amount of fun with plenty of steampunk theme. The card design, with their borders and textures, adds that extra layer of quality while maintaining easy to understand symbols and text.

We are definitely having fun with oddball Aeronauts and look forward to playing the complete game. If you like what you’ve read, please click on the link below and support this game!

support this game on kickstarter.com

Support this game on kickstarter.com!

{Backing ends March 3rd, 2:00pm MST}
Go now >

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We want to thank maverick:muse for providing us with a prototype of oddball Aeronauts so we could preview the game!

Comments (10)

Gamer Avatar
8
El Dorado
I'm a Gamin' Fiend!
Rated 100 Games
Paladin

I really like the artwork on this game. It’s got a great look.

Gamer Avatar
10
Canada
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Platinum Supporter

A richly deserved amazing Final 48 for a great game that ran a great campaign. I can’t wait for my ‘Tin City’ Edition 🙂

Gamer Avatar
9
I play blue
Football Fan
USA
Advanced Reviewer

Backing this. We are going in as a group for NW Indiana/Chicago. We have a price break of 10-pounds per copy now.

Gamer Avatar
5
South Africa
Scotland

If you haven’t backed this yet, you really should – at the very least at the PnP version. It get’s played a minimum of twice a week, mostly due to the fact that it’s perfect for airplanes and we fly a lot. It really is a great two player filler.

Gamer Avatar
7
US Army Service
I play green

I have a ton of two player games and was willing to blow this one off, but realized that I don’t have a lot of games with a steampunk theme. Just wish I had more games designed around 3 players since there are days where three of us will be waiting for nearly an hour for the other gamers to show up.

Gamer Avatar
7
Canada
I play yellow
Stone of the Sun

We backed this one and are just printing out the print’n’play version. Looking forward to trying it out!

Gamer Avatar
10
Canada
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Platinum Supporter

Aside from an awesome game, Maverick Muse is running an awesome campaign. Their updates and comment section show a dedication to the game and the backers and they have a lot of heart. charm. and wit. Definitely worth checking out…

…and those little anthros are so poke worthy! *belly poke*

Gamer Avatar
5
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
Eminent Domain Fan

Still considering backing this one at the PnP level. I love the idea of a game that requires no surface to play on.

Gamer Avatar
1
oddball Aeronauts fan

This game really is a lot of fun, easily accessible, great tactical gameplay and literally a play-anywhere game…add to that some amazing art work. Having played the p&p version this is Seriously worth backing.

Gamer Avatar
6
Comic Book Fan
Movie Lover

This game looks really fun. Especially since I have always wanted to be an airship captain that controls the skies.

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