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Subject: [WIP][24h PnP][Solitaire] Quiescence rss

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Josh Taylor
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Quiescence
Players: 1
Play Time: ~20 minutes
Materials: 47 PnP cards, 3 6-sided dice, 1 pawn/token/counter/etc., Scratch paper to track score

Story
It's an apocalypse like no one expected. The world is quietly fading away, piece by piece. There is hope though. A few scientists have built a sanctuary that will protect the few people left, but someone needs to gather supplies and there isn't much left to gather from.

Setup
Place the Sanctuary card on the play area and place your pawn on it. Shuffle the remaining cards and deal 36 of them out in a diamond pattern around the Sanctuary (a 7x7 square with 3 cards missing from each corner).

Gameplay
Each turn:
1. Either:
a. Move your pawn up to two spaces up, down, left or right (not diagonally). You can choose not to move.
b. Spend 2 Materials, build a bridge (place an unused card face-down on a neighboring space) and move onto it.
c. If you are on the Sanctuary, you may choose to end the game. Your final score is the lowest of the Food, Water and Materials you have gathered.
2. Gather resources from the card (add the numbers on the left edge to the supplies you are carrying) and follow any text on it. Turn that card 180 degrees. You can only gather from each card once. You can choose not to gather from a card. This is considered the end of your turn for card effects.
3. Roll 3d6. Remove any cards with that number in the lower-right corner from the board. Additionally, on a roll of 10 or 11 remove all face-down cards. If your pawn is on a card that was removed, move it to a neighboring card, your choice. (This does not trigger any card effects.) If there are no neighboring cards, you lose the game.

Components
All these are sized for US letter, but there should be plenty of room around the cards to fit it on A4.
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
PokectMod Rules
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John "Omega" Williams
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Kentwood
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The icons on the cards are very hard to tell apart at a glance and make it hard to tell what the number is. Perhaps instead use a basic icon for each such as a circle, teardrop and square. Here is a quick example.

 
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Josh Taylor
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That is a good idea. Unfortunately, my 24 hours are over. There are one or two cards I'd like to tweak further, and I'd like to add the missing graphics, so I might make a post-contest version. (The graphics will take a while to sort out though.)
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Josh Taylor
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I found a whole bunch of good photos on Wikimedia Commons, but now I'm having trouble deciding what to do with them. If I want to make a version for Game Crafter, I really ought to only use public domain photos, and a lot of what I found aren't (they're mostly various creative commons licenses).

Besides that, I want to adjust the photos so the set can still be printed on a black and white printer. I haven't figured out a good solution for that yet, and I need to find a way to apply that to the whole batch. (I can probably use MatLab for that once I figure out what I want to do to them.)

Anyway, I'll try and get all that sorted out before I get too distracted by other ideas.

Edit: Oh, and an actual question to anyone who's tried this. Do you notice any specific cards that seem to upset the game's balance? I've gotten scores mostly around 13 except one time I got the Houses card right next to the Sanctuary and got a score of 31. I think the Forest has the same kind of problem but to a much smaller degree. (I want to make some changes to both cards.)
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John "Omega" Williams
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Kentwood
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Quote:
Edit: Oh, and an actual question to anyone who's tried this. Do you notice any specific cards that seem to upset the game's balance? I've gotten scores mostly around 13 except one time I got the Houses card right next to the Sanctuary and got a score of 31. I think the Forest has the same kind of problem but to a much smaller degree. (I want to make some changes to both cards.)


That is not a problem. That is a feature inherint to random placement.

Take all the good cards and lay them optimally around the base. Now take all the worst cards and place them around the base and the good cards far out. Calculate the highest and lowest possible scores. 13-15 may be your avarage in this case.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Ok. A quickie test got this. Say you had all the best cards clustered around the 8 sanctuary spaces. Score would be 12. Possibly a little more.
Now say you had a really blazing streak of luck. Optimal score is 53, Possibly a little more if got lucky with searches.

