Design Thoughts: Playtesting Thoughts

Was at a playtesting event for projects today and it was amazing seeing how good people are at making games.

First year students making 3d Mech combat games, communication games where you have to navigate a smuggler ship together through mazes, a frog that inflates and deflates itself and just many, many more things.

Second years doing innovative racing and turn based strategy games, games about digging out people from bomb debris as well as a game where you have to solve puzzles through hugging a doll. Didn’t have the time to play those, but watched while other players looked and I was so impressed by so many games.

If there was one thing I saw today, it was that the people building games today are making fantastic work. Even if it is their second or first game project or their 10th or 100th. The games they are making always inspire me and most likely people around them.

Since these games have a production cycle of about 8 weeks total, If I could give all of them one tip from where they where standing now and that is to start polishing their games as soon as possible. Many games had a good core, now they just need to worry about making it look, feel and be enjoyable.

This includes State of Wonder as well. I didn’t get to showcase it because of some irregularities with how the server worked. But I know myself, that what we need now is feedback and good feedback on that.

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This is how I feel right about now, confused by what is next, things are solving itself with State of Wonder, I’m calm and should be working on my thesis, but I just want to drink coffee and watch amazing games.

This was an interesting and awesome day, I wish all the students at Uppsala University good luck at GGC and I must say that, today I saw some of the coolest concepts, put into action and I’m sad that I didn’t have the time to test them all!

Goodnight from me!

Design Thoughts: When are you done?

Just gonna make a small post about some thoughts I had today, when is a game done? when is that idea done? When is the creative process over?

The more I play around with this though I have started to understand that it is never over, I create new game ideas daily, but they rarely ever get to  a prototyping stage, rarely ever more then a what if?

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But when the thoughts actually materialize into something and you start working on it, you rarely get it to publishing or release, it just becomes a dead prototype, that might be a really good idea for any number of reasons. But you as a creator just have that feeling that either, you aren’t good enough to realize it to its full potential or you just keep working with it into the infinite.

I’ve had both of these types of projects, especially lately I’ve looked back at my large library of design documents either saying to myself, I could never finish this, I don’t have skill X  or I’ve looked at it, tried pushing into the project again, doing more and more updates without ever thinking that the game is more finished then when I started.

I’m currently working on several projects in different stages, one, state of wonder, is pushing into some sort of beta soon. While a game such as Motra, Which I’ve been working on for years upon years is a game that I think is largely unfinished, even if it has more design hours and more hours in writing, testing and more.

You can look at scope and say that is why, but I don’t think so. The Scope of State of Wonder was a Card Game without Random elements. That is a huge undertaking, especially if you want to make the game good. While Motra had the scope, Pen and Paper Roleplaying game with focus on religions in a post apocalypse setting. This is also a huge undertaking.

State of Wonder is feeling more finished, for 2 large reasons, first of all, State of Wonder has a feeling of polish when you play it, there is thoughts behind everything and this is because I’ve become a much better designer since I started working on State of Wonder, Compared to when I started working on Motra. This allows for a much more streamlined design.

Motra also has this sandbox feeling for me as a designer, whenever I go back to work on Motra I look at it and I say to myself, I need to fix this and this before I want to market this. When those problems are fixed, bigger problems show up and I keep doing these fixes and sometimes I just tear everything apart and build a basically new game and salvage from the rubble.

This is a game that will most likely never be finished, there is just revisions upon revision to be made and it helps me design harder things, later as it gives me experience in whatever it is I’m making for motra at that specific moment.

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Whenever I go back to work on that title, I don’t really work on it to finish anything, I just want to poke it and see what happens, what changes, how do players behave differently, how do players do this and that.

I have ideas that I feel finished with as well, I though that the design from my older post Until We Tear us Apart (https://designbynight.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/design-thoughts-until-we-tear-us-apart/) I had felt satisfied with for years as I had worked on a design very close to that very design years ago and something struck me and I dug up some old things and just had to get into it again.

That design isn’t done anymore. But it was done for several years.

