Recommend
28 
 Thumb up
 Hide
11 Posts

Empire of the Stars» Forums » News

Subject: Empire of the Stars > Galactic Emperor (Part 1) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Why aren't you PLAYING a game?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I love Galactic Emperor. I do. Mainly because of the nostalgia and how it fits in my history of game design. I remember well several early tests - one of high note is play testing at ORIGINS (2007). I was very enthusiastic back then like all first time designers I think. I do remember some of the comments and the players. I remember especially well two things. First, one player saying "I'd buy this game now" which is about as high praise as one can get! But second, and even more memorable, was Richard Borg stopping by and his comments about the game. He was so encouraging and I was nearly speechless. I shook his hand, thanked him for his work and he just strolled away. Amazing moment!

So it is with this in mind - a respect for that early version of me and where life was at that time - that I want to compare old GE to EMPIRE. This is probably the easiest comparison for me to make - because I'm taking my historical self to task on the design and how it could be better!

GAME SPEED AND SCORING

The first thing I want to say is I have tried now to make sure EMPIRE plays at a more reliable speed. Now of course, any game is dependent upon the players - if players play slowly, nothing can really be done - it's just going to take a long time to get around the table! But a design can ensure pacing and advancement. Now one aspect I do like in a game is letting the players have some control over when a game ends. I think this lets you have ownership (so to speak) over when the game has been on the table long enough. And I guess I'm fond of the excitement generate by what amounts to a race to the finish. If you see an opponent running toward the end game, then you need to catch up - you can feel that tension.

But in GE, there's this problem of how scoring works: it only happens when someone picks Regent (well, this is the main way scoring happens). If the table doesn't choose that role, the game bogs down. On the other side of this, if players often pick that role, the game rolls along nicely. But certainly if you've played GE to any degree, there must have been times when the game stayed around too long - and it was due to this scoring system.

So how to fix this? I'll talk about role selection later in EMPIRE because that could have been a way to resolve it: make Regent somehow more attractive or more necessary to pick - somewhat 'force' it to happen more often. But instead, I have a few other things that ensure a good pace and a faster game.

Part of the solution is changing the scoring system. Yes, GE had that 'drain the VP' system that has shown up in many games over the years, but for me started in Puerto Rico. It is a nifty system and I like it - but as said, players have to do things do drain it. In EMPIRE, I've done away with 'drain the VP' in favor of something I feel is original: you have a fixed number of 'points' of your own and you drain them to zero! So it's kinda the same, you see? But what makes it different now is you 'place' the points during the game - here and there through different aspects and lanes of play. These 'points' are not points at all - they are your colony tokens! It flows naturally in that way: spread out more and place those tokens during the game which directly represents your success in growing your empire - and you're scoring at the same time!

If I had left it there, that would have helped, but I did a few more things. One, you can also 'get rid' of your colony (score VP) during play in other ways. At times this is by certain technologies or your unique player race (more on that later too). But more often it is by Regent (yes, you can score extra tokens beyond the tokens you place on the board) and Warlord - because I wanted to reward both of these during play. And yet since it is a 4x game - I want all the roles to reward good play - so you can pursue an economic strategy for example - which GE didn't have.

To make this even more fun and give the game some table presence, you 'score' these tokens by pushing them into your 3D throne! Every player has a throne that sits in front of them - and there's a slot in the back where you can score these tokens - hidden from sight - and it's just lots of fun while looking really great at the table. Something to make folks stop and smile and ask questions. So this is really great!

At this point you might be wondering if everyone is doing this, is it all about just getting to the end first? Well, I thought that too - and that's why I added another type of token you can score by putting them into your throne: galaxy tokens! You can gain these through even more special things - again some technologies and player powers - but you are rewarded these by the economy again and also by going 'above and beyond' with Regent - you're rewarded for spreading out your empire - and Warlord - you're rewarded for being in a lot of battles and winning. This built in system then lets players pursue the lanes of scoring that interest them and they feel are exciting and rewarding. And since there are additional tokens like this, the game can be a little generous here - and still give everyone access to points during the game. They are hidden too - inside your throne - and more difficult to track - leading to a chance surprise at the end of the game!

