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Thursday, June 27, 2013

quick notes - 25-Jun-2013

I started this post about 6 months ago. What I wrote originally pretty much explains why I didn't finish it:

It has been a bit busy around our house lately. The arrival of our twin baby girls have dominated any semblance of free time that I once had. This means I have little time to write journal entries, write rules, review other's rules, or build any prototypes. It's a bit frustrating to not be able to participate in an apparently thriving Twitter community of game designers, but I know that they will all still be there when my life reaches a point where I have more time to commit to hobby game design.

Things have settled down a bit, but my design time is still scarce. I have had the opportunity to participate in Hyperbole Games Pen-pal Prototype Program, but only as a play tester so far. I have had time to focus a bit on one game design, which actually played half-decently in a solo play test.

Here's what's on my plate:

Construction Contracts

No, this is not what I want to call the game, but it's what I got so far. I wanted to make a game entirely with cards, and this has been the result. On your turn, you play one card in front of you face down, discard a card, and draw two new ones. The first card you place face down is a worker of some type. Each subsequent card pays for that worker until you have met the payment requirement on the worker card. Then, the next card is another worker. At the end of your turn, you have the option to open bidding on any of the contracts for a building that are in the center of the table. You have to meet the requirements for that building with the workers that you have been placing in front of you. Each building has a certain type and victory point value. Sets of types score more points. Some buildings can count as two types. Play continues until all building contracts are won. It works, but I'm not sure if the fun is there. I need to get it in front of other people, but I want to tweak some values first. I had a ridiculous spread of victory point values which made the math a bit silly. Also, the game took a little too long, so I want to reduce the costs of the workers. Once I complete that, I'll print out a new deck and force someone to play it with me.

New Phoenix

My dice-pool-collecting game with a dash of role selection has stalled out, but I have a new idea I need to try with it. Instead of it being role selection (where players can "follow" the role chosen by the active player), I think it would work better as something closer to a worker placement. It makes more sense thematically as well. You take your dice roll and assign the appropriate dice to one of the tasks for the community (tribe? clan?). Subsequent players cannot perform that task this round and must choose another task or freeze one of their dice for the next round. After the tasks are all chosen, the players execute the tasks in a given order (develop technology, recruit/protect #1, recruit/protect #2, freeze die, scout). The turn order for the next turn is determined by the reverse order that the tasks were executed in (primarily so that there is incentive to scout knowing that you can choose recruit/protect #1 first). I need better developments, and well, to actually try this new system, but I think it will be better than what I had.

Franchise (or some drafting game)

My post on some ideas for a drafting game is pretty much where I left this one. Basketball would be my sport of choice if I pursued a sports-related theme. I think that some sort of racing game or goofy robot combat game would still be fun. This is definitely in the pre-alpha-you-can't-hardly-call-it-an-idea phase.

Partnership games

I had two ideas. My last post describes the issues I had with the card game. In the end, I think it was too long, and not really fun. I'm not sure it's worth pursuing any further, at least not until I'm happy with (or ready to abandon) my "contracts" card game.

The other idea was for a board game that involves some amount of terraforming and magic. Tricks make up the elements for spells that change the terrain of the board, and each team is trying to help their clan grow by terraforming the board in their favor. I believe I mentioned Populous as an inspiration. I should probably play Terra Mystica as well, although it sounds more complicated than I was imagining.

I can now say I've successfully updated my blog in less than a year. Now, to actually work on one of these games!

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