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FCE v2: First Game

FCE: Playtest #1 - Domain Sheet

I had changed a lot from the first version:

  • Cards, not cubes. (and hey questccg, it's a mini-deck of 18 cards!)
  • Placement of tiles, not drawing on a map.
  • Towers for earning points, not large, contiguous regions.

Using tiles has the interesting side-effect of limiting the size of the map, much the way the grid did. It just looks at it from a different angle... Instead of running out of grid space, the players run out of tiles for terrain.

Another interesting aspect of this limiting effect is that a player's hand can be filled with cards that are of limited use as the game progresses. It's a tactic that I need to observe further. Beyond using two Terrain's tiles so there are none left, I also included that a game ends if a player has a hand of cards where no plays are eligible. I don't foresee this actually happening, but for now I'll keep it in there to nip it in the bud should it occur. It would only occur late in the game anyway, and I don't want games to run long.

Speaking of which, this playtest ran 59 minutes. I think once I smooth out rough spots I can reduce this time in terms of casual play. For extremely competitive types, or new players, I suppose an hour is reasonable at this point.

The Deck of Cards
There are 18 cards. Players have a hand of three cards on their turn and they must play one (to Make Terrain), discard one, and pass the third to their opponent to begin their new hand at the start of their turn.

Each card details one or two different Terrain the player can Make, as well as the pattern/shape it must adopt as the player adds those tiles to the map. There are a set of six cards that allow players to earn 1 rank of Domain, or add a Tower to the map. Finally, there is a final card that allows players to add Sky Fire to the map: this is a "blocking" tile that prevents scoring opportunities (and rounds out the 18 cards).

Better to Use Cards
I like using cards. One thing I immediately realized with this implementation is that cards can have multiple uses, and that provides more choices for the player. By limiting some of the cards to a single action, and the player's hand to a maximum of 3 cards, this doesn't seem to be too overwhelming just yet.

Scoring Points
Players earn Domain in the Terrain they Make. The more Domain a player has, the more that Terrain's tiles are worth when scored. Players earn those points when a Tower they place on the map overlaps them.

For example, if in a game I raise my Mountain Domain to 2, and then have a Tower overlapping 3 Mountain tiles, I earn 6 points at the end of the game. If I happen to also have a rank of 1 for Swamp Domain, and my Tower overlaps 2 Swamp tiles and 1 Mountain tile, I earn 4 points.

A Sky Fire tile, or a tile of Terrain where I don't have more Domain than my opponent, earns my Tower 0 points per tile.

Playtest #1
Very rough, and I added text to cards at the outset. I also decided to ignore a rule about re-shuffling after the Sky Fire card ended up in a player's hand, as well as forcing them to play it as soon as it appeared.

I also feel like I need to shake off the synergy aspect of the previous version of the game. But I'm comfortable with how things played out, as this was just a very-first version with new rules, new components, and new mechanics. I'm just relieved that I was able to actually finish the game to some semblance of conclusion.

Ending Playtest #1
Well, "the entry was a little bumpy," like it says on the BGDF front page. But when it all shook out, the scores were 26 to 30. This is a respectable spread: no landslide victory, and a decent amount of points earned for the amount of turns and time spent. At first blush, this all seems proportionate.

For Next Time
I will deliberately attempt to spread Terrain of various types all over the map. This will adjust the utility of Tower placement. It will also let me know more about whether or not I should attempt to re-develop the Synergy aspects of the different Terrains. Personally, I would like to see synergy re-appear, but not in some clumsy, time-consuming way.

Attached is a picture of this game's "Domain Rank" sheet. To sum it up, players push the Domain marker 1 or 2 spaces closer to their edge of the sheet when they Make that Terrain. At game's end, the number shown there earns them that many points when one of their Towers overlaps it.

Comments

Hmm... I don't understand towers and scoring ...

If the score was 26 to 30... I'm not sure how that MAP sample (of a game played) translates to that score. But that's okay ... You're still working on the concept.

The other IDEA that I had which could (MAYBE, I think so!?) CHANGE the game SIGNIFICANTLY is this:

questccg wrote:
Instead of all this "tiles" are the same "appearance", why not have ALL the tiles with WHITE (Background) and the PLAYER's COLOR (Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange and Purple). But it's the SYMBOLS that show the proper color!

This would put emphasis on KNOWING who played WHAT tiles at WHAT position. Making it HARDER to place towers given the opponent's playing also...

So instead of the Mountain Tiles being RED, the tile is WHITE with a "Red" Mountain Icon (which represents Player #1)! A "Blue" Mountain Icon would represent Player #2!!! And so on...

I think this would be a real BOON, granted you would NEED more tiles for each of the Players. But you could have a POOL which VARIES PER PLAYER.

questccg wrote:
For example: "Red" Player #1 has 5 Mountains, 4 Forests, 3 Plains, 2 Rivers and 1 Swamp... For a total of 15 tiles. Each player goal is STILL to score the most points... But each player has HIS/HER own set of "game tiles"...

This is yet another idea. Again if you don't like the ideas... Feel free to ignore them. I'm just offering you some "suggestions" to "explore" and see IF they work. They're just IDEAS and maybe don't work for all purposes.

Cheers @let-off studios!

Note #1: A couple of you guys HELPED out with one of my OWN designs just by asking questions and presenting your concepts. That's what got "Planes of Aria" (PA) "unlocked". @let-off you helped by presenting TERRAIN and tiles and @Westmass helped by talking about another game with moving tiles (ROOM 25).

It just helped me get "unblocked" with PA (which may make the game work) by combining BOTH concepts. TBD... I am awaiting cards and pieces from "The Game Crafter" (TGC) and we'll see if the game works or not...

Note #2: Just a quick comment about "REPLAYABILITY". If you implement different tile counts per PLAYER (Think Color) ... Well that would definitely ADD a lot of "replayability" because each bag of TILES would be different from the other.

So IF you won playing RED, maybe you want to TRY one of the OTHER colors to see if you can repeat your success. But knowing that each color has a different TILE COUNT, would mean that you would need to alter your strategy a little bit to account for the differences. Something like that. Cheers!

Responses

Thanks for the feedback even with such limited exposure, questccg. :)

  • I see a couple ways I can mess around with the distribution of tiles as you suggest. It could add some "character" and role-adoption to a game that's largely neutral in that regard.
  • Your comments also made me think about how to broaden the game to more than 2 players. In its current state however, I'm wary of too much down time between player turns in a game that could be largely static when it's not your turn.
  • I'm considering having players share an open hand, like a row of five cards or something you would see in Ascension. This might amplify competition and reduce luck and randomness: something I want to pursue at the moment.

Thanks again, Kris. :)

No worries...

I thought that this was a 6 player game...?! My apologies. That's is why I suggested using WHITE Tiles with the color of the player as the SYMBOL. It would make a lot of sense in that version.

But you could maybe change the rules a bit for less players. Like 3 players use 2 colors each, 2 player use 3 colors each and 4 to 6 players only use 1 color.

Indeed different "Play-Styles" depending on the nature of one's tile set.

As far a "downtime" is concerned, don't you only get 3 cards to choose your next move from? If so, that should not take too long... Maybe finding the ideal place for a tile might take a bit of time... I understand, more players, more downtime. It's organic in that way. So, definitely an issue.

But it's a neat concept for sure!

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