Overall, finishing games are hard, not only because of how getting the game out on a market is hard or getting people to know the game is hard, but because just doubting you can complete a project or just that feeling that a game isn’t done can easily stop you from being done with a game.

That is pretty much it, just some rambling on games not being done.

Design Thoughts: Cards in State of Wonder

Hello and Welcome to Design by Night where we will discuss cards for the Game State of Wonder that I’m working on at the moment.

What is State of Wonder?

State of Wonder is a card game, where you play as the leader of a city state and the cards you play represent the culture of the people you lead, are they powerful warriors, smart saboteurs or master builder and economists? This is all represented by the cards that you put in your deck and there are 3 kinds of cards to put in your deck.

Firstly, we have Building cards, Building cards are locked in your city and can do things such as training soldiers, generate gold, repair damaged buildings and fortifications, give your soldiers better gear and more. The buildings are the core of most decks as they are what allows you to gain an advantage outside of the cards you bring to the table.

Secondly we have unit cards, unit cards are soldiers, champions to wage war with your enemies and destroy their city state, players can also use units to protect themselves from opposing players units.

Then we have Fortifications, Defensive walls to protect your buildings from enemy units to give you more time, Fortifications give you an advantage while fighting in your city, as your opponent has to destroy your fortifications before they can attack your units and buildings.

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What does these cards let you do as a player?

So the buildings are enablers, they let the player play more cards or create new cards in the form of unit or fortification tokens, they can also make existing units or fortifications better by giving them special abilities or higher stats.

Buildings can also hinder your opponent, by interacting with their city in different ways, such as stealing gold and stopping other buildings from working.

Then we have units, Units are the primary conflict resolver of the game. They physically attack your opponents, by you declaring war with a player. Units can create sieges on your opponents, trying to destroy their fortifications, buildings and slaying the player themselves.

Fortifications on the other hand try to stop units long enough for you to build your own units to break the siege.

What kind of game play does these 3 kinds of cards promote?

The game play we have gotten from testing these card types against each other has been largely based on siege warfare, players go to war with each other as the primary interactive method is units fighting each other.

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Players play the game by either, building buildings and fortifications and try to generate a huge army through my buildings, with some defensive units to protect themselves from early sieges and then just send their huge army to obliterate my opponent OR the game is a rush game, where players just throw out 1 or 2 strong units and chuck them at each others health totals.

The game play all depends on the balance of the cards, if units are strong, the second of these happens, if fortifications are strong the first kind of play happens and the thing is, that we need a mix of these play styles for the game to play well.

What is my plan to solve this?

I want to differentiate the abilities of units and buildings, units do combat and are only doing combat, while buildings interact over city lines. You can hire an assassin to do some dirty work for you, but that will be a building that does that, not a unit that first kills a unit and then is a unit, at least not in the beginning, this allows for more interesting, stronger combat units, while freeing space for buildings to perform well.

Buildings fight over the city lines, interrupting other players plans, by destroying units, stealing gold, capturing units, disallowing use of buildings etc etc. exactly what buildings will perform mechanically is up in the air right now. But they will be designed to interact over city lines.

Fortifications on the other hand will stop both units and buildings, by making it harder to perform disruptive actions and protecting units and buildings within your city and protecting you from attacks.

I hope that this will be a workable design as the game is planned to go into beta over the next 2 months (Panic!)

But that is it for the day, If you have any feedback please comment or send me an E-mail with the feedback and if you want to know more about State of Wonder, you can look into our Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/StateOfWonderTheGame/

Design Thoughts: Until We Tear Us Apart

Hey Again. Today I’m going to talk about some Design Thoughts I’ve had over the last week and something I’ve wanted to put on paper but I’ve unfortunately not have the time to make it concise and make a design document for it. But I’ve got this blog for these times, where I can write down my thoughts on a design and scribble some ideas down.

The Idea right now is a continuation of an idea I had years ago, A board game idea where players are trying to achieve different goals, the game was then called schizophrenia which was a really bad name for the game as it actually had nothing to do with it.

