Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dice Werx and Alter Ego updates

I have been working on three things in the last week or so:

Eminent Domain Expansion: Exotic planets
The FIRST EmDo expansion will be the 9 card set of Prestige and Utopian planets, but that's a mini expansion, the first FULL expansion is what I'm working on now. I've made a first draft prototype, and once I get it where I'm more comfortable I'll offer PnP files to TMG fans to test it out. The expansion adds the following:

* Additional Role Cards to accommodate a 5th player
* Additional Planet Type: Exotic
* Additional Technologies (to go with the Exotic planet type)
* Additional Start Planet tiles: 1 each Advanced, Fertile, and Metallic, and 2 Exotic

I have first draft versions of all this, and have played with the Exotic stuff, but not yet with 5 players. So far it looks promising, though of course there is room for improvement over the first draft!

Dice Werx
It may be favorable to use the word "Dice" in the title for marketing purposes, so I'm probably going to have to rename Eureka! to Dice Werx. Please leave a comment with which spelling you like best, or with a better name for the game (or argument to keep calling it Eureka)... possible spellings:

Dice Works
Dice Werks
Dice Worx
Dice Werx

Anyway, after playing the game a number of times and considering packaging and cost concerns, I have come to some conclusions about what the game will look like:
80 dice in 4 colors (still not sure if they should be standard or custom with icons)
4 two-sided player boards with 3 columns on one side and 4 columns on the other
Additional dice required at the high end of the columns, with more cross pollination of colors.
Some reward for advancing to the 2nd/3rd/4th spaces in ALL columns.

My current thought, and what I'll try in the next incarnation, is to make the Scrap exchange a little worse to begin with, like 4-for-1 rather than 3-for-1, and then when a player advances every column to the 2nd level, their Scrap exchange for all colors will go up to 3-for-1. Advancing everything to the 3rd level will earn you a 2-for-1 Scrap exchange rate for all colors. Advancing everything to the 4th level will earn you a 1-for-1 scrap exchange, which should be pretty darn good, but by the time you get all 3/4 columns to level 4, someone should probably have won already!

Alter Ego deck building game
I made some first draft cards for Alter Ego, and ran through a couple 2 player tests with Mike. The rules are very skeletal, but I think I was able to see a few things that for sure needed to change, and how to change them. Since then I tweaked all of the Equipment cards and re-printed them. I have a pretty good idea what I need to do with the Villain cards as well. A few notes for my own benefit that probably won't make sense to anyone else:
* The Arch Villains need to require more of their specific icons (which appear on the regular villains) - or else those icons need to be more sparse on the villain cards.
* The Villain cards need to give fewer benefits (like additional hero symbols), and/or the hero symbols they give should only apply toward the Arch Villain, not additional interim villains.
* In order for the game not to crash, there needs to be a way to add Alter Ego (AE) cards back to your deck. I'm thinking that instead of fighting crime (and trading in an AE card for a hero card) a player could NOT fight crime and instead add an AE card BACK to their deck. It was suggested (thanks Andy) that in that case a Villain should come out - the top one from the deck perhaps, or maybe there should be a supply of the most basic bad guy, who gives you no benefit whatsoever, but who must be defeated before you can attack an Arch Villain. Thematically, as you spend more time with your family (and not patrolling the streets), the crime rate goes up.
* I am still concerned with the low level of interaction in the game, but for the scope of the game maybe it's acceptable to not have any player interaction.
* I'm a little concerned about the turn structure as well, I want the game to have a nice, simple flow to it.


RP said...

I don't think I've played that dice game of yours, have I? Anyway, I don't know anything about the game play so I'm not sure why either Eureka or some version of dice works is appropriate. But assuming you're building some kind of dice engine, I'd go with Diceworks ... sort of like "ironworks" but with dice. Dice Werks is a possible alternative, like Lokomotive Werks, but the funny spelling may make it harder for people to find when searching. Also, is there something German about the game theme?

The Exotic expansion sounds pretty cool, by the way! I might be interested in testing it, but realistically it seems so difficult to get a game session planned that I doubt I'd get to play it very often. You guys every think about making a VASSAL version available? Not that that would help me, necessarily, but you never know!

truekid said...

If you run the words together, you should keep the W capitalized, otherwise people will have to sort out where the word is intended to be divided on their own, which is probably a risky prospect.