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Subject: WIP - Just in Time v.4.15 - Real time cooperative time travel rss

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David Gregg
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JUMP TO LATEST VERSION v.4.15



It's finally time to bring back my old side-lined project and give it another whirl. This time, I'm attempting time travel... in real time cool

Basic premise is that the scientists within the town of Presentville* went a bit too far with their experiments and have gotten the whole city caught up in a chaotic vortex of space-time that threatens to destroy the place. The players will be starting in an alternate future (destroyed town) and attempt to correct the timeline to bring the city back to its proper state before changes in the space-time become permanent.

1-4 Players
20 Minutes
Modular board and timeline


Components

8x Player meeples - 2 each of 4 colors
- One meeple for "where" you are within the city and a meeple for "when" you are on the timeline

20x Custom dice (d6)
- Similar to the dice in Escape, each player will have 5 dice that they'll be rolling as quickly as they can
- Die sides are: warp, stabilize, run, bike, hammer, wrench

4x Sand timers (either 30sec or 1min, need to playtest)
- These represent the stability of the individual players' space-time

1x Timeline board
- This will be a thin strip of chipboard that the time zones below will be placed next to just to help keep the timeline organized during play. Contains a warp track for determining when the timeline will be disrupted

6x Time zones
- These will be larger tiles and each have a unique color to help see when things have occurred within the city. These are numbered 1-6 for time-travel purposes

72x Event cards - 12 of each color
- Each time zone will have a small corresponding deck of cards of which only some will be used each game and represent obstacles that must be overcome to rescue the town. These will be double ended with one end having an objective to complete and the other providing a reward

12x City zones
- These will be larger tiles, probably hexes, that represent the various buildings and attractions of the city. Each will have space(s) where the players can construct the buildings to word on their event cards. These are numbered 1-12 for space-travel purposes

48x Wooden discs - 8 each of 6 colors
- These will match the colors of the time zones and will be placed on the city zones as players build to indicate "when" they were built

2x Polyhedral dice - a d6 and a d12
- The d6 is for determining which time zone a player travels to and the d12 for which city zone they travel to


Setup

Randomize the city zones and arrange into any desired shape in the center of the table (recommend circular). Place the timeline board next to the city, randomize the time zones and place them next to the timeline board. Separate the event cards by color, shuffle and then count a number of each equal to double the number of players, e.g., 3 players would have 6 of each color event card. Place these small decks on their matching colored time zone and return the rest to the box.

Hand each player 5 dice, 1 sand timer and 2 meeples, placing 1 meeple on the future-most time zone and then rolling the d12 to determine which city zone they start on. Each player then draws 1 card from each time zone deck being careful to keep them oriented objective side up. Players each roll the d12 with the highest untied result going first.

Set a timer for 20 minutes (ideally will have audio tracks and/or official app) and have player simultaneously flip their sand timers as the main game timer is started.


Goal

Players collectively win the game if they can simultaneously return to the future-most time zone and draw a full hand of completed objectives before the main game timer runs out. Otherwise the players collectively lose.


Game Play

This game does not have phases, rounds, steps or turns. Rather, players take their actions as often and as quickly as they like, all at the same time and independently of one another. To take actions players must roll their dice and use the different faces:

- Warp = Each time a warp die face is rolled the player must check if they also have a stabilize die face available. If they do not, the warp die is placed on the timeline board warp track and if full the timeline warps (see time shift below). If they do have a stabilize die face the player has the option of using that face to negate the warp die (reroll both dice) or place the die on the warp track like normal.

- Stabilize = In addition to preventing timeline warping, the player may also save up 3 stabilize die faces to flip their sand timer. Any player whose sand timer runs out must warp (see warping below).

- Run = Collect 2 run die faces to move to an adjacent city zone.

- Bicycle = Collect 2 bicycle die faces to move up to 2 city zones from your current zone.

- Hammer / Wrench = Collect these as needed to match the requirements of your current city zone to build part of that zone's building (see building below).

Players may save dice, rolling a portion of their available dice in order to accumulate the faces they need. However, once a die has been used toward an action it MUST be rolled the very next time the player rolls any dice.


Edit: Reworded some references
Edit: Changed title
Edit: Updated to "on hold"
Edit: Updated to "brainstorming" and advancing to v.3
Edit: Added link to jump to version 3 info
Edit: Updated to "testing"
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David Gregg
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Building

Each city zone depicts a single building, e.g., hospital, and starts the game in ruins. The players will need to reconstruct the buildings in order to complete objectives (see event cards below) and win the game.

