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What games are you designing?

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RobBartel
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I stumbled across a neat thread at BGG that seems worth sharing. In it, people share some quick descriptions of the various games they're currently working on. It's an effort worth duplicating here, I think. To get us started, here's my list:

Works in Progress
1) Caribe - Send your governors, soldiers, merchants, and pirates to settle the islands of the Caribbean. It's basically a timing game with ship travel to handle delayed payoffs. There's a small amount of resource management and a run-based stacking mechanism on the islands (units of the correct rank can become leaders on the island, gaining special powers). Some dice-based conflict resolution thrown in as well, but not as a major focus. This is the one I submitted to those European design competitions.

2) Knaves of London - Take on the role of Professor Moriarty, the Invisible Man, Spring-Heeled Jack, and other members of Victorian London's criminal underclass as you scour the city for evidence of an assassination plot against the queen. Variable gameboard with four colors of evidence tokens representing the four quadrants of the city. Point-to-point card-based movement. Scandal cards apply negative points but can be used to bid for turn order and control of the queen's movement. Scoring is similar to Tigris & Euphrates in that your score is defined by your least-numerous color.

3) Box Office (or somesuch - every movie-related game title is already taken, it seems) - Similar to Knizia's Traumfabrik in ways, though I didn't know it at the time. An auction-driven game where you bid for individual scenes and link them together into movies. Aside from a catchy title, each scene has individual components such as Lead Actor / Comedy / Musical Score / etc with a small negative or positive value. These get added up for each movie to determine end-game scoring. Players begin with a limited amount of money and the money isn't recycled as it is in Traumfabrik. Instead, winning bids go into the Award pot for a given film category and losing bids go into the Nominations pot. The award ceremony occurs at the end of the game, money is distributed, and the player with the most money wins. Just for kicks, you can go through your movies at the end of the game and explain each scene title in the context of a central narrative.

4) Nightfall - Shadows Over Camelot meets Battleground: Fantasy Warfare meets Settlers of Catan. Basically a card-based cooperative fantasy tactics game where players navigate the streets of a small village, working together to save young Prince Wilhelm from the forces of Darkness (who wander the city in a dice-determined fashion). One of the players is a traitor, of course, and is secretly working to undermine the heros and hand the Prince over to the Dark. Units are represented by cards that move about the gameboard (with hit points tracked by dry-erase marker). Special actions are handled via other cards. The Settlers mechanic is that the dice roll at the beginning of each turn determines which units (friendly and hostile) are allowed to move. Every player gets to move almost every turn but you're never sure which unit(s) you get to move. Still working on the initial prototype.

Undeveloped Ideas
5) Carnival of Venice - Each card has two colors, maybe a symbol as well. When a card is played, it affects other cards of its color (flipping them, scoring them... I tossed around a variety of ideas but don't know what will stick). Influenced a bit by Coloretto and the simple thought that pictures of dudes in colorful masks is somehow inherently cooler than chameleons. Could be I'm wrong. ;o)

6) Noah's Ark - A children's memory game as you try to find pairs of animals to go on your ark. Meanwhile add opponent-controlled rising floodwaters, some jostling for geographic position, and a bit of Euro-style scoring mechanisms to the mix to make it interesting. Maybe a couple of unicorns.

Canceled / On Hold
7) Galapagos - Control a food chain consisting of three species (plant, herbivore, carnivore) and carve out your ecosystem on a small island shared with your opponents. Move, mutate, feed, and breed. The winner's the player with the most highly evolved carnivore at the end of the game. This one made it all the way to the prototype stage but I killed it before it ever got played. Something about the math felt fundamentally flawed and I wasn't convinced that it would be fun.

8) Grave Brothers Realty - Take on the role of a real estate agent playing both sides of the market, selling haunted houses to the living and the dead. Once the house is purchased the opposing players in each particular house will be making competing renovations - where the dead may want creaky stairs and rattling chains, the living want skylights, a fresh coat of paint to cover the blood left behind by the previous tenants, and a spare bedroom for the live-in exorcist. Each side wants to flip the house for a profit but runs the risk of being run out of the house as the stakes get higher. Players also have a limited number of 'family member' units to put into play, adding pressure to sell the house and move on. I finished a first draft of the rules but never got to prototype stage - the game seemed overly complex and a nightmare to balance. Maybe if I could narrow the focus to a two-player game, it might work better.

Scurra
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What games are you designing?

Journals are supposed to explore this kind of thing, but a thread is a lot easier.

Work in Progress:

The Royal Trilogy: A series of three games which use exactly the same board but three entirely different games are played using it. The other linking mechanism is that each player has a Role but the roles change hands during the game in different ways.
- The Royal Tour. The players bid for land and positions in the Kingdom to make money. But the King is travelling, and his host will have to pay for the privilege. Currently stalled for want of a good auction mechanic.
- The Royal Prerogative. The King is appointing a new Advisor, and the job will be given in the usual way - bribery. Er, I mean, giving gifts. It's a set-collecting game with some deductive elements as you don't know which are the right sets to collect.
- The Royal Succession. The King is dying, and has no heir. So the players are lobbying to get in position for a new dynasty. This is more of a stock-market/area control type game.
The angst in trying to get this three-in-one concept to work has been huge, as changing one game often ripples into the other two. I go through periods of despair as I think it'll never work, but then something comes together nicely.

Cash on Delivery. This is a light/middleweight game that has delusions of grandeur. Build railways, ports and factories to construct an economic engine by figuring out what others are going to do. A neat simultaneous action card mechanic drives the game. Balance is currently eluding me as the different strategies need to be reasonably well matched without becoming dull.

