Games & Llamas

A blog about what we (Llama Dice) play and sometimes design.
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1987 Channel Tunnel Design Diary (3/4)

Isra C.
Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi there!

There's only 4 days to go for the awesomely successful Kickstarter campaing in which 1987 Channel Tunnel is included and we're on hurry to finish the diary before it ends.

This is the 3rd chapter and the final one will be on Friday with the end of the campaing!

Previously on 1987 Channel Tunnel Design Diary (1) and (2)...

Easy, eaaaaasy.

The game was horrible, partly because they misapplied the central action mechanic, which is the coolest thing about the game. They didn't apply the obligation to go with all the discs of the same color, and that was awful. Apart from that, was also bad for more things that we saw, among them the payment of discs to get the cards and sometimes little interaction between the players in the actions. So we sat down to hit the head. We are engineers, and where we see a problem, we have to give it a solution.

From gallery of israperrillo

The luck factor was still there and when there were no interesting cards, it was still stuck. The game was in a boring state that we wanted to avoid: draining-tunneling and starting again. There wasn't always an interesting card offer. And suddenly we got it!

To counteract the randomness and the poor offer of cards, we came up with the following: Each card was going to have an associated action. Therefore, with one card you could do two things: either get the card for the cost of discs or execute the associated action by discarding the card (unlocking the supply as the game advances).

From gallery of israperrillo

Adapting it to the particularities of this design, we turned the randomness of the card display into a good thing giving the user several and variable actions to carry out! But the fact that the players lost actions in order to get cards in a round did not convince us; the game is fun when you’re performing actions!, so we took the cost in discs and change it in rubble tokens.

From gallery of israperrillo

With this change, we saw the mistake we made associating the cost of the cards with the actions.

Okay, and now that cards are "bought" with rubble tokens, what do we do with the board? Should we remove it or put something else in it? As we are eurogamers, there is nothing we like more than a good track, so we put not one, but 2 that were unlocking things. Just as it works to see how you fill a board, it also works to see that you are given things as you move forward. But we're Uwe's kids and Uwe doesn't like to have things stored just like that, so we added an rubble token storage so you couldn't just accumulate for the sake of accumulating. And if it's full, you can't keep tunneling! It's up to you to be organised in this game.

From gallery of israperrillo
Different versions of the boards.

Then we went from having the actions of draining and tunneling on separate action cards and put them together into one to make the turn by turn more tense. Because in the disaster game we saw with our friends, when the tunneling machines were "out of sync" (when one is tunneling and the other draining) there was no struggle with the actions. So we wanted to fight? Well, take a fight! And although it was a success, the setup was lame and the game asked us more things to do rather than two cards.

From gallery of israperrillo

Having the tracks on the board and following the flow of the game, the action of uploading the tracks, "advance technology", we put it together with an action that until now only appeared on the cards you bought: Pavement, which consisted of, once a whole card was tunneled, you could turn it over to score 2 VP more at the end of the game.

From gallery of israperrillo

We don't like to make a lot of changes to a design at once, but this time we didn't have much time. We made a first game and we loved it. This time much more than the time before the rural house.
We loved it so much, we finished one game and started another. At the end of the work session that day, we kept talking about the games and the design and what to modify here and there. We knew that we had something firm to work on and that we would reach Protos and Tipos without problems.

From gallery of israperrillo

We had achieved it, we had made a huge turn to the prototype, we liked it a lot more than before and we had done everything before the Protos and Tipos. There was light (and what a light!) at the end of this tunnel.
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