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Subject: [WIP] Preemptive Strike - 2015 Solitaire PnP Contest - Idea Phase rss

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Dan Nicholson
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Background
I've been a lurker when it comes to BoardGameGeek as I feel as though everyone's knowledge on board games are much better than mine. Last year I saw the contest for the 2014 Solitaire PnP Contest and said "I want to do that!" On top of that, I also set a personal goal, to build a game where I can actually take to market (if I wanted). So here's my submission to the 2015 Solitaire PnP Contest and my 2015 personal goal.

Copyright License
Everything posted for the 2015 Solitaire PnP Contest is fully copyrighted and cannot be uploaded anywhere else without explicit consent.

Category Ideas for Consideration
- Best Large Game
- Best Written Rules
- Best New Designer
- Best Wargame
- Most Innovative Mechanic
- Confidence

Storyline - Semi-Completed
Preemptive Strike is set in a fictional future where the demand for world resources have become limited. As such, smaller nations collapsed and joined more powerful and resource-rich nations. As nations continued to join, four major nations were left: The Neutral North, The Southern Salvo, The Western Wall and the Eastern Effort.

An international trade agreement (known as the World Wide Trade) that has been in place for generations has recently been threatened. The South, West and East have entered into, what analysts are calling, the "Cold Compass War." These nations have begun making threats to use nuclear weapons if the price of resources in other nations do not come down.

As the threats continue to rise, the higher government of the The Neutral North held secret meetings in order to put an end to the threats and save the world from nuclear war. This resulted in a top-secret military operation, codenamed “Sun-scorched.”

Game Objective
As the North's top military spy, you will be deployed into each nation’s nuclear base, find the nation’s disarmament codes and ultimately end the threat of nuclear war for good. If you're killed or captured, the North will deny your existence, therefore you are on your own.

Game Concept - Under Development
Picture, if you will, Metal Gear (NES) and Legend of Zelda (NES) coming together and forming a board game baby. The idea of the game uses a tile building concept (Carcassonne or Betrayal at House on the Hill) to generate a nation's nuclear base.

Each room will contain certain objects (e.g. Bad Guy, Computer, Security Camera, etc.) which you either need to clear or avoid depending on how the room is randomly built. You need to get in, hack the computers and get out without alerting the guards too many times, else it ends in failure.

I also plan on putting a leaderboard / point system in place (this is a nice to have) so people can compare their stealth abilities to other Northern Spies.

Play Time - To be determined

Physical Components - To be determined

Game Downloads - To be determined
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Dan Nicholson
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----------------------------------------
NEWS & UPDATES
----------------------------------------

Preemptive Strike Redux
April 15, 2015

The game has going through a complete overhaul. Please see this post for more information.

----------------------------------------

More Play-testing Required...
February 3, 2015

Minor Updates
- Removed the manual POV turn for guards and security cameras by using the player's STEALTH action points.
- Applied a "counter" to the STEALTH action when MOVEMENT or ROUNDS actions are used.
- Applying an "exhaust" system to the user's action points in order to increase strategic play.
- Allowing the player to jump into a previously cleared room to refresh the player's action points
- Removed the player's health for more streamlined game play. Player will only be seen by guards and security cameras, which will increase the ALERT SYSTEM (doesn't sound fun, but I found it very challenging).
- Updated the guards and security camera's hit points to match the current level of the ALERT SYSTEM.
- Updated the guard's movement phase by drawing a "face" card and then rolling a 1d4 for movement (previously was the other way around).

February's To-Do's
- Design North, South, East, West cards for guard movement.
- Design the PnP Alert System for players who don't have a lot of dice at home.

- Design a Play Area example for the Rule Book.
- Finish writing the first draft of the Rule Boo
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Nate K
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Welcome to the party, Dan.
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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Welcome Dan, thanks for participating. I hope you have fun!

