Saturday, July 28, 2018

Crusaders expansion prototype PDF and rules doc

I finally sat down and wrote out the rules for the Crusaders expansion I've been testing. It's in the format of my prototype rules for Crusaders, not the finished Crusaders rulebook. Once I'm convinced the design is finished, the next step will be translating it to that format.

For those interested, here is a sneak peak at the expansion rules and prototype PDF:

Crusaders expansion rules v1.0_7-15-18

Crusaders expansion prototype PDF

The major thrust of the expansion is twofold:
1. An all new, more involved Influence action. Some playtesters suggested that just collecting VP for the Influence action was boring. In general I like having an axis in games with multiple paths to victory that is "just points," things like the big buildings in Puerto Rico for example. But for the expansion, I tried out a new version of that action...

Instead of just collecting points, you use Influence to collect influence tokens from the regions on the board, leaving your influence markers behind. These tokens give you 1-time or permanent bonuses to certain actions, and the markers you place allow you to travel more easily through those regions.

This turned out to be pretty cool, but I'm really glad I didn't try to put it into the original game, because I think it complicates things and makes more fiddly.

2. Four new building types. This was the first idea I had for expansion content, way back in January of 2015. I've tweaked it a bit, now the new buildings can be built anywhere, but they're more expensive than the old ones. However, if you build a new building int he same hex as a specific existing building (belonging to ANY player), you get a discount.

The latest effects of the new buildings have been pretty good so far in testing...
* Keep - Take your next Troop for free. There are also 2 additional troops for each player, and the enemy strength tracks are modified so they don't slow down at the top end.
* Chapel - Add an action token to your action wheel
* Vault - Immediately upgrade one of your action wedges, and score VP at the end of the game
* Mill - Remove any other building of this level or less from your board (not level 4 Bank)

I originally wanted them to be buildable ONLY where an OPPONENT had built a specific building, but that didn't work too well when I finally tried it. I was afraid that if you could build a Keep over your own Castle, for example, that players would just do that, and it wouldn't add the interaction I was going for. But I tried it, and it seemed to work out OK.

Finally, I decided it would be better if players could build a Keep (for example) without building a Castle first, even if an opponent hadn't built a Castle, so I tried allowing that, but at a higher cost. That seemed to work out alright as well.

So I'm pretty happy with the different aspects of the expansion, and with the help of my trusty playtesters we came up with a few new Factions to try as well. I have 2 that didn't make the cut in the original game for one reason or another that I might include as well, bringing the total of new factions up to 6.

I could use a title for the expansion, and I'm open to suggestions! Since the new Influence action is central to the expansion, maybe a phrase with the word "Influence" in it would be good? Lance suggested "Divine Influence," which I like quite a bit. Can you beat that?

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Argument Hour, with Seth and TC

I listen to a lot of game industry podcasts. 

Many of them are just people talking about games they like, or games they're looking forward to. There's never been a lot of design focused podcasts... a few have cropped up over the years, some better than others. I listen to the following pretty regularly that actually talk about the design of games:


Board Game Design Lab
Building the Game
Game Designers of North Carolina

There are a few others as well, but I still always thought there was room for designers talking about the nitty-gritty of game design. I've always wanted to participate in something like that, but I didn't want to figure out how to do hosting and editing myself, and I would have wanted another voice to talk to (rather than just monologueing).

I mentioned something about this on social media a couple of months ago, and I got some interest from game designer, podcaster, and boardgame twitter personality, T.C. Petty III. Then Isaac Shalev of On Board Games contacted us, offering to edit and host such a podcast on On Board Games, should T.C. and I decide to record one.

And so was born The Argument Hour, with Seth and TC

The Argument Hour is a segment I've started doing with TC Petty III on the On Board Games podcast, where T.C. and I pick a topic related to board game design, and we basically argue about it for while. Then we do our twist on a game review. I don't like the idea of unilaterally saying whether a game is good or bad, so our reviews are more of a mechanical look at the game in question, and then our opinion on what kind of player that game would be good for.

We've done two episodes so far, and then went on a hiatus while I spent 6 weeks in the hospital while my new baby boy was in the ICU, but I hope we can get together again soon to record another one.

Episode 1 dealt with the "Alpha Player Problem" (whether it even exists), and included a brief review of Kingdomino.

Episode 2 was all about honing/returning to the well/designers revisiting ideas. The review that time was The Voyages of Marco Polo.

So if you read this blog, maybe you'd be interested in this. Give them a listen and enjoy!Leave a note here with comments and suggestions...