A downloadable print & play card game

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Inspired by the 1978 shoot 'em up arcade game SPACE INVADERS, ASTROLITH is a solo, "retro arcade card game."

The goal of ASTROLITH is to eliminate the waves of descending enemies before they destroy the planets you are protecting.

ASTROLITH proceeds in a series of turns, during which you draw and play ammo cards to destroy enemies, move any remaining enemies one zone closer to the planets, resolve enemy fire, and then spawn a new wave of enemies.

The game ends in victory when there are no enemies left, or in defeat if your ship or all the planets are destroyed.

ASTROLITH is currently in "print & play" public playtest mode. I am looking for feedback in the hopes of releasing a physical version of the game later this year. The game is PWYW (even free) so that as many people play it as possible, giving me as much feedback as possible. Feel free to leave all comments, questions, and constructive criticism in the comments section.

ASTROLITH game design & layout by Christina Stone-Bush

pixel art by Albi Lico (@alb_pixel) & Luis Zuno (@ansimuz)

StatusIn development
CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(1 total ratings)
GenreCard Game
TagsArcade, Pixel Art, Print & Play, Retro, Shoot 'Em Up, Singleplayer, Top down shooter


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Click download now to get access to the following files:


Development log


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1. So, first thing, this game is pretty difficult! Unless you just let 2 planets explode and focus on one lane, and then it's really easy.

2. There's no line in the rules to tell the player to move the first set of enemies into Zone 1. I assumed I could attack the decks on the first turn- maybe that was correct? CAN you attack the decks? That seems fine, if so, but then later the rules say that you move "remaining" enemies. If the enemies on the deck are "remaining" then the note about Zone 1 being empty after movement are false, and you don't need a separate step to move enemies off the deck. And if enemies on the deck are not "remaining" then there are no enemies in the field until turn 2. Any of these scenarios is fine, it just needs to be clear which is intended.

3. I was going to say all the enemy ships should be facing down, but then I realized what I had taken for cockpits was actually drive flames, and they are, in fact, all facing down, so... well done.

4. The counter bar divisions should be clearer, I had to squint sometimes to see how many pips each one has. Partly that could be due to the scaling, and partly because my eyes are old, but it would be pretty easy to just make them clearer.

5. It was not immediately clear that I could target *any* enemy in a column, until I read the text on an Astrolith card, and then doublechecked the rules. As it was, I still forgot I could do it and that probably made the game more difficult for me.

6. 4.B says the enemies shoot the card directly beneath them- which would seem to imply they are shooting their own in the back? I assumed this was not the case, but it could be clearer.

7. Needs more pickups. Astroliths should drop heals that restore 1 life to your ship. Or grant a shield- like if you have it in your hand during enemy attack phase you can discard it to ignore 1 damage.

8. I kinda want a way to get junk ammo cards out of my deck, but maybe that's not desirable? Maybe I have to discard an ammo card to purge another ammo card?

9. Game should end if ANY planet is destroyed, but player should get more lives, or at least more options. I think making the Astrolith pickup a shield or heal makes defending an at-risk planet with your ship a more viable tactic.

The art is great, and I dig the theme. I'm working on a similar game, I'll try to get some playtesting done at Forge Midwest this month and hopefully I'll have more ideas to share.

Thank you SO much for the comments. This is precisely the kind of feedback I was looking for when I pit up the public playtest.


Just played my first game, questions below but I thought it was neat!

1. What happens if an enemy card gets to Zone 6 and needs to move? (Especially Astrolith)

2. Some enemy cards of the same name and stats had different rewards, was that intentional? I saw a fighter with two ammo symbols and another with three.

3. Can you clarify the Pre-turn 1 enemy Spawn? As written it seems like the first turn has nothing for the player to do, the game basically started on turn 2.

4. If a planet is destroyed do the unused enemy cards get added to the other columns? I played it as they just went away with the planet and this insentivized me to sacrifice one planet early to remove 1/3 of the enemy pool and letting me have more cards for the two other columns. 

4. Is discarding mandatory at end of turn? I read it as Not Mandatory but the addition of "You may" would make that more clear.

