Colony Moon: Edumacational!

I was dead chuffed to see this come across my G+ feed today (and if you’re not on G+ why not?). Being ‘educational’ can be the kiss of death to games, but I’m incredibly pleased that this game was this useful in this context. Thanks Anthony! You can buy Colony: Moon HERE:

In May, when I first got James Desborough’s Colony Moon, I was delighted by the premise and looked forward to getting to play it. As I work in a language department, I also felt that this was a product that could be useful in the classroom.

A few weeks later, after a few sample sessions, I decided to take it to work. Work for me is at a business school.

I chose a class of international students in their first year of university, and assigned some of them the task of familiarizing themselves with the space race, and the others with current plans for Luna and Mars. We don’t need to go into how many of them had never given space a thought. I linked these researches to product development, product life cycles, and the ongoing demon of expanding their active vocabulary.

The next stage was to assign the reading of the background for the game. Students returned with some questions, and we held a discussion regarding the factions, their goals, and their motivations.

We followed this up with a trial run of the game mechanics. The students had to use the source material to teach themselves how to play under a time limit. Once we got over the partly surprising hurdle of these students being almost entirely unfamiliar with the use of dice for anything other than counting spaces on kiddie game boards or gambling, we were ready to go into the fourth stage of the project: simulating our colony. It was at this point that the students really started to understand the underlying purpose of all of this, and really get into it.

Personally, I like cooperative play but I recognize the value and impact of competition, so I set the class into small groups of 4-5. The progress of each group would be judged against the others, as would the quality and originality of their solutions to the problems they encountered.

Groups had to guide themselves in running the game (with some on the spot assistance from me) and take notes regarding the events, their solutions, and the fate of the colony.

The final stage was to have each student turn in a report of the simulation, describing what their colony had encountered, the effectiveness of their solutions and the administrators, the actual fate of the colony at the end of the simulation, and their thoughts about what might happen afterward.

I was very pleased to read in these reports how much the students enjoyed the concept of the assignments, the challenge of having to use their English under pressure to learn and demonstrate a set of actions, and the actual situations they faced in the simulation. Initially there was some obvious, but unvoiced, resistance to the idea of a “game.” Not only did Colony: Moon expand their idea of the meaning of the word game, it further opened them to the idea of working together in discussion and debate to develop their understanding of other subjects and courses.

Using the game in class provides challenges for students with little to no background in gaming, and many more for those students with limited English skills and limited awareness of the history and hopes of space exploration. Taking things in stages, and connecting these stages to other real-world applications and requirements can turn these challenges into very worthwhile training.

People Say Nice Things about our Stuff!

People have had nice things to say about our stuff. Look!

Colony: Moon

Like the author, I grew up with a sense of wonder and anticipation regarding space travel. As our generation has in a sense ‘lost the moon’ I find the concept of Colony Moon to be compelling. Those motivations aside, the game itself is quite simply fun.

The rules are easy to read and follow, so even a cursory amount of preparation will allow you to host a game without too much worry. The basic interactions of the game are interesting on their own, but adding in characterization and roleplay magnifies this significantly.

The game is ideal for those who love games like Civilization/Alpha Centauri or Outpost but have always wanted more from the diplomatic and political side of things.

I got the game for personal enjoyment, but after reading and testing it, feel it will be useful and enjoyable in an educational setting as well.

This game is well worth a look.

Anthony B

Tobyart 3: Knights

Toby Gregory’s artwork is among my favorite stock art pack and has made me seek him out for custom work. I have developed an entire series of releases based around the entire series of Tobyart. These images are always glorious to behold. In addition there is always a wonderful mix of the iconic and the original when it comes to the characfters created.

The Cover image of TobyArt Knights is actually the weakest image presented but is the most modular since a human knight can be found in any game. I truly cannot wait to use the female dragonborn with the eye patch or the drinking dwarf.

My highest praise.

Steven D. Russell
Rite Publishing

Why did you write Colony: Moon?

I was born in 1975. I’m starting to finally feel like a grown-up, which must mean I’m old. We stopped going to the moon in 1972 but when I was growing up I was surrounded by books and pictures talking about all our accomplishments in space and it wasn’t really conceivable that we wouldn’t go back there. That was a slow dream to die and the books I read were optimistic, talking about a Moon base by the late 1980s or mid 1990s.

Now the US doesn’t even have the Space Shuttle any more and the only sign of any vision is coming from private companies and film makers, and that’s strange and a rather modest vision at that.

Projects like getting out into space are like ITER, or CERN, they really need to be international efforts due to the cost and expertise required. While there is money to be made – potentially – in space, it feels like we’re mortgaging our future to the profit motive, rather than the wonder, and necessity, of taking to the solar system and the stars.

I wanted to make a game about competing ideas, negotiation, the risks in being unfocussed and the strengths in working together. The game really relies on people taking on a ‘role’ and playing it through, making a mix of political and pragmatic decisions.

I think it could, easily, also form the background and basis for someone’s hard SF RPG and I hope it sells well so I can do some rules and add ons for colonising the rest of the solar system, and beyond.

Colony: Moon RELEASED

A cooperative (or competetive) story game about founding a Moon colony, making it succeed and opening up the way to the rest of the solar system.

Players take on the parts of ‘The Board’ and make decisions about the future of the colony, expending political capital and gaining prestige when their plans work.



This game will be available at Paizo, IPR and E23 shortly, if those are your preferred outlets.