Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Lesbians On: Death, Destruction and Prototyping

Today was a momentous occasion. 

For today I discovered how to decimate trees, bore the GF, construct equilateral triangles and turn my dining table into a DEN OF DESTRUCTION, all at the same time.

That's right, this morning I, amateur board gamer, blogger of no serious content, and poverty stricken student owner of a mere 23 games did attempt TO MAKE A PROTOTYPE.

I'd had such ill-fated aspersions but once before, when, in my gaming youth I did attempt to make a card gaming involving werewolves, aliens, demons, and amoeba. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for the GF), the game was based on earning gold, which, being made of paper in our prototype, fell down the back of the couch. I was too demoralized to attempt remaking the 76 highlighted pieces. But the fate of this long ago game seems merciful compared to what happened today.

So What Was This So Called "Game?"

At approximately 1:25 pm I clattered down the stairs, and disturbing my girlfriend from her non-boring activity shouted "I HAVE AN IDEA...... FOR A GAME! Wanna hear?"
"Wanna hear?"
"Wanna hear?"
Having taken this as an obvious green light to consume the GF's time for the remainder of the afternoon, I proceeded to explain the idea.

The Player plays as Space Explorers, searching an abandoned spaceship for fuel capsules. Fuel is rare, and players must compete with each other to collect the most capsules and get out. BUT to complicate things there are....wait for it oh my its so original....ALIENS which players can deploy against other players to do them damage. And players cannot heal, so damage is deadly....

The central idea of this game is the tiles. These are triangular pieces that tessellate together in three columns. Each of these pieces has one two or three exits. Tiles are placed randomly, but players can use cards to rotate the tile they are on, and any adjacent tiles, so they can get where they want to go.

Cards are rare, players cannot draw cards, but must find tokens that allow them to draw. Additionally, players can find resources and supplies that give them additional abilities, such as making their own door, seeing the other players hands, and control of super awesome aliens.

My ideas thus explained, me the GF, and our more geometrically able flatmate then proceeded to construct a prototype and play.....

The Disaster That Followed

So, we played the game. And we played the game, and we played the game. One and a half hours later, we agreed on a tie.

It started off not badly. Their were a few bitchy moves to cut other players off from fuel rods and valuable cards. The aliens did not work as expected - they functioned more like bombs the players threw at each other, but hey, that was fine too.

As time progressed, so the problems mounted. Until, the end game....was disgusting.... horrifying...and really god damn boring. I was reminded somewhat of the end game of Zombies!!! which I have previously vented my dislike of. Except by then all our alien cards had been used up, so it was MUCH MUCH WORSE.

What went wrong?
1. PIGGYBACKING. Well, without aliens, or if a player was holding ways to get around the aliens they just followed another player around, forcing the other player to use all their precious movement card, and then passing them by when it counts. The other player, realizing this, simply just hung around, and all in all nothing happened and everyone was bored.
2. OH LORD WHERE BE THOSE FUEL CAPSULES. Board tiles are revealed when they are adjacent. So if a player failed to reveal a tile earlier on, all the players may find themselves WAY on the other side of the board, with a fuel capsule necessary to win on the other side. And this is a game where moving is HARD.
3. So as a result EVERYTHING SLOWS DOWN. Slows down soooo much......pain....anguish....consumption of two entire packets of Doritos....

Anyway, at the end of it all, I sat back, and looked at the beast we had laid out on the table.
"Well....babe....I've got to admit it had its flaws....but I think if we tweak them enough, it's nothing we can't fix."
"Yes but...." replied the GF
"But what. BUT WHAT?"
"Well...." and so I prepared my tender first-time-board-gamer-designing feelings for what was coming next.
"It's just not fun."


And thus was the beast recycled (luckily for the trees) and our table did return to its former use of dining. Most of the despair and anguish I should probably have felt had been numbed by the boredom I had just experienced.

What I Learned

Yes, I have attempted to turn my tragic experience into some sort of lesson because it's just less depressing that way. What I learned was, WOW board game designers are amazing. The sheer number and variety of board games that come out every year just making taking up the pen, cards, and tiles yourself seem so easy, but it is not! Board game designers put months or years into the same game (and all that play-testing!), and now I can see why. I have a huge respect for these people who have the ingenuity and dedication to make products that are truly awesome. I SALUTE YOU ALLLLLL.

As for me, I should leave the scissors and the stack of paper sitting in my living room alone for the while. If only for the GF's sake. (Did I mention she was working on her final exam? Heh heh.)

No comments:

Post a Comment