Archive for the ‘Volcano!’ Category

Volcano! – Final Thoughts

November 30, 2006

So, the end of November, and some thoughts on the last month.

I’ve done what I set out to do, but it’s not perfect by any means. My aim at the beginning of the month was to develop and release a board game from scratch, and it’s done, you can play it if you want to, it’s downloadable here.

It’s not really 100% there, but all of the core elements are present. I think that there is still work to be done, and I’m going to outline the parts I think need the most additional work

  • The game has only been lightly playtested, it needs some more serious stressing. Like all of my games, you can download it and play it for free, so why not give it a go, any feedback is more than welcome.
  • The components are merely workmanlike, they are not particularly pretty. This was a limitation of both the time I set myself to work in, and the skill I have with various graphical packages. If anyone reads this, and knows they can do better, let me know, I’d be very interested to hear from you.
  • The rules need a bit more editing, the terminology is not 100% complete or accurate, they are not perfectly laid out, and they don’t look very nice. I think I can correct this myself, and I’ll be working on this in the immediate future.

Other than these points, I’m generally very happy. The tight time constraint I set meant that I focussed on the core game elements, which I think work well. The remaining parts to work on are bells and whistles, not essential to play and enjoy the game, but important in the long run, as I find that people like nice looking games more than basic ones (and more to write on that soon I think).

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Volcano! – Some Updates

November 26, 2006

Nothing massive, but a few updates.

I’ve added a few more tokens to the downloadable sheet, which should hopefully now cover all of your token needs.

I’ve tidied up the rules a bit, but editing is still required. They are alsonow available in HTML format, which is a bit easier on the eye than the drafts in Word.

I’ve altered the board slightly, finally got some of the score tracks in that upper right hand corner.

This is all now nicely collected in one place, on my website.

Volcano! – Full Board

November 23, 2006

The whole board, made from the five smaller board files, pieced together, for easier downloading and viewing.

I want to use the dead space to include score tracking, that should be added before the end of the weekend, and hopefully sooner.

Volcano! – The Board

November 22, 2006

I’ve managed to upload a draft copy of the board for Volcano. It’s almost a direct replica of my hand drawn playtest board, so people can see exactly what I’ve been working with.

It’s made up of 5 files, which I’m hoping to have a chance to stitch into one big board this evening, assuming my computer holds up (random craching last night means that most of these board files were drawn 2-3 each, which was tedious).

The files are available in .jpg format, and should hopefully each fit nicely on a page of A4 paper, in landscape orientation. The baord is put together following the naming code in the files, the bottom left, bottom right, middle left, middle right and top left parts. I’m thinking of filling in a top right part with an area for score tracking, as it’s currently dead space on the table.

Volcano! – Updates

November 21, 2006

I’ve updated the rules and the Action cards, as promised.

You can see new cards on my previously linked spreadsheet

New rules are updated in the word document available from the same site, I’m hoping to get an update on the writeboard soon.

Tonight I’m going to try and get a copy of the board into electronic format, I think that might require me to warm up some fairly rusty paint skills, I might get it done in the GIMP if I’m lucky.

Volcano! – First game

November 20, 2006

I managed the first game with my draft game pieces over the weekend. I’m quite happy with how it went. The game was close, with all four of my Scientists staying in touch with one another on renown scores, and enough Townspeople escaping to allow the game to be won. It looked a bit touch and go for some of the escapes, but enough made it out in the end.

I found a few glaring issues that need correcting, some action cards are too weak (Premonition) and some were too strong (adding to the Rescue counter). I’m looking to alter these soon.

Once the eruption has happened, then the Science Stationwill soon be covered in Lava, I’m looking at allowing Renown to be traded in in other places, probably at a reduced rate (three tokens become two permanent Renown).

There are a few rules clarifications, and I need to make a way of marking destroyed or impassable areas that cannot be cleared. I think this should be covered by using Rubble cards cleverly. Administrators need to have a scientist type, I’m thinking of making them counter as both Rock and non-Rock scientists, so they are always affected by Actions.

I’m going to update the rules with my clarifcations this evening, and also try and tidy up the action cards.

Volcano! – Draft Pieces

November 15, 2006

I’ve created some draft playing pieces to allow some play-testing to take part.

I spent most of Monday evening drawing a board, which currently covers 5 pieces of A4 paper. I’m hoping that it can be sensibly re-drafted to fit on 4, but I think that might be too much of a stretch, and that the board will become crowded.

I’ve created a spreadsheet containing draft text and basic layouts for all of the cards that are used in the game. The set-up should hopefully allow them to be printed and cut out quickly to form decks, and altered swiftly when changes need to be made.

I’m hopeful I can get a basic playtest done by the end of the week, where I do a dry run or two, taking on all the player roles. I’m also hoping to get some real live people involved to do a playtest on the weekend, which should hopefully find anything that I miss.

(The above was accidentally saved as a draft, rather than being published. Ooops. Oh well, you can enjoy it now)

Volcano! – Action Cards

November 13, 2006

The Action cards are proving difficult, it’s hard to get a feeling for how they will work, it’s the sort of thing that needs a lot of play-testing to get right, so I’m going to need to get on it.

I’ve reduced my targets, as I’m on a short time frame for this game. I’m going for 50 Action Cards, made up from 17-18 different Renown Actions and Townspeople Actions.

Each card can be played in two different ways, one to increase your Scientist’s standing (Renown Actions), and one to help save Townspeople (Townspeople Actions). These two ways mean that I can create a large number of different cards from a relatively small pool of ideas. The difficulty comes in balancing the constituent parts, I’d like it if each card had roughly equal value to both methods of play. I’m perfectly happy to have some cards better than others, but I don’t want to have cards that are only ever worth playing in one of the two available ways.

I’ve gone with 50 cards, for two reasons. One, it’s more a more reasonable target for a quickly developed game such as this, and two, I believe that 50 cards will provide enough variety to the game. There will be twelve cards in play at most times, with maybe 2-3 persisting cards remaining on the board. This means there will always be at least 30 cards in the Action deck or discard pile, so even if every player discards and re-draws all cards every turn, it will take at least three turns to cycle through the deck.

I imagine that almost all games will require the discard pile to be re-shuffled into an Action deck at least once, and I think it should rarely happen more than twice. Any more, and I think the cards will get to feel a bit similar over the game, and I’ll have to add in a few more.

Volcano! – Onwards and upwards

November 10, 2006

I’ve added some card descriptions to the Volcano Writeboard, along with a few tweaks to the rules, including how Rubble works.

I’ve been meaning to write something about how I am designing this game, but as I don’t really follow a specific process, it’s been quite hard. I’m going to have a go now.

I started with an idea, Volcano eruption, and saving people. I knew that there would have to be a way of recording where people were, and where they were going, so I decided to include a board with spaces and connections to allow this.

The people that would be warning of the Eruption would be Scientists, so I had to have mechanics for doing Science, and being recognised, hence most of the Science locations, and the Renown tokens. There are methods for Scientists to help people escape, hence the other abilities of Scientists, when not generating renown.

Most of the random elements, cards and dice, were included as this game is somewhat played by the players against the game itself. Sometimes they will have a hard game to win, and must co-operate fully, sometimes it’s an easy game, and so can concentrate more on gaining renown.

I’ve included lucky escapes so as to ensure no player is ever eliminated fully from the game, as I don’t tend to enjoy that in the games I create.

The mechanics, rules and specifics of the game have been drawn together over the last week or so. I didn’t start at the beginning of the ruleset and work through page by page. I’ll work on one part for a while, have some ideas that’ll work somewhere else, fill those in, and move on, it’s not a linear process, everything is connected together, often in unseen ways until an unformed part of the game is poked and prodded into life.

Volcano! – Quick update

November 9, 2006

I’ve added the extended¬† write-up of the rules, as promised.They aren’t done, but it’s getting closer.

Writing enough sufficiently different, interesting and balanced Event cards is hard. I’ve got twenty or so ideas, and I’m getting stuck, not even halfway there, and that’s only for the Renown half. The helping people escape effects have not even begun to be written down yet, and once I’ve got two sets, I’m going to need to match the two, which will be fun.