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Ready for blind playtest - design partner sought to share credit and any money

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gxnpt
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I have been bouncing the rules around on BGG and Redit as well as here and have reached a final ready for playtest version incorporating all the various suggestions.

With no local playtesters available and no room in my apartment (and local game shop has limited room even for the current crop of Magic players) further development is at a standstill. Rules polishing is completed and it is shiny now and complete enough with 5 appendices plus the wheel pages and the addendum for a whopping 39 page pdf.

It still links to another pdf of nothing but possible page layouts for print-and-play prototype making.

Once again, I am looking for a design partner (50/50) for legwork and such in the next stages.

http://thesingularitytrap.com/physical/Fleet-Admiral_Singularity.pdf

Area Control Hexmap Wargame / Miniature Battles Hybrid
for 2 - 6 players

Since I retired I get outside rarely myself (was a 10 day gap since last time when I went out yesterday and bought milk and finally checked the mail and set trash outside and to the curb a day early). My wife gets out less often (driving and extended riding bother her neck) and when her car died we did not replace it. Saves a bit of cash that way. Rarely drive more than a mile away now anyway. Small town but has a Walmart.

So, now I can get back to the battling telepaths idea and figure out how to bring a flavor of coding and hacking into it.

The Professor
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The wheel might scare off potential players

While I haven't delved too deeply into the concept, I skimmed the rules and a few things jumped out at me:

Components: "2 ounce stackable black plastic souffle sauce cups are used to hold chits in the fleet stacks." Unless you're providing these components, allow the players to select any container.

Combat: "To hit rolls use percentage dice. For each target player convert combat fraction to percent dropping any fractions." Even as a veteran wargamer of over 30 years, this type of reliance on percentile dice is not engaging, it's torture.

Hyperspace Wheel: I'm sure sure conceptually this sounds cool as may prove thematic, but in practice this s something that will present only protracted periods of downtime.

I wish you the best of luck and am interested to hear the results of both your playtests and blind playtests.

Cheers,
Joe

pelle
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I do not mind percent dice so

I do not mind percent dice so much (although usually they can be simplified to just roll a d20 or d10 unless you really, really must have sub-5 % resolution in how difficult different rolls are).

Would not get involved in designing any more games at the moment, but I skimmed the first pages of the rules and have some comments.

- Rulebook starts out a bit confusing. There is an onslaught of statements about the game and how it works in the first 10 or so lines, including the image of income per plants that I do not understand how to read anyway.

- "Write these down" can be a bad thing. Personally I do not mind and thing writing things down is an underused mechanic that often is better than to have markers on status-tracks, but I think I am in a small minority. It is something to be wary of at least.

- I have no idea what those 2oz cups are. I had to google what an oz is (not American). If they are included in the game there is no reason to be that specific (just make up a name for them that works with the theme). If players have to provide them better describe what characteristics are needed so that they know what to look for, and you can mention those specific 2oz cups as one example of a possible container for those that know where to buy them.

- Does the Initiator have to be that, or can you use some more common game term like First Player or talk about Initiative instead?

- There is suddenly talk of factions dissolving before (I think) there has even been a definition of what a faction is. I know how difficult it is to make sure things are described in an order that makes sense, but it will probably help you a lot if you could spend a few hours to make sure not so many things appear before they have been properly explained.

(- That base is going to make Disney's lawyers happy if they notice.)

- maintaining control for the 2 following turns ... at the
start of 3 consecutive turns. Those two things are subtly different, or at least a player would have room to argue (which can never be a good thing).

- Faction sizes could be simplified a lot to "less than half of the players"?

- An alliance need to maintain control for 2 turn to win. A few paragraphs above (as mentioned) a faction needs to control planets for 3 turns?

- The points per planed chart comes up again, but I still have no idea what it is trying to say. How do I know what row to look in? I am sure it will be explained later, but as I read the rules the first time it makes no sense.

- The Sensor Sweep is hidden at the end of a line in step 3 for the Economics Phase. Why not give sensors their own step instead?

- Step 6 is both to repair and hide. Why not make those into two separate steps since they must happen in a specific order anyway?

- What is the sequence for players to build? Initiator first and clockwise around table, or something else?

- Why are the cups needed? It sounds as if the mechanics are equivalent to games like Great War At Sea where you have fleet markers on a map and ships in holding boxes on a hidden display off-map (behind some kind of suitable screen that might or might not be included in the game)? Sounds like it will be annoying to keep track of all your ships and their status when they are in a stacked cup somewhere. But bonus points for innovative implementation. It probably works, just seems less than ideal.

- Color-blind players will be happy if you use something other than colors and just have the colors as additional help for those that find them helpful. One game that comes to mind is Rolling For The Galaxy where the different types of planets have different colors, but they also have names and the names and icons that makes it possible to talk about them and see which one is which without only relying on their colors.

- "3 drive units could warp 3 times" does not say anything about how far units with other number of drives can warp. Do they just warp once or the same number as the number of drives they have or something else?

