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Jolt! - An arena based board game

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browwnrob
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Joined: 11/23/2018
New art

Hi guys,

Ive just finished my rulebook for my game following some playtesting but about to try blind playtesting.

Its an arena based board game where the board shrinks in size. Its set in the future and incvolves mechs trying to push each other out of the arena. Ive attached a PDF of the rules.

I tried to get away from using the term "hexes" but not sure if the term "contest zone" is too clunky... but its a minor point.

Anyway have a look and see what you guys think.

Ive made a Facebook page for the game which has't very much on it as yet but its early days!

https://www.facebook.com/JOLTgame/

Latest Rules (1.3.5) on Google Docs

Ive attached some images of my rough prototype so apologies for the poor quality!

Thanks!

browwnrob
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Joined: 11/23/2018
Hey, Does anyone have any

Hey,

Does anyone have any thoughts on the game, theme or rules?

Thanks,

Fertessa
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browwnrob wrote:Hey, Does

browwnrob wrote:
Hey,

Does anyone have any thoughts on the game, theme or rules?

Thanks,

I started to read the rules, but that is an intimidating block of text. I can't comment on their cohesion, but I can say, design-wise, your rules are not easy on the eyes. It would help to break it up with some images, to add more white space, to have bigger, eye-catching headers that make it easy to skim for what you want to read. I will try to give them a more thorough look later this week.

Tim Edwards
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Hi, I think your rules could

Hi,

I think your rules could benefit from a bit of re-ordering of information. For example if I understand correctly, Power-Up cards are played at the START of a player's turn. However, there is no mention of Power-Up cards until the final section on actions. They are not - I believe - even listed as an action. I suppose this is because taking one is not a choice but a fixed part of your turn. If that's the case, you should probably talk about that before going on to describe the Action choices.

Everything else looked fairly clear from a skim through. As far as layout goes, I would avoid wrapping around images. It doesn't make it easier to follow.

Also, while I understand why you inserted some text-boxes with bits of fun/flavour/lore/atmosphere/strategic hints - it might be worth leaving them out just because there's enough to read already. :) I'd be inclined to have them all on the back page to make it clear that they are optional reading and not necessary for digesting the rules. Apocetha did something similar.

How did the test-playing go? Did anyone suggest an alternative to the dice rolling? I have no objection to dice (I love Risk), but it looks like you can lose the game on a failed roll (when Jumping?) which might be a bit of an "Oh...damn. Ok. I guess that's me done then" feeling? (If an entire amassed army in Risk could be wiped out at the throw of a die, I probably wouldn't be a fan.) Could you use power cards for movement and jumping instead of dice? Just an uninformed suggestion since I haven't played it. :)

Hope that's of some use.

browwnrob
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Joined: 11/23/2018
Hey guys thanks for the

Hey guys thanks for the feedback it's very useful and makes sense. My wife is going to help rearrange the rulebook :)

Regarding the dice, I was thinking the game could be perceived as a bit dry and abstract so was on the fence and added in the dice to incorporate a small random element but I did think the same thing in that you could end up losing on an unlucky roll.

Moving on from that it could work if I incorporated the jump mechanism into the power up deck, say by having a number of jump cards. A jump card would allow you to jump 2 spaces but and to jump additional spaces you would need to play an additional jump card. For bigger jumps it would cause bigger pressure rating changes.

It would make for interesting strategy i.e. Do I sacrifice some position now and draw power up cards now before they all get taken so I can get out of trouble later on.

Do you think the game looks fun?

Tim Edwards
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browwnrob wrote:Hey guys

browwnrob wrote:
Hey guys thanks for the feedback it's very useful and makes sense. My wife is going to help rearrange the rulebook :)

Regarding the dice, I was thinking the game could be perceived as a bit dry and abstract so was on the fence and added in the dice to incorporate a small random element but I did think the same thing in that you could end up losing on an unlucky roll.

Moving on from that it could work if I incorporated the jump mechanism into the power up deck, say by having a number of jump cards. A jump card would allow you to jump 2 spaces but and to jump additional spaces you would need to play an additional jump card. For bigger jumps it would cause bigger pressure rating changes.

It would make for interesting strategy i.e. Do I sacrifice some position now and draw power up cards now before they all get taken so I can get out of trouble later on.

Do you think the game looks fun?

Yes, I think that kind of card play would be really nice. I mean, there IS still an element of luck because you're not sure what you will draw (or if you ARE allowed to choose your card, at least you don't know what your opponent(s) are holding.)

It looks like it could be fun. I like arenas on principle. :)

browwnrob
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Hey guys, thanks again for

Hey guys, thanks again for the feedback.

I have tried to space things out a little better and have removed the dice mechanic for Jumping.

I have updated my original attachment to include Version 1.1

Let me know what you think!

Angrycyborggames
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Joined: 04/02/2018
Hello! Good luck with your

Hello! Good luck with your project. The hex style and future-ism reminds me a bit of one of my favourites, neuroshima hex.

Here’s a few things on my first read:

- “during game setup, the pressure sensor rating can be changed if agreed upon by all players” this seems like a pretty critical part of the gameplay and the designer should control this. I don’t think your readers need permission to houserule something, instead you should set the value to what produces the best games.

- page 6 graphic is confusing — says 2 movement, but one arrow indicates a single jump. You should consider using two arrows to demonstrate each action as independent (if this is what you are going for)

- endgame condition seems a bit funky. How do I determine if mechs can’t jump far enough? Is a two tile barrier too much? Three? The action cards are hidden (if I understand correctly), so I have to reveal what I am holding to debate whether or not we end the game... this might need to be cleaned up?

Overall thoughts: I like the theme and the idea a lot. The constantly constraining battlefield provides a lot of tension ala battle royale style games. I think there’s something there and I think it could be very cool. However I worry this game would have too much board upkeep for me and my partner to enjoy, so I would probably pass unless there is an easier way to track all that information or you find a way to make things more cohesive.

An example would be the action points system — is there a way to simplify this so it’s less of a “you have 3 ap, spend 1 to do this thing, 2 to do that, 1 to do this and this, 3 for this...” and maybe something simpler like: pick two actions for this turn move, attack, mod, jump, use action card, draw action card etc)

Because right now there is a lot of mental / board upkeep: AP, hex thresholds, mod management, and then the usual weight for decisions during board games. And, of course, a timer.

Edit;— lastly, on your cards at the back, the text needs to be more readable. 1D6 looks like 1176, and there’s a few other hard to read things. I’d recommend a cleaner font for errata text like that

browwnrob
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Hey thank you so much for

Hey thank you so much for giving feedback, I really appreciate it!

Regarding your points I have to say I would agree with all of them, apart from the one where you would pass on it but that's something that I hopefully can fix following excellent feedback! It's good to get more opinions as I think it's easy for me to get tunnel vision. I'm learning a lot here which is the main thing and if I get a great game at the end then that's a bonus.

I'm really glad that you picked up on the battle royale thing as that's my whole angle.

Regarding the AP, one other idea I had was that there was the list of available actions but instead of being weighted as they currently are, you still have 3 points to spend, but performing any action costs 1AP, but performing it again would cost a further 2AP essentially perform 3 single actions or 1 action twice... If that makes sense?

I initially strayed from that idea as I thought weighted AP values would lend itself better to play test tweaking but taking your suggestion a little further now I'm thinking the actions could be like:

Move up to 2 hexes
Place / Replace a mod
Adjust the pressure of adjacent hexes twice
Rotate a mod up to 2 increments
Draw power up cards
Jolt another mech
Perform a jump

So i can move 4 hexes to get me out of trouble or I can move two, jolt someone then try a jump but blow two of my jump cards.

Do you think that's another decision too many?

The timer I had in to simulate the tension and quick thinking and also as I dislike analysis paralysis I did toy with the idea of keeping it there and like codenames, if someone gets fed up waiting for your turn they flip the timer. But that could cause a whole different type of battle royale :)

Angrycyborggames
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Joined: 04/02/2018
I think those are all good

I think those are all good ideas and worth testing out — I’d just add that keep in mind my feedback is very different than most designers here as I tend to prefer (very) light weight systems compared to a lot of other designs here.

For something I think of being too complex, most others might think it’s very simple!

I’d say give it a few plays and go with what feels the best.

browwnrob
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Joined: 11/23/2018
Thanks man, Ive reworded the

Thanks man,

Ive reworded the tiebreak section to say

Quote:
At the end of the game, there may be an obstructed path to allow your mech to engage with an opposing mech due to the formation of isolated islands of connected zones. When opposing mechs are isolated like this, if no mechs make any attempt to engage after 3 rounds (i.e. jump to the same “island” as an opposing mech, perform a jolt action on or move adjacent to an opposing mech), the game is decided by a tiebreaker.