But still, that doesn't guarantee faster play, does it? As a final mechanical solution, there's the galactic throne! As in GE, one player has this during the game and it grants some extra ability during play - I'll talk about that in role selection later. The player who holds the galactic throne is thematically 'reigning' and they have one important responsibility: keeping the game moving! They do this by announcing everyone gets to score a colony token at the start of the emperor's turn! That's right: everyone scores one of their colony tokens into their throne. That means the game ticks down each round at an even pace. Well, mostly even because that throne can be handed around - so it's not a perfect pace, but it is a ticking clock. If a player can't score this token, the game is over! So say you are the first to score their final token before the emperor's turn. You have to hold that position until that turn happens. If someone takes out your colony, it comes back to you - you'll have to get it out there again! It seems to work well (and I hope it feels good). I don't think too many games work this way (I don't know of any?) and it feels different than just scoring X points to win or playing for Y rounds and adding up points.

Whew! That was a lot of exposition - and it's just one part of what has changed (and I think improved!) from GE! I'm really excited to next talk about how role selection is different - really different and I think again, pretty original! It's one of the things that has received very positive feedback since the first tests of the game!
24 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Camelorn
Germany
Koblenz
Rheinland-Pfalz
flag msg tools
Shiny!
badge
Shiny!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Empire of the Stars > Galactic Emperor
Ah, now i get the choice of a throne being on the cover of the game!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ShepparCon was a Blast!
Australia
KILLARA
VIC
flag msg tools
badge
Thank You to all those that attended BorderCon this year and made it special again!!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Empire of the Stars > Galactic Emperor
Okay Adam...When do we go live on KS...I say we because I am along for the ride.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Why aren't you PLAYING a game?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Empire of the Stars > Galactic Emperor
Yay! Well, we're working on the art now - so it'll be a bit yet. I want to have it nearly 'done' before we launch a KS.

And this of course allows me to continue testing, testing, testing!

But thank you very much for the enthusiasm! Honestly, it is the little messages that keep me excited and moving toward the best game we can get.

I say 'we' because the players make the game!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Camelorn
Germany
Koblenz
Rheinland-Pfalz
flag msg tools
Shiny!
badge
Shiny!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Empire of the Stars > Galactic Emperor
adamw wrote:

And this of course allows me to continue testing, testing, testing!


If you want someone to read the rules and perhaps even do some blind-testing of a PnP version with players who did not get the rules teached by you, i'd be in for that.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Jones
United States
Gainesville
Florida
flag msg tools
Yeah it's here! Really it's right here.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Empire of the Stars > Galactic Emperor
Good luck.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Why aren't you PLAYING a game?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Guantanamo wrote:
Good luck.

You know I could really use it! I'm facing off against the titans of gaming: Twilight Imperium and Eclipse! These games have massive fan bases and well deserved! Not only that, but there have been many 4X sci-fi games developed over the past years that are also quite good: Space Empires: 4X, Star Trek: Ascendancy, Empires of the Void II, etc. Many more!

One reason for the more dramatic game box is to 'yell' a bit again. I still believe (obviously!) there's more that can be done with the 4X sci-fi genre - there's room in there!

I could be flat out wrong - there are signs of exhaustion too. But not with me. I am really excited about what this new 'reprise' of GE is turing in to. Certainly much more than I thought has happened - and I am looking forward to the challenge of finding our fans once again!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Bigney
United States
Alexandria Bay
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good luck, Mr. West. I'm very curious to see where the design goes.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
Avatar
mb
adamw wrote:
Guantanamo wrote:
Good luck.

You know I could really use it! I'm facing off against the titans of gaming: Twilight Imperium and Eclipse! These games have massive fan bases and well deserved!


I have played all 3 and Galactic Emperor takes the crown for me! The only one of the three I'd consider owning.

Interested to see what you've done with Empire of the Stars.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Camelorn
Germany
Koblenz
Rheinland-Pfalz
flag msg tools
Shiny!
badge
Shiny!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
adamw wrote:
Guantanamo wrote:
Good luck.

You know I could really use it! I'm facing off against the titans of gaming: Twilight Imperium and Eclipse!


I think playing time might be your unique selling point.

I have just played a 4 player Eclipse and we have needed 4 hours (ok, one newbie at the table).
I am also set up to play Twilight Imperium in June, and let's not talk about playing time with that beast...

If you can pack a similar experience into a game that moves at a faster pace and concludes in a shorter time, you really might have a winner!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ralph L
Germany
Schorndorf
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Don't forget to have a look at the great "Warpgate" (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/209641/warpgate) too in order to see a good example of a lean 4X game that can be played in 2 to 3 hours. Since I have this Eclipse and TI remain on shelves until everyone of us has a whole day to spare
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.