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Tradewars - Homeworld

Hi all,

I figured I post a *Blog entry* to update my status on my Deck-Building game entitled "Tradewars - Homeworld".

A first prototype was designed and very quickly it came to be that this prototype was unplayable because there were too many cards. The total amount of cards was a whooping 158!

So I sat up one night trying to see what could be done to reduce the number of cards and still have an entertaining game. The conclusion I came to was to use BOTH sides of the card: one side was resources and the other was starship models, crews, weaponry and missions.

We abandoned the idea of using a *Code wheel* to *trade* resources at different values (with a market trend). Instead players now must choose which cards to use as money (quickSilver - qS) and which to put into play.

Now the game has been reduced to 70 cards (very reasonable with a maximum player's deck of 60 cards)!

My game also has currently 6 roles:
-Monarch: draw +2 cards
-Chancellor: preview 1 upgrade card
-Fleet Admiral: command up to 4 starships
-Captain: command 1 starship and draw +1 card
-Officer: bypass an upgrade without purchasing it
-Soldier: sabotage an opponent's upgrade
-Engineer: recycle up to 2 cards in your hand

There are 4 distinct scenarios (end game) for re-playability:
-Tradewars: Accumulate 1,500 qS
-Spacewars: Be the last one standing
-Days of Glory: Be the first player to build 5 cultural achievements
-The Derelict: Destroy an alien starship (Cooperative or solitaire game play)

I'm still working on the Beta prototype (70 card version)... Hopefully I will get to playtest the game by the weekend!

Comments

Thanks to...

The designers who posted comments on the following thread: http://www.bgdf.com/node/12511

I did take everyone advice and have studied various deck-building games. I have watched video about how the games are played as well as tutorials on the various cards used in the games.

I think the *NEW* prototype (v2) will be much less clumsy and still offer the original game's challenges.

One thing is for sure: 60 cards is STILL a large deck for a DBG. But with the new *Engineer* role, players can tweak and optimize their decks by discarding cards to the recycle pile.

I am still very *excited* about seeing a two (2) player game (once the 2nd prototype is completed)...

Early playtesting

Hi all,

Well after some EARLY playtesting (the game is still not finished - win or lose), I am very confident that the game WORKS! After having a couple of defunct prototypes (2 earlier versions), this is very positive news.

Currently I am trying the solitaire scenario (The Derelict) and resource management has also worked pretty well. This one player game is the only one I can test on my own (without other players). I still need to work up my defenses before taking on The Derelict (starship). So I need to accumulate more quickSilver (qS = money) and buy more upgrades in order to take on the alien vessel.

But so far, good news!

Early in-game stategy

So far my strategy has been simple: collect some money and try to buy a high outworld mission (earn you 36 or 50 qS, cost 65 to 80 qS to get in your deck). Then get the starships to be able to do the missions. This can earn you quite a lot of credit compared to standard "selling" of game resources (Food, Ore and Equipment). This is also good for military purposes (strong starships) which will be good later on in the game - when I battle The Derelict.

NOTE: I have determined that in a 2-4 player game, each player must defeat their own Derelict. But with the extra players, other players can help and pitch-in to defeat the vessel. In solitary game play, that is not possible since there is only one player playing...

The *Captain* role seems to be working pretty good also. Early on in the game, you would probably only want to have one mission going on - this implies using the *Captain* role and earning 5 cards (4 including upkeep and +1 card = 5 cards).

Printer on the fritz...

Damn, my laser printer has been acting up today: the toner level is low. It's lucky I found a place that sells those cartridges for half price! So 2 for the price of 1. I got through the cards (2nd set) and now I need to cut them... Hopefully should have the toner soon (in the next week)!

Starship battles

Okay, so now I have tested starship battles with The Derelict. The conclusion is that the player (solitaire) will destroy the starship fairly easy... In my play-through I lost 2 starships (weakest ones) but was able to hold off with 3 starships still undamaged. My homeworld was never in any real danger (too bad).

The Derelict does a sh!tload of damage: around 10 which is enough to destroy the shields of a small starship.

That is good, I wanted the ship to be a menace. But it did not prove to be such a daunting task to destroy it.

I had quite a powerful arsenal of ships in space (3) plus a weakling to attract the Derelict. It worked pretty good.

There is the other consideration about the Derelict's shield regeneration. I'm not sure if I should keep it or not. It would make it MORE difficult to defeat the alien starship... However it is HARD to erase individual shield points. This is also awkward because it would add more tension to beating the alien starship.

Play-testing also got me to realize that the Crew and Weapon cards needed to have their information redone. What I have done is place their information on the right-hand side of the cards. This avoids having to look beneath each pile to see how many gunmen there are or what the weapon rating is...

I will print out the new Crews and Weapons and playtest again.

