Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Rules Update

The first draft of our rules which can be downloaded here have been fully integrated into our VERY EARLY ALPHA prototype engine allowing us to play-test.

We know that play-testing the core rules of the game will be an extremely important part of getting this project right.  

As we've said before, we're very interested to hear any thoughts or ideas our followers may have, this project is not just about offering the opportunity to play more, but to also offer a great new war-gaming experience.  How better to do that than listening to the passionate community of gamer's all over the world.

We're expecting to have numerous iterations of our rules before we make the first public beta of the game available, so we wanted to take this opportunity to explain some of our thinking as we evolve the rules.

Playing more

One of our core hopes for this project is to allow tabletop miniature hobbyist's to be able to play more.  Yes it won't quite be a tabletop battle, but we hope it will offer a fun, easily accessible alternative until your next tabletop game comes around.

When offering a turn-based online strategy game it seems there are two very different playing opportunities.  The first is Correspondence based game play.  In this scenario players may go minutes, hours, days even weeks between making a move.  The second is Real-time, in this scenario players take turns making a move immediately after one another.

Real-time game play is how traditional tabletop games are played.  You make your move, and then your opponent makes theirs.  While we believe this offers the most exciting option, it does limit a players opportunity to engage in a game, simply because they must have the time to complete a game in one sitting.  For this reason we want to offer the opportunity for players to play both Real-time and Correspondence based games.

How does this effect the rules?  Many tabletop skirmish games offer activation mechanics that are not as simple as - Player 1 goes first, Player 2 goes second.  As an example some games offer a system whereby players take it in turns performing actions with a single miniature.  Whilst this offers exciting strategic possibilities, it does form somewhat of a roadblock to Correspondence based gaming.  If players went a day between performing actions with a single miniature, a game could likely become quite dull.

For this reason our rules have players perform actions with all their miniatures at a single time.  We did opt to separate the Movement and Action phases.  We felt this would better offset the power of the Initiative, as moving second can provide some strategic advantage against that gained from performing actions first.

A Skirmish, a Battle, a War?

One thing we keep asking ourselves is how big should a game be?  How many miniatures should a player command?  Some skirmish games typically have a player commanding maybe 4 to 8 miniatures, others have the player commanding 20, 30, 40 even more.  Whilst we want to offer some flexibility to the size of a game, we also want to have a "sweet-spot" in mind to which we can design the game around.

At the time of writing this we're thinking 20 miniatures would be a pretty good number to focus on.  This would provide a number of strategic options and offer a game duration that would be under 30 minutes.

Here are some screenshots from our current Alpha Testing..
A starting setup of two opposing Starsapien forces.

In this simple test we just advanced directly towards the enemy

Before long all kinds of combat commences

4 Turns in and the forces are thinning out.

Note - These screenshots come from an extremely early alpha build and do not reflect the final product.


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