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Subject: [ WIP ] 4XL rss

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Charles Ward
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E R N

 
 
 


4XL is a sandbox 4X space game for 1-2 player age 12+,
designed in Japan by Charles Ward from EX1ST GAMES,
with artwork by Szymek Dmitruk https://www.artstation.com/fizzyparanoia
and is published as forever-free print and play game for the
2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest.


LINKS

BGG E https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/286290/4xl
Like, subscribe, all the good stuff.

FILES E https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/286290/4xl/files
120 cards, 6 large chevron tiles, 32 page rule booklet, and a player aid.

GDCR E https://gdcr.wehappyfew.net/game.php?gid=288

WIP E https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2230801/

TTS E https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=18688... (Thanks Chad!)

IMAGES







STORY

"Welcome to The Future, stranger! Yep, that’s what they named this galaxy eons ago. Today, trade hubs and hull dealers are everywhere, jump lines connect all of the major systems, and the Rogue invasion has finally begun. Yeehaw! It's time to make some lux. I won’t be dealing in smelly ass-teroids anymore. I’m gonna be a Rogue hunter.

You, my friend, can run my tech level 2 trade fleet, if you are interested. They are a good crew, but be careful — these haulers won’t stand a chance against the Rogue without protection... or some kind of payment. A single Rogue entity will turn y’all back into stardust in no time. Here’s how it works: Get rich hauling teratons of freight, then hire mercenaries, like me, to take care of the Rogue. It’s that simple.

But hey... if you want to get rich and famous, then gear up for space combat and get your hands dirty. Oh yeah. I’m gonna blast some Rogue intruders with my battleship, Dolores. I’ve been saving her for the invasion. Oh, and just between you and me, anomalies have the best loot. Go forth and explore!

So long, my friend. If we meet again, I will be glad to lend you a hand... for a modest fee."


It’s the year 4040. You’ve just arrived in a galaxy called The Future, and have been given the chance to command your own fleet. Haul freight, trade resources, complete missions, and upgrade your technology before the Rogue invasion brings your spacefaring adventure to an end. 4XL You can build space stations, explore anomalies, and attack the Rogue with the powerful fleets you have acquired.

In this game, you will manage up to 4 fleets. A fleet is a group of ships and cargo, somewhere out in the galaxy. Each fleet may take 1 action each turn, as well as any number of free actions. Then, the Rogue will take their turn and try to stop you from winning. The game ends when you win by getting 9 points, or when the Rogue wins if the cards or cubes run out.


INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO



COMPONENTS



FEATURES

- Players control up to 4 fleets that can hold ships, crew, science, artefact, rewards, medals, cargo, and freight cards.
- The galaxy is made of innovative chevron shaped tiles that create different trading and traveling opportunities in every game.
- The simple AI grows gradually and provides opportunities for scoring points, as well as a moderate threat.
- Players can choose from a variety of ways to score points, from base building, the combat, anomaly exploration, missions, and so much good stuff that you will barely get to it all.
- 4XM, a subset of 4XL, is a rule set (included in the game) that offers a very engaging, yet low player interaction, pick up and delivery trading game. 4XM is a great way to learn part of 4XL as every rule applies in the larger sandbox game.
- The game is easily expandable with more card, and I will eb doing just that. Who wants a boss mother-ship battle at the end of the game? Who want illegal cargo? Who want deeper exploration? Area extermination? More missions? Anomalies? Ships? Oh boy, oh boy. What have I gotten myself into?

DESIGN GOALS

So I wanted to make a game with these chevron shaped tiles. I have yet to see a game use these. I think they are amazing. They work like a hexagon (they have 6 sides, and fit on a triangular grid) but have a direction. If this was a naval game, hexes would do fine to represent the surface of the water. But this is space and space has 3 dimensions. The chevrons really lend themselves to the network of jump lines connecting the systems in this galaxy. Yes, its representative and not actual distances, but now things are not evenly 1 space away. I love them. Please let me know if you have seen a game use these tiles. Oh and yes, you generate the galaxy randomly, flip over all the tiles, and choose a starting position. The galaxy has been mapped!

