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Space conquest tile game

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Luc Byard
Luc Byard's picture
Joined: 07/03/2015

I'm always trying to think of ways to do a space resource / Empire game that doesn't involve a huge rule book. This rough idea came to me and I thought I'd get the basics down here.

You are a fledgling interstellar species setting off to explore your local region of the galaxy. Each turn you take resource cards (like Ticket to ride maybe) which will include fuel, Metals, water and life support.
Each player starts with 1 hex 'homeworld' tile and 1 exploration vessel.

Tiles have combinations of locations and 'space routes' leading to some of the edges (like villages and roads in carcassonne). Some tiles may not have a location at all. The back of each tile shows only the cost and the space route connection points.

To begin with, you explore your local region by buying a new tile and connecting it to your own layout (like Alhambra), moving an exploration vessel to the new tile when it is laid. You must play the tile not only so that it connects correctly to your layout but you must place it adjacent to an exploration vessel such that that vessel can move to your new tile.

Each location shows the resource cost to build there.

Colonies (maybe small and large upgrade available) represent your population. You score VP for these.
Outposts represent your military presence.
Space stations are more expensive but have both a VP and military benefit.
Orbital Fleet yards are needed to build more ships.

Types of vessel that you can build:
Exploration ships are used to... explore, obviously.
Military ships are used to attack and defend when you come into contact with your opponents.

Moving one ship from one tile to and adjacent tile along a space route requires one fuel.

Most tiles are planets, some are lush and cheap to build on, others are harsh and costly. Some locations are 'asteroid fields' or gas giants and only space stations and fleet yard can be built there. Some tiles are wormholes. Wormholes change the scope of the play. Instead of only building your own layout, wormholes allow you to move vessels to the layout of other players (as long as their layout also has a wormhole) and continue to explore and build there.

This is what you need military ships for. With these you can got to a location where there is an opponents colony and take it over. Doing so adds to your VP whilst reducing you opponents so the 'swing' is larger than just building on your own.

Battle mechanic
I'm not sure yet. I'd like some variable element like using resource cards so it's not just numbers.

Perhaps to start simple.
Capturing 1 small colony requires 1 military ship and spending 1 metal and 1 life support.
Capturing a large colony... You get the idea.

Enemy military ships at the location make it more difficult... somehow.

There needs to be a way for ships to battle. No idea how to make that work at the moment. Perhaps once I sort it out, outposts and space stations can add into the mix and actively resist being taken over.

To win, you just be the first to reach a set VP. It's going to be a good 90 minute, maybe two hours Settler of Catan type of game I think but if I boil down all the actions to resource cards, it should keep the economics simple.

If fuel is needed to move ships around, it could become a resource where cards need to have various values or players will just not have enough fuel cards to get anywhere.
There are six types of thing to build which would mean lots of moulds, I suppose.

So it's carcasonne meets Alhamba meets Settlers... IN SPAAAAAAACE!


Tim Edwards
Tim Edwards's picture
Joined: 07/30/2015
I like the theme and concept.

I like the theme and concept. The exploration phase of Civilization series was always my favourite, so I'm glad it features in your game.

Your idea doesn't sound necessarily too complicated either, which might have been an easy trap to fall into. (Speaking of which, on the question of how enemy ships make it more difficult to capture a colony, why not just: you can't capture a colony until accompanying ships have been removed?)

On ship combat, I've often thought a cool system might be the equipping of ships with secret rock-paper-scissors features. You don't know whether a ship is a rock, etc until you fight it. Once you know there's a "rock ship" in your sector, you might set about producing a paper one.

Rocks, papers, and scissors could require different resources to opportunities for multiplayer games maybe.

I imagine this game having a sort of Dune (film, not existing board game) atmosphere...but with 3 kinds of "spice" -RPS?

Good luck with it. Sounds great.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011

Your description reminds me a lot of Eclipse, from the few times I've played it. That game relies a lot on its tech tree system. For combat resolution it uses dice, the number and type of which being modified by the player's technology development.

Your "wormhole" idea (also similar to Eclipse) compensates for players building in an isolated silo, but I also encourage you to find ways that reward players for interacting with one another, engaging in trade with one another, utilizing wormholes more often, and so on.

Joined: 12/19/2017
Written out it sounds like

Written out it sounds like the start of a really cool idea. Exploring and moving your ships around by laying down tiles sounds fun. Reminds me a bit of Whistle Stop which I bought recently. In that game, some tiles have locations on them where people can collect resources or purchase points, and some are just route tiles you place to maneuver your trains. Have you played it? Check it out if not. Might give you some inspiration.

I really loved the worm hole idea as well. Playing in other people's areas of space would be fun. But there should be more reasons to visit them than just attacking. You might have a need to visit locations they have that you don't.

As far as combat goes, maybe each players starting race has assymetrical stats that affect how their ships fight based on the resources they use for construction. Some ships could be metal, some bio-organic, some actual living space creatures, etc.

There are a lot of cool world building possibilities. Do you plan on creating a prototype? Look forward to hearing more.

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