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Thou foolish men who felled the trees
To build thy vessels to cross my seas
Failest thou the maelstrom heed?
My crushing grasp shall soon fell thee

- Anonymous




My submission to the 2017 Two-Player Print and Play Game Design Contest.




My inspiration for the game, "In Each Hand A Cutlass"s album "The Kraken" - a good instrumental rock album, by the way.

Intruders On Our Seas is a 2 player game played on a 19x19 grid board where the players each play a powerful spirit that summons sea monsters to protect the sea from the onslaught of human explorers.

Components:
To be determined, but likely something like:
19x19 gameboard
12 cubes representing human sailing vessels
6 blue Water resource cubes
4 brown earth resource cubes
4 white Air resource cubes
2 orange Fire resource cubes
4 cubes or glass beads for each player to represent their sea creatures
2 D8, ideally 1 white, 1 blue


Link to Files (Rules, Gameboard):
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B4GOwLLS7SEbVGRiN0xG...

First draft of rules. Please playtest and offer feedback to make the game better.



Approximate Playing Time:
10-30 minutes


Categories:

Best Casual/Gateway Game
Best Use of Theme
Best Art/Graphic Design
Best Game with Language Independent Components
Best New Mechanic
Best Game

Instructional playthrough video (not real polished, but hopefully it is helpful):

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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Mechanics

After designing solo games lately, I'm due for designing a 2 player game. I've also designed mostly card based games lately, so a game using a real board is also overdue for me.

I envision placing 8 or so cubes equally spaced along the edges of the board. They will move based on some dice rolls maybe selecting a side of the board or a zone on the board - all those ships will move a space or two towards the center of the board, plus some weather effect that also moves them.

Each player will start with 2 spirits and maybe 2 resources. Worker placement mechanic will be used to collect more resources, summon a sea creature (at a cost 1 or more resources), and maybe other "special" effects: wind direction, etc.

Sea creatures will have different effects and positions on the board. Goal is for each player to destroy as many human ships as possible. As the game goes on, the players will have opportunities to add more creatures if they have enough resources.

So, the main decisions for the players will be:
1) which creature to select, and where to place it to destroy more ships than your opponent
2) when to add a different creature, and where to place it to destroy more human vessels.

Since all the human ships will slowly be moving to the center island, the island dragon will be in demand, so you want to get it before your opponent, but not too soon.

I guess whittling the game down to the very basics, it will be a worker placement tower defense game. The 2 players will have to choose which unit to use to take out the most oncoming enemies.

EDIT: Added updated details.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Theme

For several of my games, songs have influenced, or triggered a theme. Thanks to Spotify, I stumbled across this instrumental rock outfit from Singapore called "In Each Hand A Cutlass", and their latest album "The Kraken" has a real cool cover. So, that was my theme inspiration.

Then, I guess just for a twist, rather than the players playing brave sailors or explorers, or whatever, I thought it might be fun to turn the tables. Let the players play the sea creatures - not as evil monsters, but as creatures or spirits just trying to defend their sea from the scourge of the land - the humans.

13x13 grid game board - using the superstitious 13 to size the board. But, of course, this may change with playtesting. It did. Board is currently 19x19.

I've got 7 or so types of sea creatures or effects (storms) that the players will be able to choose from that are sort of a mash up of any sea monster imaginable:
1) Serpent of the Mist that will stay along the outside edges of the board (near land)
2) A Dragon on the central island
3) Kraken in the open sea
4) Sirens (mermaids) on some reefs
5) Whales that will ram the ships in the open sea
6) A storm that will move across the board on a set path
7) A Whirlpool (maybe) that can be placed anywhere on the board to intercept ships.

These of course will likely change, but are my starting ideas. Stay tuned.

EDIT: Updated with more current details.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Hi Scott,

Welcome to the contest! I have added your game to the list.

JK
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
A game from Scott? That's an auto-subscription.

Dark.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Thanks for putting the pressure on me Dark.

Right now, it's an idea from Scott, but hopefully in a week or two it will be a game from Scott.

Thank you for your confidence in me though - much appreciated.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Mechanics, Part 2

Another long commute today, so more thinking, noodling, and scribbling.

The 2 players will each have access to the same 7 creatures throughout the game. A challenge is how to make that fun, how much "take that" should there be, etc. I thought about card drafting, rolling dice, auction, etc. but the game (that really isn't a game yet) started to feel bloated and confusing - not good. That was the morning commute.

On my drive home, I thought of something that looks great in my head, we will see how it looks out in the world. I am thinking worker placement. Hopefully, that isn't a turn off for anyone. It will be a new challenge for me, since I have never designed a worker placement game.