- All the movement types and how to use them, some mention of directions and so on, it is all very confusing since there have been no description earlier in the rulebook how to order your units around at all.

- "The Hyperspace Helix". Too much math. It seems as if some kind of 3D-space is assumed, also implied by the coordinates given for the corners of the hexagonal-shaped map, but no mention so far in the rules about how to handle this and if the corners of the hexagon are indeed on different planes (but then when a unit moves from hex to adjacent hex they will move along one to three different axes?).

No time to read the entire rulebook now. Maybe several of the things I do not understand are explained later. But that is also something to watch out for, as I compoained a bit about above. Also I felt as if I had read quite far into the rulebook, but I still have no idea what the coordinates written down as part of setup will be used for, and that chart with colored planets for income still have not been explained.

This is not a type of game I have any experience with other than Cosmic Encounters. It looks interesting, but not sure if the complexity might be a bit much for any group I can imagine playing with. (Otherwise I might have volunteered to playtest).

Good luck with your project! Obviously a lot of thought and work went into it and I hope it is completed and played.

gxnpt
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wow

Quote:
The wheel might scare off potential players

Quote:
Hyperspace Wheel: I'm sure sure conceptually this sounds cool as may prove thematic, but in practice this s something that will present only protracted periods of downtime.

The wheel (sliderule) was added for the cardboard purists (people here at BGDF complained that using an app or calculator was anathema). The offset function for hyperspace jumps is an add-on to the circular sliderule once we got stuck with having that wheel and then some people did not grasp the idea of the offsets wrapping around.

I do not like the wheel myself. Using the silly thing would not make me feel more like a stargates and steampunk ship navigator or fleet commander. But, I do have to admit that it adds a small thematic element and should satisfy the cardboard purists.

Quote:
Components: "2 ounce stackable black plastic souffle sauce cups are used to hold chits in the fleet stacks." Unless you're providing these components, allow the players to select any container.

Correct. See the addendum at the end of the pdf. 200 cups are to be included along with 40 of each color fleet stands/clips.

2 oz is specified because the 1.5 oz size sells at 120% the 2 oz price. Came as a surprise to me, but since either size works went with the cheaper. Making a playtest prototype the cup cost is $5 or less.

Colored clips or stands for the fleets were also generally priced and can be acquired (in bulk only) at about the same price as the cups.

The assorted color packs of small paperclips were looked into and a package sufficient for a playtest prototype can be found for about $7 shopping around.

Quote:
Combat: "To hit rolls use percentage dice. For each target player convert combat fraction to percent dropping any fractions." Even as a veteran wargamer of over 30 years, this type of reliance on percentile dice is not engaging, it's torture.

Wording now changed to "As needed, convert combat fraction..." for clarity.

Only morph the number to match the dice when you are actually going to roll them. See the Combat Appendix also.

Quote:
I do not mind percent dice so much (although usually they can be simplified to just roll a d20 or d10 unless you really, really must have sub-5 % resolution in how difficult different rolls are).

Converting to a percentage is simpler math than converting to 5% increments.

Quote:
- Rulebook starts out a bit confusing. There is an onslaught of statements about the game and how it works in the first 10 or so lines, including the image of income per plants that I do not understand how to read anyway.

I have fixed that so you know which line to read for point values now.

Over at BGG one of the main complaints was that they wanted more of what I think of as a hook at the beginning and maybe a quick paragraph about what the game is about. I used to have part of the theme here but now it is mainly a blurb followed by instructions on game setup.

Over at Redit at least one person was having trouble following the rules because theme was intertwined with rules and over here the theme must not have been as clear as I thought because people thought ships were used for transport between planets you controlled. A small addition to theme text and moving the theme to an appendix have hopefully solved those issues.

Quote:
"Write these down" can be a bad thing. Personally I do not mind and thing writing things down is an underused mechanic that often is better than to have markers on status-tracks, but I think I am in a small minority. It is something to be wary of at least.

I had also considered drawing and keeping displayed 3 altitude chits as offset values. Any method of randomly selecting and displaying the 3 hyperspace offset values for the game is fine - playtests should lead to an actual decision here.

Quote:
I have no idea what those 2oz cups are. I had to google what an oz is (not American). If they are included in the game there is no reason to be that specific (just make up a name for them that works with the theme). If players have to provide them better describe what characteristics are needed so that they know what to look for, and you can mention those specific 2oz cups as one example of a possible container for those that know where to buy them.

This is an attempt to give a potential design partner, who would be making a prototype, all info needed. See the Fleet Stack appendix and the Addendum.

Quote:
Does the Initiator have to be that, or can you use some more common game term like First Player or talk about Initiative instead?

The term seemed to fit better than calling them the Rotating Chosen One. Prime Player does not quite seem to fit. But it really doesn't matter.

