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Subject: Ranger X-One (2015 Mint Tin Design Contest) rss

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Nate
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I'm going to try to fit a light solitaire game into a mint tin!

Components: Under Construction

Link to Rules: Under Construction

Link to PNP file: Under Construction

Would love some feedback or suggestions! Thanks for taking a look.
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I was hoping beyond hope I'd see something related to this... cry

 
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Luke Phillips
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It's no clear in the pdf's what constitutes a grid/stat card.

You might want to reformat the file to be more cut appropriate I.e. Lay out all the enemies as a grid, and clearly designate the cards.
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Peter Drake
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Rules comments:

SETUP

The first paragraph mentions types of enemy, but at first I thought there was only one type. Only later did I notice the value numbers.

What if you roll doubles when placing the initial energy cubes?

As a designer, any comments on how you laid out the numbers?

TURN SEQUENCE

Is a "move" (which costs energy) moving as far as you want in one direction, or one square? I'm guessing the former.

The enemies never move, right?

If you roll an occupied square when placing energy cubes, do you still put one there? (I'm guessing yes, as this would resolve the question about doubles above.)

PLAYTEST

Can you have more than 15 energy?

If you have room for the cubes, it would be easier to move the energy cubes you scoop up to your energy track than to discard them and adjust the marker there.

Strategically, I decided to go after the 7s first. After that, having plenty of energy, I tried to minimize movement. I won with 4 energy left (not counting the 2 I got for killing the last enemy, the 13). I had attack 5 and range 1 (but could have leveled for that last kill). All energy on the board had been removed. I never increased my range or rolled to add energy.

I found it fairly easy, but maybe I got lucky. It would be good to have rules for varying the difficulty.

The theme works, but I'd like to see more strategic decisions and/or press-your-luck tension.

Good luck!
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John "Omega" Williams
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Some observations.

This doesnt jibe with what I am seeing at all?

Quote:
Shuffle the 8 grid cards and arrange them in 2 rows of 4 (as shown in the pdf file). The game board should now look like an 8x8 grid.

There is no indicator of what is a card on the PNP file? It looks at first glance like about 80 small cards??? Even if cut into 2x2 squares the grid as 2 rows of 4 cards would be a 4 x 8 grid?

I assume you mean 4 rows of 4?

Differentiating the cut lines would help.

Also this line

Quote:
Roll 2d6. Place 1 energy cube on every space that is rolled.

The proper wording would be Roll a 6-sided die two times.. Roll 2d6 usually means you add them together.
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Nate
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Thank you everyone for your feedback and suggestions. It is very much appreciated.

lukerazor wrote:
It's no clear in the pdf's what constitutes a grid/stat card.

You might want to reformat the file to be more cut appropriate I.e. Lay out all the enemies as a grid, and clearly designate the cards.

That is a great point Luke. The idea was that each card would have 8 squares on it (4 rows of 2). There would be 6 die faces and 2 grey squares (for a total of 8 squares) on each card.

The 8 cards would then be randomly placed in 2 rows of 4. This would create a 8x8 grid of squares.

I will definitely clarify this in the next update and will arrange the file as you suggested.

mundungus wrote:
The first paragraph mentions types of enemy, but at first I thought there was only one type. Only later did I notice the value numbers.

I should clarify the wording here. The types referred to the various value numbers each enemy has. Perhaps it would be a good idea to include various types of enemies though.

mundungus wrote:
What if you roll doubles when placing the initial energy cubes?

As John pointed out above, I should have clarified this as well. The proper wording would be Roll a 6-sided die two times. Will make sure to fix this.

mundungus wrote:
As a designer, any comments on how you laid out the numbers?

I started by reviewing 2d6 probabilities. The probability of rolling a 7 or more is 58.33%. I assigned most of the enemies values of 7 or 8 and increased the other enemy values up to 13 (decreasing slowly in quantity). However, you start with 1 attack so in reality, the chances of hitting an enemy valued at 7 with 1 attack is 72.22%. This might be a little too high, especially once you level up your attack skill a couple times. This area needs some work still.

mundungus wrote:
Is a "move" (which costs energy) moving as far as you want in one direction, or one square? I'm guessing the former.

Correct - the former. This should be clarified.

mundungus wrote:
The enemies never move, right?


Correct - not in the current rules. I've been considering changing this though.

mundungus wrote:
If you roll an occupied square when placing energy cubes, do you still put one there? (I'm guessing yes, as this would resolve the question about doubles above.)

