Board Gaming, Game Design, HAY GUISE I MADE A GAME

Building Resistance to Chaos in Two Rooms on a Train to Numenera with Zendo: A GenCon wrap up Part 3 – HAY GUISE I MADE A GAME


“Science never solves a problem without creating ten more.” – George Bernard Shaw

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things, of gears and cogs and dynamos, of pressure valves and springs; what point there is to undead rats and theories of strings.

My regular two readers have heard me mention a few game designs I’ve been kicking around here and there but I’ve never really gone into it much. Always other things to do, or I didn’t feel I had enough to report, or blah blah blah. Looking around at some of my peers in tabletop game design, a lot of them also have blogs where they discuss their designs, their processes, etc. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but I’m going to try to change that here.

My friend wanted to make a game that was a deckbuilder with PvP elements (Plaver vs. Player for the two non-game nerds reading). At the time he’d never heard of Nightfall. I was interested in doing some things that had not been done in the genre so far, and also to build in a theme that is wildly popular but doesn’t get much love from the tabletop community, steampunk. The concept excited me and with the collaboration of a few friends , I got to work on Building Steam. Here’s a blurb on the game overview.

It’s the height of the Victorian era. Science flourishes in ways man never dreamed of just a century ago. At the forefront of this technological renaissance are the members of the Steamwork Mechanists Guild, an elite collection of the best and brilliant (if eccentric) minds of the age. The Chairperson of the Guild, Dmitri Zerikov VI, disappeared suddenly when one of his Chronometry experiments went wrong….or perhaps went right. He’s been gone for a year, and the Guild has decided to elect a new leader by creating an exhibition event for its members to showcase their inventions. The creator of the most acclaimed device will be given the chair. You, a bright eyed new member of the Guild, are brimming with brilliant ideas and the ambition to see them made real, but it seems that there are a number of other young inventors that have the same notion. The Guild offers the prestigious mantle to only one such inventor. You’ll need the innovation to impress the Guild…and the cunning to make sure that no one else can.

The beauty of all steampunk devices is the senseless complexity.
The beauty of all steampunk devices is the senseless complexity.

So what makes Building Steam different and not just another Dominion spawn? A number of things. In the future updates (which will be catalogued under “HAY GUISE I MADE A GAME” category) I’ll go into greater detail about the game, the design philosophies, successes and failures, expansion ideas and potential playtest opportunities. For now, just a few teasers to whet the imagination.

No Victory Points. This is not a “build economy, buy points” style game.

No Player Elimination. It’s not like Nightfall either. There is one winner, but everyone survives.

Building With A Purpose. Specifically, three purposes, that will change every game.

Asymmetrical Player Starts. Everyone starts off on slightly different footing.

Sense of Accomplishment: Initial playtests have revealed a few rough spots to be polished, but the game is engaging, full of interesting choices and most importantly, winning feels like you did something.

Would you like to know more?


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