Quote:
There is suddenly talk of factions dissolving before (I think) there has even been a definition of what a faction is. I know how difficult it is to make sure things are described in an order that makes sense, but it will probably help you a lot if you could spend a few hours to make sure not so many things appear before they have been properly explained.

Many hours have been spent on this. The concepts interact so much it forces referring to some things yet to be explained no matter how you arrange things.

Quote:
(- That base is going to make Disney's lawyers happy if they notice.)

Only if Disney has placeholder art lawyers - images were grabbed from the web and slightly modified as placeholder art.

Quote:
maintaining control for the 2 following turns ... at the
start of 3 consecutive turns. Those two things are subtly different, or at least a player would have room to argue (which can never be a good thing

Quote:
An alliance need to maintain control for 2 turn to win. A few paragraphs above (as mentioned) a faction needs to control planets for 3 turns?

New wording:
A faction wins by declaring control of 25 or more of the 37 planets at the beginning of a turn, then maintaining control of at least 25 planets through that turn and the next turn. Control 25 or more planets at the start of 3 consecutive turns including the turn in which you make the declaration.

Quote:
Faction sizes could be simplified a lot to "less than half of the players"?

They used to be described that way. People said they didn't understand that.

Quote:
The points per planed chart comes up again, but I still have no idea what it is trying to say. How do I know what row to look in? I am sure it will be explained later, but as I read the rules the first time it makes no sense.

You are correct. I used to have a thing about your color = 5, 2 closest = 4, gray = 3, 2 almost opposites = 2, and opposite color = 1 point but I removed that.

In the Economic Phase it now says
Collect 1-5 points per planet owned depending on color – your own color is worth 5 points
which should clarify it there and I have added a similar note on the front page.

Quote:
The Sensor Sweep is hidden at the end of a line in step 3 for the Economics Phase. Why not give sensors their own step instead?

No real reason. Stance declaration and sensor sweeps are both "might happens" and I just always thought of them together.

Quote:
Step 6 is both to repair and hide. Why not make those into two separate steps since they must happen in a specific order anyway?

Same player who just repaired can then hide before the next player does both as opposed to all players hide after all have finished repairs. Hide is a reverse repair and actually part of repairs but since repairs are also an economic action that involves points they get completed for that player before chits not involving money start moving around.

Quote:
What is the sequence for players to build? Initiator first and clockwise around table, or something else?

From the final line in the Initiator section (top of page 2):
When players go in sequence it begins with the Initiator and proceeds clockwise.

Quote:
Why are the cups needed? It sounds as if the mechanics are equivalent to games like Great War At Sea where you have fleet markers on a map and ships in holding boxes on a hidden display off-map (behind some kind of suitable screen that might or might not be included in the game)? Sounds like it will be annoying to keep track of all your ships and their status when they are in a stacked cup somewhere. But bonus points for innovative implementation. It probably works, just seems less than ideal

The cups keep ships with fleets plus keep damage chits with the ship they belong to. Also they are cheap.

Quote:
Color-blind players will be happy if you use something other than colors and just have the colors as additional help for those that find them helpful. One game that comes to mind is Rolling For The Galaxy where the different types of planets have different colors, but they also have names and the names and icons that makes it possible to talk about them and see which one is which without only relying on their colors.

Such mods are for after playtesting about the same time that placeholder art is replaced. A matter of changing player "named as a color" to player "named as something else" in the move direction names and extra printing on the board and on some chits. However, using other than color coded fleet clips/stands might run that cost way up.

Quote:
"3 drive units could warp 3 times" does not say anything about how far units with other number of drives can warp. Do they just warp once or the same number as the number of drives they have or something else?

Warp moves to an adjacent space in any direction (flat plus altitude) and uses 1 drive unit per warp.
Also see the Theme appendix.

Quote:
All the movement types and how to use them, some mention of directions and so on, it is all very confusing since there have been no description earlier in the rulebook how to order your units around at all.

The move section is indeed the first place (other than in the Theme appendix if it had already been looked at) where movement is talked about.

Warp - move to adjacent space
Slip - same as warp but can leap up to 3 spaces depending on range
Jump - that pesky hyperspace helix thing

Quote:
"The Hyperspace Helix". Too much math. It seems as if some kind of 3D-space is assumed, also implied by the coordinates given for the corners of the hexagonal-shaped map, but no mention so far in the rules about how to handle this and if the corners of the hexagon are indeed on different planes (but then when a unit moves from hex to adjacent hex they will move along one to three different axes?).

Quote:
but I still have no idea what the coordinates written down as part of setup will be used for

Those 3 "coordinates" are the hyperspace jump X offset and Y offset and Altitude offset for the game (different from one game to another).

If all 3 offset values were 0 the location (3,4,5) would jump to (5,3,4).
With an X offset value of -4 it would jump to (1,3,4) instead.

If the offset makes the new number more than 9 or less than -9 it wraps around for the new value.

