Jessey
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Char15 is the most obviously female.

Char08, Char16, Char06 are arguably female. So I would say, try to fit Char15 in there (blue would be a natural fit, and with a colour mod anything else).

While on the topic of the characters:
Of the three you have I like Yellow the best so I'd say keep him, he's very 'steampunky' with the goggles and the far away look. Blue is a 'captain' but he's also very 'boat' lookin. Maybe a good candidate for replacement. Red is.. nice (they are all nice) but I don't like the passive look of him, maybe char00, char02 or char07 as alternates (char07 is my favourite of the bunch ).

Either way, it is your game, and being picky about the characters that appear only on the player boards is being nit-picky
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Candi wrote:

Blue is a 'captain' but he's also very 'boat' lookin. Maybe a good candidate for replacement. Red is.. nice (they are all nice) but I don't like the passive look of him


Blue I picked because he looked more officer-like (read: has a hat), but yeah - he also looks too cheery, so he's up for replacement one way or another. I quite like red, though - to me he looks more 'haunted' than 'passive'...

I was originally thinking of special character-specific abilities, maybe even picking your colour then picking from one of a set of characters to use as your commander, but the more the game developed the less I thought it really fit that well, especially within the bounds of the contest. I may try some more along those lines after the contest is over and I have more time to think about it all.
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Yea, and there is virtue in not over complicating things (*whistles*).

Although, with the current contest entry it is entirely possible that you have a selection of player boards with different captains on them (so 3 different 'Red Player' boards) that differ purely cosmetically (IE: have a different face on them).
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Tonight I finished off revision 5 of Conquest of the Skies - changes include:

- Airships now cost 3 fuel - not 1 ore + 2 fuel - to build; this prevents a player from being crippled early on by losing their airship and having a hard time harvesting ore.
- Several research costs have been changed as players were upgrading too early.
- 'Improved Mechanisation' was previously kind of useless, now just gives you a re-roll to one harvest attempt every turn.
- Damaged settlements get two actions, not just one - so they have a chance to feed themselves and not just repair, meaning a player whose only settlement gets damaged isn't automatically out of the game.
- Renamed several things: 'Defence Threshold' became 'Armour' and 'Resistance' became 'Structure' because the new names make those stats easier to understand; 'Firing Solution Computers' became 'Defence Systems' because it's easier to separate from 'Targeting Computers' and because it isn't so awkward to say.

New components with important changes - numbers, costs, etc:

Rules v5 (200k PDF)

Full-Colour 300dpi components v5 (21MB Zip)

Low-Ink 300dpi components v5 (13MB Zip)

R&D Cards:





Optional Tokens (player reference changed):






New Components with Aesthetic Changes:

Player Boards:












Alternate-Gender Player Boards






(The yellow player character was already female, so the alternate-gender version is male.)






The main reason the player boards have changed is to re-size the settlement and outpost counters to ~23mm wide instead of the old ~25mm, which means not only are they slightly smaller to make it easier for people playing with square tokens, but also the cut-out circle fits on top of my 1" wooden counters better... ;-)



(The one on the left is a purchased 1" wooden counter, the one on the right a tediously-hand-sanded slice of dowel.)
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Ok I got through a 2 player game tonight.

I think your rulebook would greatly benefit from some example images. I'm still not clear on what spaces a Warship can move through (I just assumed if it had water is was good, I think that's wrong). Also, exactly what hexes were in range for 'long range harvesting' was another thing I couldn't agree with myself on. A sample image would clear both of these things up.

As for gameplay there wasn't a lot of attacking or fighting as I expected. Maybe a conservative style of play did that, but there was an initial race for Points of Interest - and once that was cleared up airships became settlements and everyone kept to themselves. Yellow got screwed by that as well, the card flips failed to give Yellow extra Food and so when building the second settlement he ended up with both damaged due to failure to feed 1. A big slowdown since Red got a good secondary food supply and before Yellow even got his head clear of water was sitting on 3 small settlements and 1 large.

In the end Yellow had 3 settlements and 2 outposts to Reds 3 small, 1 large and 1 outpost with an airship hovering over the 2 titanite harvesting it every turn and a warship pummeling one of Yellow's better Ore producing settlements.

