Celestial Respiration - An Astronomy Strategy Card Game (Ask Me Anything)

Sharukh G. Velupillai
Dec 1, 2017

Hi! I am not an Astronomer, but I am a space enthusiast. My name is Sharukh, and I am the creator of an Astronomy card game.

I enjoy star gazing, reading, and playing games.

I noticed there is lack of interest for Astronomical Studies, which is not a surprise because of all the light pollution in the cities.

We simply cannot be interested in something that we cannot normally see.

That is why I have decided to create a fun, interactive card game that will renew an interest in this lost beauty.

This game is called:

Celestial Respiration

Introduction / Disclaimer

This game is intended to introduce the Night Sky to its players in a fun interactive way. All information garnered for this game is from the Stellarium open-source software. Star images are also from the Stellarium software. The distance of Nebulae and Galaxies are calculated using Google's conversion tool (kilo-pascal to light years conversion) using Stellarium's data. This game is not intended to be used as a resource for Astronomical data, as data varies from source to source and data values range for certain celestial objects due to their attributes, their great expanse through space, and other factors (ie.extinctions). Other images used in this game are from NASA, Pixabay.com, and Wikipedia.com (Creative Commons). None of these sources endorse this product. This game is only intended to be used as a fun interactive way to familiarize with what is in our sky, and how general celestial processes work (stars are formed from a nebula and abundant stars form galaxies, using an H-R Diagram, etc). The Definitions of the Celestial Objects are from WordWeb Online Dictionary.


To win the game, you must create and use your stars, galaxies, and other relevant cards to “consume” other celestial objects. Each time you “consume” a celestial object, you gain 1 "token". A token represents a victory. Once you have accumulated 10 tokens, you win the game!

Simple Definitions

  • Consume – the act of a star "out-shining" another star. A Star may only do this if it is "Brighter" than the other Star. When your star “consumes” an opponent's star, you gain one token. Then, your opponent's star goes to the Discard Pile. Galaxies also consume stars and other galaxies.
  • Create – to play a Celestial Object on the Space Field, such as a Star or Galaxy.

The game is made of six different types of cards. The types of cards are Nebulae, Star, Galaxy, Lunar, Tools, and Discovery cards. Most of these cards are found in each 46 card deck.

The Space Field

Simple Definitions

  • Discard Pile – the area where cards are put when they are used. Stars are put here after they are “consumed” by an opponent's star, or when they are used to play a Galaxy, etc. Tools and Discovery cards are put here after they are “played” and thus “used up”. A Nebula goes here after stars are played using that specific Nebula. Note: Just because a star ends up in the discard pile doesn't mean you can't get it back! 
  • Space Field – The area where all cards are played and used.
  • TND Zone – The maximum three slots open in the Space Field where you may play or set Tools, Nebulae, or Discovery cards.

Star Cards

  • In order to Create a star card on the field, you must use a nebula.
  • There are 15 Star cards per deck.
  • The game revolves around the usage of stars. Star Cards are the main way to accumulate “Tokens”. A Star is considered a “celestial object” card.
  • A Hertzsprung-Russel Diagram is used to determine how much "Energies" is needed to create a star using a Nebula card.

Galaxy Cards

  • There are typically 3 Galaxies per deck.
  • Galaxies are (generally) the most powerful celestial object cards in the game. A single Galaxy card can consume stars instantly!

Nebulae Cards

  • There are 5 Nebula Cards (per deck).
  • The credit for the image of the cards is given on the bottom right hand side of the card pictures.

 Tools Cards

Every tool card in this game derives from human-made objects that help us understand Astronomical concepts better.

 Discovery Cards

Discovery Cards derive from random Astronomy related concepts, tools, and celestial objects. These cards give you a drastic advantage in the game. They have a distinct Reddish background.

 Lunar Cards

Lunar Cards are related to Earth's moon. They have a Purplish background, and can be played in the Zone of the Stars and Galaxies. If you collect 5 specific pieces, you win the game (similar to Jupiter/Jovian pieces)!

