Author Topic: Natural Selection  (Read 1869 times)


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Natural Selection
« on: May 09, 2014, 05:01:41 PM »
A working title thus far, Natural Selection is a board game that I've been working on for some time now.  From June 12th-15th, I'll be at Origins in Columbus, Ohio, playtesting and (hopefully) getting feedback from as many people as possible.  I have a coupe contacts in publishing who will be in attendance, but the game really isn't ready to be presented without more (unbiased) testing.

The concept is fairly straightforward: Natural Selection is a destruction derby game for 3-6 players (I am tinkering with a working set of rules for 2 people, but the way the balance is currently, I am finding it a little difficult) in which each player builds a robot from a pool of Aspect cards.  Aspect cards are Attack, Body and Movement cards where specific Traits are listed, along with a point value for the card itself.  Each player has 20 Evolution Points (EP) to build their creation.  In addition to the three listed Aspects, there are multiple Modifications that a player may purchase in order to further specialize their robot, such as a Chlorophyll Burst which causes a 3 hex AOE Entangle. (nothing directly damaging).

There are two twists.  First, there are 54 Aspect cards, broken down to 18 of each Attack, Body and Movement.  If more than one player wants a specific card, the players involved decide just how many EPs they are willing to part with in order to build.  Pay more for the part you -really- want and you may not have enough points to pick up any Modifications, or, possibly much worse, you won't have enough points to actually buy one of each Aspect.  The robots come with Base level Aspects, so it's not the end of the world.

The second wrinkle is that, as the name implies, the parts are animal in nature.  Specifically, they are animal, insect, reptile and amphibian.  Yes, you are building giant robots out of giant animal robot parts.  I have gone to pretty good lengths to have chosen creatures that have, at minimum, two fairly decent Aspects which give interesting Traits.

A full list of creatures is as follows:
Bombardier Beetle
Gila Monster
Grizzly Bear
King Crab
Poison Arrow Frog
Snapping Turtle
Spitting Spider
Trapdoor Spider

As the game style dictates, this is a destruction derby.  You are going to be ramming your robot (named Genetech.  Yes, I made a play on the words "genetic" and "technology") into the other Genetechs; but, in addition to the ramming attack, all Attack Aspects come with either a Melee attack or Ranged attack.  Ranged attacks are far fewer and far more expensive than Melee for, hopefully, obvious reasons. 

There are two rounds to the game, split by a halftime called Reboot.  Each round consists of 5 turns (currently fluctuating as more and more testing comes into play), where the players attempt to do as much damage as possible to the other Genetechs, as damaging and incapacitating the other robots is how you acquire more Evolution Points.

Evolution Points are a multipurpose pool system, in that, as mentioned earlier, you begin the game with 20 to build.  You can save some if you like, or spend them all.  You gain by inflicting punishment on other people.  You may spend them during the turns to buy more action points, in this case called Imperative Points (Genetic Imperative!  Another genetics mention!), you may spend them during Reboot to repair damage--hit points, speed and armor-- or hoard them until the end.  Whomever has the most points at the end wins.

In regards to incapacitation, I think it might be far to say that most people don't like being knocked out of a game early, especially in the first few turns, even if the game doesn't usually take more than half an hour.  Hence, I have rules for Jury Rigging.  When you get knocked to 0 or fewer hit points, on your next available turn, you may spend 3 (you normally only have 3, but there are Aspects which give more) Imperative Points to regain 3 hit points.  There are also downsides to this.  The first is that you move to the end of the turn order, which is helpful so that you won't be immediately attacked the same turn you got back up from the dirt.  The second penalty is that you lose the use of a standard d6 (you play with 2 green d6) in lieu of a d6 that will give you a lower die total.  Use Jury Rigging again and now you've got both d6 as the lesser.  Need it again?  You grab an even worse d6.  A fourth time?  Both your dice are "bad".  The good news is that after the fourth, you really can't be penalized anymore than that!  Yay?

So, there it is in a long, rambling post.  Natural Selection.  I currently have someone from England working on concept art for free!  He's trying to get into the gaming business and needs to expand his portfolio, so he offered to do work for me.  Win-win.  I've gotten the dice, Aspect cards and player boards finalized and ready to print.  Modification cards and player markers are going to be finalized this weekend and the player board is currently a 16mm vinyl map glued to a piece of foam board.  I'm going to be using 25mm hexes and need to get that finished up.

All in all, I've got most of the work done, just need to put "finishing" touches on the playtest materials.
I think Duncan looks like a tiny little girl.

But, seriously, my excitement for this game grows with each passing week.  Like a fetus.

What I'm telling you guys is that I'm pregnant with MERCS' baby.  I hope it's a tailless.