Moonstone is a tabletop miniatures skirmish games for 2 to 4 players that takes its visual styling from a particular David Bowie film and incorporates an interesting bluffing mechanic. I spoke to Richi Paskell Goblin King Games about Moonstone, which is on Kickstarter now.
Tell is a little about Moonstone, what the elevator pitch?
Moonstone is a whimsical fantasy skirmish game for 2 to 4 players. In Moonstone, players guide a small troupe of three to six characters as they rise before the dawn's light to seek out Moonstones, the lands most precious commodity. In Moonstone, conflict and player resolution is concluded via the use of cards rather than dice, where bluffing techniques more familiar with poker, or zero-sum mechanics similar to 'rock-paper-scissors' is what decides who the victor in almost every encounter is.
The important question with any miniatures game - what do I need to play the game?
To play Moonstone you require knowledge of the rules, two shared custom card decks called the Arcane and Combat decks, models or suitable proxy-models, stat cards for these models, a couple of six sided dice, up to seven four sided dice, some terrain, and a playing surface that is 3' by 3'.
Almost all of this including the rules, custom playing cards, stat cards, and even printable standees, can be downloaded for free from www.moonstonethegame.com/downloads or you can back our current Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1138228733/moonstone-fantasy-skirmish-game and get all of these and more!
Is it just me, or has Moonstone taken a visual influence from a certain puppet based film? Thankfully I can't see David Bowie’s crotch bulge anywhere!
Absolutely! All of us here at Goblin King Games are huge fans of, not only The Labyrinth but also the works of Brian Froud who designed the Goblins for the film, as well as other tremendous artists such as Paul Bonner. The sense of dark humour is something we tried to capture in not only the appearance of the miniatures, but also in their names, and even the rules themselves.
Apart from the visual style, what makes Moonstone unique? There are a lot of miniature skirmish games on the market, what set you apart from the competition?
As already mentioned, Moonstone uses card mechanics in ways that no other game comes close to. In Moonstone, the cards you are dealt comes second to your ability to bluff, counter-bluff, and predict your opponents choices.
At Goblin King Games we are a big advocate to Games being the catalyst that brings people together. Where the game itself is only a tool in the social experience that we all share, and we believe that Moonstone is not only a tactical and strategic game, but one where the social experience is at the forefront of our design process, and playing this game becomes a truly enjoyable and humorous experience for each and every player involved.
How does the bluffing aspect work?
Bluffing in Moonstone makes use of the fact that you can play cards face down without the opponent knowing what the card is.
When you want to cast a spell, or make a ranged attack, you draw a set of cards, while your opponent draws theirs. You then play the card of your choice face down and declare what the card is, and it is up to the opponent to decide if you are bluffing, or telling the truth. If the opponent thinks you are telling the truth, then the spell or attack happens as described. If however the opponent calls your bluff, either based on the cards they have drawn, or because of your own inability to adequately portray a good 'poker-face', then they can call your bluff.
If a bluff is called, then the attacker's card is revealed. If it turns out it was a bluff, then the defender can replace the card with a card of their choice, causing the spell fail, or the attack to miss, or they can cause a catastrophe making the move backfire in the attackers face. If however it is revealed that the card is what was declared, then not only does it go through as originally planned, but the attacker can make the same attack again, for free, using what cards remain from their draw. As you can imagine, this makes for a very engaging exchange between players.
Why did you decide to develop you own miniatures game?
At Goblin King Games we've been creating our own modifications to rules or entirely new rule sets ever since we started playing tabletop games over twenty years ago, and it was while playing other games in recent years that we began work on Moonstone in response to what we felt was a gap in the market due to how Moonstone handles cards and it's bluffing mechanics.
Originally the aim behind Moonstone was not necessarily to take it down the Kickstarter route, and instead just wanted to create a game that we could play ourselves and enjoy. However shortly after the initial conception of Moonstone we realised that we had something truly special, and not only did we want to share that with those immediately around us, but we knew we had to share it with those beyond as well.
How did you decide on which factions to include in the game and are there plans for any more?
The factions picked were largely grown organically. Currently there are only two Factions, the Commonwealth, and the Dominion. Although these are the only two, each is made up of various races including Humans, Gnomes, Giants, Goblins, Faeries, and Trolls.
The races have been tailored that a lot of the simpler synergies and combos can be found within themselves, by merging he different races within a single faction will result in a much greater variety of tactics and strategies.
At present we have lots of plans for the different races within the Factions, including some nice new additions, but no plans as of yet for new Factions. Saying that however, the world of Tauber is a vast one, and who knows what may be around the next corner, or hiding in the shadows?
You've already met your funding goal, after you've all had well deserved cup of tea and a sit down, what next for Moonstone?
Well first and foremost we want to put our Kickstarter campaign and the wonderfully supportive backers first. Without them we wouldn't be where we are now, and there are no words to express our gratitude towards them. Therefore while new plans and designs are currently brewing, we are adamant that nothing will dissuade us from providing the best game we can for those who have supported us this far, and those we hope to attract in years to come.
Saying that, we do have a lot planned for the future. As mentioned we have new Race and Faction combos, new characters and themes, maybe even some form of official Campaign ruleset! We've been very busy beavering away behind the scenes establishing a great repertoire with manufacturers, suppliers, and craftsmen so that once our Kickstarter has completed and goods have been dispatched, we're not leaving the fans high and dry, and that as time passes the game continues to get the development support both it, and it's fans deserve.
I would like to thank Richi for taking the time to answer my questions. The Moonstone starter sets are on Kickstarter now, hurry though as there are only 13 hours remaining, I mean, only a few days left.