Phil Walker-Harding
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hello all,

Well now that the flurry of activity surrounding the first print run of Archaeology is behind me, I am starting to think about putting out a second game. Releasing Archaeology so far has been a great experience, if not a lot of work. While I still have the 2nd print run to do, I also have the chance to start looking ahead. I think I'd like my next game to be quite a bit heavier than the first.



The prototype I would most like to produce next is a tile placement settlement game I have been working on for quite some time. The theme involves the colonisation of a newly found island in the days of the height of imperialism. Four nations arrive simultaneously at this island and must struggle to gain control of it, by building roads, settlements and using good old gunpowder to blow their opponent's settlements away! I am thinking of actually naming the four players in the game England, France, Spain and Holland, but the game is by no means meant to be anything close to a historical simulation. The theme is really quite light-hearted, and the rules are quite simple. My play-testing has revealed that it is quite a brain-burner, as players are free to develop their setllements in any way they wish.

I was inspired by a couple of things: as an Australian, I have always been fascinated by the fact that the French missed out on making the first landing at Botany Bay by a matter of hours back in 1788. Good old James Cook beat them to it, so we now all speak english. Of course the design has also been influenced by Catan (modular board, roads and settlements) but the gameplay is different, focusing on spatial planning and direct conflict.

Anyway! I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the theme - if they find it interesting, tired, a bit tasteless? I'd like to stick with it as it works quite well, but am interested in any reactions out there.

Also, I would appreciate any advice on a name for the game. Usually I like to lock names in pretty quickly when I develop ideas. It really helps me work on the theme and feel of the game. This one has been known as "Cannonball Colony" for quite a while, but although this title captures the ideas I want in the name, it is a bit of a mouthful to say! Does anyone have any thoughts on these ideas?:

Cannonball Colony
Cannonball
The Colony
Colonies and Cannonballs
Gunpowder Island


Or perhaps you can suggest something else?

Thanks guys,
Phil



1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve McIlhatton
New Zealand
Palmerston North
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the theme of English, French etc. as it gives the opportunity for roleplaying in the game which i always find part of the fun.. exclaiming 'sacre bleau!' as some 'english pig-dog' blows your settlement to pieces adds to the game for me

Are you going to the Games Expo in Albury? If so bring your prototype along and I'm sure you'll get lots of feedback.. I for one would be keen to give it a go and give some comment...

Also where is your first game available from? Something nice about having some local games on the shelf...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil Walker-Harding
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the feedback Steve. Yes I think you are right that actual countries might up the humour factor. I may actually depict the captain of each ship on the player-board artwork too... plenty of room to stereotype!

Yes I'll be at AGE. I am not sure how much time I'll get away from my stall (I'll be selling Archaeology there), but it would be excellent to get some playtesting in, so I'll bring the prototype down. By the way, Archaeology is sold out at the moment, but is available at www.adventurelandgames.com
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Davis
Australia
Canberra
flag msg tools
Avatar
This game looks very interesting indeed. I like the theme with the british, french, spain and holland. Maybe you could do a 6 player version and have portugal and germany.

will the game have natives in that, that you either have to take by force or convice to join you against your enemies?

so name ideas

Colonialism
New Imperialism
Colony Conflict
Colony Wars
The Island in Conflict

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bobby Doran
United States
Simi Valley
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice prototype -
Going with the cannonball theme I think...
POWDERKEG might be a good name.
you could put some water in the middle and call it...
ATOLL This could be very amusing when you yell from across a convention hall "wanna play ATOLL?"... Everybody would probably think you said something else.
Then of course there is "MINE, ALL MINE"
or perhaps - "CONFLICT CAY"
"FINAL ISLE"
"THE ROCK"
"CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?"
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Toasted Jones
United Kingdom
Rugeley
Staffordshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
how about Colonball?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Big Woo
Scotland
state:
running out of space...
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Looks great again Phil.

Of all the names suggested Cannonball Colony is still the one that captures your intentions best I think, despite its length. It does have a certain light-hearted quality that the shorter suggestions lack. It certainly would make me look into it based on title alone.

The alternative would be to come up with something shorter and use the cannonball colony thing in a prominent tagline. But only if the shorter title would still covers essential terrain.

I already have a "game" called Colony that deals with all players arriving for a simultaneous landgrab, I am fairly sure it is in the database here too (yes, Colony). It takes itself far too serious, so plenty of room for an Ozzie take on things. I hope that Cannonball Colony lives up to its mucking about title.

I must say that square grid landfall boards for (two to?) four players tend to strike the fear of god into me, largely due to player interaction issues. Probably played one armada or pirate treasure island themed game too many I guess. There have been pleasant exceptions too, Targui and Entdecker spring to mind. Curious to see how you tackle it.

One element of claiming New Found Land seems to be absent from your design at first glance: discovery. Do players face hidden perils and pleasant surprises, encouraging roaming, or are the terrain tiles pretty much "it"?

After your successful debut I am sure people are keeping this on their radar, it sure is on mine. The early glimpse is promising (again). Good luck!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Weitner
United States
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Seconded that Cannonball Colony and Powderkeg are the best suggestions. If the game is truly fun, I think Cannonball Colony is a real winner. Powderkeg does everything you want a name to do, but Cannonball Colony is more immediately evocative of the theme and gameplay. It does suggest lightheartedness though, both because of the alliteration and because it recalls Cannonball Run.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil Walker-Harding
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your thoughts everyone!

Wow, just looked up Colony and it seems very similar in theme. However the gameplay looks very different. Thanks for pointing out Tarqui too, I hadn't heard of that and it looks well worth checking out.