Each player will start with 1 worker/spirit/something, and probably a few resources. Since I'm already mashing up Kraken and mermaids and dragons, I thought I'd throw some alchemy in the mix, so I'm thinking the resources will be: Water, Air, Earth, Fire, at least for now.

There will be 2 boards or 2 sections of the boards: 1 for the map of the sea with the nasty humans sailing around, the other for resource gathering and creature summoning. Each creature will have a cost, something like:
Serpent of the Mist: 1 Water, 1 Earth
Sirens (Mermainds): 1 Water, 1 Earth
Whale: 2 Water
Storm: 1 Water, 1 Air
Dragon: 1 Air, 1 earth, 1 Fire
etc.

On my turn, I can place my worker on any resource (but resources will be limited), on a "create" spot to create another worker for a cost of any 2 resources, or on one of the creature spots for the above mentioned cost. If I create a creature, I then place that worker out on the map on one of the starting spots for that creature.

On any later turn, I can use that creature on the map to destroy a ship, or pull it off the map and use that worker on the worker placement board again. If I pull it off the board, I lose the resources I used to buy it, I don't get them back.

I think this will create some good tension and decision making: do I create more workers early, or gather more resources, or get out on the map and start destroying me some ships. At least, that is my hope. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to test it out in the next few days.

The beauty of this approach is no cards needed, just a 2nd board for worker placement activity. Since the game already has a board, dice (for movement of the ships), and cubes, I think avoiding cards if possible will keep the game from feeling confusing. We'll see.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
First, quick prototype:


(makes sense to me, at least)
Gold cubes are human vessels, black and clear glass beads are the 2 players' "workers", other colored cubes are resources used to "buy" creatures to place on board (represented by black and clear glass beads).

I think the board sort of has that ancient Tafl look, which I like:


Mechanically, I think the game works. I am sure much balancing is needed and likely a bigger board, probably 19x19.

Much work to do, but making progress.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase


There are some really cool creatures on 500 year old maps.

Not sure a giant lobster will make it into the game, but it might.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Working on rules and board. Hope to have first draft components and rules up by Friday.

Components required will likely be:

12 yellow cubes (human sea vessels)
8 blue cubes (water)
4 black cubes (earth)
4 white cubes (air)
2 red cubes (fire)
1 blue D8
1 white D8
4 clear glass beads for player 1
4 black (or other color) glass beads for player 2

Also, the game should be playable as:
2 player competitive
2 player co-op
solo

Stay tuned.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Rules are coming along. First couple playtests have yielded some good info to tweak the game.

Each round of the game will have the following phases:
1) Creation - worker placement for players to obtain resources, or create/summon creatures to place on map
2) Placement - place any newly created creatures on map, move any creatures already on the map
3) Navigation - roll 1D8 that selects a section of the map. Any human vessels in that section of the map move 1 space towards the center of the map.
4) Wind - roll 1D8 that determines wind direction. Move all ("all" may change to "certain") human vessels in the direction the wind is blowing.
5) Second Wave - occasionally, new human vessels will enter the map.


 
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
More inspiration.

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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Gameboard / map is coming along nicely.

From paper sketch to cold digital image to 500 year old map:



My plan is to replace the letters on the map with symbols for whales, kraken, sirens, etc. But, making good progress I think.


Updated the map with icons instead of letters.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Hi Scott,

I am really enjoying watching your progress here. Plus I'm a sucker for old maritime maps with "here be dragons" regions...

Keep up the good work.
JK
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Thanks John. I am enjoying researching these old maps, and then trying to create that look in a game.

The twist for this game is that the players get to play the dragons - the intruders on this sea are the humans.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Second draft of the board:


Visually, I want the sea map to be large, maybe like 16"x16" (400mm x 400mm) and the worker placement to be a separate sheet, but for my playtesting, this works.

The circles are where you place your workers. Below the circle is the cost (in resources), above the circle is what you get.

The game works fine, I am currently dialing in the speed of the game (should human vessels move 1 space or 2 on their turn?).

First draft rules might be up tonight.

Thanks.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
Very cool! In thinking about board size/numbers of sheets, you might want to think about how the final board/boards might be folded.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
GreenTea532 wrote:
Very cool! In thinking about board size/numbers of sheets, you might want to think about how the final board/boards might be folded.


Yup. But, I don't want it folded at all. I want it big and flat, and maybe carved into wood!


I may end up having several different board sizes available:
- 1 letter / A4 page (for convenience)

- 2 letter / A4 pages (or 1 11x17 / A3 size)

- 1 big 20" x 20" page (for awesomeness )
 
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - IDEA Phase
First draft of the rules and one page gameboard* are now online:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B4GOwLLS7SEbVGRiN0xG...

Any feedback on the rules and game is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

* I'd like to make the game board larger so it feels like a huge sea, but for now - for initial playtesting - it's all on one letter size page.
 
