Gavin Kenny
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Terramorphic Expanse



This is my submission to the 2018 9-Card Nanogame Print and Play Design Contest that is located at https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1911010/2018-9-card-nan....

Currently at Idea Phase. Rules version - 0.1

The world of the Expanse is ever shifting and changing. Travellers seek to experience as much of the expanse as possible and gain its power. You play the part of a guide, taking on contracts and guiding travelers around the expanse. The most successful guide will be made Guildmaster of the Guides within the Expanse. Do you have what it takes to be the most successful guide?

A game for 2-3 players

Components:
9 double-sided cards
5 small cubes (1 white,, 1 red, 1 green, 1 blue)
3 small meeples (1 red, 1 green, 1 blue)
3 small crystals ( 1 red, 1 green, 1 blue)
3 large meeples (1 red, 1 green, 1 blue)
3 small dice (1 red, 1 green, 1 blue)

You can substitute suitable components where necessary, but the three coloured playing pieces of each type should be kept consistently coloured for each player.

Approximate Playing Time: 30 minutes approx

Categories:
Best Overall Game
Best 2 player Game
Best 3 or more player Game
Best Written Rules
Most Innovative Mechanic

Game Files:
http://link.gavken.net/9-Card-Terramorphic-Expanse.pdf
http://link.gavken.net/9-Card-Terramorphic-Expanse-Printable...
http://link.gavken.net/Terramorphic-Expanse-Rules-v02.pdf
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Gavin Kenny
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Design Diary Part I

Origins
I originally had the idea for a game with morphing land as part of thinking about the 18 card contest earlier in 2017. I created a few files for it, but never got beyond that stage with the game. With the 9 card contest coming up I decided to polish it off and create some initial files for the game.

Design Goal
The design goal was to be able to make a game with lands that both moved and flipped about to create a shifting landscape and for players to move around visiting the different cities. The first theme was to have players gaining power from sites visited, but now players are guides leading tourists around the lands who want to visit specific things.

First Signs of Trouble!
The original version of the rules had players taking the cards to hand and utilising the action portion of the cards from hand to move around. Very quickly I found that this would mean that there were not enough cards in the game to be able to make it work with 3 players and it would be very tight with 2 players. So I moved to a system whereby players could activate the abilities of the lands out on the board using a token which would block the space from re-use. This meant that more lands could be out on the board and not stuck in players hands. Additionally I added an action for a player to move 1 space as a kind of default move if they could not do anything else.

Two goes to Three
I originally had each player do two actions from a list of about 7 actions on their turn. This proved to be too slow and players were not achieving much on their turns. Indeed it felt very grindy when playing. The solution to this one was simple. Add an extra action. In testing this didn't feel too powerful and so now players have three actions on their turn from the menu.

Flipping Heck - more trouble!

The third problem that I ran into was that the goals on the cards could not relate to a) the card they were on and b) have two cities as goals on the same card (on either side) as these would prove difficult / challenging to actually complete. Several iterations of the game were made during testing to move around goals to visit cities until they all were feasible.

Keep on Moving
The fourth challenge I came across was that the actions did not have enough moves on them. I had several moves actions that related to direction, but they were not that useful and rarely used. So I changed them to more easily used moves which should give players and bit more movement if they plan cleverly. There are still two weak moves in the game. One allows you to place a doubling token to double the score of a city, and the other allows you to move the blocking token onto a new route. I'm watching these currently to see how well they play.

Fun and Excitement - a spanner in the works!
Some of my early testing showed that I needed a bit more fun and excitement to the game. Something really good and powerful that could be achieved to really give yourself some oomph. A separate issue was that I had 5 cities that were visited as a 4th city in a tour, which felt out of place with the other 3 city tours. I decided to combine my two issues and remove these cities as 4th cities to visit and instead add a new mechanic onto them. These cities now sport a spanner icon. The idea is that if you visit two spanner cities in one move you will get a small boost, but if you visit three then you will get that boost for the rest of the game. I need to test how well this works and whether it is achievable.

Test, Test, Test!
Now more testing is required and I still have the following things that I need to look at:-

Connection rules - I had some fairly stringent connectivity rules for placing lands in a new location. I am looking currently at relaxing them a bit, which is why the rules have yet to be posted.

Nest I need to really test the new enhanced ability rule with the spanners. Currently if you visit 2 spanner in one go, you get +1 vp for each goal visited and your guide can move 2 spaces as a default move instead of 1 for the next round. If you visit 3 spanners in one go you get it for the game. I need to really test how easy this is and whether there is some way / need to track the round of boosting.

