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Subject: idea: Hacker Express rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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I was looking at my closet of games and was wondering which game I have that I could easily convert as an express dice game and hacker came to my mind.

I have a sketch of mechanics so far. First, I don't want to use custom dice because they are harder to assemble, but I think I can keep the same look and feel of an express game even without unique dice. Here is some ideas:

map: The network will be pre-drawn on tiles and you might need 4 different tiles to assemble the network. Probably players automatically invades from the edge of the board (they all get dial ins on the edge). The center of the tile will have a hub that will connect to other system on other tiles.

Hacking: If a player decides to hack, he starts with a certain number of dice, Probably 5. He must roll > than the target server difficulty level. Player will need 2-3 success to enter the system. Players can continue to roll until they have their success or until they are detected.

All 1 are set aside and mark that the hacker have left some traces. If a players accumulate three 1, he gets busted. If a player has no success, the player must discard one of his die has a 1. When a player successfully hack a system he place one of his die on it. He can now try to hack another system with the dice he has left. If a player get busted, he lose all system hacked this turn (marked with a die). Else when the hacker decides to stop, all systems with a die will be replaced by a marker of his color.

System Upgrades: The system upgrades will probably be the same than in the original game but they will have a price. If you want to upgrade instead of hacking, you roll 3 or 5 dice, the total value of your dice is the money you have to buy upgrades. If you roll a 1, you must discard a 2nd die. System upgrades will be marked with a token on a track, no need to cut stuff.

Threat and Reward: Each system would have 2 tokens where one will be a threat token and the other one a reward token. The first player to hack a system with reveal the threat token. It can be anything from black ice, virus, etc. When a player successfully enter a system, he draws the reward tokens which can give him permanent bonus, victory points, military upgrades, special powers (increase defense, back doors, virtual connections, etc). When there is only X reward tokens left on the board, the game ends.

Scoring: Players would score 1 point for each system he has a token on it and he get points for reward tokens that has point on them and for unused special powers.

What do you think?

Would people be interested in an express dice version of Hacker?

Any other suggestions?
 
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Brian Sturk
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I'd be interested for sure. I love this game, but it never really hits the table. I'll have to think of some stuff and report back. I had at one time tried to make a solo variant out of the game, hadn't thought of an "express" version.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Solo variant! never thought about it. Could also be interesting. Control as many system until you get busted!

Currently working on a solo starcraft, so probably not hacker for now.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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One thing I realized is that there is a lot of action cards designed to target the player directly in the original game. The idea I have submitted above will not have such things. So players will need other ways to interact with each other to prevent solitaire multi-player.

Right now the options are to Crash or Nark system, or help/hinder players to get into a system. There might be a need to have other actions. In the end, it should makes the game much more strategic and less chaotic than the original which is not necessarily a bad thing.

But if people still prefer to have a chaotic game, I could work on that.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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I made the first map prototype that I am going to use for my initial playtest. No rules have been written yet, but I have a good idea of how it should work. Here are the maps, I used data from the original game to build up the maps.

http://bgd.lariennalibrary.com/uploads/Mainsite/GameIdea/Gam...

I intend to reuse a lot of components from he original game for playtesting, it saves me some time. The only thing left to do is the threat and reward tokens.
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Brian Sturk
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larienna wrote:
I made the first map prototype that I am going to use for my initial playtest. No rules have been written yet, but I have a good idea of how it should work. Here are the maps, I used data from the original game to build up the maps.

http://bgd.lariennalibrary.com/uploads/Mainsite/GameIdea/Gam...

I intend to reuse a lot of components from he original game for playtesting, it saves me some time. The only thing left to do is the threat and reward tokens.


Looks cool. Would these maps be the size of cards?
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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No, each page is a 8x8" tile. You should use 1 tile per player (not sure). It makes it easier to assemble the net this way instead of using individual cards. It also makes it easier to have a balanced net in every game.

