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Kingdom Builder: Marshlands» Forums » General

Subject: The Secret History of Kingdom Builder: Marshlands rss

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Donald X.
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I made two expansions for Kingdom Builder and that seemed like enough. Then it won the SdJ. Queen wanted more expansions.

A new expansion meant three challenges to me. It would need new abilities, that's not necessarily so hard, although I would want simple ones if possible. It would need new ways to score, that's hard - the main set would have had twelve rather than ten if I'd had twelve good ones at the time. And I felt it would need something to make the boards not just more boards - something to spice them up.

Boards:

The boards were the easy part. I could do a new terrain. I would treat it differently in some way and that would probably be satisfyingly interesting. I tried out marshes, which could be played on via abilities as if land (that is, it's not water or mountains), and had cards for them added to the terrain deck which gave you a choice of terrains. If you pick marsh, you only get to place two settlements. I was happy with this immediately; I messed with the exact board details but they always had marshes. In games without boards with marshes, those cards don't change the frequency of the terrains, so you can just leave them in the deck and ignore the marshes option. Or take them out; I don't mind.

I also replaced the Castles with Palaces. I tried to come up with a different way to score for a board location, and settled on area control. You just want the most pieces by each Palace.

Abilities:

One of the issues with new abilities was giving the expansion enough new stuff despite only having four boards. Nomads had the nomad tents; Crossroads had two abilities per board. I decided to try out abilities that upgraded - there are two copies, but if you get both copies, you either get a 3rd ability, or improve the two abilities. This worked out and there it is; these stories aren't all interesting. It did mean that I had to make sure it wasn't too trivial to get two copies of one of these abilities; I tweaked the boards a bunch trying to get the best configurations.

Refuge: Moving a piece one space was just one of the most basic things that wasn't in the game. It seemed like an upgrading ability was a good place to do it. The upgrade lets you jump a piece a long distance, which is a nicely exciting upgrade.

Canoe: What about abilities that didn't function on your turn? It sounded good enough to be the theme, like I'd have four abilities like that. I tried a few things but it did not turn out to be the bonanza I'd been expecting, and in the end there's just this one. "When another player takes the last chit from a spot" turns out to happen at a decent enough frequency to make this ability interesting, although obviously it goes down in value-per-turn as the game progresses, and people may avoid taking abilities late in the going when it means you get to place one or two free pieces (which is also an ability - you like them not taking abilities, even when they'll only work once or twice). The upgrade meanwhile is just the basic play on water ability I hadn't done yet, tweaked to involve marshes.

Temple: The premise here is sending a piece into your next turn. You have to track the piece but it seemed worth it. The basic ability plays somewhat similarly to the Barn in the main set, but I decided it was different enough, especially since there's the exciting upgrade. The upgrade - ignoring the adjacency rule for your first piece on your terrain each turn - is the kind of thing I just couldn't do as a normal ability.

Fountain: Crossroads had the basic ability, and this set had place a piece on a random terrain, and I decided one was better to upgrade than the other, and switched them. This perhaps explains the mistake on this ability in the first Crossroads rulebooks, although note that the piece has to be both next to exactly one of your pieces and also zero that aren't yours. So it isn't just better than a Tavern; both abilities can claim hexes that the other can't. The upgrade originally removed the "zero that aren't yours" restriction, but that was too crazy, so now it lets you go on mountains. It's a more minor upgrade than the others, but the base ability is stronger, and it feels nice for an upgrade.

Scoring cards:

It was going to be tricky coming up with compelling new scoring cards. I looked at the existing cards, and tried to think of ways to change them that would be interesting. And as it happens this totally worked out, there were good things left to do at angles to the original cards.

Geologists: In the main set one card has you try to connect locations. Was there something else to try to connect? Looking at the boards, water didn't work so well, but mountains did. So there you go. A bunch of your connections will be a single piece, but some will be longer.

Messengers: Another thing to connect was two arbitrary points. This makes you try to carve a long path across the entire board. It looms over the game, as the tendency is for one long path to cut off other paths.

Noblewomen: I liked the Palaces a lot, so I made a card that just made all locations score that way. For me this has easily become my preferred way to do area control: little fights that can be settled long before the game is over.

Vassals: The inner edges was another way I could specify particular hexes. At the end of the game, just separate the boards slightly and scoring this one is easy.

Scouts: Fisherman and Miners care about being adjacent to terrains that you can't normally play on. What about the ones you can play on? They have the issue of you having pieces on them that hide the terrain (you can get pieces on water and mountains, but you know, not that many). And which terrain do I pick? I addressed those issues by having you draw a random one, and you take all copies of that terrain out of the deck for that game. This gives a nicely different feel to the game; just four terrains - or five with a twist with marshes - plus big areas that you can get pieces on but will never draw.

Captains: The main set has a card that makes you want a big clump. It's different to care about the social life of each piece though. Captains don't need to be part of your biggest clump, they just want enough action in their neighborhood.

Thanks, playtesters! Including: Kent Bunn, Mark Levine, Destry Miller, Kevin White, and Berkeley Board Gamers.
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Jonathan White
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Thank you for continuing your "Secret History" series on Kingdom Builder. This has been my #1 favorite game for 3+ years (which is odd because I generally don't like abstracts and I don't like Dominion) and it's so interesting to hear how you came up with the various switches and levers for each expansion. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Harvest.

