As I mentioned in the chat, this production is really good. The creative backstory is interesting enough that I wouldn't want to spoil it, but let's just say that they really emphasize that Roman occupation made life extremely difficult for a lot of people, and drove them to do things they're not proud of.

The main characters are cast appropriate to 1st-century Israel, which is awesome. The disciples (the ones introduced so far) are young and dumb and it's great.

The first episode is free, I'd recommend skipping the trailer to avoid spoilers (yes, spoilers!). I'd be interested in anyone's opinions! A lot of "christian" movies/shows are hyper-sanitized/unreal/terribly-acted/-written/dumb. So far, this one feels like a real story with real people. Just my opinion.

https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen/ will direct you to the channels. I think you'll have give an email address, but the company is not fishy. I've been using them for years and they're solid.

Teague. Why, why do you keep getting kidney stones?? That sounds like HELL

Very excited!

I suppose they could be, at least insofar as the actions they're taking could be done by drones. I'm honestly not sure how well "You're actually a drone" would play on most players of strategy games, though.

5

(114 replies, posted in Episodes)

Yes. Moving on is...please. please.

And I agree about the other thing, too. Yipes.

That makes sense. Incidentally a couple of the battle royale video games now (particularly Battlegrounds) might actually cross that line for you. They're (usually) slow start games, kitting out your avatar, looting buildings, getting progressively more crunched in space on the map until there's only one player left. One life, might last 5 minutes, might last half an hour....and still die. Definitely nearer that one life intensity.

I certainly agree with the overall "permadeath" annoyance at least in board games with several players. To Smithereens is only 1v1, so there's that. Once someone dies, you can get drinks together right away.

Or play again, because we've finished up and been like "Fuck you I'm gonna beat you next time let's play NOW" big_smile

7

(114 replies, posted in Episodes)

Welp the teaser's out. Looks flashy, but with the whole "rise of skywalker" thing I'm nervous JJ ain't gonna go with Johnson's "the legend is a lie and it doesn't matter who your parents are" theme.

Of course, it could go the other way and say the new "rising skywalker" is specifically a nobody with the "skywalker" mantle. Hmm. Here's hoping. Anywhoo I really liked the character choices of Last Jedi and I hope this one is good.

ALSO WHY IS "RISE" IN EVERY TITLE THESE DAYS

Aha. Yeah, that could be in insurmountable barrier tongue
While I totally see how that could be a thing, I don't personally feel the same way, and nobody I've playtested with thus far (only 5 people) have any issue with it either. That said, if there were a game that was metaphorically attempting to strangle someone, that might cross the line for me neutral

FWIW, I don't think that's weakness or being a baby. Your brain just connects strongly the idea to the actual, which in this case *would* be a horrifying thing to do to someone else, especially for money/corporate gain.

In my case (wherein my most frequent opponent is my wife), we are both very competitive, but we have a strongly-cultivated "what happens in the game, stays in the game" mindset. We do not get mad about each other being downright brutal, even dishonest (if the rules allow it) in board games, but after it's over, it's done. That intentional disconnect accounts for a lot, I imagine.

If you also aren't a fan of Monopoly for similar reasons, then yeah, this "attrition to death/poverty" genre may not work for you. But since the actual game plays more on the ridiculous side (just imagining these frankensteinian ships trying to fly, let alone dodge bullets is hilarious), it might not bother you as much as you'd think.

I also take it as no personal reflection on my creative efforts that you may not like it. No worries!
I would be curious to hear your theory as to why video games do not have the same effect. That's interesting.

Combat metaphor:
Primarily, we're building cannons and shooting (and trying to evade) each other, disabling specific parts and doing general damage until one of the ships simply can't take it anymore. The secondary weapons (emp's, Mines) are ways to do the same, but mainly in combination with the cannons. Once one ship is just too far gone, they blow up and the survivor can safely carry the exclusive data about the asteroid back to their company.

Combat mechanic:
If you have the means and desire, as the last action of your turn you can "attack" me. You declare a target part (say, a Container), and the cards that match the target's categories (in this case Basic and System) become "Hit" cards, while cards of the *other* categories (Tech and Tactical) are "miss" cards. I use whatever countermeasures I can (thrusters, card combos, etc.), then I draw as many cards from the deck as your weapons require, and apply damage accordingly. A "hit" will both do permanent damage (contributing toward killing me), and Part damage (a red token is placed on the part, and it is useless until repaired).

In the meantime, the Asteroid is attacking both of us in much the same way, just targeting with Basic and Tech cards.

10

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

I don't think it's just you: The Rules as are continue to be refined and (at this point) have simplified since the first post. They were pretty rough when I first posted them tongue

I'm condensing everything down this weekend. Hopefully it'll work better for your head. I'd like this game to be as simple as it can inherently be, while maintaining depth. Thus, elegance is the goal.

The simple overview is this:
There are 3 Mechanic sets:

The Asteroid (which gives resources and attacks players),

the Combat Deck (which determines combat results and grants bonuses to help mitigate near-death),

and the ships (consisting of parts built to actively or passively aid players in destroying each other).

The rest is details, which I'm refining now smile As much as it is possible for a person to just not be inclined toward certain games,  I've (tried) playing games which actually seemed like bad design using "it's just not for you" as an excuse rather than a necessary concession. In other words: I'm going to make coddamn sure these rules actually make sense before agreeing that maybe it's just not for you. Until then, it's my fault smile

11

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Update #8

I've noticed something. Putting together a game like this means figuring out numbers of things, and a lot of it. And for whatever reason, I keep gravitating toward particular symmetries without any idea if the end result will be *balanced*. The asteroid is made up of 54 tiles, an even number that I rather liked. Then, I had 9 good ideas for upgrades to hide behind the asteroid, but that wasn't divisible by 6, so I wracked my brain to come up with 3 more. Then, I worked the resource distribution so there would be an even 60 resource tokens.

Then I just *had* to make sure there were 12 buildable parts, of which 6 were Tech and 6 were basic, then adding the subclasses of System and Tactical, also with an even 6 distribution. Like, I forced myself to come up with the TactiComp *because* I just needed one more Tech/Tactical part to round it out.

Of course, before I was using cards, d6 were the combat resolvers, so I was unhappy with the 52-card combat deck. So I made it 48.

Point being, this game just gravitated toward multiples of 6 in my head, and even though that's somewhat arbitrary, it feels like it almost auto-balances the random parts of the game *because* it's symmetrical.

That's probably just because brains like patterns, but hey, I'll take it.

12

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Mini-update:

Just a refit of the card concept, now that we're not using the printed "Hit" and "Critical Hit" bits:
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/PBsyD9fJzJYRlBLcp93KDVTj9X8fRKZulOF5e87qo54JMWPEsTUPf6H9cGttn7aXZWMIhO0qLNO3FGKPgcaJ28_KpMtpGP21dMludP4ZlN4m-VXUVbwykqp9cO_VWoHuCari4wsYxnBBuWb3uHmgXkC_bR94wThS6Y29i2VSFHDQgCcMDqwBeH2AsZWTSDurbAvCtDS3mHInT2qfBo9sz_SK4LB9FrdjeKax9lSIG70smxctAPy06z6LNIRNst4DVNkfUITsZ7JWOOAP5Y64mVKvCvxVNA4fZ81ogW5Y0zas_2yPIfa4aRFdJKZG2whAuHuv6yQqaPTWy_AP7Aekm5pUyAlzvd8Lsig2ye6oWSP80z-XwLVa7-CXQlaCgC29Kez1fuxbA2q9P1LgI4sCaOluXt3jtTqbvLjdInnhObaMXNVUcaSisuO-ch2aVYO5rB3I4p3cqRM7sLMDuXXI-ohR4TQnwxJmLqxmyQVEYTk88emVet4eBUeoMgORxucWIO4AHTEIdT34mvGfdLuayVpaV01d58eMZL4haSRaoUSDTHIXHsAtr2EIujzPP7tSqzXco4qeeRpC-ilDPJr3IiBYSA_DNI02LM8qp1ftQtCXxgijAJEapBeAaLfTHMgH0rOOq_rAPFvjQRZ3IJmT7ZtIT0ArPeoAXhdsrbzq-bdUwrpqcj3BUGW8NVC5ZfwR4SQXFcPGzf26wjbL-EqwC-r5=w600

