Recommend
11 
 Thumb up
 Hide
75 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Design Contests

Subject: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: game published rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Arival: the Path of the Past
a solitaire game of survival

Designed for the 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest

LATEST AND FINAL UPDATE: 2012 September 30.

The game has been published: information, rules and components are available from the game's page.


The full-art components.
12 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
The first round of playtesting is over.

I played a few games, and was not satisfied with the mechanics for tile-laying and Wolfhounds movement. The Wolfhounds in particular were moving in locksteps too often, and the whole game felt like a race against time (which it partly is) with little impact from the player's choices (which must not be) and some awkwardness here and there.

Based on these early games, I decided to streamline some basic mechanics: as a result, tiles have given way to cards. The game is now a bit more abstract in feel, but the (I hope) good elements are still there, while some unsatisfactory elements are gone.

A snapshot of some mechanics:

You start with 7 clans, 3 food, and an Arival strength of 3. A special card shows the beginning of your path.

Each turn you draw a card which represents a possible new step in your path. You must then decide whether to go there or scout ahead, which allows you to discard that card and draw another.

You move to a new card by activating a connection on your current card: the connection also tells you how your position changes. Your goal is to reach Res, which is at a specified position on an ideal "map", so you are ultimately trying to chain cards together and build a path that takes you there.

Different connections require different amounts of time and effort, though, and scouting takes time as well, so whenever you scout ahead you are effectively giving up the chance to use the more costly connections.

Also, the slower you move, the closer the Wolfhounds come...

Another update soon.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
Cool! Can't wait to hear more!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Timothy
United States
Granada Hills
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
Liking the concept. Look forward to the next update.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
A quick look at some other mechanics:

There are four types of connections: trails, rivers upstream, rivers downstream, and mountain passes.

Rivers are your friends, because the Wolfhounds hate rivers and will not be able to follow you closely. Whenever you travel by river, you put more distance between you and the Wolfhounds.

Mountain passes and rivers upstream force you to move more slowly, so you can't use these connections when you decide to scout ahead.

At the moment, using these two connections also allows the Wolfhounds to come closer (because you are moving slowly): in the case of rivers upstream, this effectively offsets the positive effect of the river, leaving distance between you and the Wolfhounds unchanged. I'm testing the game both with and without this rule.

Anyway, the Wolfhounds come closer anytime you rest (more on this later).

The Wolfhounds start at a distance of 2 behind you, and you will never be able to widen the distance over 3, because they are too fast and too good at tracking. Whenever they reach you (distance reduced to zero), one of your clans must sacrifice themselves to act as baits and lead the Wolfhounds away, if only for a short time. As a result, you lose one clan but the distance between you and the Wolfhounds is reset to 2.

One last update will follow with the mechanics for food and the Arival, droks, and the map (I'm still clarifying this part of the game).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
Here is the last snapshot of the game mechanics:

Cards (abstractly) represent locations on the map: some locations contain features that affect your food reserves, clans, and Arival.

Food and rest

Barren areas prevent you from foraging as you go, forcing you to consume some of your food reserves. Conversely, other locations offer plenty of food (either spontaneous fruit and cereals or animals that can be hunted), allowing you to replenish your food reserves, but only if you rest there.

Each turn, whether you have decided to scout ahead or not, you must either move to the last card you drew or rest on the card you are currently "on" (the last card in the chain that represents your path up to now).

Resting allows you to either forage (increase food reserves by 1) or perform Rites of Atonement (increase your Arival strength by 1 - see below), at your option. Whenever you rest on a card with abundant food, you gain +2 food instead of +1.

The drawback of resting is that it allows the Wolfhounds to come closer. Also, you can't rest in barren areas.

The Arival

The Arival, the Soul of the People, revolves around Tenets. The Ari (which is, your people) do not eat animals, do not cross rivers (as strange as it may be), and consider particular rock formations called "earthspires" as sacred places.

As a result, the strength of your Arival is decreased every time you rest and forage on a card with plenty of game, and whenever you don't rest on a card where earthspires are. It also decreases whenever activating certain connections on certain cards results in crossing a river (this is marked on those cards).

The only way to strengthen your Arival again is by perfoming Rites of Atonement. If you do it on a card with earthspires, the effect is greater.

