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Subject: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [contest ready] rss

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Nate K
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [playtest and graphic design phase]
Stunning!
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Michele Esmanech
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [playtest and graphic design phase]
kurthl33t wrote:
Stunning!

Thanks, but there's a downside to using my time drawing...
Have a read of this: Too pretty or not too pretty.

What is keeping me working on the looks, now, is that the "looks" give an idea and inspiration for the detailed rules (the main rules, of course, come first).

Think of the effects of an encounter, for example: I look at the image, and think what could they be... then I translate them into game-rules (specific game rules, again).

As you can see from the images I have been posting in the past days, the actual effects of the encounters (the rules part of the cards) is left blank.

This means that I won't have to change the whole card design, but just add that part of text that impacts the rules.


This is the way I was working when developing Shadow Agent and Lord of the Rings: The Adventure Deck Game:
here is how I tend to work:


Game concept and rough mechanics
playtest main raw mechanics
theme
graphic design
detailed mechanics (exceptions, special effects)
finalize main mechanics
finilize detailed mechanics

Think of LOTR:TADG: I came up with the push your luck mechanic (well, not the mechanic per se, but... you know what I meant), then I created the cards; then I created the card effects

By playtesting, I then could change the card effects (and some minor things, to the main mechanics (in such case, the number of turns, the aggression numbers and so on... things I knew I could tweak without much fuss) without changing how the game worked.

This method has given me the chance to keep the mechanics and theme work quite well together, giving a thematic flavor to the game.
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Michele Esmanech
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [playtest and graphic design phase]
A suspect card (needs flavor text telling why she/it is a suspect) with special effects and how to beat it, to come.

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Michele Esmanech
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [playtest and graphic design phase]
finally some gameplay things to say: I have written down the 36 locations and what they do

The locations will show: the name of the location, how many encounters will be placed on it during set up (0-3), how many warrant points you need to enter such location and investigate, and any special interactions such location can provide (have a look at this Excel file: this Excel file.
Number of encounters and warrants may and will vary.

This is how the turn will work, which is divided into 4 phases:
1) move: you CAN move from your current location to any other location. Most locations require you using Warrant points to enter them;

2) you can INVESTIGATE the location encounters present in your current location, by flipping the first encounter card, and dealing with the card's reactions/effects.
If you successfully resolve the card's effects (for example, by winning a combat with an enemy encounter), you discard the encounter card and you can continue your investigation, by flipping cards, until you decide to stop or are forced to stop, by failing in resolving the card's effects.
OR
2) you can INTERACT with the location special effects.

3) the suspect is trying to get away and hide his traces: discard 1 evidence token per player from the token pile.

4) re-roll all used dice and allocate them on the agent's sheet.

When you fail in resolving the card's effects, you are forced to stop your investigation. Keep the card on top of the encounter pile on such location, and your turn ends. proceed to phase 3 of the turn.
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [playtest and graphic design phase]


Another suspect card (yes, the image was formerly of an agent)

The story behind this suspect is that she is the daughter of the CEO of Varcom, rival company of INFRACORP, owned by our victim. She tried to assassinate herself her father's competitor (and IP thief), but she wasn't able to, so she hired a killer.

Her special effects are that, when you know she's the murdurer, she will be shuffled with any remaining encounter on the board (as usual), but with another random suspect. To win, you'll have to catch them both.
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Michele Esmanech
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [playtest and graphic design phase]
I just realized that, until now, the "only" way to develop your character is with the interact action... And since actions are ’acquired' by rolling dice and allocating them, it becomes too random.

So, interacting with certain encounters will give not only leads (in the form of warrant bonuses to be placed on a certain specified location) but also interact points or other benefits.

Reminder to myself: create bonus one-time-use tokens for actions.

Tomorrow I'll post the second draft of the player sheet... And talk about dice rolling and allocation
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [playtest and graphic design phase]
Ok, finally, here is one of four character sheets (this one is for Belinda Carlile, which is pretty much balanced... others will be more focused on combat, gaining warrants, analyzing, and interacting, changing the playstyle, accordingly.



On your turn you will roll 4 dice, and allocate the results on the sheet.
You have a choice, on where to allocate your die: to the left or to the right.

So, for example, if you roll a 3, you HAVE to allocate it on the 3 spot, BUT you can choose whether to allocate it on the "3 EVADE" OR the "3 ATTACK" slot.

So, luck plays a role, but it is NOT that predominant.

