Friday, September 30, 2016

Alien Destruction

Over the last week I played three more games of Terran League of Defense Robots (which also has a lot of other names), and one more game of The Age of Vikings.

TLDR is coming along nicely. The last few games have been pretty smooth. I have added character cards, and modified a lot more about the game. The game is still way too hard, but I have begun to work on adjusting the difficulty in a downward direction. I also have nothing in the rules about how to actually fight, so I need to add that stuff in.

The way that I am decreasing the difficulty might be interesting to some, so I will discuss it now. The game used to get harder each time the deck was shuffled because a new alien meeple would come into play each shuffle, and the aliens would do 1 more things each round than they used to do. This proved to ramp up the difficulty really fast, so instead I decided to add a card to the deck called Alien Destruction.

Players may put any number of Alien Destruction cards into the deck to set their difficulty. They make that hand a little harder by not allowing you to see as many cards as you would normally see, and also they make the game harder from that point onward by occupying a slot that other aliens would go into (acting as virtual aliens that cannot be destroyed). If 10 destroyed cities get into play, the game ends because the next alien cannot be played anywhere.

I have yet to test them out, but I have high hopes for them being a fix for the difficulty woes.

In our game of AoV this week we started at the fourth turn by simulating the first three turns. Using this method we were able to make it through the entire game before the end of the lunch hour. It ended up being a pretty fun game. The last turn was a three way tug of war where the third place player surpassed the other two, and then was surpassed by the (new) third place player, who then ended the game.

Not only was the game fun, but it was also useful. We identified a problem with the game (the penalty for the last player who passes can be really punishing late-game). We decided to change the rules to make it less of a penalty - the player gets half their income instead of no income.

Also, I made new copies of the islands that fit the medium hex tile from the game crafter.

I also recorded a movie of me playing Hungry Oni for a publisher that wanted it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Nanobot Mortar : fierce, helpful robots to shoot at your foes

On Tuesday we played a game of The Age of Vikings at lunch at work. We had 6 players, and we didn't get through a full game before lunch ended. It is a much bigger game than is usually playable in a lunch hour (I only rarely work on such games because it is hard to playtest them to make sure that they work properly). The game is working pretty well - people with different strategies still got similar scores and nothing seemed really broken. It took a long time, however there are a lot of important decisions that have to be made at every juncture, so it is not that surprising given that some of our players have some analysis paralysis.

Since that game, we have added and tested out 6 new god cards and a new "helpful" action reminder card.

I am currently working on resizing the island hexes to make them fit on a game crafter medium hex tile. I might have to scale down the tokens to make it work, but it should make the game fit in a smaller box.

On Thursday we played a game of Grifters at work, which was really fun. I liked all of the mechanics and it offered very interesting decisions. The only beef I have with it is the size of the game. With only 4 players we won't be able to play it that often because our group is often 5 or 6 large, and that is a hard size for us.

Thursday night my wife and I played another game of Terran Robot Defense League. We didn't die this time, however it was still pretty darn close. We couldn't get corrosive damage without researching the nanobot mortar. We ended up defeating the mothership in a totally cinematic manner which felt very satisfying after we pummeled the four escort aliens.

Trying to figure out what things we needed to do to win was fun (the final four defenders were Biollante, Battleship, Daidarabochi, and Leviathan, (two of the hardest monsters, and a hard and easy one) so we didn't get off easy by any means), and we did end up building up a nearly perfect robot before the game ended. After the end of the game we sat around discussing both strategy, and weather the game was too hard. I think that it needs a little bit of balancing, and a way to adjust the difficulty based on player's desires.

We have an idea of adding character cards to the game, but we haven't done it yet. I really think that it will spice up the player interaction.

We also think that the robot that has to be built to win the game is pretty hard to build. We are thinking of adding +1 space to all of the chassis. The reason for this is that the only way we have ever won is to add the Dimensional Generator to a robot, and perhaps that is a problem. It is possible to win without it, but not very. We also wonder weather the Dimensional Generator is even a fair card. It makes it ever so much more possible to win.

