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Subject: [WIP] Reclaim Earth - ReArmed (Late Playtest Phase) rss

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Jesse Galloway
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Hey fellas,

I gotta admit, my BGG game is weak. I just put up a detailed WIP thread over in the game design area of the forum. Then read about a war-game design contest that I'm thinking about but in that thread it was mentioned that the best place for a war-game-ish WIP thread is here. So... I'm gonna copy and paste and see what happens.




GAME SETTING

Although most agree that it’s 2065, no one really knows the date. Calendars and a lot of other simple things were lost along the way. One date that’s not debated is May 13th, 2026. There’s no shortage of stories and theories as to what happened that day, but we do know earth’s landscape, infrastructure, and population were all devastated.

Small pockets of survivors have endured the hard years, they’ve gathered in major city hubs and have worked together to survive.

Communities are rebuilding, prospering and expanding, reclaiming the earth. The ongoing need and search for rare and depleted resources has led to hostility between neighbouring rebuilding communities.

A new age arms race has taken shape as survivors have been rediscovering blueprints and components to build military forces to protect their reclaimed land

What was once thought of as old and out-of-service military technology now rules the air, land and sea.



GAME OVERVIEW

Reclaim Earth - ReArmed is a 60 - 90 minute 2 player tabletop game in which players use WWII military units to battle opponents, in a future age, on an open field of battle.

Players will start with 6 scout units to explore the land, along with the unbuilt bodies of 18 WWII era military units; 6 warplanes, 6 warships and 6 armoured tanks.

To build and use these units the player must collect components at explore locations on the game board.

Each of the 18 possible units have their own specific hitting properties along with dynamic movement, attack range and attack values to make each unit’s mission capabilities unique.

Each player will act as the commander of their base and make all strategic decisions for his / her military.

Each player turn consists of conducting any possible base operations and up to 3 unit missions. This results in quick back and forth unit maneuvers and strikes.



GAME OBJECTIVE

Grow military power by exploring, collecting and building military equipment

Deploy and utilize your military units to attack the opponent’s structures and units



GAME WIN CONDITIONS

Neutralize your opponent by destroying all active and available military units

OR

Collect 20 victory points




EXPLORATION & UNIT CONSTRUCTION

Each player will start with 6 scout vehicles.

2 Trainer Planes
2 Gunships
2 Humvee / Willy's Jeep

These units will have basic attack properties but their main function is to explore and collect components to build the game's main units; warplanes, warships and tanks.

On the main board will be 12 explore zones that can be visited by scouts / units. Each of the 12 locations will have a component card draw pile. These draw piles will have cards showing face up. So at game start a player will be able to see 12 components that are available. The player will plan it's movement to acquire components that are required for building certain unit types.


Components

Each unit body requires...

1. Engine
2. Targeting System
3. Weapon
4. Ordinance

There are 3 unit categories in the game...

1. Air
2. Land
3. Sea

As each unit category has specific components for that type, there are a total of 12 different components in the game.

To build a warplane, you simply need to acquire the 4 air components required. The units are separated into level 1 and level 2 units. Level 2 units will not be available for construction at game start.




COMPONENT BOARDS

Component cards will be mini card sized.

There will be a component board to the side of the main battle board in which players can collect and organize their collected component cards. There will be a space for each of the 12 components.

A quick glance will show your (and your opponent's) build progress and which components are required to finish builds. This organized collection of component cards will allow players to quickly scan the explore areas on the board to see where their (and their opponent's explore targets are.

Also included on the component board will be 4 areas that house inactive / unbuilt unit cards.

1. Air Hangar
2. Tank Warehouse
3. Ship Yard
4. Level 2 Unit Bodies (locked)

As units are built, they will be relocated to the player's base board where they may enter play.

The name "Component Board" is just a place holder, till the right name presents itself. Actually most names are flexible.

The component board is not considered a structure and is simply a player aid to house and organize cards.



BASE BOARDS


Each player has a base. Within the base are 5 structures.

1. Air Base
2. Sea Base
3. Tank Base
4. Garage 1
5. Garage 2

The 3 bases act the same for each unit type. When a unit is built it comes over to the correct building. Once in the building it is considered fully functional and ready for deployment out on to the main game board. As these buildings have no max capacity, a player can store units here if they so choose.

The 2 garages act the same. A damaged unit can return back to one of the garages and be repaired at a rate of 5 armour / turn. Each garage can only hold 1 unit at a time.

Each structure, individually, will have an armour value associated to it. If the structure is destroyed, it will be marked as such and will no longer provide any function.




