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Isla de Ladrones




Summary - Set in the Spanish East Indies in 1762, after the British capture of the city of Manila, one player plays the British and one player plays the Spanish forces for control and expansion of the Islands. Utilizing a set of tactics cards and vying for goods and islands, the two players conduct Naval warfare and expansion through the Asia-Pacific and the Spanish East Indies in this tactical abstract.

This is an asymmetric simultaneous action selection pseudo-area conquest game. With Ships. You need to utilize your tiles and your limited hand of Tactics to take as many spoils as you can throughout the islands.

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The rules and PnP have been updated!
These are submission ready, but plan to combine them in a single PDF and tweak the backgrounds a bit for readability - otherwise this should be ready to submit and/or test for any who are willing to try this out.


WIP Rules and Island PnP Zip - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/27183329/isladeladrones....

In case you want the separate PDFs
WIP Rules PDF - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/27183329/isladeladrones....
Island PNP PDF - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/27183329/isladeladrones....


You do need to include your own markers, about 10-15 cubes/tokens for each side should do. These have not been included in the PnP, as I felt that it would involve too many pieces of paper on top of each other to be manageable or fun during turns. This will be tweaked in the rulebook.

Categories
Best Competitive Game \ Best Bluffing Game \ Best New Designer \ Best Abstract Game \ Best Artwork/Graphic Design \ Most Innovative Mechanic \ Best Co-Designed Game \ Best Integration of Theme and Mechanics

Contest Thread - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1108859/2014-two-player-...
Original Contest Thread Entry - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/14830641#14830641
Submission Contest Thread Entry - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/15643879#15643879
Geeklist - Item for Geeklist "2014 Two-Player Print-and-Play Contest Submission List"


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Vandel Arden
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Created the amazing art, and worked with my quirks to get this game finalized. Thank you so much!





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As such, the next steps -
Player Aids?
Attempt to solicit more playtesting

Any input appreciated!
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Rick Watts
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
Hi, this looks interesting. I've only skimmed through the rulebook quickly so far but one comment I would make is that I think your scoring system is more complicated than it needs to be.

As far as I can see, having a scoring system which consists of the number of cards of each type, plus a bonus for each type where you have more (worked out as the difference between the amount you have and your opponent has) has very little advantage over just scoring the number of cards of each type. Both methods will give the same winner and loser (and draws with the same cards), except your method will double the points difference between the winner and loser.

For example, in your instructions:

British - 4, 3, 1
Spanish - 2, 4, 4

Under your system, British get 10 points and Spanish get 14. If you just add them up British get 8 points and Spanish 10. So Spanish win both, but their winning margin is doubled by your system.

Take another example:

British - 1, 7, 1
Spanish - 4, 2, 4

Here under your system British have 14 points with Spanish 16. If you add them up British have 9, with Spanish 10. So again Spanish have double winning margin by your system.

And a draw:

British - 3, 1, 3
Spanish - 2, 3, 2

Under your system both teams get 9 points. If you add them up both teams get 7 points.

So I'd suggest you either keep the scoring really simple and add up the points, or have a fixed bonus for having the most of each (say 3 points?) or some kind of exponential bonus for having more (so 1 point if 1 more, 3 points if 2 more etc.)

Anyway, that's my immediate feedback - I'll look through the rest of the instructions and components later and let you know any other thoughts.
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
Hi Rick,
Thanks for your input!

The notes about scoring are valid - I'll probably just go with your suggestion, it seems I had overcomplicated things for myself. I had wanted to give incentive to preventing your opponent from gaining a monopoly on a type of spoils, to also distinguish the three categories of spoils from each other in some way, and to give more benefit to the Trade ships (this could potentially result in a 3 point swing from a Trade ship as opposed to a 2 point swing - given the high cost of creating a trade ship, running it into enemy territory and then losing the ship and an action) - however just getting the tiles in the first place is probably enough. I'll change it to that - I think it should not have a major impact on the game while being simpler. Possibly there could be a point gain for having the most in a category, but will playtest both and see how they function.

As you can see, the game and design at the moment is very rough. The Map is done with paint, and probably shouldn't be on a card, there is no iconography, the rulebook is shoddy and hard to read, and the island cards do not make it totally obvious how they function, as the design of the card is too symmetric to make it apparent when a tile needs to be placed, and when a tile is explicitly produced.

