Boston Festival of Indie Games 2014

Wow, what a ride! This year’s Boston Festival of Indie Games (the 3rd annual) was amazing and so much fun. Stars, Inc. was one of the 48 games in the Tabletop Showcase. We demoed the game for nine hours and got a lot of positive feedback! We’ll be updating the page for Stars, Inc. and we’ve also gotten it listed on Board Game Geek!

Congratulations to Moriarty’s Machinations for earning the Best Tabletop Game award! It was awesome to see them and so many other Game Makers Guild members at the Festival.

Lauren at BFIG 2014

Lauren — preparing the booth before the Festival starts

Doug at BFIG 2014

Doug — demoing the game during the Festival

This Summer: The C in CGS Unit

(More Soon)



This Summer: The G in CGS Unit

This summer at CGS, our big undertaking–well, other than our day-jobs–has been developing and playtesting our upcoming boardgame Stars Inc. Since May, we’ve completely revamped the gameplay, board, and rulebook–moving ever closer to a finished, publishable game!

The most important part of game development is playtesting, and we’ve done a lot of it this summer. We’ve busily recorded notes from dozens of playthroughs: from awesome meet-ups with other game designers through the Game Makers Guild, to play-throughs with friends and family, to demos with complete strangers at GenCon. Each time people play, we slightly tweak the rules–trying to find the right balance between every component that makes the game fun. This is a hard process! Sometimes it feels like trying to balance a pencil on its point–push a rule a little too far one way and the whole game falls apart. Say one particular strategy feels underpowered compared to another. So we make it a little stronger–maybe it scores another point every turn–but now suddenly it’s by far the best way to win the game. Then we buff the other strategies a little–except now the game is over way too quickly. Trying to fix that makes the game last for hours. This can be a difficult and exhausting process.

But it’s finally starting to pay off! The version we demo’d at GenCon seems to be very nicely balanced for the base game.  The only big things left to tweak are the powers for each individual player’s species. And, in incredibly exciting news, WE’VE BEEN ACCEPTED TO DEMO AT THE BOSTON FESTIVAL OF INDIE GAMES!!! This means we get to show off Stars Inc. to thousands of people and get a huge amount of feedback. Thanks to all our friends, family, and backers who have helped get us this far! Expect more news soon.

This Summer: The S in CGS Unit

So, all of us at CGS Unit want to apologize that we’ve been quiet for a little while. As grad students and support scientists, our summers are busier than the rest of the year because they are filled with conferences and summer schools. Since CGS stands for Crafts, Games and SCIENCE, I thought I’d fill you in on some of the SCIENCE I’ve been sharing and learning so far this summer. Doug will post soon on the progress we’ve been making on the game (YES, we’ve been making a lot of progress!!).

As a reminder, I study the Sun. I attended the 2014 SHINE conference (Solar and Heliospheric INterplanetary Environment) from June 22nd to June 27th. June 22nd was the SHINE Student Day, where graduate students get together in a less stressful environment and share some tutorials and research talks. My tutorial on Space Weather is fairly accessible to general audiences, and if you want to check it out, click/download here. I won the award for best tutorial, which was incredibly exciting! I also presented a poster on my research:

Starting July 9th and ending in a couple of days, I’ve been in Boulder, CO for the Heliophysics Summer School. Below, I’ll just share highlights from my live tweeting of the school!

And finally, a pair of tweets from this morning :)

“Stars, Inc.: Print and Play” Campaign is Live!

We’ve just launched an Indiegogo Campaign to fund the artwork for Stars, Inc.! Check us out at More information on the game can be found on its project page on this website.

Here’s the Deal

We have been hard at work designing an awesome astronomy-themed board game for months, and we’re at the point where we are reaching out to artists and graphic designers to make the game presentable for playtesters and printed prototypes.

We want this art to be awesome, which means we would love to have production-quality art right away. This campaign, initially set at $1200, is the budget we have for concept art. We need to fund this step in order to move forward in the process, including submitting the game to Boston Festival of Indie Games!

What We Need & What You Get

We need money to pay for quality art from full-time graphic designers.

If you help fund this campaign, we are offering digital rewards, since all of the money is going towards the art and not the printing or shipping of games. You’ll also get the satisfaction of helping out an independent company create a really cool game!

Other Ways You Can Help

We understand that not everyone can contribute in the same way. There are lots of ways you can make a difference in this campaign:

Thank you for your help, we appreciate every bit of it!


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