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War of the Worlds game: Crashing to Earth

So, I tried play testing a first version of my War of the Worlds game with my wife last night. At her suggestion, I opted for the simplest version -

  • Martians (10)
    • Attack
    • Move 1 unit to an adjacent node
    • Black Gas
    • Create weed on current node
    • Launch rocket (from Mars, 3 turns to get to Earth, once per turn)
  • Earthlings (100)
    • Attack
    • Move 1 unit to an adjacent node
    • Clear Weed - remove weed from node
  • Attacking - Pull a card from the Battle deck, ratio 5x5, 4x4, 3x3, 2x2, 1x1 (reshuffle on 1)
  • Weed
    • Earthlings can't move off a node whilst they share it with a piece of weed
    • At the start of every round, every piece of weed can create another piece of weed on an adjacent node only
  • Victory conditions
    • Martians win if there are 10 or less soldiers left at the start of the next turn
    • Earthlings win if there are no Martians left alive on earth
  • Disease
    • At round 15, 16, 17 Martian player sacrifices 1 Martian
    • At round 18, 19, Martian player sacrifices 2 Martians
    • At round 20, all Martians die

Setup: My wife placed a some large groups (5-7 units) in a few places and then scattered smaller groups around the map. I'd explained that the odds of winning with a group of 4 was about 50/50. She also scattered a single units everywhere to force me to have to attack everywhere.

Result: The Earthlings (my wife) won at turn 18. All my Martians landed and were chasing the humans around the planet. Just couldn't catch all them rabbits in time ...

Feedback: "There wasn't a lot to do. I have no incentive to attack your Martians, so I just cleared the weed and run away."

Observations: Not enough to do! There were often times where she had nothing to do! I found it physically painful to watch my wife play and give up her actions because she had nothing to do. Ouch.

The Black Gas is terrifying! The Martians crash near large concentrations of soldiers and just gas them. With just four actions, never had enough actions to get them away. I estimate 85% of her units died this way. So, thematically on point!

The Weed eats the world! At the start of the turn, every Weed on a node may spawn another Weed upon a connected empty node. Pretty soon it was a sea of red. Clearing it barely made a dent.

So many cubes! The spreading Weed, the 100 green soldier cubes and Martian Meeples made the board very busy. Carelessly catch the edge of the map and everything is lost...

Rockets rock! The 'Launch Rocket' action, definitely slowed me down, which is good. I launched all 9 rockets, meaning I was down to 3 actions in those rounds.

Conclusion There's definitely a core of a game here. But it needs a chunk of work, starting with the Earthlings ...

Comments

That all sounds POSITIVE!

Don't be discouraged if the game isn't "perfect" right from the start. In my experience, I was able to take a game that had FIVE (5) separate versions before hitting on the SIX (6) version which I called "Version 10.0". With respect to that game, I am currently on "Version 10.1"... So only one incremental change with limited modifications of the "core" game.

So it can take a while... And experimenting with the game is KEY.

TradeWorlds was designed in it's first version as purely an exercise of take down ideas and notes (similar to your own) and just iterating in the notebook as I advanced and thought up of NEW ideas. But that "book" version was "unplayable" even with all the sifting, editing and revision. But it was a solid start to the "Next Generation" prototype which I created months after the "book" was completed.

So you're on your journey... And have fun making your game a reality!

Cheers.

Re:THAT ALL SOUNDS POSITIVE!

Quote:
Don't be discouraged if the game isn't "perfect" right from the start. In my experience
Thank you. I'm not discouraged yet. :)

My genuine expectation here is that my first n iterations will suck. I fully expect to throw away most of what I create.

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So it can take a while... And experimenting with the game is KEY.
I completely agree. It's going to take some time to make this game fun. No point rushing :)

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So you're on your journey... And have fun making your game a reality!
Thank you. Fingers crossed it might go somewhere, but let's see ...

by the sound of it the

by the sound of it the martians are way over powered, which is correct thematically.
how many actions can they preform each turn? if you limit the amount it would slow them down.
are the rockets the martians or just a nuke? if they are the martians themselves you could try to step out of theme slightly to have the martians die after x turns on earth (getting sick)
you can also try buffing the humans with better odds in a fight.
if there is no incentive to kill Martians give the humans a bonus for killing them, gas masks, weed killer, space missile etc.

im not sure how you clear weed at the moment but maybe the more soldiers you have the more adjacent spaces you can clear.
if gas is to powerful try making it cost more to use or less deadly.

Re: BY THE SOUND OF IT THE

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how many actions can they preform each turn?
4. Both sides have 4.