As such, the next steps to improving this design -

1. Fix the points system in the rulebook
2. Scrap the map card, create a larger map that fits these elements better (though could probably have a map card as a bonus if you want to play in a smaller space). The tiles would get too cramped when maneuvering and taking actions. Larger map could have spaces for islands.
3. Reworked rulebook to have more concrete rules and clear/understandable wording
4. Iconography - icons created for Spoils, and Ships - 6 icons for these, and variations for production and development sections, so players are able to distinguish these easily.
5. Redesigned Island Cards - Island Cards redesigned so players can understand at a glance each element, and are more easily able to match these up to the map.
6. Redesigned Tactic Cards - Give a bit more personalization and design to the tactics cards.
7. Rebalance Island and Tactics cards due to testing. Tactics lacks a more warfare focused action, where Trade and Colonization are represented.
8. Create more examples for rulebook, and create rulebook template. Make examples clear, and update based on updated iconography and card designs.

I'm going to add this list to my main post as well.

I think this game could be a nice struggle type conquest game, the core of the rules are simple and the phases flow (although the production phase could just be an action at the beginning of the round.)

You need to judge when in the game to use your higher action cards, and when to try to bid low to utilize your abilities. The timing for actions and abilities, as well as the determination of turn order, could make this into a bit of a burner.
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
Next step - Asymmetry!

After some helpful nudging, I decided to take this in the direction I wanted to initially - Asymmetric Tactics, start and Goals.

Tactics -
The Spanish player is going to start with a foothold in the Islands already, and their Tactics cards will number 1-7. Their actions are going to be based similar to the existing actions around production and tiles.
The British player is going to start without any Islands, and with Tactics numbered 0-6. Their actions will be based on hindering the Spanish player.
This spread makes it more likely for the British player to gain abilities, whereas the Spanish player gains more actions.

Spanish
1 - During this round, whenever you take a trade action, take an additional spoils tile from your opponent.
2 - When building ships this round, for each ship built, take another matching ship from the tile pool and build it on the same port.
3 - Return another Tactics card from your discard to your hand.
4 - During this round, you may move two ships with one ship action.
5 - During this round, you may take two matching spoils tiles when taking the colony action.
6 - No Ability.
7 - No Ability.

British
0 - During this round, whenever your opponent gains a spoils tile, you gain a matching tile from the tile pool.
1 - During this round, your opponent cannot take the build action.
2 - When building ships this round, you may replace any built tile with a Warship tile.
3 - During this round, the opponent gains no bonuses from islands.
4 - Opponent loses two actions this round.
5 - During this round, you may gain the island bonus of any one developed island the opponent controls.
6 - Opponent discards a tactics card from their hand.

Start -
The Spanish player will draw 4 islands and place 2 of them next to their starting location. They start the game controlling these two islands as well as their starting location.

Goals -
Goal tiles will be added. Each player gets 3 goals and chooses two to keep. These goals are kept secret and are worth 3 extra points if achieved by the end of the game.
Goal List -
You hold 5 or more Oil in your spoils.
You hold 5 or more Spices in your spoils.
You hold 5 or more Indigo in your spoils.
You control two or more Islands that produce Oil.
You control two or more Islands that produce Spices.
You control two or more Islands that produce Indigo.
You control two or more Islands that produce Two materials.
You control two or more developed Islands.
You control three or more Islands.
You have 4 or more Warships in play.
You have 4 or more Colony Ships in play.
You have 4 or more Trade Ships in play.
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
After some testing, it seems that there are a few things to modify.

I have made a slightly better looking map, that can be seen here - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/27183329/map.png

One of the comments from testing was that movement seemed too restrictive, and it would be better to be able to have more maneuverability of ships through the game, since there are limited rounds.

There are a few approaches I am taking a look at to re-balance this.

1. Increase the number of actions on Tactics cards. This would increase to 1-7 and 2-8, giving more actions throughout the game that could be used to more easily maneuver. Will most likely approach this in a different way, outlined below
2. Add a gamey-style boost to positioning. The idea here would be that Ships starting their movement from Ports would be able to move an additional space in the same action. This would give incentive to set out, but would keep the Route based ship maneuvering. This shouldn't affect the game too much, aside from speeding up ship launching.
3. Allow for a higher base ship movement - ships would be able to move up to 3 spaces in one move action. However, opposing Warships would pin ships, your ships would not be able to move past a 'Blockade' of enemy Warships. This would give incentive to position Warships more strategically, and create push lanes in the restricted map space.

