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Exclusive: Astronaut Dan Tani brings realism to the new lunar base board game, “Lunar Outpost”

It’s time to try your hand at establishing a lunar outpost.

As NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission inches ever closer to its first unmanned flight later this summer, moon lovers who dream of futuristic lunar bases on our only satellite can get their wishes fulfilled with a new game board game from the German game and toy company Ravensburger AG titled “Lunar Outpost.”

Inspired by PBS’ award-winning science series, Nova, and linked to an Amazon Alexa component that acts as Mission Control, “Lunar Outpost” (opens in a new tab) is co-op fun where players work with a team of astronauts to build a permanent colony on the moon. This enterprise can take the form of a beginner’s base, a habitat colony, a science laboratory, a research center or even a manufacturing plant.

Related: The best space board games of 2022

“Lunar Outpost” gameplay allows you to communicate directly with Mission Control via Alexa while dealing with unexpected dangers such as power surges, meteor impacts, oxygen leaks, and other random calamities. Players can mine lunar elements to provide necessary building materials, then activate and test the habitat’s capabilities to ensure the safety and integrity of the structure.

With time running out, your team must craft four base inner ring modules and six middle ring modules before time runs out in order to consider the mission a complete success.

The box and game pieces for “Lunar Outpost”. (Image credit: Ravensburger AG)

Each luxury “Moon Outpost” (opens in a new tab) Starter set includes 26 base pieces, 6 astronaut tiles, 50 crew cards, 105 moon resources, 10 survival cubes, 1 first player tile, 10 offline tokens, 1 resource bag, 15 event cards , 1 die and an official rulebook. . Players who do not wish to use the new Alexa feature can use the game’s Event Card Deck instead.

To infuse the project with a distinct level of authenticity and realism, the folks at Ravensburger tapped former NASA astronaut Dan Tani to help the designers create a space role-playing game that offers an authentic adventure on the moon. .

Tani entered the astronaut program in 1996 and flew on three NASA space shuttle missions, STS-108, STS-120 and STS-122, logging 34 hours of planned spacewalks during his brilliant career.

Promotional art for “Lunar Outpost”. (Image credit: Ravensburger AG)

Space.com reached out to Tani regarding his involvement in “Lunar Outpost” to find out which aspects of the board game’s design were most important to him and what players can expect when embarking on this challenging space endeavor. .

Space.com: How did you get involved in this “Lunar Outpost” project?

DAN TANI: The Ravensburger development team contacted me to ask if I would like to advise on a space-themed board game. I was happy to collaborate as I have an interest in public awareness, education and games!

Space.com: What knowledge did you acquire as a NASA astronaut to prepare you to participate in the creation of a space board game?

TANI: When building something as complex as the International Space Station or a lunar outpost, game designers can’t just consider how the final setup will work. It is important to also consider how everything will work and coexist during all stages of its construction.

Former NASA Space Shuttle astronaut Dan Tani on a mission to the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA)

Space.com: What gameplay elements of “Lunar Outpost” were important to be correct?

TANI: I was concerned about the accuracy of the terminology and the technical aspects of the structure on the moon. I also wanted to make sure the visuals of the game were engaging and representative of what we’re thinking of eventually sending to the moon.

Space.com: Why is it so vital to establish a proper outpost on the Moon in the near future?

TANI: The moon provides an excellent “test bed” for the technologies, procedures, and techniques that will need to be developed if we are to live off Earth. The Moon is “only” days away from Earth and provides a “local” place to develop and perfect our designs and skills. Equally essential, a lunar outpost will provide us with a base to perform groundbreaking science on the origins of the moon, and in turn, our solar system and the universe.

“Moon Outpost” of Ravensburger AG (opens in a new tab) is available for purchase now.

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