Vectors, OzBunnyCon 2016 and Looking Forward

As usual, the lead up to this convention was very busy, filled with implementing changes and making new pieces.

My tiles are now in vector form
I used Inkscape for all my tiles. My colour palette was on my template down the right.

The biggest change for me was switching from CAD outlines and hand coloured tiles to vector images. The advantage of vector images is they are scalable to any size without loss of quality.  This was especially useful as I have reduced the number of tiles you play with so decided to make the remaining tiles bigger to give players more room to get at their ships. Additionally, having everything done digitally made making changes to tiles and generating new tiles a lot faster.

I also made new treasure map spawning cards and new player boards.

Regarding game changes, I have gone full circle with a number of things from my first version. Players need to carry treasure all the way home before opening it, similar to the first iteration, but can now hold one chest per crew member on your ship. The idea behind this is to add in the excitement of chasing someone down before they get back to their port.

OzBunnyCon First Playtest
First playtest of Pirates at OzBunnyCon2016

I have also changed how treasure spawns yet again to stop people camping islands (I’m looking at you Sye 😛 ), and players can now select where their port  is located during setup to give them slightly more control.

OzBunnyCon was a big 4 days of board games over the Easter long weekend. I spent the first 2 days playing a variety of games from the library with my partner, new friends, and people we have met at other conventions. The third day I signed up to an Arkham Horror all 7 hour session with all 8 expansions. The last day we had a Play Prototypes session for myself and other designers.

It was really good to play games for the first few days and not have to think about my game. Over the weekend I managed to squeeze in 15 new games (23 if you include expansions) and 4 I’ve played before.

OzBunnyCon 2016
How I spent my time gaming at OzBunnyCon 2016 & how I spend my lunch times at work.

A few that really stood out to me were: the pyramid dice roller in Camel Up, this was beautifully made for a die-cut and had me thinking about things I could make using similar principles; Rattlebones, this is a dice building (like deck building) game where you play around a theme park by rolling dice that you can change the sides on to change the outcomes. It was really fresh to see something so different; Dragonwood was a very cool little set collection questing game where you play sets to increase your chances to defeat goblins & trolls etc. This was a neat little filler that I would like to get my hands on; and Xenon Profiteer, this was a cool deck-deconstruction game that had some very nice visual design to make your element separation device cards all join together seamlessly.

We also met the guys from Games Vs Play on day one and played a few games with them. Games vs Play, a local Melbourne blog whose mission is to investigate, celebrate and experience everything that the strange and wonderful world of games has to offer, from board games to zombie shuffles, game theory to medieval re-enactments, retro computer games to the latest in virtual worlds.

Arkham Horror with all 8 expansions
Arkham Horror with all 8 expansions

Day 3 for me was an epic battle against evil as we tried to defeat Zhar, a colossal mass of tentacles that you have to beat twice if awoken in Arkham Horror. Well, after hours of closing gates throughout Arkham, we were on our final stretch, with 3 gates to close and 3 of us fighting our way through the Other Worlds when the beast was awoken. Although we put up a good final battle we were all slowly dismembered (I had my arm ripped off 😀 ) and brought to our demise. Although long and complicated to begin with, this was a great couple of hours with my fellow Investigators and we put up a good fight and I had a lot of fun.

Day 4 the real work began with the Play Prototypes session. Along with myself there were 3 other games on show. Sye Robertson had his new Hotel Game on show, where players are architects competing with each other to get more of their designs in a hotel commission. Although I didn’t get to play this iteration, it looks like Sye has made good progress with everyone building on the same hotel now and the addition of individual and public goals.

Denise Shaw has a finished game that she has designed called Celebrity: Race to the A-List. Players must answer trivia, perform impersonations, who am I? and celebrity challenges. The first person to get around the board with at least 1 million fan club members wins.

Peter Sanderson's Game Mothership
Peter Sanderson’s Game Mothership

Although I didn’t get to play, it is clear Denise has put a lot of time and effort into her game. It looks good and marketed to the right audience I think could do well.

The third game on show was Peter Sanderson’s Mothership. Mothership is a tactical space game where you battle your opponents while managing income and extensive tech upgrades, allowing each fleet to be tailored to your own play-style. The objective is to wipe out all opponents Colony Stations while keeping yours alive.

I played half a game of Mothership (only because we ran out of time) and really enjoyed it. Pete has put a lot of effort into Mothership and is getting ready to put it on Kickstarter, and it shows. The components are fantastic, the mini’s look great and the laser cut acrylic components really give the game a very classy touch. Gameplay itself moves fairly fast and the combat system is very intuitive. Really liked the tech tree and being able to spec your fleet as you wished too. I am looking forward to playing again in the future and seeing where this one ends up 🙂

I also got 2 playtests of Pirates in. As usual, some of my last minute changes made the first game we played a bit unbalanced with too much treasure spawning but it went fairly well with pretty good feedback. The second time round it played and flowed better; however, there were still questions about the heart of the game, such as ‘What do I think makes my game fun?’ and ‘What game am I trying to make?’.

Second Playtest of Pirates at OzBunnyCon
Second Playtest of Pirates at OzBunnyCon

I have been working on Pirates for nearly a year now and I feel that recently what I thought made Pirates a fun and great game has been lost in the process of fixing issues or doing what I thought would please people. It is because of this that I think it is time for me to take a break from Pirates and investigate another idea for a game that I have had floating around my head for the last 6 months or so. I would like to thank everyone that has helped, played and supported me on this journey so far. I have learnt a lot about game design and the board game industry in general, and am proud of all the growth I have had while creating Pirates.

Thanks for reading,

This will not be the last you see of Pirates: Scourge of the Seven Seas 🙂