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Subject: WIP: Iron Game Designers - Off World Colonies rss

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todd sanders
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WIP thread for my entry in the Iron Game Design Short Competition
2 weeks from conception start to finished game with photos

Todd Sanders
Off World Colonies


Players: 1-3
Playing Time: 20-30 minutes

Equipment:
• The 12 Asteroid tiles, 1 Space Station tile and 1 Comet tile
• 8 yellow Credit Value markers (numbered 2 to 6)
• One Mining Ship Cargo Manifest board per player
• 20 black eurocubes for the Androids
• 5 white eurocubes for the Naxos 7 Androids
• 12 red, blue and yellow eurocubes to track Credits, Armaments and the Fuel distillery, and Asteroid Claims (one color per player)
• 100 pennies (or eurocubes if you have them handy) to represent the
various resources in the game (raw mined resources, and fuel)
• 1d6
• 1d8 (for 1 player), 1d10 (for 2p) or 1d12 (for 3p)
• 3 pawns (red, blue, yellow) to represent the mining ships

Description:
Players are competing mining companies exploiting resources in the Off World Colonies (as mentioned in Blade Runner). The game will include asteroid orbital navigation, area control over limited resources, mining/claim jumping...

During the game a rogue android (Replicant) group will begin infiltrating the asteroid belt, eventually stopping mining on asteroids and wreaking general havok. The game ends when a select number of asteroids are either completely mined or captured by the androids.

Mechanics: die rolling, area control


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todd sanders
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description of orbits and costs in action points and fuel



i realize my celestial mechanics are a bit off here in terms of these asteroids orbiting a space station (though maybe the station is powered by a white dwarf). i had though earlier today it might be fun to shuffle these tiles then toss them on a table for their fixed positions in space. but that would be a lot harder to figure out what the paired orbits were. in this version players would stack the tiles, randomly shuffle them and deal them in a row (subtracting out X number per players for some forced scarcity).

i am thinking players could shift sets of tiles up and down so their corresponding orbits are easy to read.

laid out like this i think the tiles look pretty cool, if i say so myself. careful observers will notice i went ahead and colored in the asteroid with the resource color for easier visual identification

also showing in this diagram are the random price values for each resource that will be placed at the beginning of the game (adding i hope to the scarcity values. there might be extra price tiles 6-8 of them with numbers from 1-4, from which 3 are drawn to set prices)
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todd sanders
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player cargo manifest boards and resource price markers



last night i worked out the android rules and AI driven mechanic to end the game. will type up a rules draft soon
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Nigel Swan
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looks really good.The gameline is what i love.asteroids and replicators.
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David Etherton
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Regarding the orbit mechanic...

Instead of placing tiles like this:

7 6 5 4 3 2 1 B 1 2 3

You can move between matching numbers for 1 action or up or down numbers for (1 fuel + 1 action) per step

Wouldn't this be equivalent:

7 6 5 4 3 2 1 B
3 2 1


Staying in the same orbit (going up or down in a column) costs one action, and changing orbits (going left or right -- and you can't go diagonally) costs (1 fuel + action) per step.

I think everything works out the same (as long as you always move orthogonally and can't skip over blank areas). The base would be considered adjacent to ALL 1-orbit tiles. If there were only two, it could be moved down "half a line" in the diagram above.

The only real advantage of this system over what you propose is that it takes less table space, and can also be extended to more than two planets per orbit -- for example, it could even form a rough pyramid.

Of course, there may be other game considerations that favor your original layout.

-Dave
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todd sanders
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good ideas there dave. it was my original intention that the space station and comet tiles would be randomly shuffled in with the select asteroid tiles so the space station may wind up dead center or at one of the ends. the orbiting path then would always be centered around the space station but each game could be different in the layout. with a randomly selected set of asteroid tiles (7 for a 1p game, 9 for 2p and 11 for 3p) there would be some scarcity each game as well. when this is coupled with the refining values the strategies to mine the asteroids (claiming an asteroid, defending it and claim jumping by the other players) would be new each time.

your layout might however simplify orbiting distances once the initial tiles are chosen. i will be working on a rules write up tonight and will definitely think about what you propose.
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todd sanders
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a first run at the rules and all game bittery is up on my server (probably typos are about, they'll be snark hunted in the coming days)

http://aanpress.com/game/offworld/

2 pages of components with 2 pages of backsides and 3 pages of rules. (i'll work to pare down the graphics so the PDF size is more manageable)

right now the number of eurocubes and pennies is high and i need to playtest it to perhaps reduce that number some.

i think it will be a tight game of mining and claim jumping, then the androids show up and ruin everyone's fun. this is by no means a complex game but i think it will support 2-3 players nicely and have some sound/tough decision making.

the math behind the game is pretty simple and i am happy with it. tiles draws and such are proportionally the same no matter the number of players.

all actions are 1AP which should keep things simple as well.

playtesting will reveal:
should ships carry less fuel?
should asteroids have more to mine?
are the upgrade costs reasonable vs. amounts being made in processing resources?
should players begin with fewer AP?
for the 1 player game can i create some extra tension that replaces the claim jumping for a multi player game?