Yes - if you roll an occupied square when placing energy cubes, you still put another cube there.

mundungus wrote:
Can you have more than 15 energy?

I playtested it without an energy cap but it felt a little too easy to stock up on energy. I put a cap on it at 15 for this reason. I may need to make some other adjustments though to counter this.

mundungus wrote:
If you have room for the cubes, it would be easier to move the energy cubes you scoop up to your energy track than to discard them and adjust the marker there.

This is a good idea. I'll see if I can fit the extra cubes in. I want to make sure there aren't too many cubes though.

mundungus wrote:
Strategically, I decided to go after the 7s first. After that, having plenty of energy, I tried to minimize movement. I won with 4 energy left (not counting the 2 I got for killing the last enemy, the 13). I had attack 5 and range 1 (but could have leveled for that last kill). All energy on the board had been removed. I never increased my range or rolled to add energy.

That seems like the best strategy to me. Attack the lower enemies first, minimize movement, and level up your attack skill. Range doesn't seem to be a useful attribute in the current design.

I'd like to adjust the design so the same strategy isn't used in every game. Need to work on the decision tree and a way for players to react to the randomness. Games should not be decided (won or lost) regardless of player action. Open to ideas and suggestions in this area.

mundungus wrote:
I found it fairly easy, but maybe I got lucky. It would be good to have rules for varying the difficulty.

I think you're right - it is on the easy side and should be adjusted or allow for various difficulties.

mundungus wrote:
The theme works, but I'd like to see more strategic decisions and/or press-your-luck tension.

I agree 100%.

Omega2064 wrote:
There is no indicator of what is a card on the PNP file? It looks at first glance like about 80 small cards??? Even if cut into 2x2 squares the grid as 2 rows of 4 cards would be a 4 x 8 grid?

Good point John. This should definitely be clarified in the rules and on the PNP file. I think I explained my intention earlier in this post.

Omega2064 wrote:
Differentiating the cut lines would help.

I agree. Will include cut lines in the next iteration.

Omega2064 wrote:
Also this line

Quote:
Roll 2d6. Place 1 energy cube on every space that is rolled.

The proper wording would be Roll a 6-sided die two times.. Roll 2d6 usually means you add them together.

Yes - thank you. This was the wording I was looking for.

And some more feedback for me to consider.

Quote:
I think having the die roll adds a bit of randomness to the game in a controlled way. For a base version of the game this seems to be a very cut and dry solitaire game.

I could see you adding decision points in the variants though, by adding enemy movement, enemy retreat after attacks, incoming enemies after each level up or a fleet of ships to use. You could add black holes, worm holes or comets to the board. You could also add abilities like warp speed or enhanced shields that you can draw after leveling up.

I know some of this takes away from the simplicity of what you've designed, but it adds that extra decision as well.
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Nate
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I had a chance to make some minor adjustments to the design based on some of the feedback received.

• Added cut lines and reformatted the file as suggested.
• Added different enemy types.
• Adjusted the values of the enemy units.
• Added a phase to program your droid and assign its stats.
• Removed Attack Range stat and added Movement.

I still need to increase the amount of strategic decisions and perhaps add a push-your-luck element as mentioned earlier. The decision tree needs some work and the strategy seems quite basic still.

If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations, it would be very much appreciated. Thanks for following along.
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Peter Drake
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I read the new rules and looked at the new components. I haven't playtested it yet, but this looks like an improvement.

Some thoughts:

Because of the phrase "all but abandoned", it's unclear from the fluff text if there's anyone that Ranger X-One is defending.

After the pieces have been cut apart, how will people know how to put them together?

I like the variety of enemy types and the idea of programming your droid.

The rules generally seem clearer.
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Chad Russell
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The new version allows up to 8 movement, which is impossible to do on a turn without changing directions. Am I seeing this wrong? Thanks

Edit: After a few plays with the new version, i can see certain setups of the board will allow for a line of 8 spaces. However, I didn't find any reason to spend any of the original alloted points in the game on movement, as 1 square per turn moving four squares without energy cubes will cost four energy. Moving the same amount of squares on a single turn will still cost four energy, correct?

Also found some notes in setting up the board. It is possible to make the grid and not have 4 squares in the center, maybe need to adjust a bit. There are also setups where outside squares are diagonal only from each other so you spend lots of movement backtracking to continue.

Finally, if you roll for enegy cubes and one is placed on the square you occupy, or you start on a square with one, can you use it? Or do you need to pass through the square as stated?

