I’m finishing up the Dig Site art and will be printing everything out today. I’m very happy with the new game on paper, but am waiting to post the PnP files until I get at least one actual play test done. The new version is much simpler as I mentioned in the previous post. The game still uses a deck of hex tiles and a deck of poker cards, however the player screens, scoring chits, find markers, and action tokens have been removed. The player screens and scoring chits are gone because the scoring has been incorporated into the deck of poker cards. The find markers where just a clunky mechanic that didn’t add enough to the game to warrant its’ existence. Lastly the action tokens have been removed because the turn has been simplified and shouldn’t require a tracking aid.
The new game plays as follows:
At the start of a round the players each play one tile face down onto the map from a central deck. The players look at the top three tiles, bury one at the bottom of the deck, play one face down, and return one to the top of the deck.
Each player moves and plays cards, or plays cards and moves. players no longer receive points for flipping a room tile face up, instead they draw cards equal to the number of unique icons on the tile (1-3) when they reveal a room. Each playing card has a set of icons (1-3) printed on it. In order to play a card the player must be on a room tile with matching symbols. Once the player plays a card they choose one of the symbols on their card that is consumed and each player in turn order may play a card that matches the remaining symbols and consume a symbol. The purpose of this mechanic is two fold, players are involved when it’s not their turn, and the cards with more icons, which are stronger, have a risk versus reward mechanic.
Example: Player 1 moves and reveals a room with 3 icons on it @,#, and $. After drawing his 3 cards he chooses to play a card that has @#$ printed on it. He then decides that the @ icon is used. Player 2 chooses to play a card with a # symbol on it. Player 3 has no cards with just the $ symbol so they cannot play a card. All the cards that have been player are resolved starting with Player 1’s card.
Room cards no longer have an effect when they are revealed or while the player is in the room. which was to reduce the amount of information the player needed to look up, or try to process when taking their turn.
At the end of the round the first player token passes to the left and a marker is placed on the base camp tile. At the end of the 7th round the game is over and the players total their scores.
Scoring has also changed. At the end of the game the players score 1 point for each scoring icon that they have either in their tent (previously called bank) or in their rucksacks , a full set of 3 icons gives the player a bonus point. The set bonus may change based on play testing I’m considering making it 2 bonus points, but need more data.
If your interested in the PnP files send me an email. Thanks for reading.
Progress continues on Elementary. After some serious thought I decided to remove the worker placement mechanics and replace that part of the game with a different set of mechanics. The players will now have a spell book that functions similarly to the lab space accept that it is limited by number of cards, rather than a stat on the cards. Spells are the play players interact. They allow the player to take the Teacher’s Pet Token, steal resources, gain merits, sabotage other players equipment and a plethora of other useful interactions.
I’ve also removed Favor for now. The reason for this was two fold. Favor was primarily in the game to create a balance for some of the more powerful placement effects and since the placement is gone the favor was less useful unless it powered spells, which is still a possibility I’m considering. Secondly I felt that the second part of favor, it’s use as a bidding mechanic to choose the next professor, tended to favor the player in the lead and was not necessary. Right now the spells run off of the same resource the equipment does and unless it doesn’t work well I’m leaning towards leaving that resource out of the game.
Other than Elementary reworks not much else has happened. I’m looking into a smaller size tile for Dig Site, but the sizes offered cheaply are either too big or too small so far.
Thanks again for reading and if you’re interested in helping play test send me an E-mail and I’ll add you to the list.
This week has been another busy week due to other jobs I have, however I managed to get the new version of Elementary polished off and ready for some play testing.
The changes I made are ones I’ve talked about previously. Golems are more useful now that they can be sent to some of the location slots, there are a select number of slots that are permanently available and some that swap out over the “summer break” round, and there’s now six new locations to explore. I believe that the changes will give the players more interaction and allow them to exert more power over their hands.
I’ve also started revising the rule set for both Elementary and Dig Site. Writing rule books is my least favorite part of the game design process, but it’s a super important part. Dig Site’s previous rule set had some issues with flow and easy presentation of material, which I hope this revision will fix. Elementary’s rule set seemed to work fairly well during the last round of blind play testing but needs to be updated with the latest changes and a few rough spots need to be cleared up.
Lastly I’m putting together a Print-And-Play pack for both Elementary and Dig Site so if you are interested in play testing or just want to see what all these posts are about send me an E-mail and I’ll get them to you.