MAIN BATTLE BOARD

The heart of the Reclaim Earth - ReArmed game is the main board. I've playtested more than 10 different iterations, easy. And I've sketched what feels like 50. What I have now for a board layout feels perfect. I have 1 outstanding element left but that will work itself out.

The board is the play area. It's shared space for the players. This is a grid movement game. It's like a military chess with exploration and battle built in. It produces a lot of fun decisions. Anyway, back to the board...

There's 7 rows of unit zones it between the 2 player bases. The board is 7 unit zones wide. Rows are staggered making forward and backward movement to be diagonal. For a better idea of the layout, I'll add a sketch up shortly.

Cards physically move around the board so each unit zone holds a poker sized card.

The board includes...

32 unit zones
12 explore zones
4 defensive gun installations
2 TBD zones

The explore zones, guns and the TBD are considered obstacles. Travel is not permitted through them. Therefore routes and pathways are created on the board.

To collect a component at one of the explore zones a unit must come to rest in a space adjacent to an explore zone. Each explore zone starts with a 12 card draw pile. Once it's depleted, it's depleted.

Defensive Guns. Each player owns 2. They sit on the row closest to their base and will deter the opponent from coming too close as they have a range of 2.

The 2 TBD (to be decided) zones. I have some options here. Lots of ideas have came and went over the last 2 years. I will continue to explore this option for the best solution. I may even just turn it into a normal zone or a non functioning obstacle zone if I feel that's the best.



UNITS


There will be 6 warplane types
1. Dogfighter
2. Carrier Fighter
3. Heavy Fighter
4. Dive Bomber
5. Medium Bomber
6. Heavy Bomber

There will be 6 warship types
1. Destroyer
2. Submarine
3. Light Cruiser
4. Heavy Cruiser
5. Battle Cruiser
6. Battleship

There will be 6 tank types
1. Self Propelled Anti Aircraft Gun (SPAAG)
2. Self Propelled Gun (SPG)
3. Artillery
4. Light Tank
5. Medium Tank
6. Heavy Tank

Each one of the 18 above unit types has unique stats and values. Therefore every units' mission will be different.


UNIT STATS

Level

Level with either be 1 or 2.

Level 1's are available for build at game start
Level 2's are unlocked during game play via Victory Points


Travel

A unit's travel range will either be 1,2,3 of 4.

This is how many spaces a unit can travel per mission. Travel can occur forward, sideways or backwards. Travel lanes will be illustrated on the game board.


Attack Range

A unit's attack range can be either 1,2,3 or 4.

This value is how far away a unit can hit. Unit's with a range of 1 can only attack units that are in a zone connected to the unit. Units with a range of 4 can hit a unit 4 spaces away, etc.


Attack Grid

The attack grid of each unit will show a couple things

1. What unit categories it's able to hit
2. The power of the hit against each unit category.

So there's 4 target types;
1. air 2. sea 3. land and 4. base (structures)

Not all units can hit all unit types. This creates a paper, rock, scissors mechanic but does not over power the game. As there's 3 different power levels to each hit, between the gaps mentioned above and the different strengths, certain units will be most effective in certain usage scenarios.

The unit can hit more than once per mission. This is further describes under unit missions.

Attack damage is calculated via dice chucking.

Level 1 Attack
Roll 1 custom D6 (1,1,2,2,3,3)
Damage 1-3

Level 2 Attack
Roll 2 custom D6 (same)
Damage 2-6

Level 3 Attack
Roll 3...
Damage 3-9


Armour

Currently the armour value ranges from 6 to 20 for all units.



TURN STRUCTURE


Player turns are broken into 2 parts.

First.. Base Functions

Before starting any unit missions, a player will perform any functions associated to his / her base.

1. Unit repairs.

If any unit's are currently in for repairs at the garage 5 damage will be removed from the unit at this time.

2. Gun Scan

Each gun will perform a scan of the area to see if any enemy units are within range. If a unit is within range of 1 of the gun it is attacked with 2 dice. If a unit is within range of 2 then it is attacked with a single die.

As some unit spaces overlap gun coverage, if a unit falls within range of both guns, it will be attacked from both guns.

3. Unit builds

If a player has the 4 components required to build a unit, they may (if they choose) to build at this time. The component cards are discarded and the unit is moved to the appropriate structure within the base row.


This concludes the base function portion of the player turn.



Unit Missions

With exception of the first 2 turns of the game, each turn will consist of 3 unit missions. Once a mission is complete the player will add an engaged token to the unit that has completed it's mission. A unit may only be sent on 1 mission per turn so engaged tokens will mark that unit as spent and also signify when the 3 missions have concluded.

A single mission consists of Travel, Attack & Explore

Travel

Using the travel stat on the unit card this is the max amount of spaces a unit can travel during a mission. To move 1 space on the board requires 1 unit of travel. Traveling into or out of a garage or a base structure requires 1 unit of travel. Travel is not permitted through any obstacles spaces.

Traveling through occupied unit zones are permitted. If it's friendly occupied space travel is normal. If it's an enemy occupied space you may travel through but you will be attacked by the unit that occupies the space. The opponent will attack at whichever level is displayed on the unit card for the appropriate unit type traveling through. In some cases the enemy unit will not be able to target the unit moving through. Therefore travel in that case would be normal, without repercussion.

Unit zones can not be shared. Therefore, a unit's mission must end on a vacant space.

Attack

As described earlier, units can hit different target types at different attack power levels and at different ranges. And in some cases a unit will be able to use multiple attacks. Making the most out of a mission is key to ReArmed success.

For example.....

If a unit can target air, sea and base the player can use that unit to hit 3 times during the mission. Once against each target type. But in order to do so, all of those target types would have to come into range during the mission.

Travel & Attack

Travel and attack functions are fluid. Meaning, one does not come before the other.

You can attack, then move.

You can move, attack, move, attack.

Etc.

You simply have 2 different ranges (travel and attack) that you can exhaust during your mission. This makes for some complex and strategic missions. Verbally communicate your mission details to your opponent.

A unit can attack from any zone during it's travel, even if that zone is occupied.


Explore

A unit will only explore from the space in which it ends it's mission. It does not pick up components as it travels. Ending a mission in a zone connected to an explore area will be part of the mission decision process.

If you finish your mission in a zone that is connected to 2 explore zones, the player will have the choice of what component to acquire. But only 1.




NATION SETS

For ReArmed... There will be 4 nations used. The 2 player version will use 2 of them.

1. USA
2. Germany
3. USSR
4. Japan

I won't get into the long term plan for Reclaim Earth but I originally planned a much larger scope game and trimmed in down for this introductory version. I'll likely leak some during the KS campaign, hopeful for 2018.


But in ReArmed, each nation's stats are identical. There is no advantage to choosing 1 nation over the other. The only differences between the nations will be graphic design and unit names and artwork.



GAMEPLAY PHASES

Early in the game, the focus is exploration. As units are generally more productive and stronger than scouts, there's a certain rush to get some cool units in play.

As the game progresses, focus will shift more to combat but players will still need to be aware of continuing to collect components, as they wouldn't want to fall behind in the technology race.



PROGRESS / VP SCORING

Destroyed scouts, units and structures reward victory points.

Scouts 1
Units 2
Guns & Garages 2
Bases 3

Level 2 bodies / units will become unlocked at 5, 10 and 15 vp. Once one of these targets have been reached, the player will choose which unit category to unlock.



BALANCE

A lot of thought, planning and testing has gone into trying to create a balanced game where players win or lose by their decisions.

Unit Stats

Unit stats have been tweaked continuously for a long time. Play testing has been of great value here. In the end, the balance and math jives. Creating level 1 and 2s has allowed some units to be stronger than others, which is proper. Attempting to balance a light tank with a battleship is ridiculous. So once we had the 2 tiers that was super helpful. But you can't point at one of the 3 unit types as being better than the another. They are in fact all different, but balanced.

Real life usage was used as much as possible when applying values. But the main goal was balance. I think the unit stats do both.


Attack Die Rolls

After trying a few different options it was decided to use custom D3 die. The bell curve and all that took some of the high and lows out of the rolling mechanic. We wanted players to enjoy a big roll now and again, but we didn't want a player to feel like they lost a game by rolling 1s too often.


Nation Sets

Each player starts even. Once the art is introduced here (hint.. it's nice) a player may have a favorite nation set. But the unit stats are identical.

Staggered Starts

The first player will not get off to a full turn advantage. Just 1 mission. Barely noticeable in the full scheme of things. The start goes 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, etc.


Uniform Main Board

The main play area is just a mirror. The benefits and obstacles presented to one player is the same for the other.


Explore Locations

Lots of places to find components. You can actually make it to 8 out of the 12 without going into an opponent's gun range.




STRATEGY / DECISIONS

This is what makes the game as good as I hope it is.


Missions

3 times a turn, a player will decide to use a unit and plan out the best route, attack spots, and end location. Most times there's a few different options for best results. Your balancing attacks with exploring and looking ahead to future moves.

