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Terra Prime V1.5

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sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

Rules (first post, this thread) updated again to incorporate some of the great ideas that are coming out of this discussion!

Johan
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Terra Prime V1.5

Hi Seth

I have read the rules once more and I can not find anything that would be a problem for the first test session (I think that a test is what this game is needing right now to proceed with the development). A assume that a lot of the questions (about costs, alien war and so on) is solved on the components.

// Johan

Zomulgustar
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Terra Prime V1.5

Sorry I'm such a latecomer to this thread...you wouldn't believe how hectic things are around here. ANYway, some very interesting suggestions thus far, though they also render some of my half-formed comments inapplicable. Pardon the disconnected rambling...

If you want a thematic reason behind the extra delay at Earth, I imagine that quarantines are a bit stricter there.

I don't think 'flagship' is a particularly good choice for the name, as this usually implies the Command/Communication hub of a fleet of (usu. military) ships, the one whose flags all the others have to watch. The cargo shuttle is never flying in coordinated action with the command ship except to dock or leave, and there are no other ships in a player's fleet, that I noticed. Perhaps simply 'ship' will suffice, and the 'cargo shuttle' could remain that, or become a 'spacetug' or some such.

For some reason, whenever I see a game with this sort of theme, I want to add a random possibility each 'season' that it will end prematurely over anything but a unanimous vote of its participants (a write-in campaign...). A little too 'meta', I suppose, but thought I'd share.

It's hard to say there's a 'right' distribution of tiles a priori...are there a few specific strategies you want to balance against one another? You don't want an obviously superior point on the risk-reward scale, but beyond that, are there different 'roles' to slot players into (scout/merchant etc.)? Either way, you should probably take into account the resulting 'feel' of the tile mix's effect on play at least as much as the more formulaic constraints, so playtesting with a simple arbitrary choice is probably the best place to start.

I don't know enough to say if these are problems yet, but just a few things to look out for. There's potential positive feedback here: of two identically equipped players (removing the skill element of judging when you're strong enough to take on a task), the player who through sheer luck takes less damage will have better resources to prevent future damage. Losing VPs instead of upgrades (including shields) to damage might mitigate this effect somewhat, but unless you can go significantly into debt those are still VPs not being spent on buying MORE shields.

Another thing which has already been touched on a little is that there's something of a counterthematic incentive to let someone else do the dirty work. You clear out the hostile aliens, and you score slightly less than you would if you had saved your colony marker for something else, and then everyone can pass unmolested without getting their own hands dirty. Perhaps only players who have dealt with the challenge are given passage? (rather than kiling the aliens, you've either bought them off or proven yourself worthy in their eyes, which does nothing for the other guys.) I definitely like the choice there, BTW, but you need to make sure the costs/rewards are balanced.

Re: your latest resource->upgrade idea, I'm concerned that this would effectively allow players to block others from getting upgrades at their colony by always choosing to stick with the resource. Would it be unbalancing to allow a colony to have both a resource and upgrade always available for purchase, but only one can be purchased per turn? I'm guessing this can be made reasonable by tweaking costs, saves a step each turn, and takes you one more step away from Catan.

Maybe I've just come too far since my Trekkie phase, or maybe I just like Firefly too much, but the thought of alternative ways of dealing with the aliens suggests to me that it might be nice to have some of the players have something to gain by delaying/preventing the sorta 'manifest destiny' routine you've got going with the game thus far. It might also be nice to have multiple board 'centers'with green neightborhoods for different friendly alien homeworlds...seems a bit less geocentric. Not sure what kind of effect this would have on gameplay, though.

sedjtroll
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Dry Run of Terra Prime

My friend Michael and I had a sort of dry run through Terra Prime tonight. It was fun finally trying the game out, and we discussed a lot and tweaked a lot over the course of the game.

The basic mechanics worked pretty well, and the game had a definite beginning, midgame, and end. I tweaked as we went along to make the game flow better and be less frustrating, and most of the changes were for the best.

After playing and discussing some aspects of the game, here are some things that are different than they were going to be:

Rather than having a certain number of actions per turn, Fuel Cells will act like Action Allowances. You can (and must) take a number of actions during your turn equal to 1 + #Fuel Cells. One of the possibilities is pass, and the only restrictions on actions are as follows:
Only 1 Explore action per turn allowed, No Colonization or Exploration action allowed where there are Hostile Aliens.

Asteroids in Sectors as written are too harsh. We played that instead of rolling 1d6-1 for the number of hits, it's 1d3-1, so the most damage an Asteroid in a Sector can do to you is 2 hits.

Upgrades can be purchased at planets or Terra Prime, in addition to picking up or dropping off resources. The only restriction is 1 Upgrade per location per turn. The cost we used was 1 Credit (VP) for the first upgrade, 2 for the second, 3 for the third, etc. We used a discount of $1 at your own colony. You pay full price at Terra Prime. You pay full price at aonther player's Colony - but you pay it to that other player. I think Terra Prime needs to be even more expensive though, to encourage people to pay their opponents for upgrades.

