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 Copyright Eric Pietrocupo

E-Mail: ericp[AT]lariennalibrary.com

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News: Working at implementing digital board games

Page: News.News201706060430AM - Last Modified : Tue, 06 Jun 17 - 961 Visits

Now that school is over I started to put more time into programming. My primary objective is to implement that Ataxx game including other games with black and white pieces like Go-Moku, Reversi, and possibly a few inventions of my own. The goal is to build up my Pixel Board engine so that it could be reused to make other games.

Then as a follow up project, I wanted another grid based game before trying an hexagon grid based game. I thought I could design a chess like game only to realize that they are way much complex to implement than I thought. The most complex part being the support of checkmate. So I resigned my self to use a simpler design which is a square card game inspired on Thobias's "Last Fief". It consist in placing cards on a 4x4 grid that will attack neighboring cards. Each space on the board has a space point value and when the board is full, or each player's deck is depleted, you count point in each space controlled to determine the winner. This should be a much more convenient stepping stone for my next project.

If I am very lucky and motivated, those two projects could be finished this year. One thing you might wonder is if that card game will be playable as a real board game. The answer is yes, so one thing I thought is to also make a printed version on game crafters. This is what I intend to do in the future for most of my board game ideas, it's to make a digital and printed version of the game. The advantages is first to give my game more exposure, but the main reason is to be able to playtest using a digital version. Which should make playtesting faster and if an AI is implemented, I could playtest alone.

Once those two project would be finished, my next big project would be to make a tactical modern war game on a hex board. That has been the long term objective since the beginning. It will ask to add the support of hexagons to pixel board. This game will be digital only and will surprisingly have a story.

The game idea I wish I did not have

Recently I was looking at a picture of Twilight Imperium and even if I did not liked the game, I found the components of the game very cool and wondered why there was no 4X space game that I truly liked. So I thought I could make my own game by simply taking the mechanics I like from all those space games and fusion them into a single game.

But I know that there are way too many 4X space game out there and making my own game will simply add more stuff to what is already out there. But a part of my brain still think that it could be a good idea. So I asked on Board game geek is there was still a need for 4X space opera games. Well apparently there is a need if it can deal with the issues that Twilight Imperium and Eclipse have which is:

  • Very slow game, slow pacing but also takes a lot of time to play.
  • Little reasons to have player interactions. There is for example, no reasons to attack each other.
  • large and expensive games

So I thought that if I decided to design such game, there needs to have something that makes it stand out from the crowd. So I came up with a partial solution plan:

  • Scenario events: Since I want the game playable solo, I will use scenario events which will have various situations that the player must deal with besides dealing with each other. This should give a reason for players to interact with each other.
  • No population management: All planets are pre-colonised, so no need to manage population movement or even ground forces. Which will require less components (cheaper game) and speed up the gameplay. It also avoids an issue where population growth actions are not used anymore passed half of the game.
  • Little forward planning: Should speed up the gameplay and reduce analysis paralysis. Still, when playing solo, you'll have the option do to maximum forward planning so that the game gets more challenging.
  • No ships on board. I intend to use fleet pawn instead of managing individual ships (like in Warrior Knights for armies), It should speed up gameplay an drop the cost of the game.

I don't have a title so far. I'll probably try to make a proto to test the core mechanics. But since it will mainly be a multiplayer game, I will need to make a digital implementation first to really test the game intensively. And that is not going to happen soon. Like all other board games ideas, they will all be printable on gamecrafters.

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