Solar Settlers 1.05b, Axes 1.07a and Coral Dice Game Progress!

Released patch 1.05b for Solar Settlers.

Patch Notes:
-Added race specific leaderboards
-In Weekly Challenge, Brain Worms now only uses this week’s card pool
-Fixed race condition with saving that sometimes would result in progress not saving properly
-Can no longer unlock the next race by using a random race
-Terraform World now must be placed on a world with no Habitats
-Added “Hardcore Mode” for testing (press up arrow 10 times on main menu to access)

(Feedback on hardcore mode here: https://discord.gg/UvyeDEN)

Also released a small hotfix patch 1.07a for Axes and Acres

Patch Notes:
-Fixed a race condition that made saves not work properly in some cases

And finally, on this mornings episode of BrainGoodBreakfast, I went into some of the changes recently made to the Coral Reef Dice Game to make the map more dynamic and interesting. Check that out here:

By the way, the current top contenders for the actual name for this guy are:
-Rolling Tides
-Coral Roller
-Roller Reef
-Rolling in the Reef
-Deep Sea Dice
-Coral Colonies

Do any of those stick out to you? Let me know!

Militia Tablet Mode, Solar Settlers Hardcore Mode and a Huge Thanks

I’ve added tablet mode to Militia in settings! Now’s your chance windows tablet users to sit back and slay some orcs. You can also toggle the threatened indicators in there.

Secondly, I’ve added a hardcore mode to Solar Settlers. It’s on the beta now (To access the beta right click Solar Settlers in your Steam Library -> Properties -> Betas then enter “solarsettlersbeta” -> Click Check Code -> Select in Dropdown -> Restart Steam).

The changes are:

  1.  Colonists now cost 2 oxygen per turn.
  2.  You start with 5 oxygen.
  3.  You gain 1 oxygen of production for each settled colonist (but no more than the # of active colonists)

The idea is to lower the number of active colonists on the board at very high ranks, encourage more early settling and to reduce match playtime. We’ll see how it goes! Lots of discussion about the design is going on on the discord if you wanna join in.

Lastly I just wanna give a huge THANK YOU to everybody who has joined the BrainGoodGames community over the last little while. It has been by far the most sucessful week ever for BrainGoodGames, and I’m just thrilled and inspired that I get to keep making them. You guys rock!

Note: To access Hardcore Mode press the up arrow on your keyboard ten times on the main menu.

BrainGoodBreakfast!

Hey everybody! I’m starting a new twitch stream every Weekday at 9am CST called… BrainGoodBreakfast!

It’s gonna be at twitch.tv/brickroaddx and I’m gonna be playing BrainGoodGames, prototypes, and other decision-makey type things and talking about their design. It won’t be a long show, just 30mins or so to get the day started right :).

If that sounds cool, stop by (or check out the VODs!) Can’t wait to see you there/chat about games (my favorite thing)!

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Axes and Acres Patch 1.05

Patch 1.05 is live on Steam! It features a ton of balance tweaks and quality of life reworks, as well as a big leaderboard update and a second major end-game win condition in the Castle! Go forth and spread your buildings far and wide, and bask in the grandeur of your kingdom.

A mighty kingdom with you as king (or queen :) ).
A mighty kingdom with you as king (or queen 🙂 ).

Balance Changes:
-Chopped trees give 3 wood (from 2)
-Barbarians don’t walk on bridges at all
-Castle reworked:
-Gives 1VP/Worker die on construction
-Royalty VP face gives 1VP/5 player buildings
-Town hall card now gives 1VP/7 resources (from 1VP/6)
-Farms give 6/5/4/3 food, and are depleted at 3 rather than 2 (still gives 1 wood)
-Hunter’s Hut card “Move 2” -> “Move 5”
-Hunter’s Hut Spawn Rabbit ability now spawns a Rabbit within 3-4 spaces of a Hunter’s Hut (previously within 6-8 of a Home space)
-Killing Barbarian Spawners now gives 1VP
-Have a Church VPs: 4->5
-Have 2 Woodsmen VPs: 4->5
-Have 2 Masons VPs: 6->7
-Have 5 Roads VPs: 5->6
-Have 3 Farms: 7 -> Have 2 Farms: 5
-Fountain reworked:
-Added new ability to reroll “action objective” with Crusade face
-Fixed issue with Lumberyard Card (“Work then set to Gather”) rerolling die on board
-Reworked first phase scaling to cap out at 18 points (from 17)

Bugs/Quality of Life
-Added “Current BGG Update” link to Main Menu
-Added save corruption support
-High scores separated into two tables (“Current” and “All Time”)
-Rank updates on both tables when you win or lose, but “All Time” rank will never go down
-Top players page will show your global ranking
-Fixed a bug where quit popup would open multiple times if ESC was pressed again
-“Learn 0/3” text disabled if you’re past rank 1
-Fixed a bug where barbarian spawners would crash the game if there was no room to make a new one

As always, thank you so much for your help and support. Special thanks to Allan, Kenbutsu and K-Rez for awesome balance feedback, and to Gutsman and doiron5 on the Steam forums for submitting bug reports.

Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at braingoodgames@gmail.com with your thoughts and feedback. I’d love to hear it! Onwards and upwards!

“Imaginability” in Game Design

I’ve been doing some retrospection on the design of SkyBoats and Militia, and I noticed that at least for me, Militia seems to be more appealing for me to boot up and play. Note that I’m not saying that SkyBoats is less fun WHILE playing, but that Militia has some factor that encourages playing it.

I’m thinking that it comes down to the fact that it’s easy for me to imagine playing the first few turns of Militia, and deriving some satisfaction out of it. For example, I can picture in my minds eye attacking a row of enemies including a captain in Militia, and how that might be a fun thing to do. In SkyBoats, most satisfying actions are very nuanced (involving specific setups of boats and wind patterns), and difficult to imagine when not actively involved in playing the game.

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(It’s easy to imagine moves like this, and how they might be satisfying)

So I’ve been thinking a lot more about this concept of the “Imaginabilty” of games, and rating games on this axis. For example, It’s easy to imagine attacking with a bunch of creatures in Magic for lethal damage or pushing a ton of monsters into the water with Gale in Auro, but it’s more difficult to imagine what it might be like to play Agricola or Mount and Blade. (Note: I think this effect becomes mitigated as you become more familiar with a game).

Imaginabiilty requirements can be covered by even a small aspect of the full game, as is the case with last-hitting in Dota 2 (or League of Legends) or microing marines in Starcraft. The key is that the actions are:

1) Simple enough to be imagined in the minds eye and

2) Intrinsically rewarding in some way

Can you think of other examples of games with poor or exceptional Imaginability? Can you think of a better word for the concept? Let me know in the comments :).

-Brett

SkyBoats Released Today!

Today (Aug. 23) SkyBoats is released on Steam! We are super excited for everyone to try it out and can’t wait to see what everyone thinks! If you want to discuss any of the mechanics or strategies in the game feel free to do so here! Happy Sailing!

Steam1 totally final absolutly golden perfect version 1

Tutorials

We are super excited to announce that SkyBoats is officially funded on Kickstarter! Thanks to everyone who has supported us!

Tutorials have proven to be an extremely difficult aspect of the game development process. In fact, I recently came to the painful realization that “tutorialization” is not actually a word. The tutorial for Axes and Acres was very basic, and a lot of players had trouble grasping the main concepts of the game without using outside resources. Now I think part of this was due to the fact that Axes and Acres had mechanics that people were entirely unfamiliar with. There was no point of reference or relation to help people understand. This was compounded by the fact that the mechanics might have been familiar in some way to people who play a lot of board games, but for “computer gamers” they likely had never come across that sort of thing.

One of our basic tenets of game making is that players should be able to learn and understand all of the rules to our games. This stems from us wanting players to be making strategic decisions, and the belief that you cannot make a proper strategic decision if you do not have all the information you are supposed to have. An example of this being done poorly is Civilization. The Civilization games are so incredibly complicated and even convoluted that it is unrealistic to expect players to have an understanding of all of the rules. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the game isn’t fun, it does mean that the game is less strategic.

civilization

When you are making a board game, you can write all of the rules in a rulebook, and you can reasonably expect the players to read them and understand the game (Provided of course that the rulebook is complete and conveys the concepts clearly). We feel that computer gamers are less interested in reading a set of rules, and would rather jump into the game. Computer games are traditionally taught through tutorials. We have struggled with keeping the tutorial short enough for the player not to get bored, but also long enough to cover all of the information.

We spent a lot of time focusing on the tutorial for SkyBoats and are quite happy with how it has turned out. We played a number of other game tutorials to get an idea of what other games were doing well or doing poorly. We found the tutorial for Faster Than Light to be particularly helpful. After all of this we created a tutorial that we feel is more interesting, engaging, thorough and just better overall than the Axes and Acres tutorial.

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We are also using the early ranks to spread out some of the other game mechanics. We hope this will be a good compromise between extending the learning process and getting the players into the game. Hopefully players will have no trouble picking it up and will be able to enjoy the game immediately!

As always I would love to discuss anything here, so feel free to shout at me!

Thanks for reading!