Robbie Davenport
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Entry thread for the 2018 9-Card Nanogame Print and Play Design Contest.



Soul Navigator
2 Player versus
15-30 Mins
Age 12+

Components
9x Game Cards (8 flippable cards, 1 scheme card)
14x Energy Cubes (7 Orange, 7 Purple) -or- 2x anything to count up to 7
4x Victory Crystals -or- 2x anything to count up to 2

Soul Navigator is an asymmetric card game of subterfuge and infiltration. One player takes on the role of a rogue Navigator, a magictech user who dives into the souls of others in search of uncovering truth and secrecy. The other player takes on the role of a Syndicate worker, an employee of a mega conglomerate with whispers of a hidden scheme. Should the Navigator witness the scheme, the truth is exposed to the world. However, the Syndicate is aware of recent soul dive intrusions, and is deploying aegis countermeasures to ensure the success, and secrecy, of their corporation.

Entry Categories
Best Overall Game
Best 2-player Game
Best New Designer

Download Links:
Rules - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1_j3kqLNy9EfaQP-uvs15mY7M7c...
Game Cards English - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MMJ9jsrMpmh3ps4vKL62qHqD3LJ...

Other Versions:
Low Ink Version - WIP
Tabletop Simulator - http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=129693...

Updates:
Feb 8
* Each player now beings with 1 energy at the start of each round.
* The Syndicate (on the first turn of each round), draws two cards. Then they put one of those cards back into the deck on either the top or bottom.

Feb 9
* Energy system revamp!
* Recycle now costs energy.
* Reboot, Salvage, new basic actions added.
* Suspend action removed.
* Many Magitech cards reworked to use energy.
* Navigator can now "Boost" their Magitech with Energy to empower them.
* Challenge Aegis keyword required to start combating against Aegis.
* Card balance updates.
* Rulebook and PDF's updated!

Feb 10
* Tabletop Simulator version added (See link above)
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Joseph Propati
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Re: [WIP] Soul Navigator - 2018 9-Card Nanogame PnP Design Contest - Ideas Phase
Welcome to the contest!
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Robbie Davenport
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Re: [WIP] Soul Navigator - 2018 9-Card Nanogame PnP Design Contest - Ideas Phase
Small Update:

Did a rework of the cards, will be doing some local play testing with these throughout the next week or so. I'll upload the .pdf files and rulebook later tonight, but in the meantime, check it out!



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Robbie Davenport
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Game is now COMPONENT READY!

Getting ready for some in-person play testing tomorrow.

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Jesus Delgado
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The game looks great, Robbie.
I will try to find some time to play it this weekend!
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Dick Poelen
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The cards look great indeed! But they seem to be a bit off center on the page. I will play a few rounds later this week and let you know how that went :)
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Christopher Melenberg
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I told myself I was done with playing other people's game so I could focus on my own... Nope didn't work.

Was able to give this a quick couple of goes against myself. I know. I know. Not ideal and less fun etc. but I really like what I see.

There were a couple of times I thought for sure I had a way as Syndicate to ensure a victory, but in both cases there was a way for the Navigator to win. That being said, I think without knowing the other player's hand it is possible to have a situation arise where the other player can't win because of how you draw your cards and how they draw theirs. That being said it would be risky because it will likely be obvious what you're hoping to accomplish.

A couple questions: It says the Scheme card starts face-up. Thematically this seems strange and it isn't stated but I assume that means its in the Trash Pile and has to be Recycled into your hand. In which case this is something the Syndicate player will have to do on their first turn. So either it should start in hand OR it should start in their draw pile. If it starts in their hand you could reduce the Syndicate's starting actions by 1. I think thematically it should start in hand.

You use the term "trash pile" and discarded. If there is a way to use one term instead of both I'd recommend doing this. I assume discarding = going to trash and that they are not separate things (ala Dominion).

I see no mention of victory crystals anywhere except for the game components. I assume this is to track wins. In which case you only need 2 to track a best of 3.

Also you used dice in your sample game set up. I was called out for having a player post a pic using anything other than the intended components, especially ones that are not allowed (d8). On the same subject, It seems unlikely that you'd ever go past needing 6 energy so you could track this with a d6 and simplify your components list. (Can have 6 energy max at any time). Cubes are fine too though.

