Mothership's Deluxe Set feels like buying a video game console

Boxed sets >>>> literally anything else.

Mothership's Deluxe Set feels like buying a video game console
Excuse the grubby smears on this otherwise gorgeous box - that's on me. Credit: Chase Carter

Back when I still purchased new video game consoles, I loved the process of bringing them home, carefully unwrapping the controllers, cords, and other peripherals; plugging everything in, connecting to the internet, and watching as the inevitable first-day system update installed. As an adult, I’d scroll Twitter and enjoy the stream of other people enjoying their new $400 toys, but as a young child I’d eagerly tear through the instruction manual of whatever launch title was tucked safely inside all that cardboard and plastic. That potent mixture of palpable anticipation and limitless potential is seared into my synapses like a brand.

I never thought I’d feel that burn again. Then, my Mothership 1E Deluxe Set arrived. Two years in the making and shipping, Mothership’s ultimate physical expression is a beautiful thing to behold on your kitchen table. The box is a buttery black shocked through with gold design that reminds me of overpriced, luxury condoms or (more complimentary) expensive chocolate truffles. Rectangular and solid in its design, it even evokes the look of a video game console tailor-made to churn mechanical bleeps and bloops into fun.

The innards are a neatly-arranged selection of all the materials you need to run Tuesday Knight Games’ Mothership, an OSR-style tabletop RPG about being extremely fucking stressed in space, with real-life friends: dice, punch-out character tokens with plastic standees, a folded map that measures distances and travel through space on one side (what’s the delay of transponder signal? Weapons fire? Communications during dogfights?), and a bisected layout of a space station on another. There’s a trifold facilitator screen decorated with labyrinthine metal ductwork. And underneath it all are stapled zine-style rulebooks and adventures that backers funded during its original crowdfunding campaign back in 2022.