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - Components Ready
Printed the board, collected all the bits, and am doing a run through!
So, of course, I have questions... but first - looks like a very tense race to sink all those yellow cubes. Yay!

Board: very cool, but it would be easier on my tired eyes if the background were lighter, for more contrast.

Lightening the background will make white cube images disappear, but maybe outline them? Also, a clear glass bead is an invisible glass bead. Lastly, the rules specify black for earth, but the image is brown.

Also, just to note, 1 cm cubes, the most common, are too big. And you might consider adding a few more numbers to the edges, since a cube on a number obscures it.

Wind-- what dice number is "calm?"

Rules (so far): I assume there is a cleanup phase that returns the spirit to the player, but can't find this in the rules.

It looks as though only one spirit can be placed per player per turn? Or can spirit placement continue until spirits are used up?

Can opposing spirits occupy the same circle?

That's all for now. Thanks for making what looks to be another fun game.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - Components Ready
1 GG for being the first set of human eyeballs (other than mine) to see the rules, read them, and offer feedback. Thanks.

GreenTea532 wrote:
Printed the board, collected all the bits, and am doing a run through!
So, of course, I have questions... but first - looks like a very tense race to sink all those yellow cubes. Yay!

Board: very cool, but it would be easier on my tired eyes if the background were lighter, for more contrast.

Lightening the background will make white cube images disappear, but maybe outline them? Also, a clear glass bead is an invisible glass bead. Lastly, the rules specify black for earth, but the image is brown.

Also, just to note, 1 cm cubes, the most common, are too big. And you might consider adding a few more numbers to the edges, since a cube on a number obscures it.


All valid comments. I'll work on the board some.

Choose whatever color glass beads you want for the 2 players, I just happened to have clear and black. Of course you could use cubes, but there are already plenty of colors of cubes bouncing around in the game.

GreenTea532 wrote:
Wind-- what dice number is "calm?"


"Calm" (0 wind) only happens if a player chooses that action, or if the Wind roll is opposite, or opposite +/-1 of the last Wind roll. When either of these happens, the wind is 0 and the vessels don't move.

I signifiy this by setting the Wind die away from the board (not ear any of the red Wind numbers). I will clarify in the rules.


GreenTea532 wrote:
Rules (so far): I assume there is a cleanup phase that returns the spirit to the player, but can't find this in the rules.


Correct, will add.

GreenTea532 wrote:
It looks as though only one spirit can be placed per player per turn? Or can spirit placement continue until spirits are used up?


Oops. No. I said "alternate", but then spoke in singular:

"Players alternate placing a Spirit in the worker placement area to do one of the following actions:"

I'll re-word that. Players alternate turns each placing 1 Spirit at a time.

This is sort of a key strategic part of the game - do I keep my spirits as workers to place to gather more and more resources and do actions, or do I make them into creatures that go onto the map (and stay there until I decide to remove them). Once they are on the map, they are not available in the "Create" phase.

GreenTea532 wrote:
Can opposing spirits occupy the same circle?


No. That is why I placed 2 blue "Water" resources and circles, so each player can always have access to the Water resource.

I guess I also need to explain that 2 spirits can also not occupy the same square on the map (this may be a nit of an issue with the Storm that moves on a pre-determined path running into another spirit. I'll have to figure out how to fix that.

GreenTea532 wrote:
That's all for now. Thanks for making what looks to be another fun game.


Thanks again. Very much appreciated.
 
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - Components Ready
Hey C.L. and everyone else,

Thanks to C.L.'s feedback, I killed 2 vessels with 1 maelstrom (I kraken myself up).

I uploaded to Google Drive an improved gameboard that is higher contrast (lighter background parchment + darker icons), AND larger (2 letter size pages that will need to be slightly trimmed - 1 page only - and taped or glued together).

Hope this helps everyone. I definitely like the new larger board. It feels more like a sea now instead of a small lake.



Edit: The photo was taken with a flash that washed out the colors. The white squares for the Air resource are - in real life - easily visible.

The grid lines look faint, but to my tired eyes are fine. Let me know how it works for you.

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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - Components Ready
I love that wind effect idea...gotta go get me some D8s! I'll post my build when I get it done.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - Components Ready
Clarified rules (version 052) posted. Thanks.


At first the wind was whatever the D8 roll was. But, on average, that just had the vessels moving back and forth. The latest rule (where the wind can't be opposite of the previous wind roll) makes the wind less random.

Thanks.
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Re: [WIP] Intruders On Our Seas - A Submission to the 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - Components Ready
PLAYTESTER SPOT PRIZES

This game is eligible for a playtester spot prize for the next week!

See this post for more details.
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