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Fleet Alert: a co-op, competitive space game

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Joined: 10/07/2013

I have spent several hours honing the mechanics of this game, and I think it is pretty much all there. The only things remaining, which is still quite a bit, is weighting of costs, creating upgrade and threat cards, and deciding on the number of resources. At least I feel like the framework is done, but the meat of the game is still a big part. I could use some input on number of resources and combos for building ships, maybe a better title to the game, and any criticism or glaring flaws in the game mechanics. Granted there is a lot to read, but I would appreciate feedback. Thanks in advance.

Fleet Alert:
Players act cooperatively by building spaceships and placing them in the fleet in order to protect the Homeship from alien attacks and space phenomenon. The game board consists of a 10x10 grid (not finalized), a Planet space for mining, descriptions of ship types, depictions of fleet formations with bonuses, and description of possible resources. Players build and place their starships around the Homeship, which is in the middle of the grid, to act as shields.
Threat cards are drawn and the Threat dice are rolled to see where the damaging event is going to take place around the edge of the board. The fleet will receive bonuses based on fleet formation (formation bonuses), which will help in defense against specific threats. Players use a supply of dice chosen from the Shipyard (a bag) or kept from their mining action to build their ships. Each player starts with a scout ship and several credits (money). During their turns, players may choose to build new ships or upgrades, repair their ship, give input on moving ships within the formation, or mine resources. Mining requires a player’s ship to leave the formation for that round (unless it is a scout ship) and return the next round with some resources to sell to the Shipyard or keep.

Players receive credits by selling resources, surviving threats, and destroying threats. Bonus credits can be given based on upgrades and fleet formation. Selfish players who are constantly building ships for themselves, but not mining resources may find themselves alienated from the other players and left exposed in the fleet formation to take the brunt of the threats. Some upgrades will allow players to steal credits from the wealthiest player or sabotage ships of the player with the most Command Strength.

The player’s mission is to keep the Homeship alive through all rounds of threats. The Homeship has very low health so it will not take many hits to destroy it. If the Homeship survives, the player with the most credits wins. If the Homeship is destroyed, all players lose. Players need to work together to anticipate threats, build working fleet formations, be mindful of the amount and type of resources in the Shipyard, and watch other players’ credit totals and command strength. A well balanced game is essential. All players will need to share and alternate responsibilities or threats will ravage ships and players will sabotage non-team players

Command Strength/Commandant:
Command Strength is based on the individual ship Strength rating. A player’s Command Strength is the total of all their ship’s ratings. The player with the highest command strength is given the Commandant marker and starts the next phase/round. The Commandant also has sole ability to move ships during the Deploy Phase. Players may have placed their ships where they want during the Logistics Phase, but the Commandant may move them according to their move rating with or without consulting other players.

Ship Types:
Scout/Picket ships are the weakest, but are also the fastest. They return from mining on the same round and can move the most spaces in the fleet formation. Cruisers and Destroyers have the same armor rating with slightly different resource cost and abilities. Cruisers hold more resources when mining and move farther in formation. Destroyers hold fewer resources and move less, but can fire back at threats. Dreadnaughts are the heaviest ships that cost the most, hold a reasonable amount of resources, don’t move very well, have the best armor, and can fire at threats.

Players remove a ship they control from fleet formation and move it to the Planet space off to the side to mine resources. The player then draws Resource cards equal to their ship’s cargo capacity. A player has the choice to reveal what they mined or keep it a secret until their next turn (or current turn for scout ships) when they may sell resource dice to the Shipyard bag in secret or use them during the Logistics Phase to build their own ship(s). Or a player may perform all these actions openly. If performing a secret mining move, the player shall take the resource die tray and Shipyard bag and add the resource die in another room, beneath the table, or ask the other players to turn around or close their eyes. Secretive mining is a good way to keep greedy players from staying at the shipyard, as taking resources is not cheap, But, being secretive is also a good way of becoming a target for sabotage.
The number of each resource type in the resource deck will directly correspond to the total costs of building one of each type of ship. Thus, over long enough gameplay the ratio of drawing the needed resources from the deck or Shipyard and cost to build is 1:1. Resource die are the same except for color and the results are: 2 sides success, 1 side success with extra credit cost, 1 side fail but keep the dice for next round, and 1 side catastrophic fail and the player loses the die.
The sell/buy price of Resource cards and die will increase exponentially with each successive one. Meaning, a player will want to risk sending either more ships or larger ships to mine for profit instead of protecting the Homeship. And, players needing extra Resource dice to build ships will pay extra if they get too greedy. Upgrade die will add wild resources to help mitigate some luck.

