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Jump Gate

"Jump Gate" is a new design that has evolved from my September 2009 GDS Challenge entry that was called Deep Scan.

Things have changed quite a bit from that design, although players are still spaceship pilots exploring planets and collecting resources.

Instead of a 3x3 grid of planets, 9 planets are placed in a circle around a pair of small center boards and a deck of "NavComp" cards. Resources are also represented by cards that are distributed among the planets. Players use the codes on their NavComp cards to take various actions with a goal of collecting the right sets of resources to get the best possible score. I'll go into details on future posts.

For now, I'm going to just show off some artwork. I've uploaded the art for the 2 center boards here:

Jump Gate Board Jump Gate Board

Black Hole Board Black Hole Board

Let me know what you think.

-Matt

Comments

Graphical Touch-Ups

I've updated the 2 board samples in my original post.

Thanks for the pointers/suggestions, Ariel! :-)

p.s. You may need to refresh your browser screen in order to see the updated images.

Tasty!

Matt! I love games set in space...it's all George Lucas' fault! I'm interested to see how the mechanics of your game work...you had me at "NavComp" ;)

Cheers, -Cody

Mutual eye-keeping

Thanks, Cody ... Looks like we'll be keeping an eye on each other's games. ;-)

Brief Overview

Here's a brief overview of the gameplay at this point in my design/testing/adjustment cycle ...

Overview

Your homeworld almost gave up on deep space exploration after the loss of the Pacifica. She had attempted to venture beyond the edge of your solar system into the neighboring system, but all communications were lost.

However, with the recent advent of the Jump Gate, deep space is back on the map for those willing to make the trip.

You are a spaceship captain headed for unexplored worlds. Claim planets, collect resources ... become rich and famous.

Components:

  • 1 Jump Gate Board
  • 1 Black Hole Board
  • 12 Planet Boards
  • 1 Deck of 48 Resource Cards
  • 1 Deck of 48 NavComp Cards
  • 6 Spaceship Pawns
  • 6 Stacks of Markers (each in a different color)

Playing the Game

The Jump Gate and Black Hole Boards are set in the middle of the table and 9 of the Planets are set around them in a wide circle (like a 9-spotted clock face).

Resource cards are dealt to each planet (4 facedown, 1 face-up). Each player get a spaceship, a stack of markers, and a mittful of NavComp Cards.

The NavComp cards consist of a couple of codes/symbols and about half of them also have a special action listed on them. The Planet Boards each have codes for Jumping into orbit, Scanning, and Landing/Claiming the planet. The main use of the NavComp cards will be to Jump, Scan, and Land.

Scanning reveals more Resources at a planet (flips a facedown card to face-up) and also gives you 2nd or 3rd pick of the Resources once someone Lands on the planet. Landing gives you the first pick of the Resources as well as some points at the end of the game.

The Resource cards include 5 different types: "Nothing" (worth no points), Gems (in 3 different colors), Oil, Water and "Special Finds" (such as locating ruins for an ancient alien civilization, etc.). Each type of Resource has its own scoring scheme ... trying to encourage set-collection/specialization for best score ... but balanced off against trying to stop your opponents from getting their favorite stuff at the same time.

The special actions on the NavComp cards are a mix of giving you a way to complete one of the normal actions even if you don't have the right codes, and ways to interact with the other players. A couple examples: "Wormhole" will let the player relocate to any planet without needing to have the proper Jump code for that planet. "Jump Paradox" will let the player switch locations with any other player.

The goal is to get the best total score from scanning and claiming planets, collecting resources, and using the Jump Gate.

The game normally ends when all Planets have been claimed and all Resources of value have been collected.

However, some Resource cards include a "Black Hole" icon. The player that collects one of these cards adds a marker to the Black Hole Board. If that board has 9 or more markers on it before the normal game-end, then the game ends immediately and the player with the most markers on that board loses 10 points in their score.