And lastly, I think the concept and gameplay are among the best I've played of the 7-8 I've tried so kudos! If I get a chance to actually play with another human I'll let you know how that goes as I'm missing out on the feel of the game!
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Robbie Davenport
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First of all, thanks for playing my game! I really appreciate all of the feedback you gave. In response to some of your concerns:

TopherMel wrote:
A couple questions: It says the Scheme card starts face-up. Thematically this seems strange and it isn't stated but I assume that means its in the Trash Pile and has to be Recycled into your hand.


Sorry this was unclear. The Scheme card is supposed to be face up during card distribution, so that each player knows which role they are playing. After cards have been distributed (via draft or sealed), the Scheme gets shuffled in face-down into the Syndicate's draw deck. Before the game starts, the Navigator will have a 4-card draw deck, and the Syndicate will have a 5-card draw deck (4 cards given/drafted, PLUS the scheme face-down).

TopherMel wrote:
You use the term "trash pile" and discarded. If there is a way to use one term instead of both I'd recommend doing this.

I see no mention of victory crystals anywhere except for the game components. I assume this is to track wins.


I'll definitely look into this and update the rules to clarify. Trash pile & discarded are definitely the same thing! You are correct on the victory crystals. They should be used to track a first-to-three, or best of five, so as a minimum would at least 4.

TopherMel wrote:
Also you used dice in your sample game set up. I was called out for having a player post a pic using anything other than the intended components, especially ones that are not allowed (d8). On the same subject, It seems unlikely that you'd ever go past needing 6 energy so you could track this with a d6 and simplify your components list. (Can have 6 energy max at any time). Cubes are fine too though.


I'll try and get some cubes/tokens to use from now on. In reality we just need anything which counts up to 6 or 7, one for each player, and another thing which counts up to 2 or 3, for tracking round wins. I'll keep this in mind for future posts. I'm still toying with how energy works right now, so expect some changes in the future. I feel like it is doing it's job, but has some serious cost and balance issues.

Again, I really appreciate you taking the time out to test the game! I agree, it's definitely a little awkward playing solo. I've done it a bunch and know how it really gives away a lot of the bluffing/mind gaming aspects.

In the meantime, rules have been slightly updated to reflect some of these changes. Mainly, each player starting with 1 energy, and the Syndicate starting with 2 cards in hand, and then placing one of those cards on the top or bottom of their deck.

Edit: Update about the syndicate draw 2 for beginning clarification.
 
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Joseph Propati
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Hi Robbie,

Do you have a logo image?
 
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Robbie Davenport
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Yes I have a logo image. Having some trouble getting it to appear in the post though... It should be showing correctly in the top post now.
 
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Garry Hoddinott
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Is page 2 of the cards pdf intentionally blank?
 
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Robbie Davenport
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Not intentionally. It's a bug with the card image export software I'm using. No need to print a 2nd blank page! Sorry for any inconvenience.
 
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Damian Olczak
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Hello, I've got some questions about the rules.

Firstly, do I understand correctly that Navigator can only spend his energy cubes on trashing Syndicate's witnessed cards? I did not see any effects on cards that would require them to spend more.

Secondly, you said that:
Quote:
Mainly, each player starting with 1 energy, and the Syndicate starting with 2 cards in hand, and the ability to place one of those cards on the top or bottom of their deck.


Is placing one of those two cards on top or bottom of their deck optional? Rules indicate that it's mandatory, so Syndicate starts the game with only one card in hand. Quote from rulebook:
Quote:
If this is the first Syndicate turn of the game, the Syndicate player draws 2 cards, then puts one card at the top or bottom of their deck. This does not consume any actions.


Now for some less rules-crunchy question. Have you considered giving the Navigator other ways of spending their energy?
 
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Robbie Davenport
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Syndicate placing a card back into the deck is mandatory, the post is wrong! Thanks for that update.

And yes, I'm currently heavily revising the energy system for now. From watching a few games, it seems like Syndicate is vastly under powered and the Navigator wins 90% of the time.

I'm currently going through a rehash of the energy system & uses, especially for the Navigator.
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Damian Olczak
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Zerve wrote:
And yes, I'm currently heavily revising the energy system for now. From watching a few games, it seems like Syndicate is vastly under powered and the Navigator wins 90% of the time.


So far I've only played a couple of games solo and I came to similar conclusion. Though I think that mind games are a huge part of this game, so solo play isn't optimal for playtesting.

Zerve wrote:
I'm currently going through a rehash of the energy system & uses, especially for the Navigator.