The game was a social interaction, bluffing game, where players had to achieve the goal they had been given at the start of the game before anything else, except that all of the players was controlling the same character through a council.

So over to Until We Tear Us Apart.

The game is still a board game based on social interactions and require 3 or more players to play, where the players are given roles as either “body” or “Voice of Reason”.

As the body, you are the one that makes all of the calls, you take the final decisions, but you do not know what is happening around you, you only know what the voices of reason tell you. only one player can be the body.

eutah-mizushima-26887.jpgAs the voice of reason, you read what is happening around the body and need to give that information to the player, the problem is that there are more than one voice of reason and you all have your own goals.

The Body also has it own goal and there can only be one winner. These goals are given out in the start of the game and players need to fulfill that goal to win the game, when one player has achieved their goal, they call out that they have fulfilled their goal and that ends the game.

So the game starts by player being given a random role. The player who is the body is put behind a screen so they can’t see the cards that the voices will read.

At the start of a turn, the voices draw an event card, which they then read and have to describe the event to the body, you are not allowed to read directly from the card when you do this and you are several people trying to do this at the same time.

The body then has to interpret the council and make a choice of how to progress on the event that is happening. when the body has decided what to do in the situation, it makes the executive decision and that marks the end of a turn.

These event cards are big happenings in the life of a person, a break up, a friend manipulating them or buying a car.

So yeah, incoherent design ramblings over, I hope you enjoy them and hope to read your thoughts on this!

Post Mortem: Our Mutual Friend Felicia

Hello every reader out there, I’m back after another hiatus, to actually start this up again. I’m going to get into posting once a week again, it was a nice habit and allowed me to talk about game design.

So what do we have here?

Lately I’ve been working on Alternate Reality games and Ubiquitious games a lot and it all boiled down to a game I like to call, Our Mutual Friend, Felicia.

Our Mutual Friend, Felicia (or OMFF for short) is a treasure hunting, experience sharing game. The game is played in 4 simple steps.

A player finds a Diary, which tells them to read it, Within the diary or journal there is 3 rules.

1. Read through what is written in the journal.

2. If you like, write an entry in the journal, please keep it anonymous

3. Leave the Journal for another person to find.

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A player will read through the book, reading about other peoples experiences and feelings, without knowing them. This will give them a sense of knowing someone, someone that they actually don’t know.

As players are then asked to write down their own experiences into the book, this allows them to share experiences that they want to share, traumatic experiences, happy moments or just anything that they want to write that they want to share, but feel they are unable to share in person for any reason.

So it’s not much of a game but more of an experience, where players are supposed to share things that they might now be able to share. It is a Game as Therapy. Allowing people to talk about anything, with anyone, without knowing who will read it.

The History of OMFF

OMFF actually started out as a much bigger ARG which was focused on puzzle solving. much like http://notpron.org/notpron/ and I actually even built a concept document for that game.

It was a forum/youtube password hunting game, that was supposed to talk about invisible illnesses, such as depression and bipolarity. But after looking at my design and discussing it with a friend of mine. I ended up changing it, mostly due to that the game was more in focus then informing people about invisible illnesses.

After that I got the idea of writing a notebook, with puzzles and an alternate reality story in it, about a person with an invisible illness. the game was supposed to be played with a physical notebook, missing pages with clues on the none missing pages of where to find the online puzzles, that in turn show you the physical location of a bundle of missing pages.

The problem with this was two fold, it still wasn’t focused on invisible illnesses and it was still just lots and lots of puzzles that made the game interesting.

So I had many sleepless nights thinking about it, writing notes on how I would make the focus of the game into what people feel or have experienced and I realized that the interesting part of the game wasn’t really the puzzles, it was the journal.

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So I said to myself, as I have had depression earlier in my life. When I was depressed, what would I have needed, someone to talk to, that didn’t judge me or that I would never have to talk to again. Someone that I could just throw my emotions on and just walk away from it.

So a diary, but I have always felt personally that when I needed to talk to someone, just writing about it didn’t help, at least not enough. So having a way to anonymously share the experiences or my feelings would have been priceless.