Do I push the attack? Do I retreat? Do I sacrifice a unit?


Unit selection

Most times you'll have more than 3 units on the board so you'll asses the best 3 units to use that turn.


Component Cards

What unit category will you try to collect and build next? Should I try to hinder my opponent's build progress?


Unit to be built

Once you have the proper components to build a unit, which one should I build? What does the board tell me? Do you need a unit with long range and a solid hit against warships?

There's more, but that's enough to share.





I hope for anyone that has a chance to see or play the game, they agree with the quality of decisions required in the game.





EASY TO PICK UP

I'm not sure if all this text makes one think that the game is complex. The decisions might be. But the game play isn't. It teaches quick. I'd liken it to chess in that regard. Easy to play. Takes a few plays to get good.




I'll leave it at that. I'd welcome any conversation, questions, comments. It's been a long time working on this before the WIP thread so it's nice to share some details.
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Jesse Galloway
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I'll add another thought before getting feedback on the game.

To be quite honest I'm not a wargamer. Not even much of a boardgamer. The idea of creating a board game came to me a few years back. I've put a lot of effort into this and it has morphed over the last 2 years into what it is now. I know enough to know that actual war-games are quite high end in complexity, detail, and realness. I don't mean to try to position this game as a high end war-game. It's most certainly "lighter". I am hopeful this game would make a nice gateway game to wargaming, if that makes sense.

But this has been a fun project for me, and if you enjoy the theme, which I would assume you do, I'm hopeful you'll see some stuff that is of interest or provide some valuable feedback.

Thanks for taking a look.
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Jeff Saxton
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The only question I would have is this: In 2017 there are precious few WW2 era pieces of equipment left in operating condition -- how will any be left in 2065 after whatever catastrophe occurred?

Additionally, there will be far more Abrams, T-72's and other 'modern' tanks and aircraft in serviceable condition that folks would use first if they needed military hardware.
 
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Jesse Galloway
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Hey Jeff,

Thanks for the reply. When I originally conceptualized the game I was portraying the unit cards as "blueprints". The idea was you find the blueprints and you collect the parts needed, and you build the thing with the capabilities they have available. That might be advanced. Whatever the process, they end up with old tech, fresh off the showroom floor.

For reasons that I forget due to 2 years of stripping down and rebuilding the game those blueprints turned into airframes, ship hulls and tank chassis. Actually I think it had to do with the cards, that you end up using as your units, were better known as bodies so that you weren't discovering bodies along with components.

But that's something that would be "off" (I think) for a true war-gamer. I've taken WWII tech and put it in the future. I guess I'm hoping the audience doesn't get hung up on the how. But part of my process might be writing stories (getting stories written) to properly address these questions.

Maybe I need to go back to them starting as blueprints and ending (flipping over) as functional units.

As for Abrams and the like... they will come.

I'll grab an image of one of the card back designs I had created previously to show you what I mean by "blueprints"

To go further into my plan... let's pretend this first game lives in 2065. A future version might be in 2085 and the inhabitants of this reborn earth is starting to find cold war tech 1945-1990. And maybe later they are able to locate modern tech 1990-2020. It allows me somewhere's to go if the game is well received. All these future possibilities are already planned out.

I hope that answers...
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Jesse Galloway
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Card Backs - Blueprint theme


I'll just show the USA and German backs.



 
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Jeff Saxton
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Zedder wrote:
When I originally conceptualized the game I was portraying the unit cards as "blueprints". The idea was you find the blueprints and you collect the parts needed, and you build the thing with the capabilities they have available.


It's an interesting take on the idea, yes ... and I can see where you're coming from. But remember, today, we don't even have "blueprints" for the Lunar Lander made by Grumman -- they're just gone -- and that's only about fifty years ago.

Perhaps think of it this way: Could we today make anew technology dating from the Civil War to the Spanish-American War?
 
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Jesse Galloway
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Yeah. Point taken. But mixing WWII technology into a scifi setting gives me some flexibility for the game setting.
 
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Bob Zurunkel
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There are museums with examples of WWII weaponry that could be used for reverse engineering. Unlike modern weapons, WWII ones wouldn't be dependent upon sophisticated computer technology, making them easier to build and maintain. Radios might be a problem.
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Pelle Nilsson
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WW2 technology would require 1930's level of manufacturing technology, plus all the social and economic systems that were in place to make it possible to coordinate the many factories and transport systems needed to build and supply WW2 era weapons. If society has already reached that level of maturity they probably have most of the weapons technology anyway unless they somehow got that far without fighting any major wars at all?