Yellow had half of all three research trees, red - who was swimming in actions - was only missing the last spot of each. I actually felt like Research was really slow, and it kind of made the game feel like it was dragging (especially since the Resource research is so valuable to winning the game) and given that Red was researching 2-3 times per turn (sometimes more!)

Also, the change you made to the damage settlements was good for its purpose but I had another weird case because of it. Red had a Warship pummeling a Yellow settlement every turn. And every turn Yellow would repair and harvest food... then get nailed and be damaged. Repeat ad nauseum. I suppose this is better than a single warship mauling a settlement over 2 turns. Something to think about I suppose. Red, when he won, was moving a second Warship over to do the deal (and would have won *hugely* on that because Yellow had 10 Titanite over 3 settlements).

Final Score was Red 15 to Yellow 10.

Yellow's 10 was a consequence of getting expansions on the two 8+ spots... and lucky rolling whenever he wasn't rolling for food!

Very interesting game, I suspect it's better with 3 when there's less free space to expand into. Perhaps the 2player setup just doesn't use that extra tile and instead you place your starting tiles opposite each other.

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also a wonderful job here jake. i'd love to use these components for a game myself once i finish some current projects
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Thanks for giving it a try - and thanks for the feedback!

Candi wrote:

I think your rulebook would greatly benefit from some example images. I'm still not clear on what spaces a Warship can move through (I just assumed if it had water is was good, I think that's wrong). Also, exactly what hexes were in range for 'long range harvesting' was another thing I couldn't agree with myself on. A sample image would clear both of these things up.


It's a good suggestion - I'll try and include some in the near future! (I'm actually off to a friend's tonight for a bit more last-minute playtesting, so it might be Wednesday, all the same...)

The warship movement is a little tricky, and I was wondering about putting icons of some kind of the board to denote non-sea hexes... they can travel through most of the hexes in the game, there's only five tiles that contain hexes they can't move through: the four start tiles and the one with two fuel, two ore and a food resource.

The important thing for warship movement is the corners of the hex - the parts where settlements and outposts could be built. If the hex has two or more corners on land, then it's inaccessible for a warship... so the food and ore resource hexes adjacent to the point of interest on the aforementioned non-start hex, for example, are 'non-sea' hexes, and the warship can't go there; the others on that tile are sea hexes and the warship can pass through them fine. To be honest, the main reason for this rule - other than that it made the combat phase of the game a little more interesting manoeuvre-wise - is that without it the game becomes a race to be the first player to build a warship and send it to sit next to your opponents' first settlement/s, attacking them every turn and preventing them from doing anything useful! So all the start points are nestled between three non-sea hexes, and the only time warships can go and attack them is if someone gets the right R&D card and researches all the way to Amphibious Vehicles, by which time all players should really have enough of a foot in the door to repel the attack, and if they don't it's their fault!


As to 'Long Range Harvesting'... well, the 'short-range' version is the three hexes immediately adjacent to the settlement counter; any hex adjacent to one of those short-range hexes is valid for long-range harvesting. The most important point being that in the start positions, each player will have one food and one fuel available for short-range, and one extra food and one ore available for long-range harvesting.


Quote:

As for gameplay there wasn't a lot of attacking or fighting as I expected. Maybe a conservative style of play did that, but there was an initial race for Points of Interest - and once that was cleared up airships became settlements and everyone kept to themselves.


What I've found is that generally there's a bit of a skirmish right near the beginning - or a bit of posturing and then some airships convert into settlements or outposts before shots are fired; then everyone keeps to themselves building up to the endgame for a while; then after a point someone panics or sees an opportunity, kicks off, and both/all the players dive into trying to demolish settlements and/or killing off outlying mining airships in an attempt to stymie the player in the lead or grab a few more resources for themselves. My favourite game so far was a two-player where one player had trouble feeding but had set his second settlement on an easy-to-harvest ore patch, so he was close to winning when the other player finally built a big enough navy, flattened it and stole all his ore.

Quote:

The card flips failed to give Yellow extra Food and so when building the second settlement he ended up with both damaged due to failure to feed 1.


Hmm... would you say that the exploration cards giving extra food are too unbalancing, or was this a fault of the yellow player not finding a settlement site with sufficiently-accessible food nearby? A player should always be able to feed at least one settlement a turn since their start point is next to a "roll 2 or more on 2 dice to harvest" food hex, so the second settlement should ideally be in a place with easy-to-access food. Arguably the middle hex is ideal... ;-)


Quote:

an airship hovering over the 2 titanite harvesting it every turn and a warship pummeling one of Yellow's better Ore producing settlements.


As it goes, what was the reason that yellow didn't send an airship of his own to go and scare it off/shoot it down? Airships remain pretty fragile most of the way through the game, was it protected in some way?

Quote:

I actually felt like Research was really slow, and it kind of made the game feel like it was dragging (especially since the Resource research is so valuable to winning the game) and given that Red was researching 2-3 times per turn (sometimes more!)


This was one of the things I was worried about - as you can see looking through my gallery, the older version of the cards had much lighter research costs... but this meant that players were breezing through the upgrades quicker than they were building settlements and units, so the upgrades didn't mean so much 'cause everyone had them. Were you remembering the "when a player completes a technology everyone else gets one cube towards that technology" rule, as it goes?


Quote:

I had another weird case because of it. Red had a Warship pummeling a Yellow settlement every turn. And every turn Yellow would repair and harvest food... then get nailed and be damaged. Repeat ad nauseum.


To be honest, that's kind of intentional. Well, the intention was more that if you want to destroy a settlement you take more than one warship against it; having just one warship outside a settlement is more of a siege... and it makes it actually a bit difficult to destroy settlements and steal other player's resources. Of course, if the attacking player wants to prevent exactly that situation they can sit their warship on the food resource and block the settlement from being able to harvest it, meaning they have to get their food from elsewhere...


Quote:

Perhaps the 2player setup just doesn't use that extra tile and instead you place your starting tiles opposite each other.


That's probably a good idea, too! It would help with future expansion, as well - four players could set up relatively evenly spaced around the board, six can be evenly spaced, and five would fit like six with one missing... I'll try it out once we're in April and I have more free time, I'm wondering if all a 4-6 player game needs is lower victory requirements.

Speaking of which - would you think that the two-player game needs a higher victory requirement, or did 15 seem about right?
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Bichatse wrote:

This was one of the things I was worried about - as you can see looking through my gallery, the older version of the cards had much lighter research costs...


I was thinking about this on the way to work... do you think it would help if instead of three types of research token, there were four - red, blue, yellow and (say) white, where white can be put towards any kind of research? This would allow more directed research into specific technologies - especially if there were more white cubes than any individual colour - so maybe research would feel like it was getting somewhere faster without having to re-allocate cubes of other colours?

I'll pay particular attention to the research costs in the small amount of testing I'll be able to get through before the deadline, and if possible I'll have a test with a fourth colour of cubes as well, see how it affects the R&D...
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Bichatse wrote:
Thanks for giving it a try - and thanks for the feedback!
The warship movement is a little tricky, and I was wondering about putting icons of some kind of the board to denote non-sea hexes... they can travel through most of the hexes in the game, there's only five tiles that contain hexes they can't move through: the four start tiles and the one with two fuel, two ore and a food resource.


I think a diagram showing a couple of key examples would be enough. Likewise a diagram illustrating an airship moving (I got this one no problem, but pictures help).

Quote:
As to 'Long Range Harvesting'... well, the 'short-range' version is the three hexes immediately adjacent to the settlement counter; any hex adjacent to one of those short-range hexes is valid for long-range harvesting. The most important point being that in the start positions, each player will have one food and one fuel available for short-range, and one extra food and one ore available for long-range harvesting.


I ended up doing this right. What had me confused was that settlements are on nodes (not hexes) so how to process the second step was confusing me.


Quote:

What I've found is that generally there's a bit of a skirmish right near the beginning - or a bit of posturing and then some airships convert into settlements or outposts before shots are fired; then everyone keeps to themselves building up to the endgame for a while; then after a point someone panics or sees an opportunity, kicks off, and both/all the players dive into trying to demolish settlements and/or killing off outlying mining airships in an attempt to stymie the player in the lead or grab a few more resources for themselves. My favourite game so far was a two-player where one player had trouble feeding but had set his second settlement on an easy-to-harvest ore patch, so he was close to winning when the other player finally built a big enough navy, flattened it and stole all his ore.