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if you limit the amount it would slow them down.
Agreed, but I want that effect indirectly, rather than saying 'hah, you are stronger, so I'll make you weaker by only giving you 3 actions'. Spending an action to get a new unit (launch a rocket) is neater way to slow them down whilst also being on theme.

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are the rockets the martians or just a nuke?
New units, launched from Mars. Launched rockets are placed on a 3 turn 'space' track (distance between Mars and Earth) and arrives 4th turn after launch. Moving the rocket in space requires no actions.

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if they are the martians themselves you could try to step out of theme slightly to have the martians die after x turns on earth (getting sick)
I'm not sure what you mean. That's exactly what happens in the book and in my game (rules above). All the Martians start dying off at turn 15, and all die on the 20th turn.

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you can also try buffing the humans with better odds in a fight.
Yeah, we need to find a way to buff them. In the book, after defeating the Martians, the Earthlings take apart the Alien technology. Perhaps here we have Gas Masks, Tanks, Artillery, planes, ...

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if there is no incentive to kill Martians give the humans a bonus for killing them, gas masks, weed killer, space missile etc.
Yes, this is along the lines I was thinking.

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im not sure how you clear weed at the moment but maybe the more soldiers you have the more adjacent spaces you can clear.
At the moment, the Earthlings spend an action to clear Weed off a node containing both a soldier and a Weed.

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if gas is to powerful try making it cost more to use or less deadly.
Hah, I've actually had a realisation about this. According to the book, the Black Gas launchers are a ranged weapon, not only melee. So, I feel I should probably consider that as well ...

hi. to clarify my point about

hi. to clarify my point about the martians dying after x turns on earth. i didnt mean all martians die after x turns of the game but each martian dies after x turns on earth. effectively a martian unit lasts for say 9 turns total, 3 in space and 6 on earth. so once a unit lands it has 3 turns to do what it wants and is then removed.
as i say its not 100% accurate but it means the martians will have a harder time, probably having to retake places several times as their units die and the humans move in.
of course it adds a little tracking. a solution to this would be using d6s for martians. they start on 6 and decay to 1 when they get removed at the end of the turn.

Re: hi. to clarify my point about

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each martian dies after x turns on earth.

How are you gonna track that?
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of course it adds a little tracking. a solution to this would be using d6s for martians. they start on 6 and decay to 1 when they get removed at the end of the turn.

Haha! Ingenious! But, ... I want my Martians to look like fighting machines (read: painted wooden meeples...) not dice :) Also I'm not too keen on the extra admin - to have to grab each Martian on the field, pick up the dice, look at, rotate it, and then put it back ... every turn ... argh.

The weed situation sounds

The weed situation sounds like it could be interesting to resolve. So,
A) you want the weed to be able to spread exponentially - compound weed interest
B) but every weed node producing one more is too much

Maybe

Think brambles...they grow out from a central node, until a stem gets long enough and decides (?) to root and form a new node...

Maybe each central node can produce one weed-square, and when a weed square is at least X squares away from a node, it can form a further new central node.
You might also then say that all weeds die when cut off from a central node...

Re: THE WEED SITUATION SOUNDS

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Think brambles...they grow out from a central node, until a stem gets long enough and decides (?) to root and form a new node...
So, I have a a 'branch' weed cube, and a 'root' weed cube? So, it could be that a greatest distance a branch from a root can grow is a fixed number, so they grow but has limited reach. Maybe the Martian's 'seed' the roots?

Hmmm. Plausible... I'm concerned about the amount of time it'll take to setup and run. It's more complex now it consists of 2 types of tokens. The limited reach is nice.

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Maybe each central node can produce one weed-square, and when a weed square is at least X squares away from a node, it can form a further new central node. You might also then say that all weeds die when cut off from a central node...
That's nice. A 'weak' point to the system. I'd prefer linking the creation of the 'root's to the Martians - an active action.

Nice ideas, thank you.

My thinking was to simply increase the number of cubes required to spread.

  • Every node can contain 0-3 Weed cubes.
  • If a node contains 3 Weed cubes, and an adjacent node contains 0 Weed cubes, the node may 'seed' the adjacent node with 1 cube.
  • Any node containing 1 or 2 cubes may add another cube, provided no cube has already been added this turn.
  • The Earthling action 'Clear Weed' removes up to 3 Weed cubes from a node that shares a space with a Soldier.
  • The Martian action 'Seed Weed' creates a 1 Weed cube on a node without a Weed cube that shares a space with a Martian.

This way it works the way it currently does. It's just more cubes ... groan.

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