Join me on my continuing multi-part series as Martin and I attempt to turn our jumble of half-conceived brain sparks into our first fully functioning board game.
Part Eight - L.A.S.Ting Appeal
We have a new working title!!!!
What do you think?
A large aspect of the game is based around land, air and sea in terms of the attacking Kaiju and the defending robots we had so far referred to as ‘Jaeger’. So we had our L, A and S but we needed a ‘T’.
Of the many names we had in mind for our giant battle robots, ‘Titan’ stood out. It conveyed size and sounded cool. The full title implied a desperate defence against a powerful enemy so that fit the theme nicely.
I do feel cautious using an acronym, though, as I’m not sure how that works with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) but there needed to be something that set us aside from other, similarly titled games.
Board Game Geek currently has 37 entries using ‘last’ and ‘stand’ and three are called Last Stand. One reads like a zombie version of This War of Mine, the second a tower-defence co-op and the third is a lightweight family card game. It’s still only a working title but we considered it to be an improvement over Kaijukazi...it’s one less syllable anyway!
Design-wise we went deep this week, following several play-tests, particularly with our Tactics cards (the ones that ‘break the rules’). We decided to split them into two types: Tactical cards that assisted players in combat and Union (the name for our united world conglomerate) cards that provided players with game options.
It was fun coming up with a card ability and then applying a title to it so it seemed thematic. For example ‘A Last, Desperate Act’ allowed a player who had lost a combat to push a Kaiju back one space on the enemy track or a combat card that granted a bonus if you fought a Kaiju in your home region.
We also decided to change the names of our worker placement spots (WPSs) to something more thematic. I scoured the internet for ideas and hit upon military structure. Most armed forces were organised into departments like Operations, Tactical and Logistics and we decided to name our worker placement spots accordingly as there seemed to be a lot of crossover. It also presented an idea that players were part of a war council against a common enemy and the board was a kind of tactical map of available resources and strategy.
It conjured something in our minds that we could potentially use for a future graphic design too, where the board would look like a ‘holomap’ which we’d seen countless times in movies and TV shows; displaying blue-tinged and often wire-framed ghostly images.
The game length was still a problem. We had started at three hours for a four-player game and managed to reduce it by 30 minutes but it still felt too long for the kind of game it was. Martin suggested we needed to get it down to between 90 and 120 minutes.
We decided three things would help this; shortening the enemy track, reducing the number of Kaiju and introducing ‘Surge’ cards that would advance the Kaiju on the track. It would also have a useful effect on our relatively easy difficulty level by introducing a threat from the start. This would then provide a sense of urgency that would force players to co-operate.
Finally, we removed the outcome location from the Kaiju and made it random. Previously, Kaiju were placed face-down to hide their information and on the back of the card was one of the six regions of the world that the Kaiju would inevitably appear. This gave players foreknowledge so they could prepare a defence. This time we decided to assign a number to each of the regions which nicely fit with a random D6 roll. It made more thematic sense as we liked the idea of the Kaiju spawning from a temporal rift of some sort as well as the fact that they were hardly likely to announce their destinations!
In April, as we had made a lot of progress with our designing, we decided to apply for a Play-test spot at the UK Games Expo. There was some trepidation but, in a way, it gave us a deadline of sorts...something to shoot for.
Next episode, Martin and I focus on the other ways we could get our game ‘out there’.