wayne mathias
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This is my entry for the 2017 Two-Player Print and Play Game Design Contest - all graphics etc. by Wayne Mathias



ALCHELEMENTAL - a Two Player Duel on the Elemental Astral Plane


Summon alchemical elemental units to the board, navigate the elemental fields, defeat your opponent using location, elemental facings, and chained double movements in conflicts.

Setup:
Power units are placed on (called to) the marked power node hexes.
Goal:
Eliminate both opposing power units or occupy both opponent power nodes

Components:
24 hexagonal tokens per player (10 per player are double-sided), 1 elemental circle picture, an 8x8 hexmap board and an alternative 16x16 hexmap board.

Current Stage: Blind Playtest (PnP and Vassal module prototypes)
Purpose: to determine time of play and if both boards should be retained

Categories:
I'd like the game to be entered in:
Best Casual/Gateway Game (can be like Checkers using the 8x8 board)
Best Heavy Game (more complicated using the 16x16 board)
Best Game with Language Independent Components
Best Use of Theme
Best New Mechanic
Best Game

Links


Complete rules:
http://thesingularitytrap.com/alchelemental/alchelemental-do...

Additional PnP printouts as a pdf file:
http://thesingularitytrap.com/alchelemental/alchelemental-do...

Additional PnP printouts as png images in folders (zip file):
http://thesingularitytrap.com/alchelemental/zips/alchelement...

Vassal module and saved setups as a zip:
http://thesingularitytrap.com/alchelemental/zips/alchelement...

Since I have no easy way to make physical prototypes (including must drive to use library printer) I have included the Vassal playtest version of my game also.
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JK
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Welcome to the contest Wayne!

I have added you to the entry list under "component ready" rather than "contest ready" (as stated in your thread title) so that you can still edit things if you need to (contest ready means you don't intend to make any more changes - the game is finished).

Cheers!
JK
 
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wayne mathias
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I appreciate it.

Based on how the rules hang together, the only changes I foresee would be
A) if anything was discovered that needed a change of wording in the rules (rated highly unlikely but still possible)
or
B) if it was determined by playtesting that the current boards are either too cramped or too big and something in the 10x10 or 12x12 range was needed instead.

Both of these depend on playtest results, but otherwise the game is complete and contest ready. No changes are anticipated in game mechanics and the "break in pattern" of the Djin unit orientation is deliberate and partly thematic (djin are just contrary that way) in the somewhat backgrounded theme (like pre-gunpowder war is a background theme for Chess).
 
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wayne mathias
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Re: [WIP] Alchelemental - 2017 Two-Player PnP Contest - Contest Ready more??

Proving that the moderators here at BGG have wisdom, playtesting so far has revealed a couple of things:

1. The current board is a bit glarish (yup. both glares and garish).



2. The game is more like Chess than Checkers in amount of thinking involved even on the 8x8 board - but learning the rules is still a gateway thing.

It also needed a way to record moves similar to piece based notation for Chess.

Modified (vibrancy reduced by a third and brightness by a fifth) version created for both boards.





Alchelemental: movement notes for recording a game

With the Light player as the player on the left:

Rows are numbered 1 to 8 from top to bottom R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 (numbered 1 to 16 on the larger board).
Calling a unit to the top or bottom row gives a choice of hexes - Left, Right (and on the larger board Center).

DIRECTIONS are UpLeft UpRight Left Right DownLeft DownRight UL UR L R DL DR

A move begins with selecting an onboard unit or calling an offboard unit to the board.

Select: [select] unit
ex: "select djin" = "djin"

Since an offboard unit can enter the board already mirrored and spun, actual state MUST be specified with unit name, if it is mirrored, and elemental face(s) by direction for spin status when calling it.
ex: "gnome water L" specifies a gnome with its sole water facing left and is all that is needed for this piece
ex: "dissolve fire L-UL" since dissolve needs 2 facings to describe spin status
ex: "meteor mirrored air L"

Call: call unit row[position]
ex: "call meteor mirrored air L R4" , "call sylph water R R16C"


ACTIONS:

Mirror: mirror [unit]
ex: "mirror" or "mirror still"

Spin: spin Clock/Anti #faces
ex: "spin A2" , "spin flood C1"

move [unit] direction UL UR L R DL DR
ex: move UL , move paralda R

impel [direction] target
ex: impel crystalize , impel DL gnome

Final playtest Vassal module plus saved games of the 8x8 and 16x16 boards with pieces already sorted are located here as a zip file: http://thesingularitytrap.com/alchelemental/zips/alchelement...
The module contains the elemental circle, the rules, and the notation method in the charts (docs) area.