I think there's a tad too much space in the black section under the bullet trail, but I'll get to that

13

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Update #7
Played with a couple of friends who hadn't been exposed to the game at all prior. They picked it up pretty quick, and one of them beat me. While there is a lot of info to go over at the start (particularly with the different parts), they didn't really get confused anywhere and said the rules were intuitive enough to wing it. Given that they're both already the type to enjoy longer strategy games, I'd say that's a good indicator.

I'll be trying it out with a few other people, but I think it's worth planning on the prototype kits soon.
To do that, however, I have to do a granular overhaul of THE RULES. Make sure they are as clear and concise as they can be, since of course I won't be at every game play to answer questions tongue

This is going to be a particular challenge, but I look forward to it.

14

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Update #6
Figured it out! For any player attacks, the attacker targets a part and those components are hits, as before. Asteroid attacks, on the other hand, are more general: they automatically target Basic and Tech. So those categories are hits, and a basic/tech combo is a crit. Since players can't target a basic/tech combo, this actually gives the asteroid a bit of extra variance.

Played it, and this just...feels good. Feels really intuitive with the ability to target parts and hits being dependent on the target categories. I like it a lot. So tomorrow I'll start testing it with a couple of friends as an early beta. Depending on how that goes, we might be ready to send out a prototype soon!

15

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Update #5

It works pretty well! The color combos are great, and give the part categories even more use.
I modified the system slightly so that instead of all Basics and Techs being "main classes" that always equal Hits, the two classes of the *targeted part* are "Hits." So if a Tech/Tactical part is targeted and the defender draws two tactical cards, that's two hits. A critical hit would still be if *both* a tech and tactical card are drawn.
The two cards unrelated to such a target (Basic/System) are considered misses.

One issue that was revealed in playtesting was the fact that the Asteroid can't actually target a specific part for Critical Hits. I may have the player who draws the Attack token declare a target, or the *other* player declare. Not sure yet.

16

(50 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Been hearing good things, I've been tempted to try it, though it'd be my first game of this type.

17

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Update #4
I think I figured out how to do color combos for damage instead of printing "half-hit," "hit," or "Critical Hit" on the cards. And it requires attackers have more choice in things, so that's a good thing!

Here's how it breaks down:

There are 4 categories for the ship parts; Basic and Tech (Main categories), and System and Tactical (subcategories). Each part has one Main and one Sub category (eg a Cannon is a Basic/Tactical), and there are 3 parts for each combination.

Also, there are 48 cards in the Damage Deck, with 4 colors equally divided to represent the part categories:
Purple (Basic),
Yellow (Tech),
Blue (System),
Red (Tactical).

This is all old stuff. The colors/categories already serve as combo-makers for some repair bonuses as a player amasses damage, to help them recover a liiiiittle bit.

The *new* stuff is this:
Whenever a player attacks, they declare a specific target part. For example, let's say it's a Cannon (Basic/Tactical).
The defender draws as many cards as required by the number of weapons.

A Critical Hit is scored when both categories of the target part are drawn: in this case, a Basic and a Tactical must be drawn. Such a hit would bypass Armor and disable the Cannon. Then the defender would pick one of the two damage cards to keep as permanent damage.

If there are leftover cards (or a critical was not landed), these are hits only if they are Main categories (Basic or Tech). Sub-category cards only land hits as part of Criticals.

This means for a regular Hit to land, there is about a 50% chance from the deck (depending of course on which cards have not yet been drawn). Same odds as before with the "Hit" and "half-hit" printed on the cards. When a regular ole Hit happens, the defender either discards a piece of armor or chooses a Basic or Tech part to disable, then keeps the card as permanent damage like before.