Off World Colonies

In the early 21st century the Rytell Corporation created the first androids, vat-grown, speed aged, altered humans with a shortened lifespan. These androids, and the cheap disposable labor they represented paved the way for the exploration of space and Earth’s first “Off World Colonies”. Mining corporations soon began to exploit the riches of the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. In Off World Colonies players pilot mining ships in the asteroid belt finding resouces needed for a depleted, desperate Earth. Players will use androids for labor and defensive armies on their mining claims. Beware the new generation of Androids, Naxos 7s, they are beginning to resent their lower class status and have begun to revolt.

Off World Colonies is a game for 1 to 3 players lasting 20-30 minutes.


Needed to play:
The 12 Asteroid tiles, 1 Space Station tile and 1 Comet tile
8 yellow Credit Value markers (numbered 1 to 4)
One Mining Ship Cargo Manifest board per player
25 black eurocubes for the Androids
5 white eurocubes for the Naxos 7 Androids
12 red, blue and yellow eurocubes to track Credits, Armaments and the Fuel distillery, and Asteroid Claims (one color per player)
100 pennies (or eurocubes if you have them handy) to represent the various resources in the game (raw mined resources, and fuel)
1d6 and 1d8 (for 1 player), 1d10 (for 2p) or 1d12 (for 3p)
3 pawns (red, blue, yellow) to represent the mining ships

Setup:
Separate out the PKD Space Station and Burroughs Comet tiles.

Shuffle the remaining asteroid tiles face down and draw a stack of 7 tiles (1 player), 9 tiles (2p) or 11 tiles (3p), Shuffle the Space Station and Comet tiles into this stack and deal them out face up in a row with some space between each. (see page 3 for a diagram showing the tiles laid out. Staggering pairs of tiles up and down will help when calculating orbits during Navigation)

This will form the local asteroid belt players will navigate in.

Place a number of pennies equal to the defensive value x 2 (ex. an asteroid with a defense value of 3 should receive 6 pennies) on each asteroid.

Shuffle the 8 yellow Credit value markers face down and draw 3 of these. Place them in a column next to the left side of the PKD Space Station, adjacent to the three types of mined resources in the game: metals, gases, fissionables. These values will represent the amount earned from each M.Tonnes of processed mined resources.

Next, give each player a Mining Ship Cargo Manifest and matching set of 12 colored eurocubes. Place the eurocubes next to the manifest. Players will use 3 of these cubes to track their credits, 3 cubes if they upgrade their armaments and 1 cube for a possible upgrade of a fuel distillery. The remaining 5 cubes will be used to mark players’ claims on asteroids. Each player should take 10 pennies and stack them on their methane fuel (CH4) tank on their Manifest. Each ship starts with a full tank of methane

Next, place the black and white android cubes in a bag to blind draw from during the game.

Place 12 black and 3 white cubes in the bag for 1 player
Place 20 black and 4 white cubes in the bag for 2 players
Place 25 black and 5 white cubes in the bag for 3 players

Lastly place all player ship pawns on PKD Station and place the following dice near all players reach -1d8 (for 1 player), 1d10 (for 2p) or 1d12 (for 3p), used to decide which asteroids the Naxos androids take over and 1d6 used when claim jumping.

Play:
Players have 3 action points (AP) to spend each turn in the game (in a 2 or 3 player game, the 2nd and 3rd player each get one additional AP for their first turn). Players may earn more APs as the game progresses.

A player can land on an asteroid, orbit the comet or dock at PKD Station and remain there for multiple turns if they desire. Only one player may occupy any one asteroid at any one time. Multiple players may be orbit the comet or be docked at PKD Station.

On a player’s turn they may do one or more of the following, spending their AP:

Stake a Claim (1AP)
A player who has landed on an unclaimed asteroid may claim it for 1 action point. The player should then place one of their colored claim markers in the upper right-hand corner of the asteroid tile.