Do like the game, lost the first couple by a great deal but won the fourth game I believe.
Great work overall, nice update.
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Nate
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mundungus wrote:
I read the new rules and looked at the new components. I haven't playtested it yet, but this looks like an improvement.

Thanks Peter!

mundungus wrote:
Because of the phrase "all but abandoned", it's unclear from the fluff text if there's anyone that Ranger X-One is defending.

I agree - the back story could use some work. It's supposed to be just one droid left there to defend.

mundungus wrote:
After the pieces have been cut apart, how will people know how to put them together?

There is some wording in the rules on how to set up the game using the components. I should make this clearer. Thanks for pointing it out and please let me know if there is anything in particular that is confusing.

mundungus wrote:
I like the variety of enemy types and the idea of programming your droid.

The rules generally seem clearer.

Thanks.

The design still needs a lot of work. As you have mentioned earlier, there aren't a lot of meaningful decisions and the strategy is pretty basic and straight forward. I've been working on addressing this lately but haven't made a whole lot of progress yet.

trunked wrote:
The new version allows up to 8 movement, which is impossible to do on a turn without changing directions. Am I seeing this wrong? Thanks

Edit: After a few plays with the new version, i can see certain setups of the board will allow for a line of 8 spaces. However, I didn't find any reason to spend any of the original alloted points in the game on movement, as 1 square per turn moving four squares without energy cubes will cost four energy. Moving the same amount of squares on a single turn will still cost four energy, correct?

The first version allowed unlimited movement in any 1 direction per move. It only cost 1 energy to move no matter how many squares you traveled during that 1 movement.

The new version allowed you to select your movement value prior to the game starting. So you could select "4" and would be allowed to travel 4 squares (in 1 direction) per 1 move costing 1 energy.

I think you mentioned earlier to allow players to change direction while moving. This might be able to work using the new movement rules. I will have to test it out a bit.

trunked wrote:
Also found some notes in setting up the board. It is possible to make the grid and not have 4 squares in the center, maybe need to adjust a bit. There are also setups where outside squares are diagonal only from each other so you spend lots of movement backtracking to continue.

I think the grid should be 8 x 8 with 4 squares in the middle. However, some of the squares could be grey (which means you can't move through them). I could look into changing the starting position to address this.

The enemy counters should be the only things located outside of the 8 x 8 grid. There should be 4 outside of each side of the grid, next to open spaces (those that aren't grey). I believe you should be able to stay on the grid and move next to each enemy unit to attack.

trunked wrote:
Finally, if you roll for enegy cubes and one is placed on the square you occupy, or you start on a square with one, can you use it? Or do you need to pass through the square as stated?

Great question. You still get the energy and the cube is removed. Will clarify in the rules.

trunked wrote:
Do like the game, lost the first couple by a great deal but won the fourth game I believe.
Great work overall, nice update.

Thanks for testing it out Chad. It is very much appreciated. Great feedback.
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Chad Russell
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Thank you for the quick reply. I understand now that a player will move as many squares as their movement allows for 1 energy. I somehow interpreted it as 1 energy per square. It makes sense now to build up movement. Now I see why energy dropped to 1 so many times I played.
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This is a pleasantly small game to build, and relatively easy to set up and play.

A set up diagram would be useful (just a labelled picture of the game set up). If only to improve clarity. The placement of the enemy tokens and the generation of the energy tokens was confusing and I had to read those parts over and over and puzzle out what it meant (I think I figured it out). I'm pretty sure a picture would have cleared it up right away.

I assume if, during set up, when you roll to place the second batch of energy cubes you reroll until you get a number different from the first one rolled? (so that you always place 16 cubes)

It would be *really* useful if the stat cards had numbers on the tracks. As it is, I have to count squares to make sure my total is 15. I get that they are grouped by "5" but even labelling 1 and 6 etc would speed things up. I would also move the second row of the energy track closer to the first row, right now it's a bit ambiguous between energy and movement (the icon placement clears it up, but bunching the tracks up better would, again, be that much better).

Also, I would include a "recommended" starting assignment for brand new players. As it was, I had no idea what was good or useful or what anything did. It would have been nice to be told "Go with 2 movement, 5 attack and 13 energy for your first game"; or something like that. It's a decision that can't be intelligently made without having already played, so you should provide a recommendation for new players.

