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Adjutant
 
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Joined: 18 Apr 2016, 6:29 am

Post 18 Apr 2016, 10:38 pm

Hi Diplomacy people...
I have played a bit of online Dip in the past, mostly at Bounced, and have also played a few face-to-face games.
I've recently become interested in board game design and I have started designing a new board game that has many parallels with Diplomacy, including the core mechanic of simultaneous ordering. The game is set on a struggling planetary colony, where five factions are fighting to get control and save the planet from famine and from each other.

Differences to standard Dip:
You have to manage an economic engine, not just Supply Centres
You can trade resources
Different parts of the map have different values to different players, based on which resources they need
It is possible to win without concentrating on military conquest
Solos are not possible, by design - you need to share victory with one ally
There is a spherical map with no safe corners and everyone interacts with everyone else
Some fog-of-war with units on secret Location Cards instead of the map
Uses a worker-placement mechanic a bit like Puerto Rico
Designed for five players

Similarities:
Mess up the diplomacy and you are dead
Need to balance trust with skepticism
Simultaneous military orders

If anyone is interested, please contact me.

Trailer here:
https://youtu.be/RrLiZLibHs8
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Adjutant
 
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Joined: 18 Apr 2016, 6:29 am

Post 19 Apr 2016, 12:03 am

I should have mentioned: play by email is possible, and we are currently running a game. This is achieved with a digital version of the game, written in Java. The game has also been ported to Tabletop Simulator for realtime online play, with a physics engine and text or voice chat.
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Administrator
 
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Post 21 Apr 2016, 7:45 am

I had started design ideas with a similar idea regarding your resources idea. I never got too far along and after a bit of internal confusion, always dropped the idea for a later time. I have nothing to share other than my base idea, maybe you can play around with it...

I envisioned several resources being strategically scattered.
One player may be able to easily access resource "A" while another can access resource "B"
through trading they can combine the two to make something more valuable than simply A+B.
Example:
Iron + Tin = Bronze
maybe Iron is valued at "1" and Tin is valued at "1" but 1+1 does not equal 2, it might equal 3 or even 4?

My problem was coming up with enough resources that could be linked together in a myriad of ways so that you could add a very complex (but simplified on a table) to make trading and conquest of certain areas all the more important. Throw in trade sanctions and tariffs plus transportation costs possibly in conjunction with distance (number of spaces from one another) and the economy dynamics could be intense and great fun.
The only thing that made sense to me was to use resources that made no real world sense, while that could make the game work REAL well, it's a bit of a turn off having resource A, B, C etc (or Tomtonium and Lukeminium for that matter) Iron, Coal, Tin, Aluminum, copper, etc are more real world exciting but what does Copper + Aluminum + Iron give you in the real world? I would want a system where any and all combinations work out to advanced values and that "nonsense" resource idea is the only one that makes sense to me. I'm sure someone with a better scientific background could possibly do this?
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Adjutant
 
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Post 21 Apr 2016, 2:58 pm

Interesting. That's not too different from where I started.

The full background to the design process was that we had been playing quite a bit of Game of Thrones, which is vaguely Diplomacy-like in that it can have a varying alliance structure and uses simultaneous ordering. The game has a first-to-seven-castles win condition, or whoever is in front after ten rounds wins. Inevitably, it led to an alliance breaking down whenever anyone started to get ahead, and it wasn't even a matter of backstabbing, it was scripted and expected. Also, the choice of alliance partners was limited to immediate neighbours, in that it was difficult to help anyone else.

We started discussing a couple of ides:
- how could we make alliances deeper, and more complex, so they were not so arbitrarily picked up and abandoned
- could we build in the idea that a successful alliance was victorious, without the need for the obligatory backstab
- could the need for different resources force interactions over the whole map, leading to a need for people to either trade for what they need or take it

The result of these ideas was Kepler. In the end, only 4 resources were needed to get an economy with varying needs and a requirement for map-wide strategy. Energy+water is needed to run a farm, to give food. Food+water is needed to feed your population. Population+energy is needed to field military units. This is not unlike your A+B giving rise to something else new.

The next step was to separate the key resources: water ended up at the frozen south pole, energy resources in the north, food-production at the equator. Key Utilities were also scatted around the map, which are like neutral supply centres in Dip, but flavoured, and of different value to different players.

I also added the possibility of attacking infrastructure, which could render the planet uninhabitable if it got out of hand. In that setting, the humans die and the AI player gets a solo. Otherwise, two allied players share victory if they support the highest population between them. One might have invested in farms and people, another in energy and military conquest. During the game, they will have become more symbiotic and reliant on each other, and the other 3 players would have worked to break that symbiotic relationship, trying to attack the weakest link, such as water supply, or taking out key utilities, or the old Dip favourite of spreading distrust..

Early playtesting suggests it works as planned, but it will need a lot more playtesting to ensure it is balanced.
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Emissary
 
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Post 23 Apr 2016, 1:26 pm

This does sound interesting. As I said before, I simply don't have time for it atm. I'm playing in a Explore game already and we're about to begin playing NWO, which is hugely time consuming for active players like me. If you decide to run a game in a few months then let me know, I'd be interested to give it a try.
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Adjutant
 
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Post 23 Apr 2016, 4:37 pm

Thanks, I'll certainly keep you in mind.
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Adjutant
 
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Post 02 Jun 2016, 3:22 am

Hi guys...
I am running two games of Kepler a the moment. In one of them, we are about halfway through. In the other, we are just on the brink of submitting the first set of orders. We started with 5 players but one of the players is not really available after all. No turns have been completed yet, so the game is basically poised, ready to start. Would anyone be interested in stepping in to fill the gap?
Cheers,
Arcuate.
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Adjutant
 
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Post 27 Aug 2016, 10:04 pm

Looks like this forum has been rather quiet... But still looking for players if anyone is interested. The current game is going well, but I will be looking to start a new one soon after tweaking the rules a little.

I ended up playing in the game, to make up numbers, and that was actually very useful in terms of seeing things from a player's perspective.

We are using Slack, a team-based interface, instead of raw email.
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Post 28 Aug 2016, 2:47 am

What sort of turnaround time do you have between sets of orders ?
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Adjutant
 
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Post 28 Aug 2016, 6:49 pm

Roughly one day per turn, with weekends off. It's fairly relaxed, as we each get busy at different times.

The game involves six possible Actions, and only one of these is military. The five non-military actions can be fairly quick, like picking a card, and usually wrap up in a day or less. They only involve about 5 min of thinking, but need to wait for people in different time zones.

The military action is about as complex a a set of Dip orders to submit, but then takes 2-3 days to resolve, because of battles and so on.

The whole game (ten rounds with 5 actions per round) would probably take 15 weeks at the rate we have been playing it.
Adjutant
 
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Post 26 Sep 2016, 2:59 pm

This sounds interesting, I might like to give it a go. Are you up an running now?
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Adjutant
 
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Post 26 Sep 2016, 7:12 pm

Hi there,
The current game is in Round 8 of 10, and should wind up soon.
I have started recruiting for the third game, and have 4 players. If you joined, you would make the fifth, and I wouldn't have to play. As much as i enjoy playing, it does make it difficult to assess play balance and so on, because i have a natural advantage. Also, some game mechanics are difficult to operate given that, as a player, I need to keep myself ignorant of some aspects, like face down cards.
So, if you joined, it would be ideal;. I would expect to start in just over a week.
I will send you an invite to the Slack domain where I will be hosting the game, and then post a link to rules.
Any other interested players are also welcome. Numbers are a bit rubbery until the first move.
Cheers,
Arcuate.
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Adjutant
 
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Post 27 Sep 2016, 6:23 am

Jonnydip, I think I sent the email to the wrong address. I will try again, as I saw your email address in another thread.
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Adjutant
 
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Post 24 Oct 2016, 5:48 am

I am still running games of this. Please let me know if you are interested. I am changing the name to Messina, and I have set up a website, which will have the latest rules, as well as strategy and tactics guides. Some of you might find the strategy guides interesting. There is overlap with Diplomacy, but also some key differences.
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Adjutant
 
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Post 19 Nov 2016, 8:35 pm

I have written a Vassal mod for this game now, complete with custom code. If anyone is interested we could have a game managed from this forum, but with Vassal as the main repository of game data.