Sid Meier's Civilization IV - The Card Game. Yes, you read that correctly. This is more of a gag than anything else: I quite fancied the idea of a Civ game that lasted 30 minutes in total. You use cards to develop your Civ and earn Development cards which are then cashed in to claim Wonders of the World, which are the VP points. For what it is, it seems to work pretty well.

Republic. This is an area majority game in which players represent lobbyists who are trying to persuade the Senators to pass legislation to make certain industries stronger or weaker. Very nasty blind bidding system (you spend from a fixed pool of money which is gone even if you don't win) which may be too random at the moment.

Other games in various stages of development include two games that were in the Workshop last year (Olympiad and City & Guilds), two games that were GDS entries (Divers Alarums* and Mission: Improbable) and two games that were supposed to be finished (All for One and Book of Hours.)
So basically, I've got too much stuff on the go at once. :-)

*without the Lighthouse bit, obviously! It's a neat lightweight filler that I'm trying to get to work as a Settlers scenario...

The most depressing thing about last year was Antike. Those people who saw "The Wheel of Time" in the Design Workshop will know that I had been working on a similar Civ game with a roundel for action choices. Antike does everything I was trying to do, but slightly more simply (both a good and a bad thing.) So I've had to write that one off for the time being. I still think my underlying idea was cooler, but...

Hedge-o-Matic
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What games are you designing?

I'm at a low ebb, game-design wise:

Prototyping/Testing

Songs of Valhalla: A lightweight card game based on the Viking heroes time has rightly forgotten.

Excero Captum: The Metagame combining the six abstracts of the Excero Captum series. Mostly continuing revisions of the interface for maximum clarity and usefulness, and ongoing tweaking. The interface is prooving to be much more difficult to design than I'd imagined. Given that all of the games are perfect-information abstracts, having a cloudy meta-system would ruin the entire thing!

Written/Solo Testing

Vast: SF empire-builder.

Eternity Remembers: A fighting game based on the Iliad.

The Ancestors of Adrian: A generation-spanning struggle to control an aristocratic family lineage and power.

Zzzzz
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What games are you designing?

Works In Progress

Invasions: Tuatha Dé Danann™
In Tuatha Dé Danann, each player will participate by playing a Tuatha Dé Danann god whom is invading the ancient land of Ireland in an attempt to rein supreme. With a mixture of godly talismans, megalithic stone monuments and development of hill-forts, one player will be proclaimed the Tuatha Dé Danann King.

Works in Idea Stage

Open Dig™
An archelogy based game involving free form area enclosure and digging up ancient items. Take on the roles of the archeologist, the funder, the landowner, the curator. Become part of history by discovring history!

British Isles: AD 800™
An invasion and warefare based game. To simulated the invasions by the vikings on the British Isles around the year AD 800. A co-operative game where players take on the roles of vikings and attempt to take over the British Isles.

Back to the Basics™
Revolutionary mixture between board game and RPG. Will be my attempt to bridge the gap between RPG and board games with a euro twist!

Natural Disaster™
Create natural disasters and destroy your opponents buildings for points! Sounds simple... it is not easy to control a hurricane so be careful or you might end up with some damage to your own buildings.

Works going nowhere (for now)

Catch an Imp!™
Simple, fast paced, chaotic card game where players simultanrously attempt to collect sets of imps from a common card pile. be the first to collect your imp sets and score points!

Hawaiian Horror™
A game idea I started to put together as a result of (i think Z-mans) request for board games involving undead. I never had time to finish it and most likely will not at this point. Though I am sad that my vampire pineapples will never make it to market!

Jpwoo
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What games are you designing?

Playtesting:

Jugurtha (Tentative title) A two player war game based on the Jugurthine rebellion against Rome in around 110 BC. One player controls the Numidians who have to hold out against superior Roman foces by harrying and hit and run. The Roman player must do what he can to put down the Numid insolence and bring their Leader to justice before Rome looses the will to to fight.

Currently playtesting with friends. After about 10 of these I'm going to do a rules test and then blind testing.

Ultimate goal for the game: Web publication

Brainstorming:

The horrible weekend of (Insert all caps town name here): This is a multiplayer light take that kind of game. The game takes place on a small sleepy island off hte coast of Maine. Monsters attack devouring as many people as possible. The players control both the monsters and the townsfolk, they try to keep their "family" of townfolk alive while killing everyone elses.

More to come on this.

On the Shelf:

Space Talisman: I was shooting for a space game that played like talisman or runebound. Where the characters are pilots out exploring space having encounters. There were some good Ideas here but ultimately it was boring.

Velociryx
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What games are you designing?

The Courts of Candle'Bre

Territorial acquisition/Empire building game set in a fantasy setting. Began working on it the moment I heard about Eagle's design contest, with an eye toward entering it for consideration.

The fantasy Kingdom in question is on the eve of a civil war with the suspicious death of the Royal Family, and the five strongest Noble Houses in the realm are preparing for war....

Five players max, five contenders for the throne, each with a unique advantage and corresponding disadvantage.

VP based (victory condition is separate from resources). Play is conducted in a series of interlocking bands of time (turns (a player's individual turn), rounds (one turn's worth of play for each player), and seasons (three rounds of play)), with certain player actions only allowable in certain frames of time.

It's Action Point based (and AP's are a saleable resource), and includes such extras as strategic provincial development (5 possible buildings, but a province can only "hold" three), spells, miracles, and espionage, with a time-pressure built into the game (threat of invasion from outside the Kingdom).

