Taking The Prototype For A Spin

This week there have been two milestones in my ‘build a board game journey’. Well in reality there were three milestones as I managed to complete my first prototype, yay!

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First Prototype ready to be playtested

The first milestone was that I actually got to play test my Wormholes prototype and secondly, I began to write a set of rules. The play-testing was quite successful with several rounds being played and an actual winner being declared after about 20 minutes of play. The general feeling was however, that this happened too quickly and a little too easily which suggested that more complexity needed to be built into the game. The concept of the wormholes was well received. The theme of an alternate reality is a tried and true narrative trope so as soon as anyone sees anything relating to this, they are immediately clued up, unless of course they themselves have been living in an alternate reality where there is no science fiction.The players were enjoying the game progression until it was suddenly over before it had really developed into any type of flow. At the current point in the game’s development, simplicity would appear to be far outweighing complexity.

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First playtesting of Wormholes

The fact that complexity was lacking in the game allowed for a very simple set of rules which all players followed easily. Jesse Schell comments about rules;

Games have a lot of rules — how to move and what you can and cannot do — but there is one rule at the foundation of all the others: The Object of the Game. Games are about achieving goals — you must be able to state your game’s goal and state it clearly.

I imagined that writing a rule book would be quite an easy task until I actually tried to write one for my game. Schell also says “[a] game is its rules — give them the time and consideration that they deserve” which I can fully relate to having spent days trying to write my rules with a considerable amount of time staring at an empty screen endeavouring to start. After play-testing a suggestion was made to increase the complexity by adding special items which need to be collected in order to unlock the parallel universe. I think this is a valid idea to pursue and will be included in the next iteration.

Following are the rules in their very basic form as were used to guide the first play-testing.

Wormholes

Number of Players 2-4

Earth is on the verge of an apocalyptic meltdown. Wormholes have opened in the earth’s atmosphere that each lead to a ‘safe’ parallel universe, of which there are six in total.The challenge is to escape the present universe through a wormhole and unlock the gateway to another universe by collecting the correct number of ‘enersaves’ for that universe. You will take on the role of one of four protagonists – a doctor, a computer expert, a scientist or an ex criminal.

Objectives

Goal:

  • The goal is to move around the board collecting ‘enersaves’ (energy points) until you have enough to unlock a parallel universe each of which has a different value (measured in enersaves)

Setup:

  • Pick a character
  • Shuffle the deck
  • Deal two cards to each player and then place deck face down in the centre of the board
  • Spin the selector wheel to decide which wormhole your character starts on (1 on the selector wheel is equivalent to wormhole 1)

Play-loop:

  • Spin the selector wheel to move (eg 6 on the selector wheel equals 6 spaces)
  • Begin by moving towards the centre of the board
  • Follow the instructions marked on the space on which you land (pick up, swap etc)
  • You can move in any direction (backwards, sideways etc) as long as you land on a coloured space
  • Each turn (clockwise around the board) spin the selector wheel and move the designated number of spaces following the instructions as you go

End of Game:

  • You win if you land on a parallel universe (located in the centre of the board) and you have enough enough ‘enersaves’ to unlock that universe

Game Instructions:

The player with the lowest scoring wormhole (eg wormhole 1) starts. As you move around the board you must follow the instructions specified on the space on which you land. You must have one card in your hand at all times with a maximum of 5 at any time.

Pick up — Player selects a card from the top of the deck

Swap — Player swaps a card with the main deck by selecting the top card from the deck and placing their card on the bottom of the deck

Vortex — On landing on this space, the player must place themselves in the vortex. Player is released from the Vortex when they have 15 ‘enersaves’ (returned to  the bottom of the deck) or if they spin a 6 on the selector wheel

Trade —  Player can trade cards with another player by asking them if they have an ‘enersave’ card of a certain value. If the other player has this card they must give it to the player who is asking otherwise they say no and it is the next player’s turn.

 

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