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The Next King of Israel

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Piqsid
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Joined: 02/17/2010

I thought I should post this before the next round of GDS games come through.

This was my "Rebuilding Jerusalem" game that won the March GDS. I'm still not sold on the title, but I think it is better.

I have spent a lot of time on the game in the past few weeks (too much time) but I have completed my prototype and I might even get to play it tonight. Attached to this message are the rules (way more than 800 words), the game board, the score card, and the playing cards. The only thing missing from the attachments to play the game are resource cubes, population markers, and a few miscellaneous game pieces. I've used painted wooden cubes, pawns, and disks, for those items, which I obviously can't post, but I am working on a few graphics to make this a complete print and play so I can get some play testing from people.

I remember the first time I played Battlestar Galactica, I was a bit hesitant because I had never seen the TV show or movies. The people who I was playing with insisted that I didn't need to know about the story to enjoy the game. I just might miss out on some of the flavor text. They were right.

I do not know how a game based on the Bible will be received. The game is not intended to be preachy or force religion on anyone. Yes, there are 52 cards that each have a different Bible verse as "Flavor Text." Yes, there are events about Idol worship, and Prophets who improve your Spiritual score. But I don't see Bible knowledge (or belief) as a prerequisite to playing (or enjoying) the game. Even Christians who have attended church all their life might be completely unfamiliar with the books of Ezra and Nehemiah on which this game is based.

I will put out a request for play testers, and I think I will even offer to printout and ship the game to people willing to test it, but I don't know how it will be received.

Comments are welcome.

Brykovian
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Very cool looking game.

Very cool looking game. There's a lot going on, so I will need to take a slower/closer read-through of it.

As for your theme ... it seems you are more going for a historic approach, with the Bible as your main historic text ... so, as long as you bring out the flavor of the situation (subjects of the Babylonian empire building their city for independence, etc.), that seems to play like a lot of the medieval and other periodic-based games.

Of course, as soon as you add-in the Bible, you will get reactions based just on that ingredient. ;-)

Good luck in your development!
-Matt

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Still looks cool

I thought this game looked cool when it was in the GDS, and it continues to look cool now. I haven't finished reading the rules yet, but wouldn't mind trying the game out.

I have a few questions based on the turn sequence reference on the board:

Why is there an event IMMEDIATELY upon completion of part of the city, and later in the turn otherwise? I suppose sometimes there could be more than 1 event in a turn, if multiple Walls or gates or whatever are finished, but how different do you think it would be if you just always had an Event during the Event phase and either never upon completion instead, or else always upon completion IN ADDITION?

The Restock says to add 1 cube to each of the 5 locations in the resource area... I imagine that's each of the 5 locations in EACH resource area, right?

I've read the rules now, sounds like it could be cool. Not sure about the effects of the Events and Prophets and how important they'll be. How easy will it be to simply ignore the events because you're tracks are high enough? Then again, how hard will it be to have each of your tracks high enough!

Piqsid
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Joined: 02/17/2010
Thanks for the feedback

To answer your question on events I need to give a little background. When the challenge was posted, I thought about it briefly, but sort of tucked into the back of my mind. I do this with a lot of ideas I get, and then when I am watching TV or reading a book, something triggers the idea. For me, it was the book of Nehemiah. We were reading it for family devotions at dinner and it details all the problems Nehemiah was having rebuilding the city. The more progress they made to complete the city, the more opposition they got. There were letters to the king to get them to stop, there were threats of violence, and all sorts of other things. So when I made the connection between this story and the game idea, I wanted to be as accurate as possible. Therefore I wanted to make the goal of the game to be to complete the city, but for every progress you made, you needed opposition.

Right now I have 24 events in the game. There is almost no way all of those will come out. If I only had an event once per turn, even fewer will come out. Your concern about just being able to ignore the events by maintaining a high enough score in the other areas doesn’t seem doable to me, and that is because of the battles. The average die roll is 3.5. If you have 6 workers at the wall, and you have a battle there, you would expect to get a total roll of about 21. The weakest a battle can be at the wall is 21 (20 + 1st turn). That means for every turn after the first, you are going to have to spend points from your Spiritual, Military, and Financial to bolster your rolls. Even if you have 8 people at the wall, and the battle looks easy to win, there are bonus points going to the person who contributes the most, so people still might spend points from their scores. Trying to balance how much you spend with how much you need to stay ahead of the events will be tricky.

Yes to your question on resources. There are 20 spots (5 per resource) to fill each turn. With only 16 workers, there will always at be 4 spots each round that will more than one resource, but they will be at the bottom of the line, meaning the first player can’t just grab them and the maneuvering to try and get the ones you want seems like it would be very strategic to me. Of course, I have to play it first.

And I’m not ignoring your comments about the events. After a few play tests, I might trim down the events an only have one each turn. But right now I want to have as many disruptions to the building as possible, not only to reenact the historical account, but also to make the game more than just placing workers and moving wooden cubes around. Theme seems to be very important to people, and I want the players to share in the frustrations and turmoil that Nehemiah experienced.

sedjtroll
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Piqsid wrote:Therefore I

Piqsid wrote:
Therefore I wanted to make the goal of the game to be to complete the city, but for every progress you made, you needed opposition.

That makes sense, but why NOT have an event during the event phase when you did have them earlier? It just seems like a weird exception. Why not have 1 Event every turn PLUS 1 event per section completed? Would that be too many?

Piqsid wrote:
Your concern about just being able to ignore the events by maintaining a high enough score in the other areas doesn’t seem doable to me, and that is because of the battles. The average die roll is 3.5. If you have 6 workers at the wall, and you have a battle there, you would expect to get a total roll of about 21. The weakest a battle can be at the wall is 21 (20 + 1st turn). That means for every turn after the first, you are going to have to spend points from your Spiritual, Military, and Financial to bolster your rolls. Even if you have 8 people at the wall, and the battle looks easy to win, there are bonus points going to the person who contributes the most, so people still might spend points from their scores. Trying to balance how much you spend with how much you need to stay ahead of the events will be tricky.

That sounds cool.

This sounds like a really neat game. I'd really like to hear how it goes after you get a chance to playtest it - be sure to post!

After you play it, if you find that it turns out to be good and you refine it a little, I'd probably like to give it a shot. I'll follow your posts here about it.

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