In a tiebreak, the winner is declared as the tied player who eliminated the most mechs. If this is a tie then the tied player with the most mechs remaining in the arena is the winner. If this is a tie the tied player who has a mech on the largest island is the winner.

Id like to add a final tiebreaker to say something like, if its still a tie after all that, the player who is most likely to hack the government databases is the winner :)

browwnrob
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Joined: 11/23/2018
Hey guys, Hope you all had a

Hey guys,

Hope you all had a great Christmas!

I have been working on my rule book a little more over the holidays and its Version 1.2 in the original post.

Id really appreciate it if there was any more feedback.

I have added in some more graphics to help explain the mechanics a little better. The cards at the back will need some work but for now I'm just handwriting on them as we play-test.

Thanks!

browwnrob
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Joined: 11/23/2018
I have been reading a lot

I have been reading a lot about player elimination mechanics on BGG etc and seems that its not well liked as a whole so I have been thinking some more about the endgame and was worried that the game could drag on for eliminated players so I wanted the game to feel that as it is reaching its conclusion (as mechs are eliminated) the game will speed up, a little like Tetris once you go up levels. I had a few thoughts on this...

1) When a certain number of mechs (or players) have been eliminated, the sensors become more sensitive, therefore each movement will cause the sensor ratings to increase by 2 rather than the usual 1.

2) On their turn, eliminated players can increase pressure sensor ratings, or disconnect a zone.

3) There could be a mechanic for eliminated players, much like in Pandemic: On the Brink, where eliminated players secretly lay traps or adjust pressure on the arena

4) The eliminated players could place wagers on the final outcome of the game. I'm not convinced on this one but I am throwing it out there!

5) Once a player is eliminated, the player who eliminated them gets to take their cards, like in Risk, to give them an advantage and to progress the game a little.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on the above?

For the 10+ playtest games so far, nobody has been eliminated early on and by the time they are eliminated, the game has finished within 15-20 mins max with the arena mostly shut down.

I was also encouraged to post the rules on Google Docs so people can add comments. Its currently Version 1.2 (and I haven't mastered Google Docs yet so it looks a little rough!) so hopefully this link works

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qkxS4MRkzIqNUVmJt-QO2yNzb4cwtchefbv2yvqZzpA/edit#heading=h.gjdgxs

Tim Edwards
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browwnrob wrote:I have been

browwnrob wrote:
I have been reading a lot about player elimination mechanics on BGG etc and seems that its not well liked as a whole so I have been thinking some more about the endgame and was worried that the game could drag on for eliminated players so I wanted the game to feel that as it is reaching its conclusion (as mechs are eliminated) the game will speed up, a little like Tetris once you go up levels. I had a few thoughts on this...

1) When a certain number of mechs (or players) have been eliminated, the sensors become more sensitive, therefore each movement will cause the sensor ratings to increase by 2 rather than the usual 1.

2) On their turn, eliminated players can increase pressure sensor ratings, or disconnect a zone.

3) There could be a mechanic for eliminated players, much like in Pandemic: On the Brink, where eliminated players secretly lay traps or adjust pressure on the arena

4) The eliminated players could place wagers on the final outcome of the game. I'm not convinced on this one but I am throwing it out there!

5) Once a player is eliminated, the player who eliminated them gets to take their cards, like in Risk, to give them an advantage and to progress the game a little.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on the above?

For the 10+ playtest games so far, nobody has been eliminated early on and by the time they are eliminated, the game has finished within 15-20 mins max with the arena mostly shut down.

I was also encouraged to post the rules on Google Docs so people can add comments. Its currently Version 1.2 (and I haven't mastered Google Docs yet so it looks a little rough!) so hopefully this link works

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qkxS4MRkzIqNUVmJt-QO2yNzb4cwtchefbv2yvqZzpA/edit#heading=h.gjdgxs

For me, no 1 and no 5 look like the best ideas.

no1 - why not make sensitivity directly contingent on how many mechs are remaining? then you could discard the threshold idea, which might feel a bit more clunky than the alternative? (I can't remember the rules but if increasing the sensitivity increases jeopardy then it seems like a really good solution)

no5 - encourages aggression. also good.

