A Fistfull of Seeds

Posted on Dec 9, 2014 - 15:47

On November 22nd the monthly Berlin Mini Game Jam took place at the King offices in Berlin (yes they have a slide in the office, no it’s not candy covered).

Thibaut and I set out to create another board game after all the fun we had at the game jam in July making a board game about drinking at an oasis in the dessert (with music!).

Thibaut with board game design kit pondering the themes.

The topics of the game jam, decided via vote, were:

  •     Winter is coming!
  •     How did THAT happen?
  •     Gravity
  •     Growing

We choose to focus on “Winter is coming!” and “Growing” and kicked the jam of with a 3×15 minutes brainstorming session putting out three different rough game concepts.

After a short discussion, we decided to go with a farmer theme (grow stuff before winter) with a base mechanic of planting seeds on a field.

First Version

We settled on a game with four players, a game board with 4×4 plots and four different types of plants/seed: wheat, potato, apple and carrot (love the symmetry:). The seeds were shuffled and distributed randomly to the players. The players would then plant seeds taking turns until all seeds were planted. Then the planted seeds were scored according to several rules, e.g. one point for each adjacent field with the same plant. In addition, the plant a player would receive score for was randomly determined.

The game board was simply drawn on a piece of paper, for the seed markers we used colored markers from a board game prototyping set.

We played several rounds with this mechanic and it already showed a quite dynamic and interesting game play with lots of player interactions. But the game play was still a bit too static. The small board limited the players choices (think tic-tac-toe) and the direct player interaction was quite limited.

Enter the …

Second Version

Picture of the game board drawn on a piece of paper with colored markers on top.

The “field” with “seeds” in place.

We increased the board to 5×5 plots with an empty plot in the middle. This was sufficient to create a more dynamic and tactical game play when placing the markers.

In addition, we introduced a swapping mechanic: after each turn each player has to pass one seed token to her neighbor.  This increased at the same time the randomness and introduced new tactical option.

After the base mechanics were fixed, we focused on balancing the scoring mechanism. While we tried to keep the strength of the different plants comparable, we wanted to give a very different feel, which also included one plant to be stronger than the other. Such differences would be balanced by (1) playing of several rounds and thereby every player having the chance to play one of the stronger plants and (2) the “gang up mechanic”, i.e. players who won a round would probably be watched closely the next round with the rest of the players teaming up to prevent another win. Especially the second point is strongly supported by the mechanics, which give plenty of options to slow down another player.

The game was finished and balanced around 7pm, which gave us plenty of time to prepare the presentation ;)

You can download the rules and some artwork on our github page:

https://github.com/mraue/afistfulofseeds

Archrunner:Alpha source code released

Posted on Mar 1, 2014 - 19:03

I decided to release the source code of the iOS version of Archrunner: Alpha. You can find it on github:

https://github.com/mraue/archrunner.alpha.ios

Note that this is an “as is” release: No documentation, rough around the edges. But maybe some of you will find it interesting

… ready for sale

Posted on Apr 11, 2013 - 10:47

Scheduled for a May 1st release in Tier 2.

[UPDATE]: “The status for your app, Archrunner: Alpha, is now Ready for Sale.” – see you all on May 1st

Finishing touches …

Posted on Apr 7, 2013 - 14:46

.. before submission to the App Store.

Contact.

Posted on Mar 29, 2013 - 12:55

 

Yes, that’s ArA on a Nexus 4. [Also: that is me in the reflection ;)]

[UPDATE:] Ok, maybe use the depth buffer too ;)

 

One size does not fit all

Posted on Mar 18, 2013 - 17:17

“We have movement … “

Posted on Mar 18, 2013 - 12:50

Night falls over Vladivostok

Posted on Mar 16, 2013 - 15:12

Archrunner: Alpha proudly featuring music by Sonmi451.

Club Xk

Posted on Mar 11, 2013 - 15:56

Come join my super exclusive clubz! Also, representing mad keynote painting skillz.

Choices

Posted on Mar 9, 2013 - 17:38


Also, giving away the final name … ;)