-Matt

I like what you are doing

I like what you are doing with the game! Good luck on it!

First Planet Board Example

I've added an example of a Planet Board.

Planet Board - Elissana Planet Board - Elissana

There are 12 total Planet Boards, each with their own unique combination of Jump, Scan, and Landing codes. Nine boards are randomly selected to be used each game.

-Matt

nice...

heya matt!

i like that game - sounds quite interesting and original. might even become play-tester for you ;) which program did you use for the design/artwork?

be sure to check out my take on a space-themed game here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/59662

all the best for your game!

cheers,

andi

You propably know, but in

You propably know, but in case you don´t you can always publish your game via thegamecrafter.com

When publishing a game that has only cards as a components it should be "easy" and cheap. Nice game btw. I like the graphics a lot!

Thanks, folks

Thanks for the support, Andi ... and, yes, you know that I already know about "Imperium Galacticum". ;-p

And thanks to you too, Tomi, for the good advice ... but I'm already there! :-D

On TheGameCrafter, I go by "MattWorden". I already have 2 games publishing there (Castle Danger and DareBase) and I am exactly targetting their publishing method for this game.

The Jump Gate, Black Hole, and 12 Planet Boards (+4 more Player Reference Boards) will all be on their 4x4 boards, plus 2 decks of 48 cards each (fits their 16-card-per-sheet format nicely). The Spaceship pawns will be those 6 cool rubber "spacecrafts" and the markers will be their mini-stacking chips.

Cheers to you both, -Matt

thegamescrafter

hey matt. i will add both of your games to my geeklist about games you can buy at TGC at once. hope it helps increasing your sales!

oops...

...i just saw they are already on the geeklist. never mind...

Resources

The main thrust of the game revolves around the collection of Resource cards, which are scattered amongst the planets.

There are 5 types of Resources, each having it's own method of scoring:

  • Nothing: There are 12 "Nothing" cards in the Resources deck. These are not scored and are simply removed from the game when revealed. They are intended to cause some Scan actions to fail and to make it less certain that there will always be valuable Resources at each Planet.
  • Gems: There are 12 Gem cards ... 4 in each of 3 different colors (White, Red, Blue). Gems are scored as the total number of Gems collected by the player multiplied by the number of Gems in the player's largest set of the same color. As an example: A player with 3 Blue, 1 Red and 1 White will score 5 x 3 = 15 points.
  • EnerGel: There are 10 EnerGel cards ... 5 in each "Dark" and "Light" forms. According to the game backstory, EnerGel is used as spaceship fuel, and requires equal parts Dark and Light to make the fuel. Each Dark/Light pair of EnerGel cards scores 7 points, while any solo EnerGel cards that cannot be paired up with the opposite color just score as 2 points.
  • Water: There are 8 Water cards. The scoring for Water starts out as essentially N-squared, but then dampen off to a straight linear increase after 4 cards are collected.
  • Famous Finds: There are 6 Famous Finds. Each of these is worth 5 points.

All of the Famous Finds are marked with a "Black Hole" icon, and each of the other types of Resources have just a few of their cards marked with the Black Hole icon.

The different scoring methods and the Black Hole icon distribution are intended to encourage set collection, and also to encourage players to try to mess with the other player's plans, based on what they alreayd have collected.

I've included a pic of some Resource card examples:

Jump Gate Resource Card Examples Resource Card Examples

p.s. Special thanks to seo, Andre and Zzzzz, who helped me talk through how to approach some of the Resource scoring ... the EnerGel category came directly from that chat.

NavComp

On a player's turn, he/she is able to take 2 actions from a menu of 7 different available actions. Most of these actions use "NavComp" cards, which players are managing hands of.

Each NavComp card has 2 symbols on it, and sometimes a special action as well. The symbols match those shown on the Planet Boards for Jumping to the planet, Scanning the planet, and Landing on the planet. Each symbol shows up 8 times in the 48-card deck.