The exploration takes place in dead space, the space between the planets stars and black holes (how could we miss them). You will need to detect signals to find one before you can venture to it. The game will eventually have exploration side quests, like little mini games, that you go into. Right now, its just an AI fleet you need to defeat, with a vague idea of how strong it could be. But there is a big range between the easiest and hardest fleet generated. Exploration is limited (once you explore them they are gone) but persistent until completed. The AI fleet is generated each time you visit to try again. Exploration comes in 4 flavors: Mining, wormholes, combat and unknown.

Next I wanted to create a multiplayer game with 90% hidden information. Each player has up to 4 fleets and they have cargo, ships, leaders, and other stuff - but only that player knows what each fleet has. There is no cargo limit, no ship limit. All the other player knows is 1) where that fleet is and 2) how many cards are in the fleet. But wouldn't you know that a player is buying an expensive ship by seeing how much they pay? How do we know that they are paying the right amount for the ship they have bought? Well, all ship cards cost the same. And they cost the same as 1/4 of a space station. You will need to buy 4 station cards to get a fully operational station. No, I didn't say death star, I said station.

And I wanted to create a sandbox game which you could play without actually having any goal what so ever. This game offers a lot of flexibility, and so it will probably be trimmed down and split into two games. The early one will be a pick up and deliver game with friendly missions oriented towards trade, freight, station and fleet building, hiring leaders, discovering anomalies. While the other would add more powerful ships, more confrontational missions geared towards area control, attacking the AI, deeper and more dangerous exploration. Because the system is card based, it will be relatively easy to expand once the core rules are done. The trouble is that you need about 100 cards per player. This is another reason why each box will play 1-2 players, and 1-4 if combined. This is a long term goal.

Another goal was to have a strategic game overlooking the galaxy, and more tactical battles that would take place at a smaller scale. This was ditched for a simple combat system that uses 2 attack values (short and long range), card abilities, and durability (keep or discard after use). The attacker declares the range, players play cards equal to their tech level, cards are revealed and the highest wins. The winners must abandon a card, the looser abandons all the cards played (minimum 1). If its a tie, both players abandon 1/2 of the cards they played rounded up. As you can see there could be some bluffing, and some counter attack. I say counter attack because the cards that attacked and return are now exhausted and can't be used until a reset action takes place.

I tried to add "asymptotic curves" that help players catch up, or make reaching the end game a little harder. Here is one: "Inverted upkeep" is a term I'm using to describe the easiest and quickest upkeep I can come up with. Players get a fixed amount of income each time they reset their fleet. They do this when ever they want to. As each player's fleets, technology, and stations increase, the amount of income decreases. So why would you increase your technology? Because that determines how well you do each of the seven actions, and because income is not a game objective. Yes, I did say 7 actions. Down 2 from the 4XS version of the game.

Other notes before I post... Multi-use card give this game player choices, I hope to make them as agonizing as possible. The trade mechanic from 4XS is here, as are the missions and freight, the AI is super simple this time, turns are quick and combat should only take 2 minutes. That's to goal anyway. Enjoy!



PROCESS

Open development process - I upload files before I proof them or test them.
High community engagement - I create polls, respond with appreciation to all feedback, and test other games.
Ambitious design goals - I aim for "a lot of game."
High iteration rate - I upload new edits (from user feedback) repeatedly, often on the same day.
High quality graphic design - I provide consistent formats, color blind friendly, low ink, readable font.
User friendly, well written rules. Then, I add illustrations and examples.
And after that, a video tutorial.
And finally, a Table Top Simulator mod.

KEY: unpopular, somewhat popular, popular.

STATUS

CONTEST READY

CATEGORIES

Best Overall Game
Best Original Artwork
Best Graphic Design
Most Innovative Mechanic (Modular board using chevron tiles that uses the cornerns as spaces.)
Best Rule Book
Best Advanced PNP Build
Best Wargame
Best Resource Management Category
Best Push Your Luck/Survival
Best AI System in a Game

LINKS

BGG E https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/286290/4xl
Like, subscribe, all the good stuff.