3D space is a basic concept of the game (the move system for warp and slip actually warp a cylinder into fitting in a sphere).
3 Dimensions (multilevel space) - 37 planets spread among 19 levels (271 hexes per level)

Adjacent spaces are up, down, all six flat directions, all six flat directions plus up, and all six flat directions plus down.

Note that while offset values for jump may wraparound the space itself does not and any move that would exit the game board and go higher than level 9 or lower than level -9 or any flat location not on the board (all board locations fit the -10 < X+Y < +10 description in mathy terms) bounce back off the event horizon and end movement for that fleet for that turn.

We have made a couple of changes from feedback in this thread so far.

The game itself is a Heavy Wargame / Miniature Battles hybrid.

questccg
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I'll make this short and to the point

How LONG do you expect a game to last???

That is nowhere in your rulebook. And it's VERY important. I as a gamer want to know how much of my time is expected in order to PLAY this game.

Since you classify the game a Heavy Wargame / Miniatures Battle hybrid... My guess is that the TIME is upwards of 60 minutes. Maybe even upwards of 120 minutes.

Could please clarify this?

And personally I'm not a fan of Wargames. So I would generally not be interested in this type of design.

But I figured I'd point out the MISSING requirement (TIME TO PLAY).

Cheers.

gxnpt
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time to play - excellent question

But first, I wanted to mention that the move section now also has this paragraph just before the sample orders. I do not know how that bit escaped and the escape remained unnoticed by me for this long.

A move order consists of 4 segment orders and is executed beginning with segment 1 in sequence with all segment 1 orders for all fleets considered as simultaneous actions and then all segment 2 orders, and so forth. If fewer than 4 segments are ordered for a fleet the remaining segments are all “hold position”.

Back to the time question - I do not know for sure yet but best current estimate is 3-4 hours for a 6 player game. Playtesting is needed.

questccg
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Woah...

You really need to put that into the RULEBOOK and AT THE VERY BEGINNING!

Most people don't want to invest more than ONE (1) HOUR in a game. 3 to 4 hours is TOO LONG for those people.

Again put that into your rulebook... Otherwise people who play may get discouraged that "the game is taking too long..." and by not knowing how long a game lasts - could reflect badly upon the designer.

Cheers.

gxnpt
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play length in rules

Right now the document is being prepared for a potential design partner, not the players as such. (But I do want the rules able to be used for blind playtesting.)

The timeframe to play a game is at best a SWAG right now (Scientific Wild Assed Guess).

Rounding up players for a potential evening long game requires warning them of this ahead of time, but it has too little basis in actual fact to go writing it in the rules yet.

questccg
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Just be clear with playtesters

I've had some PLAYTEST go into the 90-120 minutes and players were asking me "How much longer until the game is won...?" That's because sometimes when players idle-around, and nothing moves forward or players don't have a Win strategy about how to resolve the game... It can sometime take more time.

In your situation, having a game last SO LONG (and yeah it's long) you need to be certain the players are willing to invest that much time.

Also another factor is PLAYER ELIMINATION.

If there is Player Elimination, some players eliminated EARLY might not like that... There is a whole stigma to losing the game early. Some players may speak badly about the game...

Anyhow just a "warning"... Make certain you state the time it takes to play the game.

polyobsessive
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Time

From what I have seen of this game, I think 3-4 hours may be a little optimistic. (I'd be happy to be wrong on this.) As QuestCCG said, that is a long lime for a game. There are plenty of games out there that take this time or longer, so it's not a killer in itself, but if players spend a lot of that time sitting and waiting for something to happen or for someone else to do something, you will have a problem.

One thing you can check on your own is how long battles take to resolve. You can make up (by hand if necessary) the components you need to have a medium sized battle, so a bunch of counters, some cups (they don't even need to be the right type), and so on, and then play it out and time how long it takes. You will then have some useful data you can use to discuss your game with potential partners. You can also then compare a measurement of how long it took with a feeling for how interesting/fun the procedure was.

gxnpt
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battles

Length of game: yup, heavy wargame for sure

I am at the long end of the gaming spectrum myself with anything under an hour considered to be just a filler game, 2 hours being more reasonable, and 3-6 hours a good evening's play.

------

Battles - especially when using die roll reduction - do not take long at all actually.

About the same as battles in the 1978 game with tracking paperwork and The Singularity Trap digital incarnation (except single ship equal strength encounters which take longer in digital and are being considered for automation).

About 3 minutes per combat location on average but this varies depending on number of players in the combat. Number of ships in the combat is a lesser factor timewise than number of players involved. Number of combats each turn usually in the 0 to 6 range.

Cups are incidental to combat itself - the combat arena views the fleet stacks as "where you were before you were born and where good ships go after they die" sort of thing.

Blank cards and chits instead of a bunch of chits. An index card cuts crosswise into 3 battle cards. Cut some little squares from index cards and you have blank chits. Make specific from blank as needed.

