Empires of Steel and Steam

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Empires of Steel and Steam

Postby jmatthew » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:10 pm

Update 10/11/12
I made a Facebook page for this. https://www.facebook.com/EmpiresOfSteelAndSteam

Update 9/17/12
-Finished typing up most of the rules, and can post a rough draft here sometime soon if anyone is interested.
-Finished layout/ template for technology cards (pics in my post on page 5)
-Finished emblems for 3 of the 8 factions
Image

I've decided on how the game will end also. There will be a separate score board that will show which level each faction's civilization is at. The levels begin at 1 and go up to 7 or 8 (I haven't decided yet). Each level unlocks the ability for each faction to produce new types of units, as well as automatically upgrading their passive Capitol City Technology cards that they have equipped. Each level will also provide the population cap for a faction. The next level is reached by meeting the prerequisites (usually owning so many buildings) and by spending a certain amount of wealth. Below is what I have worked out so far for what happens at each level of civilization:

I: Starting level--able to build government buildings, factories, and power plants. Able to recruit type 1 and type 2 infantry.
II: Able to build transit stations, enabling trade agreements and treaties with other factions who have transit stations. Able to recruit type 1 mechanized units.
III: Able to recruit type 2 mechanized units and type 1 flying units.
IV: Able to recruit type 2 flying units.
V: Able to construct your faction's ultimate unit.
VI:???
VII: Win the game.
Capitol utility technologies automatically upgrade at levels I, III, and V.

See the post on page 5 for more pics/ info. :)

Update 5/3/12
I finished the format for the political sheets. They'll be printed 4x11 inches, and fit nicely next to the 4"x4" faction sheets. Here's the first finished system:

Image
The blue gear (not final emblem, most likely) shows that it is a benevolent system (certain event cards may only target benevolent/ neutral/ oppressive political systems, etc.).
The left-most panel shows the resource production for each building type, as well as the number up upgrade cards that player may "seed" the top of their research deck with at the start of the game.
The Center panel shows what special abilities that system offers; blue are passive, always active abilities that never have a resource cost, green will be abilities that may be activated as often as a player pays their cost, and red abilities may only be activated once per game round, and usually have a steep resource cost.
The right half of the sheet is devoted to population pools--Research, Production and Military. The blue number in research shows that a player may draw 1 upgrade card for every 4 population he has allocated to that pool, and may buy one of the drawn cards for every 6 population. The production pool determines how many buildings and non-infantry military units the player may build each turn--in this case, he gets one production for each 6 population in that pool, times the number of factories he owns. Players allocate population to their military pools in order to transform them into military units next round. A player without anyone in the Military pool will be unable to produce military units the next round.

I've also decided after all to go with a variable hex board setup, rather than a static board with hex spaces. I like the ability to have a completely different map every game. Also, certain abilities (like the Nautilite's Deluge Engine, which permanently changes a hex on the board into a water hex) are made much easier by being able to swap tiles out mid-game. I'm also planning on having some "special" tiles that might not be in every game, but wherever they do appear, they will be hotly contested territories due to their unique abilities (the Aether Anomaly basically gives it's owner control of a mobile "Aether Storm", which can be used to hinder opponents' resource production as well as function like a sort of jump gate to units traveling through the anomaly.).

Also, here's the final roster for factions/ political systems:
Factions:
The Avatars of Mechana
The Blackcloud Armada
The Coven
The College
The Human Federation
The Mumaalma Shards
The Nautilite Coalition
The Prometheans

Political Systems
Anarchy
Democracy
Technocracy
Theocracy
Totalitarian
Tribal
Unified Mind


Old info:
I've got many of the mechanics worked out already, but I'm still finishing up all the rules. I still have to design all the cards and technologies and whatnot.

Here's an ugly picture of my prototype board:
Image

The plain green is normal terrain, blue is water (obviously), muddy green is marsh, purple butt-holes are mountains, and the grey cities are possible starting locations for players.
I'm planning on having the terrain further divided into groups of 4-9 hex "countries". This map is purely for play-testing (I promise I'm actually pretty decent at art and design).
Basically, there are a bunch of different civilizations, each with different bonuses and detriments. There are also a handful of political systems to choose from at the beginning (and possibly in the middle of the game if you are forced to deal with an uprising). Not every civ can use every political system; for instance, the automaton race can only choose between technocracy and totalitarian, the coven may choose either tribal, technocracy, or theocracy, the pirates can use anarchy, tribal, or monarchy, etc.
There are three main "resources" in the game: wealth, population, and power. Wealth is generated by hexes in which you have population stationed ("working") or by government buildings, population is generated based on how many countries you control, as well as a minor boost from every transportation depot you own, and power is generated only at power plants.
You spend wealth to upgrade technology and gain new types of weapons and gadgets for your civ, as well as to build structures, only one type of which can be on any given hex.
Population is allocated each turn to a few different pools: the more population you have in your research pool, the faster you'll generate new tech and the more control you'll have over which techs you generate, the more you have allocated to industry, the more non-infantry units your warehouses will be able to generate and the more buildings you can build each turn. Population can also be stationed in hexes to cause them to generate wealth, or they can be spent/turned into military units, usually with a cost of wealth and/or power additionally.
Power is spent to keep your buildings operational, as well as to create higher-tech units and to power certain abilities on said units or on event cards.
Each player begins the game with their capitol building on one of the city hexes, and in control of the surrounding country (note: countries have not yet been defined on the above board). On future turns they may build the following buildings:
Government buildings--generate bonus wealth and increase the loyalty of surrounding territories. Additionally, if a player's capitol is ever overtaken, she may relocate it to any government building at a cost.
Transportation depots--provide fast travel to all other depots you or your allies control.
Power plants--generate power. 'Nuff said.
Factories--produce non-infantry military units, and a couple other things.

