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MeepleBR / Blog Meeple / Spiel.digital / Review: Luna Maris
  • Por: Márcio Botelho
  • Publicado em: 16 de outubro de 2020

One small step

Luna Maris is an eurogame developed by MeepleBR, a brazilian publisher, in partnership with Ricardo Amaral, a talented game designer and physics teacher.

I participated in the playtests phase and assembled lots of information about the theme, the game mechanics and other stuff.

So, take your protein pills, put your helmet on and control your stress, because we will explore the Moon!

Theme

Space exploration is developing thanks to the cooperation between private corporations and governments around the world. Before the challenge to occupy another planet, it will be necessary to create a Moon base to extract resources in our natural satellite. Iron, titanium, water and a powerful fuel, helium-3, are natural riches available in Moon.

To get these riches isn’t easy: it’ll require lots of work to install lunar probes, process extracted minerals and to ensure the working conditions of scientists and engineers in the crew.

In Luna Maris players take on roles of coordinators in charge of organizing the lunar operations of a big company. It’ll be necessary to organize the crew, fulfill demands, supply worker’s necessities, improve rooms of in the complex and respect the strict environmental parameters.

Luna Maris overview

Luna Maris is a strategic game to 1 to 4 players. The core mechanics are worker placement, hand management, action points and a little bit of set collection. With these assemble elements, it’s very clear we are playing a typical eurogame.

The objective is to get as many victory points in the end of the match. So it is necessary to generate resources – iron, titanium, water and helium-3 – to fulfill demands that are available to players. We also gain points for performing certain actions during the game, like harvesting vegetables in the greenhouse, but it is also possible to lose points if you produce great quantities of garbage and CO2.

Each player start the game with 6 scientists cards. With these, they can execute actions in the lunar base. To perform an action the player need to put the scientist meeple in a room in the complex, discard the adequate scientist card, pay the activation cost (energy, water, oxygen or etc.) and finally, receive the benefits of the activated room.

In total there are 10 rooms, each one with its particularities and special rules

  • Exploration Plant: in this place scientists dress space suits and install lunar probes to extract minerals.
  • Industrial complex: extracted minerals are processed here. Also the scientists can control the air filters and decrease the CO2 emissions.
  • Dormitory: if the stress level of the crew is high, maybe it’s necessary to take a time off for some of the scientists.
  • Greenhouse: the astronauts needs food to work. The greenhouse is very important to sustain the crew members.
  • Expedition area: after assembling resources, it’s necessary to expedite the cargo to Earth and receive some victory points.
  • Laboratory: researches are developed in this area. In this place is possible to improve the Industrial Complex, Recycling Plant and other facilities.
  • Mining Room: the extraction of basalt and titanium is fundamental to sustain a high level production.
  • Communication Room: it’s always good to have the best workers. It’s possible to hire high level scientists and improve the human resources of the lunar base.
  • Power Plant: the solar boards provide lots of energy to the facilities, but sometimes it’s necessary an extra energy supply.
  • Recycling plant: industrial activities produces huge amounts of garbage. Don’t worry! It’s possible to recycle and obtain resources in a green sustainable economy.

Every match have 5 rounds, and in the end the players count the points and discover which one was more efficient in managing the companies crew.

Playtests

We did a great number of tests. In every new match data and players feedback were collected and the team used this information to improve the balance of the game.

The main concerns were to ensure the equilibrium between the possible strategies in the game and to made all the rooms in the lunar base useful and interesting to the players.

We spent a lot of time to create a good balance between all the possible strategies to win the game. The most difficult thing was not allowing one unique way to win, because in this scenario we would have a product with a very short useful life.

In the actual stage we are proud to say that, Luna Maris has many different strategies to goal the victory: focus on installing lunar probes and producing raw resources; investing in the industrial complex and guaranteeing access to water and helium-3 a good way to fulfill high level demands; hiring high level scientists and optimizing your actions. These are just some of the possibles strategies.

The other challenge was to make all rooms in the lunar base useful. In a game with a time limited, to just 5 rounds, there was a risk that some space would be tedious or a little interesting to the players.

To avoid this problem it was necessary lots of calculations, because each room needed to generate victory points in a direct way – scoring victory points just after it was used –, or in an indirect way – scoring points in the end of the game or allowing more efficiency in the production.

Luna Maris: next steps

After finishing the mechanical core and the balance of the game, we have 3 more steps to publish Luna Maris: graphic design, writing of the manual and production.

The publisher contacted Diego Sá, is a famous Brazilian artist and designer. The first arts are awesome and communicate the marvels of space exploration.

The writing of the manual is a tough challenge. It’s fundamental to organize the rules in a good way and show all the possibilities of the game. At the same time we’ll be working with the translation to English.

Last but not least, the components, box and player boards will be produced. We have a strict quality control and our company believes in the importance of delivering the best to the customers.

In a regular scenario, Luna Maris will be launched in the first semester of 2021, probably in both versions (Portuguese and English).

One small step for us, one giant leap for Brazilian game design.

Márcio Botelho

Race: Human. Alignment: Chaotic Good Classes: Historian 6, literary critic 4 and Nerd 10. I'm preparing my helmet to the liftoff

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