I’ve been revamping Space Port lately to fix some issues with the game. Actually, I’m revamping it to allow for more design space to fix some issues. Here are the changes:


The first change I made was to the currency system. In this universe, I used StarCreds as the money of choice. It was a name made up during one of our improv game design sessions and has been a running joke ever since. The problem with StarCreds is that is just a simple system. You gain StarCreds through certain actions, then you use them to pay for other actions. Basically, they function just like any other currency. As I was looking over ways to create more design space, I saw that the StarCred wasn’t pulling its own weight. It functioned as just a number. It was always just in a range of zero to some unbound amount. My idea spurred from the desire to inject more information into this mechanism. What if the used StarCreds didn’t go away, but just stayed there in a “used” state? What if there was a limit on the number of StarCreds you could own? Bam! That’s when it hit me.

To make sense of what I was about to do, I rethemed the StarCreds from currency to Henchman. Henchmen are just like StarCreds except they have a binary state: active or inactive. When you would gain a StarCred, you now activate a Henchman. When you would pay a StarCred, you now use (deactivate) a Henchman. New actions also have arisen such as recruiting a henchman, which is just taking a Henchman from the supply. New design space has arisen from this all over the place. There is now a limit on how many Henchmen you can have active at a time (Before there was no limit on StarCreds). You can increase that limit by recruiting (a whole new area to design with). Timing (my favorite game mechanic) comes to the limelight as now it becomes important when you gain a massive influx of “currency” because sometimes you have the room for it (a lot of inactivate henchmen), and other times you don’t (only one is inactivate). Also, the main use of StarCreds was to pay for loading goods, trading, and “borrowing” ships. Instead of paying for it, you now just have your Henchmen do the job for you!

StarCreds acted as another way to gain points at the end of the game. Each two StarCreds was worth one point. Gaining those points just happened, and there was no real thought involved. This scoring is now replaced by Henchmen which are each worth one point (active or not). To recruit a Henchman, you need you use two other Henchmen while at a Cantina. See what happened there? Using two Henchmen is the same as using two StarCreds. Instead of having two StarCreds left at the end of the game to give you points, you now have to make the decision to buy that point during the game. Of course, recruiting a Henchman has other benefits, so it all fits seamlessly together. Letting the player make the decision is what game play is all about.

Risk Management

Bad stuff can happen to you in the game and you just have to sit and take it. This was brought to my attention by Ian and Drey. We talked about the issue at length, but in the end it boiled down to risk management. I decided that by giving the player the choice to protect themselves at a cost, he can choose the level of risk he wants to take.

Shipping -The game is full of shipping. You can use your ships, neutral ships, and even other player’s ships. Other players don’t like when you use their ship even though the borrower has to pay for the privilege. The problem is that you can’t deny other players from doing this. The solution to this is to modify the cost system of borrowing. Now, the borrowing player uses a certain number of Henchmen. The ship’s owner can now deny them use of his ship by paying an equal amount of Henchmen. The ship’s owner now must manage his Henchmen so that he always has enough to thwart any attempts to hijack his ship. The hijacker must now carefully consider whether or not he wants to try and steal a ship because if his attempt is canceled, then he basically wasted Henchmen as well as a turn. Besides all that, with the new Henchmen mechanism, this oozes with theme.

Contraband - Contraband is the hot ticket item in the game. You never just want to leave it sitting on your ship or in your warehouse because someone else might play an inspection card which discards them. It was discussed that there be a way to pay for more protection for your contraband if you wanted it. So, the new system is that if you have two active Henchmen, your contraband is safe. No payment is necessary. Thematically, they just sit there and guard it. Of course, having your guys locked up to do this means that it will be difficult to pay for other things, but now at least you have a choice. I still need to playtest this a bit more, but I think it is simple enough to work.

Well, we meet tonight and I hope to test this out (and a few other changes). My preliminary testing last night made for some interesting plays, so I’m excited to see how it handles with more players.

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