 Starting The Game

  • Both players should flip 1 coin together. Each player declare either Heads or Tails (one choice per person). The player who called correctly (where the coin landed face up) goes first.
  • The game starts by both players shuffling their opponent's deck, then return it to each other face down. Both players then draw seven cards.
  • Set/Setting – To place a card face down in the TND Zone. It may be “activated” anytime by flipping it face up after the turn you put it face down ends. The specific rules depend on the card's text.

The First Turn

    • The first player may play/set a Nebulae/Tools/Discovery card(s) in their respective zone (TND zone).
    • If a Nebula is played, it is active, and it has 10 “energies”. The energies are used to create “Star cards.” So, a Star can be played once per turn, and it cannot consume other stars during the First Turn of the Game.
    • Then they may play/set other Tools/Nebula/Discovery cards before they end their turn. Only one star may be played per turn, and up to 3 TND cards max at the same time.

The Second Turn and Beyond 

  • The next player draws 1 card from the deck. Then he or she may conduct their normal turn by playing or setting cards, such as what the first player was able to do. The second player may use his or her star to consume his or her opponent's star. Thus it is important to know the functions of a star, which are as follows:

Creating a Star

To create a star, the energy of a Nebula is used. To find out how much energies your star needs to be created, you need to use the H-R Diagram. You will need the following information about a Star:

- Absolute Magnitude and

- the Color Index (on the top right of the Star card)

A Nebula contains “10 Energies.” Once all of the Energies are used up, the Nebula is "destroyed" and goes to the Discard Pile.

Hyper/Super Giants = 5 energies

Bright/'Regular' Giants = 4 energies

Sub Giants/Main Sequence = 3 energies

Sub/White Dwarfs = 2 Energies

Red/Brown Dwarfs = 1 energy

Nebula Energy Tracker

Below is a chart that helps to determine and keep track of Nebulae Energies on the Space Field. Nebula cards are used to “Create" (play) Star Cards. Once all the “10 energies” of a Nebula is used up to create Stars, the Nebula is destroyed.

There are 3 Types of "Star Modes"

1.) Primordial Mode (used in primal stages of a Star's life: used for Consuming other Celestial Objects)

2.) Galactic Construction Mode (Revealing the Star's Intrinsic Brightness may be helpful in "Preventing Consumption." This mode is also used in "Galaxy Creating").

3.) Supernova Mode (Used as a last Resort)

A Star may be played in either "Primordial Mode" or "Galactic Construction Mode" to begin with, but "Supernova mode" is only after you have consumed another Star card at least once.

Using Your Primordial Mode Star to Consume another Star:

(Basically this is Simplest way to Gain Tokens; only Primordial Mode Stars may consume other Stars. This means your Star has to be "Brighter" than your Opponent's Star)

1.) If your opponent's Star is in “Primordial Mode”, you may only Consume that Star if your Primordial Mode Star's “Apparent Magnitude” is lower in numerical value than your opponent's star.

2.) If your opponent's Star is in “Galactic Construction Mode”, you may only Consume that Star if your Primordial Mode Star's “Absolute Magnitude” is lower in numerical value than your opponent's star.

3.) You can not consume a Supernova Star with another Star. You must use a Galaxy or an alternative method.

Note: Whenever you consume an Opponent's Star card from your own Star card (that is in Primordial Mode), you receive 1 token.

How Galaxies are Created

Galaxies do not need energies from Nebulae to be played; they need stars!

  • Galaxy cards are played by sending 3 star cards on the Space Field to the discard pile.
  • However, if you have 2 Star cards from the same Constellation on the Space Field, you may discard these two instead of the three Star cards.
  • If you have three Star cards in your hand from the same constellation, you can send them to the Discard pile in order to play a Galaxy from your deck or hand. 

You cannot play a Galaxy card in the same turn that you play a star card.

