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Chrysopoeia - a Steampunk-themed game of Alchemy, battles, and resourcing is up on Tabletopia

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Rick L
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Victorian Domain

Hi everyone, I've only been a member here for a couple months, but I've been gaining a lot from these forums and have enjoyed participating in some of the discussions.

I've been play-testing my first major board game project/prototype for the past 9 months, just with family & friends, but I've finally been able to get the game setup on Tabletopia.

I only have a 2 player setup ready, and my laptop is slightly below the minimum requirements, so I was able to upload everything and edit the setup, but I can't actually load the published version! I'll eveuntually have a 4 player and a 6 player version up, but if anyone is interested in checking it out, just start Tabletopia and enter "Chrysopoeia" in the search!

Here's a link to the PDF Manual:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7M6p5OME_94cE1xQTBNOTBhUDA/view?usp=sh...

Chrysopoeia (Greek term for "transmutation into gold") is a game for 2-6 players, where each person controls a domain of resource-generating facilities and is seeking the elusive, mystical substance known as the Philosopher's Stone.

In a world of steam-powered contraptions and anachronistic Aether technology, players must manage their resource production by placing workers in their facilities, and spend resources to build Strike, Defense, Transport, and Aether Science upgrades. Use gauges and needles to track your steam pressure production and how it is allocated and stored. Build up a supply of Rare Earth chemicals, which are the essential ingredients for your Alchemy experiments. These experiments will lead players to claim the title of Prime Alchemist when the long-sought Philosopher’s Stone is at last created!

ElKobold
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Sounds rather cool. I'll take

Sounds rather cool. I'll take a look after the madness of pre-Essen preparations is over :)

Rick L
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ElKobold wrote:Sounds rather

ElKobold wrote:
Sounds rather cool. I'll take a look after the madness of pre-Essen preparations is over :)

Thanks! Just a quick note on the prototype artwork - this is by no means the final artwork for the game, it mostly consists of photoshopped textures and items from around my house and neighborhood, with some copyright free clipart and a few sketches of mine thrown in! While most of the cards are done, the deck of Strategy cards doesn't have any detailed artwork yet, other than the borders, backgrounds, and labeling. The game is completely playable, but I'll update those graphics here and there as I go.

Rick L
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Here's a little bit more to

Here's a little bit more to describe the theme of my game. This is an excerpt from my WIP thread on BGG.

As I considered all the fun steampunk-type themes that I wanted to include, I looked for a way to have them all fit in with the whole game concept as naturally as possible. Goggles and other laboratory contraptions help with Alchemy. Trains, Ironclad ships, and Airships aid with resource bonuses and battle, Strike and Defense upgrades give you cool things like rayguns, Vortex Directors, and Plasma Curtains. Aether Science gives useful bonuses as you work towards a Time Machine, which allows players to "travel back in time" and re-roll any part of your turn for better results. Vampires either attack in hordes or stalk your workers in disguise.

Rick L
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Trying to settle on the best

Trying to settle on the best idea for displaying the various upgrades in this game, their costs, and the different bonuses. Some bonuses are just numeric, such as "+3 to Defense", etc. Others are more descriptive, such as "Draw 1 bonus Rare-Earth card each turn".

I was trying to use reference cards with some images, but they were too big, so I tried labeling them on each player's Domain board (Domain boards consist of resources at the top, control panel in the center, and upgrades at the 4 corners of the control panel).

I feel like, while it works, it's a bit cluttered, and still doesn't leave me room to put all the details in.

So I think my latest solution is to just make double-sided reference cards for each of the 4 categories of upgrades, and place those cards on the boards. That way, they don't take up any more room on the table. Any time you need to check the details of one of the upgrades, you can turn over the card to read more. I've been using gear tokens placed next to the upgrades to indicate which ones you have built. (The Tabletopia version currently has a slightly different setup - no gears, just individual "ingot" tokens for each upgrade, which can be flipped over to read the back).

Any better ideas out there?? I'm hoping some of you might have some different perspectives to help me see outside of my own "box" of ideas!

I was going to add a picture of one of the upgrade categories, but doesn't look like the forum page allows me to attach an image to a reply...???

Rick L
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New prototype

Finally got a new prototype printed up from the Game Crafter! Unfortunately, this game has a lot of cards and components, so it's just under $150 (including shipping). Here are some photos showing just one player board with the rest of the components. Each player has their own board which serves as a control panel and a panel for resource facilities.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B7M6p5OME_94bTBXUkVBdHJaV0E

Because it's fairly expensive, and the number and types of components make it a poor PnP candidate. It's been in play-testing for almost a year now, and while that sounds hefty, it really only amounts to about 20 games! There have been a total of 13 people who've played.