I don't like 2 and 3 because I'm generally not a fan of mechanisms where eliminated players just sort of get to meddle for no other than meta-game satisfaction. :) I just don't think it would satisfy me. I'm still out of the game really - but I've been relegated to a sort of random/AI generator.

no 4 could work, but I think only if placing bets was an integral part of game - a bit like that Really Nasty Horse Racing Game, where wining the race isn't the ultimate objective; guessing WHO will win is.

Angrycyborggames
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Tim Edwards wrote:browwnrob

Tim Edwards wrote:
browwnrob wrote:
I have been reading a lot about player elimination mechanics on BGG etc and seems that its not well liked as a whole so I have been thinking some more about the endgame and was worried that the game could drag on for eliminated players so I wanted the game to feel that as it is reaching its conclusion (as mechs are eliminated) the game will speed up, a little like Tetris once you go up levels. I had a few thoughts on this...

1) When a certain number of mechs (or players) have been eliminated, the sensors become more sensitive, therefore each movement will cause the sensor ratings to increase by 2 rather than the usual 1.

2) On their turn, eliminated players can increase pressure sensor ratings, or disconnect a zone.

3) There could be a mechanic for eliminated players, much like in Pandemic: On the Brink, where eliminated players secretly lay traps or adjust pressure on the arena

4) The eliminated players could place wagers on the final outcome of the game. I'm not convinced on this one but I am throwing it out there!

5) Once a player is eliminated, the player who eliminated them gets to take their cards, like in Risk, to give them an advantage and to progress the game a little.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on the above?

For the 10+ playtest games so far, nobody has been eliminated early on and by the time they are eliminated, the game has finished within 15-20 mins max with the arena mostly shut down.

I was also encouraged to post the rules on Google Docs so people can add comments. Its currently Version 1.2 (and I haven't mastered Google Docs yet so it looks a little rough!) so hopefully this link works

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qkxS4MRkzIqNUVmJt-QO2yNzb4cwtchefbv2yvqZzpA/edit#heading=h.gjdgxs

For me, no 1 and no 5 look like the best ideas.

no1 - why not make sensitivity directly contingent on how many mechs are remaining? then you could discard the threshold idea, which might feel a bit more clunky than the alternative? (I can't remember the rules but if increasing the sensitivity increases jeopardy then it seems like a really good solution)

no5 - encourages aggression. also good.

I don't like 2 and 3 because I'm generally not a fan of mechanisms where eliminated players just sort of get to meddle for no other than meta-game satisfaction. :) I just don't think it would satisfy me. I'm still out of the game really - but I've been relegated to a sort of random/AI generator.

no 4 could work, but I think only if placing bets was an integral part of game - a bit like that Really Nasty Horse Racing Game, where wining the race isn't the ultimate objective; guessing WHO will win is.

I also agree with 1 and 5 being the best.

I’d take the anti-player elimination sentiment with a grain of salt — your game is about robots eliminating each other, no need to pander to bgg trends. Instead just make sure players have meaningful turns and elimination only happens when the game is reaching its’ conclusion.

browwnrob
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Thanks guys, your feedback is

Thanks guys, your feedback is spurring me on to keep working at this :)

1 and 5 were my original thoughts and yes I agree and the idea has gone down well with my playtesters in theory.

One of the guys said that he would worry in a 6 player game that a lot can happen until his next turn so he came up with the idea where a player as an action can place a shield in an adjacent hex.
This would mean nobody can move into that hex and it would last until your next turn.

I'm interested to try this out. I can see it being used offensively as well as defensively!

QT Games
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Some neat ideas have been

Some neat ideas have been kicked around on this game. I agree with what's been said on 1 and 5, so I don't need to add to that, but regarding player elimination, while this is a combat arena game so elimination seems appropriate, it really depends on number of players and length of game. That's the meat.

[Not sure if an overheating or "shut down" with diminished power after it or something might help to keep people in the game limping along with some chance of jacking into a power/repair node possible at a cost and then they can in their weakened state ally with another player (I'd need to pour over the rules more to have a clue if that's even doable or appropriate. Just a thought. Feel free to ignore.)]