Status: Using the expected contents of the designer's toolkit as a piece/equipment guide, I've gotten the rules drafted and have begun playtesting and balancing. So far, so good.

Fun stuff. :)

-=Vel=-

zircher
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What games are you designing?

I used to develop a number of games and utilities for Greg Ellis' Fire on the Suns strategic space empire game, but I 'retired' from that to pursue my own spin on things.

Tactical Command 3rd edition
TCOM2 was heavy on space opera. TCOM3 is geared towards a more realistic tactical starship command experience. Vector movement plays a big role in game play and tactics. Starship combat still uses the DAT (damage allocation template) for ship design and combat. I'm about 80% of the way through the text re-write and 20% of the way through new artwork and game illustrations.

Cluster War 3rd edition
CW is the campaign system for TCOM and it will need an overhaul as well to bring it in line with the new edition. Unfortunately, that means I can barely do anything to it until TCOM3 is nearly done. On the bright side, it will be much faster to get up to speed since the core mechanics is not changing.

VirMin Campaign Source Book
While TCOM3 and CW3 are intended to be used as a construction kit for making your own campaigns, it's good to have a universe to fall back on as an example to show others how to do it. It's also dependent on the completion of TCOM3 and the DAT Builder utility.

Assorted programming utilities
DAT Bulder is a stand alone Windows application that I use to design ships. The new icon set is available, but I need to change some of the internal logic so it can calculate values on the fly in conjunction with TCOM3. I'll give this away on the CD-ROM that contains TCOM3. I also like to add web toys (random stars maps, star systems, alien names, etc.)to my site to help GMs and players run TCOM/CW games.

I'm also doing some research into printing and cutting on plastic cards (styrene?), I might convert TCOM into a constructable strategy game.
--
TAZ

http://www.virmin.com

MattMiller
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What games are you designing?

I really only have one that I'm working on seriously, but a couple more that are fairly well developed in the back of my head.

Gods of Olympus is a game in which players take on the roles of Greek gods and mess around with the lives of mortals. My main aim with this design is to create the sorts of grudges and cycles of revenge that drive many of the Greek myths. At any given time, each player might favor or disfavor each character that's in play. You get points when good stuff happens for guys you like. You lose points when good stuff happens for guys you dislike. If a hero goes out and kills a monster (one player initiates the combat and all players are involved in deciding its outcome), then whoever liked the monster now dislikes the hero, and whoever disliked the monster now likes the hero.

I've gone through several versions of this game, and playtested it many times (including a few tests at WBC and even a couple blind playtests). It's gone from "fun but broken" to "fun but fiddly". I'm pretty hopeful I can eliminate the fiddlyness in the next iteration, and then I should have whittled it down to just "fun".

Novoruskii will be an economic, business-building game in which players are entrepreneurs in the former USSR just after the end of Communism. My interest in this topic comes from the fact that I was there during that time (Prague from 1990 to 1992, and Lithuania from 1993 to 1997), and actually had my own business. The business was a flop, but I got to know many guys who were wildly successful.

What I want to capture is the meteoric rise of these companies. They often started with small-time smuggling -- bringing a TV or refrigerator back from Poland on the train -- and, within just a couple years, ramped up to a point where they were major economic forces -- manipulating elections, hiring hit squads, etc. Similarly, I want the game to move from piddling around with kiosks in various cities (smuggled goods were commonly sold in kiosks), through building synergistic networks of stores, and finally into assassinating other players' executives, blowing up their shops, buying government favor, etc. All in a seamless, Euroish system.

I have a pretty complete design in my head for this, and I feel it's pretty elegant. I'll probably put a prototype together in the near future.

Voodoo Victory, if I actually make it, will be a wargame (not Euroish at all) covering the Haitian Revolution of 1798-1813. I'm attracted to this topic because it has a real crazy-quilt of participants -- the slaves, the "free-coloreds" (who often opposed the slaves), the rich whites (grand blancs), the poor whites (petit blancs), the French (including some Napoleonic troops near the end), the British (thinking they could pick up an easy colony), the Spanish, and, of course, all those malarial mosquitoes. The sequence of shifting alliances that took place would make your head spin. It's a fantastic story, and, in the end, it was the slaves who came out on top.

I have some strong ideas about how to simulate various aspects of this struggle, but I'm still researching the thing.

-- Matt

sedjtroll
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What games are you designing?

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
I'm at a low ebb, game-design wise:

Prototyping/Testing

Songs of Valhalla:
Excero Captum:
Written/Solo Testing

Vast:
Eternity Remembers:
The Ancestors of Adrian:

What ever happened to Tel Dan??? That one had so many good things going for it!

Hedge-o-Matic
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What games are you designing?

sedjtroll wrote:

What ever happened to Tel Dan??? That one had so many good things going for it!

Hey, thanks for the vote of confidence! Actually, I broke out Tel Dan just the other day, so I guess that counts, too.

Where's your list, Seth?

sedjtroll
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What games are you designing?

Velociryx wrote:
The Courts of Candle'Bre

Territorial acquisition/Empire building game set in a fantasy setting. Began working on it the moment I heard about Eagle's design contest, with an eye toward entering it for consideration.

Status: Using the expected contents of the designer's toolkit as a piece/equipment guide, I've gotten the rules drafted and have begun playtesting and balancing. So far, so good.

This sounds very interesting! I'd like to hear more if you've got more info available.

Krakit
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What games are you designing?

How are you all posting in the future?

