Hey, this is actually still going! Turns out that finagling a board game with many part abilities/bonuses takes a long time. Not that I'm surprised, just enjoying the process. Oh, also I can't focus on it all the time because programming!
Ok, so where we at? Well, it's adorable that I said "I don't expect the rules to change *much* before sending out test kits" because...wow. But a lot of the changes have been very gradual. For the most part, the core mechanics (asteroid, ship-building, combat cards) are the same.
On that note, the cards (I started with dice remember?) work amazingly well. They've felt random *enough* and had a good ratio of Hits to Critical Hits in every game. That part has not ever felt like it needed adjustments since they were first introduced. Using the cards as damage counters (and secondarily as collection bonuses) has turned out to be an inspired move, though I say it myself. They seriously add to the game by giving a player who's getting pummeled a chance to come back. Basically, the more times you're hit, the more likely you are to get a good bonus. It's a built-in balancing mechanic that has allowed for some serious comebacks without ever feeling unfair to the almost-winner. I really freaking love this mechanic, and if I ever finish this game, it will probably find its way to future games in some form.
As for the asteroid, it's basically the same, just with more varied tiles: instead of just resource tiles with a scattering of Hyacinth wreckage (bonus tiles) and dead exosuit guys (increase asteroid aggro), there are now Grit tiles (resource tiles that build up dangerous levels of foreign material), Shuttle wreckage tiles (tiles that grant a nice bonus *and* a drawback as long as you hold them), Void tiles (causing mass-discard of a whole asteroid pile), and a couple of others.
Just recently I've changed the function of asteroid attack tokens. Whereas before - if a player drew them - they would immediately attack both ships, now they build up and then unleash one giant attack before resetting. This helped the early-game breathe a bit more before things started getting out of hand. Plus, it feels *different* from just any ordinary attack, so that's a plus. This also allows players to see the odds of an incoming attack and prepare for it within reason.
So what's next? More experimenting! Of course.
1) Different system for asteroid aggro: instead of Saniss 130991 attacking both players at the same time, the aggro build-up can be *somewhat* directed by the players. Certain actions will influence the asteroid's attention to the other player, allowing for some strategy other than "Build guns and blast 'em!"
2) a pretty big shift in part-inventory: right now, each player starts with a set, equal number of parts in their inventory which they build with resources they obtain. I want to *try* giving each player only a few of the basic parts, and shifting the rest of the parts into an orbital "debris field" that players can scavenge as a separate action. This would allow for different strategies relying on attrition and force players to adapt if the parts they wanted have been taken.
This would be a significant change, but it will be fun to try out. It also gives a whole new set of options for part abilities/bonuses.
So, that's To Smithereens right now! Still iterating.
The main rules are here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aA5 … sp=sharing
The player handbook (parts, bonuses, etc) is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ttV4pz … sp=sharing
Why is one a docx and the other a google doc? *shrug* Don't @ me, bro.