5. If there's room in the tin having all cards be the larger size would be a nice visual. 

6. Print and Play file had extra Zone cards, is there a need for a second set? 

Thank you very much for this post – it's precisely the kind of feedback I was hoping for when I released a public playtest. I can't believe I forgot to include some of the answers in the rules. 

1. If an Enemy needs to move, but is already in Zone 6, it crashes. Put a number of damage tokens equal to the Health stat of the enemy onto the closest card (either the player's ship or the planet) and remove the enemy card from the game. That's the whole point of Astroliths – you gotta blow them up before they hit the planets!

2. Identical enemy cards with different rewards is intentional. I went back and forth on whether identical enemies should have identical rewards, or if them having different rewards would incentivize the player to prioritize different targets.

3. Gotcha. There is supposed to be enemies in Zone One at the start of the first turn, but rules as written, you're right. I need to clarify that.

4. Right now, all enemy cards in the column of  a destroyed planet get removed from the game. It's interesting that a valid tactic is to sacrifice one planet so you can focus on the remaining two. I like players pointing out interactions that I hadn't foreseen like this. In future versions of the game, I'm thinking about having Planet Cards provide some sort of static bonus (and possibly including more than three cards to choose from), so that might not be a valid tactic anymore. We'll see.

The main reason Enemy Cards above a destroyed planet get removed is because I though it would be a hassle to scoop all those cards up and redistribute them beneath the other two Enemy Decks. But that might be another option. It makes narrative sense – that part of the enemy fleet did its job, and so now comes to assist with destroying the remaining planets.

5. Discarding Ammo Cards at the end of the turn is not mandatory. I thought there was a may in there, but I'[ll go clarify that. The idea is that the player can either hang onto remaining cards they think will be useful for next turn, or toss cards they don't want in the hopes of drawing something better.

6. Ah, yeah. Right now, I'm trying to fit the game into a mint tin. So the cards are mini cards (2.5" x 1.75") and mint tin cards (3.43" x 2.05"). But making everything standard poker card sized might be cheaper to produce. I'll have to investigate that.

7. The duplicate Zone Marker cards are extras. I'm wondering if having them on BOTH sides of the play space will make things easier to line up. Mint Tin cards come in sheets of 18 (and aren't cheaper if you use less), so I have a number of "spare" cards currently.

As I said above, I thinking about giving Planet Cards some kind of effect (like increasing the Health of your ship, letting you hold +1 Ammo Cards, increasing the damage of your weapons, etc.) and including more than three in the game. I'm also thinking about a second ship that fires a beam (and damages every enemy in the column) instead of missiles with the purple icon.

Thanks very much for playing ASTROLITH and for posting these questions. :)


Oh, nice! Looks like you already caught most of my notes, ha.
1. I didn't even get that far, nice catch!

4. I love the idea of planet bonuses, that's a great fix!

I also considered adding the leftover enemy cards to the remaining decks, but I thought it might just drag things out?

Ooh, what if planets have a bonus for the player on one side, and when destroyed, they flip over and have a bonus for the enemies? So instead of moving the leftover enemies to the other decks and making the game take longer, it just boosts the existing enemy decks? Plus it would make a way bigger incentive to protect every planet!

5. Hm, being able to discard unused ammo cards as a way to cycle them does help a bit with having junk ammo cards. That didn't even occur to me. 

6. I like the idea of a mint-tin sized game, it would take up way less tablespace than full size cards- I threw mine in full size sleeves, and it's got a fairly large footprint that way.

7. I did, in fact, line both sides of the board with the duplicate zone markers. Not really necessary, but it did slightly enhance the old vertical screen arcade cabinet feel ^_^

I like the idea of a beam weapon option! Also maybe a supermissile that damages adjacent enemies?

You could use the extra cards for the rules- it's fashionable these days to just make everything cards. But it'd also be cool to just add more stuff to the game.

Good notes!


Looks neat. Will there be a download available?


Absolutely! I'm hoping to have the rules done and the downloads available by the end of the week.


I love the art style!

Thanks very much! While I tweaked colors and combined a few elements, the art assets are by Albi Lico (@alb_pixel) and Luis Zuno (@ansimuz).