Meet the Heroes

Meet the Heroes!

There are four classes of hero in the Thunderstone Quest. You will always have access to at least one hero of each of these classes in the Village.


Fighters have the the best skill to work with weapons overall. This is particularly helpful, as heroes can now attach gear up to the their current skill rating. Meaning a fighter with a really high skill rating can effectively dual-wield (or even carry a whole stack of daggers for hurling at monsters!). Each fighter tends to have their own niche – blunt or edged weapons for example. Although some have slightly more nuanced abilities, their primary goal is to deliver physical attacks on the monsters.

Subscribers to the Thunderstone Mailing List received an expanded version of this post with details on all the Classes!


This week has been amazing in terms of the support that is pouring in from the community. We achieved our goal of getting 2,500 subscribers for our Mailing List and we’re closing in on getting 6,000 Likes on the Thunderstone Facebook Page. Please forward this message to any of your friends who are Thunderstone players and ask them to sign up and Like Thunderstone today!

Thanks for all your support!

— John Zinser & The Thunderstone Quest Team

The Bandits of Blackrock

By Brett Satkowiak

“Open the gates!” the call went out. What passed through them afterward shook the peace of Thunderstone Keep. His clothing gave him away as a merchant and a wealthy one at that, but he looked as if he’d just come home from the battlefront. One leg was visibly broken, the fabric around it torn and shredded. His shirt was stained red with two long slashes exposing deep bruises underneath. His hair and beard were matted with dried blood from a wound behind his temple. A number of women gasped and various men began to murmur their concern as two guards carried the broken man from the portcullis to a low wall near the gate.

The Bandits of Blackrock is a pre-Kickstarter promotion. Subscribers to the Thunderstone Quest mailing list received the rest of the story. Follow this link to sign up today!

John Zinser & The Thunderstone Quest Team

The Video Shoot for Thunderstone Quest

Shout out and thanks to our star: Becca Scott Kerns, our director: Joseph Ruzer, and our sound technician: Greg Jones, who shot the Kick Starter Video at the AEG offices.    Here are some pics of the shoot.   My wife Julie and I had the important role of Craft Services meaning we made sure that there was food water and goodies to eat.  Then I got out of the way and let the team do their thing.

Subscribers to the Thunderstone Quest mailing list received an even more detailed look at the shoot with more behind-the-scenes pictures. Follow this link to sign up today!

John Zinser & The Thunderstone Quest Team


I don’t know about you but whenever I ran RPG campaigns I always made spiders bigger and badder than those in the books.  That is the case with our spiders in Thunderstone Quest.  Not only are they tough to kill they give you festering wounds which as the name implies are NOT GOOD. You’ll learn more about those soon.

The other monster groups are not just garden variety either,  Sure we have your goblins and your ogres but we also have some very unique challenges.  The undead adventuring party is a group of unlucky Thunderstone adventurers whose quest… came to an end.  Our Undead Rogue is not only hard to kill, but even in undeath he steals your stuff!  Wait till you meet his friends.


We are shooting our Kickstarter Video this Monday.  We are excited and happy to announce that Becca Scott Kerns will once again be gracing us with her skills and gaming knowledge as the co star for our video (the other star is the game of course). She likes to say she is the worst but we think she is the best.  

Check out her work on our Mystic Vale – Official Learn to Play Video!

Subscribers to our Thunderstone Quest email list received a version of this message with additional content and access to more sneak peeks at art! Sign up for the Thunderstone Quest update emails to ensure you’re getting all the behind-the-scenes information too!

John Zinser & The Thunderstone Quest Team

Why Thunderstone Quest?

At AEG, we have always been great fans of Thunderstone. Not only because it is one of our earliest game products in the board and boxed-game business, but also because we love games with a rich theme. We also love games that involve building an “engine”.

Brilliantly designed by Mike Elliott back in 2009, Thunderstone delivered on all aspects and, of course, continues to hold a place in hearts. It is a great game.

So when we were thinking about our games for 2017 and the issue of re-imagining Thunderstone came to the table, we all jumped at the opportunity. Thunderstone: Quest is the result.