Droks

Droks are very large birds of prey, which the Ari simply have no means to defend from. Droks do not necessarily have a taste for flesh, but they are, well, as hungry as they are large. Whenever you pass on a card where there are Droks' nests, you must either sacrifice one of your clans or some of your food reserves to appease the Droks.

***

So this is the current state of the game. Despite improvements, I think I'm not quite there yet. In particular, the mechanics for food and Arival do not convince me completely, and I have a few doubts on minor mechanical rules.

I would like the game to be consistently winnable, say two times out of three on average, but also to be challenging (well, this is a rather obvious goal after all). But most of all, without sacrificing gameplay, I want the game to convey the sense of urgency implied by the theme.

In the next few days I will focus on ending the second round of private playtesting, making any corrections suggested by these last games, and then making components available for public playtesting. Hopefully feedback from other gamers will help me refine the mechanics and polish the game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
Very cool. Although I have to admit surprise at seeing the word "cereals" used to refer to grains. I thought that was an archaic meaning. But I'm guessing that they teach British English in Italy, and I don't know how Brits use the word "cereal."
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
kurthl33t wrote:
Very cool.


Thank you, I hope the final game will meet expectations.

kurthl33t wrote:
Although I have to admit surprise at seeing the word "cereals" used to refer to grains. I thought that was an archaic meaning. But I'm guessing that they teach British English in Italy, and I don't know how Brits use the word "cereal."


I confirm we are taught British English, though the smartest teachers usually point out at least the main differences between British and American English. (I'm afraid nothing is usually taught about how they speak and write in the other English-speaking countries.)

I checked my dictionary, which is up-to-date and in my opinion does an excellent job in pointing out the specific features of American English, and it does not classify "cereal(s)" as an archaism. However, from what you say, I surmise you always use "grain(s)" in the U.S: that's something I really did not know.

But my English is far from perfect, so I welcome this kind of remarks and the opportunity they give me to improve my knowledge.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
Interesting. Well, in America, you would only see the word "cereal" in reference to breakfast food. It's also used a few times in the King James translation of the Bible to refer to grain, but that translation is several hundred years old.

But apparently in British English "cereal" is still in common use to mean grain. Good to know.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Timothy
United States
Granada Hills
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
I must confess that I was ignorant of cereal's being an archaic term. Maybe a difference in regional dialect? Or somethin'.

On topic:

Why the negative for having game present at a rest site? It seems kinda, uh, arbitrary to me? Because they're eating all the good forage? Other than that, everything else seems to be tied in quite well, I think.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Wiltshire
Australia
Ingleburn
New South Wales
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
Down under in Australia - cereal is breakfast food, though people would understand it to be grain after a moment's reflection.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Idea Phase (private playtesting)
@Nate, @Rebel, @Joe:

I will happily settle for grain(s); the meaning should be clear to everyone.

Back on topic:

Catch 22 wrote:
Why the negative for having game present at a rest site? It seems kinda, uh, arbitrary to me? Because they're eating all the good forage? Other than that, everything else seems to be tied in quite well, I think.


My explanation on this point was poor, so I will try to clarify it. Whenever you rest on a card with a source of food you gain 1 more food for your reserves. However, sources of food come in two types: either spontaneous edible seeds/roots/... or game.

One of the Tenets of the Ari is that they must not eat animal meat: therefore, if you choose to replenish your food reserves on a card with game, your Arival strength is decreased by 1. Mechanics-wise, you are trading Arival strength for food.

In general, I think the Tenets are the weakest part of the game at the moment. The idea came spontaneously to my mind when I was developing the theme, and I would like to keep the concept in the final game, but they do seem somewhat arbitrary. In particular, the prohibition about crossing rivers is a leftover from the first playtesting iteration, when I was using a tile-laying mechanic instead of chaining cards, and it does not fit very well with the new mechanic.

I am trying to come up with better ideas, and any suggestions are welcome.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
Eustonius wrote:

In the next few days I will focus on ending the second round of private playtesting, making any corrections suggested by these last games, and then making components available for public playtesting.


The "next few days" have become a week, but today Arival has finally entered the "components ready" phase, and public playtesting is now possible.

Any feedback will be welcome and appreciated.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
Cool! Remind me about this when I get home and I'll give it a look; otherwise I'm likely to forget.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
kurthl33t wrote:
Cool! Remind me about this when I get home and I'll give it a look; otherwise I'm likely to forget.