Cards 9-12 are though more likely to vanish. And those tend to be the bigger payoff cards too.
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Josh Taylor
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It's just that the Houses card (one of the two) lets you keep searching as long as it doesn't disappear on you. If that card is in one of the 4 spaces next to the base, having it disappear while you're there isn't a danger, and if you get lucky, you can get an 10 or more of everything before it finally goes away. (It's a 12, so it should vanish fairly quickly, but sometimes 12 just doesn't come up.)

There are only two cards with potentially unlimited resources. The Forest only gives food, but it's a 3, so it should last a while.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Increase the chance of not finding anything in a house to a 4. Or require the player to explore another location before they can explore the house section again.
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Josh Taylor
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I might change it to a 4 and change it so you only find 1 of each resource after the first time, although requiring them to go elsewhere is a good idea too. I might have to just try out a couple versions.
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Josh Taylor
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I'm going with 4 or less and I took the materials off of that card. Materials are much more common, so it shouldn't have much effect on your score unless you get really lucky, and then the lack of materials will serve as a limiter.

I finally finished downloading, filtering, editing and trimming all the images. I just need to put them together and upload the new cards. Hopefully they'll look good both in color and in black and white.

Edit: There. (BTW, some of the card names changed to better fit what pictures were available.)
Post-Contest Page 1
Post-Contest Page 2
Post-Contest Page 3
Post-Contest Page 4
Post-Contest Page 5
Post-Contest Page 6
Post-Contest Rules

Also, for convenience, here's a zipped (well, rarred) copy of both sets:
Quiescence Zipped Contest Version
Quiescence Zipped Post-Contest Version

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John "Omega" Williams
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Looks good.

One suggestion. Add a sort of fade across the images so that they sort of fade out from one side to another.

Heres a quick example. I think the first three cards are the best result.

 
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Josh Taylor
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That looks kind of strange to me, especially on the first two cards (and the lighter cards at the bottom look overexposed). Any particular reason you like the faded look?

BTW, I put together a GameCrafter version, but it comes out to $7.99. Would anyone be interested in it at that price? (I'm also working on a more complete/expensive version that comes with dice and a nice box.)

I think I'd like to playtest it a bit more before publishing it either way.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Yah, its not the best of results. Just a quick-n-dirty example try to get across the idea. Since the world is fading away it seemed appropriate to have the locations partially faded. Just couldnt quite get the desired look.

7.99$ sounds ok really.
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Josh Taylor
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Ah. I see what you mean. I think I'd use a black fade instead of a white fade for that, probably coming from the top. I'm not sure I could really convey that with just a gradient though. Partially invisible/faded trees, buildings and signs would be a great touch, but tricky to do. (I'm not a great artist.)
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Josh Taylor
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Oh yeah. Here's the card backs if anyone wants them: Card Backs.

Would a white border be better for PnP? I've heard that a black border looks better, but it uses up a lot of ink. (Maybe I'll just post both versions. It's not that big of a change.)
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John "Omega" Williams
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Looks good. Thats alot of black used up though. Maybee tone it down, or give an optional white border for those who dont want to blow so much black.
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Josh Taylor
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Here's a white border version (same graphics otherwise).
White Border Page 1
White Border Page 2
White Border Page 3
White Border Page 4
White Border Page 5
White Border Page 6
White Border Backs
White Border Zipped
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Josh Taylor
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This game feels a little too easy after having played it a couple times. If you set yourself a goal of 20 points, you probably won't make it most games, but it doesn't really feel like you lost if you got to 17. I was thinking of moving the sanctuary to a corner, or something similar to make it a bit more likely that you'll actually lose the game every now and then.

I was also thinking that the game might need a bit more (possibly optional) variety in the decisions made. Right now, the only idea I have is character cards. You'd pick one in the beginning and they'd offer a bonus and a penalty that could change things up a little. (No great ideas on what characters to make though.)
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John "Omega" Williams
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A corner sounds mean yes. Maybee the center of an edge? Or what about shuffling the cards and dealing them out with the sanctuary then ending up "somewhere" in the play field. An edge or corner though sounds like the easiest way to go if you want to really limit good scoring. The player will have to range outwards alot more then and increase the zone losses.

