Our preview post below was published on May 19.
Starframe is a 1-4 players sci-fi deck building game of starship customization. Your goal is to hoard as much Hyper-Matter as possible to purchase a prototype engine that will allow you to escape the black hole before it swallows the solar system whole. It will launch on Kickstarter on May 25.
You start the game by picking a hero. Heroes add bonuses in the three core stats of the game, Power, Armor, and Boost, and a special skill that may be used once per round. They each come in two versions, the second without a skill but with higher stat bonuses. Then, you build your Starframe (your spaceship) with the five parts that you are dealt at the beginning of the game. Each part must connect properly with the Starframe by aligning the slots shown on the cards, and each adds stat bonuses. The hero and the Starframe thus set the total stats you can rely on during your turn.
The game is played over 5 rounds, and in the solo mode, you and the AI player will alternate turns (decide who starts with a die roll). The actions you can perform on your turn depend on the Location you are currently in, Space or Station. You start your turn by picking a Droid card that can be played anytime for an instant effect (free action, stats refill, etc.). Then, if you are in Space, you must first defend the Station against a wave of Invaders. First, you roll a d6 to see how many Invaders you must face (by drawing them from the pile). Then, you encounter them one after the other. To beat an Invader, you must spend the stats shown on their card. Each beaten Invader will bring you a small reward: additional Starframe part, Droid card, or Hyper-Matter, the ultimate goal of the game. If you fail to beat the Invader, you roll the Damage die that will have you lose a Starframe part or some of your precious cargo of Hyper-Matter.
After being done with the Invaders, you can perform 3 actions: recover one stat point, attempt to steal cargo from your opponent (by paying 3 Power), take over a Planet card on the display by paying the corresponding stat cost, or draw a facedown card from the “Abyss” display and see if you can afford its cost. Both Planet and Abyss cards work as the Invader cards, they come with a cost to pay with your stats, and bring you some rewards if you can beat them. Finally, you can also travel to the Station location, ending your turn in the process (unless you have purchased the Warp upgrade that allows you to travel back and forth from Station to Space without ending your turn).
In the Station you can bank your cargo of Hyper-Matter so that it counts towards your score at the end of the game, and can no longer be stolen or lost due to the Damage die (free action if you start your turn in the Station). You can then perform actions to modify your Starframe by adding or replacing parts, draw a new Starframe part, or steal the cargo of your AI attempt just as in Space. You can also travel to Space.
During the AI turn, the AI flips over 3 or 4 action cards (depending on the chosen difficulty level) and executes them one by one. The AI also starts with 7 parts in their Starframe instead of 5.
After five rounds, the game ends. All Hyper-Matter in the AI’s cargo is immediately banked, and compared to the amount of Hyper-Matter you banked during the game. If you have more than the AI, you get the ultimate engine and escape the Black Hole!