New cards ready to print

I have finalized the *NEW* and improved cards which now show the card's stats on the right-hand side of the card. All that I need to do is print them out and cut them.

Early playtesting has shown that 12 cards were bought added to the 8 start cards which make for a deck of 20 cards. Worked pretty nice and is far from 60 card maximum. What I really like is the method for showing points (quickSilver) to the opponent is really intuitive and works well.

This is FAR from the original whooping 158 cards! That was an unrealistic amount of cards for a DBG.

I read through the comments.

I read through the comments. You've very much piqued my interest. Is there any way to get my hands on some playtesting materials?

Thanks for your interest

raiderrobert wrote:
I read through the comments. You've very much piqued my interest.

Thanks for your interest... Instead of having my own blog about the game, it was easier just to post information of BGDF for whomever wants to follow the game's progression...

raiderrobert wrote:
Is there any way to get my hands on some playtesting materials?

I don't have a rulebook/manual yet. I'm focused on testing the theoretical mechanics and seeing if they work in practice. I will be playtesting the game with more players soon. But currently my cards are in PDF format but are not ready for PnP (because there is currently no rulebook).

But I will keep updating the blog and if there comes a time where a PnP version is available, I will surely let you know! I may use The Game Crafter to produce a pre-release version. For now I don't even have a logo for the game yet! :)

New role: Chancellor

Special thanks to all the BGDF designers that posted on thread: http://www.bgdf.com/node/12592

The NEW role is the *Chancellor* and what it allows is to "Discard 3 cards to Preview 1 card".

I am still unsure about this role, it will need to be playtested further to determine if this is a viable role. This would be a 7th role (currently there are 6 roles).

Print and cut newest cards

So I got to printing and cutting the NEW cards for both the Crews (Military Acedemy) and Weapons (Engineering Plant). That was a total of 60 cards for 2 player game decks (30 each).

I like the added visibility that the new format provides: at a glance you can know your Crew Rating, # of Gunmen and Weapon Rating. This avoids having to always need to search the stack to know how each starship is configured for the different combat phases.

I hope to get a 2 player playtest this weekend (we'll see if it will be possible). I'll be visiting a friend and hopefully he can convince one of his friends to join us (He was a collector of Yu-Gi-Oh! CCG). Since his friends likes card games, he may want to try out this *bad boy*! ;)

Other updates, I have cemented the 15 *Research Facility* instant cards. That's right a 5th building will exist in your homeworld. The *Research Facility* will provide cards that you can play any time during space battle (even on an opponent's turn). They can help you sway a battle your way if played correctly. They always stay in your deck once you have purchased them from the Research Facility.

Another update is that the initial card count will go to 10 (from 8). That's right 2 cards from each homeworld installation (and there are 5: Starship Shipyard, Military Academy, Engineering Plant, Research Facility and Operations Central). This is a minor change but makes sense with the addition of the *Research Facility*.

Minor change

I decided to remove the "Shield Regenerator" from The Derelict starship (enhancement). It just made sense because it is *difficult* to restore shield points (small area on the card). This makes the cards count for the NEW version 90 cards.

Works out pretty nicely with The Game Crafter; that's 5 pages x 18 cards/page = 90 cards!

I may create a TGC version - or maybe just a *nicer* prototype... Not sure yet. I have contacted 1 publisher and they have told me to send them the game when it is ready! So far, so good...

Dual game played...

Well I completed a 2 hour session of playtesting the game. There are some issues with the pacing of the game. Namely it takes too LONG to destroy a starship, even the ones you start with initially. As my friend stated, it should take maybe 3-4 turns at most to destroy a ship... It took FOREVER! Plus with moving a starship (instant) card, it made it possible to spin around while your opponent has to destroy ALL the ships shields...

As usual roles were good - however they make me doubt the "Soldier" role (which is used for Sabotage). The reason I doubt this role is because your opponent's cards are WAY on the OTHER SIDE of the table... It takes real good eyesight to know when sabotaging a card would be actually useful.

"Selling" of resources was great... works very well now that it is only simple addition and subtraction (when you buy). This part is the *strong* part of the game.

What maybe needs more balancing are the *buy* amounts of cards. For one, I think buying of cards, especially the 80 qS cards is maybe high. We played the "Tradewars" scenario of which we probably earned less than 20% of the game after the 2 hours (yes - I have a lot of *tweaking* to do).

But the gaming experience was proof positive that the game has REAL merits. It has good (maybe great) potential just needs more ironing out (tweaking with amounts and starships).

We played the game "ignoring" the crew rating, it seems like yet another thing which is unnecessary to game play. It's ONE more thing to have to think about while playing and it most probably would slow down the game.

My focus should be: great trading (done) and great space battles (needs work). Amounts of individual cards need to be better balanced and "instant" cards will need a revision. They were COOL in that they added to the game - just need to find the right balance again (make sure no one card is TOO powerful).

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