Author Topic: A Board Game?  (Read 2236 times)

Offline Norsehound

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
A Board Game?
« on: April 03, 2012, 02:47:14 AM »
I'm not a frequent member of these boards, but bitten by the OP2 bug I return and thought I'd express some of my thinking along the lines of this wonderful game.

Anyway

I'm an amateur game designer. Recently Civilization by Fantasy Flight games has come to my attention. I'm holding it for a friend (since he doesn't play it during the week, and he lent it to me to learn how it works), when I return it I kind of wanted my own copy. But wouldn't it be great to re-create the game myself? Perhaps re-theme it? WHy not an Outpost 2 re-theme?

No promises here, since I have a history of adopting personal projects and not following through with them. Unless money is involved, or someone is there to crack the whip. And really I don't have anything but a page of ideas with nowhere to start.

But here's some thought processes I have over the mechanics and how they can relate to Civilization.

Resources:
For the sake of gameplay Resources would be scaled down by a massive degree. For example, constructing a silo is still 1 resource, constructing a residence is 2, etx. These can be saved and stockpiled. RU harvesting requires building a refinery next to a mining beacon. You can build it further but it is -1 resource per turn per cell distant (to a minimum of 1). Trucks are virtually transparent in the game.

Food is recorded only if you are producing more than the number of colonists. Going under demand means impact on Morale.

Power means imposing a limit on how many buildings you can have, and won't break down individual points. This is to save on player computing and cut down on analsys paralysis. Might just be Tokamaks (requiring 1 ru per turn to keep functional), and advanced powerplants (Solar power?) MHDs would just remove the cost requirement from reactors.

A colony population is between Workers and Scientists. Children and civilians will not be represented. You need to have residential capacity for all of your civilians or morale will take a hit.

Production-Buildings:
Like Civilization you are limited by the number of cities you can found (Command centers in this case) by 2. Don't worry, these are just city centers and you can still build around them. You can construct other buildings but they MUST be connected to other buildings of your faction or to a Command center. The only exception to this rule are power plants, which can be constructed at maximum 3 cells away from another building.

ConVecs are semi-transparent. They aren't an actual unit but go on a play chart available to each player. One ConVec can either repair during a turn or place a new building in a location. Large structures (Spaceport, Factories, Refineries, Adv Lab) might require two turns before placing. When building a structure it is placed on the map with a ConVec on top of it to show it is being constructed.

When building a structure kit the intended building is placed on the structure factory space on the player chart. A player can only put so many resources per turn into building, and some structures take longer times to build. When complete they are available for placement by the SCVs.

Buildings of course require workers and scientists in order to function. Workers are automatically generated through event cards, and scientists go through training at a university (for 3 turns? Down to 2 turns when Hypnopedia is unlocked). Typically it's one worker per building and the tile lists the requirements for such.

If you can't fill the requirements, it's idle, and that's a hit to Morale.

Morale:
One of three ebb-flow graphs (the others being Food production and Population). Basically it's three elements: Terrible, Good, Excellent. Terrible accentuates bad stuff happening on Random cards. Excellent accentuates good things happening. Prone to fluctuation on event cards, while doing stuff with structures gives bonuses to Morale (And of course you can buy it with the Consumer factory).

Units:
Still pretty vauge on this one. RoboMiners are effectively rendered transparent for the sake of smooth gameplay. Same with Cargo trucks. ConVecs are pure building units. Spiders probably offer one free repair if you just have them and enable Plymouth EMP units to capture. Robo Dozers and Earthworkers might not have any representation except for making some structures easier maybe.

Civ has a unique way of presenting units. Units are both plastic flags on the board to represent armies and cards-in-hand that are played during battle. The cards themselves are square, and which side of the square you play depends on how far you've upgraded the unit.

My thinking is along similar lines, except that each card is one chassis and the facing is one kind of weapon. When built you play them up in front of you and arrange them as you will. This of course means you can't have every chassis with every weapon, but I imagine some chassis don't usually see that kind of weapon anyway (who ever uses Tiger Starflares?) Tigers naturally have heavier-hitting weapons you commonly see (railguns, EMP, Thor's Hammer, RPG), Lynxes are lighter and starter weapons with suicide platforms. Panthers have the weird and wacky special weapons (Acid cloud, ESG). As well as platform mainstays (RPGs, Railguns).

