Game Design

Rules Rules Rules!

Rules Rules Rules!

Just doing a quick one here. We are officially on v0.2 of the rules now, after Brendan and I spent 7-8 hours together doing another pass of it and merging edits and suggestions from our volunteer editors.

Speaking of which, we want to give a HUGE THANKS to Alex Villagomez and Brian Zavoda for taking time to read through and give comments/edits to 50+ pages of rules! Without their help, we would not have been able to do all the edits that we’ve done and progress to the first big version update (v0.1 to v0.2) of the rules.

Game Design Thoughts #4 - Arts & Crafts Night (aka 2D Terrain)

Game Design Thoughts #4 - Arts & Crafts Night (aka 2D Terrain)

One of the biggest decisions Brendan and I had to make with Omicron Protocol was whether we should have a hex-based board or not. “Traditional/hard-core” minis games usually is just on a mat/board/table where the boundaries are defined and that’s it. You throw whatever terrain you can find or buy, and use all sorts of cool rulers to measure and move your armies/teams across the board. Going hex-based was a tough decision, but brought lots of rewards, including but not limited to:

Game Design Thoughts #3 - The Dominoes Keep Falling

Game Design Thoughts #3 - The Dominoes Keep Falling

In the last 2 “Game Design Thoughts” series, I talked about how small changes affect a lot of things, and then how our changes to the CYMS took almost 2 weeks of intense internal playtesting to get right. Well, as the title of this post suggests, some of our seemingly non-impactful changes greatly affected the balance of the factions again.

The Draft Rulebook is Written!

The Draft Rulebook is Written!

This will be a short one, since we’ve been writing this rulebook for way too long!

As we prepare for the next important step of the game development, getting the first draft of the rulebook written is crucial for beginning blind playtests and rules illustrations. Without blind playtests, we would never know if Omicron Protocol can be learned by new players without any help from the designers.

The Amazing BackerKit Demo!

The Amazing BackerKit Demo!

Well, Brendan and I just got back from one of the funnest and most rewarding demos we’ve given in recent history, the demo to a bunch of our new friends at BackerKit! A bit shout out to Meah, George, Joe, John, and Antonio for hosting us, learning the game, keeping it fun, and giving extremely useful feedback to help us improve the game!

Game Design Thoughts #2 - CyMS, CyMS, CYMS!

Game Design Thoughts #2 - CyMS, CyMS, CYMS!

Oh boy that was a rough 2 weeks of internal playtesting!

As many of you know already, one of the unique mechanics of Omicron Protocol is the existence of a 3rd party enemy called the CyMS (Cybernetic Mutation Syndrome), or “Crazies” as the locals of San Lazaro calls them. The cool part is that besides having to do your objectives and fight off your opponent’s faction, you also have to deal with these pesky citizens who seem to randomly decide to attack you. The not-so-cool part is moving and keeping track of them at the end of the turn when both players have finished activating their heroes.

Rapid Iteration with nanDECK

Rapid Iteration with nanDECK

Game Design = Iteration

Once you have your basic rules and theme in place game design becomes iteration. You test and test and test, and as you go you make changes to your rules to improve play, simplify, balance. In our game we have many unique characters with a wide range of themes and abilities, we have objective cards, scenarios, and forage cards to balance….

Pacificon 2018 and Protospiel - What an Experience!

Pacificon 2018 and Protospiel - What an Experience!

Brendan and I just got back from a weekend of demoing, playtesting, learning, and meeting other game designers at the Pacificon Protospiel, so I'll keep this one short.  What a weekend!  Besides teaching the game roughly 6-8 hours a day for 3 days in a row and getting invaluable feedback, we also met a lot of great game designers and event organizers who we'll definitely be keeping in touch with in the future.

Writing and Testing "Learn to Play" Rules

Writing and Testing "Learn to Play" Rules

As PacifiCon Protospiel approaches this Labor Day weekend, Brendan and I have been busy creating our first "Learn to Play" (LTP) version of the game, intended for:

  • Fast 15-30 min demos that we can give at conventions and events, and

  • A single sheet version of the rules that teaches new players who eventually buys the game and want to learn the basics quickly.

Creating a Character

Creating a Character

So the last few nights we've been writing a lot.  Mostly writing the 1st draft of our rules.  Today, while working with our writer, Nick Brown, we realized that to do more world building (that'll be in another series of posts later), we had to get all the outlines of our characters for the first few factions written out for him to reference and add into the world story.