I'm looking forward to your game. Very cool theme!
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Dan Nicholson
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kurthl33t wrote:
Welcome to the party, Dan.
chansen2794 wrote:
Welcome Dan, thanks for participating. I hope you have fun!

I'm looking forward to your game. Very cool theme!
Thanks! I'm looking forward to getting more acquainted with the BGG community. It's the first time I've participated in forums since early 2000's.
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Luke Phillips
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Neat. So it will operate in a sort of campaign mode? Taking on 1 country per game over a campaign of 3 games?

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Dan Nicholson
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lukerazor wrote:
Neat. So it will operate in a sort of campaign mode? Taking on 1 country per game over a campaign of 3 games?

That's the idea. I like the idea of D-Day at Omaha Beach where campaigns can be broken up into segments or played all at once if desired.

Currently, each base will contain about 10-15 room tiles (may change) with an undetermined number of computers the require hacking.

At this time I'm working with a "room layout" mechanic that pre-populates the room based on:
- One 4-sided die roll that determines the number of objects in the room
- Two 6-sided dice roll that maps the object's position on a grid-system on the tile
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Dan Nicholson
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The initial design is coming together...

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Joseph Propati
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Nice! This should be pretty cool!
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Kelly
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Looking good!
Just a tip (that you may or may not know already) you can make that image a bit bigger in you post by writing the word "medium" (without the speech marks) inside the square brackets after the id number
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Dan Nicholson
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Got the basic tiles designed and went through the first (almost) full play-test; it turned out really well.

The mechanic for the user's turn is my biggest love of the game thus far. It really gets the emotions into it it. I'll be posting more as I continue to refine it.



Basic Tile Design
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Dan Nicholson
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I got in an accident and broke a finger in the process, so typing is very difficult. I'll keep the updates short...

New updates:
- First full play test was successful, ran into a few situations that required hard decisions. (e.g. escape a room to reset a roll)
- Documented each phase for game set-up
- Documented all components required (plus alternative routes)
- Identified the need to develop five separate decks
- Playtime per base sits at about two hours




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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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Very nice use of pictures to explain the game!
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Joseph Propati
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lethalfunk wrote:
I got in an accident and broke a finger in the process, so typing is very difficult. I'll keep the updates short...

New updates:
- First full play test was successful, ran into a few situations that required hard decisions. (e.g. escape a room to reset a roll)
- Documented each phase for game set-up
- Documented all components required (plus alternative routes)
- Identified the need to develop five separate decks
- Playtime per base sits at about two hours




OK, this is looking really cool and I see great potential for using figures or image counters!! Do you have a working rule book yet?
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kingspud wrote:
OK, this is looking really cool and I see great potential for using figures or image counters!! Do you have a working rule book yet?
Thanks Joseph,

Nothing official as of yet. Still playing through and documenting difficult situations that may arise. For example, I've run into a situation where a guard saw me, but didn't have the aim score to hit me.

Few ideas I considered were:
- Adjust the guard's vision (which I determined would provide advantage for the player going forward but makes objects less useful)
- Adjust his aim so he's able to shoot me regardless of distance (which is is a major disadvantage for the player as the player can't reciprocate the distance)
- Keep vision and aim the same but avoid a randomized move for the guard next turn [I chose this one]

I'm hoping to have a few more play tests in the next week or two to begin documenting the official rules. Right now, I'm just at main phases, game components, user and game actions, and "what if" scenarios.

