Whether you’ve played SkyBoats or not, and dug it or not, I encourage you to check out Breezy Mode! I can only speak for myself, but it has completely re-energized my feelings for the game. Just like it says on the tin, it’s streamlined and lets you play by feel, man.
I’m currently working on a new mode for SkyBoats in an attempt to cut down on the time each turn takes, and generally smooth/speed up play. At the same time, I want to preserve as much depth as possible, while making it “breezier” to play! Enter ‘Breezy Mode’
Breezy Mode will be available in a sub-menu for now, and has its own ranking system attached to it. It is currently experimental and has no tutorial implemented, but if it is sucessful enough, it may be swapped with the main mode to be the new “Ranked” and appear on the title page. At this point the old “Ranked” will become “Classic” and will be moved to the Bonus menu.
The current changes for the mode are listed below, but if you’d like to become a part of the process, we’d love to have you on the discord to hear your feedback! Just click this link to hop in: https://discord.gg/UvyeDEN
Breezy Mode Changes
-Fuel removed from boats. Now the leftmost unused cell is always used to move
-Goods value only based on quantity for first round (random every round thereafter)
-Boats down to 2 (may go back up to 3 at higher ranks)
-Reduced board size
-Removed gold bonus for selling goods far from their origin
-Removed refuel from shop
-Replaced with “Refresh city demands”
-Allow moving out of cities for free
-Each city can only be visited by each boat once per turn
-Wind meter bonus reworked to be 1VP/5 meter (from more complicated chart)
-Modified Carrot pattern
-You can now pick up items mid-glide (dropping other goods if full)
-Added “goods” abilities to boats as default upgrades
-Two goods spawn at the end of each round
-Remove end of turn wind meter decrease
Couple random design lesson thoughts from SkyBoats:
-Tutorialization process went much better for most people than for Axes and Acres. The semi-guided FTL style tutorial seems to work well, and is going to be the default for BrainGoodGames going forward.
-Wind patterns do a good job of allowing players to create a cool machine to score points with, and heavily rewards smart forethought and play
-SkyBoats does a good job of making your moves feel like an AWESOME thing you did, rather than just scraping by. I really like this aesthetic
-Unlockables that trigger on win and loss are a good way to take some of the sting out of a loss
-Depth is great, but I need to more strongly consider the amount to which a player can process/where the information horizon is placed (Minos Strategos does a better job balancing this I think)
-Wind patterns are a cool mechanic, but some players are too overwhelmed to really dig into them
-Being able to use boat powers in any order is a good example perhaps of somewhere that the complexity ramps up a bit too hard
Having said that, there are a lot of things that are really neat about this system that I want to explore a bit more. I want to try adding a stripped down version of the concept as an alternate game mode. Smaller board, hand of cards rather than goods providing powers, fewer boats/one boat. Would you be interested in a mode like that?
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!
Axes and Acres patch 1.03 is live today! We are bringing some new and exciting changes that we think you guys will love. Patch 1.03 brings the Rank Leaderboard to Axes and Acres. Now you can see how your rank stacks up compared to the very best strategists playing Axes and Acres. If this sort of pressure bothers you, don’t worry, we are also introducing a practice mode so players can fool around and try out new tactics without worrying about their rank.
With all this focus on the ranking system we have also made a couple changes to the way rank difficulty scales. As you make your way into the highest ranks phase 1 will now have a cap on the number of Victory Points required to get to phase 2. To compensate for this phase 2 and 3 will increase in difficulty at a faster rate than before. We feel that these changes will help deal with phase 1 being the most difficult and that all phases of the game will now being equally challenging.
These changes should make the tier 3 buildings even more important than before, and as such we have tweaked the numbers on the Castle. The Castle will now cost only 6 stone to build and will provide 8 VP when finished. Get building master masons!
We have also made a number of small quality of life tweaks, from the ability to undo moves, to altering the way some of the objectives appear after specific events. We have also added visual queues to assist with long distance movement, and to remind you which buildings provide you with points in the buildings tabs. Finally we changed the build farm objective to give one more point, and changed the bridge to provide a victory point on construction.
We hope everyone enjoys the patch, and can’t wait to see you all play! Feel free to let us know about any issues or bugs you find, or just to let us know what you think about the new patch!
PS SkyBoats is coming to Steam on August 23rd! You will be able to check it out here when the store page goes live: http://store.steampowered.com/app/510780
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.
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.
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!