Any ideas on how to get more play-testing done? There are 2 prototypes, and there's a 2 player setup on Tabletopia, free to play (the manual needs a few graphics to be updated but otherwise it's mostly up to date).

Rick L
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I want to thank Elkobold for

I want to thank Elkobold for his post on another thread, regarding mechanics you don't like - he mentioned collecting things or actions that don't have a clear trigger or queue. This has been the main thing about my game that I felt was clunky - too many things to remember to gather at the beginning of each turn, especially as upgrades get built that give begin-turn bonuses.

Player cards with a list was one solution, but I still wasn't happy with it. After thinking about it all day yesterday, I settled on 4 tokens that represent the collection/reset actions at the beginning of each turn. Players pass each token to the next player as they take the associated action. If you don't have all the upgrades for all 4 actions, either ignore those tokens or keep passing them to the next player who does.

I did consider some alternative ways to acquire the growing variety of begin-turn items, but not sure they work as well thematically. Still, I have those ideas written down in case they end up developing into something later, even if it's in another game.

Anyway, if you read this Elkobold, thanks for the incentive to attack this problem that's been plaguing my game! I tried it out in a short play test last night, and it's going to work! For now anyway - might still come up with something better, but at least no one has to consult a list each turn...

Rick L
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Latest prototype

Also, just uploaded a photo of the new prototype from TGC. Only has one player board set up in the pic.

Had to put one up showing the cool 3D printed metal dice from Shapeways too! Eventually I want to get some engraved dice for the Alchemy - you can see in the pic they're just stickers.

Here's an example of the Alchemy "Prima Materia" cards- thanks questccg!

*** This is a sample of the boiler syntax ***

So a quick explanation of the above card - on the left are your ingredients you need to have collected to do the experiments on the card. From top to bottom, ingredients are Saltes, Alkalis, and Oxides.

You roll the 5 Alchemy dice and try to match the results to one row of experiment reactions on the right at a time.

Some dice results will be the Flames of Chaos - each flame destroys one ingredient, so it's best to have extra ingredients on hand. Apparatus cards allow you to save ingredients from the Flames, or allow you to change one die result to a specific symbol, or add the mystic die, which has no Flames, but 2 Chrysopoeia symbols instead (those are wild).

Rick L
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Inspiration from the Board Game Design Lab!

After listening to Gabe's interview with Jerry Hawthorne about the importance of Story in games, I got to thinking that it was time I worked some more story elements into my game. While I had a "concept" of a backstory, I had never fleshed it out in writing!

So I added some to what could be the intro of my game. Here it is:

"Chrysopoeia: Lords of Alchemy

The Domains of Chrysopoeia abound with ores and the mystical elements of the Cosmos, a prime location for the wise Alchemy Lords to thrive as they delve into the mysteries of their science.

But the formless tides of Chaos have begun to manifest throughout the lands of Chrysopoeia. The Alchemy Lords, with their insatiable desire for the deepest of mysteries, have broken too many laws of the Cosmos, and now strange werebeasts and vampiric horrors roam free. Chaotic vortices sweep the Domains with their twisting, malevolent winds, and have left many structures of men in ruins.

Bitter rivalries have arisen between the Alchemy Lords, as each blames the others for the unleashing of this unpredictable Chaos. And so, these Lords isolated themselves, each creating their own small legion of loyal apprentices and worker golems to sustain their foundries and factories, thus buying themselves time to restore Order to the world.

Chrysopoeia (Greek term for "transmutation into gold") is a game for 2-4 players, where each person controls a domain of resource-generating facilities and is seeking the elusive, mystical substance known as the Philosopher's Stone - the key to purifying the Four Elements of the Cosmos. With the Philosopher's Stone, the portals of Chaos could be sealed again, and Order would be restored to Chrysopoeia once more.

In a world of steam-powered contraptions and anachronistic Aether technology, players must manage their resource production by animating worker golems and placing them in their resource facilities. Players spend resources to build Transport and Aether Science upgrades, laboratory equipment, or to tame the power of Chaos and harness it for battle. Use gauges and needles to track your Steam power, harnessed Chaos, and even the Essence of the Aether itself. Build up a supply of Rare Earth chemicals, which are the essential ingredients for your Alchemy experiments. These experiments will lead players to claim the title of Prime Alchemist when the long-sought Philosopher’s Stone is at last created!