For the actions in general, somewhat to alleviate the movement restriction, I was testing the idea of removing the specific "+1 to action" Islands, and just making all Islands give +1 Action during the round to their controller.
The rules would read that, all Islands give +1 Action to their controller during the round - if you captured the Island during that round, you would be able to use the action immediately. This would allow you to move up and take control of the Island, and then move immediately after, somewhat having a chaining effect throughout your turn.
This would also give incentive to fighting over the Islands, as owning a Majority of Islands would give a definite boost in turn actions.

This would rebalance the starting asymmetry between players - the numbers would be flipped, so The British player would have 1-7, and the Spanish player would have 0-6. However, the Spanish player starts with 2 Islands, so they would have their played value +2 for their first round - offsetting the lower action count.

The tactics cards also need some reworking - the British player's tactic abilities that work against the opposing player's developed Islands are very situational and somewhat redundant, I don't see the need to have 2, if any at all.
One I would like to see would be +Free action abilities, so a Spanish 2 that has 'You gain 2 free movement actions this round.' These give a lot of options during the round while being able to utilize a lower card with extra, though restricted actions. It's all about being able to play your Tactic cards at the right time.

The goal tiles seem a bit superfluous, at the moment, and I'm not sure if they are completely necessary, but will continue tweaking them and see how they affect the game.

Will be building these ideas into the game, and will update with any changes and findings.

Thanks!
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Vandel Arden
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
Hi, I just wanted to announce that I will take care of the Art of this Game from now on. New WIP Images will come soon.
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
Thanks to Avalain, who is creating the great microgame Vinland there is going to be some fantastic new Art coming for this game.

As a start for the map, with the icons yet to come -



As you can see, the Islands will fit alongside, and give opportunity for snug, tight play.

For the Tactic card backs, British and Spanish -



Exciting to see these designs!
We will move forward and improve the rulebook and create iconography and maps that make the concept and play of the game clear.

Hope you will support us!
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Vandel Arden
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones




Here are some sketches for the chits.
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
New Ship Icons



These are Gorgeous! Photos of playtesting with new Icons and map coming soon! It looks beautiful!
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todd sanders
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
just read through your rules. i like the ideas sbout the tactics cards and how initiative addes plusses and minuses to thst choice

will be interested in your upcoming progress
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
Hey, really hope this one hasn't stalled . . . don't leave us hanging with that artwork and not being able to use it. I had a good read through of the rules because as soon as those files get up I am going to try this one out. Remembering that this is from a straight read through and that I haven't playtested it yet, here is some stuff that I stumbled on :

a: There are several locations that refer to the game play steps as "Phases" and some as "Rounds". try to make this consistent throughout the rules.
b: Under Game Play > Action Phase : "in the order defined during the previous Tactics round." You don't really need to specify "previous" here. It actually sounds more confusing like that ,because the reader may think they need to remember what happened in the previous turn's Tactics Phase. As long as the game play lists the Action Phase coming after the Tactics Phase, you can probably remove the word "previous".
c: Under Action Phase > Move : Can you do this multiple times (moving up to 2 spaces) for 1 Action Point a piece, or is it something you can only do once per turn?
d: Palaos in the rules is named Yap on the Island Tiles.
e: If the Island Tiles are double production, why does one side still say Development. I guess in general I am pretty confused at what exactly Production areas do and how to attain spoils of certain types from Development squares. Maybe I missed it in the rules, or perhaps I have to see the game in action . . . but how do I get something that is produced on an island. Can I pick it up if I own the island? Does it automatically go to me as a spoil if I own the island?

Okay, I have picked on the rules enough. Now some good stuff.
The artwork he is doing looks really good for the games theme/weight. Hopefully he is still developing it.
I really like how the highest Tactic card gets actions, but the lowest gets the ability. That is a really smooth/good mechanic that I haven't seen very often.
The different Ship actions are very thematic, and they sound like they make for some really good player interaction.
Hope to see the new version with graphics included because I want to give this one a try.
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Vandel Arden
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
Thanks to Todd and Weston.
I am only needing to finish the Island Cards, recently booth Orion and I have been stalled by real-life-stuff. But we aint abandon this sleek little game here.
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
Hi All,
Sorry for the delays on this, my real life job swept my feet out from under me, but I am committed to finishing this up.