Ahh, makes sense then. I think Yellow's bad decisions as far as first settlement and poor luck with dice were a big reason why there was no real 'warring' until the end when Red decided he was tired of letting Yellow calmly build up an Ore supply (the game inevitably went something like the one you describe, with it ending just before Red bared down on Yellow's settlement with 2 Warships).

Quote:

Hmm... would you say that the exploration cards giving extra food are too unbalancing, or was this a fault of the yellow player not finding a settlement site with sufficiently-accessible food nearby? A player should always be able to feed at least one settlement a turn since their start point is next to a "roll 2 or more on 2 dice to harvest" food hex, so the second settlement should ideally be in a place with easy-to-access food. Arguably the middle hex is ideal... ;-)


Looking at it Yellow made a poor early choice. Red got the other starting Hex (which they raced for, and Yellow lost - also costing time as he had to backtrack) and the next nearest food supply was an 8 Food 8 Ore spot.. so he took that. A few turns later, Red was doing well and plopped another one on the center before Yellow was able to stabilize. Yellow's only hope at this point was to grind Ore as fast as possible, but unfortunately Red's superior technology and that he had Warships let him catch up quickly.

Quote:

As it goes, what was the reason that yellow didn't send an airship of his own to go and scare it off/shoot it down? Airships remain pretty fragile most of the way through the game, was it protected in some way?


A combination of factors. The warship besieging the settlement was also a relatively close shield for the mobile harvester. Yellow was having a hard enough time getting food that he didn't have enough Fuel to build an airship (and putting effort into getting some would cut into his Food supply and Ore supply - which he was so dedicated to at this point not doing it would seal his fate).

Quote:
Were you remembering the "when a player completes a technology everyone else gets one cube towards that technology" rule, as it goes?


No, I forgot that one. Maybe bold it, it's easy to forget! That would have helped a bit for sure.

Quote:
Quote:

I had another weird case because of it. Red had a Warship pummeling a Yellow settlement every turn. And every turn Yellow would repair and harvest food... then get nailed and be damaged. Repeat ad nauseum.


To be honest, that's kind of intentional.


Ok, cool. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't an unintended consequence of a change intended to fix a different problem

Quote:

Speaking of which - would you think that the two-player game needs a higher victory requirement, or did 15 seem about right?


The game was starting to feel like it was getting long when Red hit 15, so I think that it's just right (and, any lower and Yellow's 'I'm going to do nothing but harvest and periodically starve' strategy would have possibly won!).
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Almost forgot - the other thing I have to do before the deadline is re-arrange all the player-board documents to make the settlement and ship counters hexagonal, arranged in the usual grid-with-triangles style. I have a conveniently-sized circle punch for one size, and I'm applying my labels to wooden tokens, so I've been OK with circles thus far... but I'm well aware that your average PnPer hates cutting circles and a triangle-and-hexagon grid is much easier to cut by ruler!


So, the question is: the settlement and outpost counters are all double-sided, would it be better to have opposite sides of the hexagon butted up against each other along one face (so not in a strict grid) so you can fold the label sheet before removing the backing and stick it down along the edge of a bit of card... or would it be better to provide all the fronts and all the backs on mirrored grids so people can cut them all out at once, and only have to get the alignment right once?

I would generally go with the latter option, because it involves fewer steps and is thus theoretically easier... but alignment problems on individual hexes are likely to be quite small, whereas getting the alignment right for all the hexes at once may be more problematic... does anyone have a preference?
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We had another playtest last night with three players - two completely new to the game, one who'd played one game previously but not to completion. Everyone seemed to get into it and enjoy themselves and happily, all of them played in a generally sensible way, nobody seemed to be making daft choices or misunderstanding the various ways to progress.

(We did have one guy who'd upgraded his starting settlement to a large settlement and then, drunk with the newfound 8 action points, promptly spent them all without harvesting enough food to feed himself... ;-)

I was careful to only outline the rules (for expedience) and not give them any strategy tips, and while I was on-hand to answer any questions I had, I was happy to find that they mostly just got on with it without needing prompting and without questioning everything all the time. I'm getting a really good feeling about the way it hangs together, by now.




