Monday, October 31, 2016

Getting geared up for NagaDemon

I played roll for the galaxy and broom service for the first time on Friday. Both were interesting, however I like race better than roll right now.

Broom service was quite interesting. There were elements of set collection, press your luck, and second guessing the other players.

Sunday Alison and I played Forbidden Desert, which seems to me like a better Forbidden Island. My phone wanted to call the game Forbidden Dessert, which would be another game entirely.

I am just about to start NagaDemon for another year. This year I have been thinking of making a Girl Genius themed game that reimplements Sorcery, Inc. But fixes the worst parts of it.

It starts on November first, so I haven't done much more than mull ideas over, but hopefully I can get a lot done by the end of November.

The things that I want to fix about sorcery are the the lack of a scoring method (currently you either win or lose, but you don't really have points), and the overly abstract nature of the resources.

I am pretty excited about this idea. The story is based on Castle Heterodyne (a giant, evil, sentient building) being mostly broken and trying to get itself fixed (the players are convicts that were thrown in there to repair the building as part of their sentence.)

The players will get points by repairing rooms (they have to build whatever machines are necessary to fix the building).
Each player will have unique abilities, and will build clanks (stream punk robots) and constructs (Frankenstein's monsters) to help them. They will also attract minions and lesser sparks (people that can build reality altering machines).

I have a month to make it, so hopefully it can all come together in time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Arika McClure: the first person to punch out a spaceship

I just went to my 3rd Board Game Design Guild Meeting last night. Since there were not enough people who brought games, we ended up playing The Age of Vikings as one of the two games that were played. The people seemed to understand the game and we got through an entire game as well.

The notes that I took (of the comments that people made) were as follows:
  • When someone buys points, following players should have to pay 3 to buy points. (this is sort of against my original idea, however I see why this would seem a reasonable thing to say.)
  • Viking games should have more warfare (This was reiterated at least twice. I need to do some theme work, apparently).
  • Fiddly rules should be on a card (I can totally do this - I already have such a card, and expanding it into a mat wouldn't be that hard)
  • Perhaps there should be disputed territories: when a player takes over an island half way they can block the other player from benefiting from it. (not sure if I love this. I want the game to move along, and I worry that this would slow people down a lot)
  • Shields could be player owned, and removed from the island when it is taken over. (an interesting idea - chieftains are like this already, so there is a precedent in the rules).
  • Perhaps a colonial theme would be better than vikings, since there is not nearly enough warfare. (I like vikings way more than colonists, so perhaps I should instead work to make it more viking appropriate.)
  • Track the use of one time use gods by 'tapping' them (I just added this to the rules)
  • Hammers being worth 2 ships makes the math harder (I have reduced them to 1 already)
  • The number of chieftain tokens should be a hard cap (this is in the rules already)
  • Chieftains may be the wrong name, since chieftains sounds like a good thing. (I have changed the name to Rival Chieftains, so that is fixed)
We also played a game of TLDR at work today, and for the first time we were able to win the game at work. I think that the superheroes are way too powerful if they are allowed to attack alongside the robots in a fight. We ended up saving up 16 alien corpses and building the 8th Power, and the Mothership was a pushover because the superhero provided 4 damage of any type (leaving only two damage for the robot to have to do, and that is super easy to provide).

I will definitely have to change it to either robots or superheros in a fight, but not both. Though, I think that superheroes perhaps should be able to fight as a free action. That would probably not be too powerful.

I need to continue to work on the rule books for both games, but I am certainly feeling pretty good after these positive results.

About Extinction Events: I haven't yet figured out enough rules to make a good first playthrough. I only have 5 days till NaGaDemon starts, so hopefully I can get in a play or two before then.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Extinction Events

Te tried out the chieftains, but they were not balanced. We had to spend way too much effort fighting them off. We have ideas about how to fix that, but I have been working on a new game that just came to my head instead of Age of Vikings.

The new game is tentatively called "Extinction Events" (though that is not really that good of a name). It is about building a species of animal, and using it to survive various extinction events. The player that has the largest population by the end of the game is the player that wins.

The species are collections of cards splayed in various directions (splay mechanic is taken from both innovation as well as chibi mob). The game is still not playable, but it was fun to start it out. Here are what the cards look like at the present time:

I will post here if it becomes playable.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Chieftains to the rescue!

Friday we played another game of TLDR at lunch, and we did much better. We still haven't finished a game yet, but I suppose that the game is a fairly long one, so it makes sense.