After some discussion I think I will add an element to the game which will promote trips back to Terra Prime even more... Cryo Chambers. Where are all these colonists coming from anyway? They are being shipped to Terra Prime in Cryo Chambers, and it's up to the players to find homes for them. Your ship can initially carry only 1 Cryo Chamber, and the Chamber can hold 1 Colony marker. Upgrades will allow you to carry up to three at a time, and an action at Terra Prime will allow you to fill all of your Cryo Chambers. This way people have to return to Terra Prime to get more Colony markers to set down. It makes sense, and it keeps someone from just flying around in deeper space and colonizing every planet they come to. Along with this, I think I'm going to amp up the scoring for colonies - the score will be the distance from Terra Prime TIMES the number of planets in the Sector. So if you clump the planets then you score more for your colony. I think this will play well with the rule that you have to choose WHICH planet you're colonizing in a sector - so a colonized Sector only makes 1 resource or upgrade, and you have to choose that when you coloize it.

That's about all for this update.

sedjtroll
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Rules updated after playtest

I have updated the original post in this thread to reflect rules changes after the first playtest.

Johan
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Terra Prime V1.5

When will I have the game for playtest?

// Johan

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

Another test of Terra Prime tonight, including some of the ideas from the last test (Cryo Chambers, Colony and Alien scoring, and a different point distribution on the Supply/Demand tracks). Here's the skinny:

Chris, Joe, and I played, with 10 Colonies each, game end conditions were:
1 player down to 2 Colony markers, or 15 total coloniy markers on the board, or all yellow tiles explored. The game ended because I built my 8th colony, so we each took one more turn and then the game ended. It took about 1.5 hours, with rules explanation. I think the game length is OK enough not to worry about it yet. In fact, we thought the game ended a little too early - not time-wise, but action-wise... it ended before we really got to the Red zone.

Some concerns that were raised: The prices for the S/D track were still bad. I made the Blue track and the Green track the same, but with Blue getting consumed 2x as fast. Also, the Cargo Ship was too small, so it filled up a lot and without enough goods to fill up the S/D tracks. We had used a 5-slot Ship. I think I will try using 2x+1 slots (where x = #players) next time.

The scoring is a little unbalanced, so I monkeyed with that (see below) for next time. We thought the Asteroids in sectors were too powerful, so I changed how thaey work a little. I wasn't happy with the 1d3-1 idea anyway.

Here's a list of the changes for next time:

1. Cargo Ship size = 2x+1
2. S/D tracks adjusted again:

    Green: 4/3/2/1/1/1/1/0 (-1/shipment) Blue: 2/2/2/2/1/1/1/0 (-1/shipment)
    Yellow: 4/3/3/2/2/1/1/0 (-1/shipment)
    Red: 5/5/4/4/3/3/2/2/1/0 (-1/shipment)
    Brown: 2/3/5/4/3/2/1/0 (-0/shipment)
3. Tech Trees:
    Fuel Cells
      Base: Max 2 Upgrade 1: Max 4 - Cost: $2 + U
      Upgrade 2: Max 4, +1 Action - Cost: $4 + UB
      Upgrade 3: Max 4, +2 Actions - Cost: $5 + UUBY
    Shields
      Base: Max 2 Upgrade 1: Max 4 - Cost: $2 + G
      Upgrade 2: Roll +1 Die - Cost: $4 + GB
      Upgrade 3: Cancel Hit on 4+ - Cost: $5 + GGBY
    Weapon
      Base: Max 2 Upgrade 1: Max 4 - Cost: $2 + B
      Upgrade 2: Roll +1 Die - Cost: $4 + BR
      Upgrade 3: Hit on 3+ - Cost: $5 + BBR
    Cargo Hold
      Base: Max 1 Upgrade 1: Max 4 - Cost: $2 + Y
      Upgrade 2a: Cargo Shuttle - Cost: $4 + BY, Requires 2 Holds
      Upgrade 2b: Cryo Chamber - Cost: $4 + BY, Capacity 3 Colonies
4. Scoring
Colonies: 1 Pt per Sector between Colony and Terra Prime, inclusive, plus X per planet in Colony. X = 1 for G and U, 2 for Y, and 3 for Red.
Aliens: 3 VP per Alien Symbol
5. Asteroids in Sectors: Treat like an Alien attack, strength 1 in Green Zone, Strength 2 in Yellow Zone, Strength 3 in Red zone. If you have a Mine on the asteroid, subtract 1 from it's strength when you face it.

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sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

I played another game today (yay!), and the tech tree works great - however I costed the upgrades too high. Actually my friend rattled off what he thought the costs should be, and I thought they sounded OK relative to each other after some tweaking, but I didn't look at the costs relative to the rest of the game :/ No problem though, I'll just reduce the cost for next time :)

Here are the rest of the changes I plan to impliment next time I play:

1. I've talked before about picking things up from other people's planets. So far I've had it cost 1 Credit (=VP), and you actually pay that Credit to the player who's colony you're at. I think that will finally change to what I had originally wanted to do - you don't PAY anything to get resources... you just pick them up. However, if someone picks something up at your Colony, you get 1 Credit (from the bank). This will help keep money from being too tight. Sometimes we were flying around broke and couldn't do anything.