You are right Woo, discovery really isn't an element in the game. It developed from the start more down the line of conquest/settlement rather than exploration (another game concept I often toy with). Forward planning is a big part of the strategy, so the board really needs to be visible from the start. The tension of knowing in some sense how everyone's settlements will 'clash' when they reach the middle of the board is also key.

I really like Powderkeg as a game title, cool word! But I do think I need to get the idea of colonisation in there somewhere.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek H
South Africa
Johannesburg
Gauteng
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
BigWoo wrote:
I already have a "game" called Colony that deals with all players arriving for a simultaneous landgrab, I am fairly sure it is in the database here too (yes, Colony).
Does everyone in the world have a "colony" game? Here I was thinking my prototype was pretty original... oh well, back to the design board!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Sauberer
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gamesbook wrote:
BigWoo wrote:
I already have a "game" called Colony that deals with all players arriving for a simultaneous landgrab, I am fairly sure it is in the database here too (yes, Colony).
Does everyone in the world have a "colony" game? Here I was thinking my prototype was pretty original... oh well, back to the design board!

You could try redoing it with a unique theme like pirates or Renaissance Italy.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Harley
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Yum, Pirates!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chrees M
United Kingdom
Wolverhampton
West Midlands
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I really think cannonball/powderkeg and the like conjurer the image of pirates/naval battles more than colonisation.

Personally i'd prefer something simple and catchy, that spells out the game, maybe like Colonial Conflict? I dunno, i'm crud at naming stuff.

It does look interesting through. What's it like in 2 player? I don't normally have more than one person to play games with
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil Walker-Harding
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hmm, yes Conflict Colony or Colonial Conflict could both be nice options. They may sound a bit too serious but we'll see!

I am aware any sort of cannon reference makes people think of pirates right away, but I think I can get away with it because cannons are actually a big feature of the game! So it will at least be justified once you've played it.

Because the board is modular, you will create a smaller island as the playing area for a 2 player game. It is definitely quicker and more tense this way (there is no one else to help keep your opponent at bay), but I think it plays well enough to be considered a real 2-4 player game. 4 players seems to be the funnest though.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jackson Pope
United Kingdom
Newcastle upon Tyne
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hiya Phil,

My vote is for Powderkeg or Powderkeg Colony. Looking forward to hearing more about this one...

Cheers,

Jack
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rose C
Australia
melbourne
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
how about Conflict Island?
hope it's a winner for you
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marco Fuini
New Zealand
Porirua
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cannonball Colony gets my vote, alternatively Cannonball Crusade, Cannonbal Expedition or Settlers of KABLAAM! but that will get you sued...

Have you considered the games replay ability? If you dont want hidden terrain, treasure or events perhaps you can use variable tiles instead of a board. They would be placed face up during set-up, The number of players could then determine the number of tiles used ie 4 players = a 14x14 area, 2 players might be 8x8 etc. The tiles could be in blocks of 4 if you want a quicker set-up.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
hugo mocc
United Kingdom
Leeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey Phil!

Nice going. Loved the prototype and the idea. It reminds me a bit of Dune as well...

As far as the name is concerned, depending on what your purpose is, I would say that "Cannonball" and "Powderkeg" names will give the game a cartoony slant. If you're looking for something a bit more serious I would go for something like "Island War" or "Island Conquerors".

Anyway, I think it's a great premise for a game and I'm gutted that you didn't consider the Portuguese for one of your powers (I know: it's on purpose so you can sell the 6-player expansion later on, right?).

Good luck!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick West
Scotland
Edinburgh
Midlothian
flag msg tools
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity....
badge
....and I'm not certain about the universe." Albert Einstein
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Trying to understand exactly when this game is supposed to be based - 16th, 17th, 18th or 19th century? It matter to the flavour you wish to impart I think. The latter might be regarded as the "height of imperialism" that you quote but I get the impression you probably intend earlier.

First I was thinking of titles with the words "Imperialism" or "Empire" in it. Then "Colony" or "Colonialism". I can see why you might want to avoid "Settlers" or "Settlement" but they are options linking to your strong theme.

Then I wondered, why are the four powers completing so hard for this place - the history of imperialism tends to suggest that "first-finders keepers" and the powers specifically avoided completing in this way - so there has to be something special about your island to make them want to all fight for it. Either strategic location or the riches it holds.

So coming from that direction, how about "Grab El Dorado!" or "El Dorado is Mine!".

I too am slightly worried by the square rather than hex grid - don't avoid the latter just to avoid seeming too much like Settlers if it is the right geomorphological answer to the game set-up.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A. C.
Canada
Toronto Area
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One way to go with the name is "______ Island" where _____ is a made up name like "Harding Island".

"Battle" or "Struggle" or "Fight" "for Harding Island"

"Clash on Harding Island"


Also, you could replace "Island" with "Colony".
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil Walker-Harding
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for all these name ideas, lots more good suggestions. I will keep thinking!

The board actually is modular. If you look closely at the picture you may be able to see that there are 16 sqaure pieces that make up the island (each one has 16 spaces on it). 4 and 3 player games use this 4x4 set-up and a 2 player game uses 3x4 tiles.

The sqaure grid is integral to the gameplay, and this wasn't a decision made specifically against hexes. Building and moving works quite differently to something like Settlers, and the mechanics grew out of grid-based ideas.

In terms of time, yes I am not being completely historically correct! I suppose it is a mesh of both 18th and 16th century ideas... but the historical theme is not too important. There is no real strategic reason to grab this island per se, the game is much more an excuse to have fun using bad accents and blowing enemy nations away. The tension in the game comes from speedily taking control of the island in the face of the ever-encroaching enemy, not so much from having anything of historical importance hanging in the balance.


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls