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Subject: Develop a spaceport - does this sound interesting? rss

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Wim van Gruisen
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Let me start by saying that it's all Elizabeth Robson's fault. She posted this thread about a space version of Junta. I contributed with some ideas, which were absolutely not the direction that she wanted to go to, so I took my ideas and worked on them myself.

In the paragraphs below I want to outline the game that I came up with. It is not playtested yet (yes, I know - don't tell me that I should), but I'd like to hear your comments anyway.

In a distant future a war is going on between a galactic empire and a bunch of noble rebels. Amid all this violence a spaceport is erected and the players try to develop it. They don't represent empire or rebels; they just try to make money.

The game board is being created as the game is being played. In order to do that there are a bunch of hex tiles that the players can place. The game starts with the landing pad being placed; this is the place where the spaceships will land. On their turn, players draw a hex tile from the stack and place it on the board.

Each hex tile has borders in six different colours: red, yellow, blue, orange, purple, green. These are randomly distributed, but so that the primary colours don't touch. The tiles represent space port buildings; flight control centers, factories, construction companies, transport companies, and so on. Each tile affects the game in some way. Each tile also has three 'ownership' spaces. A player can place a token at an unoccupied space to become part owner of the building on that tile.

Tiles can only be placed adjacent to other tiles. The city will eventually grow to three concentric rings around the landing pad. When the 36th tile is placed, the game ends.

Each turn a freight ship lands. It drops a number of cubes in primary colours (this is indicated by cards). If possible, it will also take away cubes in secondary colours, if they are present on the landing pad or in a warehouse.
As an action, players can move these cubes to an adjacent tile. Cubes can be moved away from the landing pad in any direction, but on other tiles, a group of cubes can only be moved over a tile edge if at least one of the cubes has a color corresponding to that edge.
As another action, a player can activate a building if a cube of the correct colour is present.

Some buildings:
Factories: Sacrifice two primary colours to produce one cube of a secondary colour. There is for instance an orange cube factory; sacrifice one red and one yellow cube to produce an orange one.
Flight control centers: Before drawing a freight ship card, look at the top three cards in the freight ship deck and place the one of your choice on top. Look at one more card for each share you have in flight control centers.
Construction company: Before placing a new hex tile, look at the top three hex tiles and choose one. Look at one more hex tile for each share you have in a construction company.
Transport company: Normally each player can only move cubes in batches of five or less. You can move one more cube for each share you have in a transport company.
Warehouse: you can store purple, orange or green cubes there - an from there sell them to a passing freight ship.

and so on.

When a tile is activated, the owners get money for it.

Last, rebels and empire. On a separate board there are tracks for rebels and empire. These two parties are trying to get control of the space port. They already partly own certain buildings (one of the ownership spaces of those buildings is filled with an Empire or Rebels icon).
When a rebel building is activated, place a token on the rebel track. Same for empire. When either of those tracks reaches 20, the game ends.
Players can also - as an action - place one of their tokens on a track. If the rebels win, the player with most tokens on the rebel path gets a bonus. Likewise for empire. Further, players can - as another action - use their influence with one of the factions. By replacing one of their tokens with a neutral one, they can get the rebels to blow up a building, for instance, or get the Empire to disown someone - remove a player's ownership token.

At the end players get points for:
- being part of the winning faction, if Rebels or Empire reach the end of their track;
- money they got from trading goods or from their buildings
- for each type of building, having the most shares of that type.
- for the largest connected area with ownership tokens of their colour


So summarised:
Each player has five actions in a turn. As an action, they can:
- Draw a freightship card and have it land (this is an obligatory action)
- Draw a hex tile and place it adjacent to a hex tile already in place (this is an obligatory action)
- Move a bunch of cubes one tile, according to the colours allowed
- Activate a tile if there are cubes of the correct colour there
- support Empire or Rebels
- Use their influence with Empire or Rebels to do something on the board.

There are several ways of getting points; the player with most points wins.
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Caleb
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So the freight ship cards are drawn blind (exception: flight control) That could be pretty random, which maybe is what you want. But maybe the next 3 cards to land could be face-up so you could see what's coming next - if you need thematic justification, you'd surely know via subspace communications what the next few freighters are going to be arriving with

The flight control card could then be to re-arrange the 3 cards in whatever way you want (e.g. air traffic control messing with the destination times of the incoming ships).

This actually sounds quite cool - I would love to hear more.

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Nate K
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Intriguing, although it sounds very convoluted. I worry that six colors would end up being too many for players to keep track of. Still, I'd be interested to hear how initial playtesting goes.
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Caleb
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kurthl33t wrote:
Intriguing, although it sounds very convoluted. I worry that six colors would end up being too many for players to keep track of. Still, I'd be interested to hear how initial playtesting goes.


Yeah, it's got several good ideas but probably could/should be simplified. Nevertheless, I like the idea of the Empire/Rebels, as long as it can be integrated and not feel "bolted on" or exert undue influence on who wins. Keep us posted!
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Vince
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Sounds interesting. I like the way elements interact.
With actions advancing the game clock as a side-effect, you could potentially play this comp, co-op, or solo - three games in one.