BCSTE shiptypes
AWDHXMFZ (X=system, F=terraform, Z=sensors) components

It almost sounds like I did that already....................

polyobsessive
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Combat

OK, 3 mins per combat doesn't sound too bad, and in a big game, 5-10 minutes of combat in an average round seems like it shouldn't overwhelm things. I am still concerned that there is a lot of fiddliness and complexity in the combat systems, and I would strongly suggest you find a way to reduce that for the boardgame version (needing a calculator or equivalent suggests to me that you have a problem), but I guess that's not what you want to do with the game.

Good luck.

questccg
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I just don't know...

I can't figure out what to think about a Physical Version of your online Game... My worries are that everything done by the computer (Upkeep and calculations) are just too tedious for a Physical copy. And then there has been the discussion of should players use a "calculator" during a game. Add to this that the game takes over three (3) hours to play...

Do you see where I am going with all of that?

Personally I would re-think the design and come up with a LIGHTER game. Maybe something that plays in ONE (1) hour or maybe (daring) two (2) hours at most. It could be Space Related ... but I would maybe concern yourself with a "lite" Minis battle with custom 3D models.

Now that's something that is worthwhile to invest in...

More over, since you have programming skills, maybe you can create a Mobile website to "integrate" with the "lite" Minis concept... That's something *NEW* and exciting!

It feels like only "re-hashed" ideas from an online version of the SAME game. I'm not trying to dissuade you ... but when you READ "lite" Minis integrated with a Mobile website, you've got to think: "HMMM..."

Makes me wonder -- and it seems like you're the kind of guy to pull it off! Both the online portion and the "Minis". Or at least you would be adventuring into new territory with some aspects and more familiar with some of the others.

Just figured I'd throw that out there...

Cheers!

Update: I guess the Space-Oriented "Minis" are pretty much what Fantasy Flight Games is doing with the Star Wars line up of starships... So maybe the space-mini space is already occupied with a fairly BIG player.

I don't know if they have website integration (or IPad, etc.) That could be your ANGLE: you have "lite" Minis with website integration.

Here's an IDEA for you (again don't know if Star Wars has done it before) but maybe your website can be the "Campaign Manager" of how the story unfolds and progresses...

Hell I'd play that kind of game... Where you have starships and you follow some kind of futuristic storyline given some of the choices players make and some randomness of the computer, etc.

Worthwhile looking into that Game space!

Update #2: Add I've seen your online video game... It's not a simple thing to program or develop. Your coding skills are far superior to what you would need to develop a "Campaign Manager" for some Space "Minis" game.

I know it's *NEW* territory... But that's kinda the point: you want something new and original. Not a watered down Physical copy of a larger and better online video game.

Anyhow those are just some thoughts. Again not trying to dissuade you. I'm just trying to see if you could use your talents in developing something else that could be useful...

gxnpt
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combat, complexity, rehash

Quote:
I am still concerned that there is a lot of fiddliness and complexity in the combat systems, and I would strongly suggest you find a way to reduce that for the boardgame version (needing a calculator or equivalent suggests to me that you have a problem

Much general fiddliness only activates itself as needed (more than 2 sides in a battle).

Back in the 1960s the Avalon Hill games involved converting odds into ranges from 1:6 to 6:1 and rolling dice and looking up results on the appropriate table and applying those results for each combat location.

Here we convert a fraction by dividing a one or two digit number by a larger one or two digit larger number to get a 2 decimal place answer dropping any remainder. (Easy math.) Then roll to hit and apply damage.

Is using a sliderule (the wheel) or an app or a calculator before rolling the dice any different from looking a result up on a chart after rolling the dice as far as player effort is concerned?

Quote:
I can't figure out what to think about a Physical Version of your online Game... My worries are that everything done by the computer (Upkeep and calculations) are just too tedious for a Physical copy. And then there has been the discussion of should players use a "calculator" during a game. Add to this that the game takes over three (3) hours to play..

Quote:
It feels like only "re-hashed" ideas from an online version of the SAME game.

That was what I thought about the upkeep and such. When the tray idea jumped me combined with only carrying damages I had to fall back to the too expensive defense. And then that excuse fell out from under me (and the cups replaced the trays) and we ended up where we are now. I did my best to resist this and continue thinking about my battling telepaths idea. I read several books and even binge watched the Tick to delay things.

As a technical matter, while this is a physical variant of the online game, the online game (online, digital, but NOT a "video game" unless Diplomacy online or a Vassal module are video games) was a digital expansion and revision of a physical game with a bunch of hidden information added and this new physical version is actually closer to the original cardboard than the online version was.

So, not a rehash so much as the completion of a journey into digital and back out again for the 1978 game. Clunkiness in mechanics was shed going into digital and reduced hidden info combined with "moving fleets can have movement ending encounters with other moving fleets" makes the return to cardboard version more of a wargame than the digital "guess where I have troops, I hope my ally did not blab" version.

But, the board and overall movement and combat system are the same. Cups, damage chits, and altitude chits just do all the tracking paperwork. The ghost of my old Hyperwars - Sector 27 game is satiated.