To construct a building the player must first move to its zone and then roll the indicated die faces specific to that zone. Different city zones require different numbers of dice faces (2-4) as well as different numbers of floors (1-3). When the die faces needed are rolled, the floor is built and a wooden disc matching the player's current time zone color is placed on the zone:
- If the player is earlier in time than an existing floor, they must replace the existing disc with the new disc so that the floors are being built in time order, i.e., you can't built the 2nd floor before the 1st floor is finished
- If all existing floors are from the player's present time or earlier the new disc is placed on the next available floor space
- If all floor spaces are filled with discs and they are from the player's present time or earlier then no new discs can be placed on that zone
- If there are no more discs of the player's time color available then no new discs for that time can be placed until one is removed by being replaced with an earlier time


Time Shift

Each time the warp track fills with dice the timeline shifts:
- Players reclaim their dice so each has 5 again
- The player who added the last die to the warp track rolls 2 dice (repeat if doubles) and swaps the indicated time zones (color coordinated)
- Each player discards their hand into the appropriate decks, quickly shuffles each deck and draws a new hand of cards (see event cards below)
- Check each city zone to see if the change in the timeline has caused any buildings to have floors built out of time order, e.g., the 2nd floor was built prior to the 1st floor. Any such building are completely destroyed: remove all discs from its zone so that the building must be built all over again.


Warping

There are 2 ways that a player can warp:
- Each time the player's sand timer empties, the player rolls both the d6 and d12, moving their meeple to the indicated time and city zones, then draws a new hand of cards (see event cards below)
- If the player's full hand consists entirely of completed objectives they may warp to the future-most time, rolling the d12 to determine which city zone they land in and then draw a new hand of cards (see event cards below)


Event Cards

Each event card is doubled ended with one side containing an objective to complete and the other an icon usable by the players in place of a die. To complete an objective the player holding the card must travel to the indicated city zone while the other indicated city zone is fully built and then roll the indicated die faces.

Example: Bank Robbery - Built the police station, travel to the bank and roll Run, Bicycle, Wrench

Once the objective is complete, rotate the card in the player's hand so that the icon side is up. From now on this individual card should always be discarded and drawn with the icon side up so as to not need completing again for the remainder of the game. Any player holding a completed event card can discard it to use the icon shown as if they had that die face available. When discarding a warp icon the player must still place one of their dice on the warp track.

Each time a player changes position on the timeline (time shift or warp) they must discard their hand and draw a new hand of event cards. The player(s) draws 1 card from their current time zone and 1 from all past time zones. Players do not draw any event cards from time zones in their future.

Edit: Added building section and city zone destruction to time shift section
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David Gregg
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Thinking that players will need a way to somewhat control time travel to ensure they can reach all the various times in order to have a chance at winning just in case the time travel dice aren't in their favor.

Initial thought is that a player could discard a completed event card for their current time to time travel one space back in time (perhaps there's a city zone that has to be built to enable this)

Thinking to move forward in time would require a full hand of completed event cards.

Edit: spelling...
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
I've been mulling over the idea of the warp track for when the timeline shifts and I'm just not happy with it. I think it could be reworked so that there's still a track, but with tokens and each time any single player has 2-3 warp dice at once they add a token to the track and unlock all their warp dice. I think this would also scale better with different player counts.
 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Had a thought toward managing when players can time travel as well as when the main timeline is disrupted:

Of the 5 unique die faces, the player will need to roll the "good" 4 faces in order to flip their sand timer. Should the sand timer run out, the player then adds tokens to the timeline warp track equal to how many warp die faces they have at that time, possibly causing the timeline to warp as well. Any time a player has 2 or more warp dice (and thus impossible to flip their sand timer) they can opt to let their timer run out early by adding warp tokens and warping themselves normally, then flipping their timer.
 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Example of one of the goal cards:



Pretty straight forward: to complete it you need to fully repair the police station, get to the bank city tile and then roll the 3 icons shown. Once the card is completed and rotated to its reward end, the player holding it can discard it at any time to gain the effect of a gold mask icon.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Yes I'm totally using the icons from Escape for the time being so I can just use those dice during playtesting vs stickering playtest dice.
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Finished setting up my card template, so now I can quickly churn out the other event cards. I've added a symbol to match up with which time zone the card is from (and therefore when it's able to be completed).

I think that the rewards will not be time sensitive, meaning that regardless which time zone you drew a card from, if it's on the reward side you can activate that icon(s) regardless of which time you're currently in.