Anyway, now that Chase-Bots is off being considered, I'm going to switch my focus to Trade Routes of Orion.

A twisted bidding and resource management game. Think of it as a pared down version of Power Grid with St. Pete and Oasis elements.

Carl

Discord
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What games are you designing?

Works in Progress

Discord CCG

Champions of seven distinct races do battle across various different(46) terrain types, until only one is left standing(or swimming). Features original art, map building, structure building, item wearing, and creature summoning, from cockroaches to krakens. Thanks to a couple of ideas on this board, especially from NetWolf, is looking much less Magic-derivative than it once was.

STRIFE

An attempt to create a CCG, boardgame, wargame miniatures, and rpg hybrid system. STRIFE focuses on settlements and surrounds in a light-fantasy medieval setting, and should be playable in any of the aforementioned forms. Features nine different factions, high quality art, and at least one black cat.

sedjtroll
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What games are you designing?

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
Where's your list, Seth?

Works in Progress
1) All For One - In conjunction with David Brain (Scurra). Control the main characters of the Three Musketeers doing (pickup/deliver) missions for the king and the cardinal. This game is almost done, twice. There are 2 distinct but very similar versions, the "ID" version, where players have a secret identity- one of the characters that they are 'rooting for' - and the "Story track" version, where there are three tracks, and each player has a particular configuration they want the tracks to reflect at the game end. The tracks move as a result of completing missions.

This one is actually starting to be shopped around to publishers. Days of Wonder is not interested, sadly, because they "already published a game loosely based on the Three Musketeers, and with the small number of games they publish, they don't want to revisit themes." Also, they didn't think there was anything original about the mechanics, which is interesting to me because just about every playtester has said they haven't seen mechanics such as 'use any character each turn' and 'scoring points for both characters and players' before.

2) Terra Prime - Space exploration, colonization, resource delivery with some dodging asteroids and fighting aliens. This game is close to done. I'm trying to make sure there's player interaction, but without the possibility of a player playing spoiler and kingmaker. I'm facilitating this by adding a sort of player vs player combat which may or may not be ideal. Thematically, players are all supposed to be on the same team, but competing for a promotion to Lieutenant in the Terran Federation by doing the best job of Colonizing planets, defending them from Aliens, and gathering resources from the colonies.

I recently made this a deeper game by restricting what type of goods you can put in your cargo holds. That simple change had a profound effect in gameplay.

3) Hot and Fresh - Breaking traffic laws and delivering pizza. Another pickup/deliver game, this one with a Press Your Luck element as you break laws to deliver pizzas faster and earn bigger tips, as well as a routeplanning aspect, as the board routes change over time. I'm about 1/2 way through a prototype on this one, the rules are ready to test, but I can't seem to get the proto done.

4) Ragnarok - Viking game with Nestlewe and Johan. Main mechanics at work is managing your 'human resources.' Assign Vikings to various places on your player board in order to take certain actions/produce certain resources/power up certain actions... efficiency of these actions is based on filling 'threshold' with Vikings, so it's not necessarily the case that assigning 2 Vikings is twice as good as assigning 1. Game is played in rounds ("years") of turns ("seasons"), and the season affects the costs of actions such as sailing your longboat out to raid or trade with other villages. At the game end, there are 3 Winters in a row, which should serve to drain player's resources, or hinder their actions if they did not prepare well enough. In Norse mythology, Ragnarok (big battle between gods - end of the world) was preceeded by "3 consecutive winters with no summers in between". The raiding and trading is done via a simultaneoud action selection, which may or may not work very well.

The rules are ready to be tested, just need a proto (and a board!)

5) 8/7 Central - A card game about being a network exec. Bid on programs and run them in two 1/2-hr time slots each day. Play modifiers and advertisements to improve the performance of your programs and earn money. Compare your programs to your opponents' each day in 4 different Genres, and for each Genre the best show scores 1 VP!

This game has been "done" for a year or two now. I haven't even looked at it in about a year! It needs better graphics and more cards, I should probably see if anyone would be interested in publishing it.

Canceled / On Hold
6) The Three Kingdoms - Inspired by Tigris and Euphrates, and (very) loosly themed on the Lord of the Rings, each player has 3 Lords, Elven, Dwarven, and Human. Players gain followers in each race, and either keep them in hand for Political strength, play them to the board for Military strength, or trade them in (in sets) for Alliances (victory points). The board is made of hex tiles, which get placed to make kingdoms, similar to T&E. But there's also a common enemy, Orcs, which will eventually take over the land if players don't band together to combat them.

This always sounds so good when I think about it, but it never came together when I worked on it. It seriously needs to be revisited one day.

7) Lawless West - Area Control game where players are outlaws. Several boomtowns have sprung up near a newly discovered gold mine. One has a Bank, where gold and money can be deposited for victory points, and there's a Stagecoach that makes regular trips from the bank to the mine and back, through some of the towns each time. Each town has a mayor which players can control ("I run this here town..." etc). Hustle money from the mayors and put it on the stage to take it to the bank to score more points, but watch out, players can ambush the stage and steal the cash! There's also a Sherriff that moves from town to town...

The stage moves on a player-programmed path through a couple of the towns on it's way to the Mine/Bank. Players place their outlaws in a town or on a road (between towns) via an El Grande-like locator. Control of towns is held by accumulating (or placing) Bandits in them - again like El Grande.

8) Underworld - A game based on Chaos Overlords, a gamg warfare computer game I used to have. Of course it would have to be very strwamlined. In this version, players control a faction, either Werewolves, Vampires, or Humans.

