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Shaken, not stirred

Occasional ramblings on playing and designing boardgames (by the designer of Extra! Extra!)
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Shaken #3. Is this Brent Crude's breakthrough moment?

Andrew Bond
United Kingdom
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I am currently in the process of designing two new games: Extra! Extra! and Brent Crude.


Extra! Extra! has had an easy gestation period, going from initial concept to fully working prototype in no time at all. And the guys at Epsom Games Club have said they like it. So I'm optimistic that I can turn this into a 'proper' game, i.e. get it published some day by someone who knows how to do that. I've done the easy 90% of the job, now for the difficult 10% that remains.*

*of course, the effort involved usually stacks up as 10% effort on first 90% and 90% effort on last 10%, so I'm not deluded how much further this has to go before it hits anyone's table.


Brent Crude, however, has gone through several incarnations.

My first idea was for it to be a card game in which players laid cards on their own board and these shuffled from left to right so only 4 were available to use at any one time. Looking at the prototype now, the first space was reserved for a trade action (buy/sell stuff) and the other three for regular actions (produce/move/refine stuff). The rest of the board had spaces to place your oil (Explore/Rig/Pipeline/Storage/Refinery/Retail) plus ship and lorry boxes.

The idea was you used different facilities to move your stuff from one place to another:

Platform = produce oil
Pipeline or Ship = move oil from Platform to Upstream Storage
Storage = pay to keep oil or sell to raise income
Ship = move oil from Upstream Storage to Refinery
Refinery = convert oil into refined products
Pipeline or Ship = move refined products from Refinery to Downstream Storage
Lorry = deliver refined products to Petrol Stations

The game had regular Tankers and Super Tankers; plus Road and Rail Transport cards.

Although the game worked, it was too long and too complicated.


So, I started on the iterations. And so far, I have:

d10-1got rid of individual player boards and introduced a central game board
d10-2got rid of the lorries, trains, and super tankers
d10-3changed the cards from representing specific locations (as does Brass: Lancashire) to representing generic locations (as does Age of Industry)
d10-4introduced tiles to indicate ownership of facilities on the game board
d10-5re-introduced lorries, becasue it didn't make sense for them not to be in the game
d10-6removed tiles and introduced specific player pieces bought from at great expense (foolish me shake)
d10-7removed specific player pieces and introduced generic player pieces when I realised how much this game would cost to produce soblue
d10-8introduced contract cards (just like in Ticket to Ride) because some playtesters felt there were not enough ways to score VPs
d10-9removed contract cards because no-one used them

And finally, in what could be my last roll of the die:

d10-0got rid of the cards althogether*, re-introduced individual player boards, and significantly speeded up the game!

The action selection mechanism I have now settled on is similar to that in The Manhattan Project, in that you place your workers until you have no more and then you retrieve them to start again. My implementation of this is different to The Manhattan Project and suits Brent Crude quite well, IMHO.

*Not quite - I am already working on a deck of cards to denote ownership of individual facilties and to form a facility market...


The rules to Brent Crude will appear shortly on BGG. Look out for v4.1 - NOT v4.0 (what a sneaky thing to do, to introduce a major change in the game via a point release of the ruleswhistle).

And PLEASE send me any comments you have! I want to see this game published, I want it to be good, and I think I almost have it.
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