3-4 hours of play (maybe even 5-6 sometimes) is the intended timeframe for this particular game.

(But I rarely play anything that doesn't take an hour or more. Sometimes, but rarely.)

About the "lite" Minis with website integration idea: last real coding (freelance) I did before the game was in PHP4 (5 was just coming out then but not yet supported on most servers) and HTML4. So, I updated myself enough for the game project as I was coding the digital game.

My Alchelemental game was an easy enough "learn just enough of Vassal and convert it" that I did a Vassal module as well as a print-and-play. It falls in the chesslike hour plus timeframe to play, by the way, and is a 2 player game.

My website is just a personal site that currently - for lack of other interest - has domain name and overall content dedicated to the digital game. I also use it instead of a cloud account to store things. And I kept a database free for playing around with. Never intended to be a commercial website.

My site is also NOT mobile friendly. The digital game is based on a minimum 1280x720 screen resolution and at least a ten inch screen (better with 13+) - desktop or laptop or large tablet so you are not constantly zooming in and out - and uses some character codes not properly handled by Silk and Aurora browsers and barely handled by Explorer or Edge).

Plus, I am a mechanics person. Storylines would have a couple old book projects unearthing themselves that best remain buried with those iron spikes holding them down. True graphics - as opposed to basic image manipulation - is not my skillset either.

I also dislike anything involving realtime interaction (I got all burned out on hand-eye coordination "video games" in the 80s when I had every game and other software that ever came out for the C64 even though I only cracked one of them myself.) (Online "stuff happens while you are thinking or napping" games also lack appeal.)

Unless something else pushes its way up front I am back to thinking about a telepathic duel (2 player probably) which is how a wizard duel idea has shifted itself lately with psychic constructs instead of spells. It needs to percolate a bit further before I dredge it up and shake the mud off again for a better look.

Naturally, it just now threw the idea of a playing field of different sized circles - where small circles both shield from some constructs and prevent making those constructs at that location - at me but I am going to finish reading my current book before I give that thought further attention. Shifting locations on the field also needs to be an "attitude adjustment" instead of physical movement sort of thing as well.

"Must stop typing" he gasps out, realizing the game meme is burrowing deeper into his brain with every keystroke.

polyobsessive
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Simplify and streamline...

gxnpt wrote:
Back in the 1960s the Avalon Hill games involved converting odds into ranges from 1:6 to 6:1 and rolling dice and looking up results on the appropriate table and applying those results for each combat location.

Indeed they did.

gxnpt wrote:
Here we convert a fraction by dividing a one or two digit number by a larger one or two digit larger number to get a 2 decimal place answer dropping any remainder. (Easy math.) Then roll to hit and apply damage.

Is using a sliderule (the wheel) or an app or a calculator before rolling the dice any different from looking a result up on a chart after rolling the dice as far as player effort is concerned?

Maybe, maybe not.

My point is really that game design has moved on since the 1960s, and so have player expectations. I'm sure there are a number of folk out there who love CRTs and calculations involving multiple factors, and if you are making a game for them, that is fine, but you will be limiting your player base severely. Your game, your decision. But if I was to work on a game like this the first thing I would do is find a way to make most of those combat factors disappear in order to resolve combat by just adding together a couple of numbers and then rolling a single die (or maybe a handful of dice and count sixes, or something).

As an example of how game design has improved over the years, take Pax Britannica, a wonderful and intricate 1980's game of world domination in the colonial era. There was so much to love about the depth and scope of this game, but after every round you had to "do your taxes", filling in a lengthy paper form with numbers and do a load of calculations to find out how your economy was performing and what resources you would have for the next round. This step just sucked the joy out of the game and crashed the momentum.

More recently there is Eclipse, which in some ways (though not in the setting!) is fairly similar, and has what is a fairly complex economy that is totally abstracted away by cleverly designed player boards. When you build a unit, allocate a resource, take an action, etc, the relevant piece moved from the space on your player board to somewhere else, either on your player board, the main board, or wherever. Moving pieces like this reveals or obscures information which tracks your economy and capabilities in real time, showing you at a glance how you are doing. Without this board design,
players would have to do a load of accounting and not know their economic status until they did this. Brilliant design, and other games have used similar techniques (e.g. Terra Mystica or Scythe...).

This example is not at all relevant to combat resolution, but is intended as an example of how game design has changed and grown over the years.

I can't tell you how to make your own game (it is, after all, your dream), but I can give my opinion that if you want to attract a design partner and make some of that money you want to share with them, you would do well to look for ways to simplify and streamline your game so your players can concentrate on strategy rather than maths.

Once again, good luck!

gxnpt
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afraid of short division

Why is everyone afraid of short division?

The only time you need to divide is when you pick up the dice to roll them and now need that fraction as a percentage.