It may be too much for the back of a game box, but if so, I could just stick with the last 2 paragraphs, and have the rest in the manual intro. What do you folks think?

Since I'll have a reference card for each player stating the few different ways game resources are used, I think I'm going to do a Character for the other side of the reference cards. Just an image, a brief bio, and probable a small special ability unique to each character - it's a 1-4 player game, but I'll probably have 6 characters to choose from. Gonna work on those next!

Rick L
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I'm working hard on revising

I'm working hard on revising my rulebook - the current Tabletopia setup has some major changes but the rules there are outdated. I should be finished with them this weekend.

My old setup had permanently placed worker cubes that you can add (up to certain limits) to your resource facilities, then have battles to try to capture or eliminate each other's workers.

It worked, it was balanced out well, but something just wasn't sitting right! There were too many things to remember to do at the beginning of each turn, and the battles just didn't feel too necessary. They might slow someone a bit, but it was too easy to just ignore the battles, build some defenses just in case, and work on your Alchemy.

Now, with workers being golem creatures that you must animate each turn and send to the facilities you want, it's much easier to remember what to do to begin your turn. Battles are all of a sudden a big focus, yet still short enough to keep the game flowing.

Overall, it feels like we've been playing this game the wrong way for the past year! It has a much more thematic feel as well, so I'm going to focus on play testing this version for a while & make sure it can hold up. Still not gonna throw out the old manual just yet tho!

Rick L
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Quick overview of golem workers

Here's a basic description of how the golems work:

Your 3 workers are golems, so they must be animated each round using the same 5 Alchemy dice as are used in the other experiments.

There are several symbols on the dice, so you select 3 results to place on the 3 workers. The various symbols will determine how much of a resource they can bring back, how much is left behind in the wastelands between players, or if something other than the intended resource is brought back (strategic cards or points that will help you compete for the growing supply of resources left in the wastelands).

So you will always get something from your workers, it just might not be what you had hoped, or not as much as you'd hoped, but you still have choices of how to apply your dice results to the 3 workers.

Adam Leamey
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I would be willing to give

I would be willing to give your game a whirl i want to try and help fellow designers not sure how to go about arranging a game with you.

Rick L
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Cool, I'll send a PM soon and

Cool, I'll send a PM soon and we'll see what we can do to coordinate a time to try it. Thanks!

Rick L
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New rulebook updated

Finished the updates to the manual, both on Tabletopia and on my Google Drive link.

I left some space to use on page 2 for the Character cards I still need to do, but they're not essential to the game, more for flavor/story.

EDIT: I realized I only updated the manual for the Tabletopia "Chrysopoeia Lords of Alchemy" game, not the original version, which is still on there but needs fixing.

Here's the link

https://tabletopia.com/games/chrysopoeia-lords-of-alchemy

Adam Leamey
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I must say i am impressed

I must say i am impressed with the quality of your rulebook and prototype did you get someone to create them for you?

Rick L
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Thanks! I did all the graphic

Thanks! I did all the graphic design, with help from my wife on some of the cards (she does graphic design too). It's all stuff I've picked up on over the years.

I did everything on Photoshop. There were some graphic ideas that turned out pretty horrible - which my wife helped a lot in guiding me to better ideas. Got some helpful ideas from Questccg on here too!

I'm not sure if it's "final" artwork yet, at least as far as online publishing, but it has definitely come a long way!

Also, all of the strategy card images are public domain archival type images, mostly from WWI.

Rick L
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Thanks Adam and BHFuturist

Thanks Adam and BHFuturist for all the great ideas the other day! Been dealing with a major internet outage in our area but I'm working on a couple of changes to try on my player boards, & got a few ideas for making better use of steam & apprentices for getting the strategy and apparatus cards.

Hopefully I'll have the revised strategy cards ready to upload too. I've been looking at other examples of dual/multi purpose cards, like Adam's spectrum force and mage Knight. Got some better ideas for the issues with combat too!

I'm happy to hear whatever else might've occurred to you guys since as possible ideas to try - thanks again!

Rick L
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Character cards: The Alchemy Lords!

Here's an example of a couple of the 6 Alchemy Lord character cards, featuring my lovely wife on one, and myself on the other (it was a random shot in a steampunk hat, so not the best, but goes with the steampunk theme at least lol!)

The backs of the cards will have some game reference info - not sure my current layout is what i'm happiest with, but working on that.