2. Tech Upgrades bought at Terra Prime were good. Ship Upgrades have always been available at Terra Prime as well as the appropriate colored planets. I will change that to "Ship Upgrades are ONLY available at the appropriate colored planet," to both make planets more important, and to hopefully encourage people using each other's planets for stuff.

3. Still debating whether there ahould be a minimum of 1 Credit awarded for goods delivered, even if the math makes it 0.

4. Supply and Demand tracks were closer to what they should feel like. We used a 9 slot ship for 4 players (2x+1) - and it almost seemed like too much. I think it's fine if the numbers are increased a bit so shipping stuff is worth a little more. I think I'll stretch out the tracks a bit more as well (by that I mean instead of 4/3/3/2/2/1/1 I might make it 4/4/3/3/3/2/2/2/1/1)

5. I'm changing the tech trees a little - in addition to axing the money cost off everything (now it just costs resources for Tech Upgrades), I've made the base level for Weapons and Cargo Holds "Max 2" instead of "Max 1". It was too annoying to only have 1 cargo hold forever, and too hard to upgrade it (took forever) because it was expensive, AND required a yellow cube, AND took forever...

6. I think I'm going to remove the Brown Supply/Demand track alltogether. That means that Brown cubes (mined from asteroids) are not worth points at all, they are only used in upgrades. I hope this will encourage people to use each other's mines, since the Brown can't be shipped, and since you don't get points for asteroids... there will still be reasons to put a mine down though: You will be able to fly by the asteroid without harm, you can get brown for upgrades, and you get a VP if other people come get brown from your mine.

I think that's it. I'll go update the rules (frst post, this thread) for reference. My friend Tyler (who hates All For One), said this one has potential, even though he happened to find all three empty space tiles in the Green zone, and 2 level 3 aliens in the Red zone...

jwieringo
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Terra Prime V1.5

'lo Seth

I finally had some spare time to read the rules for Terra Prime and I am glad I did. I thought the game had a lot going for it, simplicity/game weight (hard to accomplish with a exploration game) and a good amount of theme. The rules were well written. They had no extra clutter that some published games add.

Some comments of mine:

Quote:
For each Alien symbol on the tile, roll 1d6. For each 4, 5, or 6 rolled, the Aliens score a hit. For each Shield upgrade roll 1d6. For each 5 or 6 rolled, cancel 1 Alien hit. For each hit that was not cancelled, lose 1 Ship Upgrade. If you have no upgrades, then discard a resource cube. If you have no resource cubes and no upgrades, then lose 3 Credits.

How does this make sense theme wise? You stated that the aliens were hostile but, if you do not have upgrades then they take resources/credits? Are you playing as the aliens banker now? I think there should be a harsher penalty if you do not have upgrades. Possibly, damage that would disable you from buying upgrades until you return to Terra Prime and have it fixed. Of course, theme isnt the most important subject as long as it works.

Quote:
1 Earth boards depicting...

Shouldnt it be 1 Earth board?

Quote:
Fighting back: For each Weapon upgrade, roll 1d6. For every 4, 5, or 6 rolled, score 1 hit against the Aliens. If you score at least as many hits against aliens as there are Alien symbols on the tile, you have defeated the aliens. Put one of your Colony markers from the supply on the Alien symbols, they no longer have any effect on the game. At the end of the game, score 3 Victory Points per Alien Symbol on the tile.

Diplomacy: A player may try Diplomatic means to befriend the aliens. Instead of fighting back, a player may offer resources to the aliens. Discard a number of resource cubes from your Cargo Holds equal to 1 plus the number of Alien symbols on the tile to befriended the aliens. Put one of your Colony markers from the supply on the Alien symbols, they no longer have any effect on the game. At the end of the game, score 3 Victory Points per Alien Symbol on the tile.

It seems to me that diplomacy would be the easier route to take. Fighting an alien makes you roll a 4, 5, or 6 for each alien while diplomacy makes you pay only 1 plus the number of aliens. I would actually boost the price to 2 resources for each alien.

Quote:
I think that will finally change to what I had originally wanted to do - you don't PAY anything to get resources... you just pick them up. However, if someone picks something up at your Colony, you get 1 Credit (from the bank).

I like this choice much better than the current rules describe. Do players try to pick up resources at there colonies more than opponents? Sure. With your new version players wouldnt be as scared to dock in other colonies.

Quote:
Earth uses the harvested resources at a steady rate, and the value of each resource fluctuates depending on how much Earth has in supply.

This has to be my favorite mechanic in the game. I stated it in your other post about tech trees but I thought I would show some more love for it ;)

Quote:
Might add a deck of Mission cards for bonus scoring opportunities

Mission cards sound like a great idea to me. It would give players incentive to go to other colonies to complete them. Sure you could have recieve missions that deal with every colony you already own but what are the chances of that?

Good luck!

Xaqery
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Terra Prime V1.5

sedjtroll wrote:
My friend Tyler (who hates All For One), said this one has potential, even though he happened to find all three empty space tiles in the Green zone, and 2 level 3 aliens in the Red zone...
I agree (not with the hating All for One part). I think it has potential. I have been following this thread from the beginning and the game becomes more and more desirable to me. It has been very interesting reading. I have had zero time though to add input. I regret that I have had zero time to add input lately.

I am also impressed with the process. In the beginning your games sounded good I liked the theme and I like pick up and delivery games. But I see now, weather you intended it or not, it was just a foundation that you have been adding layers to. The game is now more elaborate, which is something else I like in games. You have made game development look easy.

Tech trees seem to be a natural addition to the game.

BTW one thing I have always been confused about is what a sector is. I think a tile and a sector is the same thing but then this is confusing: “EXPLORE: A Move action into an unmapped sector. An unmapped sector is a sector containing fewer than 3 tiles.”

I like your latest purposed changes. Talking about the rules is difficult for me since now you are play testing and therefore it is no longer speculation but instead it is tweaking. With that said I don’t think there is anything wrong having cargo that has become worthless. That is just part of the game.

Now if you would send me a copy of the game I would play it and be happy to help tweak. : - )

This is all I have time for right now. Thanks for keeping us up to date.

- Dwight

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime: Response to jwieringo's comments

jwieringo wrote:
'lo Seth
Hi! Thanks for replying... I'll answer some of your comments:

Quote:
How does [losing resources or credits in alien battles] make sense theme wise? You stated that the aliens were hostile but, if you do not have upgrades then they take resources/credits? Are you playing as the aliens banker now? I think there should be a harsher penalty if you do not have upgrades. Possibly, damage that would disable you from buying upgrades until you return to Terra Prime and have it fixed.

Heh, heh... no, it departs a little bit from the theme here, sorta. It's not that the aliens TAKE the resources, more like you lose them in the battle. Like they blow a hole in your hull and stuff flys out.

I just noticed something though. If you lose your Cargo Hold, because you have no other upgrade you can (or want to) lose, then the resources inside should go with it... so if you ever have no upgrades, you CAN'T lose resources - they're already gone! Oops!

The loss of Credits is supposed to be a penalty, sice Credits = VPs. I don't know if it has to be any more harsh, really... if you have no upgrades then you're up the proverbial creek. Losing Fuel Cells (if I ever say "Thruster" by the way, I mean Fuel Cell) really sucks, as it makes you move real slow to get to where you can get more.

So I don't know if 3 VPs is 'enough' of a penalty or not. I don't expect it'll ever get that far.

Quote:
Shouldnt it be 1 Earth board? [as opposed to "boards"]

Yes. I started to change that line because I'll probably have different S/D tracks for differing numbers of players, but I wasn't sure how to put that so I switched it back... only I guess I missed some!

Quote:
It seems to me that diplomacy would be the easier route to take. Fighting an alien makes you roll a 4, 5, or 6 for each alien while diplomacy makes you pay only 1 plus the number of aliens. I would actually boost the price to 2 resources for each alien.

This may be necessary. It used to be that you offer goods for chances at befriending them... then you roll 1d6 per good offered, and resolve it like combat. It was suggested that the offering just be accepted (because it's difficult to kill the big aliens), so I thought I'd try that - it would suck to discard 4 or 5 resources and NOT roll enough 4+'s to win over the aliens! I tried to cost it so that the points you are giving up by not delivering goods are in a range from a little below to a little above the points you get for beating up aliens. I think the cost might need to be higher though, because I want people using diplomacy to have to pay (VPs, by giving up goods) to do so, since they didn't pay for weapons and upgrades... I think a player shouldn't get as many points for the aliens as they could've gotten for the goods.

Then again, that's also goods they can't use to by tech upgrades.

Quote:
Mission cards sound like a great idea to me. It would give players incentive to go to other colonies to complete them.

I hadn't so much thought of the missions as a way to get people to go to each other's planets, but I suppose they could! I was thinking of them more as a way to drive players' long term strategies... like the Tycoon cards in Railroad Tycoon, or the Prestige cards in Princes of Florence.

Thanks for the comments!

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime: Response to Xaqery's comments

Xaqery wrote:
I am also impressed with the process... weather you intended it or not, it was just a foundation that you have been adding layers to. The game is now more elaborate.

Yes, I have noticed this as well.

Quote:
You have made game development look easy.

Thanks! This is the part I like. It's fun to come up with some idea, but I have more fun taking an idea and thinking of mechnaics that work for it, and fit in the theme. Tieing mechanics and theme together is a fun challenge! I'd like to think I'm getting better at it.

It's the balancing and depth of choices to offer that I have trouble with.

Quote:
one thing I have always been confused about is what a sector is. I think a tile and a sector is the same thing but then this is confusing: “EXPLORE: A Move action into an unmapped sector. An unmapped sector is a sector containing fewer than 3 tiles.”

Sectors are the verticies of the hexes (like where you put settlements in Settlers of Catan. I think I need to make that clearer in the rules.

