Run To The Hills... Run For Your Life

I have made some progress.  After my recent post on the subject of a game focused on the struggles of peoples being invaded by a colonial power, I managed to throw together a prototype to try out some ideas and then build on that.  

The first go involved hand-written cards to try out a simple "artificial intelligence" to control the non-player colonial power.  Then when that looked OK, I turned to the trusty nanDECK to make a set of cards and plundered my Settlers of Catan box for terrain tiles and resource cards, and my general component stock for everything else.
Solo testing a Frankenproto.  The sharp-eyed may spot some components I stole from elsewhere.
Pro tip: for quick prototyping, having copies of Catan and Carcassonne lying around is really helpful.  I actually have a big stock of random meeples, cubes, other wooden shapes (in various colours), coins, dice and other tokens and the like, but those two games provide a really handy variety of components that can be insanely useful for throwing together a prototype to test a concept, and both games are relatively inexpensive, easily available, and good games that belong in just about any board game collection anyway.

Having had a couple of solo plays I discovered that (a) the game I had at that point seems to fundamentally be Not Completely Awful, which is probably the first major quality threshold to pass, and (b) I don't really have the imagination to play a game as multiple different players and actually do any useful testing.  Luckily, at this point I was able to persuade my friend, D, to have a go at playing the prototype instead of using that valuable time playing something that has already been published.  This test involved a few on-the-fly rules changes, and we didn't get through the whole thing, but it was enough to get some good insight into the state of the game.

I now have a handy list of points that I need to address, which largely breaks down to:

  • The colonial power as it stands is not aggressive enough.
  • I need to think out combat better, both between different players and between the players and the colonials.
  • I have players potentially collecting "antagonism" tokens when they annoy the colonial power, but I have not yet clearly defined how they affect game play.
  • Loads more bits that are currently not as important.

Overall, I have a really good feeling about this project.  It may develop slowly, but I definitely want to make some more progress here.

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