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The Final Reformation

Intro Page

This is where I will post resources for investigating the game design process of The Final Reformation. I will provide seven areas (still under development) that you can explore to understand more of the mechanics, art, direction, theme, and even game play. Thank you, and know that feedback is always welcome.

#1 Theme

The Final Reformation (working title) is a fictional, yet scripture inspired account of the battle for truth in the distant future. The Church is corrupt, world powers are collapsing, and Christ's name is far from view. You, a team of radical modern disciples (RMD) are to minister to the world with the truth of Christ's name once more, gathering the inheritance of God from the ends of the earth. You must work together in effectively ministering to the populations of the world while also managing your own ministry. When encountering this world, we must always remember the words of Paul:

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." -Ephesians 6:12

#2 Major Game Elements

- High player interaction (Co-op)
- 1 - 4 players
- 20- 60 minutes
- Deck customization(pregame)
- Rodel action/turn mechanic
- Deep card/action interactions
- Personal and Communal Engine builder
- Unlimited Replay value
- Simplistic game components (cubes and cards)
- Freedom of choice; high skill ceiling

#3 Graphics: UPDATED 8/8/17

Current Designs

#4 Work Bench: UPDATED 8/15/17

Current Progress

#5 Rule Book: UPDATED 10/06/17

The Final Reformation Rules

Beta Rules Completed

#6 Tabletop Simulator/Tabletopia

*Under Construction*

#7 Print and Play

*UNAVAILABLE*

Comments

HUGE UPDATE

I gained some inspiration, rearranged some things, and it did some incredible things. Rules are updated to show all current changes.

This IS huge.

Possible fix to the harvest action

I think I may have come up with an idea that will help the Harvest action as well as the entire game.

Current Issue:

#1: Harvest action is not interesting or strategic

Current Solutions:

#1: Adding a map that goes along with the Location card. You will place a pawn on the map and move it around. Landing on certain spaces and staying them triggers an option, while passing through some will do the same. Player's will traverse through the map, introducing a more personal journey to the game (you feel more like a missionary!).

I will be developing a test map and try this out soon.

Beta Test #6

There are two main issues I see currently:

#1 The Harvest action is underwhelming, uninteresting, and makes the end game a bit weird (it promotes not reaching all of the populations... not a good principle)

#2 The Grow action seems to not fit well (just another action). Needs to be stronger and more defined.

#3 The Water action is uninteresting and frustrating. Needs to feel like you are building up and gaining more options.

The following are what I plan to do:

#1 I'm actually not sure yet. Something to do with balancing reached populations vs. unreached.

#2 Might rework the Pray and Serve option. I have to keep in mind that I haven't tested multiplayer (co-op) yet so this may change, but it is still an awkward action.

#3 I am actually working on reworking the Identity decks (your decks in game consisting of 30 Characteristic cards and 5 Sin cards). The following are the changes:

5 Blessed tactic cards with a maximum of one each. Only used from your primary Characteristic.
5 Skillful tactic cards with a maximum of one each (instead of two). All used from your primary, you may choose any amount from your secondary (maximum of 10 total tactics of any kind from secondary).
5 Common tactic cards with a maximum of two each (instead of three). All used from your primary, you may choose any amount from your secondary (maximum of 10 total tactics of any kind from secondary).

Instead of each tactic having two Support abilities (formerly known as Watering Tools) each tactic will only have one Support ability. During the Plant action, if you place a tactic as an outreach on a population that already has an outreach, slide the old outreach card down and place the new outreach card on top so that both abilities show. Support abilities gain an additional fruit of any kind to execute the Support ability for every outreach card above it. You can have any number of outreach cards on any given population.

This allows players to feel like they are building their support. It will also reduce some decisions needed as the number of abilities has been reduced on each card. The number of abilities you have out at a given time will be just about the same. Once I rework the Harvest action, this will make it much smoother and more interesting. What this means though is more design editing. Will it be worth it? Will it help or make things worse? Are there other changes that are more pressing? I'll be working on figuring that out soon.

