There are few things in life better than watching giant robotic mechs battle it out to determine the fate of civilization, but taking control of one of those mechs yourself is definitely one of them. Unfortunately, that kind of technology is still a few years off — come on, DARPA, stop slacking already! — but in the meantime, at least we have games like Outchasers that allow us to live out our Voltronesque fantasies.
“There's a lot of people into Gundam and Robotech and those shows, and a lot of people who were into this in the '80s who are coming up and telling us they love this,” says Longmont-based Cooper Heinrichs, lead designer of Outchasers.
Outchasers is a card game that pits two mech pilots against each other in a battle to the death over precious, scarce resources called cores. Each pilot equips his or her mech with a variety of weapons and uses them to blast the enemy mech into pieces while scooping up those resources as they go. It’s a complex, strategic game that takes a little under an hour to learn, but one that offers deep replayability once you’ve mastered the basics. And if you’re already familiar with card games like Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon, you’ll pick it up even quicker.
“People who have played trading card games will pick it up in minutes, because there's a lot of influence from those other games,” Heinrichs says. “It's not a copy, but it takes elements from a lot of them.”
Outchasers had its public debut last year at Denver Comic Con, and the response was so positive that Heinrichs decided to move past the prototype stage and make the game a reality.
“That was our first time trying it out. I'd just had it in my basement, playing with friends, until that point,” he says. “It went really, really well. Then it took the rest of the year to put the pieces together for it. Now, once the Kickstarter's over, we're pretty much ready to hit the button to get it all made.”
The Outchasers Kickstarter is a little more than a week from ending, and it’s over two-thirds of the way to its goal. For $30 — the eventual retail price — you can get the complete game, including shipping, delivered to your door. For a few bucks more, you can get all sorts of nice add-ons, including cutesy, alt-art "chibi" style versions of the game's mechs and pilots. Of course, Heinrichs doesn't expect you to just buy it blind. He’s returning to Denver Comic Con this weekend at the Colorado Convention Center to show off the completed game and drum up enough interest to finish his funding push.
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“We've got a big group, with two tables set up, teaching everyone we can and getting the word out,” Heinrich says. “And my girlfriend is into cosplay, so she made a costume of one of our characters, and we'll have someone wearing the costume and hanging out and taking pictures. Hopefully we'll get some good attention.”
You can even make an appointment to play against the creator himself, because if there’s anything sweeter than destroying an enemy mech pilot in single combat and taking all those invaluable resources for yourself, it’s doing all that when the enemy is the man who created the whole thing.