Sunday, February 26, 2012

I've been slacking off...

I haven't updated the blog in far too long.  Sorry about that....  so, let's see, where to begin?

I've decided that I'm going to make a series of games called the Altero Series.  Altero is more or less short for "Alternate Europe".  Of Power & Glory is the first game in that series.  Political Agenda (a.k.a. Quitavox) is now called Of Policy & Persuasion and it's game 2 in the series.  It now takes place in Iberia.  Game 3 is Of Feast & Famine.  Game 4 is Of Intrigue & Entitlement.  And Game 5 is called Of Crown & Counsel.  At least that's my plan for now!  Perhaps I'll have some blogs on each of these games in the future... some of them I have already blogged about and some are new.

All of the games take place in the same universe with the same "characters" if you can call the Kings from Of Power & Glory characters.  My hope is that I can publish all of them on TGC by the end of the year...  we'll see!

Of Power & Glory:
I ordered 2 copies of Version 1.2 of Of Power & Glory.  After seeing that the board was printed incorrectly in my review from the Gamer's Table, I asked specifically for them to double check to make sure the boards were printed correctly.  One of them wasn't.  I complained and they said that they would fix the problem...  not just my person issue, but the problem in general.  I've been very happy with The Game Crafter...  this problem which happened at least 3 times is the one exception.  But I think they're taking the problem seriously and I'm sure they'll fix it.

I've also requested a review of OPAG version 1.2 from the Dice Tower.  That was only minutes ago, so no update on that just yet!  I've also submitted it to a publisher.  I guess I can mention the name:  Z-Man games.  That was about 3 weeks ago.  I haven't heard anything from them yet.  I got the impression from their website that they have a huge backlog, so I'm not worried yet.

Of Policy & Persuasion:
I playtested the game yesterday and the game broke.  Well... "broke" is too much.   It was found to be too hard to understand what the state of the game was.  And I understand the complaint.  You have to look at 9 different pawns, each with as many as 3 rings on them to figure out who cares about what issue.  So I went back to the drawing board and I think I have a new design that addresses those issues.  Here's the new design changes:
One of my playtesters suggested using poker chips in front of each player to indicate their issues of concern.  Simply adding more poker chips for that purpose was cost prohibitive (and more fidgety). So I thought "what If I used the same tokens that were in bill?  They're not used for anything else after the bill is voted on."  So that's the biggest change.  Now your score is based on the chips from the bills as they are passed instead of the rings.  So how do you distribute those chips?  I'm currently thinking this:
When a bill is passed, every player that controls a territory in the area that voted for the bill gets the spoils.  Each such player takes one token at a time (starting with the current player and passing left) until all chips are gone. 

I wanted to keep the rings in the game, but I needed a way to have your campaigning correlate with how you're voting.  I had to flip around the correlation to make it work, and when I did, I was happily surprise at how much thematic sense it made.  Now, in order to campaign, you must have collected a chip of that color first.  Which makes sense, you have to campaign on something!  More generally, If you're going to add the Nth ring of a particular color to a pawn you must have at least N chips of that color.

I've also simplified how the rings work.  Now, simply being in a territory does not affect how that territory will vote.  There is an additional step of putting your pawn on the issue marker to "capture" the vote there.  Of course you can't do that if someone else has already captured it...  that is, unless you have more rings of the appropriate color than the current "owner."  This is a similar to how the rings are used in OPAG.  Also, your are not allowed to enter a territory if you have an opposing ring (once again, similar to the archrivals in OPAG).
The net result is that you're breaking the complicated voting process in the previous version into smaller chunks that are easier to swallow.  First you have to capture a territory (chunk one) then you control the vote when it come time to vote on a bill (chunk too).  Actually, it's a lot like extracting a class from an overly complicated one (to use a software development metaphor).

Other changes:  I've decided to let each player have 4 pawns instead of 3. And I'm considering adding all rings back into the game when playing with less than 5 players.  I'm also not sure about the guilds...  I may just get rid of them.  But if I do use them, I came up with another way to use them, you could use them to capture a territory from an opponent even if you didn't have the rings to accomplish it otherwise.  The Thief's guild would make sense in that case.

New game ideas:
I had an interesting idea for a game.  In general, the idea was to have two games going on at the same time on the same board with the same resources.  Players would be in two groups, A and B.  Players in group A are only competing again other group A players (and similarly for group B).  The ideas is that the players in the opposite group would affect the game in interesting ways that are not purely antagonistic to you...  it also opens up the possibility of genuine agreements between players where both parties can win... literally!  There would be two winners to each game.

Specifically, I was thinking about a game where there were producers of resources and transporters of resources.  I imagine a hex map where the producers place factories and workers on the hexes and the transporters place rails along the edges. 

I may come up with a prototype and see how it plays.

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