I stumbled upon this article regarding the future outlook for the Mars One Foundation.
Private Mars Colony Project
I read every Mars article I can get my hands on in hopes of gaining inspiration and knowledge for my Mars game Mars:embarkation. This article was the first in a long time to give me some spark.
In the article, the Mars One Foundation is planning on sending human colonists to Mars in 2023. These colonists would never return to Earth. They would establish a Mars Colony there with supply ships arriving from Earth every couple of years. I've read about this mission before, but this article seemed to provide new details that made it sound cool.
Additionally, a pre-mission to this large Mars One mission is planned for 2018. This is more of a test flight and introduction trip. And this is where another spark occurred for me.
What if my game was renamed to Mars Zero?! And what if it tied directly into the Mars One planning and program?!
This could bring new life to Mars
Ramblings - Charrettes - Game Design
Archive for New Idea
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I'm not normally a designer that juggles a magnitude of game designs at one time. I know of several designers that do that (and do it well). Instead, I tend to focus on a select few, even as narrow as one design at a time.
However, I'm currently in the midst of a game design watershed. My microgame Enqueteur is signed with a publisher and we are actively working on finalizing it. Bomb Squad is being reviewed by several publishers and we are fielding comments from blind playtesters across the country. Ground Floor: Middle Management is developing nicely and is a priority for me. And of course, my new idea Clone Lab is my new design focus. BUT...
...apparently, that wasn't enough for me. A new idea has thrust itself into the mix and garnered all my design effort in the last week or so.
Here's some back story. My friend, Mike Tunison and I are flying together to BGG.con this year (oh yes, that's happening!). The downside is that the travel will be around 8 hours each way. Mike came up with a solution to the time sink though.
A little over a week ago, we got together to play some games at lunch and he mentioned his idea to spend those 16 hours designing a game together. But not just any game. A game about traveling by plane that could be played on those small trays on the backs of seats. I immediately was excited about the idea.
Later that day I found I couldn't stop thinking about it. By the end of the day, I had the main mechanism and storyline worked out. By the next morning, I was piecing together a prototype. The day after that we were playtesting it. Whew. Talk about a flood of design (unfortunately, this flood blew past Mike and thus we'll be pursuing two designs separately... but he still deserves props for providing me such great inspiration).
So, here we are. Round Trip is a set collection and pick up & deliver game for 2 to 4 players. It's euro goodness in a small package - both in duration and footprint.Read more »
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As I alluded to in my previous blog post, here's a more detailed overview of my concept for:You frantically run your hands thru your nest of hair. Fidget with your chipped glasses. Shrug in your lopsided coat. It's inevitable... you keep arriving at the same conclusion: There's too much work and not enough time.
"Back to the lab, Junior. We must make another clone!"
In Clone Lab, players are rival mad scientists who have conquered the cloning process and moved onto their next bizarre creation. They are struggling to complete their next big project using only themself and their clones. Each player can have unlimited clones in their lab, but each clone costs to create and costs to maintain. Additionally, each subsequent clone is not as capable as the original. Worse yet, a clone of a clone warrants even less confidence.
[ Goals ]
2 - 5 Players
Worker Placement Euro
Under 90 Minutes
Mad Scientist Theme
[ Initial Concept ]
Players are attempting to finish their project better/faster than their opponents using workers. These workers come in varying sizes to distinguish between the quality levels of the clones. Each player starts with 1 large pawn (themself) and 1 medium pawn (their clone).
The projects that the players are trying to complete could take a couple of different forms. First, it could be one joint project for all players to work on. This would require that parts/elements of work are marked in some way that they were done by certain players. Another way this could go would be every player is working on an identical project, but on their own. This would be fair and easy to design, but would be less appealing and less replayable. A third way this could go, is that the game could come with 7 or so unique projects and these are handed out randomly at the start of the game. These projects could be balanced or they could be assymetrical with varying costs that balance them. A fourth way this could go, is to have a large deck of cards, and a certain amount gets dealt to each player. They choose 1 or more (Ticket to Ride style) to complete during the game.
The clones would be created with some sort of cost. They would also have to be maintained with some sort of expenditure. The way I first envisioned their quality of work being represented during the game was with a modifier. There would be actions on the board that can be taken with your workers. Each action would have some sort of value/quantity. The original would have no modifier. The first clone, and any subsequent clone of the original, would have a modifier of -1. A clone of a clone would have a modifier of -3. I'm not sure I'll allow clones of 2nd-clones, but if I did they would have a modifier of -6.
But now I'm thinking this is a great opportunity to finally design a dice euro like I've been itching to do. So, now I'm envisioning each worker coming with a certain amount of dice. Each action on the board would cost a pip value (this could be something like 6 total pips or 6 exactly on 1 die - I'm leaning toward the latter). The original worker would get 6 dice. The 1st-Clones would get 3 dice. The 2nd-Clones would get 1 dice and the 4th-Clones would get 0 dice. If players put more than 1 worker at a spot, the total represented on that space are how many rolls you get. So 4th-Clones are useless dice wise, but could be helpful for rerolls. I think there's something there.
