Smugglers hide at KublaCon ’04

Though I haven’t had time to sit down and make a full report on things seen and done at KublaCon this past weekend yet, I should mention one of the gems I spotted there. Smugglers of the Galaxy is a boardgame of trade, piracy, and survival amidst the stars. From fledgling game company Playus Maximus, the game boasts a gorgeous board, lavish full-color cards, and an engaging system to boot. For 2-6 players, Smugglers of the Galaxy should be reaching stores soon, and carries a tag of $39.95. Fans of deep space exploration games, resource management games, or strategic games in general would do well to check this one out.

[EDIT: Whoa! The game’s first press release is here, and I’ve already been quoted]

Playus Maximus
Daniel Strain, Partner
5513 Tanglebriar Dr.
Dickinson, TX 77579



JUNE 2, 2004 – Playus Maximus has just launched as a company with the release of their first product, the science fiction adventure board game Smugglers of the Galaxy. Partners Daniel Strain and Nathan Abrashoff have been lifelong gamers and designed games as a hobby for nearly two decades. Daniel is also the art director for the company and in the past has worked as a freelance artist, having created art for the Kingdoms of Kalamar (Kenzer & Co.), Dragon Magazine (then WotC), Terra Incognita (Grey Ghost), and several other game companies.

Far from just one game idea being brought to fruition, Playus Maximus has been established as a professional organization with long term plans for growing a full line of games and related products. Their current project, Rocket League: The Thrilling Roleplaying Game is currently being written and illustrated, and their third will be another board game, this one set during the spanish main pirate era and will incorporate a literary mechanic new to board games. “We are going for themes of epic adventure and conflict. A simple core rule that can manifest itself in a huge variety of outcomes, according to a player’s fortune and chosen strategy is key to our design philosophy.”

In Smugglers, players have their own space freighter, and freely cruise around the galaxy competing for trading opportunities, which are ever changing on the map. With those credits, they upgrade their shields, lasers, engines, lightspeed, and cargo pods. At the same time, they deal with space monsters, bounty hunters, space pirates, asteroid fields, and so on. Smugglers offers players the chance to play the role of one of a dozen different characters, each with their own special abilities. “Just about anything you encounter, you can also be in the game” says Daniel. Of the characters, Nathan says “What’s nice about these characters is that, no matter which one you look at you think, this character must be the most powerful one.”

In it’s premier convention, KublaCon 2004 players in open gaming called Smugglers a “great game”. Allen Sugarbaker of, referring to Smugglers as a “gem” gives a preliminary report stating, “…the game boasts a gorgeous board, lavish full-color cards, and an engaging system to boot.” Ben Seeman of Hero Games says, “I want to play it many, many times using different characters… Man, the game seems to have so much to it that the combination of strategies seems to be plentiful. I haven’t been this excited about a board game since Hero Quest or Survive!”

Smugglers of the Galaxy is made for 2-6 players ages 12 and up and is currently available to retailers through several major distributors, including Alliance, Blackhawk, Centurion, Diamond, Gameboard, ABC Northwest, AAAAces, Alladin, Dynamic, Hobbies Hawaii, JedKo, Mad Al, New Century, Titan, or Wright Ones. Playus Maximus is continually seeking additional distribution routes as well.

For more information, please contact Daniel Strain at the information above or visit us online at