Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I think we did a decent job of addressing the concerns brought up by Professor Goeller during the playtest the previous week. I'm not sure our final version of the game is stronger for those changes, but I think the final product is a fairly playable game, if a bit simple. I would have liked to add a few more elements of strategy to vary up the possible gameplay options. By making the possible options harm others/lose VP, help others/gain VP, help all/gain VP, or neutral action, it makes you have to weigh the decisions of each action more carefully. The limited resources available also make keep an eye on those resources important. If you don't gather some of them for yourself, you can find yourself quickly slipping behind the other players. Finally, there is still a small amount of luck in the game, meaning that it isn't pure strategy. We'll see what kind of grade we get on it soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wednesday 10/12

Today we were assigned to have a playable version of our game ready to be used for play-testing in class. Our game board was very physically attractive and seemingly more put-together than many of the other games, however we discovered some major flaws within our game. I (Jamie) stayed behind with the game to explain it to the two guys who came to our table to play Wormhole Collapse. They thought the directions were too boring so did not thoroughly read them, this leads me to believe we should try and be a bit more concise in our directions, and also include some descriptive pictures. The game-play went fairly well. There was a small issue with the boys not remembering to keep count of their energy use on the meter, however this is human error, and not a flaw in the game- but it is noteworthy nonetheless. The major issue we did find though, is that the game ended very quickly. We played through the entire game in roughly 15 minutes; far quicker than the other games being played in class. We also discovered that our game is somewhat similar to "Sorry" and that there is not enough interaction between players. The two boys who played our game really enjoyed the game, and thought it was a good overall product. However we received some criticism from the Professor that our game was too simple and "Sorry"-like, not enough "team" interaction between players, and that we should establish some common resource that players should be cognizant of, and conservative with. We have been trying to brainstorm ways we can accomplish this, and finalize our game to be turned in on Wednesday 10/19.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

 We started off the day getting some more tips in a presentation that could help us pull the game together. We already have a prototype and a generalized outline of all the rules. We still need to polish all the rules and different ideas. We agreed to meet friday to accomplish all of these things and hope to put the finishing touches to our game. We are still working on the graphics of not only the game board but also the game cards. We are adjusting the time when you can play your cards to any point during the game. we are in the process of finishing all the game cards idea we have about 40. We are aiming for cards that you can use strategically rather then are all just luck. We are also finishing different rules and making them perfect so there is no confusion in the game. We have one more week untill other groups play our game    so we are feeling the pressure to make ends meet. We are pretty confident in the game but hope that it does not confuse who ever plays it. We are adding a token system to represent fuel in order to not only move forward in the game but it is also used as currency to use different cards. We are currently putting a cost  to some of the cards depending on how severe that cards consequences. We are coming really close to having a finished product and were working out the kinks.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Last Wednesday class began with another presentation by group three. The presentation was twitch skill, different player types, and the need for different balances of luck and skill. Michael brought in a printed version of our game board. It was a clear problem for the eye to see your section and which way you should move. we discussed different ways to fix this problem including take out the lines along the path, making the lines along the path thinner than others, or putting arrows down to show the way you move. Eric came back this week and we filled him in on what he missed last week and he shared with us his thoughts on our changes also his card ideas from last week. The main focus we had at the beginning of class was the overall design of the board: borders, spaces, pieces, and meteor spots. Our first play test in class we decided to play a different way by not starting with any initial cards. Cards are a great component of the game but it is a little confusing when we can play a card or how many, this is still a kink we need to work out. During the first play test Jamie was drifting with no fuel and i played a card on her to move her back two spaces. This ultimately took Jamie out of the game and it was very obvious from the moment it happened. This is something that we do not want in our game so it sparked a debate on changing some of the dynamics of our game such as; different spots for card and fuel spots, making cards free, taking fuel out of the game, and having different cards that are free to play. We ended up changing the amount of fuel and card spots from every 7 to every 5 spaces and we also changed the start fuel amount from 15 to 10. Also, we decided that once you land on a meteor spot it will be removed so this takes away the chance to skip a turn and harvest more fuel.

Monday, September 26, 2011

9/21/11 - Week 3 of class - Brainstorming and Playtesting!

After watching Group 2's presentation, we jumped into some more play testing.  The game still seemed a little bland (though playable) and definitely needed something to spice it up.

We decided to add a resource (fuel) that had to be used to perform the actions of the game, including movement and playing action cards.  This also forced us to consider how players obtained fuel and let us to make some changes to the way our map was laid out (on our first run through, Jamie smoked us with lucky rolls that let her land on each refuel point).  We spread out the refueling spots, and added a cost to mining for fuel (you have to remain on the refuel point), which means you have to actually make a strategic decision.

