Game Design From Outer Space

Collect our business card. Begin a war.

Business Card War

Business Card War

You know, there’s a moment in which you realize your identity as a startup company has finally taken its shape, it finally got defined fitting your goals and your ideas better than it did in the beginning of your adventure as an entrepreneur: that’s the moment you decide you need a new logo, a new website and new business cards. Spring 2012 was that moment, for Urustar. Space theme was in the air.

As we finally agreed on how our new logo should have looked like, we started thinking about the new business cards: we wanted them to look different, and wanted them to be somehow personally related to each team member in a specific way. We thought it would have been fun if each one of us had drawn the illustrations for their set of cards. And that’s what we actually did: each team member picked a set of three subjects and spent some time drawing what were actually going to be some fancy spaceships.

While doing this, one of us said “Hey these are actually cool, they could even be collectible you know?”, and someone else added “Why don’t we just make a game out of it?”. Bingo.

Each of us defined a set of values taken from a given range. In the end every team member created three different spaceships that can move in different directions, with different attack powers and a different number of lives each. We also made a MiniCard to be used as a ruler to measure the reachable distance between an attacking spaceship and its target.

Our business cards were all printed by Moo a lovely UK-based service we use since forever.

So, basically, if you collect enough of our cards you can play a space battle with friends and see which Urustar member you get rid of first.


Ok, if you have at least one of the awesome Urustar‘s business cards per player, one mini card (you can use the longest side of a business card too) and a big table full of empty beer mugs you can play the Business Card War Game.

The mini card longest side is the Reference Length (from now on RL).

First of all, every player should order a beer, their mugs are sadly empty. Now they can place their cards in front of them on the table, the illustrated part facing up. If the players have more than one spaceship in their fleet they must place all of them on the table at the minimum distance of one RL to each other. Every spaceship feature different manoeuvrability, muzzles and lives.

The green arrows represent the directions the spaceship can move along, each red dot represents a muzzle and the shields at the bottom of the card are the spaceship’s lives.

Each player has 2 action points per turn. You can spend 1 action point and move exactly one RL a spaceship or you can shoot through one of your spaceship’s muzzles (1 action point). Every turn the player can do any combination of these two actions that costs a total of 2 action points.

The length of the shot is one RL: if it reach the enemy’s spaceship, it counts as a hit and the damaged spaceship loose a shield, lowering its lives by one. When a spaceship reaches zero shield it becomes a wreck, you leave it where it is, flip it, and from now on you can consider it as an obstacle, just like the beer mugs mentioned above.

You win when the galaxy doesn’t contain a single spaceship of your enemies’ fleet.


You want to spend one action point and move a spaceship? No problem… You can move the spaceship only along the directions marked with a green arrow and only by the fixed length of one RL, you cannot cross an obstacle or you’ll lose one life. If the arrow is in the middle of a side of the card, put the reference piece perpendicular to that side and make it start from the arrow sign. If the arrow is in a corner orient the mini card as if it continued the diagonal of the card that passes by that corner and make it start from the corner itself. Where the reference ends is where the spaceship’s middle back point will go.

If at the end of the movement the spaceship touches an obstacle or one of its parts are outside of the table it looses one life and goes back where it was. The owner can rotate it of an arbitrary angle.

The same if it touches a different spaceship, adding that also the other spaceship looses one life.


You want to spend one action shooting a nuclear cork? Choose the muzzle you want to shoot from and place the reference piece in the same way you would do when moving (see above). If the reference crosses a spaceship you can tell all your friends you hit that spaceship, and you hit it good, -1 shield for the hit spaceship – Ah!