As for more options. What about some locations having a chance to find a survivor who joins and somehow adds to your searching ability. Such as you might find a car that increases movement 1, one might be an engineer and reduce bridge building costs, one might be a scientist who allows you to recover the one zone that vanished, or even the option to sacrifice a member to escape a zone thats vanished out from under you? etc.

One approach I use in my games is that you have a selection of character types, and the ones you didnt use become the "NPCs" as it were.

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Josh Taylor
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If you shuffle the sanctuary in, there's a 10/47 (~21%) chance of not drawing it. There'd be about a 4.5% chance of it happening twice in a row (assuming you simply started over if you didn't get the sanctuary). Would needing to reshuffle and redeal every ~5 games be annoying to you?

Actually, putting a duplicate sanctuary card in the deck (and discarding the second if you get both) would cut the chances down quite a bit without interfering with anything else.

Edit: Yeah, a 6x6 with the sanctuary at the corner is pretty tough. I only got a score of 3 (bridges sapped my materials).
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John "Omega" Williams
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hmmm, thought the game used all the card? Guess not.

In that case you shuffle, discard down to one less than needed and then shuffle the sanctuary in. Thats two shuffling maneuvers though and as said, like the base shuffle idea, doesnt add overmuch to gameplay. (or you could shuffle, discard down, cut the deck and shuffle the sanctuary into the top cut.)

Id say go with adding as a difficulty level the further away from the center the player wants to place the sanctuary, the harder the game they will likely be getting. Let the player decide how potentially easy or not it becomes then.
 
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Josh Taylor
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That would work, but thinking about it a bit more, the position of the starting point changes the difficulty so much that having it randomly placed would feel off. It would make success or failure much more luck-of-the-draw than it currently is. (It doesn't feel like the exact position of the other cards have a huge effect on the final score, at least with the sanctuary at the center.)
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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Why I said go with player defined placement all the way to an edge which shuld make things pretty hard if the locations fall poorly or alot of bad early vanishings.

Dont obsess over point totals. Since its random placement there are endless combinations due to the vanishing sections. A player one session may do great, and in another may do abysmally.

This is one of the factors of solo games with a big random factor. They can play out good or bad. But part of the challenge is seeing how well you do, what challenges appear next time, or other reasons and the game plays fairly quick.
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Josh Taylor
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Yeah, that sounds like the best solution.

Would it be worth expanding the number of cards some? If I uses 9 card sheets instead of 8 card sheets, I could fit 7 extra cards in. (And if I've understood their pricing model correctly, that wouldn't cost any more at Game Crafters.)

Rather than add new locations, I was thinking about making a small character/item deck. You would take one of the 4 or so character cards for yourself, shuffle the 3 items and 3 remaining characters and keep those face down. Then, on some of the locations, there'd be a mark saying "draw a character/item when you get here". I'd have to figure out how to deal with having several characters working together when they each offer different bonuses and penalties. (Currently, it's left vague whether you're a lone person on foot, or a team with trucks and what-not.) It feels like it wouldn't add too much complexity, but I guess I'll have to try it and see.
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Josh Taylor
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The characters and items work pretty well. I think making it so that you choose which character leads each turn (taking their bonuses and penalties) works alright. I'll have to try applying all the bonuses and penalties at least once though. So far I have:

- Jack-of-all-trades: No bonuses or penalties, but gain 2 of each resource at the start of the game or when found

- Scientist: You can reroll one quiescence die per turn, your choice. -1 movement speed.

- Engineer: Bridges cost 1 less to build. Lose bridges on 9 through 12.

- Scout: +1 movement. -1 to one resource (your choice, min 0) when gathering.

- ATV: +1 movement.

- Water purifier: +1 water when gathering from a location with 3 or more.

- Refrigerated truck: +1 food when gathering from a location with 3 or more.

I'll try and make cards for these soon. (Bah. I'm getting a lot done on this game while I'm putting off working on my actual contest submission. )
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