Dancing Giant Games
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Barrie
Ontario
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Good Day!

We're looking for playtesters for our PnP of Pulled into Darkness; an abstract strategy game for 2-4 players. Any feedback is appreciated, but we'd really like to hear feedback on the rules in particular.

In Pulled into Darkness, you are the Director at one of the Mission Control Centres attempting the first manned research missions orbiting a black hole. Unfortunately, in competing to get the most comprehensive data from the centre of the black hole, all spaceship fleets are now doomed to being pulled into it. The only thing you can do is try to preserve your fleet for as long as possible to send the gathered information back to home base. There is no hope for survival, only watching your teammates be pulled into darkness.

The objective of the game is to be the last player with multiple spaceships orbiting the black hole.

Gameplay involves players locking in commands for their spaceships in each quadrant and then revealing and resolving them simultaneously one by one. If any spaceships collide they move down an orbit. At the end of each turn, gravity comes into effect and pulls all the spaceships in the chosen quadrant down an orbit. At the end of each round, an orbit collapses and all spaceships remaining in that orbit must move down. Any spaceship that ends up in the centre of the black hole is removed from the board.

PnP: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BywnUKPL-DrDbFVyZDFDSVBLMm...
Rules: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BywnUKPL-DrDU01heHVjUkFlQm...

Any questions, let us know!

Thanks for your help!

Kevin Carmichael
Dancing Giant Games
 
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chris reno
United States
Ohio
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Very interesting game.

As for the rules, I'm still wrapping my brain around how the collisions resolve into lower sectors. I like that you have recognized the possible choice and removed it.

If the 4 gravity cards are resolved one at a time, wouldn't 1 out of 16 games end on the first round because they ended up being ordered 4,3,2,1? I think subsequent rounds will end in everyone's death in the same situation. I don't have the game printed to confirm this though.

On a proofreading note:
I know it is proofreading and might not be what you were asking, but the first sentence of the last paragraph on the third page is incomplete. Really, you broke a complete sentence into two sentences. I think you need to put the first two sentences back together.

Other than that, I'm interested to print this out and give it a play through.
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Dancing Giant Games
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Collisions are definitely the most confusing part of the game and we think that's probably where the most editing in rules will be. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

If I understand correctly I think you're confusing what the Gravity Cards affect: The Gravity Cards affect which quadrant gets moved down an orbit, not which orbit gets moved down. If that's not the case or if you need further clarification let us know. If we did get it right we'd also like to hear what made it confusing for you so we can fix it!

We definitely appreciate the proofreading note! Now that we look at it again, the flow is pretty awkward. I think we'll try to rewrite those sentences and then maybe put them together.

Awesome! We really appreciate it! Let us know how it goes.
 
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Andrew Collison
United States
Round Lake Beach
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We enjoyed the game a lot. We played a 2 player game that I believe was about as long a game as possible-3 full rounds and 2 turns. After playing it, we talked about some things that we thought might work in the game as well.

The game was very thematic, and we thought with some nice components later on, it would really add to the game. Although the game is entirely strategic, we thought it could be interesting to add some variable special powers that you draw at the beginning of each round. Then you have the option to play your card once during that round (4 turns). Things such as a shield (avoid a collision), lasers (shoot a player next to you down one orbit), thrusters (one ship avoids gravity), wormhole (one ship moves from one quadrant to another), etc. We just thought it would add a little variety as well strategy of if or when to play your card. It's definitely not needed but was just something we thought about.

The board needs to be corrected. Quadrant 3 has the clockwise and counterclockwise signs on the wrong side. Also, the rules had a few things that I wanted to point out. I saw the other comment so I wanted to add some other things I saw. Quadrant is inconsistently capitalized throughout the rules. It looked like it was supposed to be capitalized when speaking about a specific quadrant and lower-case when speaking about quadrants in general. However, there are a couple cases where this is not true. I don't think it matters too much that the rules use British English, but thought I would mention it.

Thanks so much for the game. We had a good time playing, and I'm pretty sure we will play it again sometime.
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Dancing Giant Games
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Thanks so much for playtesting! We're glad you enjoyed it

First off, 3 rounds and 2 turns is very impressive! Would have liked to watch that game.

In regards to adding special powers, we've received this comment before (although that suggestion also included special spaces) and are happy to hear people would like to see more features in the game. We're just hesitant to make those changes because of how well the game has been working so far. Having special actions limited to once per round (maybe even once per game) is interesting though. That may make it more balanced and allow for players to make up for a "poor" play.

D'oh! Sorry about the board. Hopefully that didn't cause too much confusion. We'll be sure to get that fixed as soon as possible. As for the quadrants capitalization, that was the way we were supposed to be treating it. We'll have to go over those again, or just stick to one way or the other. And as for the British English, we can't help it. We're Canadian haha

We're curious to know if there was anything in the rules you found particularly confusing? We were considering a rewrite to try and simplify the Collisions and Laws of Gravity sections, but before we do we'd like to know what did and didn't work in terms of clarity in the rules.
 
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Dancing Giant Games
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Just wanted to give a quick update on some playtesting we did this weekend where we tried adding special powers (specifically the ones recommended by Physicsman13).

We tried two different methods of making them work, and unfortunately neither one was successful. The playtesters and our team found that it was too much of a distraction and very clunky. One of the main problems was figuring out when they should be allowed to activate. Anytime was too open and distracted from the game, but limiting it just did not flow well. Despite many of our playtesters wanting to like the powers, they did not fit in very well with the rest of the game. It very much felt like the mechanics we have already and the powers we tried to add in belonged in separate games. So that's the way we'll keep it for now.

Despite all that, we're still thankful for the suggestion and glad we tried it!
 
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Andrew Collison
United States
Round Lake Beach
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Thanks for looking into it. It's a great strategy game, and we will probably pull it out again soon.
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Dancing Giant Games
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Every time we pull it out it seems we get asked to put in special abilities. I think we might have to make a different black hole game that can allow for cool special abilities because apparently gamers are not getting their fix.

If you have any more feedback when you pull it out again, please let us know! As an FYI, we are hoping to get an update done by the end of the month. We're trying to make the game more dynamic in the late game based on some recent playtests where it was rather dull. We also want to try and reduce the wait time in 4 player games between the first player being eliminated and the end of the game. The main change to facilitate this will be altering the number of spaces in each quadrant from 7,5,4,2 to 8,4,2,1. We hope this will allow players more time to get a hang of the game early on, and then really press them later to outmaneuver opponents. It would also facilitate a lot more collisions from Gravity.

If our playtesting goes well, we'll update the PnP here and on our website.
 
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