Anyway, a fast-paced game in which the run time might is 15 minutes or less means that player elimination might not be a big deal. The shorter the game, the less it matters.

An eliminated player can sneak off to the kitchen to grab a drink or snack, check their messages and then before you know it, the game has ended. If the wait time is much beyond that, it starts to seriously diminish the eliminated player's lasting enthusiasm, unless they get sucked into what's happening so much so that their own demise is no longer a focus. Giving them things to do is only appropriate so long as it blends well with the theme of the game.

Creating a new set of rules to handle elimination down time further complicates the game and may tweak the experience you are presenting in a way that isn't desirable. Always compare new concepts to your bottom line theme and experience and adjust from there. Me, I'm not into being eliminated if it means I can't enjoy directly interacting with my friends for longer than 15 minutes.

When I was young and we played Monopoly, we used to keep giving each other loans to keep everyone in the game until it became super obvious who would likely win and then we just stopped. It made it wonky in a different way, but nobody likes to wait around a long time. Just my two cents. Best of luck with it!

browwnrob
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Good points! I went with the

Good points!

I went with the increased rate of dead zones and its worked really well except that it had the effect of making the players get isolated a little more so it increased the endgame where players were trying to avoid dying on their own island rather than putting people out.

From a playtest session last night I've had a few ideas, I'll post once I get home from work

browwnrob
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I have updated the rules to

I have updated the rules to Version 1.3.1 and am in the process of loading it into TableTopia.

Let me know if you have any comments, good or bad or even to offer encouragement as its a lonely existence as a game dsigner sometimes! :)

Rules on Google Docs

browwnrob
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Joined: 11/23/2018
So I have been very busy with

So I have been very busy with my game and has survived some blind playtests so the game is not broken!

I have also entered the Board Game Workshop Design competition, there are only 106 other games to complete against but maybe I will get some good feedback :)

I have streamlined the game down considerably. There are no luck elements in the game now as the cards have been removed. The MOD tokens also got canned as it was an extra level of complexity that was also a bit clunky in hindsight

There is new artwork

During playtesting, the game also felt like it was meandering in the early game so I reduced the starting charge levels. It sped the game up 33% and halved the number of tiles.

I also toned down the Jump range as it was a bit overpowered.

I also felt that at higher playcounts especially, players felt occasionally that they could do nothing to prevent a situation happening where they got eliminated so I came up with a solution that on first glance seems a bit unwieldy but works well:

If you have fully charged your mechs battery, you can "prime" your mech to perform a single action during an opponents turn, completely draining your battery. This is limited in that you cant Jolt and can be performed before an opponent begins one of their actions or after. Initially I had intended to use it as a defensive mechanism however my playtesters showed me it is also a very interesting offensive tool.

Ive included lots of extra diagrams in the rulebook so if anyone wanted to glance through it id be most appreciative!

Version 1.3.5 Rules

Looking at my original rules compared to what I have now there is a world of difference. I really appreciate the help that you guys have given me!

browwnrob
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Joined: 11/23/2018
I have just been offered a 90

I have just been offered a 90 minute playtest table at the Ukge at the end of the month in Birmingham so I'm really looking forward to showcasing the game and getting feedback. I'm also trying to arrange a meeting with a publisher.

Did anyone have a look at the latest rules?

peterthull
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turtling

I briefly looked over the rules, so I am probably missing something, but I had a question. From what I understand, the object of the game is to jolt your opponents out of the arena or into a Void Zone. And its only possible to jolt an opponent that is located in an adjacent hex. What if a player creates a ring of void zones around their location? Have they created a defense so strong that they have essentially won the game?

I'd like to see the game in action. Have you considered filming your upcoming playtest?

Good luck, and I wish you success.

browwnrob
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Joined: 11/23/2018
Thanks for looking at it. It

Thanks for looking at it.

It might be easy to miss but I think it's in the movement rules if your active mech doesn't move on its turn then it drains power from its current zone. So really the mech could only do this for 2 turns and then have to jump out as it barricaded itself in or get eliminated as the zone under them becomes void. It might be worth another diagram or even to add to a later diagram

For sure some of the strategy when the arena closes in is shutting off corridors and forcing opponents to burn their jumps

I have a brief video for a design contest but it's not very excitong but I think a playtest video would be a really good idea. I'll try to talk my wife into it or maybe just do a rahdo type video.

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