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Subject: Kings of Wa (倭の王) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan rss

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Lajos
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Francis Tresham's Civilization/Advanced Civilization is one of my favorite games, but it has one major 'flaw': it needs lots of players. 5 or six is probably the minimum, but 10 or more make it really shine. However, I have very limited opportunities to play long games with big groups of gamers, so I wanted a civilization game that offers a somewhat similar experience for a much smaller number of players.

Now, what would be easier than to adapt the basic game system of Civilization/Advanced Civilization, which is in my opinion still by far the best game in the genre, to a smaller map? It seems like an obvious option, and it seems rather easy. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. A smaller map, or using just a part of the original map, does not result in a very enjoyable game. Hence, I started to think about what parts of the game would have to be changed to make it work for 2 (or 3) players. Of course, the trading system is the most obvious candidate, but aside from that, such a game would also need an alternative, considerably smaller, map, and therefore, an alternative or a more specific location.

Choosing a location was easy considering my current interest in the history of Japan, but this choice resulted in more necessary changes. The effects of the smaller distances, for example. And much more importantly, the fact that many developments / advances did not come from Japan originally, but were 'imported' knowledge. These 'imports' were the result of refugees from the mainland (Korea mainly) and of trade.

In other words, there were quite a few parts of the game that had to be replaced, changed, or - at least - tinkered with, and still the tinkering is not done completely. Especially the advances are difficult to get right, but the latest prototype seemed to work relatively well.

Here are some pictures of playtesting sessions with the second and third prototypes.

Second prototype - fourth playtest: nearing the end of the game. Blue lost badly.

Second prototype - fourth playtest: same as above

Third prototype - fifth playtest: about halfway. Blue was doing particularly well, although red had a nice set of advances. A few turns later, the blue empire was severely diminished by a series of calamities. Red was hurt too, but not as bad.

Third prototype - fifth playtest: same as above. Blue founded Hakodate (the most northerly city).

Third prototype - fifth playtest: near the end of the game. Blue lost some cities in a series of calamities. Red tries to conquer one of the cities that blue lost to the neutrals, but ultimately failed because of more urgent problems elsewhere. In the end both players lost.

This last comment reveals two other important differences with Civilization/Advanced Civilization: (1) there are neutrals (and they can be annoying); and (2) both players can loose. As a consequence of the latter, the game is also playable solitaire.
Because of all the differences, 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) is not an expansion / variant of Civilization/Advanced Civilization. Or at least, it isn't anymore, because originally that was exactly what it was. However, there still are many key elements of Civilization/Advanced Civilization in the game.

Of course, the game will be available freely for PnP when it is finished. I expect to make a prototype available for playtesting within a few weeks.

Some key data:
playtime: approx. 4 hours
players: 1 or 2, a 3-player expansion is planned
printing: board (4 sheets A4), cards (7 sheets), counters (1 sheet) (for the 3-player expansion, one additional board sheet needs to be printed)
other components needed: 1 D6, 50 wooden cubes or other markers in 2 or 3 of the following colors: red, blue, green (so 150 in total - 2 colors (100 cubes) for 1 or 2 players; 3 colors (150 cubes) for 3 players).

The current name of the game, 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise), is merely a working title. Suggestions for better names are very welcome.

edit
New working title: Kings of Wa (倭の王). (Historically quite appropriate for the period of the game. Explanation will be included in the rules.)
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Matthew Jones
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
This looks very fun! Between this and the Magic Realm redesign you've had a busy year. And we get to reap the benefits!
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Gefeliciteerd!

Sunrise (transposed) might carry with it WWII connotations that you may not want. I don't have a better suggestion, just a teeny alarm bell.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Sigrdrifa wrote:
Between this and the Magic Realm redesign you've had a busy year.

I think that was carthaginian.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
tommynomad wrote:
Gefeliciteerd!

With what?

tommynomad wrote:
Sunrise (transposed) might carry with it WWII connotations that you may not want.

I'm aware of that connotation, but the name 日本 (Nihon / Nippon - sun-origin) and the association of Japanese historical development with sunrise is much older. The problem is that - broadly speaking - there are two kinds of Japanese words that may be useful for names. One kind is old and was misused in nationalist propaganda leading up to WWII; the other type is a neo-logism of the Meiji era, and therefore too new to be appropriate (the game ends around the year 1000). (The Japanese word for 'civilization', 文明 (bunmei) is an example of the second kind.) Of course, the name doesn't have to be Japanese, but coming up with an appropriate/acceptable English name might be even more difficult.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Great idea.

What time period does your game cover?
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Joumon until Heian. (approx -10.000 to +1000)
 
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Chris
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Subscribe
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Matthew Jones
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Lajos wrote:
Sigrdrifa wrote:
Between this and the Magic Realm redesign you've had a busy year.

I think that was carthaginian.


Oh My mistake. I do recall you being fairly active on that thread, so I'm not totally out of whack. (Ok, I am, but I'm trying to salvage SOMETHING here)

Anyhow, the game looks interesting!!!
 
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Looks great!

Some possible names:
Yamatai (or Yamato)
Himiko
Kofun
Jomon
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Oh, and a cute aside... how do you account for backsliding in technology or Japanese improvement on imported tech?

An example of each:

-after importing new Korean pottery kilns, Japanese went back to their old methods and never looked back... err, forward. They make world class ceramics but they still use retrograde tech to this day.

-after importing weapons from China, Chinese emissaries found that the Japanese had improved on designs.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
How about Kojiki (古事記)?
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
sdiberar wrote:
How about Kojiki (古事記)?