Mine an Asteroid (1AP)
A player may only mine an asteroid they have a claim on. Each AP spent will mine one M.Tonnes of resource material. The three types of mined resources in the game are metals (Iron and Nickel), gases (Oxygen, Neon and Nitrogen), fissionables (Uranium, Plutonium and Radium). Asteroids are color coded for these types of materials. Player mining ships can hold 3 M. Tonnes of resource materials at one time in their special holds. A player may never store one type of resource material in a different resource’s hold. A player may increase the space of their resource holds by one by visiting PKD Station and purchasing an upgrade.

One an asteroid has been completely mined, the player should remove their claim marker and any androids. The asteroid tile should then be flipped over to its other side to note that the asteroid is mined out. A player may still land on the tile but may not claim or mine it.

Refuel (1AP)
A player may orbit the Burroughs Comet and re-fuel their methane tanks. 1MKL per 1AP. A mining ship can never hold more than 10MKL of fuel.

Refine (1AP)
A player, if they have purchased the fuel distillery, may convert 1 gases resource to fuel for 1AP. Discard any resources used for this afterwards.
Defense (1AP) (not used in a 1 player game)
A player, who has landed on one of their claimed asteroids may boost the defense value of the asteroid by placing 1 android (moved from the player’s Cryopod on the Cargo Manifest board) per 1AP on it. Each android adds +1 to defense.

Claim Jump (1AP) (not used in a 1 player game)
A player may land on an asteroid claim by another player and attempt to jump the claim. The defensive value of the asteroid is added to the number of androids on it. This is the Total Defense Value (TDV) (ex. the Brion asteroid has a defense value of 1 and, during the game, has had 4 androids placed on it. The TDV is 5).

The claim jumping player must roll 1d6, adding any armament upgrades they have, and that number must be equal to or higher than the TDV. If the roll is successful, remove the current claim marker from the asteroid and give it back to the former owner. Place a claim jumper player’s marker on the asteroid. Discard all androids on the asteroid. They have been killed.

Docking at PKD Station
Players may dock at PKD Station without spending any AP. Once there they may do the following:

Processing (1AP)
Players may spend 1AP per 3 M.Tonnes of resources processed. As a player removes the resources from their Cargo Manifest board they multiple the number of resources processed of each type and multiply this number by the credit value as shown to the left of the PKD Station tile. Add the credits earned to the credit total on the Cargo Manifest board.

Buying (1AP)
Player may spend 1AP to purchase any ship upgrades and androids they want during their turn. After the 1AP is spent players may buy the following for credits:

fuel distillery = 50CR (max 1)
Android = 5CR
Armaments = 25CR (max 3)
Additional ship hold = 25CR (max 3, 1 of each resource type)

Mark any upgrades on the Cargo Manifest board. For androids, blind draw the number purchased from the game bag and place any androids in the ship’s Cryopod. Keep track of any white androids drawn (See section: Androids)

Earning additional AP
Additional AP may be gained depending on how many androids a player has in their Cryopod

1 android = 1 extra AP per turn
3 androids = 2 extra AP per turn
6 androids = 3 extra AP per turn
9+ androids = 4 extra AP per turn

Extra AP are not permanent and are solely determined by those androids in the Cryopod. A player may not count those they are using for defense. As a player uses androids for defense, the extra AP count may be reduced.

Navigation (AP + fuel):
Players may navigate from an asteroid in one orbit to another or to PKD Station of the comet. Orbits in the game are determined based on proximity to PKD Station.

PKD Station is the center point of all orbiting asteroids and the comet. The tiles immediately to the left and right of it are 1 orbit in distance away, those 1 tile further away are 2 orbits in distance. Depending on the initial location of PKD Station, the station may be centered among all the asteroids or further to one side or another.

When flying in any single orbit a player may move their ship from one tile to another in the same orbit for 1AP.

When flying from any one single orbit outward or inward to the
next orbit a player may move their ship for 1AP + 1 unit of fuel.
2 orbits = 2AP + 2 units of fuel, and so on.

A player may not navigate farther than they have AP and fuel for.

Androids:
During the game androids are blind drawn from the game bag by players. If all players have completed a single turn and none have purchased any androids during that time, the first player must blind draw an android from the game bag and place it on PKD station.

Once all the number of white Naxos 7 Androids have been drawn from the bag (3 - 1 player, 4 - 2p, 5 - 3p), the androids begin their revolt and take over the asteroids and the comet, preventing players from using them.

