The Kickstarter campaign for the 1st Edition Mothership® Boxed Set launched on November 2nd. This long awaited Kickstarter for the Award-winning tabletop RPG Mothership brings together everything you need to experience the gritty, dark, sometimes amusing, space horror gameplay for which this indie hero has set the standard.
If you haven't come across Mothership®, firstly where the hell have you been - cryosleep?? Secondly all you need to know is that this short, easy to pick up, learn and play RPG found almost instant popularity when it first appeared in 2018 published by Tuesday Knight Games. What I personally love about the Mothership game is that it focuses on what is important. The rules are simple without being simplistic, it has a strong focus on mounting stress and tension in its Panic rules, which make it increasingly difficult to do what you need to in order to stop your players dying - and die they will, which is fine - think about how many characters survived in the movie Alien.
Having mentioned Alien, it is worth calling out where Sean McCoy the games creator gets his inspirations from and where the game takes its cues - on the Kickstarter page you will find listed; Alien (1979), Super Metroid (1994), Event Horizon (1997), Sunshine (2007), Haunted Cities (2016), Prospect (2018), Dead Space (2008), Aliens(1986), Roadside Picnic (1972), Doom (1993), Blame! (1997), Diamond Dogs (2001), The Thing (1982), Hellstar Remina (2004), Pitch Black (2000), Solaris (1972), Moon Colony Bloodbath (2009), A Collapse of Horses (2016), 2001: A Space Odyssey, Hyper Normalisation (2016), The Forever War (1974) and I'm sure there are more - but even if only a few of these pique your interest you are going to want to pick up a copy of Mothership!
In a game of Mothership players take on the roles of teamsters, scientists, androids and marines, usually just trying to make ends meet, get the job done and get home until some disaster, alien incursion or space itself intervenes to ruin their lives.
The "Mothership®: Player’s Survival Guide", (which is really everything you need to play the game), won the 2019 ENnie Award for best game and the adventure supplement "Dead Planet" picked up silver in the best adventure category. There have been numerous official zine and pamphlet adventures and supplements as well as a really healthy fan following which have resulted in some excellent "For use with Mothership®" publications which have seen light through Kickstarter and itch.io.
The Kickstarter actually represents the release of the official 1st Edition of the Mothership® rules. Everything that has gone before has been version 0.x and it delivers this new and updated content in a choice of two box sets.
The first is the Mothership® Core Set. This boxed set contains everything you need to play including the Player's Survival Guide which has been updated for this release - it still contains all the core rules you need to play a game of Mothership®. But what's completely new in the box are the Warden's Operations Manual and the Unconfirmed Contact Reports. We understand that the Wardens Operation Manual will be a guide on how to run, and get the best out of, the game. Everything from prepping your first session, running it, and then on to how to build out a campaign. The Unconfirmed Contact Reports are the horrors themselves. Its basically the Mothership® equivalent of a Bestiary and has over 40 unique monstrosities and creatures, but possibly more importantly it includes a section on designing your own horrors to fit into the game. There are also a pair of d100 dice and a d20 "Panic Die".
The second or "Deluxe" Box Set, for those who basically want more goodies in their pledge or who are attracted like space moths to the thing lure of Limited Editions. It contains everything in the core set as well as all of the official modules; Dead Planet, A Pound of Flesh and The epic space dungeon crawl Gradient Descent. Each of which will be updated to be fully compatible with the updated rules.
The Kickstarter has blown through its funding in the first day and (as a t time of writing) sits at around $670,000 against its target of $20,000 and has over 7,500 backers. This means they are storming through their published stretch goals and that the box sets will now include Wardens screens, an additional ten horrors in the Unconfirmed Contact Reports, a digital asset pack for Wardens, a conversion guide for 1st Edition (so you can update your existing characters) and a Kickstarter exclusive "Landing Team" patch - there was already a limited edition patch for backers on the first day (sorry - you've missed that already).
I've played and run Mothership and it is lightyears away one of my favourite games. It's rules light, story focussed and fun to play. It will mess with your head, give you stuff to shoot (although you should probably be running away) and the Panic rules bring the horror to life better than any other horror game I've played (and if you know me at all that is a bold claim).
It's competitively pitched at a $59 pledge for the Core box set and $99 for the Deluxe offering, and with a mega bundle pledge for those who literally want everything (including both box sets and a world of other goodies) at $199. The campaign will run through to the 2nd December and I wouldn't be surprised it it topped the $2m dollar mark. If you only back one Kickstarter this year, make it this one.