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Entry Thread for Colony 9
Contest Ready

Designed for the 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest

URL to download rules & components (english and spanish) v0.9b (03/2014): www.eximeno.com/game_Colony9.html

BGG Entry: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/147994/colony-9


Playing time: 15 minutes.

Credits:
Designed by Santiago Eximeno.
Playtested by Santiago Eximeno, Moondraco (BSK), Greene (BSK) and Deathworks (BGG).
Icons made by Lorc. Available on http://game-icons.net
Dice made by RussoGraffix. Available on http://russograffix.blogspot.com.es/2012/02/free-psp-vectors...
Special Thanks to Michael Robertson.

In "Colony 9" Humanity is exploring space, the final frontier, and establishing colonies in other planets. The player must build different structures to establish a colony before the spaceship with the people (civil, militar) that lives there arrives. But beware of aliens and other disasters!

Components:
4 Card missions: Civil Colony, Military Colony, Medical Colony and Embassy. Each mission has his timeline and initial setup. Each mission has different (not all) structures to build too.
9 actions: In a 3x3 action chart. You throw 3 dice and select 2 of them to choose an action.
17 structures that you can build in your colony. Not all structures can be used in all missions.
Events: In a 3x3 action chart. (probably we have 3 for easy/medium/hard difficult, but not now)
Timeline: Variable. On Civil Colony 29 turns with 7 events and 3 control points where you must have build certain structures. Timeline pending for other missions.
Warehouse: Card when player place his resources (biologhical, technology, construction materials) for use them on build structures.
Three dice (two dice to determine an action, one dice to determine where you can build; dice are also used to determine events)
30 cubes: 10 red (construction materials resource), 10 blue (technology resource) and 10 green (bio resource).
10 Robots (pawns). To activate certain permanent actions and build certain structures.

"Colony 9" uses a 3x3 tile board game for building, three dice, several color cubes that represents resources (technology, biology, construction) and several pawns that works as robots. The player can choose different actions to play from a 3x3 action chart. He throws three dice and use two of them to choose an action, and then use the other die to asign materials to a structure. The player must build mandatory structures (communications, air supply, spaceport, etc.) before a specific turn or he'll lost the game. In addition he can build other structures (factory, control station, missile base) to gain victory points and to defend colony from alien attack or asteroids.

At the last turn Earth people arrives and if the mandatory structures are not build the player lost the game.

On several turns an event (positive or negative) can happens, selected from a 3x3 action chart.

Game is developed in spanish and translated to english.
(please excuse my english, it's not my first language)

Early prototype


Playing


A building


An event


Events chart
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Santiago Eximeno
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Idea Phase
Version: v0.8a (25/09/2013) (contest ready)

Rules in English: 100%
Reglas en español: 100%

PnP components in English: 100%
Componentes en español: 100%

Status: Contest Ready

Initial prototype: 100%
PnP prototype for public playtesting: 100%
Private rules: 100%
Games played: 45 (mission A, all modes; mission B, all modes; mission C, medium mode; mission D, medium mode)
Lenght of play: 15 minutes

URL to download rules & components: www.eximeno.com/game_Colony9.html
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Santiago Eximeno
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Idea Phase
Credits:
Designed by Santiago Eximeno.
Playtested by Santiago Eximeno, Moondraco (BSK), Greene (BSK) and Deathworks (BGG).
Icons made by Lorc. Available on http://game-icons.net
Dice made by RussoGraffix. Available on http://russograffix.blogspot.com.es/2012/02/free-psp-vectors...
Special Thanks to Michael Robertson.
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Michael R.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Idea Phase
Are the mandatory structures going to be different from game to game? If not, you might find that every game will be mostly the same and players will keep using the same strategy. If I was playing, I would concentrate on winning the game first, then trying to gain extra victory points.

Perhaps you could have the player randomly select some mandatory structures at the start, which would give the same a different feel every time. You could also introduce difficulty modes. The player must build more structures in a longer or shorter time.

You could also add extra missions etc. that the player has to complete. These could change from game to game etc.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Idea Phase
Thanks, Michael.

At this moment the mandatory structures are equal for all games. I'm just working on it because, as you've said, this situation can limitate options to the player.

For easy/medium/hard difficult modes I'm studying differente posibilities: increment cost of build a structure, several disasters associated to events during the game, limit number of turns (actually 29 turns)...

When I adjust all variables (build costs, turns, events, etc.) I'll try to add more scenarios to improve playability.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Idea Phase
Working on it.