Lykwid
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Joined: 07/28/2008
What games are you designing?

Long time reader, first time posting

Works in Progress

Untitled CCG: CCG using an original "engine" that can be applied to adventure game licenses. Unique (hopefully) travel and battle engine that relies on sacrifice and planning ahead. In proto stage with generic IP.

Untitled trick taking game: Standard trick taking game with twists on card play and scoring. In decision limbo as to self publish or option to another company.

Idea stage

A CCG that uses new mechanics (again hopefully) to simulate an RTS environment in a ccg.

JeffK
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What games are you designing?

I'm working on three games right now:

Zone of Control- An abstract game in which pieces control the area around them, with the exact area controlled varying from piece to piece. Your opponent's pieces may not enter area that you control. The object is to occupy your opponent's "victory square".

Alteration- A light, Uno style card game in which every player has different rules determining which cards they can play. There are a variety of special action cards, etc. etc. Like Uno, the object is to rid yourself of all of your cards.

War Columns- My current "Magnum Opus", an expandable, customizable card game with euro and miniature influences. I've designed 150+ unique cards for the game and have designed four starter decks (two of which have been fairly well tested). I expect this game to be a work in progress for at least another year, probably more like two.

cIo_OIs
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What games are you designing?

Zaron: Escubia
Colonization of Zaron -an unknown planet, randomly generated while exploring)- against three races controlled by a sort of AI: the ancient and beastlike Pnoord, the Rezyan pirates and the biomechanic intelligence Mechania. Players (2 to 4) are Archons of Escubia (the human colony), their task is to work together to defend and develop the city to its maximum stage, throught the control of resources around the planet, the politic, the diplomacy (or war!) with other races, etc. But, contemporaneously, each Archon has secret obiectives to perform before the end of the game (end of the game=Escubia reaches maximum stage of technology and resources), that could means to play against each other in many ways... politically, or even choosing the extreme way: betray Escubia and join Rezyan or Mechania, if certain conditions are satisfied.
This is just an overview, I'm working on this project since February; especially improving AI and integrating the different mechanics (exploration, events, environment, tecnology, a little mystic...) in a game that is complex but not complicated, with short turns, many interaction, and the possibility of a non-exclusive victory (like in cooperative games).

That's all, at the moment; I tried a prototype and it seem to work good; new version is 80% complete...I suppose.

P.S.: forgive my awful english! This is the reason for I read this forum every day but never posted before... he he:)
P.P.S.: ...and, obviously, thanks to all you for posting! Great ideas, very often...

Velociryx
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What games are you designing?

sedjtroll, re: your request for more information on Candle'Bre:

Sure thing, man!

We just did another extensive round of play-testing last night, and I'm revising the rules based on the latest observations. I expect I'll have the rules streamlined again by the weekend, but I can give you a generalized breakdown of where we are. Just shoot me a PM! :)

The game itself is an outgrowth of two things: a computer game I'm workin' on with a group of ~30 people in all, and a trilogy of novels set in the game world. The plan is to use the art and backstory from both to provide an extreme amount of theme-relevant material. We want to capture as much of the "feel" of Candle'Bre as possible, within the twin limits of the contents of the Designer's toolkit/rules of the upcoming contest, and the limitations of the media.

So far, I think we're on the right track!

Much of our development work has been occuring "behind the magic curtain" so to speak, but we have some general info available here:

http://apolyton.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=151

Including a short story called "Flight and Founding" that will give a good overview of what its all about and where we're headed.

Mechanics notes: The mechanics chosen were based mostly on avoidance. Having done a number of multiplayer wargames in the past, I've gotten a pretty good handle on how to get around the most pervasive issues (runaway games, balancing asymetrical platforms and odd abilities, etc), so this is, in some ways, a conservative effort. I'm sticking with what I know to work, and not taking many chances there.

The one thing that I DO think is interesting is the structure of the turn itself, and the use of player actions.

AP's are fixed. Final number isn't set, but right now, each player gets six, and of course, most everything you want to do requires the expenditure of at least one AP.

Where things begin to get interesting is that AP's are holdable from turn to turn...you can save them up. You can also sell or trade them if you wish (but only at certain points in the game).

Player actions are "spread out" over the game's three time tracking mechanisms (the Turn, the Round, and the Season). Certain actions (like the placement of troops or buildings, initiating attacks, or moving garrisons) can only be performed during a player's own turn, while other actions (investing in, or making use of spell, miracle, or espionage effects), may be done at any point in a given round (your turn...someone else's turn...doesn't matter). Still other actions (trades and the like), may only be done once a season, when there's a break in the game specifically designed for that, and other maintenance functions in-game (ex: turn order based on a semi-random auction, and when the turn order is established, it "stands" for an entire season, so a break was needed anyways, to provide an opportunity to hold another turn order auction).

In all, it's sorta strange...but very engaging so far.

I have the advantage of having a large, eager pool of testers, so mostly, I get to sit back an watch the interaction...answer questions about ambiguous rules and make notes while play is occuring. Speeds the process, I think.

-=Vel=-

markmist
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sedjtroll wrote:
Days of Wonder is not interested, sadly, because they "already published a game loosely based on the Three Musketeers, and with the small number of games they publish, they don't want to revisit themes."

They must be refering to Queen's Necklace because there is a Musketeer card in the game. But the overall themes of the games are vastly different. How lame is that?

Esper_Ranger
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What games are you designing?