Besides, just like in Mage Knight, ANY die can be used (even after allocations) as a 1 for any one resource.
So, in the example above, if you allocate the 3 die to the "3 EVADE" slot, but realize that you don't need the 3 evade but you need, lets say, 1 Warrant, you simply take that die, and use it for 1 warrant.


Equipment, which will be gained when interacting with the Armory location, will give permanent bonuses to specific resources (you draw 2 random cards, and choose one to keep)

you can gain AID (in the form of more blue dice to roll - up to 4 extra dice), by interacting with the Chief's office (spending 2 interact).

You can gain Enhancements, in the form of extra actions to choose from, by interacting with the Sector 9 Locations (spending 4 interact). As per the Equipment, you draw 2 random cards, and choose one to keep.
An enhancement gives combined actions (3 Attack + 4 Evade; or 3 Warrants + 2 Interact), or better actions in general (6 Attack; 5 interact, and so on), in the form of extra slots (on top of the basic 12) to choose from.


When you have used your dice, and performed your actions (maximizing your actions) you will reroll them, and re-allocated them.


When you flip an encounter card, you need to deal with it. If you investigate and find an NPC card (one that attacks you), you can Evade, by spending EVADE points equal to the Attack value of the NPC, and moving the card on top of the encounter deck of a different location, or you can attack it back, by spending ATTACK points, equal to or grater then his attack.

1) If you succeed, with the Evade, the card is moved to a different location, and you can continue investingating in your location;
2) if you succeed in the attack, the NPC is removed from the game (and sometimes it will give hints on certain locations -as if you disarmed the NPC and he then talked to you giving you leads on the investigation, as to where to search next)
3) if you fail the attack (you don't have enough evade or attack points to overcome the NPC's attack, you suffer 1 wound

WOUNDS are RED 3 that are rolled and allocated normally on the roll of 1-3 (and, therefore, can be used for the selected action); but on the roll of 4-6, the die is useless.

To heal from wounds, you need to head to the Infirmary location, and spend 3 interact to replace the red die with a normal die.
Wounds only replace your normal dice, and don't replace the AIDs.

WHEN you roll 4 useless dice, you are dead and out of the game.

So, technically, you can play with 4 wounds (even with a limited action pool), but you're taking the risk of rolling too many wounds.

Why wouldn't you go to the infirmary? because you would have to spend 1 turn to do so (and we know that every turn, 1 evidence token is removed, meaning the timer is ticking and when all evidence is gone, you lose the game). Besides, you might want to preserve those Interact points to talk to certain NPCs, or to gain more enhancements, equipment or AId... You have the choice.

I hope all this makes sense



DISCLAIMER: die results, resources and such might change after some play tests
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [playtest and graphic design phase]
here is a sneak peak at the first draft of the suspect board (at the end of a full investigation):




The board is a 9x9 grid, with 4 suspects.
During setup, you'll place 1 evidence token in the middle.
Every time you analyze a hint, you gain 1 evidence, hence you get to draw from the evidence token pile, and you'll place the token on the board.

The tokens are drawn in such a way so there usually is only 1 (maybe 2) places you can place the token.
sometimes, you won't even be able to place the token on the board... tough luck! Either case, you'll still discard 1 token (per player) from the evidence token pile (so analyzing better type of hints, is key).

In fact, there are 3 types of hints:
1) testimony: will let you draw 1 tile from the pile
2) sec-cam footage: will let you draw 2 tiles, pick 1, and place the other in the pile
3) physical hints: will let you draw 3 tiles, pick 1, and place the other 2 back in the pile.


Looking at the picture above, we get that: suspect n.2 is the criminal, so we take the corresponding suspect's card and reshuffle it with any remaining encounters still on the board: this is called the CHASE phase of the game.

Finding who committed the crime, is only half of the game, since you need to find the suspect and fight him/her/it to win.

When the CHASE begins, take all the encounter cards on the board, add the suspect card, re-shuffle, and place them, dividing them as evenly as possible, on all dangerous locations (this representing the fact that the criminal is being hidden by his criminal friends.

Every turn, you'll still discard evidence tokens (which is used as a timer), and you'll have to find and seize the escaping criminal, before the evidence tokens run out.

Having as few encounters on the board, when the chase begins, is crucial.