According to a nifty tool I found called the Deck-u-lator, there's ~13% chance of landing a targeted Critical hit with just two cards (not far from a d6 crit at ~17), ~29% at three cards, or ~45% at four cards.

Those odds sound pretty good to me. And quite a bit more refined than my pre-game post from before talking about 3-of-a-kinds and pairs and such. I have to playtest this properly, but I think it will work providing the Deck-u-lator's math is right. I wouldn't know. https://deckulator.appspot.com/

But the advantages of this system are:
1) it allows (in fact requires) the attacker to target a part directly, giving them more say in the results.
2) Critical Hits (although rare-ish) can happen until most of the cards are removed into players' damage pools. But since the max number that could be removed until someone wins is 12, that should work.

Right now, the only disadvantage I see is that a little ship with one cannon won't be able to land a Critical Hit, since that requires two cards. Hitting a bigger opponent's armor is the best they could hope for. But, with a little working of the EMP, the Tether, the Mines, and the asteroid, that could be worked around.

Forgot to post this! I gave the message again a few weeks ago, sort of a sequel to the last one. It's here if ye feel like watching smile

https://vimeo.com/324431898

19

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Also, that was an insightful review. That is disconcerting mix of messages in the gameplay neutral

20

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Any Hit cards must be taken unless blocked by Armor, effects and all. Same for Crits, except they can't be blocked by armor.

The only effect players would get to choose is *if* they draw two half hit cards, they pick which one to keep. This still counts as a full hit, of course, but the effect/salvage can be chosen in that case.

21

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Such video would be invaluable when the time comes!

Update #3

Cards

Right now, both methods of keeping Crit cards in the game (either adding them gradually with the Asteroid attack tokens, or discarding and replacing with a normal damage card) feel kinda janky. This would be the disadvantage of replacing dice with cards in my particular system: that is, one that requires players to keep hit cards as damage counters. I'm very, very reluctant to go back to dice as I am a huge fan of the multiple angles afforded by the different card bonuses. I'm sure there's an elegant solution, just need to find it.

Additionally, I'm going to be testing special card effects soon. Hit cards will have total negatives (discard a resource, damage a particular part, weapon misfires at yourself...) while Half Hit cards are more double-edged (exchange all Rare for Common, or common for rare) that may or may not really suck.
Dodge cards are set to be more beneficial of course, though rare.
Crit cards are gonna be baaaad (leaking air, power overload, longer-term effects). I'm interested to see if these effects will clutter the game or give it more life. We'll find out! big_smile

Parts
Now to an issue that's more instinct, but may not be a problem at all. Basically, I'm worried that building parts is just a tad too easy in this game. Not that it should just be more expensive, but that maybe the prices aren't balanced in such a way that real choices have to be made.

As of now, unless I've been *very* unlucky, I'm more or less able to build every part I want without having to *think* about it. Sure, some games I have to make tough choices because the asteroid is harder than usual, but like I said this is more of an instinct or feeling than something I can point to.
I don't want to go crazy and say "Make parts more complicated" as they actually feel pretty good right now. It's specifically their building that makes me nervous. Like it should be just a tad bit more choice-y than it is.
*shrug*
I'll keep banging my head on it and update later.

EDIT:
Perhaps I'll have to sit down after a few more playtests and evaluate whether the parts actually interact with each other enough. The thing is, the solution is almost certainly not "make things more complicated." Strategic depth should (at least I think so) come from how simple mechanics interact with each other. It shouldn't be a forced depth by just making everything complicated.
Like chess (different type of game, but still): just a few pieces with simple rules, how they interact with each other is where the strategy comes from.

22

(13 replies, posted in Creations)

Congratulations!

I got practically nothing to say except it's weird being a moral conservative, fiscal liberal, and a strong believer that Sin is a thing that matters but that it shouldn't be legislated (unless it actively victimizes others, which most of the stuff the Right cries about doesn't). I can't stand the Right in this country either. I disagree with most of the Left's moral stances, but at least they're consistent. And unless they actually want to force me to sin like the Right is always screaming about, I really don't care if they're in power. 'Murica is not Christ's kingdom, despite how so many Conservatives act like it. I'm just gonna keep trying to love God and love others.

