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Phobos Falling, Harvey Cornell | Main Category | 2-8 players | 60 to 120 minutes

– Asteroid pirates have destroyed Mars' moon, Phobos, sending the orbiting space station, Valhalla, hurtling off toward the asteroid belt. The station is badly damaged. You cooperatively play senior officers of the space station, using your special skills to keep the station habitable long enough to outfit a shuttle for the long trip back to Earth before the marauding pirates destroy you.

– List of Components
1 - game board
2 - six-sided dice
9 - role cards
6 - play aid cards
9 - crewman avatars
6 - security robots
12 - single pirates
6 - five-x pirates
85 - markers
216 - cards

– Picture/s proof of concept


– Link for game rules
https://storage.googleapis.com/wzukusers/user-16925369/docum...

– Link for game rules reference guide
https://storage.googleapis.com/wzukusers/user-16925369/docum...
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Harvey Cornell
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Re: [WIP] Phobos Falling (ThunderGryph Contest 2017)
I first started developing Phobos Falling in summer 2014. My wife and I playtested it quite a bit and loved the game. We chose to focus on other game designs for a while since Phobos Falling is a cooperative game and we thought it might be better to establish ourselves with a more conventional competitive format game before trying to publish a coop game. We have a number of other designs, several of which are quite mature. One of them, V.I.P.E.R Ops, is currently a finalist in the Cardboard Edison Contest.

When we heard of the Thundergryph Survival game design contest we decided this was the right venue for us to present Phobos Falling, since it is a survival game. Although the game is very fun to play and has been playtested by a dozen or more people and was very well received, there was one major concern we needed to address: the game took 4-8 hours to play.

Over the 2016 Christmas holidays we made a concentrated effort to get the game down to a reasonable playing time. First, the space station was reduced in size to reduce the player's problems. Two shuttle bays were removed (leaving only one). Next, the event card deck was reworked to speed up the pace of the game. Due to the difficulty this added to the game, the initial damage state of the space station was reduced to regain the play-balance. Next, we changed the game from having a random initial set of damaged space station systems to having a set of fourteen predefined scenarios that are thought out to achieve the desired play-balance. We will likely include the random damage start as an alternate way to play, but for now, the focus is on the the predefined scenarios. Finally, we simplified the requirements for outfitting the shuttle for the trip back to earth to speed up play.

The result of this redesign is that we now have a game that plays in 1-2 hours and is tense, exciting, and incredibly fun!

In addition to the changes above, we have expanded the number of available characters to play from six to ten, and have been tweaking the character's abilities for balance, variety and fun. We now have a Commander, First Officer, Science Officer, Operations Officer, Helmsman, Chief Engineer, Mass Mover Officer, Quartermaster, Chief of Security, and Marine Commander. The large variety of characters with different skill sets adds a lot to the replayability.

We replaced two rooms on the space station with others that are more interesting and get more use. The old rooms were a third Cargo hold, and the Sick Bay. The replacements are the Science Lab and the Mass Mover station (think transporter room from Star Trek).

Next we tweaked the way computer data is used to create the software needed by the crew. This change simplified the board and some of the cards decks.

All in all, the game is playing VERY well now and we are focusing on getting the components ready for uploading to Gamecrafter. The rules have been written and after one last review and edit this weekend will be made available here.
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Re: [WIP] Phobos Falling (ThunderGryph Contest 2017)
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Re: [WIP] Phobos Falling (ThunderGryph Contest 2017 | Idea Phase)
We have play-tested our Phobos Falling game about five times recently using only two characters (as opposed to the four or six we usually test with), to make sure it plays well that way. We tried different scenarios each time. We found that the game plays differently when you only have the special skills of two crewmen and offers different challenges. We also found that the play balance was still good and we thought each play was still very exciting. It seems that the game is now extremely well balanced and very robust. Even so, I plan to add something to the rules to allow the players to adjust the difficulty level to suit their skill levels and preferences.

We play-tested yesterday with a new player who has not seen it before and he was very impressed. We did get some feedback to help with clarifying the rules. Playing with new players and noting what parts of the rules need the most explaining is helpful in determining where to focus efforts on improving the rule book. We will continue to play-test and improve the quality of the rule book.

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Re: [WIP] Phobos Falling (ThunderGryph Contest 2017 | Idea Phase)
Just finished updating the graphics on the cards as well as improving the text on the cards. Yesterday my wife and partner updating the game board. It is much more user friendly.

I also have removed the dice from the game. They were only being used to determine how many pirates board the station when a boarding occurs or to decide a few other random items, but I have incorporated a more deterministic approach so that dice are no longer being used in the game at all.

The next step is to add the examples of play into the rule book.

When we play test the game next time we will get an updated set of pictures to post here.
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Carlie Cornell
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We have uploaded final version of the rules and marked our entry Contest Ready. Whew! Lots of playtesting, proofing and rework have gone into these final actions.

We're very excited and hope the folks at ThunderGryph find the game as fun as we do.

Fingers crossed.
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