When we began development, we wanted to look at Thunderstone and see if there was an opportunity to make a new game that had even more theme. We hit upon a number of concepts, to give the game a fresh new feel, and we want to take the opportunity to tell you about them, and why we like Thunderstone Quest so much.

The first thing to tell you is that we are very much releasing this product as a story. The game will come with a series of predefined quests that you work your way through, with an unfolding story attached to each. The story will give players new challenges and allow them to learn the game through a range of experiences, introducing slightly more complex combos later in the quests. Of course once you have done that, you will be able to play Thunderstone Quest with random set ups, very much as you can with classic Thunderstone.

In classic Thunderstone much of the early game was spent in the village, resting training, preparing. We feel that the strongest part of the theme comes from questing in the dungeon.

In Thunderstone Quest we wanted to make the early part of the game more dynamic, we want the deck refinement process to be more active. So for many existing Thunderstone fans this will feel different. You will be spending time in the village but the game gets moving fast, with some basic wilderness exploration. Your starting party of heroes, rookie adventurers, will level up quickly or even be part of your final party in some cases. You will of course need a few additional weapons and perhaps some spells, and careful purchases in the village will be important, but those adventurers will be learning on the job!

The dungeon is bigger now and players will have a wider choice of monsters to fight, and the difficulty of those monsters scales. But light takes on a very significant role. Each monster will reside in a “room”, and in some cases those rooms will have a darkness factor, so you will need light to literally move round in the dungeon. Players will need to build light into their strategy to be able to get from room to room to fight monsters. And each room may have a different challenge associated with it as well.

There are many other features in the game – monsters dropping treasures, players start the game with support of particular guilds and choose to undertake side-adventures in search of fabulous rewards. At the end of the game players will earn victory points based on the experience they have earned, and the cards in their deck.

As the next few weeks pass by we will reveal more of what is in store in Thunderstone Quest. We hope you are looking forward to it as much as we are!

The Captain is Dead Trial of the Captain by Seth Anthony

The Admiral’s face loomed large on the bridge’s heads up display. Based on her furrowed brow, tight lips, and steely gaze, the Captain could tell she wasn’t happy.

“Captain, help me understand why you thought it would be a good idea to meddle in the affairs of another species.”

This wasn’t the first time the Captain had heard that particular line. “Help me understand” was the Admiral’s way of handing you just enough rope to hang yourself. The Captain knew this all too well, having barely escaped that noose more than once.

“It’s simple, really…” the Captain replied cooly. “If we didn’t make contact with those aliens, we would have lost any chance at all of recovering the Mark II McGuffin Gun. You’re the one who gave the orders to recover it. So, I did.”

The admiral shifted in her chair, the high collar of her uniform barely hiding the pulsating vein in her neck that indicated to the Captain that his answer only had tightened the proverbial noose she had provided.

“Well, Captain – you got yourself into this mess and now you’ll have to get yourself out. We are going to have to play by the aliens rules. Our laws don’t apply here. You must defend yourself in their court of justice. There’s no other way.”

The Captain swallowed hard. Sure, he was a fighter, but he much preferred weapons to words. This was going to be tricky and now it was clear that he was going to get no help from his superiors. He was just doing what they asked him to after all!

“Fine, Admiral. I’ve gotten out of more difficult situations than this. Just do me a favor and make sure to note my victory in my record when this is all said and done. Alien Law might just be my new specialty. Captain out.”

The screen flickered and went black. The problem was now squarely on the Captains shoulders and it was time to solve it.

“Counselor – I want a full run down of everything we know about this species and their legal system. I need to know it inside and out. I’ll be in my quarters once you have the report compiled.”

Arriving in his quarters, the Captain sunk into his desk chair. The victorious strut he had performed upon exiting the bridge hid his anxiousness. He knew well that this was going to be a long night and that tomorrow was going to be even longer as he argued his innocence in front of the alien arbiter.


“Captain!” boomed the voice of the alien judge, perched high upon a throne overlooking the Hall of Justice. “You are charged with murdering one of our people in cold blood while trying to steal a proprietary weapon from our species. Not only did you show complete disregard for his life, but you showed just how callous your race is. What do you have to say for yourself?”