Beta Test #5

I am going to streamline the faith die a bit.

#1 Not enough tension per roll of the die

#2 Keeping track of how many blanks you received was annoying

Solution:

#1/#2 If you roll an "X" you cannot use the faith die for the remainder of the interactions.

New faith die face configuration: 1=X, 2=blank, 3=blank, 4=1, 5=2, 6=2 +1 Softened population

This is quite neat. Each roll is now pretty intense and the average amount of rolls per plant action is about the same (3-4) in terms of statistics. Rolling a blank isn't nearly as bad anymore and I like that. Rolling a 6 is still AWESOME, but now, rolling a 1 will really ruin your day. This is super cool as you might be really confident on your first or second roll and find yourself locked out from using the faith die sooner than you would have hoped. Or, you might stay in a bit longer, still, blanks are not good, but they aren't terrible. Also, when you don't roll a 1 you feel like you're cheating the die and getting away with more rolls as opposed to rolling three blanks; only after rolling two was it ever REALLY intense. I like this A LOT. Streamlines the plant action quite well while preserving its intensity (actually increasing it!!).

Beta Test #4

Starting to reach equilibrium with the Passion/Action track. With the new pre-action, Study, allowing you to draw cards every turn, I was gaining WAY too much Action. This was because card draw is so important and needed. So I came up with a nifty solution to the following issues:

#1 Too much action gain

#2 The Pray grow option is unused and thus the Rejoice action is underpowered.

Solution:

#1/#2 You draw the two cards used to complete an answered prayer when you Rejoice.

This does two things. First, it gives you another way to gain card draw (specifically drawing cards while using Passion instead of Action). This then decreases the need to draw cards with the Study action all the time. Second, it gives the Rejoice pre-action a HUGE boost making it something players will WANT to do instead of HAVE to do. What is so cool about this change is the fact that there are now two ways to draw cards and they are both extremely different and have their pros and cons. Drawing cards with the Study pre-action is great because it is immediate. You can do it at the beginning of your turn; you don't have to wait. The negative is the fact that you are just drawing cards and can run into weaknesses pretty easily this way. Drawing cards through the Rejoice pre-action trades control for quantity. You won't gain cards as fast and immediate as you would with the Study pre-action, but you get more cards with less risk AND you get to change your action, giving you more flexibility and effectiveness on your turns.

What a CHANGE this is for gameplay. It is refreshing. The tension is back and I love it.

Latter Day Saints

Sounds like a game about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Is that your inspiration?

Not really?

I can see where that can be implied. This is more of an alternate future type of scenario. Somewhere in the future, not necessarily leading up to the Day of the Lord. Whether the "Church" revives the earth or Christ comes to do so is irrelevant here I think. The lives of the believers are to mirror Christ and this game is meant to show that through the mission of seeking the lost and needy of the world.

Sounds Awesome

This is an awesome project, and I love the Theme.

Thanks!

Thank you brother. Yeah, its something I am really passionate about. Too many Christian board games fail to express the true meaning of the gospel and I hope that this game can spark up some neat conversations, both in Christian and secular households. Non-invasive, Christ honoring, strategic, Sci-Fi gameplay is what i'm after!

I haven't updated the rules and the graphics in a bit (its updated enough where you will definitely know how to play). I have focused the majority of my time on the gameplay and polishing it up. It has been a wild ride to say the least. Very excited though.

Thank you for your interest Evan!

Beta Test #3

Found a big issue today and will be in the process of fixing it

#1 Not enough card draw

Solution

#1 Allow players to draw cards at the beginning of their turn by making the Study option a pre-action and the Serve pre-action a grow option.

This solves A LOT of problems. First, you can refill your hand on the fly which allows you to feel more prepared while also preserving the tension. Second, the grow action is more balanced; the Serve option and the Pray option are both equally beneficial but what you pick will depend on the situation. Before, you basically had to Study or you would not be effective. This also balances the Action vs. Passion track as action will be used more. Coupled with the changes in Test #2, this will hopefully smooth things out.

