Time again for another game design from Boardgamizer! I also have some plans for a few other games and content I may be talking about later this week, but for now, onto the game design!
The Unused Parameters
This one seems like it would be a weird bluffing game, sort of like a trick-taking game combined with Clue. As much fun as Mysterium meets Power Grid with animals sounds, this seems way too complicated to give proper justice to, and most of all the idea doesn’t really resonate with me so it would be an uphill fight to get a good idea structured and playable. Plus the Constraint is weirdly easy, although incorporating it into the art style could yield a nifty effect.
This one is weird. Just weird. I feel like this would end up being a cross between Charades and Dance Dance Revolution, and co-op on top of all of that I think. It could be fun, but I think the winning parameters have a bit more promise for a wider audience.
The Winning Parameters
So the Theme here is actually evocative enough that I’ll use it as the name: Eagle Academy. Birds have always been associated with flight, so this will definitely be a game about that, but I’ve been on a scifi kick lately with The Last Angel, so let’s make it a game about spaceship pilots competing to prove themselves as graduates of the prestigious Eagle Academy.
The constraint adds an interesting flavor here, and both it and the Mechanics are leading me to a few interesting ideas about unique token placement ideas. On top of that, the idea of space academies is so full of Ender’s Game-style drama and competition and such that the story can be as detailed as I want, without treading too much on the base gameplay loop. I don’t want to trod too much on the toes to the next section, so moving on!
Brainstorm: The Mechanics
So, I’m thinking here I want this to be a sort of track for a board, with bidding for the “safest” places to fly (as denoted by colored regions). Safer is slower, but dangerous is faster. Players would bid tokens for getting to choose the first space on the given region of the track. The player then places one of their ‘radar’ tokens on that space, and next-highest bid places a token. This continues until all of the spaces are filled, leaving most players with 1-2 leftover radar tokens. Then the radar tokens are flipped, and reveal where the given ships moved to; if you’re adjacent to an enemy ship, you can try and blast them. Finally, a colored card is drawn, showing which regions suffer setbacks or damage or even outright ship destruction. Then the next turn begins anew.
The big trick is players aren’t starting with even bidding pools. Everyone is dealt, say, 3 ship cards at the beginning of the game and chooses one of those to be their craft. Each ship is unique, and has a set of ways it interacts with the game. Some might have a hyperdrive that allows them to shoot way forward to a specific colored space, but if it’s blocked they get set back a ways. Another might specifically get a speed boost in dangerous or safe regions, while another might get shields that let them ignore a set number of enemy shots. Essentially, the game would function on a meta level like Cosmic Encounter, where the base underlying game is the same but the specifics of how it hashes out changes significantly based on what ships other players are flying.
The winner would be whichever player travels the farthest by the time X rounds have passed, probably 5 or so. Of course, some ships might have extra speed boosts they get at the end of the game, or gambles they can attempt to try and get a from-behind victory, but that would all depend on the ship and the player’ skill.
Brainstorm: The Story
For two centuries, the finest recruits from across the galaxy have trained to fly at Eagle Academy. This academy is not merely instructional, but instead encourages and supports the research of the cadets into making their own ships. The best pilots and the best starships have all seen their beginnings at Eagle Academy, all to try and win the prestigious badge of Wing Leader. A race is held, no holds barred save for the rule of ‘No fatalities’, and the recruits strive to push their ships as far as they can through the Matreckan Abyss before a single rotational day of the Academy station has elapsed. The Abyss is notoriously dangerous, but wormholes hidden by nebular clouds can help daring or desperate cadets make up thousands of lost miles and hours of lost time in the gravity-shearing blink of an eye.
You are a pilot in the graduating class, and all that lies ahead is the race. Will you earn your Wing Leader rank, or be defeated by the countless dangers of the Matreckan Abyss?
Brainstorm: The Elevator Pitch
You are one of the recruits of Eagle Academy, and there is only one challenge left before graduation: the traditional race through the Matreckan Abyss. Whoever manages to pilot their custom-built ship the farthest before the time runs out will be awarded the rank of Wing Leader, but beware! The Abyss is filled with dangerous asteroid thickets, forgotten minefields, and the pull of a hundred newborn and failed stars alike. Avoid the gravity wells and power your way to victory in your unique ship, as you outmaneuver and blast your opponents.
Only one pilot will be named the winner: Will you earn your Wings?
This one I think has a lot of fun potential. Sci-fi ships are kind of like catnip for me (Star Realms or The Ship Moves, anyone?), and I think the open-endedness of the ship frames and the map itself could lend itself to lots of room for expansions and the like.
So, what did you think of this week’s game? Please let me know in the comments and reblogs below!