First Game Design Concepts

So I knew what type of game we wanted and we had rough concepts down for how to track damage on ships, so now I needed to put fingers to keyboard and generate rules.

One of the very first decisions to make was whether this would be a true table-top miniatures game (using rulers and such to measure movement) or whether I’d use some type of grid system. After doing a lot of research and looking at a host of games on the market (along with erring on the side of the type of game I was trying to produce) I decided against the gridless system.

So if I’m going with a grid, what type of grid should it be? Plenty of popular games use square grids, but that didn’t feel right, especially in a game where all miniatures are going to fill more than one space. The thought of these warships moving forward and then turning 90 degrees instantly for a turn made me laugh out loud.

The answer, of course, was sitting in front of me the whole time…I just tried ignoring it because I didn’t want my own many years of development of that game to bleed over into Leviathans. But after several fits and starts it became very apparent that a hex grid simply worked too well. What’s more, due the rough scale of the miniatures we wanted to produce (1:1200), the BattleTech hex-size simply worked perfectly (i.e. 1.5″ corner to corner). [As an added bonusit made playtesting easier as I could just tell people “go get a BT map.”]

With the style of board defined it was time to dive into the game design full on. As I’ve previously mentioned, I wanted to be very sure to keep the game on the simple end of the spectrum. And that meant keeping the number of modifiers to a minimum. Now you can’t dump them all, of course, or there’s no possibility for tactics in game play, which makes the game not very fun to play, which kills off re-playability. So as my fingers began banging out initial rules for playtesting I had a rough figure of no more than 8 total situational modifiers for the core of the game (enhanced scenario play rules don’t count… ;-). As it turned out, the first draft left me with 7.

To be continued….

See ya next duty shift!


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