Why not mix in weapons also from other eras?

Thematically the nations put me off. It would enhance the theme if it was possible to find weapons of different nationalities so I could make a mix of whatever fun hardware I can find the blueprints for, but to divide the future world into the same nations we have now is only distracting to me.

From a design pov it sounds like maybe there is a bit much going on and many things to do. Did you manage to playtest it much with four players? Looks like it will take a long time to find all the stuff you need, build armies, and have time to also fight some battles?
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Jesse Galloway
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Hey Bob, thanks for the reply bud.

Part of the project, aside from the design and testing of the game, for me has been learning about WWII and newer military equipment as I started with not a great amount of knowledge. It's been enjoyable.

Also part of the project was / is finding public domain images of WWII equipment that could modified and used for the artwork. So yeah, I've done a lot of digging into what units still exist in museums and such.

But to get caught up on whether it's realistic to build WWII units in 2065 (or whatever year) and to look at all potential obstacles that the theme might encounter to be 100% real, would have only deterred the project.

When I write a final copy of the game setting, I'll do my best to write a blurb that hopefully the audience says "ok, i guess that makes sense" but other than that I'm can't be too concerned.

I'm not discarding what you're saying as I know it's a real consideration. It's a SciFi game using WWII military equipment. And I think it's very enjoyable.


Here's an example of finding a preserved museum ship and modifying it for art usage.







I just grabbed that pic quick, seems the angles off. You get the idea though. The original image looked the same just showing more of the side.
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Jeff Saxton
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WW2 equipment in an SF setting is not entirely unheard of, but it's usually approached as a "what if" the war had not ended in 1945; and then plays out events in the years 1945 to 1960 with "future tech" like lasers, UFO's, etc. GHQ even makes a number of models for the German prototype equipment that never went into production.
 
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Jesse Galloway
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Hey Pelle, thanks for the feedback man.

pelni wrote:
WW2 technology would require 1930's level of manufacturing technology, plus all the social and economic systems that were in place to make it possible to coordinate the many factories and transport systems needed to build and supply WW2 era weapons. If society has already reached that level of maturity they probably have most of the weapons technology anyway unless they somehow got that far without fighting any major wars at all?


That all sounds very interesting. (dodges question)


pelni wrote:
Why not mix in weapons also from other eras?


Now there's a question that I can answer. I'm with you Pelle. Imagine a game that had a cool theme, excellent but light battle mechanic and all military equipment mixed in from 1945 to present day. That's what I have planned. The units are planned. But I'm starting here, with WWII technology available. The overall theme is reclaiming land, finding and building technology and using units from all the eras to battle. It's super neat and it's in the pipe. But not yet.

pelni wrote:
Thematically the nations put me off. It would enhance the theme if it was possible to find weapons of different nationalities so I could make a mix of whatever fun hardware I can find the blueprints for, but to divide the future world into the same nations we have now is only distracting to me.


I agree. Originally this is how it was. You find tech and it could be from any of the nations. That's what fits with the theme. I'll get there. But the goal with this first game was balanced game play. I spent a year planning a larger version but the plan was changed. I would love to explain the larger scope project more but that can wait.


pelni wrote:
From a design pov it sounds like maybe there is a bit much going on and many things to do. Did you manage to playtest it much with four players? Looks like it will take a long time to find all the stuff you need, build armies, and have time to also fight some battles?



Like I mentioned in the original write up it sounds like there's lots to do but it runs simple. It was over designed but it continued to get trimmed through the testing process. It's good now. As a player you will be receiving up to 3 new components per turn. It only takes 4 components to build a unit. I had early testing issues of analysis paralysis but that was removed. You start the game with the use of scouts (3 different types to give some choice). Your first unit will come a couple turns into it. From there, new units come at an ideal pace. The player will be reading the board and deciding on what unit to build. The explore and component process barely takes any brain power. Very well organized. All you'll be concerned with is how to make the best usage of your 3 missions.

I guess my main point is you'll be battling quick. But as you're battling, you're trying to balance that with getting the right components.

Most of my testing has been 2 player. Turns move quick though. No issue with pace.
 
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Jesse Galloway
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Hey Jeff,

Yeah I've heard tell of that type of "what if" scenario games. This is obviously something different. This is more of a "what if X 10".

What I often envisioned during the planning stage was a cool game that was fun, strategic and light enough that it could be shared between lots of different folks. Something that could be shared with a younger generation.
 
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