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Subject: Designer's Diary Part 2 - Wheels and different paths to victory rss

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Malte Kühle
Landau (Pfalz)
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Bonn - Forever loved!
It is not enough to win - everyone else must also lose
Hi everyone. Today I am going to digg a little bit deeper into the design process. As I mentioned before, I started developing with the board, the houses and the resources.

After that was done, we started intense playtesting. The early version of the game had a different victory condition like we have now. There was a deck with Radio Message Cards. The top card was always revealed and told the players who could enter the golden city and therefore win the game. Those messages always named 1-3 different characters that needed an amount of recources and/or skill points. Those radio messages had 2 advanteges: 1. The theme was very strong and 2. It was an interesting feeling of a race, because everyone knew what you needed to win. But there was also the biggest problem with those messages: Since every player knew which resources you needed to win the game, the negotiation aspect was killed immediately. We had games, where not a single trade was made because everyone only wanted those resources. Another problem was the limitation to different characters. There were some possibilities to change the radio message but they were not balanced at all.

So I had to find a way to win the game where the theme was still strong but the main mechanics would not get killed. What I finally kept was winning by skill points. But now every player has the chance to win by skill points. But since all the characters need different resources for their items, you still trade with others. Of course you might stop trading when your opponent only needs two more skill points to win. But this is usual, you will also not trade with your opponent in a game of Settlers of Catan if your opponent needs only one resource to build his final score.

Well, after that I developed the victory condition of character points. I liked the idea of the character points from the beginning on because it gives you some tough decisions and it also keeps the theme strong. After many playtests we decided that it has to be 10 character points. I know that this is the hardest way to win, but this is what makes it the most challenging strategy! While testing this victory condition we formed the outpost to what it is now: A place to gain favor in different ways.

The last condition I developed where the quests. It started with secret quests where each player got a quest on his hand that only he knew. The first attemped was doomed to fail because I made those quests much to expensive. Nobody even tried to fulfill the quests! But after another cut of resources we had our first winner with 3 quests so this way was also doing good. The quests give you also some advantages stronger that the items so you can also use 1 quest to boost another winning strategy.

This is how the game got its 3 different victory conditions! And since I promised you more about the wheels, I will tell you know how we got them:

The first prototypes all had character boards that hat different tracks: Skill Points, Character Points and Action Points were all tracked by little markers. This worked but was always fiddly and felt uncomfortable. I talked to Mike about the issue and then he came up with this awesome player board design and the wheels! So this is all about the wheels, they came out of the mind of Mike who - in my opinion - did a huge improvement of the game with this idea. He did also a lot of other things and always helped me when I got stuck with some crative problems but this is the idea you all will see and use the most: The wheels.

Next time I will tell you more about the raid cards and the global event cards! And maybe about the item cards - so it will be a card report
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