Civ uses the little flags as armies and when you go into combat you randomly choose 3 units to do battle with. Since randomosity would not work really with the way I figure units would work, players might select up to 4 units they wish and go into combat that way with limitations (2 Lynxes, 1 Panther, 1 Tiger, or something). One unit is played at a time, combat damage applied against defense. Survivors come back for a second round of play and continues until one side survives or both sides retreat. Tigers cannot retreat in this way and have to be in battle.

Like Civ, flags don't represent units as-is, but more a concentration of forces in your colony. I don't want to be producing hundreds of tokens of every weapons combinaiton under the sun. And as appealing as it might be, I don't want to create turret tokens and generic platforms to mix-and-match when building. It would work for a tactical combat simulator, but not for a strategy title.

Random events:
At the end of every turn a player draws an event card which shows how their colony is effected. Some effects don't apply if they don't have structures to affect them (for example, +1 worker would not affect the player if he/she has no universities). Since I rarely have random events land directly in my colony and mash up my structures, Tornadoes and Earthquakes would just remove units from hand, not from the board. Meteorites have their own scatter table from a player's command post and if there are no repair units available stuff might get destroyed.

Morale takes effect here. Morale makes bad things (colonists dying, loosing resources, going back on research tracks) even worse (doubles or adds one to that effect) when bad. Good things are effected the same way. However Morale changes on Random cards are not effected, and the impacts are felt next turn.

I can't think of a way to simulate volcano eruptions. Could be something like the nearest volcano goes up and starts putting lava markers in cells of a certain color until they are all filled. It would be nice to keep pieces count low however...

Research
Like Civ you'll be maintaining a layout of cards you've unlocked in a pattern and it'll be arranged like a tree. To keep card count down some cards will be cut, since there are many techs in the computer game and I'd rather not produce hundreds of cards.

Still, each card would have what lab is needed to research it, the benefits of such, what it unlocks, and what technologies branch off or go above. Arrows would point to one side of the card (Up down, left right) on which tech they came from and what other techs they unlock.

All research cards have a scientist track on them. If you have all the scientists you need you can allocate them for that turn and the research is complete on the next. But if you don't have them you fill up the space from left to right as much as possible. On the next turn, the whole line is advanced to leave the spaces originally occupied, empty. If this reaches the end and there is excess, the last space on the track still needs to be occupied and the scientists taken up before the research is completed. When finished, the research is added to the tech tree and the scientists are free to do whatever.

Yes you can reassign them. They are removed from the right side of the research in progress and reassigned to whatever. One lab per technology at a time. Basic lab and techs there are, of course, removed.

Map Tiles:
Like Civ the map is comprised of square tiles. Unlike Civ, diagonal movement is allowed. Tiles have terrain on them which doesn't restrict building capabilities like Civ, but impacts unit movement.

Now that I think about it I wonder if I should have the flags on the board be groups. Organized from 0-3, with three flags and 0 being base defense. Units in the 0 portion are at the base and defend tiles there when attacked, and the flags have those units. A flag cannot move if it gains units on its turn.

So if terrain happens it is affected by the slowest unit. Tigers in a blob moving across rough ground then only go one space per turn.

By now you should have figured each cell is not going to be a 1:1 comparison with the computer game. They are going to be general locations, and all base connections are interconnected with tubes.

Turrets if implemented can be placed on the map and contribute to defense in the eight surrounding cells to their placement, and the ninth they occupy.

Walls are transparent. If anything there might be a space on the player sheet where you can allocate resources with your earthworker, and that impedes mobility for all units moving through your town tiles.

--------------

*Transparency here means that it has no effect on the game. One point of RUs, one colonist, is not going to make a difference based on the zoomed-out scale nature of this game. To do a full-blown Outpost 2 boardgame that represents every nuance would probably take days to play and many mechanics to simulate. That's why computers do it after all. The focus of an OP2 board game would be to simulate the feel of the computer game on a tabletop without getting trapped up in the nuances. Civ does this with Civ the computer game.

Bleh, I think that's everything. A massive outpouring of ideas but not much substance to back them up, since I'm searching for a job now and that takes paramount importance. But as one who often thinks about game mechanics (on the fly, often), I thought I'd present this to a community who would appreciate it best.

But if someone did want to help out one pile of resources I'd appreciate is all the building and unit sprites. Has someone managed to unpack all the game assets somewhere? That would be helpful if something like this was to go beyond just theory.

:op2:
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 02:49:11 AM by Norsehound »
Food supply in Surplus. Power levels Optimal. Morale is Good.