Beta Test #2

A few issues I've seen that I want to attempt to remove:

#1 At the end of the plant action you almost never max out on action but always have a ton of passion.

You gain way to much passion and you hardly gain action during the plant action. This needs to change.

#2 Symbols are difficult to match (not enough matches)

Pretty concerning actually. This causes problems with #1 one. Because there aren't as many of the same cards as alpha testing, there is a lot of diversity among tactics and their positions. So this tells me the population cards and alpha tactics were quite similar. We'll have to work around this.

I have a couple of solutions, but I need to test a bit more to see if these are the root problem.

#1/#2

a). +2 action for keeping a value
b). Possibly giving the die one extra 1 value
c). Giving populations four prongs instead of three
d). Changes to plant value/symbol outcomes:

    Match
    Value < +1 Softened and +2 Loyalty
    Value = +2 Loyalty
    Value > +1 Loyalty

    Different
    Value < +1 Loyalty
    Value = -2 Loyalty
    Value > +1 Hardened and -2 Loyalty

I'm excited about c). coupled with d). because its streamlined and will not take long to change. With the population cards having four prongs will allow players to have two different combinations to try and match, matching three slightly to the left or slightly to the right. Although, this will probably make the plant action longer which is not what I want either.

Example:

SRWP = Population prongs
PRW = Tactic prongs

Combination 1
SRWP
PRW-

Combination 2
SRWP
-PRW

These changes aren't final. I will be testing them soon.

Beta Test #1

Now that the game has proven to be quite exciting, I have invested more time into designing more cards. I have the Evangelist deck and the Prophet deck completed. Creating decks doesn't take that long. Probably about 4-6 hours each (balancing, graphic design, etc.). The graphics are not updated yet, but I will get to that.

I tested the deck customization and I think it might need some minor adjustments. Its cool because players who don't like to spend time customizing their deck can just randomly select cards, where as players that like to be more meticulous can choose which ones they want. Very welcoming to all types of players.

Finally, I just need to tweak the plant action a bit. Could be streamlined and the passion track seems a bit heavy. Hopefully I will be able to change it so that rolling the faith die isn't a MUST (as it seems to feel).

Alpha Test #7, 8

Immediately I noticed that the amount of loyalty I was losing was too much. I needed to reel it back a little. Also, the stagnant issues still were present (hardened cubes and saved/follower cubes staying there until you harvest them). So I changed a few things...

Current Issues

1). Losing too much loyalty too soon and too fast

2). Need more movement between population types to shake things up

Current Solutions

1). Instead of your interaction getting rejected when your value is "less than or equal", it is now only less than. Here is what the change looks like:

Matching Symbol (Need is met)

> +1 Softened population cube and +2 Loyalty
= Nothing
< -1 Loyalty

Different Symbols (Need is unmet)

> +1 Loyalty
= -1 Loyalty
< +1 Hardened population cube and -X Loyalty where "X" equals the amount of hardened cubes are at that population.

I also changed the faith die so that there would be more tension and less use (to shorten the action). You can now only roll up to three blanks. If you roll three you can no longer use the faith die for the current population and you lose -1 Loyalty.

2). I have changed the semantics so that all population cubes on the population are technically "lost". Instead of the saved/follower area being called what it is, it will now be called the Softened population area. This makes a lot more sense because when the Scriptures talks about the "harvest" it means people getting saved. It didn't make sense to harvest already saved people.

The mechanical change is during the harvest action. During the second to last step you will, for each population, do the following:

For Un-reached Populations (unrevealed population cards)

Place one Lost cube on the back of the card

For Reached Populations (revealed population cards)

Check to see if there are any Softened cubes:

(Yes) Check to see if there are any Lost cubes

    (Yes) Place one Softened cube in the Lost area
    (No) Place one Softened cube in the Lost area

(No) Check to see if there are any Lost cubes

    (Yes) Place a Lost cube in the Hardened area
    (No) Discard the population card and place all Hardened cubes back in the world population pile.

This causes movement and forces players to manage the populations. I will be testing both of these today.

Another Fix

Current Issue:

1). Increment of incoming disciples almost never changes. This means that the amount of victory points you acquire almost NEVER changes. That is incredibly problematic. You can still play the game and it will be fun, but wow... Every game will have just about the same outcome. That is not what I want.

Current Solution:

1). Instead of solely regarding disciples as victory points, the amount they produce at the end depends on their loyalty. For every disciple you will get 1 Honor no matter what loyalty level they are on. But each loyalty level adds more honor that they produce. The distribution is as follows:

Level X = -2 Honor for every disciple here or removed from here
Level 0 = no additional honor
Level 1 = +1 Honor for every two disciples here
Level 2 = +2 Honor for every two disciples here
Level 3 = +2 Honor for every one disciple here
Level 4 = +3 Honor for every one disciple here

Again, each level also has a special ability linked to one of the four action types, so the honor is not the only thing pushing you to go higher in level. Each of the abilities get more and more powerful and require less and less disciples similar to the amount of honor you gain.

Although, this may seem like a walk in the park, with the current change to the hardened cubes, losing loyalty will happen much more frequently. You must rely on prayer and effective outreach to increase the loyalty of your disciples. At the end of the game, everyone tally's their total honor and adds it to the End of the Age track and if you reach or gain at least half of the honor goal you win! This adds suspense, as no one really knows how much honor everyone has until the very end when the trumpets sound.

Alpha Test #6

Lots of tinkering going on....

Current Issues

1). Hardened cubes really do nothing (no sense of tension or urgency)

2). The flow of lost/astray cubes to saved/follow cubes is way to much (after you place one tactic on a population there is almost no need to place another one. I want you to balance between ministering to already reached people and those that aren't; this is currently not happening)

3). Managing disciples (gaining and losing loyalty) is boring.

Current Solutions

1). You will lose loyalty for EVERY hardened cube instead of the difference between hardened and saved/follower when your interaction is rejected through an unmet need (different symbols) and -1 Loyalty when your interaction is rejected through a met need (matching symbols). Also once there are no more lost/astray or saved/follower cubes the population is discarded.

2). Instead of gaining +2 saved/follower cubes you gain +1 cube and +1 Loyalty for a interaction received through a met need (same symbol) and +1 Loyalty for an interaction received through an unmet need (different symbols). I also changed the faith die to read: X,X,X,1,2,2+cube. This will give you the drive to push your luck because you can possibly gain an extra saved/follower cube (1/6 chance).

3). I added another disciple level. The levels now cater to each action type. The actions read as follows: Level 1 = +1 refresh during the watering action for every (three or two not sure) disciples here;
Level 2 = +1 free draw (does not affect the passion/action track) during the grow action for every two disciples here;
Level 3 = +1 free faith roll (does not affect the passion/action track) during the plant action for every one disciple here.
Level 4 = +1 disciple from any population during the harvest action for every one disciple here.

These changes are starting to streamline the game a bit more. There was a crazy change in the watering action when allowing both fruits to be used on a card when you exhaust it. This made building your Spiritual fruits engaging and very fun. Also with the last update of the grow action, I moved the refresh step from the grow action to the watering action. Makes more sense and focuses the grow action A LOT more.

I'll be testing these changes more tomorrow!

memorization

Is there any mechanic that deals with memorizing Bible verses? Like, your spiritual growth grows when you verbally respond with the correct verse, 1 point for part of the verse, 2 for most of the verse, and full points for all of the verse. And the vice-versa, you are given a verse and you must recall what book of the bible it is from. 1 point for the book, 2 points for the chapter, full points for book, chapter, and verse number. That was just something that came to mind. :)

My Goal

There are Bible verses on most of the cards (Tactics and Sin cards). My desire is actually to stay away from the traditional Christian approach to board games which is Bible trivia haha! (In some for or another) There is a "Study" step under the Grow action which essentially makes what you suggested more of a thematic mechanic rather than an mechanical mechanic if that makes sense? You draw cards into your hand so you can use them to minister (thematically when you study the Word of God, you are more equipped to minister the more you do so). Have you taken a look at the rules at all? That might give you a better understanding of where I'm headed. I will be updating them tomorrow.