Quote:
I like your latest purposed changes.

Cool. I imagine you mean "proposed," although I assure you, they did have purpose! ;)

Quote:
I don’t think there is anything wrong having cargo that has become worthless. That is just part of the game.

I'm inclined to agree. You can aloways offer it to hostile aliens, or spend it on Upgrades. I am still tweaking the S/D tracks (I think I'm removing the Brown track alltogether!) to make it so that people aren't stuck with a surplus of completely useless goods all the time.

Quote:
Now if you would send me a copy of the game I would play it and be happy to help tweak. : - )

I don't have extra hexes, but I'd be happy to tell you how I made them, if you're really interested in trying the game out. eventually I'll probably make some pdf of new hexes (mine are too small, and I used lousy colors that are too dark so they look the same) which I'll be happy to send. Let me know if you're interested, I wouldn't mind having someone help me tweak things, like the number of planets in the game for example. I'm considering reducing the number of planets, especially nearby Terra Prime, to encourage exploration and sharing of planets. Only problem with that is as the number of planets goes down, the fewer sectors have multiple planets, and therefore the lower the scoring potential of people who want to explore and colonize as a strategy.

Thanks for the comment, and keep them coming!

sedjtroll
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Another playtest!

I was able to get yet another playtest in tonight. The 2-player game went about an hour and a hlaf, but we must've stopped and talked about parts of it for at least 1/2 an hour. Afterwards we talked about it for about another hour, about what to tweak and how to tweak it.

The game went very smoothly, and all the changes I've implimented turned out to be really good for the game. There was one "major" error though, I made Weapons upgrades cost Red resources, but the Red planets are located far from Terra Prime, among the powerful and hostile aliens - the very reason you'd want weapons in the first place! Oops! I'm fixing that by switching Yellow planets to Weapons and having Cargo Bays (formerly Yellow) available on Asteroids. I'm not sure if I like this idea much, as I just went through the trouble of making asteroids just about the way I wanted them - important enough that someone would mine an asteroid, but not so important that everyone would. This might make them more important again. An alternative solution is to allow Weapons to be added to ships at Terra Prime (the new rule is that only Tech Upgrades are available at TP, all Ship upgrades come from planets). Sadly this doesn't jive with the conventions of the rest of the game, and although it makes sense that weapons would be available at the outpost, it begs the question: why aren't shields and fuel cells available there too?

The S/D tracks are tuning nicely. I think the numbers are all too small though. Our scores were 59-86, and only 14% of my points came from Credits leftover at the end of the game. I would like to see that number closert to 40%. Otherwise Colonizing is outscoring Shipping by too much.

I used the newly suggested rule for Diplomacy vs Aliens - to befriend them you offer 1+X resources, where X is the number of symbols on the tile, and then they become your friend. It seemed way too easy to defeat the aliens this way. I knew I was in no danger as long as I had 4 resources. This didn't feel right to me at all. Possible solutions:
- Increase the number of resources required to befriend aliens (2X?)
- Go back to rolling dice to see if you befriend the aliens. Treat as an attack.
- always roll three dice for a diplomacy check, but get a bonus for discarding goods.
- Just thought of this one: Same rule (easy to get rid of aliens), but if you don it by dilpomacy you don't get the points. Only fighting aliens with weapons gets you points.

Weapons are still too weak I think, although better now with the tech upgrades allowing an extra die roll and hitting on 3+ instead of 4+. I'm still considering having the player attack first, and if the player doesn't hit enough times to destroy the aliens, then the aliens attack with 1 fewer dice per hit the player scored. This makes the weapons sorta like shields too, which may make them more worth buying. It didn't help that I had the Red planet being the only place they were available, but I changed that midgame to allow their purchase at TP as well. I suggested a solution to this above.

All in all I think it was a successful test. I'm happy to be getting these tests in.

- Seth

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Terra Prime V1.5

I've fallen behind, and just re-read this entire thread to try to get back up to speed. I may have missed something, so forgive me if any of the following is out of date.

Quote:
Re: your latest resource->upgrade idea, I'm concerned that this would effectively allow players to block others from getting upgrades at their colony by always choosing to stick with the resource. Would it be unbalancing to allow a colony to have both a resource and upgrade always available for purchase, but only one can be purchased per turn?

How about: A colony may have up to 1 resource and 1 upgrade at a time. If a colony has no resource, it produces its 1 resource. If it contains only a resource, then it produces an upgrade. If it is full (both a resource and an upgrade) then it produces nothing.

This makes upgrades more rare than resources. It prevents players from refusing to create upgrades in order to starve other players. It also creates a tension between choosing to harvest a resource immediately, or waiting until an upgrade appears and suffering the risk that someone else will take either the resource or the upgrade before you do.

Also in re-reading the component list, I was confused by this:

Quote:
4 Cargo Ship tiles with spaces for 5/7/9/11 resources

Why are there four Cargo Ships? It seems there would either be one, or else one per player. But it seems you mean for there to be just one.