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Jan Schröder

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very interesting! - nice pictures!

looks like a very flexible layout, its easy to imagine the different set ups.

one quick observation: when looking at the pictures before reading the text i assumed that the doors were actually colums (and i quite liked the "spacious architecture".. ) maybe for quick understanding it might be better to to leave the doors white and shade all the other "wall" numbers?

would be great to hear about the AI!

good luck!
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Dan Nicholson
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schroederjan wrote:
very interesting! - nice pictures!

looks like a very flexible layout, its easy to imagine the different set ups.

one quick observation: when looking at the pictures before reading the text i assumed that the doors were actually colums (and i quite liked the "spacious architecture".. ) maybe for quick understanding it might be better to to leave the doors white and shade all the other "wall" numbers?
That's funny. My view of my game was so narrow that I never noticed it. I went back to look at the image and you're completely right. I think I'll invert the walls during a later play test.

schroederjan wrote:

would be great to hear about the AI!
I'm not completely happy with the guard's field of vision right now, so I'm currently tweaking that. However, here's a quick brief...

As you arrive into a new room, the room is randomized based on the Alert Status (in my image example, the status is 2). As such, the room is built out of three items - A Security Camera, Objects, and Guards.

- Security Camera: This is placed on the A,B,C,D sections which is determined (currently) by a 1d4 role. 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=D.
- Objects: A 1d4 determines how many immovable objects are in the room. Then, 2d6 (separate colours required) determine the Length x Width placement on the grid. Blackd6=2, Whited6=5
- Guards: The alert status determines how many guards are in the room (and their HP). The 2d6 determines where they are placed on the grid.

Once they're placed, the security camera and guards will each have a "face" deck to work with. These decks will determine which direction (North, South, East, West) they're facing during their turn.

After the user's turn, the game will reciprocate:
- Security Camera: Draw a card from the Face Deck. The "A" space deck will contain cards with only "South" or "East."
- Guards: Roll a 1d4, the guard will move that many squares in the direction it's currently facing. Once the guard stops, draw a card from the Face Deck. Repeat for all guards in the room.

Repeat until the user escapes the room or kills everything in their path.




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Dan Nicholson
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Project Update
February 1, 2015

January proved to be an exciting and scary month. My partner was hired into her dream job. I got in a car accident and, after hard discussions with my employer, decided to start my own freelancing business (last day was Friday). Therefore, not much time was dedicated to the game's development.

However, I did spend time play-testing the game and making minor adjustments. One of the biggest things I wanted to make sure was that the game's rules were easy to follow. I found I was forgetting my own rules (such as forgetting to move a bad guy or changing which way a security camera faced).

I know nobody knows the rules yet, but here are a list of adjustments I made in January.

Minor Adjustments
- Removed the manual POV turn for guards and security cameras by using the player's STEALTH action points.
- Applied a "counter" to the STEALTH action when MOVEMENT or ROUNDS actions are used.
- Applying an "exhaust" system to the user's action points in order to increase strategic play.
- Allowing the player to jump into a previously cleared room to refresh the player's action points
- Removed the player's health for more streamlined game play. Player will only be seen by guards and security cameras, which will increase the ALERT SYSTEM (doesn't sound fun, but I found it very challenging).
- Updated the guards and security camera's hit points to match the current level of the ALERT SYSTEM.
- Updated the guard's movement phase by drawing a "face" card and then rolling a 1d4 for movement (previously was the other way around).

February's To-Do's
- Design North, South, East, West cards for guard movement.
- Design the PnP Alert System for players who don't have a lot of dice at home.

- Design a Play Area example for the Rule Book.
- Finish writing the first draft of the Rule Book.
- Probably other things I'm forgetting about.

Note: I've added downloadable files in the second post. The entire game isn't there yet, but at least there are a few things to look at
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Nate K
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lethalfunk wrote:
I got in a car accident and, after hard discussions with my employer, decided to start my own freelancing business (last day was Friday).
I hope you and the car are okay and that the business goes well.
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Dan Nicholson
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kurthl33t wrote:
I hope you and the car are okay and that the business goes well.
Thanks Nate.
The car took a bit of damage. I could have been worse though as I swerved to avoid the car who cut me off.