So right now, if you land on a refueling spot, you gain an action card and 5 fuel.  We discussed giving people another choice; 0 cards and 5 fuel, or 1 card and 3 fuel, or 2 cards and 2 fuel, or some other set of combos.  This may just make it overly complicated though.  You can also sit on a refuel spot for an extra turn to gain more fuel and cards, but you are deciding not to move.

Our costs to movement, combined with our initial way of selecting movement, allows us a surprisingly large amount of ways for players to mess with one another. 

With the added resource, we suddenly saw a lot more interaction, as our decisions also affected the other players.  We decided with this change, we could have more aggressive (nastier) cards, but that we also needed a maximum hand-size.  At the moment, it's only 3. 

I'm a little worried that the strategy is a little too simple during our die-pick phase.  There isn't really a reason to ever not pick the highest die you can pick.  How can we make it more of a choice that matters?
  • Perhaps anyone waiting to refuel has to skip the pick phase, which means they cannot take away a good die from someone else? 
  • Perhaps the movement cost shouldn't scale as well as it does.  Perhaps the cost should be greater for greater movement speed.
    • Move 1/Cost 1
    • Move 2/Cost 3
    • Move 3/Cost 5
  • Perhaps more adjustments to the spacing between fuel spaces
Some of the above could significantly slow down the game, but we could speed it up simply by removing the outer row of hexes.
Some other things we talked about:
  • getting six different color dice, so each player rolls their own die (which matches the ship color)
  • designing a ship (Jamie was going to make some sketches) and then printing little hex tokens.
  • We decided to add one final refuel spot (we need a better name for that) just before the Wormhole (to prevent players from getting stuck there with cards they can't afford to play).
  • Creating specialty dice so the range is less than 6 (or just using 4 sided dice)  
  • We need titles for our action cards (they're not really needed, but they help the theme)
  • Professor Goeller suggested we play up the fuel idea in greater detail, linking it to the oil-peak theory that many people fear is playing out in the real world right now (this idea has been churning in the back of my head over the weekend and growing on me ...)
  • Giving multiple sets of rules for the game.  A simple kids version, and more complicated full version, and a cutthroat interactive version. 

The map looks decent printed out, though I made a math error when choosing the size, but it'll still work for play testing on Wednesday.  I also realized that I forgot to make the path move obvious -- we'll have to brainstorm what the best way to do that is on Wednesday.

See -- just a giant grid with no path... 

 I also went "font shopping" and tried to come up with a logo design.  I went with simple at first, then added some hexes to keep with the theme of the map:

 (Though, my brain is now looking for some for of "Out of Gas" title for the game now ...)

I played with some other fonts for the logo ... none really appealed to me. I'll bring in a printout with the others so everyone can vote.
I didn't get a chance to work on the ship tokens, except conceptually.  I'm thinking a starfield background with a simple artistic space ship (more cargo-ship than fighter) that is painted in a simple solid color that differs for each player, with similar accents on each ship OR we go wild and draw six different types of ships (still different colors though) OR we do logos of fake Fuel Company names for our space fleets ("Hexxon Mobile!") ...

See you Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9/14/2011 First Day of Creating Our Game

Last week we were assigned to each create 2 grid-based games to present to our group members, and potentially choose one to use as a model to create our actual game, today was the day they were due. Mike was the only one who actually typed up his game concept, as Eric, Jeff, and myself were not aware that typing our proposals was a requirement. Mike clearly knows the most about games and game design, however we are all throwing ideas back and forth and creating useful input as equally as possible. After viewing everyones game proposals, we actually decided to go with our original game concept from the first day of class. We had many of our ideas worked out, and the board drawn out already, so after a little brainstorming and debating we were ready to give our game a test-run. We played the game, all the while discussing things we might want to add/remove, and discussing the bugs of the game. One major issue we found, was that the game played through too quickly. We decided to resolve this by adding more "negative" cards to the game, cards such as "move back 2 spaces" etc., thus increasing the difficulty and time it would take to "win" the game. So far our game is looking pretty good. The hexagon pattern can be a little confusing to the eye, but we plan on changing some aesthetics (color, line boldness, etc.) to remedy this. This week we are all going to come up with some additional ideas for game play cards, work on the actual game board, and I am going to draw some artwork to potentially use in the game and for the game bits. We are making a lot of progress on our game, and are excited to see a more "final" product.