I also came up with a new modification to The Age of Vikings - Chieftain meeples. Instead of gaining threat, players add chieftain meeples to their islands, and those meeples reduce the defense of the islands that they are on. Once another player conquers the island the meeples are removed, or the player may spend an action to remove the meeples. This removes and replaces the 'Threat' mechanic completely. I look forward to trying it out and seeing if it works.

Finally, I have been working more and more on Jurassic Galaxy, and I am getting close to making up a prototype and testing it out again. I currently have planet tiles, tech cards, plant cards, animal cards, and contracts. The animals are not completely finished, but it is coming along.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Crushing Defeat

Yesterday we played Terran League of Defense Robots at work for the first time. It went really badly. One player thought it would be funny to play all of the hardest foes that he was dealt, so the players lost pretty quickly. Despite this, three of the players expressed interest in playing again.

The easy mothership
Multiple of them seemed to understand how to build a robot and most of them wanted to try to fight off the alien threat.

The mothership that they drew (which was played on the second turn by the turncoat player) was the easiest mothership possible, so they still had a chance when it came out, but they quickly lost as more and more killer aliens appeared.

I didn't learn nearly anything at all from the playtest that could help the game, so it was almost a complete loss for me. The only two take homes were the fact that I need to balance the motherships against each other, and that I need to stress the necessity of cooperation to the playtesters when I introduce the game. It is hard enough that the players must cooperate or die.

We also played a game of The Age of Vikings, which went fairly well. The players had fun, and they brought up some good points of contention with the game. It needs more work than I thought it did, which is good to know, however sad it is to hear.

We tried the new "half income for the last person to pass" rule, which worked well. We refined it to "Half income round up". We also decided that the "Start Player" marker is useless, and that a "Current player" marker might be useful. We decided that Thengil and Hilmir should cost 1 to draw an extra token (That was already fixed, but I haven't printed cards since I fixed it apparently).

The point bonus for attracting deification followers seemed too much for one of the players. I am considering changing that, but this is a balancing point: if it is too much then the player with a good god benefits too much from having followers (though the followers should really police themselves, honestly). If the bonus is too low, the person that originally deified might not want to do it, since they would worry that their foes would benefit more than they would from the deification.

More than one player also said that Attack and Threat felt disjointed. They said that Threat was not damaging enough, and that it felt like two different systems for losing stuff were too many to keep track of. I am going to have to address this one for sure, since I need to make the game smoother.

I went to the Board Game Design Guild of Utah meetup last night as well, and while there played an unnamed game that was very interesting. It was pretty early on in its development, but the game had a lot of potential. It was an abstract 2 player game where each player tries to make a connected line of pieces from the middle of the board to the farthest edge of the board (and prevent the opponent from doing the same.)

There were three pieces - basic, artillery, and bomb.  Artillery should have been named cannon, since it attacked all the squares in its range, not just the last one. The game played a lot like a mixture of stratego and go, but it had a lot of elements that were all its own. The biggest problem with the game was the likelihood of a tie was really high if the players both played well.

I have also been working on new art for the game formerly known as "Space Game", which is starting to be called "Jurassic Galaxy" again. I have made a bunch of planets for making into tiles (using a really cool website that can render planets from images), and I now have started on revamping the system for planets wanting different animals. I also rewritten the text rotation portion of my card image formatter website. I have made a bunch of icons and uploaded some of them to the Noun Project (though they are all still pending moderation, I have used them myself in my icon font.) 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A solo game.

I just played a solo game with the Alien Destruction cards in. I added 3 copies to see if it felt right. It was hard, and they are so annoying, but it was doable (and probably easier than double alien meeples), so mission accomplished.

I did, however come up with more balance issues. For one thing, bad draw luck made the final two cards in the part deck the two I needed to defeat five of the first six aliens. That made for a really rough start.

I think that I need to genericize damage in some way, perhaps make any two attack symbols count as one other attack symbol of your choice.

The mother ship was an amazing fight, and also way too hard. I had nearly every tech researched, but I still couldn't defeat her without blowing up parts.

The types that the mothership required were acid fire and lightning 2x each, and there is no weapon that provides that, so I had to use 4 different weapons to get it. I ended up building a monster of a robot that had practically no healing. I blew up three parts, but did defeat her in the end.

New open questions:
Why are there no better researchable repair units?

Should I add wild card weapons? One time use weapons?

Should I clean up the way the aliens move?

Should I add a zero space reactor?

I will stew on this and then post later...