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DSC:Deep Space Colonization

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea201004260825PM - Last Modified : Mon, 13 Feb 17 - 1854 Visits
How much do you like this idea?

2 stars Rating 4.0/10 from 1 votes
Vote Distribution: 0 – 0 – 1 – 0 – 0 – 0


Very Good (10/10) The game is very interesting, make it as soon as possible.
Good (8/10) Great idea but some modifications are required.
Fair (6/10) Interesting but a lot of things are missing.
Bad (4/10) Would need to completely redesign the idea in order to work.
Very Bad (2/10) It will never be interesting, abandon the idea.
Already Exist (0/10) Do not waste time of this game idea.

Status: CLOSED

  • Multiplayer game only due to bluffing and hidden information.
  • Rules will not fit on a page.

Progress: Almost completely Designed, partially prototyped
Priority: Low
Number of players: 2 - 4 players
Expected Play time: 60 - 120 minutes

Description

A space strategy game that takes place in a single solar system. Players must plan ahead planet rotation speed to time their attack. Most of all the information is hidden, so you never know what your enemy actually have.

Objective

The idea was to recreate a board game version of the "Overlord" NES video game.

Inspiration

Overlord/supremacy video game was the first inspiration source. I like the fact that players are fighting over the control of a system. Stellar Conquest board game was the 2nd source of inspiration, I liked the idea that everything is hidden and that you do not even know on which planet is your enemy. Still, I don't want a pen and paper game.

It's possible that I use a card mechanic like in san juan or race for the galaxy.

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: Based on a theme since mechanics from the video game could not really be ported. But got relatively good ideas from stellar conquest.
Video vs Board Game: There is no restriction of medium, could be one or the other.
Single vs Multi player: Multiplayer gameplay is essential since it's a race for who wins first.
Rating = 5/12

Mechanics

I don't remember well what I wanted to do with this game. I had a design rush, wrote down a lot of ideas and I leaved it there. I remember that I wanted to have a solar system where each planet was on a different orbit and moved at different speed, so that while the game evolves you get different attack opportunities since ships cannot travel far enough to cross the whole system.

Planet ownership will probably be known, but the type of planet and buildings on the planet will be hidden. I even found a way to hide population level and be able to calculate at the end how much population there is on the planet according to the turn it was colonized.

Technology development will also be hidden. So you might think that your planet is at a safe distance but what you don't know is that your enemy developed better engines so he can reach you.

Technologies would be a series of cards which I think are drawn from a common deck. Technology cards have various usages since for example, they can also keep track of tech investment. I think I even thought of combining ships, buildings and techs in the same common deck like in "san juan" and "race for the galaxy".

Some cards are combat technology, they will be used during battle. Before battle, players select combat tech they are going to used, they reveal the cards and resolve it. There will be many ways to attack your opponent and there will be many counter technologies. It will also be possible te refine technologies you already have.

The player who wins is the player with the most population. OR highest amount of points but population will give points.

Problems that prevent development

I never actually made a prototype, so I did not do any test. I am not sure if a common deck of stuff a la San Juan would really fit in this game, but I find somewhat the idea interesting.

Else I just need to make sure the game is convenient to play even with that high amount of hidden information. I think that could be one of the greatest challenge for this game.

News, changes and updates

November 17th, 2011: another alternative could be to use a deck building game mechanicsm like rune age. The problem is that I think a lot of my design could use a deck building mechanism, so if I could use something else, or a combination of deck building and San Juan Mechanics, it could be maybe more interesting.

September 12th, 2012: New ideas has been coming in lately. I should get my hands on san juan soon and that could probably help design the game since a lot of inspiration comes from it. I had some simplification ideas compared to the last design. For example, the cards would mostly represent buildings (ground and orbital) and ship weaponry and defence. The combat system will be handled by dice instead of cards, but the technology cards will change the results of the rolls.

Ship will simply be a group of tokens placed on the planet, and it's possible that there is no ground battles. So once the enemy fleet is destroyed, the planetary defenses has a chance to retaliate and if the attacker survives, he wins.

I intend to add 1 alien invasion card to stimulate something like the Barbarians in settlers of catan. Once per deck reshuffle, alies can invade and players need to commit collectively more ships than the number of invaders to repel the invasion. This will be useful to balance the strength of players.

I am also thinking that each planet have a chance to produce with a hand of cards of it's own. Not sure if there will be as much stuff to do per planet to actually require this. Else, I will use a central hand where each planet add cards. I will also remove anything that create more than 1 turn to build because it makes the management of the cards much more complicated. Since technologies are researched secretly, they will all have the same cost.

I was not sure of what would have been the victory conditions, after asking for ideas, it is possible that the goal of the game will be to create a colony ship to expand into adjacent system. The first player to build the ship, accumulate the fuel and required population to send their ship will win.

In the pictures below, I made some test with the Victory 2 components to see how the planet rotations around different rings of the solar system could work. The results were positive, and the ever-changing board could create an interesting gameplay.

This is the largest chunk of ideas so far. I will try to write a rule draft in the following week to make sure I have a more or less solid rule book. I would start designing cards after playing and analysing San Juan. The game seems pretty simple, so I hope it will be easy to design.

October 16th, 2012: I made my first prototype. The results are relatively positive for a first prototype but far from being a working game. The progress is slow, so I intend to increase the hand size to 6. This way, a player could build two cost 3 buildings or discard his whole hand to build a 5 cost building without any other requirements.