All cards from one of the time zones:



As you can see I'm trying out different difficulty levels on the cards. Solving some easier cards first can help a ton with solving the harder ones later.
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
There are some fun ideas here, but this game seems really complicated -- the time shifts and building elements that require players check to see that things are done correctly, or require deck shuffling and so on, seem like they'd be hard to do in a time-pressure game. Also, the constant need to pay dice to flip the timer (every minute!) would be grating -- you'd constantly have to be pulling off useful dice to save the timer, I'd think.

I'll be interested to see how this goes in playtesting.
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
I'm hoping the complication isn't so bad in actual play whistle

Fortunately for checking buildings you only need check for the two time zones that were swapped, so a quick glance at the board should be all that's needed to identify which buildings need further inspecting. I also plan to include a bit of extra time to allow for all this so while the pressure is still there, it shouldn't make the players feel like they're going to lose just from needing to check the buildings.

As for the timer I'm trying to find a sweet spot where if you want to stay in your current time then you can pay the dice while still feeling like you were able to get other stuff done in your minute. If you want to time travel then you can ignore the sand timer until it runs out. This will certainly need ample testing to see if 1 minute is enough to fit this feel.

Thanks for the feedback
 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Here's all the city zone cards:



Thinking through the dice rolling a bit:
- Players can only time travel by letting their sand timer run out
- Players can flip their sand timer by rolling a gold mask, runner, key and torch
- When your sand timer runs out, count your black masks and add a token to the time track for each
- At any time you may add tokens to the time track equal to your black masks to reroll all your black masks
 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Remade the event cards to use some new icons I grabbed from Game-Icons.net, added color to more quickly tell them apart (colors match plastic discs I'm ordering for initial prototype) and also resized them down to "Mini American" as I think that'll work better for their purpose and help control the overall size of the game board.

 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Here's the backs of the event cards:



The black one is used for when the timeline shifts. I'll have a small 6 card deck where the face is one of the timeline backs. When time shifts you'll give that mini deck a quick shuffle and draw 2 cards indicating which 2 time periods swap places.
 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Decided that the city zones would be way too easy for 3-4 players, so am making the city zone tiles double sided. The easy side above will be for 1-2 players and the hard side below will be for 3-4 players. These should also help reinforce the need to work together to win.

 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Below are the 6 different time zones. I still have to make the main timeline strip that these will be placed up against.



Edit: The space on the right is for player meeples
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
And here's the timeline board. I'm thinking that different player counts may have some spaces prefilled permanently, perhaps 1 for 3 players, 2 for 2 payers and 3 for 1 player. Will need testing.

The spaces fill from left to right and when they fill completely 2 cards are drawn from the deck to determine which two times swap places. This is when players would check if any buildings are then built out of order and thus destroyed from the time shift.

 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Here's the printout I'll be using for sticker to put on the plastic discs I'm ordering (Print & Play Games). I'll be ordering 12 of each color disc so will need 2 prints of these which will give me several extras.

 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Finished preparing print files for those interested.

Stickers:
1" circle stickers [PDF 1.24MB]

City zones, time zones and time board:
Cardstock 8.5x11" single sided [PDF 2.46MB]

Event and time warp cards:
Cardstock 8.5x11" double sided [PDF 4.17MB]

I plan on mounting the zones and board to chip board and will likely just play with the cards as they are without sleeving.
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Prototype ordered; pictures soon meeple
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
As a huge Escape fan, this looks insanely fun!
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
ReluctantFr0g wrote:
As a huge Escape fan, this looks insanely fun!

Thanks! As a fellow "huge Escape fan" that's very encouraging to hear meeple
 
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
s3rvant wrote:
Prototype ordered; pictures soon meeple

Out of curiosity, will this be available to test on Tabletopia (unlikely), TableTop Simulator, or Vassal? This looks promising.

Regardless - I look forward to seeing the pics of your closer-to-final version.

Edit: I do realize it's a speed/dice-rolling/timer game. Just was thinking to get an idea of how it played out in s l o w m o t i o n.
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
paschott wrote:
Out of curiosity, will this be available to test on Tabletopia (unlikely), TableTop Simulator, or Vassal?

Probably not, especially during these early phases of development. I might make something online once I feel that it's nearing its final iteration.
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
After printing everything I found that the time zones were too small (and lacking a discard pile area) so I made them larger like so:



Also, the place I had print my cards did not line up the double sided prints well at all... so while functional the backs are horrible ugly gulp
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Initial prototype complete! Here's a picture of setup for single player mode:



Overall I much enjoyed the experience, though I spotted both minor and major tweaks needed to improve the flow of it all:

- For this play I permanently filled 3 of the time board slots to begin testing if this would be a variable part of setup based on number of players. I think this was good and will test again at this count next time as well.

- The time board filled very oddly with original rules: very rarely did my sand timer end while I had any black masks (I'm careful with my dice) so what would happen is eventually I'd have a streak of bad luck and have all 5 black masks resulting in a huge burst of chips being added to the track.

CHANGE: I think it's more interesting that a player can at any time add a single chip to the time board in order to unlock all of their dice. I started tested this mid play and really liked the dynamic it created where I had to think if it was worth my time trying to recover from 3 black masks or to go ahead and add another disc to the board. Overall this was a bit slow to fill the board, so will probably either end up increasing the number of permanent discs with lower player counts OR I might also add a disc each time your timer runs out to help speed things along.

- Locations worked exactly as intended. No change to make at this point. Discs worked really well and having to replace future discs with past ones due to time travel carried a good amount of weight behind the decisions.

- I bought both 30 second and 1 minute sand timers to test with; the 1 minute timers felt great. Was enough time to move around a few places and work on repairing some stuff before time got low. If I new I really wanted to work on something for a bit, I could stop working a bit early and aim for getting all 4 good icons to flip the timer. Most of the time I was able to pull that off, though occasionally I started rolling black masks and had to move on. Really liked the feel of this.

- The event cards... these need work. The overall idea is fine, but having the cards double ended as they are didn't feel right. It also didn't help that this prototype has the decks sideways so is easy to accidentally flip one to repair/reward side when should have been the other way around. Also not a fan of having to split the decks and shuffle them individually before setup as it added setup time without much other benefit.

CHANGE: I'm thinking to remove the colored backs from the event cards and simply shuffle the entire deck, dealing the proper number of cards to each time slot. While this means you could get similar events in a single time, the overall balance game-wide will remain. Also thinking about splitting the rewards into their own cards so that when an event is completed it can simply be removed from the game and replaced with a reward card. Not sure if something that drastic is needed.

- Speaking of the event cards, I did not like taking one from each time zone from where I'm at and past.

CHANGE: Right away I changed this to only having the 1 card from your current time zone and this felt really good.

- The time zone cards themselves were just "okay". Moving them was a pain as I don't have them mounted on chip board so the decks of cards wanted to fall off and that was annoying. I'm not sold on having the decks move with the time zones actually and might separate those two functions.

CHANGE: I'm considering adding space above the time line board for the decks and have them stay put all game long. When time zones swap it'll just be the colored portion below along with whichever players are on those spaces.

MEGA-CHANGE: I'm also considering changing the board to a circular layout similar to my initial Just in Time from a couple years ago.

- Thought would be to have a common event deck (vs 6 separate ones) and discard pile at the very center.
- Next ring would be a new track with 1 of each colored disc to semi replace the time zone boards. There'd still be a space for the players to have a meeple and essentially function the same way.
- Next would be the time line board that would fill with black discs. Instead of a small deck of cards for selecting 2 times to swap, the players would just grab up all 6 of the colored discs from the previous track, give them a quick shuffle and then put them back out randomly. With this I wouldn't be destroying buildings due to build times.
- With time being circular, your meeple's currently location would be your present, with previous 3 spaces being the past and the next couple spaces being the future (might swap to 2 past and 3 future to increase difficulty). With this buildings would start out with discs on them, but might not be completed "to you" as some colors will be in your future.
- The outer most ring would be the locations. Instead of a rectangular grid as shown above there'd be a circle with the locations situated around it randomly. Movement would change to something like: any time you roll 2 or more runners, you can move 1 space per runner you've rolled. This way a single runner is worthless, but you can still get around the board quickly.

That's all for tonight. Will be revamping my prototype files and posting more soon meeple
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Re: WIP - Just in Time v.2 - Real time cooperative time travel
Working on new board design and had a quick thought on handling event and reward cards:
- Common event deck that isn't marked for any specific time zone
- At beginning of game and each time a player travels through time they discard their current event card and draw a new one
- The player's current event can always be completed in their current time zone
- When an event is completed, it is placed into a separate completed pile and a reward card is drawn (a replacement event is NOT drawn)
- Event cards remain in play until spent and at that time are also placed into the completed pile
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