FILES E https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/286290/4xl/files
120 cards, 6 large chevron tiles, 32 page rule booklet, and a player aid.

GDCR E https://gdcr.wehappyfew.net/game.php?gid=288

WIP E https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2230801/

TTS E https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=18688... (Thanks Chad!)

Thank you!
 
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
ERRATA

Errors since the last major upload 2019.10.06 8:00pm:

- RULES page 26: The page layout has been altered slightly.

- RULES 2 PLAYER: Players make keep their cargo cards and service cards face down if they choose to.
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
I'll be following along. Hopefully I'll have time to playtest this too!
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
E TL;DR: I want to get proper cards made, who is in?



So let me talk about the elephant in the room. 4XL will have over 100 square cards (no backs for now). The cards will be 63.5mm x 63.5mm. It's a lot of cards to print out, cut, and corner.

I will make a table top simulator module as soon as I'm happy with the game, but that is not an option everyone like. I personally don't. But it's a great way to connect with people you can't visit. I like connecting with people.

I will also offer a set of professionally printed prototype cards from my store at reduced price. Something similar to the cost of printing it yourself (time, materials, and shipping). How about $10? The more people take up the offer the cheaper it will get. Why am I happy to undercut myself? Well, I'm not really. The bottom line is - I need your feedback and I'm happy to pay for it.

Here is the service I'm planning on using. Note that shipping costs to me, then to you are not included in this image. Also note the 270gms card stock is the cheapest they have. No linen finish, sorry.
https://www.boardgamesmaker.com/print/2-inch-square-game-car...



What do you think?
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
I’d be interested
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
Interesting, worth considering
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
The real question is, can we get 15,000 people interested...

For those of use who wouldn't be able to afford the printing cost, is there any way to scale down the size of the cards? They might be harder to read for sure but is there a way to do that? Make say a compact version of the game?

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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
E TL;DR: We found a better price for smaller cards, who is in?

danrodz wrote:
Interesting, worth considering
Thank you.

HaggisMc wrote:
I’d be interested
Thank you.

andrewvanlaar wrote:
The real question is, can we get 15,000 people interested...

For those of use who wouldn't be able to afford the printing cost, is there any way to scale down the size of the cards? They might be harder to read for sure but is there a way to do that? Make say a compact version of the game?
Great idea. I should have give this idea a bit more tought. Yes, a 2" square is what I'm play-testing with now and it works for me. 1/2 an inch is not a great reduction in size, but a decent reduction in price. The card count is also 120, 6 more cards. Whoohoo!



Hey! I think I can bring this down to $5. Let's tell the other 14,997 people. Hahaha, love it. Think big, right? Thank you, Andrew.
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
darkyeoman wrote:
I'll be following along. Hopefully I'll have time to playtest this too!
Thank you!

My third +100 card set in two weeks. I just love rounded corners. Sadly I forgot to vary a variable, so I will be writing on these soon.

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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
Really liking the artwork! Very clean and flat design. Is this what the cards will look like for the most part or is there a lot more revising to do design wise?

Also, how do you round your corners efficiently?
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
andrewvanlaar wrote:
Really liking the artwork! Very clean and flat design. Is this what the cards will look like for the most part or is there a lot more revising to do design wise?

Also, how do you round your corners efficiently?
If I am not mistaken, these are the cards Charles is offering that we can buy from that online site.

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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
E TL;DR: Made some cards, here is a sample.

Thanks for your comments and questions.

andrewvanlaar wrote:
Really liking the artwork! Very clean and flat design. Is this what the cards will look like for the most part or is there a lot more revising to do design wise?

Also, how do you round your corners efficiently?
CORNERS Luckily, my corner cutting tool Kadomaru Pro was in the shot. Thats how I cut corners. I know some people use scissors - please don't cry

CARD DESIGN The card layout is fixed now, I hope...

The main changes will be the middle part of the cards (the part that says either Move, Appear, Engage) will be white text on black. This is the AI part of the game, so it has to stand out and be consistent, so I think I will go with white on black (The MISSION cards will be a different colour - possibly purple). It also divides the FLEET and CARGO part of the card.