Although, there may be a identity called "Theologian" where as a pre-action you could guess a book in the Bible and if you draw a card with a verse on it within the book you chose or any surrounding book, you draw that card and gain +4 Loyalty. That would be interesting.

Thanks for the suggestion Trepid!

Alpha Test #4,5

Some significant obstacles have been removed and polished. I noticed that there was an unhealthy tension between drawing more cards (Studying) and placing down cards to gain loyalty and action changes (Prayer). Instead of your prayers coming directly from your hand, they are drawn from the top of the deck. This streamlines the whole process: you either draw and place in your hand or draw and place down in front of you.

I still need to tweak the Plant and Harvest action so that hardened population cubes are more dangerous (something you really don't want). There needs to be more tension. It is to the point where when all lost/astray cubes are gone, the cubes just sit there until you harvest all of the saved cubes. This = boring. Not sure what to do yet.

Slowing down my progress because I need to start taking time away from the game so I'm not drained of ideas. Some more testing to come!

Alpha Test #1,2,3

It works. Its interesting. Even without all of the cards. Its fun. That is a good sign. I still want to test a few more times. I changed the faith die so that it is more risky. It adds a lot more tension. Instead of (blank,blank,blank,1,2,3), it is now (blank,blank,blank,1,1,2). A tiny change, but it fixed A LOT of things.

I am noticing the tension between passion/action, -loyalty/+loyalty, drawing cards/playing cards. All I need to do is find the balance. The base design is nice, all I need to do is continue the polishing stages.

More to come...

keep it up

Keep up the good work. Glad to hear that it is fun, even without the cards.

Alpha Testing Commencing

Took a Sabbath off of game design. It really is time consuming when you're incredibly passionate. All graphics are updated: new population cards, location cards, tactic cards, and identity cards. Just enough to do some quick trials. I will post tomorrow about how I think it played.

New Graphics Updated

Started designing more cards tonight. Messed around with the Tactic card layout, giving more room for the scripture reference. Added a symbol for the rarity of the card (common, skillful, or blessed). Designing the Sin cards were interesting (whoops). The theme of the Lust weakness is discards. Messing with the different ways discards could be manipulated was fun. You'll have to cling close to cards that offer card draw. Integrating flavor into each card will be challenging and stimulating.

Rules Finished (for now)

Rules are completed to the point where anyone can read them and know exactly how to play. Of course, it will definitely need polishing, but all mechanics are expressed. The layout is pretty and I really like the color scheme. The rules only came to 6 PAGES??? Praise God. For how deep this game is, there isn't too much to cover. This is encouraging as it exposes how streamline it really is. Hopefully it stays that way.

Next step: Design.

Big Rule Update

Did some work on the rules today. I will be finishing it up tomorrow and then on to designing the cards for testing. I have found a way to get some good alpha testing in with only designing 18 different cards. Not bad... It really won't take long either as there is barely any specific art that I need to hunt down on google images. Just icons and text. Very excited to move on to the next step.

Very Cool

Looking forward as well to seeing what else you do with the game. Btw, I really like the graphic design. What program(s) are you using for the design?

Well...

Just Word to be honest. Its actually a wonderful resource. I have always wanted to move to something more efficient, but it has worked wonders so far.

Subscribed

Very interested in what you do with this--especially given your use of Biblical text calls to mind the differing strategies, challenges and compositions of Paul's communities as touched on in his letters. (How one values faith and deeds could also be quite an issue in a future society where "right" or "wrong" thinking might be evaluated through technological means...

Hello Mosker

I appreciate your encouragement. This has been a recent development and I am super excited. I'll be keeping things update in the Work Bench. Rule book finalization is next. I will get it to a place where people will know exactly how to play so feedback is easier.

Thank you again!

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut