This project is solving the Asteroid Prospector challenge. Description
We wanted to make a project that could easily be used in a class room or at home to teach children 8+ about mining asteroids for resources and using those resources to further exploration or sent back to Earth for use here. We used the 3-different classes of asteroids to distribute the materials in the game in a realistic manner.
Students will have to make choices about going directly for the Platinum level materials on Type-S and Type-M asteroids, possibly leaving themselves without Fuel, or go to Carbonaceous asteroids which contain more water and organic materials that can be used for fuel and parts to repair damage so they can travel farther, or go to a mixture of both. Different strategies will result in very different outcomes, but one strategy is not inherently better than another.
Learning Through Playing
Children learn more when we focus less on teaching them, and giving them the ability to explore on their own. This game tries to only touch on the base concepts in the rules, and then let the children try their own strategies to see how things turn out. We try not to alienate any child, or make any strategy a dominant one, allowing any strategy to go from weak to excellent.
Low-Cost and Openly Available
We want to make a project that can easily grow and change based on the child, parent and teacher's needs. We have added iconography to the materials so that children with reading disabilities or colour blindness can easily associate the token with the material it represents. All of our materials are readily accessible from the GitHub repository, and can be forked or cloned and changed to meet anyone's specific needs. Parents/Teachers not wanting to cut out all the tokens can easily replace them with beads or other materials. For those with a strong grasp of the concept, we have blank card sets which allow for custom asteroid configurations.
Down But Not Out
We don't like losing a game and having to watch as others have fun, and neither do children. We've designed the rules so that even when things don't go entirely as planned, the player can always get back in the game, possibly turning everything around and winning.
More Coming Soon
Over the weekend, we only had a chance to do some balancing and put in some basic values to make sure the game was fun to play. We did our research about asteroids and some basics about mining them, to see if we could get as much into the game as possible. In the future, we plan on setting more realistic distances for the Asteroids; adding various scenarios using named Asteroids and other planetary bodies for standalone games; teaching materials for schools and educational trips to places such as the Ontario Science Centre or NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
About The Team
Kyle M. Cowan
Lead Gameplay Designer
Kyle originally started the project as a single-player browser based game that could be displayed on a kiosk, with the idea that it could be placed inside of various science centres for guests to play and learn about Asteroid Mining. But, then he met Teresa.
Teresa wanted to get her son and husband involved in the Space Apps Challenge, but didn't want to hold them back. Their skills were more technically oriented ( see SkyWatch to see what they created), and Teresa's skills are more towards project management. When she arrived on Saturday morning, Teresa didn't think there was much she could contribute to any group, but Kyle proved her wrong. As per the spirit of the Space Apps Challenge, Kyle didn't want to leave anyone out, and so redesigned his game concept to work as a board game. After discussing it further with Teresa, she came up with a cheaper version that could be easily printed at home making the game more universally available. Both Kyle and Teresa worked hard through Saturday getting a base concept ready, and some really plain programmer art done and printed. Although the game was then playable, it was really missing something for children who might have different abilities. The game needed iconography to help children associate the different resources with what they really are. That's where Johnny came in.
Johnny was a member of project Insight, but has previously worked with Kyle at other hacks. Wanting to help out a friend in need, Johnny offered to provide some very simple iconography to give the game that little extra something. Although project Insight was not chosen for global consideration, Johnny and his team are proud of everything they accomplished over the weekend, and was happy he was also able to help Belt It Out as well.
So, What Now?
We are currently looking for groups and individuals who are willing to try out our game and give us feedback. Although the game is still slightly rough around the edges, it's pretty playable. Our team has played many rounds, and after the creation of Playtest 1, we believe the game should be fairly balanced.
Are you an education professional? If so, we'd love to hear more from you! We're currently looking for Teachers who would like to try this out in their classroom, or who would be able to let us know what they'd need in order to use this. You can reach us at [email protected]
Thanks for taking your time to check us out -- we hope you enjoy!
License: Common Public Attribution License 1.0 (CPAL-1.0)
Source Code/Project URL: https://github.com/Just2BDifferent/asteroid-prospector-card-game/
Read The Rules - https://github.com/Just2BDifferent/asteroid-prospector-card-game/blob/master/README.md
Grab Our Playtest Kit - https://github.com/Just2BDifferent/asteroid-prospector-card-game/blob/master/Full%20Versions/Playtest%201/AsteroidProspector.pdf
Grab An Empty Set of Cards - https://github.com/Just2BDifferent/asteroid-prospector-card-game/blob/master/Full%20Versions/Blank%20Cards/AsteroidProspector.pdf