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Subject: Expansion Ideas rss

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Tim Eisner
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We are busy working on the first expansion for March of the Ants. We have a lot of ideas in the works and are very excited about expanding the world of the ants.

This post is a place for players to share ideas and suggestions for what they would like to see in the expansion. Please let us know what you would like to see and help us add depth and diversity to the Meadow.
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John Bowling
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One thing I'd like to see, more a rule variant than expanded play, is splitting the cards into colored decks so a player can at least try to dig for body parts, or colony goals, etc.

I'll think about expansion ideas!
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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I'd love to see the ability to place a queen on the board that generates ants at the end of each turn right on the board.

And keep us solo players in mind when creating the expansion content. I play this game solo way more often than I do with others so the more content from the expansion I can use solo the better.

Thanks again for an awesome game!
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Norman S.
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So my friends and I really like this game because it's basically a very, very streamlined 4x game with very minimal luck components. An expansion, I feel, would thus have to equate itself to other 4x expansions, such as the substantive Civ expansions. of course, certain things don't translate very well to board games, or else they don't transfer very well to this game in particular, but I think that some things can.

To start with, let's talk about the 4x's, and how the game currently does it.

Explore: There is certainly an explore action. It works well, even similar to other 4x games where there's a much lower incentive to explore late game. Maybe the later tiles can have more interesting effects on them, akin to "natural wonders" in the Civ games. The Antlion Chamber is one of our favorite tiles.

Expand: Uh, yup. I like the flow of it, not sure what else to do here.

Exploit: Ants on resources. Not sure what else to do here except add more resources, but that would feel a bit artificial. Maybe akin to the aforementioned natural wonders, there could be spaces where controlling that space gives some sort of Empire wide bonus, something along the level of having a body part, let's say. +1 combat, more ants per food, etc.

Exterminate: Honestly works fine. The quick, clean combat system is great. Maybe Evolution cards that are specifically only meant to be used in combat is the only thing I can think of? Like a card that gives you both +3 ferocity and has an effect that says "When you use this card during combat, reduce your casualties by 1" or something.

One thing that other 4x games have that this doesn't is some sort of building component. I'm not sure if that's actually applicable or if it will just add a bunch of needless chaff, but being able to make some sort of structure on the map (maybe in the form of a Queen?) would create natural battlegrounds. It could even be a new type of Evolution card, akin to a body part, so that the effect of your "Queens" change throughout the game, if you want.

Variable starting powers can also add some spice. The ones provided with the base game is a good start, but it's an expansion thing that can be very modular, so people can use it if they want to or not. Little drawback from including this, aside from the development time.

Hope that was some food for thought!
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Expansion Ideas.
- weather cards that can effect the entire board, drought, flooding that spreads from the meadow out. Thus forcing expansion and loss of point hoarding close to the meadow, snowfall that makes slower movement, earthquake (real or human footsteps) collapse tunnels which then can either rebuilt with drawing a new tile. Salvage ants from the collapse.

- disease cards or infestation, when sickness can spread and kill off all ants.

- queen ant that can be another spawn point instead of the meadow but also if captured can reward larvae to the captor.

- extending the seasons to make the game longer, and make it a potential for and invading force to strike, that spreads through the tunnels but can be forced back or eradicated completely gain reward points as you do, or redirecting them to enemy ants by collapsing tunnels.

- New tiles that allow access to the surface, so that they can bring in new resources, or increased resources. But the potential for danger, aka birds, larger insects, ant eater, great risk great reward. Or make it that you can make your ant tougher to go out. Or no danger at all and just make it so that a second "map" can be used but connected. Could also be risky as the elements could come into play as well.

Edit 1.0 - You're busy expanding the hive defending from neighbouring ants and collecting as much food as you can preparing for the next phase of your plan. You all the sudden hear the rumble coming from all around you. Your ants are getting agitated thinking its the centipede crawling from underneath. Mandibles start clicking in anticipation for a fight to come. Nothing. All the sudden the tunnel from the meadow gushes water and ants are getting swept away, drown. Yet a few left make the decision, colony over life. They throw themselves into the tunnel ripping walls apart to collapse the walls to stop the water. They sacrifice themselves knowing that the colony can live. But most importantly, the Queen.

Edit 2.0 - Expansion Ideas

- Potential if tiles during expansion choice have a one shot bonus apon reveal. May become over powered because people would just want to expand and amass resources out of the gate. Would have to create maybe once per season. Or more if an evolution card could boost that reward

- Maybe go right out of the colony and take to the air and do a bee/wasp/hornet expansion. But I feel like that is almost another game on it's own. Tie it in with taking it to the surface. But trying to tie it in some how would take time. Balancing.
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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It seems like having a queen is a common thread among these suggestions. Perhaps there could be a variety of queens with different "abilities", sort of like wonders in other 4x games.

Also, if you need any solo playtesters... whistle
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Kevin Riddle

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so excited!!

anyway to have a colony that connects to another colony location
more of a territory grab?
that might be a totally separate game though

edit - I like the idea of weather cards too

also, Spiders to fight instead of Centimeeples
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Oscar Garcia
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I am really happy I backed March of the Ants on KS. It´s an awesome fun and quick game. Heavily underrated if you ask me. I was always wondering when was an expansion going to be announced. laugh

I´m just going to throw some potential ideas that, after being refined by the designers (translated into viable and thematic game mechanics) could be incorporated into the game via modular expansions:

* The incorporation of tiles with some sort of terrain obstacle that prevent or difficult movement. Water tiles maybe?
* More NPC animals to interact with (friendly and hostile): Aphids, lizards, bugs, birds, spiders, etc.
* The ability to collect/"milk" honeydew from aphids (Maybe honeydew can become a valuable premium resource than can also be exchanged for combat buffers. Maybe aphids can be stolen from other players and are worth victory points at the end of the game)
* The ability to capture and enslave opponent´s ants once they are defeated.
* Team play (2vs2) with "Defeat opponent´s Queens" as the victory condition.
* The ability to build mounds that could: a) temporary boost a player´s defense in one tile against other ants, b) allow ant re-spawn, c) Protect from Centipedes.
* Nest waste management? (possibly adding another layer of management)
* The inclusion of weather into the game. This could possibly result in rain floods that temporarily make some tiles inaccessible, forcing players to explore further and/or find alternate paths.
* The inclusion of some sort of catch up mechanic that allows aggressive players (who did terribly on combat), to get on their feet again.
* The addition of random face-down undiscovered "Exploration" tokens (that grant different benefits: i.g. combat buffers, extra cards, resources, larvae, VP, food, etc) on top of unexplored tiles, to somehow make exploration more enticing.
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Jan Schröder

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in case you´d wand to push the coop or solo game:
what about an AI driven tribe of army ants that competes directly against the players for the same spaces (but works a bit less abstractedly than the centipedes)?
could make for some semi coop gameplay in the multiplayer competitive game as well.

Edit: +1 for "aphid farming"! - could add another road to victory to the game and be an interesting defensive strategy for people who don´t want to fight
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Garth van Doorn
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Tim, I read your KS email out to my 3 kids who are massive MotA fans. We're up to 4 pages of ideas so far. I'll be back to reply in a few days once their minds stop racing... hoping BGG posts don't have a word limit...
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Clovis R
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A lot of the ideas here are really great. I think the weather one may be the best. And have abilities that allow you to thrive in certain weathers, but hinder you in others. Something like hibernation that may slow you down, but also requires less energy to make plays.

I like the idea of mounds or ant hills. Maybe add a sand or dirt supply that if you collect three pieces you can build an ant hill in any tile you control that gives you two bonus points per round. And ant hills can be attacked or broken by opponents.

I feel like the game would benefit from something that eliminates tiles, or at least blocks collection sites. Maybe an invasive species like grasshoppers that if they enter a tile it gets removed from the game permanently and those ants are lost. This may work better in the coop, or as an event card that can be used against opponents. It would be a really strong event though and would require either a high cost or some other negative. Maybe the grasshoppers continue to move across the board eliminating resources until they are attacked, or opponents may move one ant to a neighboring tile.

The ideas I like most are the ones that are effects that would be negatives for all the players, and they each need to determine how to best adapt. Like a weather issue or invasive species hindering supplies and tiles.
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Norman S.
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A random element like weather would add negative strategy to the game unless it were something that could be planned for or otherwise known. A good strategy game doesn't rely on you trashing your plans for the next round because lol this is random and wacky and fun.

There's a difference between adapting to something like cards in hand and having a random element that severely punishes some characters and benefits others by the whims of chance. Let me plan and strategize, not roll dice.
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Ben Eisner
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These are all great ideas, and most of them fall along the lines of our own thinking! For all you solo and coop players out there, we definitely are keeping you in mind for this expansion. Most, if not all of the elements should fit in seamlessly to the solo/coop version, adding new strategies, opportunities, and experiences, but we also want to make sure that there's something new in there just for you. Here are a few possible solo/coop variants:

- Into the Lair: The ants have turned the tables--the centipedes are weakened, and now it's time to hunt for the centipedes lair and drive out the queen, once and for all. This version would be similar to the current one, but longer, featuring a slower build and a lot more exploring/colony building.

- Invasive Species: A new kind of ant threatens your territory--it is both aggressive and insidious, using parasitism and infection to spread it's reach. This variant would also provide more opportunity for colony building, and instead of just inhabiting the great tunnel, the ants would actually attack your nest, infesting your larva and food chambers and inducing parasitic mutations on your evolutions.

- New Enemies: This would be the most similar to the current game, but with added enemies with their own agendas. Some enemies might return from the great tunnel to wreak havoc, some might establish nests in meadow hexes that become their own spawn points, and some might attack from afar--forcing you to bring the fight to them.

In addition to a new scenario, we're curious to know what else you'd like in the solo game. Keep those ideas coming!

Ben
Weird City Games

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Jan Schröder

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wow those are great news!
especially the longer game mode - its nice how the current solo game plays quick but the main idea of the general concept behind the game always seemed to call for a longer experience. so to have both modes in the game would be awsome!

one thing i enjoy when solo gaming is growing an attatchment to "my people". to achieve that is usually easier when playing only one person (or tribe). so to focus a bit more on the strictly one player experience could be interesting. the longer game time (and chance to develop your civilization over more steps) will surely help .
Maybe there could also be some kind of specimen specialization in the game? having individual ants that develop certain powers over time (the explorer, the fighter etc.) that can be used well in certain situations and whose loss would also be worse than your normal ant cube?
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Marc S
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* I love the ideas about weather or other neutral force affecting the game mechanisms. Maybe as a separate event deck with some time to react (a la Robinson Crusoe) to allow players to consider it with their strategy.

* As others have said, having a queen or other castes of ants which behave differently would be cool.

* I was also going to suggest official team (2v2) rules, so I second that.

* Story-driven campaign which extends across several play sessions. Perhaps with a bit of persistence (keep top most evolutions, increased food and larvae based on score, etc.)

* Ability for players to control centipedes -- maybe limited, maybe as an overseer role a la Descent.

* More enemies to face in solo, coop, and competitive modes. A new play mats for the solo and coop games. One specific idea:
- Cordyceps fungi (https://youtu.be/XuKjBIBBAL8) which will infect, control, and ultimately destroy your ants.

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Tim Eisner
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Wow! It is really great to hear all of these ideas and that your excitement for the expansion matches our own. We are working on solidifying the overall structure of the expansion (what sorts of mechanics and flavor, and how much we will be able to include). There are so many awesome ideas and we will be working to incorporate as many as make sense in this first expansion.

The 2 v 2 team game is something that I hadn't thought of for March of the Ants but that is really exciting. It is funny because I am working on another team game right now and games or variants specifically for team play is something I want to see more of in games. I will have to puzzle over how this would best play out in MotA.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and we will definitely keep you all informed in the process along the way and let you know when we are looking for playtesters.

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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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snowden11 wrote:

- Into the Lair: The ants have turned the tables--the centipedes are weakened, and now it's time to hunt for the centipedes lair and drive out the queen, once and for all. This version would be similar to the current one, but longer, featuring a slower build and a lot more exploring/colony building.
This idea is my favourite so far!
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Jason Moore
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reverendunclebastard wrote:
I'd love to see the ability to place a queen on the board that generates ants at the end of each turn right on the board.

And keep us solo players in mind when creating the expansion content. I play this game solo way more often than I do with others so the more content from the expansion I can use solo the better.

Thanks again for an awesome game!
Pretty much my thoughts, word for word. Very excited to see more of this.
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Gab Pal
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I haven't read the above but this is what I wrote 4 days ago in the Kickstarter comments section when you asked for ideas.

What about the ability to have specific on-the-board soldier ants represented by larger cubes.
They could be an upgrade to normal ants that count for more in combat but can't occupy "worker" positions, so basically only usable in combat.
And since I mentioned that, as each players ants are genetically different they must have individual Queens. So how about an on-the-board Queen that gives some sort of bonus. I don't really know what, maybe doubles output from the hex she occupies or something.
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Kevin Riddle

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that's actually a really cool idea, maybe the soldiers can only do battle or gather food to have some more value
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keith ryan
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Just got this game(thanks to The Rev and solo guild) from Amazon would have bought it from your web store but your out of stock. I am playing it solo for now. Hope to teach my son when he gets a little older. I played only once so far and love it. Will have some ideas of my own once I get a few more games in.
Love the into the Lair concept.
I also like the idea of adding some kind of AI for another ant colony.
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Jan Schröder

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as exploring is a great feature of the game:
what about new terrain?
maybe some kind of parallel world connected to the meadow like an underground tunnel system below the meadow or an ant hill next to it, or maybe a tree that branches out above the meadow?
or even a secret passage into a kitchen - with a whole new bunch of cruel enemies like 10 year old boys feeding baking powder to your ants or teasing them with a magnifying glass..
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Ethan Soanka
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I'd love to see more co op options. I'm not sure how to implement them, but I picked up this game for its co op and seeing some way as to make something into a campaign (based on the change of seasons w/ weather ,etc) and / or having a way for all players to be 1 colony, but control different ants and have different events happen. (Think of it as an ant version of Sim City cool )

This game has lots of potential and trying to give a little bit to all player mindsets: competitive / cooperative / solo, would be a wise choice indeed.
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I think an easy thing to do would be to have some scenarios. Like a preset starting position with tiles already in place and your ants starting from preset areas. It would be cool to have different ways to play solo. Like preset starting tile and an objective to accomplish. Like maybe you have to march a certain number of ants across a centipede filled zone and there is a limit to how many turns you have.

For Versus mode maybe the board starts with lots of tiles already down and there is some object in the great meadow that you have to grab and retrieve back to your base. But the object slows you down so that other players have a chance to steal it from you.

These wouldn't really require any special features, but it would be a nice way to enrich the solo experience especially, with maybe some fun versus stuff as well.
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Popov Victor
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timeisner1 wrote:
Wow! It is really great to hear all of these ideas and that your excitement for the expansion matches our own. We are working on solidifying the overall structure of the expansion (what sorts of mechanics and flavor, and how much we will be able to include). There are so many awesome ideas and we will be working to incorporate as many as make sense in this first expansion.

The 2 v 2 team game is something that I hadn't thought of for March of the Ants but that is really exciting. It is funny because I am working on another team game right now and games or variants specifically for team play is something I want to see more of in games. I will have to puzzle over how this would best play out in MotA.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and we will definitely keep you all informed in the process along the way and let you know when we are looking for playtesters.

could we get an update on the expansion please? will it be released via KS in march? will there be an option(KS tier) to buy the expansion AND the base game at the same time?
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