Anyway, I'll update with more info on the actual rules and such if anyone is interested later. What do you think thus far?
Last edited by jmatthew on Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:38 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby IVhorseman » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:43 pm

Sounds like the turns are excruciatingly long. Although, I'm not looking at the rules, so I wouldn't know. How far through them are you?
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby enders_shadow » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:54 pm

Sounds like a risk/Civilization hybrid. Interesting.
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby OneEye589 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:30 pm

You're getting pretty specific with "steampunk." You need to have mechanics that show the idea of steampunk instead of just the artwork and names of things, otherwise it's just a generic conquering game. I feel like you need to find some way of incorporating the feel of steampunk into the gameplay.
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby Porphyrogenitus » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:09 pm

Add railroads? Some kind of money-resource booster that doubles as an accelerated movement type for troops and whatnot. Generic transportation depots are not steampunk enough, and railroads have the added advantage of being point-to-point and not universally useful, which would add some strategic depth to where you deploy your rr lines.
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby mgb519 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:16 pm

Airships are nice.
Tzan wrote:
Semaj Nagirrac wrote:Well, I took some land without checking if it was owned by a faction or not. I'm not going to be banned, am I? I can destroy everything if need be.


That's what Hitler said,
in 1938.
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby Ross_Varn » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:56 pm

Also have an alternative system of varied maps, perhaps mechanics built to generate them...
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby jmatthew » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:02 pm

First off, thanks for the feedback guys.
Almost all of your comments have actually already been addressed in the current version of the game thus far; they simply didn't make it all into the initial post because I didn't want to make it incredibly long to read, and I was pretty drunk when I typed it up.
In my initial thought process depots were actually divided into three types: train stations, docks, and airship docks. There was actually going to be a system for building railroads and trade routes and such, but I eventually decided this simply bogged down gameplay too much and simplified them to one building. Basically, they are only train stations if landlocked, but can have docks if on the coast.
As for the setting, much of that is addressed in the cards and unit types. I'm planning it being a heavily card-based game with a large emphasis on technology upgrades and research, all of which will be firmly steampunked out. Also, pretty much any conquest game is a "generic conquest game" with a shell of a setting over it. Small World could easily have a completely different theme if the fantasy races were replaced with anything else, and Twilight Imperium could easily be about naval warfare if you re-skinned the sci-fi theme.
I initially also planned on having a variable board set-up with hex tiles, but went with the preset board design because I can make it have a beautiful, old-world style map design that way (obviously, the prototype is not indicative of this in the least).
I'm still working out how actual turn structure will work, but I'm planning on there being a very finite number of things one can choose to do on their turn, so as to decrease down-time between turns and avoid having to deal with long-lasting player turns.
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby mgb519 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:17 pm

Armies shouldn't be able to attack provinces in chains the way they can in Risk.
Tzan wrote:
Semaj Nagirrac wrote:Well, I took some land without checking if it was owned by a faction or not. I'm not going to be banned, am I? I can destroy everything if need be.


That's what Hitler said,
in 1938.
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby IVhorseman » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:42 pm

Why? Risk is awesome because of it
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby mgb519 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:46 pm

I disagree. It makes the game too short. Also, it makes no sense.
Tzan wrote:
Semaj Nagirrac wrote:Well, I took some land without checking if it was owned by a faction or not. I'm not going to be banned, am I? I can destroy everything if need be.


That's what Hitler said,
in 1938.
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby Ross_Varn » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:03 pm

Risk? Short? >.>
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby jmatthew » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:04 am

I think I'm going to have the game last a set number of rounds, and the victor will be determined by how populous and wealthy his nation is at the end, so the entire game won't be based around simple conquests and who owns more countries than whom (although, that would be a likely successful strategy). I want there to be an equal focus though on mutually beneficial alliances and trade agreements.
I haven't worked out all the logistics of combat yet, but I'm not planning on allowing enough actions per turn to enable endless chains of conquering without other players being able to retaliate and organize their resistance.
I'm planning on each player having the same basic unit types, which will include (but is not necessarily limited to) infantry, artillery, air ships, and naval units. Each player's units will be functionally different though depending on which techs they equip at the beginning of the round. One player might have self-repairing mechanized infantry with tesla guns, while another might have armored rocketteers with flechette grenades, or clockwork zombies with canon arms.
I'm also planning on having a few unique "super-units". If one player builds a specific unit, no other player can build that same super unit.
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby IVhorseman » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:27 am

Ross_Varn wrote:Risk? Short? >.>


Seriously, this. Your average game of Risk is 2-8 hours of arguing and bickering over alliances and back-stabbings and general hatred towards one another as-is. And how does plowing one's army all the way across Europe and into Russia not make sense?
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Re: So I'm making a board game of steampunk empire building.

Postby enders_shadow » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:16 pm

IVhorseman wrote:
Ross_Varn wrote:Risk? Short? >.>


Seriously, this. Your average game of Risk is 2-8 hours of arguing and bickering over alliances and back-stabbings and general hatred towards one another as-is. And how does plowing one's army all the way across Europe and into Russia not make sense?


I've found that risk is a great game to argue over, because it takes so long that all of the arguments eventually turn into hysterical fits of laughter as people decimate each other for control of the world.
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