The rules of how to lay the Evidence tiles are very similar to Dominoes, with the added rule that you cannot place a tile on any BLACK X.
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
Finally, the board is finished... hopefully.

here is a link the HUGE file (14mb):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/b7qe6eqvcyqtvap/Map.png

As you can see, there are 3 types of locations: Dangerous (with a red square icon); neutral, with a yellow plus icon, and safe, with a green circle icon.
To the left of the location name, is the Warrant number: which tells you how many warrant points you need to investigate there
To the right of the location name, within the location-type icon, there is the encounter number, which tells you how many encounter cards are present on such location.

some locations also have special effects, written on the bottom, which have effects on the encounters you meet there (on top of the normal effects of the encounter).

Ok, let's talk about setup...

Well, it's pretty straightforward:
1) shuffle all encounters (84 cards), then place as many encounter cards as indicated by the encounter number (the one on the right of the name) on each location.
Certain locations don't have encounters (like the Laboratory, for example), so don't place any encounter card there.

2) shuffle all enhancement cards and place them in the Sector 9 Location

3) shuffle all equipment cards, and place them in the Armory location

4) place 4 blue dice in the AID spot, in the DPD Chief's office location

5) put all Evidence tokens in a cup, draw one at random, and place it in the middle of the Suspect board (on the square market with a 0

6) randomly place the 4 suspect cards on the 1-4 slots of the suspect board

7) roll 4 dice, and allocate them, on your player sheet

8) place all bonus tokens to the side for easy pick up


Lets talk about investigating: the investigation action is resolved by flipping the encounter cards present on your location.
To Investigate, you need to enter a location, by spending the appropriate amount of warrant points, as indicated on the location.
Some locations have special activations, which don't require you to spend warrants: in fact, such locations have a warrant 0 to access them.

Encounters will show 3 reactions, and you'll apply the one corresponding to the type of location you are in. Granted: in dangerous locations, encounters are more keen in attacking you; in safe locations, encounters are more collaborative with the police... in general... not always...

ninjadevil

Some encounters will attack you wherever they are... some people just don't get it, do they!?
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
The rules are pretty much all done.
The only thing that needs covering is how the tile laying works... But it's quite straightforward and intuitive.

As you can see the game is quite simple, though it offers lots of ways to reach your victory

Speaking of the suspect board, here is the final version with slots for the 4 suspects:
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Cameron Harris
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
Hi Ikim,

Really like the way your game is coming together and your map looks great.

Could I suggest that you add some geography to the map such that the locations are linked in some way?

Having them as is doesn't really give a sense of being in a city if you can get to anyone of them from anywhere else.

If there was a some simple geography involved you could have half the locations on the 'east side', for example, and the other on the 'west side'. Moving from one side to another would involve some effort and the player then has to make a strategic decision which part of the city to focus on.

Taking it a step further it might be better to group your locations in like themed areas such as the 'night district', the 'megacorp business park' etc.

Maybe each potential suspect could have a preference, once they run, for a particular district 'cause that's where they are familiar and have their contacts. The player would have this information and could then head to the 'Sprawl Slum' to track down their suspect rather than hoping to get lucky at any old random location.

These are my thoughts from my viewpoint on the outside, looking in which is always a dangerous place to comment from. Feel free to ignore them.

Cheers,
Cameron
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
plugger wrote:
Hi Ikim,

Really like the way your game is coming together and your map looks great.

Could I suggest that you add some geography to the map such that the locations are linked in some way?

Having them as is doesn't really give a sense of being in a city if you can get to anyone of them from anywhere else.

If there was a some simple geography involved you could have half the locations on the 'east side', for example, and the other on the 'west side'. Moving from one side to another would involve some effort and the player then has to make a strategic decision which part of the city to focus on.

Taking it a step further it might be better to group your locations in like themed areas such as the 'night district', the 'megacorp business park' etc.

Maybe each potential suspect could have a preference, once they run, for a particular district 'cause that's where they are familiar and have their contacts. The player would have this information and could then head to the 'Sprawl Slum' to track down their suspect rather than hoping to get lucky at any old random location.

These are my thoughts from my viewpoint on the outside, looking in which is always a dangerous place to comment from. Feel free to ignore them.

Cheers,
Cameron

These are all very interesting points, and I will, for sure, take them, into account.
There is some connections between locations and the actual cityscape, but nothing that impacts gameplay.

I especially like the fact that a suspect might hide in a district over another...

I'll think of something, but, for now, I'll thank you for the GREAT ideas and suggestions.

As for linking the locations, and the fact that you can go anywhere, from anywhere, it is a specific gameplay-mechanic decision.

I playtested this a lot, in August. At first, the city was a hex grid (when the game was MageKnight express); then it became a sort of world map, as you see in the first page, were you entered areas of the map, by spending movement points... though the gameplay was different.

