Pirates of Ares (WIP)

A modular game of strategic space combat

Pirates of Ares is a modular, tactical space combat board game for 2 to 4 players. Featuring a modular game board, randomized board elements and multiple pirate factions to choose from every session of Pirates of Ares is unique.

Players take control of two pirate ships under one of several factions, each with unique cards and abilities to give you an edge over your opponents. Ships use a move, combat, and an extra action each turn maneuver, collect loot, and attack to stay alive in a last faction standing brawl over a patch of territory on the edge of civilized space.

There are two versions of the game: Core and Deluxe. The Core Set features the six original factions, with the remaining factions spread across three expansion packs. The Deluxe Set includes all twelve factions in one box.

The Design

Pirates of Ares has been in development for over two years now, massively delayed by an untimely motorcycle accident. The original idea for the game stemmed from when I first played the Star Wars X-Wing miniatures game with some friends. It reminded me of a game I had played in high school, another Star Wars game called Star Wars: Epic Duels but far more complicated. I wanted to create something that wasn’t so daunting to play for new comers but offered ample strategic depth for veterans. The systems for the game were born from a combination of elements from Star Wars:¬†Epic Duels and 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons which I’ve both played and DM’d for. It has gone through five major revision cycles so far and is currently making its way through its sixth (and hopefully last).

The game is modular in design to allow for a high degree of replayability and push players to be fluid in their tactics. The modular board allows for thousands of possible combinations and the placement and acquisition of loot tokens adds an additional layer of strategic thinking before any shots are fired. Players control two ships from a pirate fleet, each with unique abilities and a faction wide ability. Each favors certain play styles but can be made to adapt to changing battlefield conditions. The core game ships with six fleets, though a maximum of four can be used at a given time thanks to simple deck building mechanics. The faction cards are colored and shuffled into a general deck, of which the game has four (that are identical).

All of the elements of the game were created using old fashioned drawing, Illustrator, Photoshop, and 3D Studio Max. The original prototype was fabricated by myself using the print ready graphics, a wide format printer, and a Micro3D 3D printer. Later prototypes where purchased from the GameCrafter as artwork developed and gameplay mechanics and balancing were locked down.

I hand drew all of the game’s logos and recreated them as vector drawings in Illustrator and distressed them using Photoshop. Many went through several versions, including a complete redraw due a hard drive failure and not enough online storage space (which has been remedied).

Pirates of Ares is still in development and will be available to purchase as a print-on-demand title at the Game Crafter later this year (2017).