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Floating Islands
Designed by Joshua Blaylock and Shanna Blaylock
Art by Joshua Blaylock and Stephanie Gustafsson and public domain
Players: 2
Play time: 20 minutes
Age: 8+

This is a wip thread for a game entered into the 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest

Components:
45 tiles
1 board
14 tokens for houses
2 meeples
tokens for nectar(money)
(printable alternatives available for those who cannot provide the non-printable items)

Colonization has begun! After escaping the world below, citizens must now create a new home for themselves in the sky.
In Floating Islands, players race to build the best archipelago from the many islands scattered across the sky. Travel from island to island, moving them around and connecting them to your home base. Collect islands of different types to improve your archipelago’s value, and don’t forget to build farms to harvest the ever-important nectar from your lands.

Assets
Includes a full color rules sheet with lots of help images, a printable sheet with alternatives for all of the non-printable assets, full-bleed, no-bleed, and black-and-white versions of all the assets, and an stl file for the islands for those with a 3d printer.
Categories to come once they are listed in the main thread

Tabletopia (doesn't require account or software install)


For those who don't want to cut out hexes:

1: There is a folder with square tiles that can be used instead.

2: You can use discs or other bits for the islands. My preferred color combinations is:
Blue - Water
White - Mountain
Yellow - Field
Green - Forest
Red - Wasteland
Brown - Base
(This is also a good options if you have these pieces and don't want to print everything. You will just need to keep track of which color represents which island type)

When using these options, be aware of how they may affect your ability to judge the Island movement rule which should still be adhered to as if the tiles were hexagonal.
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Joshua Blaylock
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
I came up with the idea for this game in June or July of last year. I've been mostly preoccupied with another game design, but I want to finish up work on this. I think it's in a good place to start receiving feedback, and I believe it's a really fun game. I still need to do some more work on the rules document, adding diagrams and improving clarity, and I've only begun working on some expanded content in the form of scenarios (score and/or rule alterations) and variable player options. I may also consider an easier print. It's currently 8 pages of content with hex tiles on 4 of those pages. Hopefully, if I get some engagement in here, I can bounce ideas off the community to really make this game great. In my and my wife's opinion this could be the best game I've designed so far. I'm excited to see how this goes.
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Kai Bettzieche
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
For some reason I can only see 1 page of rules - which appears incomplete ..

Could you check, please?



Kind regards,
Kai
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Joshua Blaylock
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
schattentanz wrote:
For some reason I can only see 1 page of rules - which appears incomplete ..

Could you check, please?



Kind regards,
Kai


I just checked. Maybe it's a loading issue? The rules document is 2 pages currently. There's also a few image files for the assets. Let me know if there's still an issue. Maybe I can move it to a different service.
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Janine Viglietti
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
I know this one is for the 2 player contest, but any chance for a solo variant?
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Joshua Blaylock
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
thevig wrote:
I know this one is for the 2 player contest, but any chance for a solo variant?

I have some ideas. I'll be sure to keep you informed as they develop.
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Joshua Blaylock
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
I have made an update to the rules document. It is now a PDF, and it contains help images for the setup, archipelago concept and components. I'll probably make updates with more images and polish, but I felt that was the most critical to start with.
 
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Ethan Furman
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
Very preliminary feedback:

- The anchor, and to a lesser extent the tree trunk, are very hard to see on the black/grey/white mottled tiles.

- The color ribbon behind the tiles seem very wasteful of ink/toner since it's going to be trimmed away and disposed of.
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Janine Viglietti
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
stoneleaf wrote:

- The color ribbon behind the tiles seem very wasteful of ink/toner since it's going to be trimmed away and disposed of.


I like a little bit of bleed - especially on tokens
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
thevig wrote:
stoneleaf wrote:

- The color ribbon behind the tiles seem very wasteful of ink/toner since it's going to be trimmed away and disposed of.


I like a little bit of bleed - especially on tokens


I completely agree. But unless my eyes were deceiving me that "bleed" extended several inches to the sides. My hands aren't that shaky.
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Kai Bettzieche
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
djayshaggy wrote:
schattentanz wrote:
For some reason I can only see 1 page of rules - which appears incomplete ..

Could you check, please?