In this first iteration we have a board game with:
-Action chart (3x3 actions that can be choosen with two dice. Actions like "Get two Metal resources" (inmediate) or "Reroll a die" (permanent))
-Moon Base chart (3x3 buildings. Four mandatory structures, four "victory points" structures and "Defense" structure)
-Event chart (3x3 events)
-Timeline (29 turns with 7 events and 3 control points where you must have build a concrete mandatory structure)

And we need:
-Three dice (two dice to determine an action, one dice to determine where you can build; dice are also used to determine events)
-Cubes. So many cubes We need 30 red cubes (metal resource), 30 blue cubes (technology resource) and 30 green cubes (bio resource).
-Robots (pawns). We need 10 pawns.

I believe that 90 cubes are too many cubes, but in this first prototype I dont'see how I can reduce this number. But I'm not worried because I need to adjust a thousand little details yet.

Ah, I'll probably use http://game-icons.net/ to illustrate the game.
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Michael R.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Initial Playtesting
Is there any way that you can avoid using cubes?

Can you track the cubes via graphics on tiles? You would then need just 1 cube and a 1/2/3 track to show the current value.

You could also produce tiles with 1/2/3 along each of the edges. The face up value would show the current strength. You would rotate them to change the value.

Do cubes need to be tracked individually or is it the total amount of them that matters?

Most people will probably have 90 cubes available from other games but I agree that you should try to cut down the components if you can. Try to ask yourself what is the most efficient and easy to use method of representing the information that the cubes represent. Go for the simplest thing you can imagine.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Initial Playtesting
Great idea, Michael. Thanks! I can use a store track (3 cubes for 3 types of resources) and 2-3 tracks for build (9 structures, 27 cubes). So I only need 30 cubes.

And I must think if is better use tiles over a 3x3 blank map or draw a static board game.
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Michael R.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Initial Playtesting
Only add extra components if you can prove that they add something essential to the game. Otherwise, try to think of ways of having less and less, and making those few things excellent.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Initial Playtesting
Second iteration:

-Moon Base needs a new name. Perhaps "Colony" with a twist. In BGG exists "Space Colony", "Alpha Colony", etc. I'll think about it.

Michael, thanks thanks thanks for your feedback. In this second iteration I've working in new ideas that you've suggested me.

Now we have:
-Differente missions (3 or 4, I hope): build a civil colony, build a space-war station, etc. with differente mandatory structures and differente lenght time
-3x3 action chart
-9 (perhaps 12 or 15) tiles that represents diffente buildings.
-3x3 event chart (probably we have 3 for easy/medium/hard difficult)
-Timeline (29 turns with 7 events and 3 control points where you must have build a concrete mandatory structure)
-Store (to place resources before use them on build structures)

And we need:
-Three dice (two dice to determine an action, one dice to determine where you can build; dice are also used to determine events)
-Cubes. 30 cubes: 10 red (metal resource), 10 blue (technology resource) and 10 green (bio resource).
-Robots (pawns). We need 10 pawns.

First image: a tile.



First we can see three lines, one for resource: biologhical, metal and technology. Each resource needs his own cubes (2, 3, or 4) to complete building. The robot icon says that it's necessary a robot (pawn) to activate build.

Down-right three resource icons shows what need this build, and down-left diamond icon indicates that this structure gives to player victory point for each cube that he use on it.
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Michael R.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Initial Playtesting
Me gusta este diseño. Muy bien. Es elegante y no demasiado complicado.

¿Necesito todo los cubos en todo las categorías para construir la estación?

Translation: I like the design and I'm asking if you need to build all the resources to build the station. I'm a fan of the Spanish language
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Initial Playtesting
Thanks, I want to offer a minimalist design that can be b/w printed.

In a mandatory structure, yes, you must build all the resources. In a "victory points" structure like this, no, but robot is obligatory.

During the game you can deploy a variable number of cubes on a structure (and only on an structure on a turn), depending of your actions.

Y prefiero escribir en español, por supuesto Pero como la BGG es un foro anglófono haré lo que pueda
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Michael R.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Moon Base - Initial Playtesting
I'm looking forward to trying out the rules and game when a test version is available. It sounds like it will be easy to build.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
Change name to "Colony 9".

I'll define four different missions:
a) Civil colony
b) Military colony
c) Medical colony
d) Embassy

These missions create different timelines and different (not all) tiles for colony.

I mantain the spirit of original Moon Base but I add more tiles to offer more variety to game. For example in "Medical colony" mission exist tiles as "Hospital", or in "Military colony" exist tile "Ammunition dump".

I'm now playtesting original mission (civil colony) and working on little details: number of resources for each tile, number of events, number of turns, etc. to adjust them. My prototype (third iteration) is a sheet draw with a pen for action/events chart and a bunch of tiles draw in a blank paper. In spanish, as the initial rules.