Ooooh, interesting. May I suggest some "taxing" Aegis, to use Android: Netrunner's terminology? For example "1E, Flip: The navigator loses 1 Energy. Overpower: The navigator spends 1 Energy."
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Robbie Davenport
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Feb 9 update just posted!

Feb 9 Update
* Energy system revamp!
More actions will consume or generation energy, especially on the Navigator side. Games will last a bit longer than before, and Navigators will likely be performing dives on multiple locations. Trashing witnessed cards should also be more of a factor from now. More below.

* Recycle now costs energy.
Recycling was strictly better than drawing, since they both cost 1 action, but in the case of recycling you got to choose what you got. Now it costs 1 energy to Recycle a card. While that may be a bit expensive, Reboot should help with decks that need lots of recycling.

* Reboot, Salvage, new basic actions added.
Reboot - Pay 2 energy to recycle all of your cards back into a new deck. Useful for both skill or discard heavy Navigators. Salvage lets you discard an unwanted or unneeded card to generate 2 energy.

* Suspend action removed.
This was pretty much worthless. I don't miss it.

* Many Magitech cards reworked to use energy.
Magitech was too strong. A single action to equip, the it's off to dive city. Energy is now needed to get the full effect of many Magitech.

* Navigator can now "Boost" their Magitech with Energy to empower them.
By putting an energy cube on a Magitech, it gains some benefits. Most importantly, at least 1 level of Boost is required to attack Aegis (see Challenge Aegis below). Some level 0, 1, or 2 Magitech still have their great effects on dives.

* Challenge Aegis keyword required to start combating against Aegis.
As mentioned above, in order to dive against Aegis, the "Challenge Aegis" key words are needed on the card. All skills can challenge Aegis, but most (if not all) Magitech must be at least level 1 before they can start attempting to dive against aegis.

* Card balance updates.
Weak, or super conditional cards were removed or replaced. New cards: Covert Ops(Skill, replaced Stockpile), Force Blade(Magitech, replaced Switch Blade). Buffed cards: Regenerate (Procedure), Efficiency Bulwark(Aegis), Restructuring(Procedure).

* Rulebook and PDF's updated!
As necessary, the rulebook and PDF contain all of the changes for the new cards and new rules. Check it out!
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Damian Olczak
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Sounds very promising!

Would you consider playtesting over the internet? I'd gladly play some games over Vassal or Tabletop Simulator, or even via BGG mail.
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Robbie Davenport
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It can be arranged. I'll be busy this weekend, but can upload the TTS files soonish.
 
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Christopher Melenberg
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Olekman wrote:
Sounds very promising!

Would you consider playtesting over the internet? I'd gladly play some games over Vassal or Tabletop Simulator, or even via BGG mail.


I would consider a playtest via mail if we can come up with a way to do that effectively. I don't have tts and have never used Vassal but could at minimum be open to trying Vassal given its free
 
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Robbie Davenport
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Tabletop Simulator just created. Link available in the top page or here:
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=129693...

It's super basic but should be good enough for now I think.

I looked into Vassal but don't really have enough time to figure it out for now, sorry guys!
 
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Justin S
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I printed your game, and I LOVE it. It's fast, complex, portable, and very fun. I just have two quick questions. First, can you tell me what the Switch Blade and Stockpile cards do, as well as the whatvl Suspend action does? I understand they've removed, but I'm still curious. Second, what happens when the Syndicate salvages the scheme card? If they don't take it out of the discard, it seems like the Navigator can't get to it. What would you do in this case? The rule I've been playing with is that it counts as a "Scheme Reboot", where the Syndicate discards their scheme, then shuffles their discard and draw into a new draw pile as one action. This keeps the scheme in play, as well as letting a Syndicate get the scheme out of their hand if all their Aegises (Aegisii?) are in front of their deck.
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dylan coyle
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Zerve wrote:
Tabletop Simulator just created. Link available in the top page or here:
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=129693...

It's super basic but should be good enough for now I think.

I looked into Vassal but don't really have enough time to figure it out for now, sorry guys!


I just downloaded TS and this is the second game I tried (after Tang Garden). I love the asymmetry and double sided cards. There are a lot of keywords that take a moment to look up, but that was easier than looking up icons. I still don't understand what OVERPOWER means. Adding some snap points to the table might help, and placing the victory tokens dead center might help setup slightly. The theme and mechanics seem a little too netrunner, which could be changed by turning the mega conglomerate into something more personalized.

If/when someone kickstarts a bundle of these nanogames together, with some retouches and wicked art this could be an awesome addition.
 
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