We also think that the reactors all want to be smaller and provide less electricity, since the large ones are not really used ever.

The final open question is: Do I want fewer chassis and more weapons in the research deck? People like weapons, so probably the answer should be yes.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The first loss

We played a game of Terran Robot Defense League yesterday. We lost horribly. I am thinking of making the game easier (with adjustable difficulty)

I have also started printing more tokens for age of Vikings. I hope to work on it more soon.

Finally, we had a game night where we played some published games yesterday: splendour, pandemic, and a new game (to us at least) "fast flowing forest fellers". It was pretty fun. We stayed up way too late, but that is how game nights go.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Improving the endgame

I have been working on Terran Robot Defense League/Fighting Robots/Ed's Army more. I have played a few games with Alison, and it is going pretty well. The game is definitely playable, however the endgame isn't very good yet.

I need to make the game have a more cinematic ending - right now it has a "mothership" that is the hardest opponent to fight, however it is not that much harder than any other ship. I am going to add rules that make you have to fight multiple opponents on the same turn.

The game is turning into a copy of X-Com apocalypse, which is great because I love that game.

Here are a few cards: (I spent a little time on the art because some of my playtesters at work need good art to enjoy a game).

Here are the current rules. Here is a gallery of the cards.

I am also starting to think that I will finally join the board game design guild. I have been meaning to for years, however I just never did it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Robots that fight

I played a first solo game of Terran Robot Defense League last night. It went OK, however it could have been better.

Here are the rules that I played by{and the rules that I want to try out now}.

To start look at 10 aliens and keep 3{1}. Place two into one pile, and one by itself {place it down in a pile of its own}. Aliens in a pile have to be attacked together.

First: draft from hands of 5{6} part cards your starting robot, keeping 5 cards total.

Every turn either:
repair 2 damage on your robot
look at 5 and keep 1{2} from the parts deck,
look at a number of research cards equal to the number of research tokens you have {minimum of 1} and keep 1
attack a pile of aliens
{exchange 1 card with an ally}
{build a researched technology}

At the end of the turn:
Robots heal if they have healing equipment
Look at 10 aliens and play 1{a number equal to piles/2}, placing it in a pile according to an algorithm that I will try to explain:

Each pile that is larger than 1 card should have a pile one smaller than it. If this is already true, then make a new pile.

To attack an alien: the alien damages your robot. If it survives, then your robot may activate parts to gain electricity, damage the alien, and repair your robot.

If you activate all of the parts that the alien is weak against, then you defeat the alien and take the card and add it to your pile of dead aliens (which doesn't currently do anything.)

The game as it currently stands has some issues: for one thing the balance is way off. The tough aliens are really tough, and the research track is super weak and then super powerful. There should be a way to exchange cards. Perhaps there should be alien body corpse requirement to build certain robot parts.

Also, a player that doesn't have a specific type of attack is pretty much screwed.

That would be cool: parts that require a specific alien corpse to be able to build. If the part is destroyed you could only rebuild it once per type of foe you destroy.

Perhaps it will be generic based on the type (cyborg vs ship), or perhaps it will be based on level (4 hits vs 3 hits).

healing seems to work at two different time ranges, which is a problem. If your nanobots can heal so fast in combat, why can they not do that out of combat? Perhaps shields is the thing that is necessary for good in-combat healing, and nanobots are for out of combat healing?

Also, the draw pile is pretty weak. I am thinking of upping it to 2 cards taken from the pile.

The research cards should look different from normal part cards so that they are obviously different. I will figure that out some time...

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Dragons' Game

On Wednesday I published my final version of The Dragons' Game for the contest. Here are the final versions: RulesPnP Files.

Playing so many games of The Dragons' Game made me remember when I made Hungry Oni (which was definately a spiritual ancestor of The Dragons' Game). I have started working on getting it ready to submit to a publisher (I have one picked out that I think would like it).

I am currently trying to determine if Baffle or Repel is a better name for the final action (I have art for both, but can't determine which would be better.)

Finally, I have continued working on Terran Robot Defense League, but it keeps getting interrupted by other things.