Space Station 7 almost gets off the ground

I am pleased to report a little progress.

Over the last few weeks I have been slowly tinkering and, while I still don't quite have a game, I have actually managed to construct enough of a game to stumble through a couple of turns to see the basic mechanics starting to work.  A bit.
A few meeples, cubes and bits of card and you too can have a gorgeous looking prototype just like this.
So, what I have at the moment is a dozen or so cards, each of which nominally has two available actions, but in practice are about half way there.  I have prepared these using a basic template in the nanDECK software, so now if I want to add a new card, or add/change an action on an existing card, I can quickly edit a text file and then print off the new cards with almost no effort.  Apart from that I have player mats for a couple of players, which allow for agents to be placed on either a homeworld or a colony, a central board with four key locations onboard the space station itself, and a score board allowing scores to be tracked in Prestige, Political Support, Economy and Military strength.  Several of the actions I have prepared manipulate these four scores in assorted ways.

I just spent a little while placing agents, playing cards, and so on for a dummy two-player game.  The basics seem to work OK but, of course, there is a long way to go here.

Some observations...

  • Some of the actions that look most interesting to me are the ones that require you to affect multiple players (e.g. giving a bonus to two players, likely to be you and another player).
  • I don't think this game will work well with two players (I want politics and negotiation to be a major feature), so future tests should take this into account.  
  • Aside from negotiation, etc., I think this game should play fairly quickly, which is something I very much want.
  • Some actions get played covertly (i.e. face down) and can use further actions to boost their effect before they are revealed at an appropriate time.  This looks like it should work well, as it can allow some bluffing and misdirection (we can see this guy is up to something -- should we worry).
  • A very useful action would be to look at face-down cards, but it will take some thought (and playtesting) to figure out how much information should be gained for how much effort.
  • The game desperately needs events to happen.  I envisaged having an external threat that players need to interact with (and this is what the C&C location on the space station is about), and without this the game looks like it would be a bit dull.
So... So far, so good -- if rather slow.  I need to fill out more of the cards (if necessary I can expand the game at this stage by just printing two of each card, but I still need to get rid of the gaps) and set up a small deck of event cards.  Then I need to do some form of test with at least three players -- probably just me pretending to be three people at first.

More on this later...

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