Finally, set up should also specify that you can't place your droid in a grey space to start... speaking of which, it's possible to have 4 grey spaces in the middle in which case, how do you place? Or, are you allowed to start in a grey space even though you can't move through them?

Also, what if my start space has an energy cube?

Ok, on gameplay rules:

A worked out turn example would be really helpful. It took two reads for me to get clear on little details that would be sorted out by a worked example (like, does it cost 1 energy per SPACE or per Move Action?).

Ok, now onto playing! Next post will be with gameplay feedback.
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Jessey
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The game is very simple. Probably too simple. There's a lot of set up tedium (placing the grid, placing the enemies, placing the energy, choosing stats) for what is ultimately a very simple game. There definitely needs to be more decisions, but I think there's room here for something. The biggest decision seems to be what you start with, and then the rest is all down to chance. The best strategy seems to be to load up 10 Attack, 2 Movement and 3 Energy. Use level 1 to drop energy, all other levels to increase movement. Try to prioritize enemies with 11 or lower attack (since you are guaranteed to beat them). I tried this, it makes the game almost trivial (and only wild swings of bad luck against the 6 enemies that can actually hurt you can cause you to lose). I had max energy with 9 enemies left and my energy never went down after that.

I had several thoughts, none of them necessarily go together, but here's the run down:

1. The movement grid leads to lots of tedium. You have to roll dice to place energy out, you have to move around, and none of it is really that significant. Movement decisions are obvious (pick the path with the most energy). Have you considered abstracting positioning away entirely? Maybe something like how Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game works - relative positioning but no fine grained detail. Maybe the cards are just "rooms" and movement is how many rooms you can jump between (or there is no movement value and you always move 1 room). Rooms have energy and monsters and going after energy stores while monsters are around is risky (maybe the monsters roll to hit before you grab the energy).

2. The game feels REALLY chancy. Basically everything comes down to "do or die" dice rolls. Instead of having players assign stats, why not let them pick 3 gear cards, each of which gives an ability that costs energy. Then energy management would be interesting, and most of the abilities could modify dice results. It'd be nice if combat had a more "push your luck" feel instead of a "do or die". More control over the outcome (at the cost of energy) seems to be to be a good route to this.

3. Enemies need to force decisions on the player. Combat should be more interesting than "Attack, Roll - Win or Lose". I want to make at LEAST one decision beyond "I decide to fight it" (which isn't a decision here, since I have to fight all of the things eventually). There is a ton of room left in the tin, you could make the monsters cards and give them variable attack values/effects (maybe one die determines the monsters attack stats and the other your attack stats). Definitely should add a second layer to combat.
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Nate
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Thanks Jessey! Really appreciate your time and feedback.

Quote:
A set up diagram would be useful (just a labelled picture of the game set up). If only to improve clarity. The placement of the enemy tokens and the generation of the energy tokens was confusing and I had to read those parts over and over and puzzle out what it meant (I think I figured it out). I'm pretty sure a picture would have cleared it up right away.

Good point. Will make sure to include a diagram and clarify the setup in the next revision.

Quote:
I assume if, during set up, when you roll to place the second batch of energy cubes you reroll until you get a number different from the first one rolled? (so that you always place 16 cubes)

I've playtested it both ways. It's probably makes sense for the reroll though. Good catch.

Quote:
It would be *really* useful if the stat cards had numbers on the tracks. As it is, I have to count squares to make sure my total is 15. I get that they are grouped by "5" but even labelling 1 and 6 etc would speed things up. I would also move the second row of the energy track closer to the first row, right now it's a bit ambiguous between energy and movement (the icon placement clears it up, but bunching the tracks up better would, again, be that much better).

Also, I would include a "recommended" starting assignment for brand new players. As it was, I had no idea what was good or useful or what anything did. It would have been nice to be told "Go with 2 movement, 5 attack and 13 energy for your first game"; or something like that. It's a decision that can't be intelligently made without having already played, so you should provide a recommendation for new players.

Agreed - the stat cards should have numbers on the tracks and could be improved. Also agree with a "recommended" starting assignment for new players. This makes a lot of sense.

Quote:
Finally, set up should also specify that you can't place your droid in a grey space to start... speaking of which, it's possible to have 4 grey spaces in the middle in which case, how do you place? Or, are you allowed to start in a grey space even though you can't move through them?

Yes - I should clarify this. I don't believe it is possible but will have to check on that again.

Quote:
Also, what if my start space has an energy cube?

You get the energy boost and remove the cube.