The special actions allow players a wider range of ways to complete some tactical steps needed in the game, including directly interacting with the other players.

I've included a pic of some NavComp card examples:

Jump Gate NavComp Card Examples NavComp Card Examples

Getting Close to Finishing

Despite not making the cut for Hippodice this year, I'm still pretty excited about this game. More testing & tuning is needed (including an "Advanced Game" set of rules based on suggestions by one tester).

I would very much appreciate feedback on the current draft of the rules.

Beta Rules Document - Includes a few turn examples

Also, a little more graphics show-n-tell: All 12 Planets

Thanks, -Matt

Updated NavComp Card Design

I've updated my BGG thread with examples of the new NavComp card face design. I'd be interested in any feedback you might have. Post here ... or on the BGG thread ... or at my website ... or call me on the phone -- however you'd like me to hear what you have to say. ;-)

My latest BGG thread post is here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4500950#4500950

Thanks,
-Matt

Brykovian wrote: -

Brykovian wrote:

- __Gems:__ There are 12 Gem cards ... 4 in each of 3 different colors (White, Red, Blue). Gems are scored as the total number of Gems collected by the player multiplied by the number of Gems in the player's largest set of the same color. As an example: A player with 3 Blue, 1 Red and 1 White will score 5 x 3 = 15 points.

Did I read that right? This rewards collecting as much of 1 resource as possible and none of the other two.. Is that the intent?

For example, compare your 3+1+1 example above to another player who gets 5 gems, but all the same color - 5 x 5 =25 points. Or even another player who got 4 gems of the same color instead of 5 in different colors... 4 x 4 = 16 points...

Knizia has a scoring system which he's used in several games which does the opposite - encourages you to collect all colored gems pretty equally (see: Tigris & Euphrates).

I admit I haven't read the rules to your game yet (I guess I'm reading this thread backwards!), so I don't know if it makes sense to reward specializing in a particular color - maybe that's the whole point. I guess it all depends on what you're trying to reward.

I guess it's still the case that an off-color gem is better than no gem, but it's way worse than a gem in "your suit." I guess it also depends some on how many total gems players will get. If you have 4 of a color and are getting a 5th, an off-color gem is worth 4 points, while an on-color gem is worth 9 points. If you have 9 gems of a color and are getting a 10th, an off-color gem is worth 9 points while an on-color gem is worth 19 points.

And now to read more about your game!

You're reading that right, Seth

You are correct ... there is encouragement to specialize in collecting the same thing with some of the resources, such as Gems.

Notice also that Water increases at a nearly-squared rate (until a certain point where it becomes linear) and EnerGel gives you much more points by pairing up light and dark cards. The Famous Finds, on the other hand, are a simple 5-points-per type scoring -- which gives more points with fewer collected than the other resources, but doesn't pay as well as collecting a lot of something else. (Famous Finds also cause BlackHole problems.)

So ... each type of resource has a different rate of scoring ... but the encouragement is there to specialize and collect a lot of a single type of resource. The problem comes in the logistics of actually being able to collect what you want ... sometimes it's just more efficient to grab what you can where you're at -- especially if it throws a wrench into what one of the other players is collecting (which is why the players' resource collections are open information).

You are right that this is on the opposite end of the scale from games like Knizia's "balanced scoring" designs, such as T&E and Samurai, etc. But, that's okay, right?

-Matt

I like the sound of this

I like the sound of this game.

Brykovian wrote:You are right

Brykovian wrote:
You are right that this is on the opposite end of the scale from games like Knizia's "balanced scoring" designs, such as T&E and Samurai, etc. But, that's okay, right?

Yes, sorry - didn't mean to imply that it wasn't!

No worries

I knew you weren't implying anything bad ... just discussing a potential issue, which I appreciate. Always gain value from your input, Seth.

Hopefully, you can take a look at the total scoring approach as a whole and give me your thoughts.