This was the Captain’s chance. His bridge crew watched from the gallery, each of them looking more worried than the last. As he glanced at their faces, he remained calm, even smiling a bit, hoping that his confidence would gain him the day. But, the tension in the room was palpable. He approached the table upon which the weapon in question was laying. He reached for it, but his hand was quickly slapped away by one of the guards.

“You would dare take up arms in this palace of peace, Captain?” cried the arbiter. “How much more cowardly can you be?”

The moment was neigh.

“Your honor, I meant no disrespect, but my argument hinges on being able to hold the weapon to demonstrate why I am not to blame for the death of your kinsman.”

The arbiter pondered for a bit, then ruled “You may touch the weapon, Captain. But, our guards will have their rifles trained upon you. One tiny move – one moment of hesitation, and they will lay waste to you.”

The Captain nodded with understanding and picked up the weapon. “You see, your honor, it is impossible for me to have killed your fellow. This weapon, while incredibly powerful, can only be discharged in one very specific way. The wound that caused his death could not have been inflicted by me, as the angle is all wrong.”

The Captain whirled the weapon around, placing the barrel underneath his chin. “You see, the wound obviously went upwards, through his skull. It would not have been feasible for me to pull the trigger from this angle. Look…”

That’s when the First Officer spotted it. The small, blinking red light on the side of the Mark II McGuffin Gun. The safety was off, but the thought registered a moment too late. Before he could utter the shout that was building in his chest, it was over. A pulse of light burst from the barrel and straight into the Captains throat. The bridge crew, with one accord, let out a scream as they watched their Captain’s lifeless body slump to the floor.

The Medical Officer rushed to the Captains side, placing his fingers on what was left of his neck. In a trembling voice she announced “The Captain’s dead.”

With a roaring laugh that couldn’t have been any more excited, the arbiter slammed his staff on the ground and proclaimed “based upon the evidence provided, we find the Captain guilty, by reason of incompetence. Guards, take the crew into custody. They are all accomplices now!”

The crew, looking to the First Officer, saw the blank expression on his face. They left it to the Janitor to ask the question that was all on their minds… “What now, sir?”

The Captain is Dead is an upcoming new release from AEG that features co-operative gameplay as players race against time to repair malfunctioning ship systems, deal with hostile aliens, and warp the ship out of danger. Releasing in 2017.

Seth Anthony is a life-long gamer. Most recently, he served as a Community Organizer for Alderac Entertainment. Prior to that, he was employed by Games Workshop North America. A proficient amateur, he dabbles in writing and game design in his spare time. He’s employed professionally as a Web Designer and Social Media Manager.

The Captain is Dead Commission of Inquiry by Douglas Sun

The Commission of Inquiry cites the following crew log entries as especially relevant:



We all know that space travel is stressful. Every one of us, I think, has felt the strain of a mission making us a little crazy at some point. The Admiral has been very reassuring on this. He seems to take little alarm at much of anything.

Today the Captain got up from his chair and wandered about the bridge, looking over the crew’s shoulders and pushing buttons on their consoles. The crew promptly undid whatever the Captain had done. Shortly thereafter, we received an alert from Engineering about an unidentified hissing noise coming from the main engine. The Chief Engineer is looking into it — at least, I think he said so, it’s hard to tell with his odd Scottish accent.


The Captain returned to the bridge and stood by his chair. “Red Alert! Order the crew to general quarters! There is a thief on this ship!”

“A thief, sir?” I said.

“Someone has stolen my pants!”

“Sir, you’re wearing your pants.”

“Oh. So I am. Someone has stolen my strawberries!”

Just then, the Cyborg came onto the bridge, working a floor buffer. “Coming through. Don’t mind me, folks; just making the floors shiny and smooth.” Several bridge crew crossing his wake slipped and fell.

“Sir, our stores of fresh food were depleted long ago,” I said, “The galley is currently consulting the ‘cooking with protein bars’ chapter in the ship’s documentation.”

The Captain pointed to the Cyborg. “You! You did it!”

“What? You can’t prove anything!”

“You took my strawberries!”

“Oh. I thought you were talking about something else. Naw, that wasn’t me.”

“Don’t let him fool you,” the Captain said to me. “This man is an impostor! He’s a bioengineered life form designed to look exactly like us so he can infiltrate the Galactica and subvert us from within!”

“Sir, he’s a cyborg.


