This week continued to see some great #gameaweek games from Ana, Dennis, Melissa, and, new to the mix, Greg Koeser. It’s astonishing how much we’re providing commentary for academia. So far we’ve seen my Flappy Bird clone that shows the futility of trying to succeed as an academic, Ana’s work/life balance game that also seems pretty futile last week and now this week her IF game about grief but also about getting tenure, Dennis’s IRB approval game that is yet another sisyphean experience. Melissa created an old-school first-person RPG, similar to the old Wizardrys, except that it’s sort of mashed up with Desktop Dungeon in that you need to explore and kill things in a certain order like a puzzle game. Greg’s entry is a card game! It uses standard decks of cards and features bidding and winning cards using other cards.
I continued to work on the Space 4X Co-op Card Game ^TM.
I wanted to work on a set of print-n-play files so that others could try out the game and to test out ideas I have about the artwork. I really admire good art on card and board games, and one of the neat designs I’ve seen comes from games like Tokaido that build landscapes with various sets of cards. I thought it’d be great to have a bunch of cards that when put together side-by-side make up one huge space exploration and battle image, like a big mural that tells a story. I decided to make the player cards form the big image, but there were a few issues that I’m not sure I’m happy with.
First, the game is meant for up to three players. The way I have it now, the big image is made up of one starting player deck along with Planetary Resource cards and Advanced Technology cards. To add the other two player decks would make the image about twice as big, and I just couldn’t find time to manage that in a week. Maybe the next version will feature a bigger mural…
Another problem was that it took quite a bit of time figuring out how to set up the image for printing. A grid of 3 x 3 cards fits nicely onto an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper, but it didn’t match up with the number of cards that make up a player deck plus the resources and advanced cards. As hinted at above, these cards fit perfectly if the paper is turned sideways (11 x 8.5 in) and printed four times, allowing a 4 x 2 grid of cards per page. That’s one less card per page, but it made for an easier big image to be created… Maybe if I do add the other two player decks to the image, I’ll reorient them. Instead of four 4 x 2 pages for 32 cards, I could do six 3 x 3 pages for 54 cards, except that it’d be missing 2 cards from three complete player start decks (each one is 12 cards)… 🙁
For the Space map cards, I just found some royalty free space images to use as backgrounds, tweaked a little to make the cards more readable. After doing that, I realized I really should have made the big huge space image for the player cards darker to make the cards more readable, too, or maybe put in some inset text boxes like with Magic cards, but oh well… Save for later, again.
The Intersteller Encounter cards didn’t get any new art treatment. Eventually, each type would have its own illustration, but I just ran out of time for this week. I also didn’t get to illustrate the player cards except just the background art.
A big problem with this set that I made is that it would eat up a lot of ink to print them, so one desire I have is to create an alternate low-ink version of the set, but, again, I ran out of time on Sunday. One option a player has would be to go to a printing company to print the cards, and, indeed, I kept the idea of printing at ArtsCow as an option, which meant that I needed to make sure the total number of cards was divisible by the number in a standard playing card deck (plus Jokers). I’m trying to get the game onto 108 cards, which would be about $18 on ArtsCow, I think. There are a couple of spare cards leftover to make up two complete decks, so I’m thinking of reserving them for papercraft ships and tokens. Alas, I ran out of time, so maybe this next week I really ought to keep at it and make a printable version, though I’m feeling the desire to get going on other #gameaweek games…
While making these cards ready to print, I had to rethink some of the mechanics of the game. In the rules I posted last week, I suggested that the planets needed to be classified into three types and have Planetary Resources tied to planet type. I dislike how that would mean there’s no sense of gambling for resources when mining for them. Part of the draw for 4X games is the sense of exploration and not knowing what’s going to appear on the next turn. But I figured that it’s okay to have the payout happen upon space exploration rather than mining at the location. But making this change means that players can plan their moves since they know which planets have which resources, negating the necessity for different planet types (which was supposed to be a way for players to tell what may appear on a planet).
After all this, I *still* have to make the Alien Threat track! Maybe that could be a card with a token or something.
Okay, okay. So next week this version of the game will be ready. I guess I should finish this up before moving onto a new game…