Going to try to update the manual again over the weekend, so all the stuff on these character cards will be included!

Rick L
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Well following my wife's

Well following my wife's suggestion that I was trying to fit too much info on a single card, I took her advice and just put the character and quote on the front of the card, and the special Alchemy "spells" on the back that give common and unique bonuses for each Alchemy Lord.

I'll have to do 4 smaller cards for game reference info. I thought it would be nice to have everything on a single jumbo card, but it seemed too cluttered to me too.

questccg
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I too agree

Rick L wrote:
Well following my wife's suggestion that I was trying to fit too much info on a single card, I took her advice and just put the character and quote on the front of the card, and the special Alchemy "spells" on the back that give common and unique bonuses for each Alchemy Lord.

I've been following your progress... and I agree, there was too much information on one side of the mat. This version looks cleaner. And who really cares about the Character and blurb - when actually playing the game.

Good choice!


And I just wanted to add that I visited the Tabletopia website to try your game. But then the amount of rules overwhelmed me, I was not expecting over 20 pages worthwhile of reading (Sorry).

Anyways I just wanted to tell you that I did SEE the game and did quickly glance over the rules - but was a bit surprised by the amount of reading required to play the game.

Don't worry - nothing bad. My own game has 20 pages too. It seems like when writing rules, it takes more pages than we could anticipate.

Again ... looking good. Maybe I'll take a second look at the rules put up in Tabletopia sometime next week.

Cheers!

Rick L
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Thanks for checking it out!

Thanks for checking it out! I'll be sure to post when the manual updates are done, and I've tried to use examples with graphics to help with explanations. That being said, I've done a lot of novel and short story writing, and that might show through a bit in the manual!

Rick L
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Sooner than I thought!

I didn't think I'd have time or energy tonight, but I started working on the manual, and got caught up in it & finished all the rule changes! There are a couple things that might need to be moved around a bit, but the rules are again current with the Tabletopia setup.

Edit note: I'll work on a rules summary sheet next!

Rick L
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Set up on the table

Well I got a few replacement pieces and cards from the Game Crafter recently, so I wanted to set up the game in it's full 4 player glory! I doubt we'll actually play it tonight.

I realize the wood engravings under the glass of the table are kind of "busy", and doesn't make the best contrast but was the only place to do it!

Rick L
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Better close up? This is just

Better close up? This is just my lousy phone camera

The Odd Fox
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Beautiful Game!

I know I told you this earlier but I thought I'd say it again. This game is really beautiful! I really love what you've done with it!

Adam Leamey
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Nice pictures your prototype

Nice pictures your prototype is reall well done.

Rick L
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Thanks guys! I'm much happier

Thanks guys! I'm much happier with this version over my original prototype.

Even though a lot of progress has been made in getting the rules and mechanics all ironed out, it's still a work in progress, so for anyone interested in the Tabletopia version, I try to keep the manual as current as I can, so that it at least matches up with all the in-game graphics and components.

I've got a couple friends who are pretty good craftsmen, and I was thinking of eventually having them help me to make a personalized copy of the game made with real wood for the Domain boards (control panels). I think it would be awesome to use real gauge components too, and maybe even rig up some battery powered Edison bulbs, so you turn it on when it's your turn.

Like I said, that would just be for a personal edition, not for production, but I think it would be pretty cool! Now if I could also figure out how to work in moving metal gears and have steam leaking out from around the gauges... Lol!

Of course, the rules need to be 100% set in stone before I try to get those made - re-prints would be a nightmare!

The Odd Fox
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Edison Bulbs and Turning Gears

Well, I hope once you move into my neck of the woods you'll have those light up bulbs because that takes this experience to an entirely new level! I want to play your game anyhow, however, with that kind of detail I couldn't resist!

Rick L
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The Odd Fox wrote:Well, I

The Odd Fox wrote:
Well, I hope once you move into my neck of the woods you'll have those light up bulbs because that takes this experience to an entirely new level! I want to play your game anyhow, however, with that kind of detail I couldn't resist!

I'm hoping by mid summer I can be close enough to done with rule testing & get my personal "custom deluxe" Steampunk boards built - I agree it would add a cool new dimension to the experience!

Here's a pic I found to portray the idea:

Those aren't Edison bulbs but that's what I'd use instead - you get the idea right?

The Odd Fox
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Fantastic!

That would be amazing as a designer's only version of the game!

Rick L
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Something weird is going on

Something weird is going on with my image links - the pics are hosted on BGG, but seem to be on and off broken links today...

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