Under developement

The Game of Gamers a mix of board game with card based powers that can be used to help you or hinder another player as well as dice combat. I've got a rough board being printed up at Staples now and am writing up the cards and rules for some playtesting among friends at Origins next weekend.

SaikoroBots a micro mech combat dice game in the pipe for publication in Knights of the Dinner Table.

Henshin! a Japanese super hero & giant monster RPG. Still in the very early stages but will be based on the z100 system (Zocchihedron).

sedjtroll
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markmist wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
Days of Wonder is not interested, sadly, because they "already published a game loosely based on the Three Musketeers, and with the small number of games they publish, they don't want to revisit themes."

They must be refering to Queen's Necklace because there is a Musketeer card in the game. But the overall themes of the games are vastly different. How lame is that?

Actually, I think all the cards in the Queen's Necklace (not to mention the title) are themed after the Musketeers. As for how lame that is? I say "pretty darn."

It would be sweet to see All for One with the art from Queen's Necklace!

FastLearner
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Final, swear to God, playtesting:

Everest: Set in 1935, a race to the top of the world. Players hire and manage their teams, work to find a good route to the top, try to take advantage of the work of others, deal with the weather, and climb, climb, climb. Years of slow development are finally bringing it to fruition. Things I like: clever action system, at least two valid strategies, some nice tactical planning. Things I don't like: so very, very tired of playtesting and tweaking this game.

Elvencraft: Players build treetop platforms and bridges, connecting merchants to each other and building associated goods. Things I like: a "connection" system unlike any I've seen before that requires a different way of thinking, a fun challenge between scoring immediate points and using your influence to score bigger later, a "you have to help other players to help yourself" system that doesn't seem to irritate players the way some do, multiple actually viable strategies. Things I don't like: hardly anything, this is my favorite of my finished games.

Velociracers: Players race velociraptors around a volcano using a unique simultaneous action selection mechanism that at least somewhat mirrors what running in a pack is probably like. Things I like: clever card-based action selection system that works for 2 to 6 players without doing anything special with your cards (every mini-deck works with every other in a completely fair way no matter how many decks are used), fast racing once the players get the system down. Things I don't like: bonus scoring doesn't quite work right creating a runaway leader proble, but fixable with some minor tweaking, I think. Also, not sure if there's "enough" to the game.

On deck:

Rapa Nui Players control a family/tribe on ancient Easter Island, using up the land while building monumental statues to the ancestors/gods. Things I like: some very clever interwoven mechanisms that will, I believe, polish out to have the pleasure and semi-complexity of Puerto Rico, fair bit of adherence to history, little moai statues to play with! Things I don't like: maybe too many ideas crammed into one game, I may have to pare some of the cleverness out to make it more playable.

New Princes in Amber: Based on Roger Zelazny's Amber books, players take the role of Amberites, manipulating the worlds of shadow, negotiating influence, using magic and armies, working with the Pattern, and more. Things I like: a couple of clever mechanisms that I think simulate the concept of the Pattern, Amber, the Courts of Chaos, and more. Opportunities for treachery. Things I don't like: Not sure yet... there's an alliance-making system that may be too "cute" for its own good. Also, the very real possibility that Zelazny's estate won't license the theme at a reasonable price (or at all).

Cryptozoo: Cryptozoologists race around the world attempting to document mystery creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, working to achieve fame. Not all your evidence has to be real, but how much are you willing to risk if you get caught? Things I like: cryptozoology is a hoot, and the evidence-faking system is pretty cool. Things I don't like: I suspect I might be racing a number of other developers to the same topic.

On the back burner:

Tons of games, some mostly completed (Cow Tipping, Scandal!) and many, many, many in early stages. Some weeks I can't go a day without having to write down a new game idea. Caramba!

-- Matthew

Yogurt
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FastLearner wrote:
Rapa Nui Players control a family/tribe on ancient Easter Island, using up the land while building monumental statues to the ancestors/gods.

Huh, this was originally going to be the theme for my farming/deforestation game in the last challenge. The history of the place really suggests a game, tragic though it was.

scopa
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FastLearner wrote:

New Princes in Amber: Based on Roger Zelazny's Amber books, players take the role of Amberites, manipulating the worlds of shadow, negotiating influence, using magic and armies, working with the Pattern, and more. Things I like: a couple of clever mechanisms that I think simulate the concept of the Pattern, Amber, the Courts of Chaos, and more. Opportunities for treachery. Things I don't like: Not sure yet... there's an alliance-making system that may be too "cute" for its own good. Also, the very real possibility that Zelazny's estate won't license the theme at a reasonable price (or at all).

I'm working on a design based upon a book and was worried about the copyright implications of this. The book is out of print (in fact a work mate lent me the audio book to listen too on my commute to work). Have you considered this aspect?

jwarrend
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The Acts of the Disciples Players take on the role of Jesus' Disciples, traveling around 1st century Palestine and performing good works consistent with Jesus' teachings. Players must navigate the volatile politcal climate, as well as the possibility that one among their number is a traitor. Status Basically done, although I'm still open to tinkering a bit. Placed somewhere in the middle of the pack in Hippodice '06, and was recently declined for publication by one publisher.