[ Game End ]
The game ends at the end of the round in which 1 or more players has finished their project. If only 1 player is done, they win. If more than 1 player has completed their project, then the projects would have some sort of score.
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18 Jul 2013
I've sadly neglected this blog for over a year now. Shameful . My hope is to resurrect it to at least it's previous averageness.
The following is an update on every one of my current designs (in alphabetical order). If you aren't familiar with these designs, you can find their game descriptions here. If you want to learn more about my previously published designs check out my designer's page.
Bomb Squad (w/ Dan Keltner): This is coming along quite well. I'm pleased with how it's evolved and the balance we have struck with the Hanabi mechanism and the other elements of the game. We are continuing blind playtesting with several groups. The feedback has been very beneficial. Additionally, we have had some good interest from publishers (even going as far as receiving a contract from one), but haven't found a good fit yet. The future looks bright here (at least that's how it appears without my sunglasses on).
Clone Lab: This is a brand new worker placement idea that I will delve into further in my next blog post (
already being writtenDone. Here's the link). I'm quite thrilled with it, so much so, that other designs might have to be put/kept on the back burner. I'll give you the hook here before making you wait for the follow up blog post. Player's are mad scientists that have figured out the cloning process and have moved onto their next big creation. They must complete their next big project using only themself and their clones. Each player can have unlimited clones, but each clone costs to create and costs to maintain. Additionally, each subsequent clone is not as capable as the original. This is especially so, if you opt to "cut corners" by cloning one of your clones instead of yourself.
Cluny Monks: I'm still pretty stoked about this idea. I'm mixing a rondel with worker placement in a very thematic setting. However, my enthusiam to conquer another deep euro has waned due to it being so difficult to playtest such beasts. So, this sits on the back burner, but I will not let it collect too much dust.
Enqueteur: I'm proud to say this has been picked up by a publisher! Very exciting stuff ahead for this little micro game.
Ground Floor Expansion: Tentatively named the Middle Management expansion, this project is coming along very well. I've had a blast uncovering new developments and expounding on the base game. I'll be writing a blog post about this as well, but I'll tell you that this expansion allows players to hire Managers that both come with an unique Expertise card (special ability) and are capable of bonuses when working in the city.
Mars:embarkation: I am a little sad to report that this project has lost some steam. It just wasn't developing at the quality or speed in which I was happy with. I'm not ditching it by any means (in fact, I might playtest it this weekend), but it is no longer my top design priority like it once was.
Skyline: Landmarks: This project has been done for a while and I continue to be pleased with it. The reception has been incredible. It's difficult to play the base game without it now. Here's to hoping it sees the light of day.
Tombstone (w/ Clive Lovett): Much like Mars, this game has not been given the love it deserves lately (Sorry Clive). It has tons of potential and I fully expect my inspiration for it to return. Ready your six shooters, bushwhackers.
edit: Added Clone Lab blog post link
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Skyline, meet the world. The world, meet Skyline.
Skyline is a dice stacking game about building a cityscape of skyscrapers. It's for 1-4 players, can be played in 10 minutes and is designed around the idea that "The dice control the results... but the players control the dice".
This game basically fell in my lap. The original conception of the idea came about 6 months ago, but that was simply a name and the idea of dice stacking. I didn't revisit the idea until Thanksgiving week, and during that week I had the entire game designed, prototyped and playtested within 2 days. No design of mine has ever come that quickly. Now granted, this is by far the lightest game I've worked on, but still 2 days is mighty fast.
Skyline can definitely be grouped in with similiar games like Zombie Dice, Martian Dice and Bears!, but it builds upon those games (no pun intended). Specifically it differs from those games in two significant ways.
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I have a couple of games that I'm working on with some other designers, but as far as my next solo design is concerned, I've decided to focus on Mars:embarkation (Cluny Monks will have to take a backseat for now).
Mars:embarkation (M:e) is what I've been calling a 45 minute euro. I love deep euros, but often they are 1.5 hours or longer. Recently, I've fallen in love with quick euros (excluding card games) that pack a punch despite their short game length. A few games that come to mind in this category are Speicherstadt, Balloon Cup, Yspahan and Mykerinos.
I was inspired by these, especially Mykerinos, and wanted to create a game that played in under 45 minutes yet required players to make copious critical decisions.
Here's the abstract for M:e :Set in the near future, you and your team embark on Mars with aspirations to explore and colonize. Balance risks and gains while taking expeditions deeper and deeper into unknown territories. Take caution because without the right support and research, your journey could fall short in failure.
Mars:embarkation is a full fledged euro crammed into a small form factor and a short play time.
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