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One Last Try

If you read this blog regularly, i.e. when I post something you’ll know that I have been working on New Eden, previously known as Eden 1157B, for years and have had the worst time of getting the mechanics to work. I was hoping to self publish it this year and have once again missed my deadline to do so.

For those unfamiliar with New Eden here is an overview.

The story…

Scientists have found a pristine earth like planet and everyone wants a piece. Since the colony ship would be too expensive for any single corporation or government to build, 4 factions join together in this enterprise. When the ship approaches the solar system there is an accident and the survivors have to put down a different planet in the system. One that’s not so great. Each faction now works to build their own ship to get to New Eden.

The game…

Each player plays one of the 4 factions. The map of the planet is made up of randomly chosen cards. Each card represents a territory on a planet that produces one of 4 resources; Plants, Animals, Minerals, Fuel. The territories also have a randomly draw population limit token ranging from 1 to 4. Players colonize these territories so they can gain the resources by playing matching cards from their hands. The main goal is to collect 5 of each resource so that you can build a ship but the resources can also be used to increase your population. This is an action point based system so the more colony markers you have the more actions you have so it’s worth it in the long run to increase your factions size at the cost of resources. This and you want to spread out to cover more territories. Since it is so beneficial players tend to overpopulate the territories to get more actions leading to conflicts. All in all I liken this game to a mix between risk and SoC. You have resource gathering, war, trading, etc… a very abstracted micro civ game.

Initial tests of the redesign are promising in the sence it seems I have dealt with game bogging down in the middle. What I am unsure of because I am the designer is whether it’s fun or not. After one last rewrite of the rules I’m shipping this off to a friend that runs a high school game club so they can test it.

Like I said I have been working on this for years. Originaly I thought this was a great idea but it has been redesigned twice to fix major issues. At this point if it comes back with the assessment that it sucks I think I’ll shelf it and move on to something else but I have my fingers crossed.

Comments

Not the point of your post,

Not the point of your post, but this:

Dralius wrote:
The map of the planet is made up of randomly chosen cards. Each card represents a territory on a planet that produces one of 4 resources; Plants, Animals, Minerals, Fuel. The territories also have a randomly draw population limit token ranging from 1 to 4.

...struck me as one too many random elements. If your setting were real, wouldn't the population limit depend on the availability of resources? If I've got plants where I live, I can make a salad and take cover from the acid rain. If I've got animals I can have a BBQ and cower in their abandoned hovels. But, with the goal of getting off the planet in mind, I wouldn't want all my peeps to settle down in saladville or the local petting zoo. I'd want more people in areas where the resources not in my territory are adjacent, and less in territories where they'd have to hike. Just a thought.

Population Limits

In the last version the population limits were tied to specific territories. I have separated them now to see if I can boost the replay value. This does cause imbalances making some territories easier to harvest than others. I see that as good because I want to encourage interaction either by trading or war. I am hoping the testers do plenty of both so a can tell how it’s coming together.

The game has been sent and with luck it will get played this week. Once I have their feedback i'll post the results. If it flops again there are always plenty of other games wanting my attention.

Rock on, man. Look forward

Rock on, man. Look forward to hearing more.

Cancelled

The game arrived at the test group intact but the groups meeting was cancelled for this week so I have at least another week before I get some feedback.

Test Results

The test came back positive…

Positive that there are still several problems with the game

1. Too expensive to create new colonies which drags the game down.
2. When overpopulation occurs the resulting die off exaggerates the issue of the new colonies costing too much.
3. The number of actions is tied to the number of colonies. See: issues 1 and 2.

If I address the colony cost issues 2 and 3 might fix themselves.

Colony Cost and Over-population

DISCLAIMER: I don't have much by way of context so please feel free to reject my comments as being naive and uninformed.

Comment #2 seems to be a focal point in terms of pain point and design opportunity:

Dralius wrote:

2. When overpopulation occurs the resulting die off exaggerates the issue of the new colonies costing too much.

"Over-population" would imply a certain critical mass of available resources. At a minimum, it represents human capital as a plentiful resource. Perhaps the excessive population could be used as an opportunity to reduce the cost of creating a colony. Another way to say it would be that your colony creation cost moves inversely to your population density. Thus, establishing a new colony enables you to address the over-population problem (as people leave the densely populated area to fill in the new colony) and helps to reduce the cost of establishing the new colony (because people are willing to contribute more time and energy to solving the over-population problem they are currently facing).

I think it is important that this reduction in colony cost be attached to a single colony's current population density rather than your entire faction's size. Otherwise you will end up with a run-away leader problem. The key is that a given colony will be willing to throw in more sweat equity if they are currently faced with the pain and challenges of over-population.

Another balancing factor could be that when a colony branches out and starts a new colony (to solve its need for more space and more resources), there could be a certain drain on resources for a period of time while the new colony is getting started. Essentially, there would be a maintenance cost. This doesn't have to be introduced, but it is available in case you need it for balancing reasons.

Hope that helps.

Good luck and happy gaming!!

RK Gabhart
Driftwood Games
www.driftwoodgames.com

Tanks for the input.

Tanks for the input.

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