Making an in depth strategy board game.

This is a status update. As of now I have base unit classes and health. The classes have three subclasses which are your units. The classes are Infantry: Assault, Marines, and Pilot. Next is Mechanized: Heavy Walker, Walker, and Mobile Walker. Then there is the Air Force: Fighter, Bomber, and Helicopter. The helicopter serves more as a fast method of unit transport. After that is Navy: Submarine, Aircraft Carrier, and Destroyer. The aircraft carrier is self explanitory and the sub has a stealth buff. It works by having the sub only hittable within 2 tiles. The sub can attack from 3. At the 2 tile mark you can hit it by either rolling a 1, 2 or 3. When it's within 1 tile 4 and 5 are added to the list. So basically don't get within 1 tile with a sub. The final class is Support: Mobile AA, Artillery, and MAR or Mobile-Air-Refueler. Aircraft have limited turns that they can operate for. An MAR refills this time in mid flight. But is vulnerable to attack and cannot defend itself. So far I have base movement, attack and health. I will not disclose this info until I have gone through the first play through. I hope that this provides more ideas for what I can do. I am still working on a working mechanic for how cities operate. I will also be adding an outpost. They are the same as cities except that they are the only things that can heal mechanized, air and navy units. They don't get resources and they are indefensible except by units. There will be a limit of 2 unlike cities which have a limit of 3. Some might notice that I have gotten rid of the map. In order to allow variability I have gotten rid of it and plan to figure out a new way to style it. If you have any idea on where I could find an artist or somewhere I could look to give a #Catan like art style to it I would really appreciate it. I enjoy reading the comments and I enjoy getting a better idea of how to build my game. Thank you all for your feed back. It has been really helpful. 

 

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9 months ago

I've been meddlign with designs for a while now and these nuggets of advice might help you. Feel free to ignore hem completely.

- More than 4 resources is going to drag your game and make it more complex than perhaps necessary. Since your goal is not trade etc you might want to consider simplyfying that.

- Focus on what the player FEELS

  • powerful?
  • clever?
  • devious?
  • strong?
  • Intimidating?

try figuring out how the changes you make impact those feelings

- try a modular approach for you map at first so that you can quickly put some tiles together to create a different kind of map for testing purposes. it could be your original map chopped in several pieces.

- a first design often suffers om 'I want to put everything in it". I still battle that regularly. One day I want a deckbuildign alement in it, then i want crafting, then I want a lot of tactical military play. 
Find a focus and pout the other idea in other projects.
Aim for a main mechanic and some helping mechanics that modify your main mechanic. scale, speed, depth, ... make sure the secundary mechanics interact as well. That's why starting with the main 'toy', the main mechanic is important.

- test with your friends and don't worry if they find ways to break your game. Good friends try to do that so your next version works out a flaw.

- kill your darlings. You might love a certain mechanic but it will not work for your game.

It's good to draw inspiration from existing games you love. Certanly in your first designs.
You know what makes them strong or weak. 

 

Enjoy the proces and be patient; combining mechanics can be a tedious but rewarding job when you come up with a clever hybrid!

9 months ago

Thank you for the feed back. As of now I am struggling to print the prototype board. It's what the real board will be in a less permanent build design. I have it saved as a PDF from a random map generator and am struggling on how to break it up into 4 corners to make the map bigger. Each of the 4 corners is one page. Does anyone have suggestions for that?

9 months ago

2 options;

 

  • Redesign your map is seperate chuncke that you can join together in many ways
  • take this file and cut it in to 4 or 6 pieces with a graphical program like photoshop, gimp (free) or artweaver (free)

My recommendation is the first option; to have flexibility during gametesting

 

 

9 months ago

I don't understand the first bullet point. Please elaborate.

Premium User9 months ago

I think means to make it modular? Similar to something like #Cryptid to give you variability 

9 months ago

That's something I've worried about. But this map doesn't allow variability. I could try to make individual tiles like #Catan but that would take some funds that I'm not sure that I have.

Premium User9 months ago

That's what Kickstarter is for haha

9 months ago

Kickstarters?

Premium User9 months ago

Yeah it's like crowdfunding for stuff when you don't have enough money yourself to complete a project. Lots of games come out via Kickstarter 

8 months ago

I did not mean seperate tiles but chuncks of tiles together; like chuncks of 10 to 30 tiles together. by placing these chuncks together differently, you have a different map each time

8 months ago

Ok. I just came up with an idea. Finding a way to put an art style on the board will be a little tough. Any suggestions? As to my idea I had wanted to add a topographical map kind of thing. Like where terrain makes a difference. I think that I have an idea. It could work really well to make it modular. I will probably make it into slightly smaller chunks and also try and find a different way to make the game board. But I really think that if I could get some details hammered out it could work. I will have to do more thinking on it. If I were to chunk certain biomes together, give it an style that has a picture but also has detail, and then add the hex lines in, it would work. The only thing that I might change is how big certain chunks are. How thick or long they are as a whole. I really wanted biome to be a thing and this just might work.

9 months ago

Designing a game is a huge endeavor, I think it's great that you have the urge to do so!  I'm not a game designer by any means, but I will say that it's difficult to provide help without more specific issues. 

You've listed a few influences, but those games are quite different from one another. What is it that you like about each of those games? What are the mechanics you'd like to employ or the decision space you'd like to emulate?

You also mentioned wanting resources and a conquest game type, but you haven't talked about what purpose those resources will serve in your game or what "conquest" means for your vision.

My personal opinion is that you should try to pursue a more concrete idea of how you want the game to feel and what mechanisms you want to use. Once you've gotten a bit further along, it'll be easier for people to chime in. Maybe check out some board game designer communities on other websites to get a feel for what it's like to design games (for example, the tabletopgamedesign subredddit)

9 months ago

I am on a school computer and a lot of the sites are blocked. What I am thinking of using for resources are Titanium, Wood, Stone, Food, Water, and Scrap. I should have clarified. The premise of the game is that humanity nearly destroyed itself on earth and private companies from earth have trained teams to go to the planet of interest, (the game board map) and build a civilization there. They have crash landed and scrap is everywhere. I haven't played Axis and Allies much aside from when I was 7 and 9. Me and my cousin never finished the games and didin't necessarily follow the rules. But from my reading of the game I enjoy the in depth aspect of it from the combat style to the way resources work. As for RISK I really enjoy it because it's the most in depth strategy game I've played fully. I am taking the idea of territory conquest and shrinking it just a little. A lot like A&A I am thinking of the conquest being for cities. But the cities are going to be a lot more in depth than in A&A. Territory and Biomes will have a little input into the game and how it is played. Biomes will influence territory and territory is influenced by the cities. There will be a limit to three cities. The capital will be the starter and the others will have to be founded later. Different resources will be more common in certain biomes and will be determined by the role of the dice. There will be more chances to get certain resources from certain areas of the map. Certain biomes will be devoid of a single resource. For example Grassland will be devoid of wood. This is just an idea and is not set in stone. Biomes will have a say in how resources are gathered though. I am pulling the founding of cities from Civ VI. The map is set in an octagonal grid. The octagons are large enough to make it so that movement is not painstakingly slow but also not to fast. Not the most descriptive but still. I want buildings within cities to affect the production rating and how fast it is to make military units. I am still deciding what buildings to use and how to use them. I have a little bit of an idea of how combat will work but I will decide that on my own. My parameters have changed a little but I hop that this clears it up and that you have some ideas that better suit how I have set my game. I have just come up with this as I go. For some reason I find that when I type things out to other people I get ideas out better. Not when I type it out by myself or even when I talk to other people. Sorry for the side note. I just find it weird.

9 months ago

Cool! It's good to get these ideas out, and like mentioned, you should try to keep organizing your thoughts more formally.

If you're in school, your monetary resources and time may often be limited (prioritizing school is important!) but definitely continue fleshing this out, and most critically, get people to play the game with you and give you feedback

Lastly, while it's possible to design games in a vacuum (like Knizia), if you want to see what games can really do, I encourage you to try and see how much the board gaming hobby has moved on since #Risk and #Axis & Allies. Not to be a gatekeeper here, but both of those games are decades old and there are much more elegant or complex designs around now. If price/access is an issue, some of the best regarded, modern territory control games like #Scythe and #Root have digital adaptations that are much cheaper than their physical counterparts. You can also try Tabletopia and Board Game Arena, which are free. Play games that sound similar to what you want to do, and keep your mind open to all games. Lots of concepts from non-combat games can seen in altered forms in combat games.

Good luck! Even if it turns out this is too much at this point in your life, I hope you keep the hobby in your mind and eventually get to make the game of your dreams! Play more games, and find people to play yours!

9 months ago

^This.

Play games. Writers read in their genre as research, and game designers should certainly play games in theirs as well. Play everything from the relatively new #Civilization: A New Dawn to games like #Small World and #Rurik: Dawn of Kiev. (You don't have to play those games in particular, as they're just examples.) Play games that incorporate similar mechanisms, like #Scythe and #Bushido for combat and #Tapestry and #Heroes of Land, Air, & Sea for exploration (and also combat with Heroes of Land, Air & Sea). 

As mentioned, Tabletopia, Tabletop Simulator, and Board Game Arena are all fair options for getting a feel for those games. You can even start by watching playthrough videos of games you don't have access to in order to familiarize yourself with certain mechanisms and methods of incororating your desired mechanisms.

9 months ago

The game design process differs for everyone, but a consistent theme I've seen is to get your rules down on paper (or word processor) as soon as you can. Likewise, get a working prototype as quickly as possible. With these two things finished, you can play around with the design, update rules as necessary, and start getting a better feel for how it actually plays.

When I work on games, I immediately write down the rules I already know from my head. Then, I go back and write the rule book how I would expect it to look with my vision. I do everything from setup to winning the game, and I include headings of phases (i.e. action phases, movement phase, etc.) and explain my vision underneath those headings. Basically, the rules get written before I even play it once.

But, once the rules are written, I make components. I always start with pencil and paper, whether it's for boards, cards, or anything else. Then I'll play a two-player game two-handed (me being both players), doing what's best for each "hand/player" for that turn, regardless of how it affects the other "player." This first playthrough helps me see where my design is good in concept only and where things really fall apart. It also helps me see what could work with a little more tweaking. And, it generally shows me that I still have a long way to go haha

Here's an important rule: Keep the rules simple.

Yes, I understand that a big, complex game sounds appealing and fun (and, yes, it does to me too), but the game can be complex while still maintaining simple rules. If something slows down the game, cut it out. Or, try and change it so it isn't so sluggish. If tweaking it doesn't seem to help, cut it out. In writing, we call this "killing your darlings." It's hard, but it's for the greater good. There are many design diaries that discuss this, and those can also be helpful in starting out your designing.

Six resources does seem like a lot, but if you can make it work, more power to you. It looks like your game is large in scope, which is fun, but do make sure everything works to help the game progress and, most importantly, be fun. Once you start playtesting, you'll quickly learn what works and what doesn't. From there it's a matter of balancing, tweaking, and removing (sometimes adding) things. It doesn't have to be a Rube Goldberg machine; if you can simplify steps to accomplish the same thing, go with the simpler option.

Enjoy the process! It is a lot of work, but it's always fun to have a finished product, regardless of whether you publish it or not. 

9 months ago

Thank you for the feed back. I'm currently building some very basic things for the game. I don't want it to be an immediate win like A&A or a take pieces instantly but slowly like risk. I'm going to make it so that the units have health and can all move autnomously. I am also making basic rules. Not "no cheating" but also not some super complex things. I have an idea for how to get resources. Anyone who sees this is free to give ideas. I have a base line amount of resources that you can collect each turn. 1 for example. Then there are buildings that up the resource collection count by one. You might think, "infinite resources awesome!!" But I will have an experation time for the resources. For example, food and water spoil after 2 turns. It doesn't matter when you collect it it all spoils. You can lengthen this by one turn but ONLY by one. Same goes for titanium, stone and scrap. But they all spoil by three turns. There's nothing that can extend their life. This is subject to change based on how my first playtest will go. This is the last thing that might complicate the game on the board and that is convoys. They carry food, water and fuel for 6+ turns for the troops and mechs. They need to be guarded at all times or the resources can be stolen. Tell me if this will complicate things a little to much. They might not with the info that you have now but it might at a later date.

9 months ago

That sounds really interesting! It's hard to say if it's complicated without actually playing it, but that's what playtesting is for. 

My one question is about *why* titanium, stone, and scrap spoil. In our world, those things would most likely last a long time. Same with water, with some proper precautions. I know games don't have to be 100% realistic, but I'm a believer of making it as realistic as possible. Perhaps in this game's world, stagnant water allows for the growth of some bacteria, which would explain the water spoiling. But with metals? That one is a bit more difficult to believe. Now, this is simply *my* observation and, honestly, the reasons why they spoil probably won't affect gameplay in any way. But, if you can work the mechanisms of the game with the theme, it will all flow more smoothly. 

Unfortunately, it's difficult for me to say if it's "too much." By the sounds of it, I like the idea and I think it could work well. It's all about how those mechanisms play with the other ones in your game. You'll discover that as you playtest it. Good luck!

9 months ago

I was thinking that titanium and stone deteriorate faster on this planet or that the scrap that's raining from the sky destroy's your supply. I was also thinking that the physics of this world are different either because it revolves around a star that revolves around a black hole, or that it's got metal and stone eating bacteria like in the show lost in space.

Premium User9 months ago

I don't play war games but your theme and idea sounds fun.  I recommend keeping a game journal if you don't already have one.  I am working on a game design and bought a composition notebook with a grid pattern so I could draw out my ideas.  I started mapping out different aspects of my game design and have redone everything about three times now as I come up with newer and more fluid ideas.