That is the story of OMFF and how it went from a super complex puzzle game, into a game about sharing emotions anonymously.

Problems With OMFF

There are several problems in the design of OMFF, but the biggest problem is that it isn’t testable, If I as a designer put my game into play, I have no guaranteed way to get the book back or talk to the people who have encountered the book as it is anonymous.

I have resolved this by putting the link to this blog in the back of the book. So people can find this and talk to me about the book and their experiences about the game.

Hopefully someone will get here through the book and talk about it in the end!

Another problem with it is that players might be able to see the handwriting and a friend and recognize it. But it shouldn’t be a major problem if the book travel far enough.

I do not know if the engagement level in the game play is hard enough as I can’t really test the game yet (releasing the game and hoping to get feedback might be a weird way to do it, but it was my best idea this far)

Conclusion on OMFF

I would love to hear the feedback of people who have found the book and as OMFF is a pet project of mine, feel free to create your own book of OMFF if you want to(I will post the Concept document under the My Game Design tabs).

OMFF was designed to allow people to open up about problems they might have that they don’t want to or can share for any number of reasons, such as anxiety, not feeling comfortable with anyone about the problem. The game can although be used to convey a certain emotion or experience to a specific person, by leaving the book intentionally to a person after you have written in the book. But they might not know which of the entries are made by your.

Overall I would say that I’ve worked with OMFF over a longer time than I thought I had, it took me about 6 weeks to even realize what it was I actually wanted to do, creating the book and setting the rule wasn’t that hard, but getting to a concept that I was comfortable with and felt was strong led me on a minimalist path. Scoping the game down and down, but creating a product I felt was stronger and stronger each step along the way.

Board Game Analysis: Super Dungeon Explore!

Hello and welcome to another board game analysis by me. Today we are analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of Super Dungeon Explore!
To get directly to it, here it is!

Best of Super Dungeon Explore

The best thing with Super Dungeon Explore is the Dramatic tension and how it is able to keep the players invested to the very end; even it is going badly for one of the sides. The players are able to get invested quickly, because of the heavy focus on Player versus Player interactions.

The players are pitted against each other as an adventure group and a boss of a dungeon, leading to a simple but still interesting dramatic clause.

The game also keeps the tension through the use of spawns; the better it is going for the adventurers the more units the boss gets to spawn in, which leads to the game difficulty ramping itself up throughout the game.

After half the game has passed, the boss player can spawn in a mini-boss. That is as strong as or stronger than a single adventurer and ramps up the drama of the game, but players are still winning.

When we played, the players where always able to reach the boss fight, the climax, where the players spent all their resources to best the boss. But the boss in the end won, which lead to the players wanting to try again to defeat it. The drama is enhanced by the boss winning; it adds replay ability and increases the dramatic tension.

If the boss would’ve lost, the players would feel finished, as if they had defeated the boss and been finished with the game, but now they need to throw a new party into the evil consul’s dungeon.

Worst of Super Dungeon Explore

The worst of Super Dungeon Explore is how loot is handled by the game. The players who are playing adventurers are given loot when they inflict 3 wounds in a single round of the game.

This means that the more players you have the more loot you will be given, also, the more wounds your characters can inflict the more things you can get. This means that damage dealing characters automatically contribute more loot to the group.
As the loot is given out to the group, the group is empowered, meaning you can
inflict more damage which will give you more loot and so on.

This let the players get into a positive feedback loop if they are strong enough to start winning, but won’t be able to enter the positive feedback loop when they need it the most. This is bad design from the game designers’ side and will leave the players at the mercy of the consul if the game starts going badly.

Also how the loot is given out and that the loot is so random make so the loot feels out of place. I killed Kaelly, the Nether strider, an assassin from the nether. She drops the Sword of the Titans, Wait what?

Also you can open specific treasure chests, which costs action points. When you open these you are given a treasure card. The treasure card can be a card named Boo Booty, which spawns a monster where the treasure chest was and this monster is surprisingly hard to kill, especially when you planned to get buffed when picking it up.

The Core Gameplay Loop

The Core gameplay loop of Super Dungeon explore is based on alternating turns between the Consul (Dungeon master) and the Adventurers. The consul’s role is to kill all the adventurers, while the adventurers want to kill the dungeon boss.
The game progresses through several steps each round. The first step is the spawning step. This is where the Consul add new units to the board (I will go through this in the most interesting system more)

After this the players roll for initiative, the Consul rolls for his monster and the adventurers roll for their group. The player that get the most successes goes first on the game round, with the adventurers winning if they roll even.

During a round the players will activate all their units, but depending on if they are the consul or the adventurers they can only activate a certain amount at a time. For example, the adventurers can only activate one hero at a time, before having to pass the turn to the consul that in his turn activates four skulls of units. The consuls units each have their own skull value and a high skull value means that the unit is very powerful while a low skull value means that the unit is weak.

When a unit is activated, it can spend all of its movement points, each movement point means that a unit can move one square in any direction (even diagonally), and it can spend all it action points. A unit can do this in any order, it can for example, take two steps, spend an action point, move four steps, spend another two action points and then be finished with its turn.

Actions can be many things, but there are a few standard actions, such as attacking or opening a treasure chest.

When you attack an enemy, the unit uses it attack value and roll the corresponding dice. There are 3 kinds of dice in the game, Blue, Red and Green. Blue are the weakest dice, which has a 50% chance to not get any successes at all. Red are the middle ground, with 33% chance to not get any successes while the Green dice only got a 16% chance to not give any successes.

So if a unit has 2 blue and 1 red attack value, when the unit attacks, it will roll those 2 blue and 1 red dice. Let us say it get 3 successes on these dice.

A unit is given the chance to defend itself, this means that the unit that got attacked can roll their Armor dice. So if a unit got attacked and hit by 3 successes, it gets to roll its armor, which could be 3 blue dices. On these dices the unit needs 3 successes to avoid being wounded.

There are also special attacks, which got special attributes such as range, Area of effects, healing and such; these special attacks can cost several Action points because they are so powerful.

The Most Interesting System

The games most interesting system is the Consul’s spawning system. It creates the dramatic tension, keeps the game interesting at all turns and has the players preparing for the impossible.

The system works through spawning points, which are placed at the start of each game, one for each room. Than each spawn will keep spawning monsters each round, as the players kill more and more monster, the consul get to spawn more and more monsters.

Each spawn spawns 4 skulls worth of monsters every turn and the players need to destroy them to not be overrun. But as they are killing monsters, they are giving the consul more and more skull tokens to use.

This always keeps the tempo of the game up, which keeps players on their toes, focused and into the game.

Target Audience.

Super Dungeon Explore seems to be an introduction game for the genre of Dungeon Crawling games. It allows younger players in their tweens to try the genre, learn how the genre works in a fast paced, dramatic game, where they are allowed to explore freely and learn the basics of grid combat.

It also seems to be aimed at explorers of the genre, since the game is very hard to actually win, the players need to explore the system and maximize how they play a lot.

The ages that it seems aimed towards seems to be 10-13 years and 18+.

Summary

Super Dungeon Explore is a tension based dungeon crawler that is very quick to play and allows players to experience different sides of the coin efficiently.

The players have to alternate their role as either the consul or the adventure group. As the different roles are very different in how they are played, what you do and what your goals are, the game is an asymmetrical game, where the players use different means to reach different ends.

The player is playing as the consul is using his spawning points to create monsters to stop the adventurers and waste their resources and as the game advances the consul gets more and more powerful monsters and more monsters from the spawning points that are still alive.

The consul will be given mini bosses to pit vs the adventurers, big monsters that have special attacks, lots of hit points and needs to be pinned down quickly so they do not kill adventurers.

The consul is also in charge of the boss fight, a multi-step mega monster that the players fight when they have either killed all the spawning points or become too bogged down with monsters.

The adventure group on the other hand needs to pick a group of heroes that work together against the dungeon they are facing. In the dungeon they need to focus on destroying spawning points so they do not get overrun by the monsters that are spawning, they also need to divide their attention to killing stronger monster or mini bosses so they do not get overrun by these and killed when the boss arrives.
Their goal in the end though, is to kill the mega powerful boss that they are hunting for.

All in all Super Dungeon Explore is a very interesting multisided dungeon crawler, with the focus in the right place, the drama. So that the players are always interested in it, so they never get bored of it and pack together the game.
If the drama would be weaker in the game, if it wouldn’t be so damn close every time you play, the game wouldn’t have the same wow factor.

So there is the analysis of Super Dungeon Explore, Have a good time from a Van and a Game designer!

Board Game Analysis: Battlestar Galactica

I am Back!

And the first thing we are going to do are some board and roleplay analyses. which we hope that you are going to enjoy and the first one to be analyzed is none other than Battlestar Galactica: the Board Game.

Bests of BSG

The one thing that really stands out in Battlestar Galactica as a best is the build-up, as the game progresses the board itself makes the players more desperate in their attempt at survival. As resources dwindle away and you have to discover who is actually on your side, so you cannot get stabbed in the back.

The build-up is this strong because of how the game handles resources, how mercilessly it takes them away and never gives them back. The further the game goes, all the players feel how time is running out because of this. The build-up becomes even better due to the loyalty of the players, one of the players are working against us and when is he or she going to stab us in the back.

Worsts of BSG

The single worst part of BSG was the climax. As the build-up is the strongest part of the game, having a bad climax will ruin the experience. The reason for the climax being weak is because how the core game-play loop handles resources.

Since the loss of resources is random and even sometimes a must due to crisis cards. (we will go into these later) losing the last resource means that the game is over and after a 2, 3 or maybe even 4 hours game, losing to a random thing that you, as a player couldn’t change, feels punishing for no reason.
Another reason for the weak climax is that there is never a change of pace in the game. The core game play loop will keep going, no matter what the players do. As there is no change of pace, the players will only notice that the game is ending because resources are running out. Since resources are always running out, the players won’t get a climax

The Core Game System

The core game system in Battlestar Galactica, is a loop composed of several important steps. The first thing a player does in a turn is draw skill cards; this is generally 5 skill cards. After this a player gets to move their character to any location on the game board that belongs to that player’s faction. A human player can move to any human location, but not any cylon locations, while a revealed cylon player can only move between cylon locations.

After that a player is allowed to use anyone action he or she can do, either by activating a location on the game board, playing a skill card or using one of their character actions.

After a player has done all this, the player whose turn it is draws a Crisis card. Crisis cards are the cards that make the player lose resources. There are two type of crisis cards, the first one is the choice cards. Where the player or a player with a specific role (Such as president) has to make a choice, this choice can be anything from losing 1 from a specific resource or lose a combat ship.

The other crisis is the skill check; the skill check is a task that needs to be completed by the humans to avoid losing resources. As a skill check is called upon by either a location or a crisis card, the players will have to add skill cards to it to complete it.

Skill cards are added face down to a skill check, so players cannot calculate what they are putting into the check. Before any cards are added to a skill check the players draw two cards from a “destiny” deck. Which represents that everything could go smoother than expected or become a whole lot trickier than the players initially thought it would be. These cards are also face down.

Skill checks have a difficulty which ranges from everywhere from 7 to 28 and they also show what skills are positive to the check. All skills that is not positive to the check counts as negative for the check allowing players to sabotage for each other when a skill check arrives.

After all players have added skill cards to the check, the player whose turn it is, shuffles the piles and flips the cards. Adding the value of all positive skill cards together and then subtracting the value of all the negative cards value.

If the players have the same value as the difficulty of the skill check, the skill check is passed. A lower value means that the players have failed the skill check and will have to take the consequences.

To win in battlestar galactica the players need to make enough distance to escape the cylon onslaught. This means that they need to prepare the jump drive. The only way to prepare the jump drive is to draw a jump preparation crisis card. These crisis cards have a specific symbol in the lower right corner which means that the players are to increase their jump preparation track by 1.

When the players have increased the track 5 times, the ships will jump and the Admiral player will draw 2 destination cards and resolve one. These cards have a printed value between 0 and 3 on them. This is how far the players make it on this jump.

To win the game, the players need to cover 8 or more total distance and jump again, giving the game a minimum number of rounds to complete. This is the only way to win as a human player in battlestar galactica.
There is only one victory condition in the game, but there are several ways to lose in galactica.

The first way to lose is by loss of resources. The game got 4 different resources that it presents to the player, Fuel, Food, Morale and Population and they represent how well the fleet is doing. Whenever one of these resources hit zero, the game is lost.

The second way to lose in Battlestar Galactica is through damage. If Galactica ever has 4 destroyed locations or damage tokens, the ship is utterly destroyed and everyone aboard the ship is killed, leading to the death of all humans.

The third way to lose is by boarding party. This represents a cylon centurion getting all the way to the ships command and killing all high ranking officers, leaving the ship with no leadership and to be destroyed in the next couple of hours or minutes.

The Most interesting system

In Battlestar Galactica there is a loyalty system which decides which players are loyal to the humans and which are loyal to the cylons. This system allows for a lot of undercover sabotage, distrust and
The most interesting system to me is the Loyalty system, how they are using such a simple system to create distrust in a game where co-operation is the key. The system is very simple randomization system. It gives each player a loyalty card at the start of the game which will either say “You are not a Cylon” or “You are a Cylon”.

The goal of the game changes the second you are given a You are a Cylon card, as your goal is now to get the humans to lose through sabotage and making them distrust each other, spreading lies and deceit.
The other players also want to figure out which player that is a cylon, so that they can take care of the cylon without letting him or her destroy to much of your precious resources from the inside and create distrust.

Later into the game, at 4 distances, the players are given another loyalty card, which if you are playing 5 or 6 players’ guarantees another cylon in the game. Meaning even more players will be working towards you.
The thing with the loyalty system that makes it interesting, is that it uses a minimum of mechanics to actually create an entirely new layer to the games depth without adding complexity worth mentioning. The subtleness of the system is its strengths and it adds a lot of choices for the players.

There are also actions and effects that allow you to look at other players loyalty cards. This makes the system complete, as the effects are so scarce, it makes the person who gets to check another players’ loyalty card as suspicious as the player, whose card he or she looks at.

Target group

The target group seems to be 16+ both male and female people who have either an interest in board games, politics or the original Franchise Battlestar: Galactica.

The game has a very complex core gameplay loop. But which can easily be identified which leads to player having to understand the loop, but as it can be easily identified, as soon as all of the players have identified it, it is easy to play the game. This leads me to believe that the people playing it need to have the age of 16+. The players also explore subjects that are for older people, such as the destruction of humanity, what it really means to be human and what is required to lead a fleet with different demands.

The game also have a heavy focus on the social aspect and the necessity of politics, which leads me to believe that the target audience is the one I mentioned earlier.

Summary.

All in all, Battlestar Galactica is a great game, the game knits together the different aspects of the game very well, everything from the politics, the intrigues, the witch hunting and the focus on surivival.
The only thing that the game doesn’t pull off is combat, as the games combat is very bland, and doesn’t add much to the excitement. As seen in the analysis I haven’t even gone through combat, as the players are never forced to be involved in combat even once throughout the game.

Also the game might have had one to many loss conditions, the boarding party feels and plays unnecessarily and is rarely even a bother. It mostly feels like they are in the game so that the heavy raiders and centurions from the series could be in the game.

More than that, the skill check system has a great flow when you get into it, which means that the time spent playing increases while the time looking through rules decreases dramatically. As the skill check system is easy to get into it generally requires one game before the players get into the flow and just start playing without the necessity of a rule pamphlet up all the time.

The Climax is a big turn off though, as the game really builds up for it, but then lets it all just trickle into the sand.

That is it for me than, have a good one from a Van and a Game Designer.