I realize the date is looming on the competition itself as well, but will have to try to coordinate with Josephe to get this finished up.

There will be a repackaged version with all of the new tiles and cards (minus the Islands) coming soon. Hopefully we can get this out and hear from some interested players!
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
goatfarmer03 wrote:

a: There are several locations that refer to the game play steps as "Phases" and some as "Rounds". try to make this consistent throughout the rules.
b: Under Game Play > Action Phase : "in the order defined during the previous Tactics round." You don't really need to specify "previous" here. It actually sounds more confusing like that ,because the reader may think they need to remember what happened in the previous turn's Tactics Phase. As long as the game play lists the Action Phase coming after the Tactics Phase, you can probably remove the word "previous".

Thanks for the tips. Will address this with the next rulebook version.

Quote:

c: Under Action Phase > Move : Can you do this multiple times (moving up to 2 spaces) for 1 Action Point a piece, or is it something you can only do once per turn?

You can use the Move action as many times as you like, as long as you still have actions. This could be smoothed out in the explanation.

Quote:

e: If the Island Tiles are double production, why does one side still say Development. I guess in general I am pretty confused at what exactly Production areas do and how to attain spoils of certain types from Development squares. Maybe I missed it in the rules, or perhaps I have to see the game in action . . . but how do I get something that is produced on an island. Can I pick it up if I own the island? Does it automatically go to me as a spoil if I own the island?

This one digs a little more into the mechanics of the game and how all the pieces interact. You cannot take a spoil directly from an Island - production spaces produce spoils that can be turned into ships. They do not do anything else.
Development Squares do not produce, but are empty until a player places a specific tile on them - once the tile is there, the Island is 'activated' and the player gains the Island ability. That tile remains there and there is no need to worry about removing/placing tiles to that square after that point. Really this is something I would hope to clear up more with design/rules examples.

Quote:

Okay, I have picked on the rules enough. Now some good stuff.
The artwork he is doing looks really good for the games theme/weight. Hopefully he is still developing it.
I really like how the highest Tactic card gets actions, but the lowest gets the ability. That is a really smooth/good mechanic that I haven't seen very often.
The different Ship actions are very thematic, and they sound like they make for some really good player interaction.
Hope to see the new version with graphics included because I want to give this one a try.


Thanks for the support! I know it looks slow, but we will get this one done. Sorry for the pauses!
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
New Pack of Rules and PnP Assets.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/27183329/isladeladrones....

I apologize for the delays. They are my fault entirely.

The rulebook has been rewritten, and all pieces aside from the Islands have been added to the package. Those are the last piece of the puzzle.
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
So glad you got this one finished up Orion. The new rules and components look so good, and the rulebook flows much better when reading because of the formatting.

a) Not too big of a deal, but maybe lighten the background of the rulebook so it is not as distracting.

b) Just to verify, when you take out a ship with your warship, you will get whatever spoil is on the reverse side of that ship? You cannot have a ship as a spoils can you (since they are worth 0)

c) Under objectives and scoring it says "Every goal tile you complete is worth 3 points at the end of the game." Are you able to draw additional goal cards, or are you referring to the points from the "public goal" and your own "hidden goal"? I may just have Ticket To Ride on the brain

d) Are the 12 Island Cards missing in the PnP File? Did these get updated artwork?

e) Is there any use for those blank Circle cards, or were they perhaps supposed to be blank Goal cards (pg 11 and pg13 fronts/backs respectively)? Is there supposed to be blank goal cards?

f) Are the Player Tokens supposed to be player provided? You may want to specify that if so.

I know thid looks like a lot of issues, but it is just a bunch of small stuff. Cant wait to get this game printed and tested out.
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Re: [WIP]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
goatfarmer03 wrote:
So glad you got this one finished up Orion. The new rules and components look so good, and the rulebook flows much better when reading because of the formatting.


Thanks Weston! Always lovely to get some feedback.

Quote:

a) Not too big of a deal, but maybe lighten the background of the rulebook so it is not as distracting.

