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Subject: Deep - An Asymmetrical Sci-Fi 1X/1X/1X/1X Game rss

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Samuel Bailey
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“For a thousand years and more we have existed, spread strong and proud across the firmament of infinite stars, a testament to the power and glory of civilization. But our twilight has come, as resources run dry and forces within our boarders and without threaten to tear us apart piece by piece. We need hope. A heroic symbol that will inspire the new generation of explorers and colonists, who will breath new life into the fading light of our domain. I believe with the right propaganda campaign, Captain Citizen can be that symbol.” - Unknown advisor to the Imperial Council

Greetings and salutations!

My name is Samuel W. Bailey (co-designer of Forbidden Stars among other things) and I am working with Patrick Leder (of Vast: The Crystal Caverns fame) to create a new game tentatively call Deep: Captain Citizen. Deep is an asymmetrical sci-fi 4X board game where each role primarily only utilizes 1 X as they pursue their unique victory condition. Both Patrick and I love asymmetrical games, and we hope to bring you a new and exciting experience within that burgeoning genre!

There will be four roles available in the base game, The Empire, The Usurper, The Rival, and The Citizen. Each role will have its own unique mechanics, components, and play style, while still having plenty of ways to interact with each other. Each role must balance their own personal pursuit of victory with working with other roles to slow down whoever is in the lead at any given turn.

The Design Goals of Deep:

1. Fast to play and put away. A fun engaging experience in 2 hours or less. Easy set up and tear down.

2. Keep everyone invested. Quick and impactful turns with a lot of interaction between roles. If you aren’t doing something directly, you should still be interested with whats going on and how it effects you.

3. Hundreds of games out of the box. Every game of Deep should be fun and unique, from the first to the 100th (after that I am fine if it gets boring ) Four asymmetrical roles with different potential abilities each game; modular board that is revealed through exploration; game play driven by player choice more than core mechanics. All these things should keep the experience fresh and exciting.

4. Complexity in the gameplay, not in the rules. The rulebook should be short and sweet, while the complexity of the game is on the components and within the interactions between players.

5. Fun! While its the last one of this list, its the most important. Deep should be a game that everyone comes away with having a good time, no matter if they won or lost.

As Deep continues to be worked on, priorities and designs might shift and change, but these are the tenants I really want to follow in designing this game.


Statistics

Design Start Date: August 8th
Playtests: 12
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Samuel Bailey
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The Empire:The sprawling Empire starts each game strong and dominate, with several worlds already under its rule, but lacking in enough resources to fuel its growth. It seeks to eXploit the dying husk of its great domain, consuming goods and utilizing the infrastructure of its worlds as it tries to maintain its existence against opposing forces long enough to win the game before anyone else can.

The Empire achieves victory by removing all the buildings from the Dominion track. One building is removed each turn, so the Empire can either attempt to play the long game by preventing others from winning until all the buildings have been removed automatically, or try to race the other players by spending goods to construct additional buildings.



The Usurper: The Usurper exists within the bounds of the Empire, utilizing the unrest of its citizens as it eXpands within its borders by inciting Civilized worlds to rebellion. The Usurper is able to manipulate the policies of the Empire, offer missions to the Citizen, and engage in clandestine treaties with the Rival all through the use of its conspiracies.

The Usurper wins the game by removing all the rebels from their sheet. Each rebel that is placed occupies one of the Empire's buildings and takes it over, removing it from the arsenal of tools the Empire uses to oppress the people.



The Citizen: The Citizen boldly strikes out into the unknown in their state of the art spaceship, eXploring the vast expanse of space. As they discover new worlds, best the alien menace, and perform missions for the Usurper, they gain prestige and the accolades of the people.

The Citizen wins by gaining 15 accolades. They gain accolades by returning to the Capital in glory and turning in their accumulated prestige. The people are fickle though, and it requires more and more prestige to gain their favor. Each time the Citizen gains an accolade, they either get extra fuel (used to take additional actions on their turn) or an upgrade to their ships systems, allowing them to venture further into dangerous territory.