Actions seem a little tight. Assuming a ship stays around for your whole turn, you have to :
- draw a freighter
- move a stack of cubes one or more space
- potentially move a second stack of cubes via a different route
- activate the factory
- move cubes back to the freighter to be sold
So the only time you can build is if you have cubes of the correct colour to be used in a factory adjacent to the port. If you want to build or support, you have to use all your actions on either one or both of those, or place cubes for competitors to use.

There is an inconsistency there, by the way. You say a freighter lands each turn, and later on the freighter is described as an action, which implies it is voluntary.
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Wim van Gruisen
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deepTwo wrote:
There is an inconsistency there, by the way. You say a freighter lands each turn, and later on the freighter is described as an action, which implies it is voluntary.

A freighter lands each turn. The player in question determines at what point in the turn it lands, though. So a player could decide to take ownership of a flight control center first, to have a broader selection of ships.
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Vince
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I see .. Does calling the freighter cost an action then?

Surely when you play flight control you get VP, which makes it worthwhile even if you don't get to benefit from it immediately? If I understand correctly, other players would have to buy shares in order to gain an advantage from it, so you still get to use it first.

I may be flogging a dead horse here, it just seems like a trader's freighter would be something that turns up of its own accord, hangs around for a while, and then leaves, and if you control the freighter to the extent that you tell it when to come and go, you would control what's on it too, which you don't.

Also, if you have to move cubes up to three spaces to get them to a factory, what point is there in having factories that far out? Surely they can't be used, because only the next player gets to take advantage of the cubes produced there.
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Wim van Gruisen
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cannoneer wrote:
So the freight ship cards are drawn blind (exception: flight control) That could be pretty random, which maybe is what you want. But maybe the next 3 cards to land could be face-up so you could see what's coming next - if you need thematic justification, you'd surely know via subspace communications what the next few freighters are going to be arriving with

The flight control card could then be to re-arrange the 3 cards in whatever way you want (e.g. air traffic control messing with the destination times of the incoming ships).

Nice idea. I'm still working on the details and finding out what each building can do. This is a good alternative to what I thought of. Perhaps something similar can be done with construction companies. Players can have a hand of three tiles and have to play one each turn. Shares in construction companies could increase hand size.

deepTwo wrote:
I see .. Does calling the freighter cost an action then?

Yes. The idea is that you have five actions. One of those must be to call a freighter, one other must be to play a tile. The other three can be anything you want, except calling a freighter or playing a tile.

deepTwo wrote:
Surely when you play flight control you get VP, which makes it worthwhile even if you don't get to benefit from it immediately? If I understand correctly, other players would have to buy shares in order to gain an advantage from it, so you still get to use it first.

Just putting down the tile doesn't give you VP. You still have to spend an action to get a share.

deepTwo wrote:
I may be flogging a dead horse here, it just seems like a trader's freighter would be something that turns up of its own accord, hangs around for a while, and then leaves, and if you control the freighter to the extent that you tell it when to come and go, you would control what's on it too, which you don't.

Also, if you have to move cubes up to three spaces to get them to a factory, what point is there in having factories that far out? Surely they can't be used, because only the next player gets to take advantage of the cubes produced there.

I never saw the game as one where you start a production engine, with the whole track from unloading raw materials from the freigher to selling the finished goods to the same freighter. Rather (and indeed, as you say), each player moves packages of cubes about in order to activate tiles. With some tiles, having a share in that tile brings you money if the tile is activated, even if you don't do it. So you could bring blue and yellow cubes to your Green factory. You profit if another player produces green cubes and stocks them in his warehouse; if a third player then takes the cubes from that warehouse to sell them to the next freighter, the second player is rewarded as well.

You get VP not only from the goods you produce, but also at the end for, say, the number of factories where you have a share, and the total area of tiles that are adjacent, where you have a share (not mentioning empire and rebel tracks). So producing goods and making money is not the only way to gain VP. And that means that there are other ways to win than setting up an efficient production engine.

Things are still in a flux - especially the different buildings and their functions. What do you think of a different rule for transport companies? Instead of increasing the max number of cubes to be moved, you can use an action to move cubes further than one tile - but you have to follow the same colour. So if you exit the start tile by the red border, you have to exit the first tile by that same border, as well as the next one, and so on.
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Vince
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Quote:
warehouse
I get it now.

The retail agent aspect could be interesting. Could you actually prevent someone winning by selling their stock and taking a cut?

The transport idea could work, but sounds potentially overpowered. If you only have three actions to spend on movement, getting one free move could mean a lot. Or not, depending on how many turns it takes to wiggle your way through all the gates.
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John McKelvy
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In terms of graphics only

- With six colors, included Green, Red, and mixes thereof - Match EACH color to an easy-to-recognize graphic symbol. Your colorblind players will thank you for it.

- Edit: After reading the desciption a second time, let me re-emphasize this: USE ICONS to redundantly associate borders/cubes of the same color!

- Another thought: use cubes for "primary colors" and some other shape [cylinders] for finished goods.