“Carry on,” I said to the Cyborg.

“Whatever. Sniff you jerks later.”

The Cyborg left the bridge. The Captain sat down in his chair again, muttering  to himself.

Let this log entry record that I am now concerned about the Captain.



So I’m buffing the floor in the science lab, just like the First Officer ordered. So I knocked over the terrarium with the big spiders. So I knocked over a jar full of radioactive whatchamacallits. You know what? It ain’t my job to

clean it up.

Those meat bags are always telling me, do this, do that. Well, if they don’t like the job I do, they can bite my shiny metal —

Oops. Hello there, First Officer. How ya doin’?



I have searched this ship from stem to whatever they call the back part, but have found no trace of my strawberries. I proposed interrogating the entire crew, breaking them on the wheel until they revealed the truth. But the Counselor told me that we don’t have a wheel, and that it would be illegal in any event.

I therefore draw two conclusions:

1) The entire crew is against me.

2) They are in cahoots with aliens, who have taken my strawberries to their home world for purposes that remain obscure.

I asked the ship’s computer for advice. But it kept telling me that searching the ship’s inventory found 0 strawberries, and asking me if I wanted to play chess. I pressed various keys in an attempt to reboot it, without success. Then the screen turned blue and it stopped responding.

Piece of junk. I knew I should’ve upgraded to a Pentium. The video card’s crap. too.



It was horrifying.

We received an alert from Security that the Captain was seen heading toward the teleporter room.

The Admiral was on the bridge at the time. I suppose that his experience and seniority make it easier to maintain a calm, detached demeanor.

I immediately ordered that the main view screen shift to the teleporter room. The Cyborg was there, buffing the floor. “Don’t mind me,” he said to the Teleporter Chief. “Just making sure the floors are nice and smooth and shiny, just like my metal— oops.” Just then, the Captain stormed into the room, and the Cyborg slipped out behind him

“Beam me down to the surface,” the Captain said. “Those aliens have my strawberries, and I’m going to get them back, or die trying.”

“Um. Sir, there isn’t a planet within a thousand parsecs of here. I’d be teleporting you into empty space.”

“Are you disobeying an order from your Captain?”

“Wait. Did you say, ‘strawberries’?”

“Why… yes….  Don’t know how they got them, but they’re serving them in the galley right now. Better hurry if you want some.”

“Hot damn!”

The Teleporter Chief ran out of the room.

“Idiot,” the Captain muttered. He fiddled with the teleporter controls, evidently setting the timer. “Alright, you aliens,” he said as he went to the platform, “I’m coming for you now.”

Then he stopped. “Hold on — this is crazy. There isn’t a planet within  thousand parsecs of here.” But as he turned around, he slipped and fell back onto the dematerialization beam mark just as the beam activated.

Then he was gone.

No one on the bridge said anything. In the background, there was a loud rumble over the intercom feed from the engine room. The Chief Engineer yelled. “She canna hold much longer!”  From the science lab. the Science Officer shouted something about glowing giant spiders, then screamed, “Game over, man!” The computer was singing “A Bicycle Built For Two” in a dirge like voice. No one could believe what we had just seen.

Then the Admiral put his hand on my shoulder. “It’s all right, son. He’s in a better place.”

“But, sir—“

“I know. The Captain is dead. But have you seen what they’re serving in the galley? Protein bar casserole and protein bar compote for dessert. He’s in a better place.”


The Captain is Dead is an upcoming new release from AEG that features co-operative gameplay as players race against time to repair malfunctioning ship systems, deal with hostile aliens, and warp the ship out of danger. Releasing in 2017.

Douglas Sun has been a gamer since the late ‘70s and a professional writer, designer and developer since the late ‘90s. He contributed to Decipher’s Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings roleplaying games, and was line developer of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. During the D&D 3rd Edition open license boom, he contributed to many d20 books for AEG and Eden Odyssey. He blogs about gaming and other nerdy things at “I Think We’ve Been Playing It Wrong” and he is running a Kickstarter campaign for a series of modules for D&D 5th Edition, called Places by the Way, until December 18.

The Captain is Dead: Clean Up Call by Jon Del Arroz

Acting Captain’s log, star date… I don’t know what a star date is, why am I even saying that? Sounded right, I guess.

