Take the "TheoDemocracy" game I posted about a couple of times in May. You might remember that this is intended to be a cooperative game with the feature that players are forced into attacking each other by external forces. I was spouting all sorts of ideas and trying to refine them and make a plan on how to build a worthwhile prototype. I even started work on cards and player boards, but was struggling a bit of getting the full picture together. Then I had to turn my attention to preparations for, and the aftermath of, UK Games Expo, and I have only just managed to get the brain cells back in line to work on this particular project.
WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I was going against all the good practice I have learnt, and spent more effort planning and talking than actually doing. To be clear, planning and talking is also really useful, but not as much as actually making a physical thing that can be played with. Time to correct that mistake.
So I stripped most of the ideas away and pulled out my trusty piles of filing cards, flashcards, and random tokens and counters, and got to work.
|Not much to look at, but that's not the point.|
Within minutes I had three player boards, greatly simplified from previous plans, and a pile of 10 cards with simple objectives on them like "control 3 provinces" and "build a temple". I had given up (for now) on the whole multi-purpose cards idea, and was simply turning up an objective for each player on each turn and seeing if they can fulfill the requirement; if a player fails, they gain an "unrest" token. I basically made the rest up as I went along.
And, hurrah! This all basically worked for a dull and unchallenging game. I am actually extremely happy with how that went for the couple of rounds I played solo. What I can now do is add a few more objectives, add necessary economy/building/military rules to support these, and figure out a way to give a little more control to the players. One idea for that latter requirement might be to deal everyone a hand of cards and you each get to choose one or more cards to send to each of the other players and yourself, and possibly discard a card or two that will come back later in the game; then everyone gets to deal with the cards that they have acquired in this way. Just a thought.
So that is where I am now: the basics of an engine, with a few features that mostly work, and actually something that I can start building on. Let the iteration commence.