Friday, February 15, 2019

Putting Meat On The Bones

So Klaxon and I are filling out the solar system we ended up with after playing a game of The Great Game, which is a board game I designed, basically to do just this, although this is the first time we have played it in it's real intended role. We have played it several times as a straight board game, and really enjoyed it. The big difference is in writing everything that happens down, in a way that the GM can make into a history of the setting.

We are undergoing the process of 'fleshing out' the final state of the Great Game, which starts in 2020, and ends in 2120, leaving a slew of settlements all over the solar system. This involves looking at who settled this colony - maybe it was started by South Korea, then continued by Brazil and brought to stability by Indonesia.

This polyglot community is probably unique, with its own strange amalgamations of holidays, customs, and languages. What do they work on here? What do they export? What do they PLAY at? How did they get to this point?

Klax and I have got all the way to Mars. From here, things thin out rapidly! But there are still some hugely important places left to do - Ceres, Oberon, Titan, and Pluto all have massive independent nations, with multiple markets and diverse populations, and they all have a story, created in the Great Game. Researchers on Titan found the cure for Mega-AIDs, and grew from a tiny, hardscrabble scientific community to full independence in a single decade. All due to actions the players took in The Great Game.

Now we put it all together, and make it all work!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Play Testing StarCluster 4 - In The Beginning

I have begun playtesting In The Beginning. We created a setting using The Great Game board game, and now have started to fill it out from those origins. Immediately I found that the notes each player took for each round (a decade per round) of their play A: do not have the same information in each, and B: supply the wrong information. I need to re-create the Player Sheets to give the GM the information needed. The headings should be Decade/Range (Supplied), Cards Played, Who Was Affected +/-, What Happened?, Consequences In Space, and Points Scored. The same with the Colony Tracker - the headings should be Colony (Supplied), Date Founded, Date Failed, Date Independent, Status, Owner, and Population Origin.

Then I began fleshing out the colonies. The first two were a tiny unstable colony on Mercury, and a failed colony on an orbital. The fleshing out process (Determine Exports, Infrastructure, and Movers & Shakers, went as expected, except we (Klaxon and I) determined non-independent colonies would have a governor appointed to rule over them in addition to the native movers and shakers. No problem! Then we hit Venus! Venus is a world with perhaps hundreds of highly mobile floating cities, so the single list of cultural infrastructure generated by the tool I had made would not work well. So we had to divide the colonies into ones we could do with a simple setup and ones which needed a more flexible arrangement. That took some time! Then we made up a method that used the same infrastructure components in a different way, giving some things EVERYBODY had, some things shared across the world (Broadcast media, banking system, etc...) and a list of PROBABLE items. That worked much better! We finished Venus and ran out of time, so we will continue fleshing things out tomorrow, but the hard work is done and the modifications needed are in place!