Let's look at the most complicated combat I can imagine in my game - all 6 players and each player allied with the player on each side of them on the board. At this level of complexity - very rare in the game - you have to reveal weapons and everybody adds up their enemies and displays that number.

Purple - allies red and blue - 6 weapons
Red - allies purple and yellow - 5 weapons
Yellow - allies red and green - 7 weapons
Green - allies yellow and cyan - 8 weapons
Cyan - allies green and blue - 4 weapons
Blue - allies cyan and purple - 6 weapons

Purple enemies yellow 7 green 8 cyan 4 = 19
Red enemies green 8 cyan 4 blue 6 = 18
Yellow enemies purple 6 cyan 4 blue 6 = 16
Green enemies purple 6 red 5 blue 6 = 17
Cyan enemies purple 6 red 5 yellow 7 = 18
Blue enemies red 5 yellow 7 green 8 = 20

With each player in the combat showing enemies total (how strong you as an enemy are shooting at them) the to hit fractions are simple glance at and know

red vs blue = 18 vs 20 = 20/38(18/38)
red vs cyan = 18 vs 18 = 18/36(18/36)
red vs green = 18 vs 17 = 17/35(18/35)

If I am red and decide to shoot at blue I pick up the dice and only now want to have 20/38 as a truncated percentage (the first 2 decimal places in the answer when you divide).

If only red and cyan were in the battle the enemies numbers would collapse into simplicity with red 5 weapons vs cyan 4 weapons = 5/9(4/9) to hit.

I still care about that as a percentage only when I pick up the dice to roll them.

When someone loses weapons in a combat round there will be different enemy totals and fractions in the following combat round. Weapons unchanged is unchanged odds next round.

Tracking damage and repair costs etc IS handled by the cups in the fleet stacks and chits moving between stack and combat arena and the bank and does not involve mathy stuff beyond buying new ships from the bank and reverse selling (pay bank to take them) damage chits back to the bank at 1 point per chit.

Any design partner would need to be a player of heavy evening long wargames themselves. I am aware of the niche market aspect of this game.

polyobsessive
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OK

Fair enough! Good luck. :)

questccg
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Variety is the spice of life!

gxnpt wrote:
"Must stop typing" he gasps out, realizing the game meme is burrowing deeper into his brain with every keystroke.

I read the entire TL;DR post - so no worries.

Perhaps it's just the way I design:

All my designs are totally different from each other. Sure maybe there might be a shared component among some of the designs - but I really try to keep the games as different as possible.

And I do this simply as a matter of pure design. Why do I do this? Because I don't want to be judged on a single game but more on a span of ideas. Take for example my first game "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)". It was my first attempt, I knew nothing about Publishers, Kickstarters, or even Social Media. I invested more than just my neurons in making the game (if you know what I mean). And then I found out once the entire production of 100,000 cards was done - I had nobody who wanted to resell the game.

Of course I made a lot of mistakes with that game (because I knew very little of the Board Game Design community). Fast-forward to 2017 and I have had a successful Kickstarter for my second game "TradeWorlds". I also learned a lot and although the investment in this second game was less, the outcome so far is questionable. While we did have a successful KS campaign and the game is very different than my first game... In terms of profitability, the game's return is still very questionable.

And so I'm working on yet a THIRD game... Will probably be my last one unless "TradeWorlds" picks up and we get some more wholesaling or orders after people play the game... And my third game is again different from the other two: it's a "Micro" Deck CCG. The game requires eleven (11) cards to play and it's a duel between two players only.

Okay so what's the point? My TL;DR post is simply that I personally TRY to design diversity when it comes to my games. Even my games that are on my "backburner" are all very different from one and another.

I'm just suggesting maybe you take a second look at some of those OLDER designs and see what you can make of them. Because honestly from what I see in the MARKET, what is SELLING are "Minis". I don't know what people are doing with all these minis games?! But for certain they are not six (6) hour wargames. But people seem to like them...

And diversity for a designer is good too. It keeps ideas FRESH and different from one another. So if you do have designs on the shelf - maybe you should invest some time in them... Just to see what else you may be able to produce!

Cheers...

questccg
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And how this has anything to do with you...

Well if I had the experience in designing "online" games like you seem to have... That's the first thing that I would do:

Marry a TableTop Game with some mobile online website.

Some people are trying to do this, some have already done this (and they are gone from the market - think Golem Arcana)...

It's still a FRESH idea. Not many games I see are featuring a mobile site to go in tandem with a board game.

And I look and see how you developed "The Singularity Trap" and that's a boat load of coding even though it is light on graphics. Anyhow that game is impressive in that you managed to code it. You should be PROUD of that realization... But you should also be aware that from a merchandising perspective - it's comparable to my "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)".

Now in my book it's time to step back ... before investing on a physical rendition of something that "never took off". Are you doing this because you want "recognition"? Or is this merely a hobby?? I ask because you mention sharing "money" (again with a big IF).

I personally don't see it.

