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Subject: Theoretical 6-player expansion rss

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Jonathan Zev
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I'm all hyped up on Spirit Island anticipation, so I'm channeling it into questions. (Aimed at Eric, mostly, although everyone else is of course free to speculate and/or chime in)


How long do you think it's going to be before you know enough to decide whether or not a 6-player expansion is going to be feasible?

If you do create a 6-player expansion, what would it contain? Obviously it would have 2 new boards and pieces to fill them, but would it also have new spirits? New powers? What about scenarios, adversaries, or fear cards?

Are there any specific challenges that bringing the player count up to 6 adds?
 
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Max Maloney
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Why would they go from 4P to 6P? I would expect a 5P expansion to come first.
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Jonathan Zev
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Actually, 5-player seems trickier than six player, as far as island design goes. For 6 players you just extend the 4 player island from one end. But if you want a 5 player island that doesn't look like it's missing a piece then I think that you need to flip two of the tiles over. You can use two flipped tiles on the 6 player board as well, but it puts the coastlines in a different place and means that the canonical map won't match the playmat.

Edit: flipped is the wrong word, because that would break the tesselation. But the coastline would have to be moved one side over, if that makes sense.
 
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R. Eric Reuss
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Arcanist Lupus wrote:
How long do you think it's going to be before you know enough to decide whether or not a 6-player expansion is going to be feasible?


Sorry, no idea! That is 100% a question for Greater Than Games. :-)

Quote:
If you do create a 6-player expansion, what would it contain? Obviously it would have 2 new boards and pieces to fill them, but would it also have new spirits? New powers? What about scenarios, adversaries, or fear cards?

I can't make any statements about what it would contain with absolute certainty - or even moderate certainty, really. It could be that >G decides that making a #-of-players expansion as bare-bones as possible to keep the cost down is the way to go. Or they could take a more usual approach of "include the ability to play up to 6 as one feature of a broadly-featured expansion". Or something else entirely.

(I do hope it'd have new Spirits. I like making Spirits. :-)

Quote:
Are there any specific challenges that bringing the player count up to 6 adds?

Convincing people not to try the game for the first time with 6 players?

Really, though, I designed for up to 6p from the outset. If the Minor Power deck is core game only, then a 6p game where players acquire Minor Power aggressively and don't take many Majors has the potential to run it nearly dry, which makes late-game power selection oddly repetitive, but that's the only thing I can think of.

Re: board layout, I'll need to go back and fiddle around with layouts again, but "4p with another board on the bottom (the way which looks less weird" ought to look fine, and there are other options too. (eg: make a star out of 6 boards with tips pointed inwards. Remove two adjacent boards, then replace them with a single board broad-angle in.) The gameplay works no matter how you puzzle the boards together; some arrangements just emphasize or minimize certain dynamics, making the game a little easier or harder. (If you string everything out into a long line, spirits starting at one end will have a rough time getting to where they can help out on the other end of the board. Unless they're Ocean's Hungry Grasp or Shadows Flicker Like Flame, at least.)
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Derek VDG
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Umm... in the Kickstarter, the "Champion of the Dahan" expansion includes support for 6 player games.

"Not only will backers at that level be getting their signed game, the playmat, the poster, and all the unlocked stretch goals, they'll also be getting everything needed to play with up to six players on the canonical map!"

So, while it isn't a separate thing right now ... they obviously have an idea and means for the game to be played by 6. So, it is certainly possible that GTG could simply put out a "6P Expansion" for the game. i.e. the expanded 6P canonical map and the extra components needed.
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Dylan Thurston
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dvang wrote:
So, while it isn't a separate thing right now ... they obviously have an idea and means for the game to be played by 6. So, it is certainly possible that GTG could simply put out a "6P Expansion" for the game. i.e. the expanded 6P canonical map and the extra components needed.
That's correct, the modular nature means that not much extra design is needed. Any 6P expansion would need to include two new double-sided boards and pieces for extra players. I talked with Eric about it at Origins, and he also mentioned extra minor powers: there's a chance that you would start recycling the minor powers too much with 6 players, if every spirit took a minor-power-heavy strategy. Presumably such an expansion would also include extra major powers, and probably some extra Spirits and their associated Unique Powers.