I was playing around with that, If I lighten it too much, it looks washed out - I need to play with a medium, possibly frame it or create overlay for readability

Quote:

b) Just to verify, when you take out a ship with your warship, you will get whatever spoil is on the reverse side of that ship? You cannot have a ship as a spoils can you (since they are worth 0)

Correct - you recieve all spoils on the Materials side. Once you capture the opposing ship with the warship, you flip it over and gain the spoils, thus - taking out another warship will get you an ore, taking out a colony ship will net you a saffron, and taking out an opposing trade ship will gain you an Indigo

Quote:

c) Under objectives and scoring it says "Every goal tile you complete is worth 3 points at the end of the game." Are you able to draw additional goal cards, or are you referring to the points from the "public goal" and your own "hidden goal"? I may just have Ticket To Ride on the brain

Right, you are able to get a maximum of 6 points between the hidden goal and the public goal.

Quote:

d) Are the 12 Island Cards missing in the PnP File? Did these get updated artwork?

The 12 Island cards are the final piece of the puzzle, they are being finished up, and plan to squeak them before the line.

Quote:

e) Is there any use for those blank Circle cards, or were they perhaps supposed to be blank Goal cards (pg 11 and pg13 fronts/backs respectively)? Is there supposed to be blank goal cards?

These were used as space to fill out the rest of the pages so they weren't just blank - theoretically new goals could be created but it was more of a space utilization. Once the Islands are done these spaces may be replaced with some of the Island cards instead.

Quote:

f) Are the Player Tokens supposed to be player provided? You may want to specify that if so.

This was something that I had been trying to decide, I had been using 5mm/1cm cubes to mark the ships and islands between players, but had also played with the idea of creating a printable set of tokens. I worry about small flat tokens making the board more difficult to manage atop the collection of small ships.

Quote:

I know this looks like a lot of issues, but it is just a bunch of small stuff. Cant wait to get this game printed and tested out.

Thank you! Hopefully can get some responses at some point, and make it even better. As always, I think that there is a nice framework for a game here, but always am looking for input, suggestions, and feedback to make the game better.
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Re: [Testing, Submission]{2014 PnP 2-Player Contest} Isla de Ladrones
The thread has been updated for submission!

The PnP rules and materials can be found here - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/27183329/isladeladrones....

The separate PDFs -
Rules - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/27183329/isladeladrones....
Island PnP - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/27183329/isladeladrones....

You will need to provide two sets of colored cubes or tokens, around 10-15 in each color, to mark Ship and Island control for players.

Thank you so much!
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My wife and I gave the game a run this afternoon before I left for work, and we ran into an issue. I wanted to post what happened here, to make sure we were playing it right. We ended up playing 3 rounds before stopping; here is the play by play with questions :

a) We got it set up like the rules said, but there was one thing I wasn't exactly sure about. The Spain player pulls 4 islands and chooses 2 of them in the beginning. They place them on the 2 starting islands.
1) Starting islands are referring to the 2 ports with Flags on them right?
2) Then, does the Spain player put a control marker on both of them or does the Spain player place a control marker on his flag's island and the british player places a control marker on his flag's island?
3) What if neither starting island produces Saffron? In that case no Colonize ships will be available for the whole game. Perhaps I missed something in the rules, because this would be a game breaker.

b) And though it is an inconvenient circumstance, we both happened to play a 3 the first round. The tiebreaker to figure out who goes first is the person with least spoils, but neither of us had spoils in the first round. I just gave her choice to go first or second since she would have less actions (her 4 to my 6, because of islands controlled)
1) There should be something added to the rules for a tiebreaker that is consistent no matter what round/situation it is. The current spoils ruling may not work in the first 1 or 2 rounds if no one has spoils.
2) She allowed me to go first because I knew the rules a bit better. Do I do all of my 6 actions before she does any of hers? That is how we played it and of course I took all of the ships and claimed 2 more islands. She had nothing to do on her turn because there were no production tiles left to make any ships. I really hope we played this wrong, because it didn't make sense. I have a feeling maybe we were supposed to alternate taking actions. What is correct here?

c) I refilled the production and we both chose a tactics card. I chose my 0 and she chose her 2. She chose to go first this time after seeing what happened last round. She built a warship and moved it with her 2 actions. I had 8 actions because I played my 0 which gives 2 per island (of which I owned 4). I ran the rest of the board with those 8 actions, revealing/taking over the rest of the islands, killed her ship and developed an island.

d) Before we played the 3rd round, I really started to question if we were playing right. I had all 6 islands which meant I am going to get +6 actions on top of whatever I play and she is going to get +0. It seemed like there was no way she could come back. We played through the 3rd round anyways, and though the board changed a bit, it didn't seem like she would be able to recover unless I played horribly. I called the game because it really felt like we did (or were doing) something wrong. Hopefully you can verify this.