Kind regards,
Kai


I just checked. Maybe it's a loading issue? The rules document is 2 pages currently. There's also a few image files for the assets. Let me know if there's still an issue. Maybe I can move it to a different service.


Now it's working!

Going to check it out

And, yes, please do remove the full colour bleed for the tokens



Kind regards,
Kai
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Joshua Blaylock
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
I have created no bleed files (retaining the full bleed files in a new folder). I have also made significant updates to the rules and updated the artwork for all anchors so that they are clearly visible and a little more printer-friendly. I am ready for your scrutiny.
 
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Joshua Blaylock
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Re: [WIP] Floating Islands - 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest
I have also added a sheet of alternatives for the non-printable assets and a folder with a black and white version of everything printed.
 
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Josh, your game looks awesome. I'm getting sort of a Hive vibe from it. Not certain. Anyhow, the one problem area that stood out to me was that early turn ending allows you to move a meeple, but in your instructions about moving meeples you state that you can't move them after your turn has ended. I would look at clarifying this somehow so the rules don't clash. (I get hit pretty hard with complaints that my favorite word in rulebooks is "If", but thorough rulesets need to consider these scenarios, because you don't want your players to enter territory you didn't know was there.)

Otherwise, again, fantastic job. Very cool concept.

Edit: One other thing, I found it jarring the word Wasteland later in the document, until I saw the components. Perhaps you would benefit from showing the components first.
 
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Joshua Blaylock
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XendoBreckett wrote:
Josh, your game looks awesome. I'm getting sort of a Hive vibe from it. Not certain. Anyhow, the one problem area that stood out to me was that early turn ending allows you to move a meeple, but in your instructions about moving meeples you state that you can't move them after your turn has ended. I would look at clarifying this somehow so the rules don't clash. (I get hit pretty hard with complaints that my favorite word in rulebooks is "If", but thorough rulesets need to consider these scenarios, because you don't want your players to enter territory you didn't know was there.)

Otherwise, again, fantastic job. Very cool concept.

Edit: One other thing, I found it jarring the word Wasteland later in the document, until I saw the components. Perhaps you would benefit from showing the components first.

Thanks! About the rules issue, I understand. I'll work on that one some more. It's difficult to figure out how to word it, but basically, since you can't move your meeple after your 3rd action, you can move it after your second action and then "pass" for your third action altogether, effectively skipping that action. This has come up numerous times, which is why it's in there.

Edit: I'll move the components up top, too. Thanks!
 
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djayshaggy wrote:
XendoBreckett wrote:
Josh, your game looks awesome. I'm getting sort of a Hive vibe from it. Not certain. Anyhow, the one problem area that stood out to me was that early turn ending allows you to move a meeple, but in your instructions about moving meeples you state that you can't move them after your turn has ended. I would look at clarifying this somehow so the rules don't clash. (I get hit pretty hard with complaints that my favorite word in rulebooks is "If", but thorough rulesets need to consider these scenarios, because you don't want your players to enter territory you didn't know was there.)

Otherwise, again, fantastic job. Very cool concept.

Edit: One other thing, I found it jarring the word Wasteland later in the document, until I saw the components. Perhaps you would benefit from showing the components first.

Thanks! About the rules issue, I understand. I'll work on that one some more. It's difficult to figure out how to word it, but basically, since you can't move your meeple after your 3rd action, you can move it after your second action and then "pass" for your third action altogether, effectively skipping that action. This has come up numerous times, which is why it's in there.

Edit: I'll move the components up top, too. Thanks!


The rules have been updated. The components are moved, and I think the wording is more effective.
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Jeff Warrender
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Just a suggestion, for whatever it's worth: cutting hexes is a pretty substantial effort and may limit the number of people who actually PnP the game, but if you can provide a recommended solution that would allow people to play with, e.g., 2" square tiles or 1" discs or whatever, that they already have on hand, that might increase the number of play-throughs you get.
 
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Joshua Blaylock
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jwarrend wrote:
Just a suggestion, for whatever it's worth: cutting hexes is a pretty substantial effort and may limit the number of people who actually PnP the game, but if you can provide a recommended solution that would allow people to play with, e.g., 2" square tiles or 1" discs or whatever, that they already have on hand, that might increase the number of play-throughs you get.