A Galaxy has the ability to consume one of your opponent's stars per turn while gaining 1 token in the process. A Galaxy may only be consumed by another Galaxy of a lower numerical Apparent Magnitude (never a Star card), or it may be destroyed by using a Tool or Discovery Card.

Note: Whenever you consume an Opponent's Galaxy card from your own Galaxy card , you receive 1 token.

Special Star Rules (Advanced Gameplay)

Pulsating Variable Stars – Once per turn, you may flip the Apparent Magnitude's numerical value with the Absolute Magnitude's numerical value. If the Absolute Magnitude is a positive number, you may turn it negative. At the end of the turn, the star returns back to its original numerical values.

Double Stars – "Equip" another Star card on your side of the field to the “Double Star” card. Place it underneath the “Double Star” card (to "Equip"). If your star were to be destroyed (either by Consumption,Tools cards, or Discovery cards), you may substitute and destroy the equipped star instead and your opponent gains no Tokens.

Once per turn, you may either "unequip" or "equip" a Star card to the Double Star card. Unequipped stars go back to the regular Zone for Stars and Galaxies.

Binary Stars – Equip another Star card on your side of the field to the “Binary Star” card. Place it underneath the “Binary Star” card. Then add the absolute values(not Absolute Magnitude! Absolute values means just to turn the number positive) of the Apparent Magnitude together, Then turn this new number negative (just add the “-” sign before the number).

This new Star System is permanent, and they may NOT be unequipped once they are equipped to each other. These cards are treated as “1” Star card in every aspect until they leave the Space Field (ie. being consumed or destroyed). Thus, when consumed, your opponent only receives 1 Token.

Ordinary Stars – have no special effect!

Kids Gameplay

Instead of using the H-R diagram for the creation of stars, each Nebula has 3 Energies (instead of 10 Energies), and each star requires 1 energy to be played. When the 3 Energies from the Nebula is used up, the Nebula is destroyed and goes to the discard pile.

Your Support Is much Appreciated in this Endeavor! Thank you for your time!


Image Content from Creative Commons (credit given to authors)

Star images from Stellarium

Astronomical Data from Stellarium software

Gregorian Chant from Archive.org (Creative Commons)

Video Media from Videezy.com


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Conversation (38)

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Is this a collective effort?

Dec 2, 9:08PM EST0

Hi Cessmee,

The Celestial Respiration game was a Collective effort.

My family backed it financially and play tested the game, in addition to giving their feedback.

My brother pitched in the idea of discovery cards and constellations, which I included in the game.

The game rules and play was developed by myself.

Dec 3, 12:06AM EST0

Do you have any other game projects apart from this?

Dec 1, 11:56PM EST0

Hi Beverly,

I do have other game projects, such as a Geology card game.

However, currently, I am working on promoting the current game at hand, “Celestial Respiration.”

In addition, I am currently working with the game creator of a unique board game.

Thank you for your question.

Dec 2, 2:13AM EST0

What do you suggest be done to reduce global warming?

Dec 1, 11:19PM EST0

Hi Dkennedy,

I think we should listen to scientists regarding this topic. Trends show the earth is heating up.

So, people should stop wasting their resources in all nations including the United States. This is done by proper education.

I do disagree with population control as a solution, as this is geared toward reducing the poor and downtrodden populations, among many other ethical issues.

I think we do have the capability to terraform the uninhabitable earth to human inhabitation, if we are able to get to the moon.

I do also believe we can produce clean water for everyone if we are able to put dozens of Satellites in orbit.

I just think we need to get our priorities fixated.

Last edited @ Dec 2, 12:18PM EST.
Dec 2, 2:04AM EST0

Why did you choose name it celestial respiration?

Dec 1, 10:51PM EST0

Hi Travis,

I thought “Celestial Respiration” would be a unique name for the game.

The term “Respiration” was borrowed from the term “cellular respiration” in biology. Cells from an organism create energy from nutrients received by the organism.