The game was cool from what we played, though it felt unbalanced for those first rounds. Please clear up the questions/issues I listed above at your earliest convenience. I really want to get this to the table and finish off a whole game.
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goatfarmer03 wrote:
My wife and I gave the game a run this afternoon before I left for work, and we ran into an issue. I wanted to post what happened here, to make sure we were playing it right. We ended up playing 3 rounds before stopping; here is the play by play with questions :

a) We got it set up like the rules said, but there was one thing I wasn't exactly sure about. The Spain player pulls 4 islands and chooses 2 of them in the beginning. They place them on the 2 starting islands.
1) Starting islands are referring to the 2 ports with Flags on them right?
2) Then, does the Spain player put a control marker on both of them or does the Spain player place a control marker on his flag's island and the british player places a control marker on his flag's island?
3) What if neither starting island produces Saffron? In that case no Colonize ships will be available for the whole game. Perhaps I missed something in the rules, because this would be a game breaker.

b) And though it is an inconvenient circumstance, we both happened to play a 3 the first round. The tiebreaker to figure out who goes first is the person with least spoils, but neither of us had spoils in the first round. I just gave her choice to go first or second since she would have less actions (her 4 to my 6, because of islands controlled)
1) There should be something added to the rules for a tiebreaker that is consistent no matter what round/situation it is. The current spoils ruling may not work in the first 1 or 2 rounds if no one has spoils.
2) She allowed me to go first because I knew the rules a bit better. Do I do all of my 6 actions before she does any of hers? That is how we played it and of course I took all of the ships and claimed 2 more islands. She had nothing to do on her turn because there were no production tiles left to make any ships. I really hope we played this wrong, because it didn't make sense. I have a feeling maybe we were supposed to alternate taking actions. What is correct here?

c) I refilled the production and we both chose a tactics card. I chose my 0 and she chose her 2. She chose to go first this time after seeing what happened last round. She built a warship and moved it with her 2 actions. I had 8 actions because I played my 0 which gives 2 per island (of which I owned 4). I ran the rest of the board with those 8 actions, revealing/taking over the rest of the islands, killed her ship and developed an island.

d) Before we played the 3rd round, I really started to question if we were playing right. I had all 6 islands which meant I am going to get +6 actions on top of whatever I play and she is going to get +0. It seemed like there was no way she could come back. We played through the 3rd round anyways, and though the board changed a bit, it didn't seem like she would be able to recover unless I played horribly. I called the game because it really felt like we did (or were doing) something wrong. Hopefully you can verify this.

The game was cool from what we played, though it felt unbalanced for those first rounds. Please clear up the questions/issues I listed above at your earliest convenience. I really want to get this to the table and finish off a whole game.


Ok, I apologize and need to rework the rulebook to explain this better - the two starting Spanish Islands were a later balance decision, and they go on the two horizontal Islands closest to the Spanish player.

Actually, the two spaces next to each player labelled 'Oil' and 'Spices' should be labelled 'Ore' and 'Saffron' - that is a packaging error I need to correct. These two spaces are production spaces, and cannot be captured - each player always gets at the very least one warship and one colony ship to use during their turn.

There are actually only four Islands that are in play at any one time, the four horizontal empty sections with ports. The Spanish player places two of these, at the beginning of the game, and there are only two empty Islands at the start of the game - the two spots near the British player.

I will try to update the rules to be more clear on this.

There are only 4 Island slots in the game.
The initial player slots are two production slots, that create Ore(Warship) and Saffron(Colony Ship) respectively, so a player should always be able to build at least two ships during their turn should they wish.
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Weston Stapleton
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orionstein wrote:
. . . the two starting Spanish Islands were a later balance decision, and they go on the two horizontal Islands closest to the Spanish player.

Ok that makes sense. It probably balances out the fact that Spanish has Tactic #'s 0-6 and British has 1-7.