If you take the previous version of the map (the one in the first page), you have to go from south to north, and back again, without knowing where you were going and why you were going there. the game was long and really didn't give the player an incentinve to go here or there: all he had to do is move in a straight line.

As the gameplay is now, it is a double worker placement: one, where you allocate dice, and one where you place your worker in a location, and this is how I see it working, instead of hex based map, where you're moving from location to location.
I don't want to focus on the movement part of the game, but I want to concentrate on the resource management.
Usually, in games where you have restrictions to movement, the Movement action is the most important... as it is now, there is no predominant resource...

Though, as I said, I will concentrate on the creation of sectors...
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David Bate
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
Wow, had a massive deja vu flashback to the old GW Judge Dredd game map, but this is one is pumped up on steroids and dust.

I like it. How big will the map be, I haven't noticed if the size was mentioned earlier.
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
wrrlykam wrote:
Wow, had a massive deja vu flashback to the old GW Judge Dredd game map, but this is one is pumped up on steroids and dust.

I like it. How big will the map be, I haven't noticed if the size was mentioned earlier.

It will be an A1 sheet (equals to 4 A3 or 8 A4).
Plus you'll have the suspect board, and the player sheet.
It is a pretty big game with a big footprint.
good thing is that all the cards will be ON the map itself, so no extra space is required
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
I'll check to see if my local market printer stall does A1. I've seen their printer and in has to be 6 ft wide, so I think they should be able to do so for a final print.
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Igor Mascarenhas
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
I'd like to join on playtest team
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
rajatz wrote:
I'd like to join on playtest team

Sure, as soon as components are ready for public play test, I will gladly hear your opinions.

BTW, I have just printed the map board, and it looks GREAT. I have only one thing to say: the locations are so many, so scattered, and so varied, that, at first, it is daunting deciding where to go. It feels a lot like Defenders of the realm, where you have to look location per location, to search what you're looking for.
With more plays, I bet things will become more intuitive... but for now, it is quite confusing.

A thing I could do is, following on Cameron's suggestion, to gather all Warrant 1 locations together; all warrant 2 locations and warrant 3 locations.

Warrant 0 locations are already gathered in the bottom left of the board.

This will make things easier to find, when you know you have X warrant points, and you know you don't want to look at the whole board to find the location you want to head to.

I'll think of something. In the mean time, if you have further ideas, I'll gladly read them

cheers


edit: i have thought about it, and i have decided to divide the city in districts (like Cameron was suggesting) keeping cohesion (theme-wise) among the locations of a specific district).
The districts will be:
-DPD: where helpful locations are: (0 warrant locations)
-residential District: where apartments and University will be (1warrant locations)
-HighState:luxury locations (2 warrant locations)
-Chinatown: where you'll find diners and AI roid stuff (2 warrant locations)
-Uptown district: business locations (2 warrant locations)
-lowTown: dangerous locations (warrant 3 locations)

This will have a greater visual impact in the board. plus, if you want to enter an adjacent location in the same district you're in, you spend 1 less warrant point.

Besides: having the locations divided in districts I'll give me even more options regarding NPCs interactions and movement.

Stay tuned, and thank you Cameron for the idea
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
I created the component list (with a to-do list) in the first page of the thread (second post).

I have also re-arranged the locations, and created links and a sort of plaque to give names to the locations.

I will also put a sort of image within the plaque, to resemble the location type... we'll see if this won't add TOO much to the map.

I will post the new map, as soon as the software finishes converting it (it is a very BIG file)

EDIT: Finally, the map is here:
DYSTOPIA
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
I am playtesting the game, and it is achieving what I wanted: you have to go around the city, looking for clues that will lead to the assassin, while also getting the resources to deal with your encounters.

Now, following the suggestions I received so far (especially from Cameron) I will change the Chase a little, in the sense that you don't reshuffle ALL encounters present on the map, but only the encouters still present in the district the assassin will hide in.

Gamewise, this will make the player choose where to search more, according to where he thinks his investigation (meaning the suspect board) will lead him, so he'll have to invest time and resources.

Now, all I need to do, before posting the files, is playtest the balance... which is a big issue, now.

Edit: I just had the best happen: I was almost sure that suspect 3 was going to be the actual assassin, so I started working the Midtown District, since there is where the suspect was going to hide in... I only needed 1 more tile, and I would have connected suspect n.3... but the last 3 evidence tiles I drew lead me to suspect n.4... meaning I had to search it in another district, with lots more encounters... I eventually lost.