There is also few ships built, it seems player want to focus on building stuff because it cool. Adding a card will give players extra resources to build ships, but I could add other restrictions like 1 tech per turn, 1 building per turn or 1 ground and space building per turn to prevent the player to use all their cards. I could reduce the variety of buildings to increase the possibility that the building is already built but I am not sure. Another option is to give the player 1 action per planet without possibility of combination, or make 1 build or research action and leftover cards are used to build ships. Still, that makes the game much more restrictive. But it could work and prevent the player to use all their cards on actions.

In San Juan, many buildings seems to lift restrictions placed on specific actions. But here, there are only 3 actions available: make buildings, research or build ships And they can be used in any combination possible (the 4th action is build the colony ship structure). So there are not that many actions to restricts. So I don't know if I should go in that direction.

The initial planet placement was wrong with the rotation system I used. After the first turn, I ended up with 2 chunks of planets on each side of the board which isolated both players into the same chunk. I'll have to make the planet move more by using a relative movement system. Movement of 3 hex might also be short, I might upgrade the default movement to 4 hex.

June 18th, 2013: I am not actively working on this game but I had ideas this morning that I thought I should transcribe here. First, I will not be using a card system like san juan. Each planet will have a sheet with slots where buildings can be placed. There would be like a dozens of building with special abilities that all players will have access to. The number of buildings per planet will be limited, so it will create various configurations.

Each planet does 1 action per turn which can be one of the following:

  • A-Place a building: This is no cost, all buildings have the same value. Maybe there could be some level 2 buildings that require a specific level 1 building to build it.
  • B-Build Ships: Place new ships into the planet's orbit.
  • C-Attack: Maybe attack is a free action, else it represent all the preparations required to attack. Preventing the player to build and attack the same turn.
  • D-Research: Draw 2 cards from the tech deck and chose 1. Since players cannot have the same tech twice, Eventually, players will have less chances to get new tech forcing them to acquire a certain building.
  • E-Construct: Build a colony ship module.

Most buildings will affect these actions. Some buildings will make give you a greater card selection when researching while others will make you produce more ships, etc. But it will only affect the action by the planets where the building is located which will specialize some planets.

The card system for research is almost unchanged because that part of the game worked. So all your research would be hidden and revealed during battle when required.

The objectives of the game are still unchanged. The main changes is how the building works. Having little variety of special abilities, and making no sense to have a common hand of cards for all planets, now there is only a limited set of buildings and they are accessible at all time to everybody. A common hand of technology cards make sense because the planets are actually exchanging the information.

September 2nd, 2013: After giving some thoughts on empire of the void, I was thinking to integrate other ideas and concept for other games into this one. First, there will now be at least 3 different type of ship will various weaponry allowing players to guess, what weapons your opponent will use. Ships will also be flipable to record inflicted damage.

There is no resources anymore, only 1 action per planet. Buildings will powerup all other actions. Another Diplomatic action could be added but I am not quite sure of what it could do. I was thinking to use my diplomacy system from my other 4X game where diplomacy makes you draw an action card that can be used as a special ability (veto, spying), or as a reaction action (a bit like eclipse). Maybe the quantity of diplomacy card you have allow to limit the casualties you receive in case of alien attack.

I also had some ideas from "endless space" since there is some similarities in the battle. In order to prevent the game to be a dice fest, I thought of adding a Rock-Paper-Scisor roll for each weaponry phase. But I want it to be possible to guess your opponent's move. Winning the RPS would give first strike for this weaponry which could be pretty strong. I also considering double facet RPS.

Now the game seem more interesting, and even if the actions are quite simple, the diplomatic layer should make the game more interesting. I also like the fact that the victory condition is not based on VP. I might be thinking of switching this design as an active design next year.

February 13th, 2017: I think converting this game as a real time video game, like the original overlord, would actually make more sense. The main reason is due to the planet rotation. considering there is a concept of passing time, and making actions at the right moment, it would make more sense that the planets gradually move around the sun in real time instead of making jumps each turn. Still, I don't want to make it a stressful game, so one idea could be to have a semi realtime game a bit like Xcom & invisible inc where the time pass very slowly which has little effect on take decisions but it fastworward to the next event. Still considering my game consist in waiting for planets to be in range of movement, for example, I cannot simply jump to the next event. So maybe I'll have to use a speed acceleration button ( 2x, 4x, 8x, etc).

As for the mechanics, I want to use most ideas I had so far. The game might have a bit more work than than I originally wanted, like for example moving goods around your planets could be considered work. But I think it's a bit part of the strategy. Else finding suitable colonisation spot, building colony buildings, waging battles which are probably also going to be real time still, I am not sure if decisions will be taken in real time, maybe only the resolution. Thinking to use a system similar to Endless Space since I was already going into direction, but I might put more to it like fleet formations and/or maneuvering.

It looks much more interesting this way, and I have few strategy game designs that demands to be made in real time. So better make it this one and possibly the only real time game I do since I am not a huge fan of real time games.

Related Threads

Board Game Designer Forum: An RPS Strategy card Mechanism (28 nov 2013)
Board Game Geek: An RPS Strategy card Mechanism (28 nov 2013)
Board Game Designer Forum: Orbiting Planets (26 nov 2013)

Prototype Pictures

1st Prototype close-up of system1st prototype 2 player play test

Test solar system layout with victory 2 components.

Development Log

DateTypeDescription
20-Jan-2013IdeaConsidering the San Juan system does not work, maybe use a resource management game since in the original overlord video game that was the main work to do. The problem is the planet system isolate the planets too much making trading and and sharing much more complicated unless you can do so with all planets in range.

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