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Scavengers - Spring 2017

TO SUM UP: Game is 90% complete.

What a long, strange trip it's been.

A game that started out with a single deck of cards that I drew with Sharpie markers, featuring crossing guards competing to help schoolchildren cross the street... Now a full-fledged sci-fi bidding game with company contracts, tokens for positive and negative effects, set collection, and more iterations than I care to count. It's been a lot of joyous work.

SCAVENGERS is a space-age bidding game, where players are pilots hired to collect space scrap from a far-out explosion. The player who collects the most space scrap, rescues the most aliens, and gathers the most alien technology will most likely win... Victory depends on how wisely a pilot spends their ship energy.

When a new space sector is visited, the pilot with the highest unique number bid from their hand of cards is the winner. Each pilot has the same cards to start with, and you must beware of ties - these allow pilots who have spent less energy sneak in and snatch up all the space scrap! If you can't edge out your opponents, you'll end up losing a matchup and the valuable sector card goes to your rival.

Who's the quickest, cleverest pilot out there? Hope it's you!

- Each player now has a playmat and screen, so all bids can be plotted separately and then revealed simultaneously.
- Playmats have a clearly-outlined "stores," "exhaust," and "activated" region, so players know at a glance which tokens and cards are used for current bids.
- The first tier of tie-breaking is now resolved with alien tech tokens. If a tied player doesn't offer up alien tech, they automatically lose. However if they discard a token they have another chance to use an energy card to increase their bid. If no resolution is found with tied players, the player with the next-highest unique bid is the winner.
- There's now a "circular" layout of cards, which better fits the current theme and saves table space.
- Graphic design is accommodating to colorblind players, and any player can see the state of the game "at a glance." Scoring is easier due to adaptations for graphic design. Much like in Smallword for example, gamers will not be distressed or intimidated by constantly monitoring the game state.

I'm proud of this game design, and how far it's come in the past year and a half. I understand better the process of game design because of it, and feel more confident and clear-headed than I ever have regarding my chances of having a design of mine published. SCAVENGERS is in a great place, and I remain "cautiously optimistic."

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut