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Subject: [WIP] Sailplane racing game (tile laying) rss

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Hi folks,

For months I've been mulling over how to make a game about racing sailplanes (gliders) in a contest type setting and finally had an idea last week. Over the long weekend I bashed together a prototype (using crayons, graph paper, and bits and bobs from other games) and played it three times. It actually worked and I am really excited.

Here is the new baby:


The goal is to fly the biggest triangle (measuring the perimeter with a ruler or tape measure), with one of the points of the triangle as the airport card. You fly out, place a turnpoint marker, fly the second leg, place another turnpoint marker, then you have to get back to the airport. I've drawn in the triangles formed by the turnpoint markers (because they're hard to see in the photo). You can see Green made the largest single triangle, but Brown, who played it safe and made a small triangle, had time before the game ended to make another little triangle and finished with the longest total distance.

The game uses a deck of cards which are laid out on the table by the players in turns. On each turn, you lay one of the three cards in your hand (or discard under certain circumstances), fly one space, then draw a new card.

Each card has one or more spaces marked on it. These are colour-coded, as you can see in the photo. Each space is associated with lift (positive numbers, make your altitude go up when you fly into them, are warm colours) or sink (negative numbers, make your altitude go down, are cool colours). If your altitude ever reaches zero, you have landed out! In a real contest, your race day would be over, but in the game you can start again over the airport and attempt to make another (probably much smaller) triangle.

I am still fine-tuning the rules for how high you start over the airfield, and what the maximum altitude should be.

The game ends when the deck of cards and all players' hands are empty. Score is simply the perimeter of any triangle(s) you completed. Currently the penalty for landing out is that you only score half the distance you covered. I've got some ideas I'm playing with for scoring other finishing situations (like you've placed both your turnpoints and are on your way back).

Cards can be placed in any orientation you like, but spaces on one card are only adjacent to spaces on another card (meaning you can fly from one space to the other) if the cards are edge-to-edge or corner-to-edge. A card space that's touching another card corner-to-corner isn't adjacent.

So far I've found that on a fundamental level it feels a bit similar to actually flying a glider (frustration when all you get is sink, or when the lift isn't nicely lined up with where you're trying to go; worry that you may land out), and it encourages the kinds of decisions you should be making while flying (don't waste too much time gaining altitude even though you found a really strong thermal, get through the sink as fast as possible). You have to figure out how to make do with what you've got. But it's simplified enough that it's accessible to the non-pilots who have played it so far. So I'm pretty pleased with it.

Next steps: playtest more, playtest again, playtest with different people. Figure out scoring for non-finishers. Then make up a nice P&P version and release it to the world!!!
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Ric White
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Clarkston
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What an original idea! I look forward to seeing how it evolves.
 
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rwhite3787 wrote:
What an original idea! I look forward to seeing how it evolves.


Hi, thanks for the comment and the support!

I hope to do more work on it this coming weekend, and will post the results. I've gotten some more feedback on it and I'm going to tweak the card deck a bit - some of my card designs weren't quite playing the way I wanted them to. Gotta hit that just-right spot between thematic realism and gameplay balance.
 
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