It’s Tuesday. I’m in the Captain’s ready room, but I’m not supposed to be here. I saw the Captain making logs on this device when I was emptying out the trash bin and getting the dust off the windows. That’s right, I’m the ship’s Janitor. Starships need a Janitor just like anywhere else, and well, I’m the only one here. The Captain Is Dead.


The Captain went down planetside to wherever the ship is orbiting. It looks like a hazy green colored planet. He’s into green things, strange green drinks, green girls… I’m not judging, but it always seems to get the Captain into trouble.  I saw him leave with a couple of Crewmen in red shirts toward the end of my shift. Did I mention my shift has been over for four hours? I’m definitely logging for time and a half.

Anyway, he’d been down on the surface for a while by the time I’d cleaned up after the lunch rush in the mess hall. Do you know why they call it a mess hall? I’ll give you one clue to how these slobs leave the place after they’re done eating.  The ship rattled during that shift. Some torpedo or laser or something smashed right into deck three, which I’m sure they’ll make me clean up once this whole mission is over with.

The First Officer yelled over the comm about our engines being hit, that aliens had sprung a trap on the surface, taking out the Captain and the red-clad crewmen. Then the First Officer told everyone to abandon ship. Scary stuff. I saw members of the crew running up and down the corridors and every which way like they’d been mind-controlled by some Treldellian frenzy virus. The ship rocked again after another attack. This time a bulkhead collapsed from the ceiling. It grazed my head and knocked me clear out.

I woke up with a real dinger and no Medical Officer aboard to help me. I’ll be filing for workman’s comp for sure whenever we get back to Starbase. After figuring out where I was, I walked the corridors hoping to run into anyone, but it looks like the entire crew disappeared. They left tracks in the hallways too. It’s gonna take forever to mop once this is all settled.

First thing I did after that was head to engineering. I didn’t want the ship to be destroyed because of some weird explosion from the red-dark-anti-positive-matter reaction or whatever it is that makes these ships go. Do I look like a Chief Engineer? Well, I hoped to pull up an emergency engineering Hologram program, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that either. Computers aren’t my strong point. I couldn’t figure anything out, but everything seemed to be working fine. I think someone tricked the crew.

That’s when I heard footsteps. I have an access card to everywhere, including top secret clearance lockers in engineering, where all the good technology is stored. I slipped in there when I heard voices from down the hall. I could understand them thanks to the translator chip that they installed in all of our ears before we went on this mission. Don’t ask me why they spent money on the janitor for that. Government contracts never make sense. I’m just glad I had it!

From beyond the door I heard their sinister, alien voices. “Good, good! Now we’ll have our own top of the line ship that we can reverse engineer. The emperor will be pleased. We will bring our home system honor and glory!”

“How did you know that you could dispatch the Captain and so easily trick these fools into leaving their posts?” another asked.

“It was easy. Everyone knows the Captain never has been able to resist green temptations. No matter, he’s dead and gone now, along with those brightly dressed Crewmen he had with him. Who in their right minds would use that color and make their people into walking targets to shoot down?”

The second alien laughed.

My eyes went wide. The Captain was dead, and the crew in escape pods. That left only one person to defend the ship. I waited until the aliens were gone, and snuck through the maintenance tubes conveniently placed throughout the ship to the captain’s ready room. I tried to find some button to communicate back to the fleet, but all I found was this lousy log recorder. What’s this thing even for, anyway?

I figure even though union rules probably specify that this is not my problem, it’s my duty to take over. I may not have the training that the rest of the crew does, but I hope to be able to save the ship in the only way a Janitor can. I’m going to spill my mop bucket and leave wet floors… without putting up a proper warning sign! We’ll see how they like to mess with my squeaky clean starship after that slip and slide.

Acting Captain out.


The Captain is Dead is an upcoming new release from AEG that features co-operative gameplay as players race against time to repair malfunctioning ship systems, deal with hostile aliens, and warp the ship out of danger. Releasing in 2017.