-Matt

Reply

Wow, it's been quite awhile since I've talked to any of you guys! I still lurk a bit during my (extremely rare) off time and I can see that the sites changed a bit; a lot of new names, but still some of them major posters as well. Awesome :)

I really like the ideas for Jump Gate though Matt, so I thought I'd finally log on and post (took me about 6 tries to remember my login :p). The all-around simplicity of it is great. The small amount of components, the actions, and even the scoring; all really well put together. Everything even makes sense thematically as well. Props for that portion alone ;-) Seth had a valid point though: scoring may pose to be a incremental problem as you get too high. But, with the amount of available resources and multiple ways to score, it could end up being trivial and not pose a problem at all. As always, playtest :-p (which you may have even done by now).

In the rules, however, I believe I saw a typo in the scoring portion. You listed both the Jump Gate and Black Hole tiles as cards. Perhaps it was intentional and I just made a mistake?

I'm gonna keep track of this one though Matt! And maybe try and post a little more on the forum if I'm lucky :-p

-Justin

Hi Justin ... Thanks for your

Hi Justin ... Thanks for your comments -- I appreciate the encouragement, as well as the help in finding possible problem areas.

You are right about the typo ... should have been "boards" and not "cards". I had gone back-and-forth about possibly having everything (including the Jump Gate, Black Hole, and Planets) be cards -- but I've found that I like the 4x4 boards better for those and just have the NavComp and Resources be in card-form.

I'm getting closer on having the graphics done (a week away from home for work travel didn't help) ... and then the rule book. I might even put a ZunTzu gamebox together for this one so that we can maybe get a BGDF online testplay session for it sometime.

Thanks again for the post.

-Matt

Rulebook Update

I've updated the rulebook for "Jump Gate" ... getting close to having something ready for TGC soon ... just need some more playtests (tweaked a couple rules and need to see if it improved things) and some more rulebook polish and then it'll be there.

I put all of the details about this update into my BGG feedback thread ... go over there to download the latest PDF:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4691993#4691993

Thanks,
-Matt

Finalized Rulebook

I think I have the rulebook where I want it ... getting close to publishing it via TheGameCrafter.

You can see the full-color PDF of the rules here:
http://www.mwgames.com/?p=470

-Matt

Jump Gate is now Available!

Just wanted to post to BGDFers that I have launched "Jump Gate". You can get all of the details from the post on my website: http://www.mwgames.com/?p=585

Thanks very much for all of the commentary and assistance here ... especially those folks who worked through some things with me in the chat sessions. You'll notice a significant block in the "thank you" part of the rule book is dedicated to the crew here at BGDF.

-Matt

GAMES Magazine's 2011 Traditional Game of the Year

Hi folks ...

It's been a while. ;-)

Just wanted to say that if anyone is wondering if "hanging out" at BGDF.com, or attending designer get-togethers such as "Protospiel", or taking part in the monthly GDS Challenges here can help you as a designer ...

"Jump Gate" has just been named Traditional Game of the Year by GAMES Magazine! :-D

And I seriously owe it all to BGDF and Protospiel (and all of the family and friends who have supported and helped me too). If you go to the very first post on the blog for this game, you will see that it started as a GDS entry in a Challenge run by Doho a while ago. I also picked a lot of brains in the BGDF chat, and applied a few things I took away from the one Protospiel I was able to attend (I *will* be back next summer, David!).

Should be an interesting few months now ... wish me sanity and patience!! ;-)

-Matt
www.mwgames.com/JumpGate

A big congratulations.

A big congratulations.

Awesome!

Great news about Games! Magazine! Also, great review from Tom Vasel!

Congrats Bryk, I'm glad to see the GDS and BGDF are good for something ;)

'Grats!

It will certainly get some more buzz now. I am adding the rules to my reading list... maybe the Christmas crunch will allow me a purchase if I am lucky!

GRATS!

I just heard about the GAMES award -- that's awesome! Have you noticed any increased traffic from this yet?

Good luck!

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