Thanks for the suggestion. I have been mulling over the best solution I could provide for this very issue. For the moment, I feel there are 2 viable options.

1: You can cut off the left and right corners, thereby making the islands more squared and still keeping all of the distinctions.

2: You can use discs or other bits. My preferred color combinations is:
Blue - Water
White - Mountain
Yellow - Field
Green - Forest
Red - Wasteland
Brown - Base

I will be sure to make these options clear and will likely start working on new sheets with squared tiles as well.
 
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Hrvoje Butkovic
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I was about to tell you about the three games that I’ve played, but as I was typing, I realized that I had misread the first game end condition and pursued a strategy (winning, it turned out) whose goal was to construct as big an archipelago as possible and forego the building of houses except as a defensive mechanism. The part that I missed was that the game didn’t end when all the islands were connected, but only when they were anchored.

Reflecting on the games, it still seems that the correct strategy is to prioritise the gathering of remote islands over the construction of houses since the anchoring of islands needed for construction limits one’s flexibility and gets in the way of expansion later on. The few times when the player who prioritised the construction of houses tried to take islands away from the player who prioritised expansion, the latter was able to fend him off with defensive anchoring and construction thanks to unlimited movement range. At least this has been my experience. I’ll have to test more to make sure.

I really like the richness of the game. Even after choosing a strategy, it’s not obvious how to carry it out – which part of the board to play on or how to respond to the other player’s actions. At least not after three games.
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Hrvoje Butkovic
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When it comes to island design, I think it could be improved. It would really help for the picture of each island type to have a distinct colour, ideally one that matches its border colour.

I suggest making fields yellow, as per this picture:
https://www.worldwildlife.org/habitats/grasslands

I suggest making wastelands reddish and more arid-looking (currently they are too similar to mountains):
https://inkblotsandtypingspots.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/d...

I suggest changing the mountain border to black, or changing the picture to a snow-covered peak:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Snow_cov...
http://misterthree.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/tumblr_nj3...
I’d prefer a darker border because the cloud playing surface is on the light side.


Regarding the manual, I have found it clear and easy to follow, despite what my misreading of the first victory condition might imply. soblue

One potential area of confusion comes from inconsistent usage of the words base, house and building. It seems that building refers to both bases and houses, but actions that I assume are supposed to build or remove houses are worded in terms of buildings instead.

I’m somewhat puzzled by the placement of fields on the map. It makes them both the easiest (by your base) and the most difficult (by the wastelands) islands to attach to your archipelago. What was the reasoning behind this?

“During the final round, a player may not end their turn with both players’ archipelagos connected.”
Though unlikely, it seems possible that a player may be unable to disconnect the two archipelagos, thereby being unable to complete his turn and causing the game to get stuck.
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Joshua Blaylock
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HrvojeButkovic wrote:
I was about to tell you about the three games that I’ve played, but as I was typing, I realized that I had misread the first game end condition and pursued a strategy (winning, it turned out) whose goal was to construct as big an archipelago as possible and forego the building of houses except as a defensive mechanism. The part that I missed was that the game didn’t end when all the islands were connected, but only when they were anchored.

Reflecting on the games, it still seems that the correct strategy is to prioritise the gathering of remote islands over the construction of houses since the anchoring of islands needed for construction limits one’s flexibility and gets in the way of expansion later on. The few times when the player who prioritised the construction of houses tried to take islands away from the player who prioritised expansion, the latter was able to fend him off with defensive anchoring and construction thanks to unlimited movement range. At least this has been my experience. I’ll have to test more to make sure.

I really like the richness of the game. Even after choosing a strategy, it’s not obvious how to carry it out – which part of the board to play on or how to respond to the other player’s actions. At least not after three games.


Anchoring isn't required for end game. Only connecting them. I think you played it right. I would agree that collecting is important to focus on, but neglecting building can still be a detriment, depending on your opponents strategy. Also, the amount of time you spend attacking and defending has a major effect on proper strategy. With my wife, we tend to play nicer and rarely steal. But I've played a couple of games that are highly competitive.

I really appreciate your feedback, and I'm glad you like the game so far.
 
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HrvojeButkovic wrote:
When it comes to island design, I think it could be improved. It would really help for the picture of each island type to have a distinct colour, ideally one that matches its border colour.

I suggest making fields yellow, as per this picture:
https://www.worldwildlife.org/habitats/grasslands

I suggest making wastelands reddish and more arid-looking (currently they are too similar to mountains):
https://inkblotsandtypingspots.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/d...

I suggest changing the mountain border to black, or changing the picture to a snow-covered peak:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Snow_cov...
http://misterthree.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/tumblr_nj3...
I’d prefer a darker border because the cloud playing surface is on the light side.


These were fairly quickly put together. I definitely see your point, and will look into these again to see if I can see any better options for a couple of the tiles.

Quote:
Regarding the manual, I have found it clear and easy to follow, despite what my misreading of the first victory condition might imply. soblue

One potential area of confusion comes from inconsistent usage of the words base, house and building. It seems that building refers to both bases and houses, but actions that I assume are supposed to build or remove houses are worded in terms of buildings instead.


I struggle with word consistency more than pretty much anything else when writing rules. I'm actually going to make a couple of other changes in those wordings as well. Thanks.

Quote:
I’m somewhat puzzled by the placement of fields on the map. It makes them both the easiest (by your base) and the most difficult (by the wastelands) islands to attach to your archipelago. What was the reasoning behind this?


The placement was decided before we decided to introduce wastelands. The placement of wastelands is designed to be specifically where it is. Basically, if you choose to take the fields that are connected to wastelands, you can struggle to disconnect the wasteland, or you can keep it as a way to extend your archipelago (to reach more islands) without gaining or losing any points (2 fields + 1 wasteland = 0 points)

Quote:
“During the final round, a player may not end their turn with both players’ archipelagos connected.”
Though unlikely, it seems possible that a player may be unable to disconnect the two archipelagos, thereby being unable to complete his turn and causing the game to get stuck.


I hadn't considered the possibility that the game end would trigger with houses while the archipelagos are connected. I will alter the game end condition for houses so that the archipelagos must also be disconnected. I will also adjust the wording of this rule to say "Once the end game is triggered" rather than "During the final round". That way, the person who triggered it cannot then reconnect the islands and end their turn.
 
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Hrvoje Butkovic
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djayshaggy wrote:
Anchoring isn't required for end game. Only connecting them. I think you played it right.

Then I’m confused. The first end condition is worded as:

“Players’ archipelagos are not connected and every unanchored island (excluding Wastelands) are part of 1 player’s archipelago”

I interpret this to mean that, if some unanchored islands are a part of one player’s archipelago, and some unanchored islands are a part of the other player’s archipelago, then the game end does not trigger even when all the islands are connected.

djayshaggy wrote:
I hadn't considered the possibility that the game end would trigger with houses while the archipelagos are connected.

I don’t think it can, given that houses can only be constructed while the players’ archipelagos are disconnected. But it can be triggered by connecting/anchoring islands.
 
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HrvojeButkovic wrote:
djayshaggy wrote:
Anchoring isn't required for end game. Only connecting them. I think you played it right.

Then I’m confused. The first end condition is worded as:

“Players’ archipelagos are not connected and every unanchored island (excluding Wastelands) are part of 1 player’s archipelago”

I interpret this to mean that, if some unanchored islands are a part of one player’s archipelago, and some unanchored islands are a part of the other player’s archipelago, then the game end does not trigger even when all the islands are connected.

djayshaggy wrote:
I hadn't considered the possibility that the game end would trigger with houses while the archipelagos are connected.

I don’t think it can, given that houses can only be constructed while the players’ archipelagos are disconnected. But it can be triggered by connecting/anchoring islands.


I'll change "every" to "each" and "1 player" to "a player". It means that each one is connected to 1 player's archipelago, as opposed to both.

The main thing here is that all islands have to be part of a player's archipelago. But wastelands are negative and anchors can't be moved, so they don't have to be connected. I'll add some clarification.

You're right about the houses, which means that the end cannot be triggered while connected. The collection trigger requires that they be disconnected.
 
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I have made a number of updates to the artwork and the rules to address recent feedback. I've also added a link to the Tabletopia version of the game (which has older artwork at the moment but will soon be updated).
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