Jon Del Arroz writes science fiction from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. He first gained notoriety for his webcomic, Flying Sparks, which has been hailed by Comic Book Resources as “the kind of stuff that made me fall in love with early Marvel comics.” He has several published short stories, most recently providing fiction and flavor for Alderac Entertainment Group’s weird west card game, Doomtown: Reloaded. He recently released his debut novel, Star Realms: Rescue Run, which is available in print and ebook editions at:

Some Phase History

So about ten years ago I was deeply focused on AEG things and we had agreed to not work on any new games internally for a while.  I semi adhered to my own rule for a while but I own AEG because I love working on games so I went outside the house and called up my buddy Erik Lang and told him about this idea I had for a two sided card game.  I told him I wanted to work on it as therapy and would love to work on it with him.  The only rule was we would do it slowly.

So a few days later I was sitting in my back yard and I called him again and started talking about the game.  He listened to me jibber jabber for about 20-30 minutes then he said something about the game that made me realize he had done more work on a prototype than he was letting on.

“Erik, did you already design a game?”  I could almost here him shrink on the other end of the phone. 

He said something like “Just a couple. “

I laughed.  “A couple of games?” 

“Yes a couple of games I couldn’t help myself.”

So much for therapy I thought. 

I love Erik Lang.  Our conversation about Phase and early prototypes of the game got me through a rough patch.  He is every bit as nice as he seems and even more talented than any single designer deserves.  Erik sees past the problems directly into the fun.  The early versions of Phase were beyond broken but super fast card flipping fun.  He knew long before I did with Phase that FUN trumps everything. 

10 years ago AEG was deep into the CCG business and BROKEN was the scariest word you could utter to a game designer.  22 years in and I realize that while it can be done working too hard to bring balance to chaos can also take the fun out of a  game.   

Phase was handed to Jim Pinto and Brent Keith.  Jim was tasked with building a new worked and he did an amazing job since the art ordered for the base game happened 10 years ago and the quality stands up today.  A testament to him and the artists who worked on Phase. Now let me tell you about about Brent.  He is a super talented grinder of a designer.  He did a lot of behind the scenes grunt work on our CCG design and was never really in the spot light. 

He took my baby (Tomb) and whipped it into shape for me and the game Infinite City is easily one of the three most requested games for us to reprint.   He is a great designer. 

We gave Brent the ridiculously hard job of taking the super fast, super broken game, we had and putting the reigns on it.   He added a lot to the game but we missed the speed of the earlier versions and we were in the middle of major conflict about what type of games we wanted to make so we shelved it. …..

…… until Jeremy came along.  Jeremy took the idea that every individual card was every type of card in the game to the next level.  He changed the way we handled costing and added a few additional tweaks and we were split.  The people who loved it loved and the ones who did not hated it.  So we shelved it again.

There are a list of reasons, but not good reasons, why we did not publish Phase after each of its iterations.  In all forms including this one it is sort of a love it or hate it game.  If you cannot get past the fact the cards have two sides and there is some info that is not hidden then this game is just never going to be for you.

I think the thing that finally got Phase off the shelf was us not having the pressure of being in the competitive card game business any longer.  Bryan took on the project and pulled a lot of the ideas from each iteration into the product we have today.   It took some convincing to get him to not worry about every possible combination. I was there for the inception and completion of the game and think it’s a sharp, unique product. 

There are few things that NEVER changed about Phase

Double sided cards and the idea that it was a sandbox game and we wanted players to bend and break it to bits.  (My original ad campaign that I pitched the idea with is still the one we are going with) 

I think it might be even better that we waited. It’s been 24 years since Magic released and we know so much more about card games now than we did back then but maybe there is chance that we have forgotten how much fun it can be to make a deck full of plague rats (Tip of the hat to Carol from All Star Games) or find an abusive combo no one else sees before an event. 

The Lost Years- It has been 10 plus years since we started this project.  This is my recollection of how things went but I am sure I have missed something important.   Apparently an early version of the game that had the original credits was not passed on to the last team to work on Phase.  So a few of us were not credited as we should have been.  Those folks include but are not limited to.

Myself- Original Concept and Design

Erik Lang- Original Design

Jim Pinto- Design and Art Direction.  This will be rectified in the next printing of the game and in the updated online version of the rules. 

Anyone working at AEG in or around 2005 for playtest and world building.  Ping us if time has forgotten your contributions to this wonderful game. 



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