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Development and Other Thoughts


Kanazawa in Moonlight by Utagawa Hiroshige

When I sat down to write this blog or at least planned to write it it was one thing and has gone through being something else since, so sorry if it gets a little vague at points. Moonflight has been through a few re-writes in the last week or two, nothing monumental but it did set me thinking about the stages of development. The initial idea is the fun bit, building the first prototype the tricky fun bit and then the playtesting and adjusting which is the work. If you're lucky each version will show enough progress to keep you engaged. During tests and adjustment there are further stages, basic systems, balancing, layering on theme and repeat.

With SSO the engine of the game took at lot of tweaking and balancing. Crew actions, movements and oxygen levels, but once they were balanced figuring out the various challenge decks was both clear and always rewarding. The machine was built and testing programs on it was easy. With Moonflight I'm using a better established framework with a deck builder so the central engine was relatively simple but balancing four different characters with asymmetric abilities and decks has been a whole other challenge. The sense is often of trying to adjust the cogs of a machine in motion, adjusting just the rate of occurrence of a single card can have significant knock on effects to game play and flow.

At the same time I'm working on Mike Hutchinson's/Planet Smasher's/Osprey games' A Billion Suns, Gaslands: Time Extended and Gaslands: Refueled; also additional content and promotion for SSO. Helping develop Mike's stuff and getting into the details of Moonflight brings me to the original subject of this blog, breaking the rules. Since Cosmic Encounter practically every game has set up a rule then imm