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Astrogami

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hotsoup
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Here's a mechanic I'm playing with that others might find interesting.

The table has 6 planet tiles, which are not touching each other. Players on the planets needs to bring them together to trade or fight, since the gulf of space is too vast to cross.

To do so, they have to fold space. Each game uses a hexagonal sheet of tracing paper (so it's translucent) with a starmap printed on it. The six planets are printed on each of the six corners, and there are 30 carefully positioned lines ("seams") crisscrossing the sheet. At the beginning of the game, and over the course of it, the players buy folds in space. When they do so, they take a marker in their color and draw a line over the seam that they wish to claim.

On a player's turn, he folds space. He can only fold the paper along lines that are colored in, and when he does so, he must pay its owner. He can fold multiple times, contorting space into new configurations, with the object being to make two or more planets overlap (the paper can be held up to the light to see). When he is done, planets that are touching are made adjacent on the table, and fighting/trading commences.

Then the paper is unfolded and the next player has a go. Of course, the game would have to include a pad of these papers.

federicolatini
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Tumbs up

This is the smarter, cooler, harder to realize idea I've ever read in a board game design forum, if you kickstart this i'll be the first to back you up!

ledbetter_13
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Joined: 02/26/2012
Like the idea but think it

Like the idea but think it will be cumbersome in practice with that many folds. Most of my friends would want to fold every fold and see the results before buying, so I can see this taking a really long time. Not only does it take a long time for one person to make a decision to buy, but folding the board takes away from the time other players have to study the board and make a decision. With that and the manufacturing problem of having to include (and repurchase) a pad of boards, I might look at other angles for the same gameplay (i.e., black holes for transport to a specifically labeled planet), or make it a simpler dexterity kids game. This obviously takes away from the uniqueness, so hopefully playtesting will show I'm dead wrong.

hotsoup
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Thanks for the encouraging

Thanks for the encouraging feedback, guys. So far the prototyping has gone well. I'm just cutting tracing paper to the right size, and then running it through my printer. Seems to work great. The manufacturing challenge of making a pad of these papers is going to be a different story, but I'll have to talk to manufacturers about it.

The deal with this game is that the number of possible contortions of space is quickly going to reach an exponentially enormous level, just because of the emergent complexity of the system. No one will be able to try them all, but once I get farther in my design, I'll probably make a video demonstrating how it works, so that people will be able to see how the strategy works.

I definitely plan to kickstart this as soon as it gets to a polished level of playability, so I'll be sure to keep BGDF updated on the progress as I go. I think I can get a picture up the design up on here soon.

My trouble is now to work out the rest of the mechanics. In other words, what is the object of the game once players make planets adjacent? The core space folding mechanic is the most interesting, but you have to give players interesting choices that branch from this.

One idea I had was to make it a kind of abstract war game, where players had numbers of units on different planets, and they would attack each other through a blind bidding system. You could discard units on a planet to build a base there, or buy a new seam, and folding along another players seam would give him more units. So you might want to fold space to get your troops to attack another world, but in the process reinforce that world if you didn't fold right. If a player built a base on all 6 worlds he one.

However, I could go in a more euro direction and have some sort of economic/trading goal.

Any suggestions?

hotsoup
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Here's the starmap prototype.

Here's the starmap prototype. http://www.bgdf.com/node/6592

ledbetter_13
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Joined: 02/26/2012
If you go the euro route, I

If you go the euro route, I like the idea of having to combine alien resources/technology from different planets to incentivize a lot of space travel. Certain folds may be able to combine those specific planets as well. Best of luck.

hotsoup
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I'm thinking of going a

I'm thinking of going a colonization route, where you're trying to get your civilization to spread the farthest. That seems pretty family friendly and helps avoid player elimination.

I'm hesitant to make the non-space-folding elements of the game too complicated, since that one mechanic is probably strange enough to take up most of the player's time.

Any thoughts? How meaty should a game with a new mechanic like this try to be?

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