And a nit: the number of yellow and red hexes listed is inconsistent with the diagram you posted later, which has 14 green, 11 yellow, and 13 red hexes. You might intend for some random yellow and red hexes to go unused in each game, but if so you didn't say so.

This game looks like fun! If you get a full set of graphics posted, I might build one and try it with my family. (Though maybe not right away. We gave ourselves a lot of new games for Christmas, and haven't played them all yet!)

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

Rick-Holzgrafe wrote:
How about: A colony may have up to 1 resource and 1 upgrade at a time. If a colony has no resource, it produces its 1 resource. If it contains only a resource, then it produces an upgrade. If it is full (both a resource and an upgrade) then it produces nothing.

This makes upgrades more rare than resources. It prevents players from refusing to create upgrades in order to starve other players. It also creates a tension between choosing to harvest a resource immediately, or waiting until an upgrade appears and suffering the risk that someone else will take either the resource or the upgrade before you do.
I have settled on having the ship upgrades always available at planets, and not related to the resource cube that may or may not be there. I like the way it's been working.

Quote:
Also in re-reading the component list, I was confused by this:

Quote:
4 Cargo Ship tiles with spaces for 5/7/9/11 resources

Why are there four Cargo Ships? It seems there would either be one, or else one per player. But it seems you mean for there to be just one.
There's one ship in any given game, but it's a different size depending on the number of players. So there are 4 different ones, for 2/3/4/5 players.

Quote:
And a nit: the number of yellow and red hexes listed is inconsistent with the diagram you posted later, which has 14 green, 11 yellow, and 13 red hexes. You might intend for some random yellow and red hexes to go unused in each game, but if so you didn't say so.

Yes, some are unused. I should mention that.

I played TP again tonight, with 2 other people. I adjusted the numbers on the Supply/Demand track, and I think they are close to good now. After this game, with these Supply/Demand numbers, I might not want to double the score for credits after all...

- Seth

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Terra Prime V1.5

Yet another terra Prime playtest last night. Two player this time. The scores were 127 to 82, where I managed to outscore Tyler in all three categories (colonies, aliens, and cash). This is what I found:

Foremost, it's pretty good to find a Blue planet. Probably TOO good to find a blue planet early while your opponent does not. I found a blue planet, and my first two Thruster('Fuel Cell') upgrades cost me $1 + $2. Tyler's first two, bought at my colony, cost him $2 + $3 AND gave me $1 each. So I paid $1 total, while he paid $5. That just doesn't seem fair.

To fix this imbalance, I'm taking drastic measures (!)
* NO MORE DISCOUNT for building at your own colony. Everyone pays the same no matter what. This might take away the advantage of happening upon a blue planet.
* I'm seriously considering awarding some VPs instead of Credits for things... such as someone using your Colony. That way, you get your bonus, but you can't spend it. If you want income, you have to deliver stuff.
* I adjusted down the value of Blue resources. This way, especially in the early game, Green will be worth a lot more than blue... but Blue is ever important because of thruster upgrades.

In light of the VP instead of Income, I wonder if the discount for shopping at your own colony should stay... or maybe no discount, but you get $1 instead of 1vp ... more incentive to have a lucrative colony. I'll try it this way and see if it needs to go back a bit.

And the next question will be regarding Asteroids. Is there enough benefit to Mining an Asteroid? It's clearly better to mine one with Planets in the sector than without (for scoring reasons). You get the benefit of being able to fly by it easier (1 less die to see if you get hit). You can pick up Brown resources for upgrades (they are not sellable). Other people wanting to upgrade might rather get their Brown from you than mine their own asteroid... meaning you'll get some VPs to offset the fact that the asteroid is not worth vps... Is that enough? I think it is.

Here are the next S/D tracks I intend to try out:

   Red: 7 | 5 | 3 | 1 | 0...<br />
 Green: 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 0...<br />
  Blue: 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2...<br />
Yellow: 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 0...<br />

And I intend to increase the size of the Cargo Ship. I'll try this next:
2 player: 6 slots
3 player: 8 slots
4 player: 9 slots
5 player: 11 slots

I have never tried the game with 5 players. Might be crowded. I might need to make bigger boards for more players. Speaking of boards, my friend Tyler and I discussed possible board options... there was a concern after the other day's 3 player game that there are not enough points of entry for all players, and therefore it sucks to go later in the turn order. That was my friend Jake's concern anyway. So different possible board arrangements include (this might be difficult to visualize):

* Larger Terra Prime, with the explorable space (tiles) decreasing to the more valuable Red tiles rather than increasing.
* Tiles extending in all directions from the Terra Prime tile, rather than in a cone in one direction.
* Multiple points of entry (various outposts) surrounding some unexplored space, with green around each outpost, yellow tiles toward the center, and red in the middle of the space.

I like the idea of people starting out with more space to explore, but competition heating up closer to the end (in the yellow and red zones), and I like the idea of 2 layers of Yellow tiles. I don't think I can fathom how the geometry could work thematically though.

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

I updated the rules (first post, this thread) to reflect the changes I've made recently.