The Sands of Time My "big box" civilization-building game. Contains most of the same ingredients common to civ games; players build, produce, fight, manage unrest, and complete advancements, but the game has at least 3 twists that I think make it different from the other games in this genre. First, your Unrest level sets your costs, so keeping your population happy is important. Second, the action selection system gives each player a choice of 8 different actions, but the actions come in pairs, and each action you choose prevents you from choosing the action with which it is paired. So, you can build or produce, but not both. Finally, the game's scoring system is built around chronicling your achievements. So, it's not enough to amass a huge empire or a ton of advancements; you must also be sure to record your achievements so that future historians will be able to learn of your civilization. Status I've been working on this for a few years. It started as a 5 hour monstrosity, but I think the length is much more reasonable now, probably at about 3 hours. The problem is it's still a bit too long for most playtest sessions, so the game only gets one or two playings a year, much too little to make any real progress. It's on the back burner for now but I hope to be able to finish it someday.

The Thirty Years War The Thirty Years War was a fascinating intersection of religious tension between Protestants and Catholics, of conflict between the German princes and the Emperor, and of animosity between the Hapsburg dynasty and everyone else. This game attempts to explore the richness of these interactions by setting players as the 7 dominant factions in the war (Spain, Austria, France, Sweden, the Palatinate, Bavaria, and Saxony) and giving each a goal specific to that faction. The mechanics are fairly straightforward -- each player has an army that can march around the board, recruit troops, fight battles, etc. There are a few innovations that I like in this one, but I think the one that will be most interesting is the alliance system. Each faction has a religious alignment, and you cannot actively fight against people who share your alignment -- but you don't necessary have to ally with them either! Each player holds a set of 6 Alliance cards, which lay out terms, eg "France will give the holder 4 Gulden per turn" or "Spain will give the holder 4 military units to control", and an alliance is formed by players exchanging these cards. This should make negotiation faster and deal-making more clear cut. Status Ready for a solo test. The difficulty is that I see this as a 7 player game, and it will probably be somewhat long -- 3-4 hours -- so I'm not sure when or if it will ever get live-tested. I hope I can come up with a 3-5 player variant so that it can!

Anytown, USA A sort of restricted negotiation game in which players are building a city on a 6x6 grid. The twist is that each turn, one player functions as the town's selectman; all other players will submit a proposal for a building they want to build, and the selectman will choose one to build. The buildings all interact, so if possible you want to propose a building that will give some benefit to one of the selectman's buildings to make your proposal more attractive. Status Playtested probably 5-6 times, but never by the same group twice. I think the core concept works, but the spatial aspects of the building interactions have proven difficult for some new players, so the game takes longer than it should. Also, it seems the game Santiago uses a very similar mechanic. Not sure if I'll keep going with this one or port the mechanic to a different game.

Indiana Jones A collaboration between SiskNY and myself. Players are relic hunters, trying to find a lost temple that contains a big artifact. The game has two major phases. In the first, players travel around the world trying to chase down clues about the location of the temple and information about how to traverse the temple, avoid its traps, and locate the artifact within the temple. In the second phase, players go into the temple and move from room to room, looking for the relic. Status Tested twice to pretty good reception, and we're constantly changing things around, but the core idea will likely remain what I've said above. The changes relate to how we give players information about the temple. We're trying to strike a balance between making things interesting but not making the puzzle too difficult or cerebral.

"Guilds" game This game grew out of discussions with sedjtroll and Scurra, and was inspired by one of Scurra's GDW games. It also borrows a mechanic that I considered for Sands of Time. The game revolves around players building production facilities, which produce goods in two different levels. One level takes resources (eg wood) from the game and converts them into components (eg boards). The second tier takes components and converts them into finished products (eg furniture), which are then sold to various "contract" cards around the board. The board is a map of several villages, each of which can hold 1-3 production facilities. Players interact via a traveling merchant wagon. Players load their wares onto the wagon, and when it stops in your town, if there's something on the wagon that you need, you can negotiate with the player who placed it there to try to buy it. Status Rules written but no testing yet. It's simple enough that it might work but it needs some additional thinking to figure out whether a few more mechanics are needed to spice it up a bit.

I have a few other games that are either on the back burner or have not yet moved to the "fully fleshed out" stage, but this gives a rough idea of where I'm at at the moment!

FastLearner
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yogurt wrote:
Huh, this was originally going to be the theme for my farming/deforestation game in the last challenge. The history of the place really suggests a game, tragic though it was.

It really is tragic. It's also beautiful for a design, because it has a built-in end-game timer: no more forests, no more building. I'm also using a mechanism where farming can only take place next to a forest (because that erosion wipes out unprotected land), so as the forestland disappears, the opportunities for farming disappear, and the ability to support the family you've been growing disappears. Plus dragging moai across the island is fun.

I built my master little moai out of sculpey a couple of years ago, but haven't quite managed to make a mold for it yet so I can blast out a few dozen more

FastLearner
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scopa wrote:
I'm working on a design based upon a book and was worried about the copyright implications of this. The book is out of print (in fact a work mate lent me the audio book to listen too on my commute to work). Have you considered this aspect?

Well, being out of print won't affect the copyright at all, though it would probably increase the odds of the author being willing to license the IP.

In my case the books are in near-constant reprint, being classics of the genre. I had met and talked a lot with the author some years ago, before his passing, and know people who know the owner of his estate, so I think I have a very tiny bit of "in," at least such that I could discuss the matter with her via email or phone.

The Chronicles of Amber books aren't popular on a level like Lord of the Rings or the Foundation Trilogy or anything like that, but they're still quite popular, and based on the immediate interest expressed on the 'Geek when the topic came up, it's clear that there are a lot of boardgamers who know the books.

The game is also not unlike the A Game of Thrones game, in that you don't have to know anything at all about the books to enjoy a good game, but the game is even more fun if you do.

If your game feels like it's progressing along well enough, you might track down the author of the books you mentioned. You might have a very willing proponent without even knowing it.