Building/Repair Ships:
Each ship type has a specific resource cost to build and repair armor. The ship types will be visible on the board just like the fleet formation bonuses. To build a ship or an upgrade a player must pay credits per dice drawn from the Shipyard (blind draw), return extra dice if desired, then roll the remaining dice to determine success. The more a player pays, the more dice they can draw, thus, increasing chances they have at getting the resources they want. Repairing armor cost is the cost to remove 1 unit of damage.
Damage markers are placed on each player’s individual ships. Different color/number markers are used per point of damage so that only 1 marker needs to be kept on the base of each ship. Repair costs will vary between ship types. Scout ships will most likely be inherently unrepairable since they will likely be destroyed by taking 1 damage.

Threat Cards:
Threat cards are drawn according to game round with more cards being drawn as the game goes on. Each threat card is drawn and placed according to the threat die roll. The threat die is a 4 sided die and a 10 sided die. The 4 sided die is for the side of the formation it will be on and the 10 sided die is for the row or column on the side it will be centered at. The threat card will be centered because many threats will have extra arrows indicating that adjacent rows or columns will be attacked too. The cards will indicate armor (if any), movement (if any, directed per round), damage dealt, and credits awarded for surviving ships. Movement of threats is indicated on cards according to number of rounds-after-reveal, but only if the threat survives counterattacks by player ships.
If a player's ship is destroyed, it remains in play for one round as space debris. The destroyed ship is placed on its side and another ship cannot move into or through that space until the next round when the dead ship will be cleared during the Refresh Phase. Dead ships do not block any threat damage. Threat cards are drawn and resolved one at a time. Do not draw the next threat card until all effects of the previous card are done. Some cards are non-defeatable, meaning player ships capable of attacking threats cannot attack these threats.

Combating Threats:
A ship can only combat a threat if it has direct line of sight orthogonally, meaning no friendly ships alive or dead are in the way. The controlling player may have an upgrade which modifies combat characteristics. Combat dice are employed when a defeatable threat enters the board and there are player ships which can fire back. It would most likely be a simple hit/miss die, but it could be used as numerical bonuses to each ship’s firepower. A player would get to roll one combat die per ship which can attack the threat.

The upgrade card deck is shuffled and the top # cards are displayed face up, where # is equal to the number of players. During the Refresh Phase, players may vote on removing all existing upgrades and placing new ones. The vote must be unanimous and if it passes then each player must pay 1-2 credits, the existing cards are discarded, and the top # cards are drawn and placed face up.
Upgrades cost credits. The upgrade deck is full of high cost abilities such as boosting armor for certain ship classes, reducing ship costs, converting resources, utilizing wild resource dice, stealing credits, sabotaging other starships, shielding against certain threats, movement bonuses, mining bonuses, repair bonuses, surviving threats bonuses, destroying threats bonuses, eliminating other upgrades, etc.

Game Phases:
1) Refresh Phase:
a) round marker is moved up 1
b) expired threats are removed
c) remaining threats move (if allowed)
d) dead ships are removed
e) Upgrade Refresh vote takes place.
2) Logistics Phase: advances CW starting with Commandant
a) return ships and resources from mining
b) build ships
c) send scout ships to mine
d) buy upgrades
3) Promotion Phase: command strength is totaled and the highest player total takes the Commandant marker
4) Deploy Phase: advances CW starting with new Commandant
a) Commandant may move ships
b) repair ships
c) send ships to mine
d) draw Resource cards
e) sell Resource cards
5) Threat Phase: Threat cards are drawn and resolved one at a time

Joined: 05/31/2013
Quick Note


The game sounds interesting although very complicated at the first read. Just some quick notes I made:

1) Your Resource dice only have 5 sides.
2) The moving of threats is very hard to comprehend when reading it. A quick sketch of the board would help alot of understanding the movement.
3) I understood that the ships would be miniatures? All players should have their own colors and there will a lot of ships for all players. But threats are cards? So the grid should be such that it fits both cards and minis? Could both ships and threats be tiles? Could be easier to place on the board (and less expensive to produce). And the debris would be on the other side of the ship tile.
4) Could this actually work better as a full co-op game with traitor mechanic against the semi-co-op it is now? The semi co-op games rarely are very good, as players who are losing can just actively sabotage the game so that all will lose. But traitor in this game could be very very interesting idea.
5) Marking damage on ships? On minis it will be a pain unless you have something like a base where it can marked (Heroclix, X-Wing minis). Placing cubes or damage tokens is easier on tiles.
6) Upgrades are affecting only people who buy them right?

So here are some quick thoughts on the game. A game this complex really needs a sketch of the board at least to really be understood. Or maybe I am just too visually inclined person and cannot think straight in the middle of the night.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Henrik Collin

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