Naturally I did come out of it with a series of notes on what could be improved and ideas, all the same! First up is definitely the reference card, which needs cleaning up and some extra information (like some of the more-common upgrades) adding to it. I think I am going to go for the fourth colour of research cube, as well - to allow players to target their research more specifically, direct their research towards particular technologies more easily. While the option to remove cubes from one tech to finish off another has been in the rules since the first version, it seems very few people actually go for it, preferring to get the maximum efficiency out of their cubes... but a lack of direct control over research is a complaint, and being able to complete the technologies you want faster should help alleviate any remaining feeling that the research is dragging. My feeling at the moment is that the research costs themselves are probably about right, now...
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Bichatse wrote:

Naturally I did come out of it with a series of notes on what could be improved and ideas, all the same! First up is definitely the reference card, which needs cleaning up and some extra information (like some of the more-common upgrades) adding to it. I think I am going to go for the fourth colour of research cube, as well - to allow players to target their research more specifically, direct their research towards particular technologies more easily. While the option to remove cubes from one tech to finish off another has been in the rules since the first version, it seems very few people actually go for it, preferring to get the maximum efficiency out of their cubes... but a lack of direct control over research is a complaint, and being able to complete the technologies you want faster should help alleviate any remaining feeling that the research is dragging. My feeling at the moment is that the research costs themselves are probably about right, now...


The rule about moving research was another one of those rules that I 'didn't get' after reading it twice (though, in all fairness I was playing near to midnight).

I heartily agree that the 'fourth' colour of research token would be a good idea.

Also, regarding reference boards, while the last page of the rules is a handy reference for this, one with all of the Upgrades and their icons would be great. As well as a quick outline of combat and a reminder of how many AP a settlement gets (as well as a broken one). While these things come to you quickly, they are all things I looked up no less than twice.
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Candi wrote:

The rule about moving research was another one of those rules that I 'didn't get' after reading it twice (though, in all fairness I was playing near to midnight).


Yeah - I think ideally, all these things should have examples in the rulebook. The basic version is that if it's enough to complete a technology then you can take cubes from another technology (on an equal or later rank), but they only count as half-cubes. I tried to word it as "put one on the new tech, throw the other away", but I think it came out a bit clumsily.


Quote:

Also, regarding reference boards, while the last page of the rules is a handy reference for this, one with all of the Upgrades and their icons would be great.


Yeah - I'll definitely do at least this before the deadline. I'd prefer to get cards for each tech upgrade done, but that might be pushing it a bit time-wise...


Quote:

As well as a quick outline of combat and a reminder of how many AP a settlement gets (as well as a broken one).


The AP reminder was one of the things I took from last night; I'll see if I can squeeze a combat walkthrough in as well. It may end up becoming a separate sheet just for the reference to fit it all on...

Thanks again for your suggestions!
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Bichatse wrote:
Candi wrote:

The rule about moving research was another one of those rules that I 'didn't get' after reading it twice (though, in all fairness I was playing near to midnight).


Yeah - I think ideally, all these things should have examples in the rulebook. The basic version is that if it's enough to complete a technology then you can take cubes from another technology (on an equal or earlier rank), but they only count as half-cubes. I tried to word it as "put one on the new tech, throw the other away", but I think it came out a bit clumsily.


Yea, the 'throw it away' thing was where I got lost (also the restriction on location had me briefly confused but I got better - I wonder why it was a problem to be pulling from one of a higher rank though? That's more detrimental to your future research! And it's inefficient anyway, so why more restrictions?).

Why not instead let players either draw 2 random cubes or select a single cube of a single colour? (As an amendment to the current Research Action).

Sidestep the weird 'cross contamination' rule, sidestep a fourth cube colour (right now your current requirements can be met for a 2 player game using a single set of pandemic, I thought perhaps it was intentional that this was the case but either way it's a nice thing since many people have pandemic already!).

As for the reference, you could just take the last page of the rulebook, reformat, add images and call it a 'Reference Board' and remove it from the rulebook then include it in the image files (cheeky, but totally cool!). As for the combat summary I think the priority there should be a 'sample battle' in the rulebook, that will clear it up very fast (have a Warship attacking a Small Settlement which rolls 3 successes and 1 failure - that will cover the basics as well as allow you to answer an inevitable question about 'over damage' via the example).
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Candi wrote:

I wonder why it was a problem to be pulling from one of a higher rank though?


