Skip to Content

California Space Academy - a team formation game

5 replies [Last post]
firstcultural
Offline
Joined: 09/11/2014

I've been floating this idea around for a bit and finally the concept solidified. Would love to hear some feedback and thoughts.

The premise:
---------------------
3+ players. Players are students at a space academy. The goal is to acquire the skills and resources to carry out missions and score points.

As these missions require more than one player to participate in, a central part of the game is trying to decide what skills to acquire to be the most appealing candidate for other players to add to a team.

Each player also has personal goals that score them points if achieved. Players also start with different strengths and weaknesses. I'm imagining a student ID style card that provides a bit of backstory as well.

On a typical turn, players move their character around the campus, acquiring skills by going to class, earning money by working, or improving health by resting. Missions can be carried out at some of the campus buildings, while big ones like going into space require moving to special areas like the launch facility.

To successfully carry out a mission, the players participating must have the necessary skills - though these can be spread out among team members. For example, building a satellite might require Grantwriting, Electrical Engineering, and Aerospace skills, and Player 1 has two of them while Player 2 has the other one.

Many of the skills will have prereqs, for example, one would have to study history before studying formation of societies. As players move into advanced research and fieldwork, their studies will also change some game rules, reflecting a change in technology or social systems.

I'm presently aiming for a 60 minute game length and rules simple enough for casual gamers.

andymakespasta
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2015
I like it

I like it.

One thing I can't grasp is how the game board works.
If I went to the launchpad for a mission, do I wait there until everyone needed shows up? What if other players decide: nah, screw this guy, do I get stranded there until I give up?

If you want to penalize attempting projects solo, maybe abstract it some other way?

About the theme, I like astronauts, but maybe give the thing either a sci-fi, space cowboyish twist; or make the process bureaucratic and complicated with favourtism and backbiting.

firstcultural
Offline
Joined: 09/11/2014
Andy In some missions, only

Andy

In some missions, only one person has to be there, in others, like going to the launchpad, everyone has to be present, and players may need to assist each other in getting there.

Thematically it will contain a lot of classic sci-fi flavor, merged with academic/bureaucratic humor, i.e. spaceship parking permits, not having enough time to study before a final due to traveling near light speed, getting financial aid for housing on the moon, etc.

andymakespasta wrote:
I like it.

One thing I can't grasp is how the game board works.
If I went to the launchpad for a mission, do I wait there until everyone needed shows up? What if other players decide: nah, screw this guy, do I get stranded there until I give up?

If you want to penalize attempting projects solo, maybe abstract it some other way?

About the theme, I like astronauts, but maybe give the thing either a sci-fi, space cowboyish twist; or make the process bureaucratic and complicated with favourtism and backbiting.

andymakespasta
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2015
Nice, academic humor is

Nice, academic humor is always great.

Have you designed it to be very competitive or relaxed?
Because it's really hard to cooperate if things are very competitive.

What ways to the players interact with each other other than teaming up for missions? Is this more of a "struggle for limited slots" type game or "manage and plan your career" type game?

I understand you you said about the rules, but I don't "get" what the game is about.

Zag24
Offline
Joined: 03/02/2014
I like the idea of forming

I like the idea of forming teams in which the players want to cooperate, at least for the one mission, even though they are rivals in the game. The best example of this, I think, is Vivajava, which you should check out if you're not already familiar with it: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/103660/vivajava-coffee-game

However, I would not like it if the requirement to have partner(s) on the missions feels artificial -- If I have the skills within my own staff, I'd like to be able to do it solo and reap all the rewards. VivaJava does force the cooperation, but it doesn't feel as contrived as I think it would in your game, if you forced it similarly. I'm not sure why I feel that way -- perhaps because the whole "mission selection" in that game is so contrived, anyway, that it falls under 'suspension of disbelief' and I don't think more about it.

---

There has to be some significant opportunity costs for players who spend their first few turns just educating their minions. From Lords of Waterdeep: There are buildings you can build/buy/obtain which provide new opportunities for all players. You get a small benefit each time another player uses them and you get to use them more cheaply. This would provide the incentive to rush to do missions even though you're not ready to do them by yourself -- to obtain the building before someone else does, and soon enough that it gets plenty of use.

This approach would provide a nice transition for your game: Early on players have one of two strategies: Either acquire the skills necessary to get the best buildings, or be a contrarian and acquire those skills the others are neglecting to increase your bargaining position later. Once those are bought up, the skills that were needed to acquire them should become less useful, but the benefit of having the buildings should compensate. Meanwhile, there are other, higher-victory-point goals that the contrarians might have a head start on, and the gamble is that the benefit of owning the buildings gives the ability to catch up.

firstcultural
Offline
Joined: 09/11/2014
My goal is a relaxed game,

My goal is a relaxed game, potentially suitable for kids and teenagers who would get excited about college by playing it. Definitely more on the "manage and plan your career" side. There would be collective goals that score points for two more players if achieved. The overall tagline is "Follow your dreams, Shape our future".

I've played Lords of Waterdeep before and I like the multiple choices at the beginning idea.

Will do some concept artwork next to help develop the flavor of the game, as it will be story and atmosphere driven.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut