Sep 032008

I was feeling a little concerned about my game prototype Stellar Underworld. This feeling came from some of the feedback from the guys from Oklahoma, and from a botched playtest with some “improved” rules based on that feedback. All of that, and I feel pressure to get this game ready for the Protocon design contest.Well, last night I decided to try out some simple changes and see how that fared. We played and I am happy to report that it played really nicely!

Here are some of the things I addressed:

Your ship is your ship – In the previous versions, your ship could be stolen if a player sent enough henchmen to do it, though you could also defend it if you wanted to. The system worked out ok, but the feedback I was getting was that it didn’t feel like you owned your ship. The “comandeering” rules for stealing are no longer in effect. You can only use your ship and the two neutral ships. Suprisingly, this worked out pretty nicely. And it was one less thing that players had to worry about (keeping enough henchmen around to defend a ship).

A nice side effect of this is that when you used your ship, you could leave cargo aboard without fear of thievery. No need for the warehouse. However, when you use the neutral ships, you almost always have to use the warehouse. The usage of the neutral ships are amplified now that other players ships are off limits to commandeering.

This is a perfect case of the development philosophy “How much can I remove from the game, and have it still be the same game?”

Henchmen are worth less – In the previous version, a recruiting strategy seemed to be a main path to victory. Henchmen were worth the same as completed contracts, and they provided many other benefits. Now, they are worth half as much as contracts. Players still benefit from having a lot of them, but now they aren’t “double dipping”.

There were other feedback points that I may or may not address, but for now I think the game has improved. I just to make a new bigger board, and a few other cosmetic changes, and I think I’m ready to go!

One Response to “Underworld Updates”

  1. The new changes sound good, Dan!

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