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Subject: Taking the Game to the Third Dimension rss

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Stephen Rynerson
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I realize that this is a bit premature since the game hasn't even completed its Kickstarter funding, but in watching the play-throughs and reading the rules, one thing that struck me as missing is the matter of altitude -- it appears that the airships and obstacles are all operating in the same horizontal plane, which doesn't make much sense for a flying game.

The specific numbers here will need to be adjusted based on playtesting, but here's my idea:

Each airship has 10 hydrogen "units" and 10 ballast "units." This could be tracked on a player sheet or reflected by using chits, wooden blocks, etc. The relative altitude of the airships could be tracked together on a single altimeter sheet, cards, scrap paper, etc.

Players decide before the game if they want to require airships to pass checkpoints and the finish line at specific levels.

All airships start the race at the same mutually agreed level at any level from Level 1 to Level 3.

Mountaintops are an obstacle at Level 1 (and thus Turrets are placed at Level 1 as well).

Aerial mines are an obstacle at Level 2. (Alternatively, players could decide what level they want to put them at.)

I would also suggest having a Level 0, at which point the mountains' flanks also become obstacles (treat like mountaintops), but flat ground, the river hexes, and open water remain clear for flying.

Clouds are an obstacle at Level 3.

Turrets fire at a three hex range against airships at Level 1, two hex range at Level 2, and one hex range at Level 3, but cannot fire at an airship at Level 0.

Detonations of aerial mines affect airships within a two hex range at any altitude within one level of the minefield. (E.g., an aerial mine detonation at Level 2 will affect airships at Level 1 and Level 3 as well.)

A player may declare at the start of their turn that they are venting hydrogen or dropping ballast. Venting 1 unit of hydrogen causes the airship to drop one level. Dropping 1 unit of ballast causes the airship to rise one level. The change in altitude level happens halfway through (fractions rounded down) the distance of the player's move that turn. Airships may not rise higher than Level 3 or sink below Level 1 (or Level 0 as appropriate).

E.g., Airship A is at Level 2 and declares that it is dropping ballast. Airship A then rolls for velocity and gets a speed of three. The airship will be at Level 2 in the first hex it moves into and then at Level 3 for the second and third hex.

A player may change altitude by two levels in one turn by dropping two units of ballast or venting two units of hydrogen, but at a cost of one armor point.

If an airship ascends through a hex (i.e., the first hex the level change takes effect in) containing another airship, a collision will take place unless the active player discards a card to avoid the collision. If the collision takes place while the active player's airship is ascending and he loses the roll, he loses one unit of hydrogen rather than one armor point, effectively forcing him back to the same level he was at previously unless he immediately drops a unit of ballast to stay at the new level. If the receiving player loses the roll, he loses one armor point as normal. If the collision takes place while the active player's airship is descending and he loses the roll, he loses one armor point as normal. If the receiving player loses the roll, he loses one unit of hydrogen rather than one armor point, forcing him to drop to the next lower level unless he immediately drops a unit of ballast to stay at the same level.

The "Ranged Attack" card would operate at 6 hexes against airships at the same altitude with one additional hex for each level the defender is below the attacker, and one less hex for each level the defender is above the attacker. An attacker could not use the "Ranged Attack" card against a higher altitude defender in the same hex as the attacker. (Logically the gun can't be fired through or around the attacker's own gasbag.) Successful ranged attacks aimed at a defender at higher levels reduce armor in the same manner as normal, but successful attacks against a defender at the same level can either reduce armor normally or cause the defender to lose one unit of hydrogen (representing hitting the airship's gasbag) based on the attacker's choice. Successful attacks against a lower level defender will only cause the defender to lose one unit of hydrogen (the gasbag presumably substantially blocks the attacker's view of the defending airship's gondola). When a defender loses a unit of hydrogen, it immediately descends to the next lower level at the end of the attacker's turn and, at the start of its next turn, it will suffer any penalties/attacks associated with being at the lowe level (turret fire, minefield attack, etc.).

If an airship reaches zero ballast, it can no longer rise to higher altitude levels and effectively can only stay at the same level or descend to lower levels.

If an airship reaches zero hydrogen, in the normal game the player can discard one card to "refuel" the airship with one unit of hydrogen to continue flying. In the "Elimination Variant," the player can discard one card to "refuel" the airship with one unit of hydrogen to continue flying if the airship is over open ground, the river, or mountain flanks at the time it loses the last unit of hydrogen, but the airship is eliminated if it is over mountaintops or open water at the time it loses the last unit of hydrogen.

There are probably other tweaks that will need to be made once I've played the game through a few times, but I think the mechanics of this are workable overall and would add a much greater level of strategy to the game.
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Paul Imboden
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This post is amazing on five levels. Thank you, Stephen! We're giving this idea a spin as soon as we wrap up the campaign. (In this variant, I'd also allow "Flying Pitstop" to add either hydrogen, ballast, or armor -- player's choice.)

True story -- one of the initial concepts we had for Quicksilver was a full-blown miniatures game w/ physical terrain pieces and adjustable levels for ship flight (either Heroscape/Pathfinder-style tokens underneath the ship pieces, or various height sticks to support the figurine)... which is in the same vein as your variant. We decided instead to keep things simple out the gate with Quicksilver and add complexity as the game develops. For example, we're now working on a crew member add-on that would give each ship its own unique ability; this feature has the possibility of breaking the game if done improperly, though, so we're making sure it gets the playtesting it requires before releasing it into the wild.

We had really hoped Quicksilver players would also add variants, homebrews, and house rules like this one that could be featured here and on our soon-to-be-updated website. We loved tinkering with games as kids, and we wanted to create an Lego-style environment with Quicksilver that fostered that creativity.

Mission accomplished -- and we haven't even finished our Kick yet. Too cool.
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Stephen Rynerson
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Thank you for the kind words, Paul! I'm definitely looking forward to the game.
 
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