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.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Latest Of Power & Glory News

I've been slacking off on the blogs, but here's a quick update.

I decided to take part of an expansion that I had had in mind for Of Power & Glory and put it into the main game with a small tweak.  The idea was to soften the blow a bit when you have gone into the court of a king and then that king no longer goes to war.  In that case you now have an opportunity to take a card for that king that gives you a condition.  If that condition is met for that king at the end of the game, the card is worth 1 victory point.  I think this provides a catch up mechanism that the reviewers felt was missing.

I have submitted the game to a publisher for review....  I tell more if/when there's more to tell!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Of Power & Glory Reviewed

Of Power & Glory was reviewed yesterday....  The review was generally good; they even recommended that I tried to get it published by a major publisher which is exciting.  But they did have one major complaint.  And that is that it's too difficult to come from behind to win.  So I've been thinking about catchup mechanics. 

Here's what I considering right now:
Some (but not all) of the cards will have an icon on it.  There are two icons, a castle and a landmark.  When a castle territory is fought over, the player in the lead for power may not chose the power favor.  When a landmark territory is fought over, the player in the lead for glory may not chose the glory favor.  Right now I'm thinking there will be 8 cards of each type.  That means, on average, one territory per round with have an icon on it. This is just a best first guess as to the numbers.  The thing I like about this mechanic is that it's theoretically easy to tune.  Just adjust the number of cards in the deck that have the icons. Zero cards is too few (that's the game as it currently is) and all 48 cards is too many...  that would basically make the game meaningless since no one could ever pull ahead by more than 1 in either power or glory.  So somewhere in between there's got to be a sweet spot right?

We'll see how this goes.  I was kinda hoping to start showing it to publishers, but now I feel like I have to address this issue first.