Kickstart This! #159: Red Outpost
Designer: Raman Hryhoryk
Artist: Irina Pechenkina (Cahoots, Dawn Under, Pearls), Maxim Suleimanov (Escape From the Asylum)
Publisher: Imperial Publishing Inc.
Genre/Mechanisms: worker placement
Funding Status: At the time of this posting, Red Outpost is already fully-funded. In fact, pledges currently total over 19x the initial funding goal, with 7 days left to go on the campaign!
Player Count: 2-4
Solo Mode: no
What It’s About: A worker placement farming game set in a Communist Utopia on an alien planet.
How It Works: “Each player, tasked with controlling the workers of the extraterrestrial communist settlement, aims to become its only true leader. Players, however, share both the workers and the resources produced– this future has no place for private property (well, almost)! Nevertheless, this is not a cooperative game– earn victory points by keeping workers productive, shipping goods in time and keeping the workers you influence happy. From each according to his ability, to each according to his contributions, so make your contribution seem to be the biggest one.”
Red Outpost takes place over 2 Rounds, with each Round consisting of Morning, First Half of the Day, Lunch, Second Half of the Day, and Evening. During each phase, players performing the following actions in clockwise turn order, and then at the end of the phase, the first player token passes to the left: Move a Worker, Place an Influence Disk on the Worker’s Portrait, Adjust the Worker’s Mood, and Perform the Action of a Location.
During the Move a Worker action, players take an upright worker and place him flat in a different, unoccupied location (except for the Barracks and Field Kitchen, which can contain multiple workers). There are also several additional rules about workers: 1) all workers start the Morning in the barracks, players can not move workers to locations with morning blocking tokens, and any workers still there at the end of the Morning phase increase their mood by 1; 2) during the First Half of the Day, players can move workers to locations with blocking tokens of any kind, and the phase ends after each of the 6 workers have been moved; 3) during Lunch, players can only move workers to the Field Kitchen, which is only available at Lunch, and the phase ends after each player has taken 1 turn; 4) the Second Half of the Day plays identically to the First Half of the Day; and 5) during Evening, players can not move workers to locations with evening blocking tokens, only during Evening are the Barracks available, and the phase ends after each player takes 1 turn.
When Placing an Influence Disk on a Worker’s Portrait, players place one of their Influence Disks on the portrait of the worker they just moved. If the mood symbols are present on the location where the player moved their worker, the player changes the worker’s mood accordingly, either increasing or decreasing it.
When performing the Action of a Location, players may generate resources. If they do, the player will advance their marker one space clockwise on the production wheel for each resource cube they produce. Whenever their marker passes the reward area of the production wheel, they’ll score 2 VP and gain a crystal. At the Pasture, the worker loses 1 Mood (unless it’s a Shepherd) then produces 1 Wool. At the Palace of the Soviets, both the visiting worker and Commissar gain 1 Mood, and then the player may place a crystal of their color at the Palace. At the end of the game, the player who contributor the most crystals gains 4 VP, the second-most 2 VP, and the third-most 1 VP. At the Farm, the worker loses 1 Mood (unless it’s a Farmer) then produces 1 Wheat. At the Beer House, the worker gains 2 Moon (unless it’s the Commissar, in which cases it loses 1 Mood), then may pay 1 crystal to make any one worker gain 1 Mood and another worker lose 1 Mood. At the Storehouse, the worker may a) discard a resource from the Storehouse to make 1 worker gain 1 Mood and another worker lose 1 Mood, b) discard a resource from the Storehouse to gain a crystal, or c) pay 1 crystal to add any 1 resource to the Storehouse. At Administration, the worker gains a crystal if it’s a Bureaucrat. If any other character visits, the Bureaucrat gains 1 Mood, and the player may move 1 influence disk belonging to a different player from one worker to another (but not the worker visiting the Administration). At the Spaceship, the worker loses 1 Mood, then draws a Spaceship card and receives the depicted reward. At the Mine, the worker loses 2 Mood (unless it’s the Miner, in which cases he loses no mood and produces an extra Coal) then produces 1 Coal. At the Field Kitchen, the player gains 1 Mood. At the Lake, the worker loses 1 Mood (unless it’s the Fisherman), then draws a Lake Card and receives the depicted reward. If the Worker is the Fisherman, the player draws 2 cards and chooses from the depicted rewards; the player may also reshuffle the Lake deck before or after drawing their 2 cards. At the Labor Camp, the worker loses 2 Mood, then produces 1 Wheat, 1 Wool, and 1 Fish. At the Barracks, the worker gains 1 Mood.
At the end of 2 Rounds, players score VP for their contribution to the construction of the Palace of the Soviets, and 1 VP for every 2 crystals they have. The player with the most VP wins, with ties broken by the player with the most crystals.
Comparisons: The recent Kickstarter for Pandasaurus Games’ Godspeed appears to bear many similarities. Both are worker placement games with a theme about Soviet space exploration. Red Outpost finds players sharing a worker pool of 6 different worker-types, working together to expand a Soviet colony in a distant galaxy, but playing competitively for points. Godspeed finds players choosing from among 5 different nations including Russia, and competing against each other to build space colonies. In Godspeed, players also have workers with variable abilities, but their worker pools are separate from each other. Both games take place in an alternate timeline. For other popular, well-rated, mid-weight worker placement games, try any of the following: Architects of the West Kingdom, Champions of Midgard, Dinosaur Island (also by Pandasaurus), Everdell, Keyflower, Lords of Waterdeep, Lorenzo il Magnifico, Near and Far, Orleans, Raiders of the North Sea, Stone Age, Village, Viticulture, and Yokohama.
What Should I Pledge?:
$30 Standard Version of the Game: includes the Retail version of Red Outpost along with all Standard Stretch Goals.
$35 Deluxe Version of the Game: includes the Deluxe Kickstarter version of Red Outpost, along with all Standard Stretch Goals and all Deluxe Stretch Goals.
The Deluxe Kickstarter version and the Deluxe Stretch Goals are both KS-exclusive.
All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $35 for the Deluxe Version of the game plus $6 in shipping for a total of $41.
Red Outpost completes its Kickstarter on Tuesday, December 31st and tentatively ships in May 2020.