A way that I could have pulled suspect 3 to be the actual assassin was to look for stronger clues, which make you draw more evidence tiles, and make you choose... maybe I could have actually connected suspect 3...

I know I shouldn't be the one telling, but it was a GREAT experience... very realistic and immersive.


EDIT: BTW, here are some light predictions (light in the sense that you're not supposed to take them as written on stone laugh)
- by tomorrow night (Monday) CET, I'll have finished all the encouter card drawings
-by tomorrow night also, I will have finished the other character sheets
- by tuesday night, I will have finished writing all the encounter cards' effects
-by wednesday, I will finalize the first case (VARCOM CEO MURDERED) and I will also draw lead tokens (not that difficult)

So, I predict that by next Thursday there will be a playable prototype of the game.

The rules will be "living rules", for a few days still. I'll be using the rules posted here on the thread, for now, and will start from there.

cheers
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
FINALLY.... a bit out of time, I finished drawing all the encounters... now I need to draw the clues (20 of them) and add the effects to the encounters...

work is moving along quickly... sort of...


Oh, almost forgot: this is a link to the folder with all the encounter images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kkbeirn2hzk4ji3/Zt1cbHzt6s
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Michele Esmanech
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Dystopian:the manhunt: a worker placement game of investigation, murder and mystery, set in the futuristic megapolis of DYSTOPIA
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
Nothing to report, actually, apart the fact that real life work is taking up most of my time, and my predictions haven't been met... Hopefully, this week, I'll finish the components and make the game available to the masses for play testing.

On a graphical note, I will change the graphics on the suspect board, and will go toward a more "stylized" style... More like the Minority Report board: transparent and more glassy. I will change a few colors and will change the central image.... Nothing too fancy, but as it is it's too flashy, IMO.

Stay tuned
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
I just added the new suspect board (nothing fancy, just some new colors) to the component list of the first page.

It is also printer-friendly (sort of).

here's the link: suspect board

I also added the player sheet and the token sheet.

Head to the second post of the thread for the whole (almost complete) components ready for download.


Edit: I also edited the Dystopia Map board with a few minor gameplay changes

Next up, in this order:
a) encounter cards
b) 2°, 3° ,4° player sheets
c) case/scenario card(s)

the game is coming to completion...
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
The encounters are almost done. Tomorrow I'll finish the components and start refining parts and rules.

The components will then be available for external play testing.

As soon as these will be available, I'll add 'Dystopian: the manhunt' to the BGG database.

Mockup cover
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
As much as I would have liked to add flavor text to each encounter, and their reactions, based on the location they are in, this would have taken up too much card space (consider I am using small cards (2x2.5") (ready for 2 decks of small artscow cards).

But I wanted to actually give the reason an encounter was acting in a way or the other, so I settled to give a 1-2 word description (mainly his or her profession), under the character's name.
So, for example, if you encounter Harold Cosworth, he will say he is a lawyer. therefore, he will ask for extra warrants to keep interacting in that location (meaning he will want to double check on you: and if you cannot "pay" enough warrant points, you go straight to the chief's office.

Other characters are thugs who just want to attack you (their attack values differ from location to location (or, better, from type of location to type of locations).

There are also some good encounters, like a DPD officer, who will assist you in combat against any encounter you meet in such location (giving you a +1 attack bonus).

My favorite character is the journalist: she is a pain in the neck, and she will hinder your investigation with questions. You can get rid of her, by moving here anywhere on any encounter deck, by spending 2 interact (not much, actually), but you're sure you'll meet her again.

Another enconter is an intern at VarCom. He is a nice bloke, who will tell you what he knows (in the form of leads), but if he is cought in a dangerous location, he will ask you to escort him home. This will bring you to a High-State location, without spending warrants, but if you were investigating a specific location, you'll have to halt your investigation and take the poor kid home.

I really hope to achieve this story telling game, where you need to look for evidence and clues, but you'll encounter all sorts of people in the process.
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Re: DYSTOPIAN: the manhunt [2013 Solitaire PnP contest ] WIP thread [private playtesting phase]
Lots of work done today:
I finished all 80 encounters: 60 people, with various interactions plus I also finished the 20 hints (of which 15 physical and 5tech)

Next up are the 10 enhancements and the 10 equipments

Then I will finish the 2nd 3rd and 4th player board, and then on with public play testing.

As soon as the files upload to my dropbox folder, I will publish the links here.

I will also publish printer friendly files, without the images.

Later today, I'll post the files.
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