That's a great name, the 'Book of Ancient Things'. In that same spirit: Nihonji.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Lajos wrote:
tommynomad wrote:
Gefeliciteerd!

With what?


The game, of course!
 
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Truly a fascinating subject!

A few design questions:

#1) The first player to move against the Emishi in nothern Honshu could (it seems to me) block the other player's access to Hokkaido. On the other hand, Kyushu could be approached from both southern Honshu or Shikoku leaving that island open to every player. What are your thoughts?

#2) How do you handle early Japanese expeditions to Korea?

#3) How do you handle pirates? (Your time period is a bit early for the infamous Wako pirates but certainly other raiders sailed from Nippon before 1000.)
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
pete belli wrote:
#3) How do you handle pirates? (Your time period is a bit early for the infamous Wako pirates but certainly other raiders sailed from Nippon before 1000.)

Yah, without trading it's hard to use the good old Civ piracy card.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
dnjkirk wrote:
Some possible names:
Yamatai (or Yamato)
Himiko
Kofun
Jomon

Thanks for the suggestions. I thought about Yamato/Yamatai (大和/邪馬台), but it has similar nationalist connotations as sunrise-related terms. Jomon (縄文) and Kofun (古墳) are a bit too specific. Although I could consider Kofun if you would actually be able to build those (rather than just 'invent' them), but that would mean that they would need a game effect and that might be a bit difficult...
Himiko (卑弥呼) on the other hand is an interesting idea.

sdiberar wrote:
How about Kojiki (古事記)?

Another interesting suggestion. Thanks.

dnjkirk wrote:
Oh, and a cute aside... how do you account for backsliding in technology or Japanese improvement on imported tech?

Not. It's too much detail to be relevant on this scale.

pete belli wrote:
#1) The first player to move against the Emishi in nothern Honshu could (it seems to me) block the other player's access to Hokkaido. On the other hand, Kyushu could be approached from both southern Honshu or Shikoku leaving that island open to every player. What are your thoughts?

Actually, a player could choose to play the Emishi. Starting locations are not fixed. One player chooses both starting locations. Then the other player chooses his starting location (from those two) first. If a player starts in the north, he plays the Emishi; if he starts in the far south, he plays Ryukyu; if he starts in the middle, he plays Wa.
Shipping works a bit different by the way (because of the smaller distances). It is not that difficult to have empires consisting of parts in rather different locations. It is not possible to block access by sea to another player.

pete belli wrote:
#2) How do you handle early Japanese expeditions to Korea?

In the two-player game, Korea is not part of the map. However, there is foreign trade (with Korea) and technological diffusion (and epidemics) from Korea. In the three player game, Korea is part of the map. Players can start there (and hence, play Korea), or conquer it. There is, however, rather limited historical detail in this respect, as there is in Civilization itself. Or, more accurately, the possibilities in the game are not very much restricted by real history.

pete belli wrote:
#3) How do you handle pirates? (Your time period is a bit early for the infamous Wako pirates but certainly other raiders sailed from Nippon before 1000.)

Not. There are no pirates. There were other calamities that were historically or mechanically more important, so I got rid of the pirates.

sbszine wrote:
Yah, without trading it's hard to use the good old Civ piracy card.

There is trading. It just works a bit differently. The main differences are that no calamities are tradeable; that a trade can involve any number of cards; and that there is foreign (overseas) trade.
The fact that calamities aren't tradeable does not mean that they always affect the player who drew that calamity card, however. That too is changed.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Quote:
Actually, a player could choose to play the Emishi. Starting locations are not fixed. One player chooses both starting locations. Then the other player chooses his starting location (from those two) first. If a player starts in the north, he plays the Emishi; if he starts in the far south, he plays Ryukyu; if he starts in the middle, he plays Wa.


Excellent design technique. A+

Quote:
In the three player game, Korea is part of the map. Players can start there (and hence, play Korea), or conquer it. There is, however, rather limited historical detail in this respect, as there is in Civilization itself. Or, more accurately, the possibilities in the game are not very much restricted by real history.


Sounds terrific!

I applaud your efforts. This period of history could use more exposure in the USA.

I created a simple Ameritrash-Euro hybrid about Ancient China, Korea, and Japan a few years ago and I found the subject matter to be captivating.
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Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
I would love a 3 player game of this. 2 player I've got a ton of games to play, but a good three player civ game would be a jewel. And the subject matter is excellent.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
How about 倭国(Wa-koku or Wa-no-kuni).
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
ukai wrote:
How about 倭国(Wa-koku or Wa-no-kuni).

Well, considering the fact that Emishi, Ryukyu, or even Korea could win the game rather than Wa / Yamato (there are even more possibilities, by the way), 倭国 does not seem really appropriate. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

edit
Maybe 倭 is not such a bad idea after all. The name referred to the land more than to the people it seems, but I'll have to look up a few things to be sure.
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Re: 日の出 (Hinode - sunrise) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
We seriously have to team up one of these days. I've just finished work on my the alpha for my Gempei War period game, and I have two more Heian themes in the works. I still want to play your Heian, it sounds a little like parts of my Hogen. I'll try to spend longer in Tokyo next time I'm back in Japan. Hopefully I will be out for the games show there next year.
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Re: Kings of Wa (倭) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
I decided to change the working title to Kings of Wa (倭). Ukai-san, thanks for pointing me in that direction. I'll include an explanation of the name (with some other historical notes) in the rules.
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Re: Kings of Wa (倭) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
So is it Wa no Ou now?
 
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Re: Kings of Wa (倭) - 2-player Civilization-game in ancient Japan
Maybe, although I actually prefer the English title because of the explicit plural. However, on my website I changed it to Kings of Wa / 倭の王 indeed.
 
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