Sounds like an interesting game though!
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Lizbeth
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Oooh, this sounds interesting, far less chaotic and probably differently themed from the original pitstop idea (which did have very minor tile laying aspects).

If I could ask, how is the tile laying done? Is the only importance that the goods move along them and therefore having factories near recieving zone near your warehouse is useful? That's all I can really figure at the moment.

Also, in the game is money purely VP basically? Just to double check.

I don't think I have a great grasp on the game as a whole, but it sounds interesting.

Glad I inspired someone more capable of work than myself anyways!
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I think effects listed for tiles were : tiles are laid with coloured sides adjoining to form gates which allow only specific goods though, you get VP when you buy in on a tile, and earn profit when someone activates a tile you have a share in.

Kind of like monopoly in space
I'm sure it will be a better than that.
 
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Lizbeth
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monopoly in space has probably being done (by several franchises )

Sounds good from how that works, so essentially, the buildings are differnt gateways that allow goods to pass in a certain way and pool in the centre of the tile until used for whatever reason? I like this idea, I almost feel like you should build on it by making some buildings act as teleports etc. etc.
 
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Wim van Gruisen
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deepTwo wrote:
I think effects listed for tiles were : tiles are laid with coloured sides adjoining to form gates which allow only specific goods though, you get VP when you buy in on a tile, and earn profit when someone activates a tile you have a share in.

Not exactly. Tiles can be laid wherever and however you want; the coloured borders are only to indicate how goods can move.
You don't get VP when you buy in on a tile, but you can get VP when you have a share in, say, the majority of the transport companies, and when you have shares in a large number of adjacent tiles.

Edit: the game is by far not as finished as I probably make it out to be. The idea is still very rough, and lots of details need to be filled in. Some main ideas will probably change too.
 
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Wim van Gruisen
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Elizabeth Robson wrote:
If I could ask, how is the tile laying done? Is the only importance that the goods move along them and therefore having factories near recieving zone near your warehouse is useful? That's all I can really figure at the moment.

Yeah, you can lay tiles wherever you want. The main things to keep in mind are the location of each tile and the route that goods can take.

deepTwo wrote:
The transport idea could work, but sounds potentially overpowered. If you only have three actions to spend on movement, getting one free move could mean a lot. Or not, depending on how many turns it takes to wiggle your way through all the gates.

OTOH, everyone can use that transport route. A smart player builds routes so that they lead to his factories. As a matter of fact, I like the idea of moving goods however far you like as one action. Makes placing tiles much more important.

Elizabeth Robson wrote:
Also, in the game is money purely VP basically? Just to double check.

As of now, yes.
The types of buildings that I want and their functions are not entirely clear to me yet, and I may add actions or modify existing ones. So perhaps some way of spending money may be introduced yet.

Elizabeth Robson wrote:
I don't think I have a great grasp on the game as a whole, but it sounds interesting.

Not sure that I have a grasp on the game as a whole either. But I'm trying ...
 
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Lizbeth
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well, why not have the start set up a set of three tiles, those being:

oil, refinery, landing pad, in that order, so it's a base feuling station, where every player counts as having a share. Then they build from that, so maybe you attach a burger venue to the landing pad, which then needs to be supplied by another chain. Then off course, you can add more landing pads as time goes on, and a few special function tiles. And every single round, every good moves one tile, in the direction it should (IE, oil always goes to the refinery, if there's multiple refineries then each gets a cube).

Ships all require at least one block of oil (possibly more) and will give the station money when this is fufiled, depending on the ship card (each card takes up a landing pad) they may also require other goods, which will net the station more cash.

Then, every time a good moves through a tile you own a share in, you get one Dollar per share from the station allowance these can be spent for the rebel/empire war, more tiles to place or activating tile abilities where ever applicable, and also function as VP.

This is basically the same style as you have from what I see, but creates the same atmosphere that I had with my initial idea, that of 'political co-operation' you want to have effecient routes to quickly top up the stations cash, but you don't want to feed your opponent money, maybe to prevent too much screwage near the end of the game you could have ships be on a timer and once it's gone not only do they leave but a negative ffects take place to pitstop. Then after X ships are serviced/have left in disgust of your petty squabling, the game ends.
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Wim van Gruisen
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Sorry for the late reaction. I've been disconnected from the internet for a while.

I discovered a nice mathematical coincidence that favours the central landing pad idea. I originally considered that each freighter would bring five cubes of different colour. However, it seems that if they bring 7 cubes, there are 36 different ways in which you can have a combination of red, yellow and blue cubes. And 36 is also the number of tiles you need to build three concentric rings round the landing pad.

Lizbeth, awesome post. I tend to look at mechanics in an abstract way (tiles, cubes of different colour). You make things a lot more concrete - and alive - in your post. I'm still mulling over your suggestions for mechanics, but I love the way in which you made the setting more vibrant by suggesting that cubes can stand for oil and that a tile may represent a burger bar.
 
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Lizbeth
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I be queen of theme? (Is that the equivelant of being a boardgame drag queen? )

But no, I always think in terms of theme, if you look in the gaming in the classroom area you'll see a rather large post as to why.
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Stephen Huxman
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This sounds like a lot of fun actually
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