Skip to Content

Entry #2 - Galactic Ryft


I am currently working on my space board game. I’m on the third major iteration of it. Originally, I created a space strategy game with lots of miniatures, and stereotypical gameplay including combat. I realized it was not unique enough in gameplay and pivoted.

The second iteration was better and more unique, very similar mechanics to the current version, but had too many unique rules and exceptions to make functional and the theme didn’t push far enough into the mechanics. I had 4 groups play test the game and got some indifferent feedback about playing it.

The current iteration of the game is Galactic Ryft — a displacement strategy game.

Three explosions in your galaxy have opened mysterious Ryfts. Waves of meteorite from the Ryft explosion have impacted multiple planets, including four planets with sentient life. Each meteorite contains one of four forms of psion crystals (psion), which have transformed sentient life into new forms. Not much is known about the psion or Ryfts, but
the psion seems strongest when they are collected with other psions of the same color.

Galactic Ryft – Is a science fiction strategy game that supports three playing styles –, ‘Multiplayer’, ‘Even Pairs’, (future release) and ‘Single player’ (future release). Collect and generate psion crystals matching your Homeworld’s color. Lock in planets near your Homeworld with psion generators and displace other players and neutral creeps to have the most psion at the end of the game.

The game contents will feature cards, psion tokens, and a playmat. I’ve kept the number of cards to an absolute minimum, realizing that cost needs to be kept down for my first game.

The field of play is currently a 5x5 grid and planets are face down at the start with exception of the Homeworld.

The psion tokens that are advanced from planet to planet are also the victory points. They can be used to convert other players psion at a ratio of 3:1, or with other measures in the game.

I just printed the paper for the prototypes land rule book and will resume play testing soon.

My current biggest dilemma is that I have two game mechanics that drive the gameplay that I think I need, but am concerned that they are redundant or too similar. players can perform one of each action per turn.

Homeworld ability. Is a choice of action each turn that at the Homeworld. Each choice lets the player add psion to the Homeworld or remove it from a Homeworld for an effect on the field of play.

Role Card: these cards are shared among players and chosen at the start of the turn to select an action that is performed during the turn that aids a strategy for completion. These allow conversion or removal of psion or addition of psion for all players on planets on which they have psion.

What I have found is that there is not enough variability without the role cards to make the game fun. However I don’t want to remove the Homeworld mechanic from the game because it has the most theme. In going to play test it with both and see how people react before coming to a decision, but it feels like they need to be different from each other but not busted

Please advise— what are the best ways to decide what mechanics to include or remove. Is play testing best, or should I look for a developer to assist?


Publishing Yet?

Not experienced in working with a "developer" at all myself. However, in my limited experience, a developer is someone working, for pay. They likely go for projects that have already been signed or are in-house at a publisher, with in-house designers.

Are you at that stage? Can you afford to pay someone to work on your game?

If the answers to that are, "no," then likely you want to playtest more. Developers require - and deserve - money for what they do. Playtesters can usually be satisfied with pizza (though they clearly do deserve compensation for their efforts, too).

Those who actually have published titles can likely speak more authoritatively on this topic.

Not there yet

Let-off studios I am not there yet.

My biggest fear is that I remain in a do loop and never get this design out and published. I have to ask for feedback because if I don’t ask I could be stuck for years in the process.

I appreciate the feedback.

My casual play testers get food during and beer after. I agree that people should be paid according to the value they provide. When I get to a point I’ll end up bringing this to my more hardcore gamer group and some cash or other desirable incentives.

For now though I find it helpful to identify whether a less serious group can understand the game and make improvements for a wider audience.

Play-testers yes, developer

Play-testers yes, developer no. You're the developer :)

Food is always a good incentive. I don't think you should have to pay play-testers unless you're in a formalized process with written details and feedback coming back to you. There ARE groups that do that, but if it's friends or a local gaming group, provide food and drink. And appreciation at all times, regardless of what the feedback is.

Give the rule book and don't provide any verbal help, until they have read it and are stuck, and then make a note, because every time that happens it's because your rule book needs an improvement.

Without specifics, I can't tell if your Homeworld thing and your Role thing overlap.. if they do, just trying shifting one a little bit, rather than removing it.

Funny... Similar Faction Logo

Well it seems like someone ELSE is using a logo similar to the Acolytes. I know "Epic: The Card Game" was released before my design was completed:

And now it seems like you too have a similar LOGO... Check-out our Acolytes Faction logo:

No worries ... but it seems like everyone is designing "similar" logos!!! I have no problem with either... Gives a bit of "familiarity" when you see the logo if you've played a game with it.


Sauron’s eye

Jay103 thanks for solid advice. I am currently following the path of developing on my own. It’s always good to see what others are doing to see what’s worth doing.