Final PnP for contest is a 28 page pdf -- relative size of units and boards when printing has been solved with the 8x8 board in 4 sections (no overlap) and the 16x16 in 9 sections (no overlap). The boards in the PnP have also had vibrancy and brightness reduced.

Pages 1-3 = rules (print these)

Page 4 = small pics of elemental circle and both boards

Page 5 = notation method (for turn records or PBEM)

Pages 6-12 = Syllabus_Initia_Elemental (themed list of units)

Pages 13-28 = component printouts : 1 page elemental circle, 1 page Dark unit labels, 1 page Light unit labels, 4 pages sectioned 8x8 board, 9 pages sectioned 16x16 board



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JK
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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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Sindre Finnøy
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This game requires a lot of unnecessary gluing and stuff.
I would recommend trying to remove the mirror rule and only have one side to the pieces, or just make it possible to print two different pages on each side of a paper the way people do with card-backs.

It is aslo quite intimidating with 11 pages of rules, try to trim down the rules document to something more digestable.

Other than that it looks promising
 
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wayne mathias
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There are only 3 pages of rules, the elemental wheel, gameboard(s), and units.

There is also a 1 page notation method
(a method used to record a move for PBEM or other distant play, not a part of rules)

There is a long totally not needed unit listing that has a lot of purely thematic elements but is nothing except a component list - the Vassal module does not include this component list since it has nothing to do with actually playing and the module is not going to lose any pieces.

The label sheets for the units serve the same purpose as that long thematic unit listing.

The thematic unit listing was an afterthought - a mix of component list and my attempt to use text for theme since actual art is beyond my capabilities.

I envision the production version having tokens approx 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick.

For PnP I recommend using a corrugated cardboard box as the backing material - available from most stores if you ask or raid the dumpster


I recommend using 2 layers for the units - the 10 units each side that mirror get front and back glued together and the others get a second blank back.
(glue labels sheet to backing, cut away the mirror labels and glue matching sides together, glue the remaining single faced section to a second backing and then cut those apart)

You can also playtest using the Vassal module.

The game itself will not let me scrap the mirror idea which collapses the unit count from 34 to 24 per side.






 
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gxnpt wrote:
There is a long totally not needed unit listing that has a lot of purely thematic elements but is nothing except a component list.


Then I think it would be better to remove it or keep it as a separate file from the rules.
As I entered the rules I just thought "Jeez!", which is not a good first impression even if it is unearned.

gxnpt wrote:
For PnP I recommend using a corrugated cardboard box as the backing material - available from most stores if you ask or raid the dumpster.


I understand this is the most ideal way to play it but you should make it easy for people who just want to print and play on paper and spend more time helping you playtest it than dumpster diving
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wayne mathias
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Simple suggestion for the units - just using regular paper to print everything draft quality and cheap - would use a stapler (or tape) to fasten the front and back of the mirroring units together - 10 units each side so 20 total staples needed. Units that do not mirror just stay single thickness paper nothing stapled to the back.

Later, if you like the game, you could always do a higher quality printout and make something more permanent.

Less scary pdfs
rules
http://thesingularitytrap.com/alchelemental/alchelemental-do...
printouts
http://thesingularitytrap.com/alchelemental/alchelemental-do...

not needed to play
original unit list
http://thesingularitytrap.com/alchelemental/alchelemental-ru...
same thing all themed up
http://thesingularitytrap.com/alchelemental/pdfs/Syllabus_In...


I can also supply the boards as entire png images instead of in sections.

16x16


8x8






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Good fix.
Stapler should work.

Will test is out next time I have a printer at my disposal.
 
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So I was printing the game pieces and they reminded me of parts of this video.
https://youtu.be/mDclQowcE9I
The relevant part is from 14:50 to 17:30.

