Game Dev Diary - Starfall Forest

Game development diary for my new children's board game Starfall Forest (formerly known as 'Stardust'). And oh, it's a board game that doesn't use a board..
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Martijn Althuizen
Noord Brabant
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Hi again,

Up until now I just carried around this box with all the game components that I ordered. Which are more pieces than strictly needed to play the game, because I didn't know exactly how many pieces I was going to need so I ordered a bit extra.

But here's a picture of just the components needed to play the game:

There are:
- 28 trees (24 for the base forest and 1 for each of the four players)
- 25 stars (which might become 28 stars for the final game..)
- 4 fairies (blue, red, white, black)
- 4 snakes (1 for each of the four players)
- 12 hearts (3 for each of the four players)
- 5 dice

I'm not quite sure the 25 stars will be enough. If playing with four players, the maximum number of stars that can be in the possession of the players is 16. If a player gets a fifth star he/she is done playing so the 5 stars can then be used again.
This means that in a four player game there's a hard limit of only 9 stars possibly being in the forest if each player already collected 4 stars. There simply won't be any other stars left to put in the forest.

While I don't think it's very likely that the spare stars will run out, I'd rather not have it happen at all. And besides, I do have to put something in the rules about what to do in case it does happen..

But what? I don't want to introduce any complex or theme-breaking mechanics. Like having players write down the number of stars they have if additional stars are needed. Or like not having a star drop if there aren't any stars left. That's silly. If a star is going to fall, it's going to fall! It has to!

I've thought about a mechanic in which a star that falls into the forest has a limited lifespan. So after it's crashed it's starts to loose it's energy and once it runs out of energy, the star is removed from the forest. I very much like this idea as it would mean that there'd also be a bit of time pressure when going after stars; get it before it's gone.
I haven't been able to come up with a neat and easy enough mechanic for this. I'd want a star to be in the forest a fixed number of rounds. If nobody's collected the star after that, it gets removed from the forest.
But there's just too much overhead in keeping track of which player placed which star, how long a star has already been in the forest, etc. So this idea is pretty much busted.

At the moment I'm really tempted to just add in a few extra stars. 28 stars instead of 25. Then there'd be the same amount of stars as there are trees in the game. That's very neat and tidy..

But it still doesn't really solve the issue. Because do I just add the extra stars and mention nothing in the rules about it? That's bound to come back and bite me..

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