Actually, the two spaces next to each player labelled 'Oil' and 'Spices' should be labelled 'Ore' and 'Saffron' - that is a packaging error I need to correct. These two spaces are production spaces, and cannot be captured - each player always gets at the very least one warship and one colony ship to use during their turn.

Ahh, that makes sense. So because of this, it sounds like you cannot Build a ship from a production space that is on an island owned by your opponent. Is this correct? We were playing that wrong if so. No matter who owned the island we were building ships from it.
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goatfarmer03 wrote:

Ahh, that makes sense. So because of this, it sounds like you cannot Build a ship from a production space that is on an island owned by your opponent. Is this correct? We were playing that wrong if so. No matter who owned the island we were building ships from it.


Hi Weston, to build a Ship from a production space, you must own/control that Island. You cannot build ships from an Island where you have no control Marker.
If you colonized the Island at some point during your turn, the Island had not been used to build yet, and you had more actions, you could build.
I'm going to try to make these more clear in the rules.
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Alright Orion, we played through a whole game today. I was Spanish and my wife was British. We played the corrected rules from your last 2 posts, and the game made a lot more sense. I still am seeing some balancing issues though. I ended up winning 8 to 1 at end game. We are going to try another round in the future and swap nations to see how the game works out (perhaps my wife is just terrible at the game, haha). Here is the stuff we noticed :

a) Spain just seems so powerful early that Britain just cant make a comeback. The advantage from Actions you get by owning those first 2 islands far outweighs the fact you have 0-6 Tactics and British has 1-7 Tactics. I am thinking you could cut it back to 1 island and it may balance out, but that would take some playtesting as well.

b) Spanish cards are amazing in comparison to British. Those 0, 1, 2 and 3 Tactics of Spain are ridiculously good (the 0 being close to the best in the game I think). Spain Tactics 1 & 3 basically double your AP for a round (Building and Moving, respectively) which allow you to Colonize/Steal all the islands and then play the 0 to get 8 Actions. Then play the 2 to get the 0 back and then play the 0 again for 6 or 8 actions. I had all of the islands and complete board control during our game. If she got a Colony ship I would take it out, and if she happened to get a spoils I would steal it with a trade ship. I imagine it wasn't very fun for her, but she made it through.

c) My wife could hardly do anything after the first 2 or 3 rounds. I was bringing in 5 to 8 actions every turn and it was difficult for her to do anything without getting gobbled up. She could rarely get her Tactic abilities either, because I was playing only my low cards. The only way to combat this disadvantage is to just go full force and play out all of your High cards early as Britain. This doesn't seem fair, and British Tactics barely shake a stick in comparison to the Spain ones.

Here are a few questions that popped up :

1) Spain's #5 Tactic - "During this round, you may take 2 matching spoils tiles when taking the colony action." I am not sure what you mean by 'matching'? Should they match the production tile on the island you colonize? Or do you mean they have to match each other, as in you cant take an Ore and a Saffron?

2) Palaos Island Tile - "You may produce from this island to any route." I am not sure what this means. When you produce, it just pops up on the tile, what does producing to a route mean?

3) Each country starts on their own island (which produces Ore and Saffron). Are the ports on this island a fair target for a trade ship?

4) When you reveal your Tactics cards it decides your Action Points with a +1 AP for each island you control. Does this +1 take effect when you play the Tactics card or when your turn starts. For example :
I play my 3 Tactics card and I control 3 Islands. My opponent played a higher tactic and they decide to go first. During their turn they take 1 of my 3 islands, now it is my turn. Do I get 6 AP or 5 AP? It was 6 AP when I played the card because I played a 3 and had 3 islands. But when it came to my turn I only had 2 islands.

Sorry if it seems like I am throwing your game on the chopping block, I know you said you were reworking the rules. The game has very good mechanics. The 3 Resources / 3 Ships and how they interact is very cool and can bring about some difficult decisions. The whole Tactics card mechanic, where highest goes first and lowest gets a special action . . . very nice mechanic. And then there are the goal cards, which add a nice strategic scoring twist. I enjoyed the gameplay and interaction a lot, I just wanted to tell you the balance issues that I was struggling with.

I want to try it again with swapped roles, but I am not sure when that will be. Good luck in the contest.
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I will try and find time for updated Island cards, soon.
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