Also, the subtle background on the cards will need to be print tested so that its visible and distinguishable but not in the way of the text. I like the subtleties of the background pattern.

It might be cool to add ship designs to the hull cards, and faces to the leader cards, and something else for the signals (?). With the 2.5" cards, art would fit well, with the 2" cards, it get a bit tight.

Here comes a mini rant... This game will be a very unusual space game because THERE WILL BE NO BLACK TILES REPRESENTING SPACE. What you re looking at (the tiles on the table, the pieces, and the cards) is a console in the war room of your galactic headquarters. The design emulates a display rather than space it self. I figure that the last thing someone who lives in space wants to see is MORE BLACK. Ok, rant over.

MarkP1981 wrote:
andrewvanlaar wrote:
Really liking the artwork! Very clean and flat design. Is this what the cards will look like for the most part or is there a lot more revising to do design wise?

Also, how do you round your corners efficiently?
If I am not mistaken, these are the cards Charles is offering that we can buy from that online site.
Not quite "these cards in particular", but yes. These cards I made on my home printer are the prototype for a professionally printed set of cards. When the design is a bit closer to completion, I will order about 50 decks from the wonderful https://www.boardgamesmaker.com . The quality of the cards I made is very poor. The cards use thin card stock but not quite paper, and - my favorite printer setting - low ink. The colours on the professionally printed cards will be more like this:

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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
PLAYTEST REPORT





DURATION: About 40 min, while taking notes, breaks, etc.

OBJECTIVES: 1 Additional Tech, 1 Reward, 1 Bounty

DECK CYCLE: 2+

COMMENTS: This was a lot of fun, and a bit overwhelming. I made some changes to the AI. I felt that the scan action takes too many cards. I didn't want to stop for coffee. I'm late for my lunch date with my wife. Good signs.
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
PLAYTEST REPORT



DURATION: About 40 min, while taking notes, breaks, etc.

OBJECTIVES: 1 Additional Tech, 3 Bounties, 2 Stations

DECK CYCLE: less than 2

COMMENTS: I almost got wiped out early by the new AI, luckily there was no jump line between the rogue and my main fleet. So I escaped. The new AI is a bit better. Basically if nothing happens, the next event triggers instead. Example: You are asked to move rogue fleets in region 5, but region 5 has no rogues. In this case, resolve the APPEAR event instead of the MOVE, thus adding more cubes. If there are no cubes, the game will end when the draw deck runs out. I did a lot better this game despite my son being in the room, he usually steals my attention with great charm and diplomacy. He even joined me for the first 10 turns.
 
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
This looks interesting. I would possibly be interested in helping out in some way.
 
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
sigmazero13 wrote:
This looks interesting. I would possibly be interested in helping out in some way.
Great thanks. I'm looking for playtesters, an artist (paid), and MOST IMPORTANTLY RIGHT NOW someone to read over the rules and tell me when is hard to understand and what is easy to understand.
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
ex1st wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:
This looks interesting. I would possibly be interested in helping out in some way.
Great thanks. I'm looking for playtesters, an artist (paid), and MOST IMPORTANTLY RIGHT NOW someone to read over the rules and tell me when is hard to understand and what is easy to understand.
I am definitely not the best rule writer but I can take a look for you. Any chance you can privately message me access to components or post them here? I always have an easier time with rules when o can set up some components as well
 
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
andrewvanlaar wrote:
ex1st wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:
This looks interesting. I would possibly be interested in helping out in some way.
Great thanks. I'm looking for playtesters, an artist (paid), and MOST IMPORTANTLY RIGHT NOW someone to read over the rules and tell me when is hard to understand and what is easy to understand.
I am definitely not the best rule writer but I can take a look for you. Any chance you can privately message me access to components or post them here? I always have an easier time with rules when o can set up some components as well
I will post the components soon. That's probably the best time to take a look at the rules, there will be some minor changes, oh so many... Thanks for offering to help. Without other people, I would easily miss a lot of errors - and that would be no fun for anyone!
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
2 PLAYER PLAYTEST REPORT



DURATION: 60 min???

OBJECTIVES: 1 Reward, 1 Bounty->Medal

DECK CYCLE: less than 1

COMMENTS: Overall the game has improved.
The game has less exploration than 4XS.
The game lack the naming of planets compared to 4XS.
The game is missing the legacy aspect of 4XS.
The chevron tiles (shape) work very well.
The rogue seemed menacing enough.
The cost of attack was high, too high.
An attack threshold needed to destroy ships.
We kept forgetting to return the ship tapped->activated.
Thus - The recharge action was hardly ever used.
There needs to be a player aid.
Trade could be slowed down by always having to use lux.
A trade dial or table would help.
Bounty to be renamed Medals
Since you can recall a fleet and launch a fleet for free, choosing a starting position before the map is revealed is pointless.
Have a way to transform lux into Medals, say 10 lux for 1 medal.
Special Ability: Trade limit refers to number of cards, not number of resources.

Graphical changes:
Added red stars to identify the central system.
Removed the non jump line lines from the regions.
 
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
The game looks amazing! How long until the components are ready? I really want to start playing this!
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
 
I want to try to split this game into 2 games:

4XM - Pick up and delivery game with trading, mining, fleet building, missions, super simple combat.

4XL - 4XM (as above) with exploration, space station building, technological development, simple tactical combat.

What do you guys think about this approach?

 

4XM PLAYTEST REPORT



DURATION: 30 min

OBJECTIVES: I bought 3 VP at 10 lux each.

DECK CYCLE: less than 1

COMMENTS: Some changes are needed to play 4XM.
It would be cool to start with Technology 3.
The deck has to be oriented to strategic and economic iterations.
The leaders that are 100% used for combat could be passengers.
The destination of the passengers could be the listed AI.
The deck is the timer.
The lux is used to buy victory points, can help you grow your fleet.
The rogue did not seem to be a threat, they should block trade.
 
 
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
HaggisMc wrote:
The game looks amazing! How long until the components are ready? I really want to start playing this!
Thank you very much. I really cant ask anyone to print 100 cards and then ask them to reprint them. I'm going to have to make sure the game is in very good shape before I put the file out.
 
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
I like the sound of the different games and that you can use the same components to change the game type. Was the game in its original form to complicated? You should include 4XS and make it a 3 in one box game. Hahaha
 
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
HaggisMc wrote:
I like the sound of the different games and that you can use the same components to change the game type. Was the game in its original form to complicated? You should include 4XS and make it a 3 in one box game. Hahaha
4XS was a test run of some of the ideas I had for this game. A lot has changed. I finally revealed the chevron tiles I have been hiding for over a year. Man, I love them!

Complexity is a subjective thing because it depends on the player. The key is to make it fun. How do I make this game fun for as many people as possible? Yes, there is a lot going on in 4XL, so 4XM is about half of that.

Maybe 4XS could be made into a smaller away mission to an unknown galaxy googoo
 
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Joshua Kennedy
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Re: [ WIP ] 4XL - 2019 Solitaire Print and Play Contest
ex1st wrote:
4XS was a test run of some of the ideas I had for this game. A lot has changed. I finally revealed the chevron tiles I have been hiding for over a year. Man, I love them!
I loved the legacy concept of it and also that it had an evergreen mode as well. The chevron tiles are awesome and I love the fact that they’re not all black like all of space 4X games I have seen (not bagging out the other space 4x games, just saying that it’s refreshing having a different colour for the main play area). It’s going to help to get more people interested in playing it I think.

ex1st wrote:
Complexity is a subjective thing because it depends on the player. The key is to make it fun. How do I make this game fun for as many people as possible? Yes, there is a lot going on in 4XL, so 4XM is about half of that.
I get that. I love that you are thinking about making this as fun for as many people as possible.

ex1st wrote:
Maybe 4XS could be made into a smaller away mission to an unknown galaxy googoo
I love this idea!

I’m just going to have to play 4XS, in it’s current state, while I’m impatiently whistlelaugh waiting for this game (in the times that I’m not staring at this thread waiting for more updates...laughlaugh)
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