In short, the text is hard to read due to the color of the text and particularly difficult on some of the pieces due to the color of the background.
 
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wayne mathias
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Have not looked at the video yet, but no argument re unit names being not easy to read on the units. [edit: just grabbed a copy of the 282meg 720p version of it to watch later]

On the other hand, the unit name is only used if you are recording your moves (as in my example) and has nothing to do with game play -- unit names were tacked on after everything else.

(At the time I was thinking of some sort of figurine that would slot into the current hexagonal numbered spot so the current units would form a base - which could remove and flip over - to hold the figures upright.)

Final artwork for a production version would correct that particular issue - and I am no longer enamored with figurines but AM thinking of hex shaped pillars.

If it reaches a production stage a lot will depend on relative costs for components.

 
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All good ideas, regarding the production.

But I think this contest will be judged by how the games are during the contest, not what they will become later.
So I think it would be best to either improve the text or remove it if you truly believe it to be unneeded for the gameplay.
Recording gameplay should take a back-seat to the gameplay itself.
 
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wayne mathias
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You might be right, but as is the text enables record keeping and makes it a bit easier to match up mirror labels if they get mixed before being stapled together while remaining easy to ignore otherwise.

I would be interested in more opinions in this area.
 
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wayne mathias
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I redid the graphics and the updated the pdf files and the vassal module.

See http://thesingularitytrap.com/ALC/alc.html for the newest versions.


 
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Marty Lund
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Looks awesome! Good luck!
 
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wayne mathias
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Found a glitch in the new vassal module - working on it now
 
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wayne mathias
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And now, finally and at last, the final Vassal module and PnP contest entry files.

http://thesingularitytrap.com/ALC

(the alc.html page is a clone of the index page now)


Final Entry - This Time For Sure

Spoiler (click to reveal)





 
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wayne mathias
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Which board looks better? I am leaning toward the second version myself but have both prepared.

http://thesingularitytrap.com/ALC/ uses the older board version in the PnP and in the Vassal module

while

http://thesingularitytrap.com/ALC2/ uses the newer version of the board for both PnP and Vassal

http://thesingularitytrap.com/ALC/vas-8x8_duel_board.png

or

http://thesingularitytrap.com/ALC2/vas-8x8_duel_board.png

old board



new board




 
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I just printed off your files.

After reading your rules, I am confused by the math in the gameplay. How does the elemental diagram relate to the positional, etc modifiers? Does any modifier ever add to the score of a piece (be it repel/impel)? I think a little clearer explanation in the notes MAY be warranted IMHO.

EDIT: IGNORE THIS LAST QUESTION... I GOT IT. Also, so basically power nodes can rarely move unless there are the right surrounding pieces? Am I right about that?
 
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I may play test this without mirror function because I don't have access to transparencies! haha... I think if you can rotate, the inability to mirror is probably not a big deal and I would still get a feel for the game.
 
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wayne mathias
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Power Units are special.

Power units have an action number of 1, can move in any direction to unoccupied hexes only, cannot impel, have a repel value of 1, and all faces are the designated element for match and repel.


Transparencies:

There are labels for both sides of the units that can mirror (one side has name above the arrow and the other side has name below the arrow) so transparencies are not required. (Printed on transparent lucite would sure look good, tho..........)

The units that have handedness can mirror. Units lacking handedness do not mirror since a spin will do the same thing for those units.



 
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wayne mathias
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I broke down and wrote a script for hex tile map placement so the map is all nicely computer positioned now.

Decided on a final set of tiles for the playing fields and coloration for the playing field surrounds. Added texture to the surrounds.

Made some wording changes in the rules for clarity.
Ex:
Power units are special
- all faces have the same element but actions points and strength are only 1
and they cannot impel. They can move in any direction with no matching required.


Updated the pdf files for Print-and-Play and updated the Vassal module and saved setups.

http://thesingularitytrap.com/pnp/ has links to all the latest files
 
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wayne mathias
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The Vassal module is now also available at http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Alchelemental
 
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The vassal module http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Alchelemental has a minor update - just a fix for the "unit selected" highlight for rotated units.
 
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