TNW Part 10 - Rethinking Some Things

It's time for a long-overdue update on TNW. Life and work and illness and general mental frustration over some things in the game caused me to spin my wheels for a bit, but now I'm back and excited to be working on the game again.

That said, I'm implementing some pretty drastic changes to the game mechanics.

In a nutshell, I'm restructuring a lot of the gameplay to make TNW more of a card game than a game played with a modular board of hexagons.

I want to do this for a few reasons, some are simply practical ones (a card game will be far more affordable to self-publish) and some of them are related to gameplay and theme.

So let's talk about that for a minute....

I liked what I was doing with TNW, but if I'm honest, nothing about the gameplay was particularly unique. It borrowed from a lot of other similarly themed space games. It just put them together a little differently - and that's fine, in a sense. There are only so many different game mechanisms out there and there are tons of games that share mechanics. But I wanted to do something more unique and I feel like a card game will allow me the best options for doing that in a way that's both affordable and fun.

Previously, the game felt more and more like light mechanics on a physically large and tedious game. That just becomes frustrating and requires more upkeep while playing than the game is worth.

The theme of the game isn't changing. A lot of the player actions and gameplay aspects aren't changing. What is changing is this:

  • The game will use a deck of cards to represent planets in the galaxy that can be explored and colonized.
  • Once a planet is colonized, it cannot be captured by another player - to restore this bit of tension, there is now a new mechanism for player v. player combat prior to colonizing a planet.
  • Resources are not accumulated every round. To offset this, some actions are free that weren't before.
  • There is no more black hole. As much as I liked this little element of the game, it simply doesn't work in the new format, and it was a gimmick anyway (a fun gimmick, but a gimmick none the less)
  • No more scoring rounds - points are simply tallied at the end of the game.
  • Each player has their own deck of cards from which to perform actions.

Here's what's staying the same:

  • Players are still exploring and colonizing planets.
  • There's still a technology deck from which players can acquire upgrades to their ships, which are used to explore, fight, etc.
  • There's still player v. player space combat.
  • There's still a first-contact deck of random encounters when exploring a world.

I'm still working out the details, but I think the game is going to be more streamlined, play faster, and feel more immersive. It will be less pushing cubes around on a board and more fast-paced actions on cards full of flavor text and story. It will allow for a greater variety of artwork, and open the door for possible expansions in the future.

I'm working on the new cards and waiting on some prototype parts to arrive now that were easier to purchase than they were to 3D print. Then I'll be able to start play-testing and working on rules revisions.