Offline Freeza-CII

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2323
A Board Game?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2012, 04:29:30 AM »
I could come up with all kinds of s*** for a op2 board game.

i would use hex fields 5 resources 5 or 6 buildings and 1 unit that is upgraded through resources. and the trick wouldnt be to attack. No the trick is to make it so you have the best out come of obtaining points at the end of the game and the game would end when some one gets a certain amount of points. could be very interesting.
 

Offline Norsehound

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
A Board Game?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2012, 03:43:10 PM »
Why would you use hexes? Outpost 2 uses squares.

The intent was to make a game with mechanical similarity to Outpost 2, not a game with a cut-and-paste theme.

Oh well.  
Food supply in Surplus. Power levels Optimal. Morale is Good.

Offline Hooman

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4082
A Board Game?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 01:54:54 AM »
Hmm, seems like you've put a reasonable amount of thought into this. I'm not familiar with these types of games though, so I'm not sure I have a good sense of how it works. Sounded like you had some reasonable themed analogues and simplifications appropriate for the genre. I may have to read through that again. ... preferably when I'm not already an hour late for something. :P
 

Offline Norsehound

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
A Board Game?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2012, 12:51:33 PM »
Heh, this was almost a stream of consciousness. I have a conceptual mindset which helps me think up stuff like this and interpret game design elements in different ways. The objective here was to streamline the rules of Outpost 2 for a physical medium.

If I had some put-together graphics I could make a visual mockup of the game to show people what it could/would look like. It didn't occur to me that anyone here would know what's what in a game design discussion.

As I said though, unpacked graphical assets would be helpful. What I would like to do is create a set of building tiles for about two colors of each faction (Eden Blue/Green, Plymouth Red/Orange?) for a total of four players. From my experience of working with game back-ends I presume the sprites are un-colored and it would make my job easier.

Similarly, the graphics for each research subject would be nice to put on the technology cards.

Otherwise I'd have to take some time to print screen + Gfx edit to create the structures. Not hard or impossible but would take a while.
Food supply in Surplus. Power levels Optimal. Morale is Good.

Offline TH300

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
    • http://op3game.net
A Board Game?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2012, 01:15:09 PM »
Don't do the print screen + gfx edit method. We have ways to extract graphics from the game. Even painting units in player colors won't be too hard.

So, if you can wait a few days, I'll get you the graphics.

Offline Norsehound

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
A Board Game?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2012, 04:43:15 PM »
I knew such a process had to exist if users are editing the tile sets. I just didn't know where to begin looking for them.

I appreciate the help :) When I get the pack I can see about putting together a graphics demo.
Food supply in Surplus. Power levels Optimal. Morale is Good.

Offline TH300

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
    • http://op3game.net
A Board Game?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2012, 02:24:44 PM »
Here are unit sprites in all colors and the tech images. Not sure how complete that is. If somethin is missing, let me know.

http://th300.outpostuniverse.net/files/all_op2_units.zip

Note: Due to op2's internal organization of graphics some units are split up. These are the Garages and some buildings with docks. You can choose whether you want to manually add the docks or not.

Also, these images display units with shadows. If you want shadows removed, tell me.

Furthermore, guardposts and vehicles are missing, because I wasn't sure if you need them.

Offline Norsehound

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
A Board Game?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2012, 04:52:01 PM »
Many great thanks TH300! Unless something else comes up, I think I might work on a mockup this weekend.

If it's not too much trouble I'd also like the vehicle sprites. Some of them will be used for counters but others will go on battle and unit cards.

For the case of weapons, I don't need every facing. Just the south-west facing from the manual will do in that case.

Thanks again!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 04:59:48 PM by Norsehound »
Food supply in Surplus. Power levels Optimal. Morale is Good.

Offline Norsehound

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
A Board Game?
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2012, 01:15:00 AM »
Is there some way to unpack all the graphical assets of the game?

For example... Technology cards. What I'm picturing is that the frame of the card uses the metal assets that frame the window of the game. These are mundane GFX assets for most people, but I could re-purpose them.

The mining beacon icons are another thing I was looking to grab. When exploring, a player picks up a random mining beacon and it's either common or rare, 1-3. I could also use the order command icons too... bleh.

I don't want to put an unnecessary burden on anyone though. If there's a way to do it without specialized tools, I can do it myself if shown how and save someone the effort (aside from teaching me how it's done).
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 05:12:19 AM by Norsehound »
Food supply in Surplus. Power levels Optimal. Morale is Good.