I hope to prepare a funcional print&play prototype (with rules) for first mission in two/three weeks. In english And a complete prototype for September.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
An event: Asteroids



Roll a die. If die shows 1 or 2, you loose two resources for your supply. If die shows 3 or 4, you loose a build (all resources of this structure, not the robots). If die shows 5 or 6, you loose two builds.

This event can be modified with Missile Station (1 missile substract 1 die point). For example, if you obtain a 6 and use 4 missiles, the die shows now 2.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
I'm excited about this. I look forward to trying out the English version once its available!
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting

Actually Testing "Colony 9" (first mission).

About actual elements of game:

4 Card missions: Civil Colony, Military Colony, Medical Colony and Embassy. Each mission has his timeline and initial setup. Each mission has different (not all) structures to build too.

9 actions: In a 3x3 action chart. You throw 3 dice and select 2 of them to choose an action.

17 structures that you can build in your colony. Not all structures can be used in all missions.

Events: In a 3x3 action chart. (probably we have 3 for easy/medium/hard difficult, but not now)

Timeline: Variable. On Civil Colony 29 turns with 7 events and 3 control points where you must have build certain structures. Timeline pending for other missions.

Store: Card when player place his resources (biologhical, technology, construction materials) for use them on build structures.

Three dice (two dice to determine an action, one dice to determine where you can build; dice are also used to determine events)

30 cubes: 10 red (construction materials resource), 10 blue (technology resource) and 10 green (bio resource).

10 Robots (pawns). To activate certain permanent actions and build certain structures.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
Testing first mission: Civil Colony. First impressions:

-Easy to win in easy mode. We need to adjust initial supply (I start with 2 robots), timeline and events.
-It works. In easy/medium/hard mode. Need to adjust little things.
-I don't like how the player select events. Need to change it.



Left: Events & Actions charts.
Center: Structures to build (randomly placed, but only mission structures are used). Little dice (up&left) are used to mark row/columns. In final game they will be substituted for tiles.
Up: Mission card with timeline. Back shows initial setup.
Down: Store with cubes for mark resources and robots. White pawns are robots.
Right: You can see dice thrown. "2" indicates that player can build in a structure placed on the column "2". "1/6" indicates that player can choose and action that fits these values on actions chart.

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Michael R.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
Nice to see the latest developments. I think it's normal for the initial difficulty to be way too hard or way too easy. I was wondering how you are going to allow the player to control the luck of the dice. Is there a way that the player can adjust or improve the dice rolls or is that not necessary.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
Yes, there are two permanent actions that let the player modify dice rolls (add/substract 1 point to a die or reroll a die). To use them player must place a robot on this action on chart (and of course in this turn the player can not make other ation that place this robot).
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
I've adjust Civil Colony Mission. We have three levels of difficulty that consists in:
- initial setup: you start the game with 3 robots (easy), 2 robots (medium) or 1 robot (hard)
- Victory Points: to win the game you need to build mandatory structures and obtain 80 (easy), 90 (medium) or 100 (hard) victory points. Note: Maximum VP in game are 180.

I don't like "victory" tag, so I probably change it to "life points" o "colony points".

I'll play more Civil Colony Mission games and work in other missions before publish first game fules and print&play version.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
I might be a minority, but I always liked solitaire games with a victory point condition win. Look forward to trying this game.
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Michael R.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
Using victory points is often a necessary abstraction, otherwise you may struggle to satisfyingly model and track other methods of determining success. Trying to be too realistic is a good way of screwing up. Having multiple pressure points in a game can work but in a solitaire game I think it's better if the player has a clear target to work towards. Trying to track too many things and balance them against each other can be too fiddly, and to the huge detriment of the design.

So, and yes, I too am a fan of vp.
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Santiago Eximeno
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
Using victory points as a winning condition the player not only works on mandatory builds and must decide when build other structures (a risk to complete mandatory structures at time).

I hope these mix conditions offer more replayability to players.
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Michael R.
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Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PnP Contest - Colony 9 - Initial Playtesting
Another way of using victory points is to have minor, major and epic victory conditions e.g. 80 points is a minor victory, 100 points is a major victory and 120 points with the completion of extra 'stuff' is an epic victory. This way you can have 3 levels of success for each difficulty level.

If you want to add more replayability perhaps you could look at having different types of planets with different types of penalties or bonuses. Something that adds a simple rule and 1 or 2 extra tiles could work to vary the game right from the start.

I also think that having double sided tiles is interesting. You could use them to have different requirements for the same building e.g. side A of the research centre costs x y z and side b has different costs. I don't know if any of these ideas match your plans or not.
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