But maybe that's because I have a different perspective in how I see Game Design. My first game was a "bomb", my second game was a "moderate success"... So what's to become of the third game?! IDK.

That's exactly how I feel (guts) about your physical version of your online game. Worried you are investing time in something that will never become worthwhile.

Again that's my perspective... It's just an opinion.

I do wish you success in your endeavor - even if, to me, it seems remote. At least with your present design.

Cheers.

gxnpt
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design history

Back in 1978 my old Hyperwars game went through playtest etc and even into production (the production guy ripped off the money guy and the prototype version was sort-a-kinda printed instead of a final version which never actually was prepared).

The playtesters actually bought (at cost) copies of the lousy still a prototype production. This may have gratified me but did not really help out the money guy and the production guy had vanished already. Very glad it was not me but the money guy who brought in the production guy in the first place.

Now I design as a retirement hobby. (I also do some coding for my own use, but that is not really deserving of hobby status.)

So, Hyperwars had flaws and intentional clunkiness to hold down number of ships to keep tracking paperwork limited. Screen resolutions had become "good enough" on the low end of computer standards to make a digital version possible with the entire board visible at the same time. No spending of actual money needed.

(I dropped having a personal cheap but paid webspace for a year or so when I was shifting from looking for a new job to just deciding to do early retirement, but since site and domain name run under $100 a year at regular prices I grabbed one again but kept the game scripts suited to localhost and free webspaces as well as cheap webspaces.)

Hmm. Maybe website tinkering does qualify as a hobby now........but the coding is not anything spectacular, just spaghetti code tossed off as I was still writing the rules. The most impressive convoluted algorithms in it were me trying not to add more fields into the database beyond my original layout (would have been easier to add fields to the database but I was being stubborn and later I had to anyway for the ecopolitical section).

Since it went online, feedback has led to improving the move interface in that game.

Alchelemental jumped me pretty much full blown - an old concept about a geometry based game developed itself on back burner and I just filled in details over 3 days. It first used 4 colors but was easy to make more colorblind friendly.

The timing of that game just happened to mesh with Board Game Geek's 2017 2-Player print-and-play contest - (player feedback had me rewrite a bit of rules for greater clarity about power unit movement but otherwise no change).

Vassal was easy to learn enough and make a module for Alchelemental (a couple of days to finished tweaks) so I can actually play that one if I ever get any opponents myself.

(It also took first place in the Heavy Games category in the contest. Whoopie.)

Then somewhere in the back of my head the idea that tracking paperwork could be eliminated by use of trays (which became cups) in a physical less-hidden-info version of The Singularity Trap began to percolate. When it invaded the front of my head, I could not resist playing around with it further. And then it claimed there should be a way to produce it at "within range" cost and turned out to be right about that also.

Unless someone who enjoys heavy wargames wants to advance Fleet Admiral - Singularity further it has exhausted its "design as a hobby" capability now. I am not going to spend money myself to make a prototype I doubt I will ever have opponents to play against, and if the rules - when you read them all - are clear now no further tweaking of the wording is justified at this point.

But "as a hobby" is the best description of my game design activity now.

questccg
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Spaghetti code or not...

Well I think you have "programming" Talent. To develop Singularity as you have done - requires SKILL! Ok so it may not be OOP or CRUD... It still qualifies as a great accomplishment. And I seem to feel that although you "downplay" your coding prowess ... that you are a much better coder than just "spaghetti" code. I like to call of "procedural coding", or what was the type of programming before they designed OOP (Object-Oriented Programming).

Designing TableTop games as a "hobby" is a tough gig. It seems like every designer looking to make money becomes a Publisher. I don't know why... but I guess it's because designing a good game is "difficult" and that it's much easier to browse through a magnitude of games to find something that a Publisher feels like it can possibly make some money.

Anyways I wish you success. I don't think I can help you out with your current game. But who knows what other ideas you may have...

gxnpt
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procedural

Procedural (vs OOP) is indeed what I write.

Object oriented is just a grouping system for procedures anyway (amounts to a fancier way of grouping subroutines together - I used well commented subroutines with a set of reserved "parameter passing" universal variables that behaved as objects way back on the C64 for one truly complicated hobby project of mine).

set the values (including flags on how to process things - "property" flags in OOP terms), call the routine, use the result values

Spaghettification is what I did to the code with multiple patches and variations and not much in the way of comments and leaving abandoned bits in it and so forth.

questccg
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Hmm... sound like

You would have needed a version system... to avoid all that Spaghettification! Not commenting is not really all that bad. Everyone is usually light on comments. But leaving abandoned bits... well that could lead to confusion. Especially if you have someone who is trying to reverse engineer the software or even yourself looking back at parts you coded way back when...

Because you wrote it, means that you could possibly "clean up" the code in order to ensure there is no unused code.

Hehehe - We're talking about coding on a Board Game Forum! LOL

Anyways I do wish you well with your project. I'm sure you'll have other projects worthwhile discussing. Cheers.

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