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Subject: The Last Blast rss

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Adam Guarino-Watson
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The Last Blast

Players will start by drafting sections of a scientific probe rocket, then fly their constructed rocket through an asteroid field. Everyone will lose sections of their rocket as they boost around and take damage from asteroid collisions. The player that makes it through the asteroid field with the best rocket remaining wins.

Link to the rules

I created this game in a game design workshop and adapted it to the Green Box system. I am not sure if the rules are clear or written well enough. Feedback is very much appreciated.

I know the damage calculations seem mind bending on paper but should be easy to understand in practice. I wanted to make sure I included as many practical examples as I could think of as I find that helps me the most when learning a new game. But yeah, the sheer number of examples does appear overwhelming but I feel this can be good in the long run.

With the nomenclature, it probably comes across obviously that I am very conscious of players confusing the number "value" of the symbols and the printed number on the cards when explaining the rules. I felt my explanations of those concepts in particular very clunky. I was hoping for any established terminology in this community I could appropriate. Or maybe establish some naming conventions.

Would be cool if people were able to blind playtest it and offer feedback and criticism.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the game!
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Jørgen Brunborg-Næss
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Very cool game concept!

The Green Box is very well suited for race games where you need to match the symbols on cards to the symbols on the board in order to move. Your mechanic of using the difference in symbol value to establish the cost of movement (or damage, as you call it) is very clever, and takes this game in a distinctly different direction than Tunnel Run and The Gauntlet (which are also race games with hand management).

The drafting during construction phase might be a bit slow and cause a bit of waiting, but you could increase the tempo and tension by letting all players draft simultaneously from cards in hand:
- Deal 8 cards to each player. Everyone now chooses one card to place into their rocket, and then passes the rest of the cards to the left. Continue until everyone has placed 6 (I.e. there are only two cards left in each hand). Then shuffle and repeat so everyone gets 6 more cards.

Urutsini wrote:

With the nomenclature, it probably comes across obviously that I am very conscious of players confusing the number "value" of the symbols and the printed number on the cards when explaining the rules. I felt my explanations of those concepts in particular very clunky. I was hoping for any established terminology in this community I could appropriate. Or maybe establish some naming conventions.


Yes, the lack of a convention for separating between these two values stems from the fact that the Very First Edition did not have clear values associated with the symbols, so none of the games developed until now have had that problem :-)
Your game follows King's Ransom
and Hot Rod in taking advantage of the new pips design, but yours is possibly the first to use this value for calculations in combination with the printed numbers on the cards.

I would suggest the terms "symbol value" and "number value" to make distinctions between these values. I have used "printed number" or "printed value" as reference to the number value, but this might be imprecise as the symbol is (obviously) also printed.
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Adam Guarino-Watson
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Gwarv wrote:
Very cool game concept!

Cheers

Gwarv wrote:
The drafting during construction phase might be a bit slow and cause a bit of waiting, but you could increase the tempo and tension by letting all players draft simultaneously from cards in hand.


I did consider different drafting techniques. I feel that hand drafting works well when pretty much all cards are mostly balanced (7 Wonders) or if unbalanced, there is a mostly even distribution of card powers/rarities (Magic). In The Last Blast, a 6-point amber card is better than a 4-point amber card. Not game-breakingly so, but strictly better. With a large pool to choose from, everyone is just going to choose the 6-point amber cards first. And the amber cards first because it is easier to bury cards picked early in the middle of your rocket where they are largely protected from damage and more useful for scoring.

Having said that though, if everyone is dealt a hand the same size as the proposed draft pool, then when distilled down to its basic elements it works out to be almost the same structure as what I have now, but slightly quicker and maybe more fair.

I have found in playtesting the drafting time in the current iteration is not too long though. Will give it some thought.

Gwarv wrote:
Yes, the lack of a convention for separating between these two values stems from the fact that the Very First Edition did not have clear values associated with the symbols, so none of the games developed until now have had that problem :-)
Your game follows King's Ransom
and Hot Rod in taking advantage of the new pips design, but yours is possibly the first to use this value for calculations in combination with the printed numbers on the cards.

I would suggest the terms "symbol value" and "number value" to make distinctions between these values. I have used "printed number" or "printed value" as reference to the number value, but this might be imprecise as the symbol is (obviously) also printed.


Understood, I am a Green Box newbie as I came in only at the end of the last Kickstarter campaign so unfamiliar with changes to the system. In addition you have previously said that the cards I call "amber" you call "brown". I used amber because of traffic lights and I figured that distinction is something that players would be familiar with. However, if you prefer consistency, I'll change that to brown.
 
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Jørgen Brunborg-Næss
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Urutsini wrote:

I did consider different drafting techniques. I feel that hand drafting works well when pretty much all cards are mostly balanced (7 Wonders) or if unbalanced, there is a mostly even distribution of card powers/rarities (Magic). In The Last Blast, a 6-point amber card is better than a 4-point amber card. Not game-breakingly so, but strictly better. With a large pool to choose from, everyone is just going to choose the 6-point amber cards first. And the amber cards first because it is easier to bury cards picked early in the middle of your rocket where they are largely protected from damage and more useful for scoring.


Exactly: A larger pool to choose from means more good options to choose from, which means more strategy and less luck. With small pools, some players are still going to get high value cards early, and that will be purely luck. In a group of 4 cards, there is likely going to be only 1 "good" card, which doesn't really give the player any real choice. With more cards the possibility increases that there are more good cards to choose from. And it's not only the high amber scoring cards that are valuable. Securing a few red boostcards valued 3 will greatly increase your maneuverability and thus your chances of survival.

I agree that if the pool is too large (say every card in the deck was turned face up on the table) the game might get too predictable, but I don't think 8 cards qualifies as a "large pool". I guess this is a balancing challenge that only playtesting (and possibly personal preference) can solve.
 
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Adam Guarino-Watson
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Gwarv wrote:
Exactly: A larger pool to choose from means more good options to choose from, which means more strategy and less luck. With small pools, some players are still going to get high value cards early, and that will be purely luck. In a group of 4 cards, there is likely going to be only 1 "good" card, which doesn't really give the player any real choice. With more cards the possibility increases that there are more good cards to choose from. And it's not only the high amber scoring cards that are valuable. Securing a few red boostcards valued 3 will greatly increase your maneuverability and thus your chances of survival.

I agree that if the pool is too large (say every card in the deck was turned face up on the table) the game might get too predictable, but I don't think 8 cards qualifies as a "large pool". I guess this is a balancing challenge that only playtesting (and possibly personal preference) can solve.

Yep, makes sense. The thing is that even the 1 Boost and Shield cards and the 4 amber cards are still good. Just not quite as good as the higher values. There is nothing too bad about taking one of those cards. So that if you were dealt a hand of, say, 3 ones and a 4, it's not the end of the world.

A side effect of dealing a number of cards based on the number of players, as listed in the current rules, is that there is an even number of drafting rounds regardless of number of players, which is easier to explain in the rules. 3 rounds of 5 cards each for 4 players, 4 rounds of 4 cards each for 3 players and 6 rounds of 3 cards each for 2 players.

I'm really looking forward to playtesting all these options out.
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