Other than that, I'm looking forward to my new venture. It's been a dream to focus on my own business so now is a better time than ever.
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You really need to get this out there so we can play test it!!! I'm looking forward to checking this out!
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Dan Nicholson
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kingspud wrote:
You really need to get this out there so we can play test it!!! I'm looking forward to checking this out!
I'm trying to write the rules as fast as I can
I'm much better at explaining games in person than writing them down it seems.
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Joseph Propati
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lethalfunk wrote:
kingspud wrote:
You really need to get this out there so we can play test it!!! I'm looking forward to checking this out!
I'm trying to write the rules as fast as I can
I'm much better at explaining games in person than writing them down it seems.
I feel for you, creating the rules doc is the most pain in the butt when desinging games yet it's the most critical part!

What's a game without rules?

Nothing but a bunch of useless gaming components!
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Project Update
February 4, 2015

Minor Update
- I've just finished designing the guard's face cards. They can now be found under the Game Downloads in the second post.
- I've wrote about seven pages of rules covering the player's and enemy's abilities (example below). The idea is to have a completely interactive rulebook that hyperlinks to other sections (e.g. STEALTH ability links to the description about the stealth ability).

I'm hoping to have the rules out to you guys as soon as possible. Honestly, that's all that's left to do.
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Project Update
April 15, 2015

Hello interested folks. I wanted to finally break the "radio silence" as my last update was early February.

When this contest started, I set out to build a game that felt like you were playing the original Metal Gear or Legend of Zelda on your table. On top of that, I really wanted to make a spy game that truly felt like you need to make a quick (and correct) decision based off your actions.

Since my last update, I've been play testing over and over again but I kept running into a few issues:

* There were too many damn rules. I kept forgetting at least one. If I couldn't remember them, how would anyone else.
* The 6x6 grid system severally limited the possibilities and ultimately the experience.
* After the first few rooms, it became very repetitive to the point that I no longer wanted to play.

Something I've learned over the years is that you need to know when it's time to abandon an idea. After months of tweaking, it just wasn't coming out to the game that I wanted to make. With a few months left of the contest, I figured I had enough time to go back to the drawing board.


Introducing...
Preemptive Strike Redux
Over the past few weeks I have been mocking up ideas as to how I might overcome the issues I listed above. In order to accomplish this, I set a few guidelines:

* "K.I.S.S." (Keep It Simple Stupid):
- Make the rules easy to remember.
- Make the turn order simple.
- Newton's Third Law: With every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction.
* "Tear Down The Wall"
- Spies utilize the environment, not an empty room.


With those in mind, I set off to restructure. The game still uses the tiles, but instead of all of the action happening within one tile, the action happens all around the player.

Today I finished the first official play test and, I've got to say, all the issues that I was originally having have been addressed. I was really into it and ended up writing a couple pages worth of balancing notes and "what-if" scenarios.

Here's a bit of an overview and a snapshot of the first play below:

New Format
As the spy, you'll be air dropped randomly into the enemy base with all the tiles hidden. Right off the bat, the game works against you as tiles begin to reveal themselves.

* Red Tiles - Contain an enemy that bring the player into one-on-one combat.
* Orange Tiles - Contain environmental situations that can trigger an alarm.
* Green Tiles - Contain environmental situations that help you complete the game.


The objective sequence of the game (at the time of writing) is:
1. Find the computer tile to reveal a set of coordinates (e.g. "E3").
2. Search the map to find tiles that contain two randomized chits/cards:
- The letter (E)
- The number (3)
3. Identify the coordinates for these two tiles (e.g. "B2" and "C5")
4. Find the four (or three) randomized chits/cards associated with those two tiles.
5. Secure these chits/cards (aka. The launch codes) and make it to the Extraction Point tile.

Complete this entire sequence of events without:
* Dying at the hands of your enemies (10 Health Points [HP]).
* Being spotted by the enemy too many times (6 Stealth Points [SP])
* Triggering the alarm before deactivating it (4 Turns)
* Running out of time before the army carpet bombs the area (40 turns = 10 hours where each turn is 15 minutes long)


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