The most significaant of which is probably the Leadership Points... now there are VPs you can get through the game that you can't spend, in addition to the Credits which you can.

- Seth

sedjtroll
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5 player test of Terra Prime

Played a game with 5 players tonight, and I'm happy to report that it went very well! I incorporated the 'no discount at your own colony' rule, and the VP track for instant scoring of colonies (much easier than counting it up at the end) for in-game rewards for people using your Colonies (instead of $). Both changes seemed great.

I adjusted the S/D tracks a tad:
R: 7/5/3/1/0...
G: 4/4/3/3/2/2/1/1/0...
B: 2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2...
Y: 5/4/3/2/1/0...

That seemed good as well. I think I might need to make different S/D boards for different numbers of players... maybe I can get away with 1 for 2/3 players and 1 for 4/5 players.

I used a 13 slot boat, which was probably too big. It emptied only once, and filled up again at the last turn - blocking my last 2 cubes from being delivered. I had forgotten the plan I had in my previous post, so I guessed at the number of slots. 13 was too many. 11 might have been better, but I think it may still have only shipped once. I would like more turnover than that. I'm now thinking 6/7/8/9 would be decent for 2/3/4/5 players. I'll keep trying and see how it goes.

The scores were a pretty good spread... the totals were:
Curtis: 19
Sean: 38
Bill: 39
Seth: 47
John: 22

Only John and I had played before, and last time I think John won. This game he didn't do so hot.

The game only took about 1.5 - 1.75 hours, including rules. The rues seem to take about 30 minutes, so the length of the game (time-wise) is about right. Feedback in general was positive.

I decided to use the 'pay $1 to peek at a tile' rule (as an action at Terra Prime) - nobody did it. I don't know if it's worth keeping that rule. Maybe next time I'll make a point to try it turn 1, and then maybe I'll shoot for an exploration strat and use the com-sat to find good tiles in the Red Zone (dodging Aliens.) Then I'll see if it feels like it's worth the money. It probably isn't. Maybe it should be free, just cost an action... Any thoughts on this?

Some rules problems came up... We had an accidental illegal tile placement which was noticed later. Turned out to not be a huge deal, we just played it as it was and there was a planet floating around where it shouldn't have been. Also, we came across an unplacable tile - no legal placement. I could think of 2 rules to cover this:
1. Discard the tile and draw one from the unused tiles, or
2. If illegal to do otherwise, go ahead and place a planet adjacent to abother planet.

I like the former much better, but the latter is consistant with the 'let it slide' rule for accidental illegal placements. I thin kI'm sticking with the former though, as it's not good to count on mistakes like that.

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

Here's the tile distribution for TP. It's sort of a first draft, but it's been working pretty well.

G = Green planet
U = Blue planet
Y = Yellow planet
R = Red planet
a(#) = Asteroid in sector (level)
A(#) = Stray Asteroid (level)
H(#) = Hostile Alien (level)

The items appear in every other hex vertex. So if you took a hex and labelled it's vertices 1-6, things would appear in verticies 1, 3, and 5. The 4th item in the chart (Hostile Alien or Stray Asteroid) occurs in the center of the tile.

GREEN TILES:

 1   -   -   -<br />
 2   -   -   -<br />
 3   -   -   -<br />
 4   -   -   -<br />
 5   G   -   -<br />
 6   G   -   -<br />
 7   U   -   -<br />
 8   U   -   -<br />
 9   G   U   -<br />
10   G   a1  -<br />
11   U   a1  -<br />
12   a1  a1  -<br />
13   G   U   a1<br />
14   U   G   a1

YELLOW TILES:
 1   Y   -   -   A1<br />
 2   Y   -   -   A1<br />
 3   U   Y   -<br />
 4   G   Y   -<br />
 5   a2  U   -<br />
 6   a2  G   -<br />
 7   a2  Y   -   H1<br />
 8   a2  a2  -<br />
 9   a2  Y   -   H1<br />
10   a2  Y   -   H1<br />
11   U   G   -   H2<br />
12   G   Y   -   H2<br />
13   Y   U   a2<br />
14   U   G   Y   H2

RED TILES:
 1   R   -   -   A2<br />
 2   R   -   -   A2<br />
 3   R   Y   -   H3<br />
 4   R   Y   -   H3<br />
 5   R   -   -   A3<br />
 6   R   -   -   A3<br />
 7   a3  Y   -   H2<br />
 8   a3  Y   -   H2<br />
 9   a3  Y   -   H2<br />
10   a3  Y   a3<br />
11   a3  a3  -<br />
12   Y   Y   -   H3<br />
13   Y   Y   -   H3<br />
14   a3  R   -   A2

OutsideLime
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Terra Prime V1.5

Okay, i gotta ask... why does "U" represent blue? You haven't used "B" anywhere else....

?

~Josh

Nando
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Terra Prime V1.5

Leftovers from when he had Brown? :P

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

Yeah, originally I had a Brown resource as well (it's still there, but you don't ship it). Also, U for Blue dates back to my days of Magic: The Gathering, where there's Black and Blue, so U is used for blue.