I will start writing the rule draft and I'll make some initial playtest once the sheets above are printed. I have made new development lately that made the game much more interesting:

No Raids/bust: In fact, all the players get raided once the game ends and the player with the most victory point wins. Any evidence gathered against you during the game are in fact negative victory points that you accumulate through the game.

Event Cards: I decided to add event cards. These cards would first help the players in last position to get into the game by giving them cards to play against players they think is winning. The cards will also be a clock, when all the cards are depleted, the game ends. So the game will last a fixed number of turns.

But the event cards are not exactly "take that" effect. The player always have a choice. So for example a Taiwaneese modem could have a chance to destroy itself on each hack, but the player still have the choice to use it or change it. If a hacker has a girlfriend, he needs to lose a turn to spend some time with her, else he lose 2 VP at the end of the game. So the idea is to have a bit of strategy even if they are "take that" cards.

Hacker Shop: When hacker take their turn to get money and get an upgrade, they do not have access to all the upgrades. In fact they go to the hacker shop to buy their stuff. 4 upgrades will be shown at a time and they can buy one of these 4 upgrades or take money to buy stronger upgrades later. Shops will also contains the "Tim Norton Anti-virus", the colored boxes (Ex: mauve box), Expansions, Original manuals, and maybe military upgrades (cannot be sold, gives -2 VP)

Threath/Reward: For the threath, I intend to use this: Virus, Worm, Security up, Black ICE, Sniffer, Firewall. For rewards, they will all be network related: Backdoor, Allies, Secret Indial, Virtual Bridge. It's possible that virtual bridge are owned by a player until revealed to the public.

Victory points: Here are the various ways to earn points

- 1 VP per system, 2VP for hubs
- 2 VP for Net ninja
- 1 VP for each unused reward token
- 1 VP for each 2 or 3 unused event cards (maybe 2 VP to match a set of 3 cards)
- Negative tokens accumulated though the game
- Played Event cards that give negative points


I have to go, I'll write the rules, make some test and give more feedback later.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Dice Rolling System changed

I made some quick test to the dice rolling system and it does not work at all, I intend to use instead dice of different colors and make the value of the dice worth something rather than a hit/miss system.

At the beginning of the hack, the player will roll together 2 blue and 3 red dice. The blue dice are for ICE while the red dice are for hacking. Additional dice can be gained with upgrades.

The player roll the dice and must keep at least 2 dice. Then they roll the left over dice and repeat the process untill all dice are kept.

The players must exceed the Security level of the system with the red dice to successfully hack. It is possible that hacking a system you are already in reduce the security level. But your blue dice must also be higher than the ICE level of the system, else you trigger ICE.

So this system should give a dilema as to which dice the player want to keep to increase their chance to succeed without hitting ICE.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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I finally found my rolling system which allows me to almost keep the original security and ICE values and that fit with the concept of an express game.

The idea is that you do all your hack at once. You roll 1 die for each hack you have and place 1 die per system you want to hack. Then roll a 2nd set of die and complete the pair for every system hacked.

So the strategy is to determine where will the dice go to make sure you can have many successful hack while avoiding failures that triggers ICE.

It will make turns go way faster since each player only roll twice on their turn.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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OK, I uploaded my first rule draft. It has not been tested, and the map I made is incompatible with these rules, but at least it will give people and idea of how it will work and start gathering feedback.

http://bgd.lariennalibrary.com/uploads/Mainsite/GameIdea/Gam...
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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The new map has been designed. I should be ready to make a full playtest in the week to come.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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I made my first playtest ... and it does not works. I don't know if I was tired, but it felt more complex than the original or not very different. There is also a lot of components, especially tokens, and that is something that does not fit for an express game. The board is also hard to read in my point of view.

So I will not have any choice to use dice with odd faces like other express games. I was thinking for example to place the threat/reward tokens on dice. Some effect like crashing and houseclean will also be triggered by a die.

I might not be able to have a rolling system where you hack many system in one roll. I think that was one of the problem with the system I have tested.

I have thought that I could use something like Vinci when each system has a cost to meet and you just spend resources to capture. I'll give it some thoughts.

Here is some pictures:





 
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