Because I was half asleep this morning and wrote it down wrong!

The restriction is against pulling from an earlier row - basically as an encouragement to players to at least balance out their research a bit. But I think you may be right, that restriction may as well be lost, especially since it counteracts the desire to allow more direction of research.

Quote:

Why not instead let players either draw 2 random cubes or select a single cube of a single colour?


I suspect that this would result in players always choosing the two cubes, from the games I've seen...

(As it goes, I've never played Pandemic, so it's a coincidence if the components line up!)
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Bichatse wrote:
Quote:

Why not instead let players either draw 2 random cubes or select a single cube of a single colour?


I suspect that this would result in players always choosing the two cubes, from the games I've seen...

(As it goes, I've never played Pandemic, so it's a coincidence if the components line up!)


Well, there is definitely an advantage to getting a single cube when all you need is a single cube to finish an item of research. Especially something like Worker's Barracks - in the game I played, if Yellow had of finished that thing sooner (it went 4 consecutive turns of not drawing a blue cube on 3 research attempts because other things finished and polluted the pool ) he probably would have won simply on the volume of Ore he would have brought in (he had 2 Outposts, both on nice Ore production spots by coincidence).

I thought it was a way to allow players to 'beat the odds' at a critical time, while also not being overcomplicated by having rules for 'stealing research'. Food for thought I suppose

EDIT: Pandemic has 4 colours of cubes with 24 cubes of each colour! (and if you have the expansion and 5th colour with 12 cubes).
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Here's the latest, final-for-contest-purposes stuff - I've updated the first post if you just want to grab everything, this is just the parts which have changed since the last version.

Rules v6 (300k PDF)

Tech Advance Reference v6 (44k PDF)

Full-Colour 300dpi components v6 (21MB Zip)

Low-Ink 300dpi components v6 (13MB Zip)

300dpi Full Colour Materials:

Player Boards:






Map Tiles page 2:


R&D Cards:



300dpi Low Ink Materials:

Player Boards:






Map Tiles page 2:


R&D Cards:



Optional Parts

Research Tokens, Exploration Markers, Player Reference Sheets:








Changes in this final version:

- Fixed a mistake on the second page of map pieces where the resource thresholds for one of the start hexes were wrong; the thresholds should be the same for each start hex!

- Altered all the player board pages to have the settlement counters laid out in an easy-cut hex grid, to aid construction. Obviously anyone wanting to cut them out as circles still can, but hexes arranged in this manner require the fewest cuts to get something vaguely round.



- Added a few items to the reference cards.

- Re-wrote several parts of the rules, particularly in the sections on harvesting and researching; provided harvest-range example diagram, and three worked examples for combat.

- Rules changes: removed restriction on which tech you can or can't move tokens from or two when completing advances; changed research draw to draw-three-keep-two; tightened up research rules a bit.
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Conquest of the Skies now has its own DB entry:

Conquest of the Skies

I've linked all the latest images to the gallery for the game, now.

I've also uploaded files for the rules, reference sheet and a pair of PDFs of components so it's easier for people to find the bits they need; the rules and reference sheet are the same as the links above, the component PDFs are here:


Low-Ink 150dpi Components - ~5MB PDF

Full Colour 150dpi Components - ~6MB PDF

Many thanks again to Ilya for the great (and inspiring) artwork!


[EDIT: Rules, full-colour and low-ink component PDFs have now been approved on the game entry!]

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tom franklin
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Garner
North Carolina
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I hope you don't mind, but I've made a quick set of backing images for the full color tiles.

The image can be found at http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1292254 -- however if you're opposed to the image using your graphics & artwork just let me know and I'll pull them from the server.
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Jake Staines
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Grantham
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fivecats wrote:

The image can be found at http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1292254 -- however if you're opposed to the image using your graphics & artwork just let me know and I'll pull them from the server.


It's perfectly fine by me - but only the logo is mine, of course, the hex and the sea is Ilya's.

Looks nice - I have a bad habit of leaving my back sides uncovered...
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