The Rival The Rival bids its time at the edges of the decaying Empire, waiting to strike forth and eXterminate humanity once and for all. As they spread their presence across the galaxy they grow more powerful, able to strike even the heart of the Empire.

The Rival finds victory is destroying Empire buildings (be they loyal or occupied by rebels). Destroyed buildings are placed on the Rival's sheet, and when the sheet is filled the Rival wins. They must balance the interests and abilities of three major factions within their race, as only one can be dominate at a time, and only the Warrior faction can destroy buildings.

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Samuel Bailey
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Art and Design

When it comes to the design and style of Deep we didn't really want to go the route of hyper realistic glitz and glam that many modern Sci-fi games follow. Instead we are draw inspiration from the posters and propaganda of the 50's though 70's Space Race era. The follow images are not what will be in the final product, but merely part of our inspiration.







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Samuel Bailey
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Playtest Photos
Art and components for playtesting purposes only.

First Playtest!


Second Playtest!


Third Playtest!


Fourth Playtest
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Samuel Bailey
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Game Mechanics

The Conspiracy

"We cannot hope to defeat the power of the Empire alone, we need allies, even among those who would call us enemies."

Among the many tools the Usurper has to win the game and influence other players, the Conspiracy is the most potent. It is a constant source of unrest for the growing Rebellion, while also providing interesting choices and interactions with each of the other 3 roles.


The Conspiracy consists of 0-4 cards that are placed along the top of the Usurper's sheet. Each turn the Usurper refills the Conspiracy so that there are always 4 cards to choose from at the end of their turn. Each Conspiracy slot has a certain number of Unrest listed below it. This indicates how much unrest the Usurper might get if that card is taken by another player. For Missions and Treaties, the Usurper gets the unrest immediately. For policies, the unrest is gained several turns later when the policy is resolved.


Each Conspiracy card is unique, though the actual effects are shared between multiple cards. All Conspiracy cards contain a policy and also either a mission or a treaty. At the start of each other player's turn, they take a card from the Conspiracy, if possible. The Citizen takes missions, the Rival takes Treaties, and the Empire takes policies.

When placing cards the Usurper must carefully consider which options he wants to offer to the other players and how much unrest he wants to collect. Place cards people want in slots that give you more unrest, while placing cards that might hurt the player in the lead in low unrest slots for other players to grab easily. You can also usually manage to keep a few cards in your hand between turns, hoping you get a chance to discard them at some point.

When selecting cards from the Conspiracy, there are many factors to consider. You can choose to just take the best card for you, or maybe as the Citizen you take a bad mission that is on the same card as a powerful policy you don't want the Empire to have, or you just select whatever is in the "1 unrest" slot on the track to deny a powerful Usurper as much unrest as possible. Whatever choice you make you will not only impact your own strategy, but those of each other player as well.


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Samuel Bailey
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Reserved
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Peter Johnsson
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Subscribed!

You, sir, have been part of some awesome games and expansions (Omens of Ice is one of my favorite expansions, for any game). I'm really curious to see how this turns out. My first impression is that it already sounds really interesting.

Cheers!
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Cole Wehrle
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Having been blow away by Vast, I'm very interested.
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Samuel Hinz
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Super interesting concept
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Samuel Bailey
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riboAWEsome wrote:
Subscribed!

You, sir, have been part of some awesome games and expansions (Omens of Ice is one of my favorite expansions, for any game). I'm really curious to see how this turns out. My first impression is that it already sounds really interesting.

Cheers!


Thank you for the kind words! I am so happy that you enjoyed Omens of Ice. It was one of my last projects at FFG and I really wanted to make it awesome.

I hope you like Deep just as much when its finished!
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Alice Penn Howard
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Samual have you considered getting this ported onto Tabletop simulator for testing/development purposes?
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Samuel Bailey
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I had not considered it, but that could be an excellent idea once we get to the external testing phase. Than you for suggesting it!
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Alice Penn Howard
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If you need ive recently started taking commissions on making TTS mods, i actually manage a couple of mods for patrick ^_^
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Patrick Leder
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Bubbalubber wrote:
If you need ive recently started taking commissions on making TTS mods, i actually manage a couple of mods for patrick ^_^


Its all true. I don't seen anyone using said mod right now.
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Alice Penn Howard
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GreenM wrote:
Bubbalubber wrote:
If you need ive recently started taking commissions on making TTS mods, i actually manage a couple of mods for patrick ^_^


Its all true. I don't seen anyone using said mod right now.


