Greg's Design Blog

A collection of posts by game designer Gregory Carslaw, including mirrors of all of his blogs maintained for particular projects. A complete index of posts can be found here:
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Explore Breathing

United Kingdom
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Original Post

Yesterday I wrote about a difficulty one objective, lets switch over to looking at a difficulty four one. This is one of those cards where new players benefit a lot from the difficulty numbers because it appears simple but turns out to be pretty tricky:

The concept is straightforward enough, a human dies that the start of their turn if they're in space without a space suit, so really what this directive requires is a person in a space suit to be in space. It's made tricky because the obvious way to go about it fails.

If you pick up a person and stick a space suit on them you're now carrying three things, the space suit, the human's toolkit and the space suit. On the humans turn they'll struggle free taking their kit and suit with them. When you try to pick them up again you'll find that you get the space suit and kit off them, but can't also grab the human in the same action. If you do another pick up action you get the human, but now the stack is out of order so you've got a pile of a human, a space suit and a toolkit, but the human isn't wearing the suit. You can spend your third and final action fixing that, at which point the human will escape again.

A clever player will grab the human's kit first and throw it away, this makes it possible to easily reacquire them when they escape and reduces the chance of them successfully escaping the robot's cold metal clutches. Doing this works, but takes a few turns to execute, during which it's fairly obvious what you're up to.

A better approach is to leave this objective until last and try to get other players to solve parts of the problem for you. If you know that another player needs a kit or if you can grab one for your other objectives you can de-kit the human in advance. If it seems like another player needs a live human you can start opening all of the doors on the ship and your opponent might throw one into a space suit to preserve them for their own ends, saving you valuable time.

I'm sure creative players will come up with plenty of other options. Firing the human and suit into space using the launch tube. Or delivering a more cooperative corpse to space and using the alien artefact to revive it. 404 offers plenty of options

I'm quite happy with how many strategies can emerge from such a simple directive. I think that one of the big strengths of the game is in how the disparate components come together to create a whole that's more than the sum of its parts.
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Subscribe sub options Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:09 pm
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