Nate, I'm sorry: due to a busy evening and the different time zone I only read this now. I hope you did not forget...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
So, the second round of private playtesting is over.

I defined some mechanical rules and the game has now a clear identity.

There are still aspects I would like to improve, but I will not comment on these now because I don't want to create a bias for the many playtesters out there.

In fact I will set Arival aside for a week or so, collect feedback, and then come back to the game with a fresher mind for what should be the final round of playtesting. (I will still monitor the thread, so I will answer any queries about the game timely).

In the meantime, I will write down some ideas for a possible second entry in the contest. I do not want to make Arival an orphan, though, so this second game will only come to life (if it will) when Arival is finished.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
Eustonius wrote:
kurthl33t wrote:
Cool! Remind me about this when I get home and I'll give it a look; otherwise I'm likely to forget.


Nate, I'm sorry: due to a busy evening and the different time zone I only read this now. I hope you did not forget...


I did, actually. Sorry!

The links in the original post don't seem to be working, by the way.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hansen
United States
Riverton
UT
flag msg tools
designer
If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
badge
I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
kurthl33t wrote:
Eustonius wrote:
kurthl33t wrote:
Cool! Remind me about this when I get home and I'll give it a look; otherwise I'm likely to forget.


Nate, I'm sorry: due to a busy evening and the different time zone I only read this now. I hope you did not forget...


I did, actually. Sorry!

The links in the original post don't seem to be working, by the way.

I was able to download everything. The page looks mostly blank. You have to click the Download link on the right side of the page. You won't actually see a preview before downloading. I've seen that before with Skydrive links.

These components look nice and are very low ink, which I appreciate right now. My wife just told me we're low on toner.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
@Nate, @Chris: thanks for your feedback on the file links.

When I first checked the links after putting them up I observed this same behaviour: the pages were opening with an error and the preview was not working, but the download link was working correctly. By the way, it was not a problem with the sharing link urls: I experienced the same behaviour when I tried to access the files while logged in using my Hotmail account.

But I have just checked the links again, and whatever the problem was, it seems to have disappeared: now the pages open without any errors, and the preview works fine.

I hope from now on the links will work correctly for everybody who tries to download the files: if it is not so, please let me know and I will move the files to some other place.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
chansen2794 wrote:

These components look nice


Thanks!

chansen2794 wrote:

... and are very low ink, which I appreciate right now. My wife just told me we're low on toner.


I'm sensitive about this issue; as much as I would like to be able to create gorgeous art for my games (unfortunately I'm not) and to print some other beautiful games out there, cartridges for my laser printer are selling for more than 70 euros (plus shipping) at the moment, and the local printing services I've tried have turned out to be cost-ineffective or were unable to provide the quality I was looking for.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
I just read through the rules and... WOW this game sounds cool. I think I'm going to print out the cards and give it a try tonight!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
kurthl33t wrote:
I just read through the rules and... WOW this game sounds cool. I think I'm going to print out the cards and give it a try tonight!


Great, I hope you have fun like I've had when playtesting Foothold Enterprises. The two games are rather different, but they share a push-your-luck gene; you can't play Arival while standing in a line, though...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo G
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
After a week away from the game, I'm back to Arival for the last round of beta playtesting.

Unfortunately, I immediately found a little problem with the Start of Path Card: it must act as the first Current Card in the Path, but it had no Type or Direction marked in its Outbound Connection. In my mind I knew how the card should work, so I gave it for granted.

Now I have corrected the corresponding component file, and updated the link to it in the starting post of the thread.

Those of you who have already printed the file need not print it again: simply assume that the Start of Path Card has two Outbound Connections, which are both Trails and lead north and east, respectively.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
Eustonius wrote:
After a week away from the game, I'm back to Arival for the last round of beta playtesting.

Unfortunately, I immediately found a little problem with the Start of Path Card: it must act as the first Current Card in the Path, but it had no Type or Direction marked in its Outbound Connection. In my mind I knew how the card should work, so I gave it for granted.

Now I have corrected the corresponding component file, and updated the link to it in the starting post of the thread.

Those of you who have already printed the file need not print it again: simply assume that the Start of Path Card has two Outbound Connections, which are both Trails and lead north and east, respectively.


Good to know. I've got the game printed and cut out, but haven't had a chance to play, yet.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Arlington

Orlando
Florida
msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
Re: WIP - Arival [2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest] - Stage: Components ready (public playtesting)
(I'm sorry, this post is really long, but I just started really getting into my narrative at the end of the post.)