- Seth

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2/16/06 Playtest

Had a 3 player game last night, which went amazingly well. I got stomped, as I made all kinds of terrible decisions and couldn't piece together a coherent plan - despite an exellent start.

The scores were 39-48-59, which I think is a fine sperad (especially considering how badly I played - I was the 39).

I used a 7-slot ship for a 3 player game, and that seemed fine. I used the tracks I've been talking about (7/5/3/1, 4/4/3/3/2/2/1/1, 2/2/2/..., and 5/4/3/2/1) and that seemed fine. What didn't seem fine was the rate of consumption. The easy fix is to say that 2 units get consumed, at least of Green and Blue. the consumption of Blue hardly matters, as it never changes in price, but I'm considering a cap after which it becomes worthless... so the track would look like: 2/2/2/2/2/2/0/0/0/0/0 or something.

A possible better way to do consumption is to have Earth consume 1 of each resource at the beginning of Player 1's turn each time... so every round the numbers change. I was hesitent to do it this way at the beginning because it's more to do all the time, and easy to forget, and I like not breaking up the game into Rounds. However, perhaps it's the better way to go for a more smooth consumption rate. I'll give it a shot next time.

I specifically tried using the "Com-Sat" scanning option - pay $1 to peek at a tile. It wasn't that great. The other players each tried it as well, but only once. I think it's nice to have the ability, but I think it won't cost money, only an action. Having spent that money really hurt me when it came time to buy a thruster. I like the option for players to peek at a tile before they do their first explore though, so they don't have to run into a blank hex (or at least they can try to avoid it). So next game I'll keep the action, but make it free (just costs an action, not money). I guess that makes more sense anyway.

A player suggested that I populate the Green Zone more and maybe have the sparse stuff further out. That would make for higher points in the close colonies, which might be good to support a 'keep it close' strategy vs a 'explore further out' strategy, but I don't want to overvalue the green zone - I want people to explore outward! I may remove one of the 4(!) blank tiles in the green zone though, they seem to clump and make sections of the baord totally empty. I kind of like that though, so I'm not sold yet. It IS aggrevating to be the guy that keeps exploring empty space! Maybe that guy shoulda used the Scanner option..?

I'll try and update the rules in this post today.

- Seth

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2/18 playtest - 5er

Played another 5 player game today. Players (scores) were: Seth (20), Brad (30), Amber (20), Michael (40), and Curtis (24). I played poorly again, but that was exacerbated by the fact that 5 player tends to end too quickly. I believe the solution for that is to have a different board layout for more players. This means adding more tiles, which can be done.

I tried the 'consumption at the beginning of player 1's turn' thing, and it seemed to work allright. I'm not sure I like it though, I might try something different as well and see what I like best.

Otherwise, things worked well. On the down side, Michael no longer likes the game, and he can't put into words why not. He basically thinks it's not very fun. At first he did like it a lot though, so I dont know why the change... Everyone else seems to like it allright.

On the up side, Michael LOVES All For One :)

- Seth

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Files

I've decided to put all the files in one place and link them. Maybe I'll upload them to BGDF at some point. Until then, here's where you can find stuff for those interested in looking:

Here are player mats and upgrade tiles... new and improved as of 4am 2/19/06 with Turn summary and better graphics:
http://www.dakotacom.net/~sej/terraprime/upgrades.pdf
Need 1 board per player (so print page 1 at least twice), but only 1 copy of all the tiles (print page 2 only once).

And here's the Tech Upgrade Chart:
http://www.dakotacom.net/~sej/terraprime/techtree.pdf

Blank Supply/Demand track... write in the values. Currently using
Red: 7/5/3/1/0
Green: 4/4/3/3/2/2/1/1/0
Blue: 2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2...
Yellow: 5/4/3/2/1/0
http://www.dakotacom.net/~sej/terraprime/SD.jpg

And of course the rules, which are also in the first post in this thread:
http://www.dakotacom.net/~sej/terraprime/TPrules.doc

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

I've been updating the files for Terra Prime left and right. I linked them a couple posts up. They're ready for Print-and-Play if anyone's interested. I'd like to thank clapjaws, who's already had a test session with it, and SenorOcho who is having one this week for trying it out, I look forward to your comments!

If you do try it, feel free to post your experience in this (or a new) thread. I know some people prefer to keep some of that to themselves, but I think there's no better place for it than a Game Design Forum!

- Seth

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

Check out the entry for Terra Prime at BGG: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/22485

At home I have a (not that great) pic to post now that the game entry is in the database.

- Seth

clapjaws
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Terra Prime V1.5

Wow - cool man! How did that come about? I'd put my 'playing' in, but thought you'd want to be the first :)

sedjtroll
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Terra Prime V1.5

I've been listing my plays of that as 'unpublished prototype'. Now that TP is in the database, I'll probably switch them over. I wish there was an easy way to do that :/

Gogolski
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Terra Prime V1.5

sedjtroll wrote:
I wish there was an easy way to do that :/
Delete entry, make new entry... Don't knowif it is doable otherwise.

Cheese!

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