In the case of my game, if it's never licensed or published, I'm still ok with continuing to develop it because it's a game my buddies and I will want to play, and that's plenty good enough; I love that world and its stories so.

-- Matthew

FastLearner
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My reactions as I read this:

jwarrend wrote:
Anytown, USA A sort of restricted negotiation game in which players are building a city on a 6x6 grid. The twist is that each turn, one player functions as the town's selectman; all other players will submit a proposal for a building they want to build, and the selectman will choose one to build. The buildings all interact, so if possible you want to propose a building that will give some benefit to one of the selectman's buildings to make your proposal more attractive.

"Wow, that's a very cool mechanic! Damn, wish I'd thought of it. This could be excellent!"

Quote:
Status Playtested probably 5-6 times, but never by the same group twice. I think the core concept works, but the spatial aspects of the building interactions have proven difficult for some new players, so the game takes longer than it should. Also, it seems the game Santiago uses a very similar mechanic. Not sure if I'll keep going with this one or port the mechanic to a different game.

"Oh, crap, good point about Santiago. Maybe that's why I thought it was such genius." ;)

Really, though, in Santiago the will it/won't it benefit me (as the overseer, iirc) decision is very simple, and it isn't really that similar to what you've described, AND it's still a super-clever mechansim that you don't hardly see and definitely needs to be used more, AND one moderately successful game that uses the same mechanism shouldn't rule it out. I urge you to keep trying if it feels good at all: the game sounds like a hoot.

-- Matthew

VeritasGames
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Powerstorm CCG: Top Cow Edition
The greatest characters in the TOP COW Universe are now part of the greatest superhero customizable card game you will ever play, POWERSTORM.

Powerstorm is an exciting team-on-team fighting game
with blow-by-blow action that is designed to simulate the very best parts of the comics. Powerstorm features a unique poker-style betting mechanic which makes every hand a game unto itself.

I designed Powerstorm to work like an abstract superhero miniatures game that is played with cards. We are likely going to have a sneak preview release at GENCON and our general hobby trade release in December.

I'm working like 60-80 hours a week on this thing. Anyone interested in playtesting?

phpbbadmin
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What games are you designing?

LOL, A more appropriate thread title for me would be what games are you *not* designing (lack of time, money, motivation, etc.)

Prototyping Stage:

Wreck Ashore! A game where players control a small salvage fleet on the island of Key West during the early 19th century. When a ship wreck occurs off the island, players race to have the first ship on the scene and be declared the 'wrecking master'. The wrecking master decides how the salvage for a wreck gets divvied among all the other salvage ships present. Players then try to sell salvaged goods for the most profit at market. When hurricane season hits, the player with the most money wins.

Snow Day: It's snowing and school has been cancelled! In Snow Day each player controls a team of neighborhood kids in a free for all snow ball fight. Snow Day! is a simple lite wargame with interesting mechanics such as team drafting, simulated simultaneous action resolution, a 'karma' currency system, and secret goals.

In Development:
The Fool's Errand The new king is questioning the need for an entire troup of court Jesters. In order to find out which Jester to keep, the king has given a different task for each to complete. Whoever completes the task first wins! Basically a pick up and deliver race game, this game is being targeted as a very light humorous family game. Each 'errand' is made up of several 'mini errands' that the player must complete in order. In addition, players can pick up items that will aid them and hinder their opponents. This game will be a completely unserious beer & pretzels game in the same order as Wizwar and Elixir. In addition, it will purposely have a whole bunch of euro no-no mechanics, like player elimination, runaway leader, bash the leader, etc. =)

Zoned: Commercial City building game based around core mechanics of blind bidding for building contracts, a supply/demand emulated marketplace, specialized foremen, etc. Due to the number of city building games, I may either scrap this game or try to make it completely a card game.

Spielunker: Originally a collaboration project here at BGDF, it eventually died because of the 'too many cooks' effect. I however have always kept in on the back burner and worked on it every now and then. Players take on the roles of explorers searching a gigantic cave earning victory points for photographing unique features and for securing smaller items such as fossils, relics, valuable gems and minerals, etc. Players must manage equipment inventory to overcome obstacles. Mostly an adventure/exploration game with very little player interaction.

Cancelled / Needs Overhaul
Pokerface: Players are assigned a secret gambler at the beginning of the game that they hope will win a night of gambling. However, each round players are given a differnent gambler to control for a single round of rapid , abstracted poker. The core mechanics were there, but the rapid poker hands didn't work. Probably need to over haul this mechanic and try again.

Gimmy
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What games are you designing?

WOW great ideas and games every one... for some time I did abandon my game design hobby cuz of work mostly and cuz I don't have a constant playtest group , but reading this thread really filled my bataries back... and showed me that games can also be playtest online.

(the description of my games may not be strong in details beacuse english is not my native language)
games that are right now on playtest:
Rune
I think of this game as a hybrid between Taki and Rummy.
the game is about a wizard contest, each wizard playing runes to his/her sequence by basic rules. there are also a spells that can be activated by playing the right sequence of runes to delay your opponent from winning.

Witch's Cauldron
puzzle game I think... and there are some player interaction.
the game require a moderator to play as the cauldron, while the players are witche's trying to cast a spell by droping all kinds of reagents, the first player to cast the spell is the winner. but the players need to find what each reagent do since the witch's spell book is gone and the moderator gives the players feedback about what each reagent does - what color the cauldron is.

on development:
many many games, but most of them are in an initial form.
[/u]

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