I follow the free playtest rules of conduct. It’s hard not to correct misplays but I just note and move on. It’s also hard when the group takes +1 hr more than your goal time. I was wondering if there was an app that allows you to send a digital game piece and send out play testing and receive marketing results with metrics built in. With regard to the two metrics, I will have to play around with the mechanics some to see if it works.

Questccg I think all sci fi and fantasy has some intrinsic fascination with Tolkien and Sauron’s Eye. At least I think that’s where my inspiration comes from, I believe. I’ll have to check out “Epic: the Card Game” art. But your representation looks pretty awesome and way nicer than mine. All of your art puts mine to shame. Do you self perform or hire out? Regardless, amazing interpretation. I will definitely need to hire art out. My sketches give conceptual direction but creating an adequate piece takes me days of effort. It would seriously be the critical path of this and every game I develop.


When we had decided (and it was Mike who suggested Asymmetric Powers) we should have Factions as part of the game. Then it came back to me to DESIGN the four (4) Factions. As dumb as it sounds, I went for A-B-C-D.

1. Acolytes
2. Brethren
3. Covenant
4. Destined

And then I thought a bit about the four (4) Factions and how they came to be... The Acolytes were the DOMINANT Faction and old money... Keepers of the "flame" so to speak. Sort of the "We see ALL..." And that is why I chose and "Eye" as the representation... Dominance, wealth and overseeing were the keywords of this faction.

The Brethren were soldiers formerly under the control of the Acolytes. And my writer said that perhaps we could give them a Roman/Spartan type of Legionnaires type of organization. They had formed their own society after they left the unsatisfied conditions of being the Acolyte Army. We chose the "Fist" because of brute power and might.

The Covenant were supposed to be a secretive society, highly versed in science and technology. As a covert faction, they would be the smallest in terms of size of the four (4) factions. And I modeled them after the Slytheren ... Sly and cunning giving them as symbol the "Atomic Star".

And lastly were the Destined. This is a faction comprised of all the people who abandoned the three (3) other factions. Disenfranchised, looking for more freedom, searching for peace and unity the "Angel" is used as the symbol for this faction. It is surprising larger than the Covenant since so many people were looking for New Hope and a better way of life...

So that explains my own personal reasons for each faction's Logo and a bit of history and background about each faction.

If you look online for a free

If you look online for a free "eye" icon, it looks like that too. Weird :)

I guess an "eye" is an "eye"!

I mean ... How many other ways can you design an "eye"??? TBH... I guess it's pretty NORMAL when you choose an "eye" as your symbol... There aren't that many variations on its design, right?!

And when it comes to ICONs... most are Black & White (SVGs and such). The Free Icons website ( features over 3,500+ icons. Most are Black & White. And I'm sure they have a bunch of "eye" icons too (60 to be exact).

But to your point, yeah it's weird that most "eye" icons when you Google look very similar. Game Icons .NET have only 60 but they are all very different in appearance. Looks like most of the google icons must be because in terms of popularity, everyone is trying to mimic the "All-Seeing-Eye" (LOL) At least that what it seems like to me!

The onus is on You.

Warklaxon wrote:
...Please advise— what are the best ways to decide what mechanics to include or remove. Is play testing best, or should I look for a developer to assist?

I think it's up to the Game Designer (You) to figure out what mechanics to use...! I mean BGDF can help give you ideas (on what to explore, things to take a look at, etc.) ... We often post for feedback.

A Developer is there to help SOLIDIFY a design by "Blind" Playtesting a rulebook... It's not his role to help with the design unless of course it's a question of streamlining the game (making it more compact or tighter in design).

What you could do is explain in more concrete details what you want to accomplish and what you've tried so far.

I'm sure we can all feed you ideas to examine and from there you can figure out what works best. Borrowing from one or several ideas and coming up with something uniquely yours.

Nobody asks for feedback and expects to use any AS STATED. Everyone usually just comes up with their own versions based on how they see it be best fit (for their design). Like I often say "Nobody is telling you what you SHOULD do." We're just giving you ideas to explore and see where you can take them.

As the Game Designer it's your duty to come up with "The Game"!


Quest- Yes I totally concur that the designer (me) should come up with the mechanics or a combo-variation that best fits the circumstances.

I am probably not alone in that the majority of my time that I have available is by myself and not with a playtest group. This results in a lot of spinning with mechanics when I really just need to try the ones I dreamed up out. Once I test the current version adequately I’ll post back with specific questions about the mechanics I have.

Sometimes my focus and application of my time is an issue. By dreaming up mechanics I’ve come up with 12 other game ideas within the past month, and partially flushed them out. It takes away the time I have for working on my current effort to publish, but it is sometimes more enjoyable than grinding. Once I get closer to completion I’ll probably post a poll to see what ideas seem most fun.

Jay- that’s pretty funny. Eyes are something of a universal item amongst humanoids and a common piece of available clip art on the internet. Too funny.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Syndicate content

blog | by Dr. Radut