In the meantime, as much as I don't lose sleep over the state of the world (because I don't believe it's the world that matters), I sure as hell intend to help make it a better place as much as possible.

Much as I disagree with ye on a lot of things, you're still people. Hi!

24

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Further Thoughts:

Like the original post says, the game's mechanics break into three categories: the Asteroid, the Cards, and the Parts. Each of these affects the other in (ideally) intuitive ways. But I'll drop some overview thoughts I had about each:

The Asteroid:
Originally, the asteroid was just gonna be a stack of cards that dictated what players get: resources, bonuses, or attacks. Although this is certainly a simpler method than it now stands, it made the Mining aspect of the game an afterthought, when I rather like it as a mechanic in itself. The idea of multiple stacks of asteroid dirt makes for a level of strategy not found with one "deck" of cards: players can latch onto a stack for extra resources with the Tether, or drop a mine in one and try to out-think their opponent's picking habits a la Vizzini. This also allows players to speed up or slow down the rate at which the asteroid gets more dangerous by mining from all the piles instead of just one. The Mrs and I actually had a brief "alliance" wherein we agreed not to exhaust any piles for awhile, but still tried to shoot each other tongue
Overall, the different stacks give strategic options, but more importantly (in my opinion) they give the asteroid a sense of presence or location that a deck of cards could not. This is a game about ships, and since the ships themselves are stationary on the table, the rock they're near should have a sense of place (even movement) to offset the static nature of the ships. For a hot second, I considered forming more stacks and having a little ship avatar to move around them to represent the macro-scale ships, but this was too much. Hopefully the way as is will be a solid medium.

The Parts:
Each of the parts should have a unique, intuitive purpose, and even a secondary purpose to give interesting options. Armor and Mines are the only single-use items, and even they give extra purpose to other parts (EMP disables mines, and the TactiComp's defense option generates Power from Armor hits).
I've eliminated parts that were largely redundant along the way (batteries were for storing power, but I put that as a secondary for Power Cores and the whole thing feels more streamlined).

On top of the purpose of the parts themselves, the shape of Solar Struts, Splitters, and Armor gives opportunities to just make your ship look cool. Done right, armor can make wings, spines, or fins, for example. This extra fun bit was an unexpected result, and I'm thrilled with it (pending any game-breaking issues, of course).

The Cards:
These are perhaps the newest mechanic, and are in the greatest flux ATM. Generally, I want the cards to serve multiple purposes (hit declaration, special effects, part-specific salvage, collection bonuses, and damage counters) to cut down on piece count, and to give more strategic options: not least because the "collection bonus" is almost always at variance with the "salvage bonus" since you can only play each card once.
Small note, I've more than once caught myself getting excited that I had the right cards for a fun trade-in, only to realize this meant I was almost dead. Sure, I could hope for a third Adrenaline Rush card instead of just playing a pair...but it might kill me instead tongue

25

(30 replies, posted in Creations)

Update #2

It's amazing how much this process is showing how dumb I can be big_smile

So the cards work really well, but over the last few games I've started to realize that, despite Critical Hits being a 1 in 6 chance, we always seem to end up with them in our damage pool. Why? Because we can't block them. So we can block a lot of Hits and Half Hits, but Critical Hits blaze right through defenses.

This is all well and good. That's what they're for. But what it means is that the late game has practically no Critical Hits left in the deck! Because in this system, cards that hit you are kept as damage markers. And since at that point defenses are good enough for any one or two shots, it tends to drag on a bit.

The Mrs suggested a system where we start with fewer Crits in the deck, and add them whenever a black token gets added to the Asteroid. That might work.

Alternatively, my idea is to make Crit cards their own category: when you draw one, there's some sort of extra damage effect on it you have to deal with, then immediately discard it and draw the next card,  keeping *that* one (whether Hit or Half-Hit) as a damage marker. This means Crits (like Dodges) stay in the deck and gradually get *more* likely.

I'll update after testing these.