Offline Norsehound

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
A Board Game?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 04:04:24 AM »
Well, when I had something to show I would show it.

With TH300's assistance I was able to start putting together something graphically for the game I was thinking of. The image is too big to present here, but you can follow this link to see it at my gallery on boardgamegeek.

Ultimately I will be using a bare-bones no graphics prototype to test game mechanics. What you see is not the full extent of the game- it's missing the play sheet, technology cards, random event cards and others.  
Food supply in Surplus. Power levels Optimal. Morale is Good.

Offline Hooman

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4082
A Board Game?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2012, 09:48:59 PM »
The link you posted goes to a "Login Required" page.

... with questionable looking ads. (Those misleading "you've just won a prize" kind).
 

Offline Freeza-CII

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2323
A Board Game?
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2012, 04:00:16 AM »
i would use hexs because of the way that i see a op2 board game being made and played it would make for a very balanced playing field where no one has the advantage unless they put themselves in a disadvantage from the start.
 

Offline Hooman

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4082
A Board Game?
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2012, 10:31:07 AM »
I'm not sure what advantages or disadvantages you're talking about. Why would using a hexagonal playing system affect balance?
 

Offline Norsehound

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
A Board Game?
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2012, 03:35:06 PM »
The link was supposed to go to my personal gallery on Boardgamegeek, which is a home and repository for boardgamers. I guess it didn't work, so I'll try it from my comcast server.

Big(ish) image here. Linked because it's too big to comfortably fit on the post and I don't want to force anyone to side-scroll.

Quote
i would use hexs because of the way that i see a op2 board game being made and played it would make for a very balanced playing field where no one has the advantage unless they put themselves in a disadvantage from the start.

Um, you're not trolling are you?

Outpost 2 itself doesn't use hexes. If anything it embraces the cell block structure with the building footprints. Sure you could complain that going diagonal makes you cover more ground but does anyone hold that complaint about the video game?

Ultimately, this board game is not a tactical simulation. It's a city builder with a very light combat mechanic. Hex maps are better for combat simulators. Even then though I would be moved to keep using squares because of the greater connection to Outpost 2, and the fact that I could use the same statistics from the computer game without wondering if they would be distorted moving to hexes.
Food supply in Surplus. Power levels Optimal. Morale is Good.

Offline Freeza-CII

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2323
A Board Game?
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2012, 06:28:31 PM »
your thinking to much like the game itself rather then what a board game can do. you dont have to follow these strict it has to fit in these cells kinda thing you can put a little wooden cc any where you want on a hex. Hex based would give you more mobility rather then just a square. i think it also look nicer then squares.

Offline TH300

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
    • http://op3game.net
A Board Game?
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2012, 11:10:54 PM »
The problem with squares is that movement along diagonals ought to cost sqrt(2) times the cost of movement in horizontal or vertical direction. Computer games can easily address this, since multiplication by a fixed value (whatever that is) is easy for a cpu, and since its real time, the actual movement can be delayed accordingly. A board game, however, is turn based. Your choices are: 1) allow diagonal movement and make it either inferior or superior) or 2) disallow it and thereby limit the set of possible moves.


If you need more graphics, you can try the "art viewer" (a search on the forum should reveal it). It is limited, but probably good enough for your needs. (I've been using a different program, but that is not ready for release)

For some other graphics you'll have to open Outpost2.exe (or one of the dlls, "op2res.dll" or something...) in a resource editor.

If you want tech tree data, you'll find that in the sheets. Extract them with the "vol extractor".
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 11:11:39 PM by TH300 »

Offline Norsehound

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
A Board Game?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2012, 11:11:18 PM »
Yes, hex maps do give you better mobility and help simulate open ground combat. Every wargame since Tactics II has been using hexes instead of squares to simulate ground combat.

This game is not simulating ground combat. Combat is abstracted into units following flags, then attacking in a you-go-I-go manner, inflicting damage and causing casualties that way irrespective of terrain, turret facing, hull facing, and sectional armor. If I were to make a game about those things that's what I would do.

But I notice the audiences I design for don't want to be bogged down in tedious details. Neither do I actually. Abstracting combat to the degree that it doesn't matter if squares or hexes are used is fine by me if it makes the game go smoother.
Food supply in Surplus. Power levels Optimal. Morale is Good.