So is the Kingdom Builder journey finally complete? Part of me hopes yes as dealing with Queen Games has been yuk and I know I'm not alone. I backed their Marshlands/Harvest combo on KS so I could get the new big box and it's been 7 months since they've provided any update whatsoever. The fulfillment date is this month and it's obvious that date will slide. At this point, I'm just hoping to receive it before the next literal harvest.

I know none of that is your fault. Thanks again for 'building' such a wonderful and infinitely re-playable game.

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Donald X.
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28green wrote:
Thank you for continuing your "Secret History" series on Kingdom Builder. This has been my #1 favorite game for 3+ years (which is odd because I generally don't like abstracts and I don't like Dominion) and it's so interesting to hear how you came up with the various switches and levers for each expansion. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Harvest.

Thanks, and sorry there wasn't more to say. There is at least a little more to say about Harvest.

28green wrote:
So is the Kingdom Builder journey finally complete? Part of me hopes yes as dealing with Queen Games has been :yuk: and I know I'm not alone. I backed their Marshlands/Harvest combo on KS so I could get the new big box and it's been 7 months since they've provided any update whatsoever. The fulfillment date is this month and it's obvious that date will slide. At this point, I'm just hoping to receive it before the next literal harvest.

Marshlands was done in 2012; Harvest was basically done then, but I tweaked it in early 2013. They have been sitting around. As you can read about on these forums, Queen finally put up a kickstarter for Marshlands at a point when the contract for the expansion would expire before the kickstarter was done.

I know I don't know the future; but if I have to guess, it seems unlikely that there will be more Kingdom Builder expansions. I am trying to maintain a friendly relationship with Queen, but am leery of pursuing new projects with them. The Marshlands and Harvest contracts actually automatically expire; my plan is to renew them if nothing is going wrong, but the only way to know for sure that anything bad was covered was to do it this way.

And well four expansions seems like plenty. There is at last a nice amount of variety to the scoring methods; there are plenty of abilities; there are more than enough boards. To add more expansions, I'd need to go farther afield from the basic premise.

Maybe one day Queen will be no more, and I'll be looking for another publisher for Kingdom Builder. If that ever happens I still will resist doing another expansion, but the publisher might really want one, to drum up interest in their edition. That would be the best chance for it. Of course any such thing would probably not be compatible.
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Jonathan White
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Thank you for the feedback! I agree, I think four expansions is more than enough to keep even the most rabid KB fans (i.e. me!) satisfied. I'm fairly certain I could play the game every day for the rest of my life and not have the same combination of scoring cards & location tiles.
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alejandro velasquez
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thank you for sharing this story about the development of the content for the game!
I only have crossroads expansions and I'm hoping marshlands turns out as good. I love KB.

On another note, I feel bad for the KS backers. Queens has been a bit of a disappointment as of late. I purchased Marshlands through a retailer and it seems the release date gets being pushed, so I can only imagine how long backers have had to wait.

 
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John Herrera
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Thanks for sharing, I just picked up the game last week and finally played in. The family loved it! ...and now I want more
 
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Benjamin Weemes
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Thank you for all the updates, I love hearing more information about Kingdom Builder! This has been my #1 game since it first came out and I don't think it will slip from that spot anytime soon. Such a good game, and so under-appreciated by so many in the gaming industry. Thanks again, you've brought me and my family a lot of fun!
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alejandro velasquez
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johnhe0414 wrote:
Thanks for sharing, I just picked up the game last week and finally played in. The family loved it! ...and now I want more


where you a backer? or where did you get the expansion? I ordered mine since august at MM but it hasn't reached store.

 
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Niko
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majagua wrote:
johnhe0414 wrote:
Thanks for sharing, I just picked up the game last week and finally played in. The family loved it! ...and now I want more


where you a backer? or where did you get the expansion? I ordered mine since august at MM but it hasn't reached store.

Amazon had/has it, or at least so I've heard in the Kickstarter comments.
 
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alejandro velasquez
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Ze_German_Guy wrote:
majagua wrote:
johnhe0414 wrote:
Thanks for sharing, I just picked up the game last week and finally played in. The family loved it! ...and now I want more


where you a backer? or where did you get the expansion? I ordered mine since august at MM but it hasn't reached store.

Amazon had/has it, or at least so I've heard in the Kickstarter comments.


well i'll be damned...and i have been waiting for this for months!

 
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Justin Jackson
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I love reading the thought process you have when creating expansions and new games. Thank you for sharing and I hope you continue to do so.
 
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John Herrera
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majagua wrote:
johnhe0414 wrote:
Thanks for sharing, I just picked up the game last week and finally played in. The family loved it! ...and now I want more


where you a backer? or where did you get the expansion? I ordered mine since august at MM but it hasn't reached store.


Sorry for the late reply, I did pick it up off of Amazon
 
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alejandro velasquez
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johnhe0414 wrote:
majagua wrote:
johnhe0414 wrote:
Thanks for sharing, I just picked up the game last week and finally played in. The family loved it! ...and now I want more


where you a backer? or where did you get the expansion? I ordered mine since august at MM but it hasn't reached store.


Sorry for the late reply, I did pick it up off of Amazon


no worries, i got mine at amazon too for like 12 bucks! that's insane. I was going to buy from MM but due to their delay on getting the game I just cancelled the order and got that deal from amazon.
 
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