So I printed out the game and played it a couple times. It is quite good! Although I reviewed this thread and the rules, and I'm not sure if I've been playing it correctly.

Here's the feedback I have so far:
I like the look of the cards. I don't know if you'll be updating with a bunch of colorful art, but for a low ink version, all of the cards are very clean and understandable.

I think the mechanics of the game are quite interesting. Like I mention below, the Arival mechanics are, in my opinion, quite good. The card pull system to determine the terrain I am traveling on is also pretty neat.

I saw that you'd been second guessing yourself on the Tenets of the Arival, but I wouldn't. While they do seem arbitrary to us, I can completely understand why they would make sense for the Ari. Look at any of the many religions that exist in our world and the arbitrary rules they impose upon themselves! Personally, I think they add A LOT to the story of the game.

It's a small, nit-picky thing, but I would use the word 'separate' instead of 'sort' in the rules when you are talking about the Start Path and Placeholder cards being set aside from the rest of the deck.

I would really like it if there was some sort of icon on the upstream rivers and mountains that reminded me I am not allowed to go this way if scouting. There were a few times where I cheated on accident because I would scout ahead, then think for a minute or two about the best course of action, then forget I had scouted and travel through a mountain path.

I feel like perhaps scouting should allow you to pick which of the two cards you would like. It doesn't really feel like scouting if I am forced to take the second path. Or alternatively, choose to scout before you look at any cards, then draw two and choose one. I'm not sure how these would affect the game though. It's more of just a possible idea.

Some questions I had about the rules:
Is it possible to back track? Once in a while I would find myself using a left arrow, immediately followed by a right arrow on the next card. I'm not sure if that was right or wrong. If I was right, it seems odd that a terrain could be Fertile one turn, then upon returning to it be Barren a few turns later. If I was wrong, then I think there needs to be some way of marking where I have already been. Perhaps using many more Euro-cubes to mark where I've already been on the map? (Not to mention, it might be cool to see the path you had taken once you reach the end of the game)

If a connection would take me off the map, I assume I am not allowed to use it? It isn't stated in the rules, but there are other possible interpretations. (like I can use the connection, but don't move my map marker)

And here is the big rule I now think I was doing wrong: If I use a river connection, does my Arival strength decrease? I was playing it as yes, any river connection hurt the Arival. But I re-read this and I think now it is only on the cards that are actually marked with the -Arival symbol (Which I originally thought was just some arbitrary penalty). If so, I think I made this game a LOT harder on myself! (And if I was playing it correctly, I think all the river connections need the -Arival marker printed on the card)


And finally, here are summaries/pictures of my three games:
First game I died real early on. I was about 4 spaces away from the start before my people starved to death. I was in danger of losing a clan member to Wolfhounds with the card I had drawn, so I scouted ahead into barren land and starved. (I didn't take a picture of that game.)

Game two I got pretty close. The first game I was too worried about saving my people and they all died because of it. This time I was much more willing to let the Wolfhounds eat a few, as people were my most abundant resource. (I'm a terrible leader.) It worked though! I got six spaces away before I was forced to choose between letting the Wolfhounds catch up to me and eat my last clan and crossing a river, resulting in the loss of spirituality. Knowing that some of my people might make it, I crossed the river. I knew I would lose the faith of my people, but at least someone might make it.


Game three was actually game four or five. I had two quick starts in between where I cheated TWICE (by accident of course) within the first five cards by taking mountain routes after scouting. I then realize what I had done and restart. First two cards of the next journey? Earthspires. I'm left with little to no Arival strength with slim chances of finding a good spot to rest and recover. I wipe the board and restart.
Actual game three starts at this point. Strategy is much the same as game two: Let many die to save a few. Get even CLOSER this time, then am faced with the same decision: Lose my faith or get eaten. Disappointed by my people for failing me a third time, I let the wolfhounds eat them. (Again, terrible leader.)



To sum up: The game is very good, and I enjoy the story quite a bit. If I was wrong about the river rule, I will try again with that in mind, though I am guessing it might be a bit on the easy side then. The way I was playing it, the game was quite hard, but I just chalked it up to "That's the way solitaire games are".

If I was right about the river rule, well, I'll just have to keep trying until I beat it!
2 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.