During each player’s turn roll the corresponding die [1d8 (for 1 player), 1d10 (for 2p) or 1d12 (for 3p)]. Count from the leftmost tile (as oriented to the first player) and turn that tile over, (asteroid or comet) if it has not been previously turned over. Any claim markers and androids are discarded and not returned to their owner. Place one android marker on top of the flipped tile (taken from the discard pile or from PKD Station). This tile may not be landed upon by any player in the game, but may be navigated past.

if the number rolled corresponds to the position of PKD Station, roll the die again. If the number rolled corresponds to a previously flipped and android marked tile, nothing further occurs.

Game End:
The game ends when a specific number of tiles have been flipped over either due to being mined out or take over by the Naxos 7 Androids.

For 1 player = 4 tiles
For 2 players = 5 tiles
For 3 players = 6 tiles

The player with the highest number of credits is the winner. In the case of a tie, the player with the greatest number of androids is the winner.
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todd sanders
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new cargo manifest board design

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Evan Derrick
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Looking forward to trying this out, Todd!
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todd sanders
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please do Evan.

I am printng a copy up right now to assemble tomorrow and try out

humm or not. the pdf quality on this PC where i am is awful. i saved these files as compressed when i did the PDF. my space static overlay is coming out distorted

will revise it tonight
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todd sanders
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some photos today of playtesting a 3 player game. i am using dice to keep track of resources and this may work better than pennies. and i am using my modded ships for Perry Rhodan that i painted


3 player game setup. asteroids are staggered in their orbits as per the rules. i think this still works visually well but if any want to play with Raiderjakk's idea that works too.


left to right:
1. a shot down the orbits of ships mining in the game
2. 2 player shot showing claims on asteroids and mining taking place
3. all the naxos 7 androids have been drawn so they are beginning to cut off the asteroids (note the leftmost has been turned over and marked)
4. further game shot, many asteroids either mined out or taken over.


i plan on having updates to all files in the next day or two. and the game should be fairly good by then (at least for the confines of this contest - 6 days left or so?)
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todd sanders
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wow quick design/implementation curve in this contest. it is only just clicking in my head how fast everything has to be.

just did a couple of playtests which revealed a number of things to be fixed.

quick list of thoughts:

ships should be able to hijack each other. use armament/androids for offense/defense rolls (another reason to buy each) you win 1 resource of your choice, as many has your hold fits

cargo manifest cards need some adjustments.

too few resources in the game so i am changing it from 2x defensive value to 3x

adjusting prices as well on the space station (for refinery and for goods and for upgrade purchases) and adding an option to buy fuel (for high credit cost)

pulling idea for androids works well but cycle needs to be a bit faster

final win rule about how many asteroids need to be mined/taken over needs to be increased

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todd sanders
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ok revised files are up and the total PDF is now smaller in size too as an added bonus

2 pages of components + backs + 3 pages of rules.

i was able to reduce the number of eurocubes needed for the game as well.

have at it for any who want to do a playtest


http://www.aanpress.com/game/offworld
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todd sanders
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printing up version beta of the game right now. will craft it up tomorrow and give it another test iteration

just finished the next rules re-read too. some inconsistencies will be amended tonight
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todd sanders
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just finished crafting the final printed copy. photos tomorrow. even took time to blacken the edges of the asteroid tiles.

my game is ready for printing and/or playing
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Nate K
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Oof. This one's quite the printer-buster, isn't it?
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Kevin Eagles
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Whats the old saying? "Better to have love and lost?"...

I'm still young enough that I will be able to meet other (printer) catridges.

Eagles
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todd sanders
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only 2 pages if you do not print the backs.

yes i know there is a lot of black. space is like that
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Aaron Trammell
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This one looks amazing! Great job with the design (although I've been following the Caverns of Soloth thread, and I think I like your work there a bit more. . .).

Will print out and try soon.
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Val Cassotta
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I think you mean the Sorrow of Salith thread

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/700717/wip-sul-sorrow-of-sal...

Unless I missed something and Todd is working with the Catacombs people.
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todd sanders
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no you are right val. it is Shadows Upon Lassadar: Sorrow of Salilth

and thanks above for following that thread and this one
 
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Aaron Trammell
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Ha! I don't know why I was thinking "cavern."
 
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Timothy
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Are the images in the op the the final tiles or are the ones in the pdf, because the tiles in the file I downloaded don't have the defense rating in the lower left.
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todd sanders
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the ones in the PDF are the current files. i have not updated the artwork in the first post yet. will do that today
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Maybe I missed it, but what's the victory condition for 1p?
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