None of this is a big design challenge, given the framework already set up. But to be a good seller, such an expansion might well also contain extra elements.
 
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R. Eric Reuss
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dvang wrote:
So, while it isn't a separate thing right now ... they obviously have an idea and means for the game to be played by 6. So, it is certainly possible that GTG could simply put out a "6P Expansion" for the game. i.e. the expanded 6P canonical map and the extra components needed.

Oh, absolutely. I understood the question of "whether or not a 6-player expansion is going to be feasible" as meaning financially/business/sales feasible, not design-feasible.

Design-wise, the game was originally designed to scale to 6p, and with experienced players plays just fine at that count. Most components necessary to go to 6p are simply more identical pieces - additional Explorers, Towns, Cities, Blight, Dahan, Fear markers, and Energy - plus two new colors of Presence + reminder tokens. The only thing that would need design + testing would be two additional balanced boards(†) - the two additional thematic boards are already designed(††). You can play 6p right now(†††) with two copies of the game if you scrounge or buy orange + green discs (13 each) and don't mind the fact that some boards have the same terrain layout.

However, it's not yet clear whether it makes sense for >G as a business to sell a 5-6 player expansion as a product... and if so, whether it makes more sense to package-and-sell just those needed-for-6p components by themselves, or whether to bundle them together with a bunch of other new stuff for the game.

(Anecdotally, I think you see the latter course much more often for #-of-player expansions - they usually add at least a little something else that's new.)

~~~

(†) = As mentioned above, 6p games can benefit a bit from a larger Minor Power deck than the core game provides. Folks going to 6p via Champions of the Dahan have access to the Branch & Claw Minor Powers.

(††) = Mainly because after doing rough design on all 6 to get the overall shape of the island, I drilled down to detail/testing on E/W/SE/SW... only to later discover when figuring the canonical spirit "homelands" (where each spirit was last seen) for graphic placement that the 4 learning spirits all wanted to be on E/NW/NE and all the spirits on the southern third of the island were expansion spirits. So the initial set of 4 turned into E/W/NE/NW instead, and I had to drill down and flesh out details for NE/NW.

(†††) = Though I'd recommend that all players involved have a few games under their belts first.
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R. Eric Reuss
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dthurston wrote:
None of this is a big design challenge, given the framework already set up. But to be a good seller, such an expansion might well also contain extra elements.

Exactly. For a given set of components, cost-per-copy goes down as volume goes up, so making a broad-appeal expansion which also has stuff for people uninterested in playing 6p might prove the more viable path. (One of the same reasons that historically, you bought whole newspapers rather than each section being sold as a separate product.)
 
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Derek VDG
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Ah, my bad then. I had misinterpreted the question as whether the game could be expanded to play 6p, not whether the company would find it feasible to implement a 6p expansion.

Given that I regularly play games with up to 6p, I am sad that I didn't splurge for the higher KS backer pledge. Of course, I was jobless at the time of the KS, so the budget couldn't handle it.

So, personally I do hope that a 6p expansion gets some traction.

Its also good to know that you can play 6p with two copies of the game as a last resort, albeit not perfectly.
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Jonathan Zev
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Would the expansion include spirits/powers that use events tokens (wilds, beasts, etc)?

On the one hand, I could see wanting it to be independent of Branch and Claw, but on the other hand, Branch and Claw does so many cool things that it would be a shame to have to leave them out.
 
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R. Eric Reuss
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Arcanist Lupus wrote:
Would the expansion include spirits/powers that use events tokens (wilds, beasts, etc)?

On the one hand, I could see wanting it to be independent of Branch and Claw, but on the other hand, Branch and Claw does so many cool things that it would be a shame to have to leave them out.

It'd really depend on the details/scope of the expansion and how design goes. My best guess is that yes, it would require Branch & Claw, for a variety of reasons I'd rather not get into right this instant - but that's a tentative guess.
 
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