The term “Celestial” is related to the sky and massive heavenly objects.

The act of a Star “Out-shining” another object is known as “Consume” in the game, which is relevant to how organisms obtain energy (through consumption).

I thought it would be a play on words (ie. Celestial sounds like Cellular to begin with).

In addition, I heard Andromeda might collide with the Milky Way Galaxy, a term coined by some scientists as “galactic cannibalism.”

The word "Consume" and "Outshine" is also relevant to "Destroy" in the game, as a star is "destroyed" when it is Consumed.

Thank you for your question!

Last edited @ Dec 2, 2:15AM EST.
Dec 2, 1:54AM EST0

Was the development of celestial respiration yur idea or a team work?

Dec 1, 5:54PM EST0

Hi Rhonda,

The development of Celestial Respiration was a joint effort from my family. They encouraged me and pitched in their feedback.

My father is the main backbone of this project. He supported me and encouraged me the most.

Thank you for your inquiry. 

Dec 1, 7:42PM EST0

Do you have have any social media page for feedbacks from users?

Dec 1, 5:34PM EST0

Hi Mark,

We do not have a social media page geared at feedback from users.

We plan to have the opinion of all our backers before we finalize the product.

All backers will be able to playtest the game before the final game is printed and distributed.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Dec 1, 7:46PM EST0

Would you encourage people to study and become Astronomers and why?

Dec 1, 5:10PM EST0

Hi Natasha,

I would encourage anyone to study what they are passionate about.

Whether it be Astronomy or Historiography.

If you intend to study something, and there is benefit in it for yourself or your community (or both), then you should probably pursue it.

Thank you for your time.

Dec 1, 7:51PM EST0

Would you encourage people to study and become Astronomers and why?

Dec 1, 4:50PM EST0

Hi Jesa,

I would encourage anyone to study what they are passionate about.

Whether it be Astronomy or Historiography.

If you intend to study something, and there is benefit in it for yourself or your community (or both), then you should probably pursue it.

Thank you for your time.

Dec 1, 7:50PM EST0

Do you plan to make this game virtual for PC and Android gamers?

Dec 1, 4:45PM EST0

Hi Sarah,

We have indeed thought about it, but right now we are focused on creating physical copies and distributing it out to people.

If our KickStarter is not successful, we will have to pursue another way to get the game out to people, which would most likely be locally for now.

I am looking for Influencers relevant to the topic of Astronomy or science in general.

Thank you for your time.

Dec 1, 7:59PM EST0

Do you have have any social media page for feedbacks from users?

Dec 1, 4:06PM EST0

Hi Ashiqur

We do not have a social media page geared at feedback from users.

We plan to have the opinion of all our backers before we finalize the product.

All backers will be able to playtest the game Before the final game is printed and distributed.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Dec 1, 7:45PM EST0

How can people from various parts of the world get the cards? Can they make orders online?

Dec 1, 3:47PM EST0

Hi Munozwesley,

Our KickStarter is live right now. If you follow the link to the page below my photo, then it will take you there.

So far I have confirmed international shipping rates for Australia and United KIngdom.

We initially planned to ship domestically (U.S.), however, we have noticed many people internationally are interested in this game.

If you leave a message or comment on the KIckStarter, I will check the rates for your location ASAP (Likely Saturday or Monday).

Thank you for your time!

Last edited @ Dec 2, 2:17AM EST.
Dec 1, 7:39PM EST0

Where would you be expecting the gaming industry to be in the next five years in education?

Dec 1, 3:41PM EST0

Hi Jessica,

Thank you for your question.

To tell you the truth, I am really not sure.

A lot of new games are being made every year, however, I see very little physical games geared at education. This may be due to the games being only available locally, or just poor marketing (kind of where I am at right now).

Many educational games are available digitally, whether on apps or computer programs.

Honestly, I do not believe technology can replace many aspects of physical games, such as player face to face interaction (body signs and countenance) which contributes to healthy relationships with others. I do, however, think that virtual games may be as profitable.

I do have plans for making a geology game, however, right now I am concerned about where Celestial Respiration would be in the next 5 years.

Dec 1, 7:36PM EST0

Does gaming have any sort of medical benefits?

Dec 1, 3:32PM EST0

Hi Makter,

I am not a doctor, so I can not give you an answer to that.

But, what I can tell you is that gaming is a great way to relax with others.

When you participate in games, it can make you happier and less stressed out, which is probably the best combination for a healthy life.

Just go into every game with a positive atitude and go in to have fun (not just to win).

Thank you for your time.

Last edited @ Dec 2, 2:19AM EST.
Dec 1, 7:25PM EST0

How are your friends and family reacting to your achievements?

Dec 1, 3:30PM EST0

Hi Elena,

I believe that every failure is an achievement, because I learn something new from it.

Of course, family will encourage you always to keep moving forward, whether you fail or you succeed.

Thank you for your time.

Dec 1, 8:05PM EST0

How long did it take for you to come up with this and had it completed?

Dec 1, 3:29PM EST0

Hi Syed Ali Raihan,

We started this game in late 2016, and it is about at its completion. We are constantly adding new cards, and we do plan to expand the game so more decks are available.

If the campaign is successful, all of the backers on our KickStarter will have the opportunity to give input on the game, because all of them will get a printable copy of the game available through email which they will be able to “playtest”.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Dec 1, 7:28PM EST0

Do you believe in evolution? What's your basic proof?

Dec 1, 12:47PM EST0

Hi Ana Alonso,

Thank you for your Curiosity!

I am no scientist, nor will my opinion matter in the scientific community. I am just an aquarium hobbyist who enjoys looking at the Stars.

There are conflicts with religion and science when it comes to theories, especially the Darwinian model of evolution.

What I believe is that many aspects of evolution are true, such as changes between specific life, such as viruses, dogs, and birds.

I have no knowledge about periods longer than we have concrete evidence for.

Although all life have genetic similarities (all life is from water), every life is different in functionality on the earth. Plants have a role just as bacteria have a role. So, I can not comment on what I do not know.

However, I respect all the theories of Evolution and others who are pursuing beneficial knowledge.

I hope that Answers your question!

Dec 1, 3:00PM EST0

Were there any challenges you had when developing the celestial respiration game?

Dec 1, 10:43AM EST0

Hi Marsha!

There were many challenges when developing the Celestial Respiration game.

Some of the challenges included “what should I use for the Star Images… they are just dots!”

Other Challenges was where would I get the data for the Stars, and the easiest and most efficient option was the Stellarium software.

Probably the most tedious task was editing. If there were mistakes in the cards of the game, I would have to remake the entire card from scratch because I used (almost entirely) the Microsoft Paint software in creating the card designs. This software is the most basic of the basic, and there is no layering, which makes life difficult.

The game did not happen overnight, and generally improved throughout the months that we worked on it.

Thank you for your inquisitive question!

Dec 1, 3:02PM EST0

What age and kind could participate in the celestial respiration?

Dec 1, 8:24AM EST0


Generally, players who are twelve years and older may participate in this game… but these are just guidelines.

The “Kids Mode” makes the game easier and more enjoyable for light play and little thinking – not just for kids though.

The game had started with Kids Mode as the main mode for playing, however, Nebulae Energies and the Hertzsprung-Russel Diagram were incorporated later on.

Thank you for your question!

Dec 1, 3:03PM EST0

Are there any video lessons on YouTube promoting and teaching people how to play the celestial respiration?

Dec 1, 5:26AM EST0

Hi Paul Joseph,

Yes, there are some videos, but they are not the final ones.

You can look at our KickStarter page, which the link is at the bottom of my photo in the AMA Feed. We do plan to make a comprehensive tutorial on how to play the game in the future.

Thank you for your thoughtful question.

Dec 1, 3:04PM EST0
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