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TradeWorlds: Smugglers Run

Well it's been a while since I have had the chance to "re-think" the third (3rd) Expansion for "TradeWorlds". For those who don't know, the Expansion was going to be called: "Smugglers Run". I have decide to BLOG a bit about the things that I have learned working with @X3M on his own Card Game featuring a Turn-Based RPS war game.

Some of the important things to note is this:

1> The price of chips is cost prohibitive.

2> There are alternatives but if your can tweak you design just a bit, that may help solve a LOT of hassles.

"Smugglers Run" was supposed to INTRODUCE "Push-Your-Luck" mechanics and it's about Pirate Ships for each Faction that are running amuck and destroying Fleets of vessels to earn Bounty Credits.

Having had a LOT of time to let this Expansion "simmer", I really made great progress with it tonight. Basically, now you only need 20 Chips and you may only have ONE (1) Pirate Ship in play (per player). There will be FIVE (5) models of Pirate Ships which are randomly distributed in each Players' Buy Piles (Starships, Weapons, Crews, Tactics and Missions).

To be precise, each pile has ONE (1) Pirate Ship... When it appears at the TOP of a Buy Pile, that player may choose to BUY the ship for his Deck.

There are very simple rules these Pirate Ships follow:

1> Pirate vs. Fleet

A> Victory = gain +1 Coins
The Pirate Ship stays in play but the opponent's Fleet Starship is "discarded".

B> Loss = loss -1 Coins
Both the Pirate Ship and the Fleet Starship stay in play.

C> Counter = loss of ALL coins
The Pirate Ship is "discarded" and the Fleet Starship stays in play.

2> Pirate vs. Pirate

A> Victory = gain +1 Coins and the opponent loses -1 Coin
Both Pirate Ships stay in play.

B> Loss = loss -1 Coins and the opponent gains +1 Coin
Both Pirate Ships stay in play.

C> Counter = loss of ALL coins, opponent gains ALL coins
The attacking player's Pirate Ship is "discarded" and the opponent's Pirate Ship stays in play.

This all revolves around PYL mechanics that PUSH player to try to go "one-more-round" to earn more Credits and be Victorious over their opponent(s).

I really am HAPPY that I made the exercise to PRICE the COST of Poker Chips and TBH only 20 Chips is a very reasonable amount. Sure there are all kinds of alternatives like another Tracker with Acrylic Cubes (Much like the Derelict Solo Scenario which features ONE Critical Mass card) or maybe chits like the "Re-enforcement Module" and maybe more... ATM these are the two (2) that come to mind.

But twenty (20) chips won't break the bank (for sure). This VERSION of the PYL mechanic has a bit for everyone (I believe)... It's got PYL Action, it's more affordable to manufacture, it's another NEW expansion, and it won't cost like over $100 USD because the mechanics require too many chips!!!

Again, I'm really pleased that I've managed to "streamline" this future Expansion considering that it too could have been too costly to make had I not had tonight's fresh ideas for a complete RE-DESIGN and SIMPLIFICATION all the while maintaining the "core" goal: PYL Mechanics.

I'll post more in this thread as more news about this Expansion is to be made available for everyone to hear more about the future of TradeWorlds and this Expansion.

Cheers all.


Some more things to consider

I believe that as an option, I could use the "Expansion 1 or 2" slots on the playmat (if I wanted to). But then there is the "complexity" of figuring out HOW a player can EARN the next Pirate Ship in their Fleet.

I was thinking about ANOTHER option... Something MORE "Chaotic" and "Disruptive" and it goes something like this:

At the start of the game, ALL Pirate Ships are placed into one PILE, shuffled and then redistributed among EACH Player's BUY Piles.

This means that WHEN a Space Pirate is revealed, the COLOR of the Pirate Ship determines who EARNS it (and it is totally random). So what happens is as Players BUY more cards for their Decks, they also run the RISK of ADDING a Pirate Ship to the mix (one of four Factions). And it could be also beneficial since it COULD be for the SAME Player (Like Red, unlocks the Red Pirate).

That is all left to LUCK and the RNG of the cards.

This is ONE (1) option... I'll see IF I can come up with another OPTION to determine if there are other possibilities which may be more "interesting".



The KEY to this additional MODULE or EXPANSION is to ensure that the Pirate Fleet is NOT like your typical Fleet Starships. What I mean is that, in some ways you will need to AVERAGE OUT the Space Pirates to ensure that there is a BLEND of STRONG and EVEN STRONGER Pirate Ships to be able to BATTLE the regular Fleet of Starships.

At first I was thinking that I'd do something similar to the Starship Cards:

1. Create five (5) different classes of Pirate Ships with different POWERS.

But I realized that in general this will NOT work. Why? Because generally speaking even if you have a STRONGER Pirate Ship, he can only TARGET ONE (1) opposing Fleet Starship. So WEAK Pirate Ships are actually NOT desirable. You'd want then to be MIDDLE-OF-ROAD and STRONGER to ensure that they are USEFUL under most situations.

So I think that there will be like may "3-Classes": 7, 8 and 9 capacities. Making them ever slightly STRONGER that Fleet Starships makes sense for a few reasons:

1. Because the acquisition of Pirates is Random, they may come into play LATER in the game, meaning that early WEAK Fleet Starship are not the primary source of opposition.

2. Making them STRONGER than AVERAGE means that they can attack MORE Fleet Starships and this is ESSENTIAL for the PYL mechanic to work.

3. Since there are only five (5) Pirates per Faction, all the more imperative that those Pirate Ships have sufficient VALUE to ensure that they actually offer the Players something of BENEFIT.

I think this will be a delicate BALANCING ACT. But my overall strategy SEEMS to be correct. Playtesting will reveal if it IS or NOT. But from a DESIGN-Perspective ... All this sounds reasonable and makes sense.

Some more thinking to see where this leads... But, generally speaking that I think this SOLIDIFIES the Design.

Thanks for the mention

Also, curious what the input range is.
Maybe the possible outcomes can be calculated.

@X3M: Question for you?

Since you've played "Tradewars" (the original game), what do you think would be better for the game:

1> Either have "5" Pirate SHIPS with fixed Stats: Capacity, Firepower and Resistance.

2> OR have "5" PIRATES and one (1) is allowed to CONTROL ONE (1) of your Fleet Starships (therefore use the Fleet Starship stats).

Which do you think is BETTER???

The problem with #1 is that it is a bit HARD to BALANCE the stats with the Fleet Starships especially if the Pirate SHIPS are "discovered" by RNG during the game.

The issue with #2 is that when you UNLOCK a PIRATE, he can control ANY Fleet Starship making it a Pirate Starship. But that may make it HARDER to have such a Starship because PIRATES don't protect Homeworlds... They are only meant to destroy opposing Starship to earn more credits.

So I'll ask again, which do YOU prefer???

Also if anyone else feels like commenting or making suggestions, please feel free to do so. I specifically asked @X3M because he has the "core" game from way back to "The Game Crafter" version and has played the game several times with different approaches...

Cheers @X3M.

Note #1: If you have OTHER ideas, please feel free to SHARE too... Maybe you have better than these two (2) options. ATM that's all that I have (either Pirate SHIPS or PIRATES for Fleet Starships)...

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blog | by Dr. Radut