Quote:
A worked out turn example would be really helpful. It took two reads for me to get clear on little details that would be sorted out by a worked example (like, does it cost 1 energy per SPACE or per Move Action?).

Another great suggestion! And 1 energy per Move Action (not per space).

Quote:
The game is very simple. Probably too simple. There's a lot of set up tedium (placing the grid, placing the enemies, placing the energy, choosing stats) for what is ultimately a very simple game. There definitely needs to be more decisions, but I think there's room here for something. The biggest decision seems to be what you start with, and then the rest is all down to chance. The best strategy seems to be to load up 10 Attack, 2 Movement and 3 Energy. Use level 1 to drop energy, all other levels to increase movement. Try to prioritize enemies with 11 or lower attack (since you are guaranteed to beat them). I tried this, it makes the game almost trivial (and only wild swings of bad luck against the 6 enemies that can actually hurt you can cause you to lose). I had max energy with 9 enemies left and my energy never went down after that.

This is great feedback and I agree with what you are saying. Definitely need to work on improving the decision tree as you mentioned. You are spot on regarding the setup and simplicity as well. That is an interesting strategy you used - I didn't think you would have enough movement to win but I guess when you destroy each monster on your first attack it helps a lot.

Quote:
1. The movement grid leads to lots of tedium. You have to roll dice to place energy out, you have to move around, and none of it is really that significant. Movement decisions are obvious (pick the path with the most energy). Have you considered abstracting positioning away entirely? Maybe something like how Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game works - relative positioning but no fine grained detail. Maybe the cards are just "rooms" and movement is how many rooms you can jump between (or there is no movement value and you always move 1 room). Rooms have energy and monsters and going after energy stores while monsters are around is risky (maybe the monsters roll to hit before you grab the energy).

Agreed! Planning on removing the movement grid in the next revision. Yes - I am considering a 3x3 grid of locations. More on this in the next post.

Quote:
2. The game feels REALLY chancy. Basically everything comes down to "do or die" dice rolls. Instead of having players assign stats, why not let them pick 3 gear cards, each of which gives an ability that costs energy. Then energy management would be interesting, and most of the abilities could modify dice results. It'd be nice if combat had a more "push your luck" feel instead of a "do or die". More control over the outcome (at the cost of energy) seems to be to be a good route to this.

It is probably too chancy. Yes - the succeed or fail dice rolls. That's a very interesting idea. Will have to look into that further. A PYL feel would definitely be nice too.

Quote:
3. Enemies need to force decisions on the player. Combat should be more interesting than "Attack, Roll - Win or Lose". I want to make at LEAST one decision beyond "I decide to fight it" (which isn't a decision here, since I have to fight all of the things eventually). There is a ton of room left in the tin, you could make the monsters cards and give them variable attack values/effects (maybe one die determines the monsters attack stats and the other your attack stats). Definitely should add a second layer to combat.

This is a great point. This area in the design needs a lot of work still. Thank you for pointing this out.

Your feedback has been VERY helpful! Thank you again for taking the time to try it out and for all the great comments and ideas.
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Nate
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I have received a lot of great feedback so far and may have found a partner to help on this design as well. We have been communicating a lot lately, working on the issues that have been raised here, and hope to make some big changes to the game. I decided not to share all the details yet as we are still working through a lot of it. Will make sure to include a list of all the changes when the next revision is ready.

Thank you all for your feedback, comments, suggestions, and ideas!
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Nate
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Still working on this design! We have a google drive folder in place with pages of design notes, the playtest history, the latest rules, and the latest PNP files.

We are working on improving the decision tree, adding a press your luck element to combat, adding an intensification element to the draw deck, scaling the difficulty as the game progresses, adding relative positioning and actions to the various base tiles, decreasing the amount of book keeping and the setup tedium, decreasing or removing the number of succeed/fail dice rolls, and trying to make it more of an immersive experience rather than just traveling around the board and zapping the bugs with the lowest defense.

I came across a couple great blog posts by Ignacy Trzewiczek about playtesting Robinson Crusoe with Vlaada Chvatil. We are also working on incorporating some of the lessons learned from that series into the design.

Are you designing game? You better have Vlaada Chvatil in your testing group!
Are you designing game? You better have Vlaada Chvatil in your testing group!, part 2
The Lesson
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Nate
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This game has evolved and changed quite a bit over the last month. My partner and I basically have a new design, so I might create a new thread when the time is ready. Hopefully will come back to this one some day as well and develop it some more. Thanks for following along and for your guidance!
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