Currently if you flip a land with an opponents tour marker on it, they get the marker back and receive 2 vp as consolation for having their tour broken. I need to test whether this is the right number for this or whether 1 vp will be better for gameplay and allow the lands to flip more often.

Tracking visited cities. Some goals have you visiting cities of two different colours. You are not allowed to visit the same city twice as part of this, but I'm worried that players will forget which cities theu have visited already. Tracking would require too many markers but I'm worried that there is a memory issue here.

Currently the victory total is 15 vp. I need to test if this is too little or too much.

I need to check if the blocking cube is too weak or too strong. It can be very annoying but also can be easy to move.

I hope to have the test rules up soon!

Gavin
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Gavin Kenny
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Reserved for updates
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Joseph Propati
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Welcome to the contest!
 
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Gavin Kenny
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Thanks Joseph!
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Gavin Kenny
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
First version of the rules now posted.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Read through the rules.

I had a few problems with understanding how the game works.

1) The game mentions that you can use a power of the card text in your hand, but I don't really see how you get a card into your hand.

2) The action "Play a land" states that you are to play a card from the general supply onto the board. Are these randomly grabbed or do you get to choose which one?

3) Well, the rest of the game is confusing, because everything relies on the first point.
 
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Thanks for looking at the rules Chad.

1) That was an old version of the game where you played the powers from your hand. It caused too many cards to be off the board so I changed it to placing your marker on the ability on the board. I will need to amend that in the rules.

2) You choose which one.

3) Hopefully the above answers should make things clearer. Please let me know if it doesn't.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
I guess I would have to see the new rules before I could figure out how to play.
 
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Gavin Kenny
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Design Diary #2 - The first test with real people!

This weekend was the first time I've been able to get player feedback from other people. We played a three player game, which took over an hour (Problem 1). The major things that came out of the play test were:-

* The game is a serious brain-burner that can result in serious AP. There is a need for simplification to take some of this AP out.
* The game as was is very sand-boxy, which is great but a structure of a turn might make it easier to grok and also (through a great play tester idea) help with memory issues.
* Some of the graphical elements on the cards needs updating to ensure that there is not confusion with some abilities and to ensure that it is easier to process things when lands can be flipped.

So what's changing in the update tonight as a result of all this!

1) Turns will be structured so that each turn you place your scoring marker on an itinerary, flip or move a single land, and then perform two move actions on your guide.
2) The blocking token has been removed to simplify the game.
3) The routes on the cards have been straightened to make the directional movement clearer.
4) The cities now have 5 different shapes and instead of a 2 VP route through 3 fixed cities, these have been changed to points for going through cities of two different shapes to make groking the routes easier.
5) Some of the movement abilities have been changed to ensure that they allow for more choice.
6) The rules have been completely rewritten.

New play test files should b going up tonight!

Gavin
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Okay new play test files with the v0.2 rules are now updated at the first post of the thread.
 
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Rachel Bruner
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Hi Gavin!

I believe there's an issue with the cards. It looks like the card backs should match up with their corresponding numbers, ie 1b should be on the back of 1a, 6b on the back of 6a, etc. Is that correct? The "flip side itinerary" text looks like it should be that way.

However, the way the cards are lined up in the pdf file 6b prints on the back of 1a and 1b prints on the back of 6a, etc. The cards in the middle (4 and 5) are fine but all the others on page two should be swapped so they will print correctly.

Also, the alignment is off so when printing the cards on the back don't line up and are not centered, by a quarter of an inch (6mm?). It looks like you need to center both pages vertically, I think. Page 1 has some text at the bottom left "ff" that might be part of the problem? Not sure as I don't know which program you made the file in, but might be.

I haven't yet finished reading through the rules but your game looks interesting.

 
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
Hi Rachel,

Many thanks for taking an interest in my game. It was made in MS Word and exported to PDF. I print out on sticker sheet and cut the stickers out and then stick on cards when I make my playtest cards, so the order doesn't matter to me.

I will however attempt to make something that enables others to print and play test. Try this one.

http://link.gavken.net/9-Card-Terramorphic-Expanse-Printable...

Gavin
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Rachel Bruner
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Re: [WIP] Terramorphic Expanse - Entry into 9 Card Nanogame P&P Contest
gavken wrote:
Hi Rachel,

Many thanks for taking an interest in my game. It was made in MS Word and exported to PDF. I print out on sticker sheet and cut the stickers out and then stick on cards when I make my playtest cards, so the order doesn't matter to me.

I will however attempt to make something that enables others to print and play test. Try this one.

http://link.gavken.net/9-Card-Terramorphic-Expanse-Printable...

Gavin

You're welcome. The order looks good now and the backs should print in their correct spot now.
 
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Game now contest ready!
 
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