I'm waiting on you to decide what you wanna do with the paladin ;P
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Samuel Bailey
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We had our second playtest with 4 all new players while I taught the game and watched. Everyone had fun with plenty of good feedback.

1. The Rival is not complex enough and needs a little more to do during their turn. Will be given a few additional options.

2. The Citizen needs to move a little faster so their engines have been increased at the start.

3. The Empire's turn is slightly too complex, so looking to tone things down slightly, or at least better organize their layout to make the information easier to comprehend.

4. The Usurper played pretty well how I wanted them too. Going to give them another go before making any changes to them.

Trying another game with the same people tomorrow !
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Samuel Bailey
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The Usurper plots his rebellion.


Tense negotiations between the Empire and the Usurper.


The turn before the Empire wins while the Rival and the Usurper try to figure out some way to stop her.


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Samuel Bailey
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Third playtest a success! Things went pretty well, with a close race for victory between the Rival, the Empire, and Usurper. But the Rival was able to win after the Empire was a single good away from winning on their turn!

The Rival: Worked quite well, besides the Spy faction needing more to do. Giving them more options for the next game.

The Empire: During play the Empire was only using a few of its options and ignoring the others. This made Policies less interesting as they triggered off certain worlds activating. Condensing the Empires options while making them slightly weaker. This way the Empires has more effects and Policies are more important.

The Usurper: Played well. Going to make it a little easier for them to move rebels around between uprisings.

The Citizen: Though they were the furthest from victory it was decided that it was more to do with the player than the game balance. No changes for now.

Now on the playtest 4!
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Samuel Bailey
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The Usurper offers the Citizen a mission.


The Empire considers their current Policies.
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Samuel Bailey
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The 4th playtest went quickly as the changes to the Empire gave it to the power to steamroll to victory!

The Empire: The Empire did play a lot better though, so instead of changing them too much, the next test will adjust their starting goods and fleets to slow down their expansion.

The Usurper: Moving too slowly, hopefully the reduction of starting goods will increase their unrest production as the Empire fails to feed its Citizens.

The Citizen: Also moving a little too slowly. Increasing the amount of fuel they get when getting accolades, giving the Citizen more access to extra turns.

The Rival: A slight adjustment to the Spies again.
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Mark Perry
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Any chance your game might employ AI bots for solo play?
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Samuel Bailey
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MarkP1981 wrote:
Any chance your game might employ AI bots for solo play?


Once the mechanics and balance are figured out, I want to make sure there is a way to play with between 1-4 players. Solo play is going to be the hardest, so not sure if I will be able to make it work or not, but I am going to try!
 
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Samuel Bailey
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5th playtest: During this game I pretty much doubled the fuel for the Citizen, which they can spend to take extra turns. While it was great fun for the Citizen they had some really long turns and won pretty quickly. The Usurper was also pretty behind the whole game.


After the game I renovated the Policy system to provide more interaction between the Usurper and the Empire while also giving the usurper more unrest.

Reduced the amount of fuel the Citizen got.

The Empire had its actions changed slightly so that activating the same Stratagem over and over would give the Usurper more unrest.
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Samuel Bailey
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6th playtest: We hit a broken card combined with great luck right at the start of the game that gave the Citizen 8 turns in a row. After a few rounds we reset the game and played again.

7th playtest: A very close game. The interactions with polices worked well, and the tension between the Empire winning and the other roles stopping them was very tight. The Empire did win, but the Usurper and the Rival were going to win on their next turn.

The Citizen player had to spend too much effort trying to stop the Empire, so going to adjust the Empires victory track slightly and make it easier for the Citizen to get fuel, but limit how much can be spent in the turn to curb the long multi-turns that have been a problem in the past.
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Samuel Bailey
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Slight setback. The zip drive I was keeping and updating my files on while traveling was lost. Have to update things now based on several version old paper prototypes and memory. Ekk!
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