Upgrade Wars design diary – entry #3 – rule changes, card changes and play tests galore!

Now that I’m recovering from my bout with stupid, inconvenient and utterly horrible pneumonia, I’m starting to get some work done on several of my projects again. One of these is Upgrade Wars! I’ve talked about designing this game here on TC before. Today we’ll take a look at a bit of play testing and redesigning the prototype and rules to be more palatable and hopefully more marketable.

First off, I should let you all know that UW is no longer available as a free beta download from DriveThruRPG. The cards and rules have deviated so much from what was available there that I’ve taken the download down. That and the fact that it’s been downloaded over 100 times in the past month and I’ve received exactly zero responses to it… well, it doesn’t seem to be an effective vehicle for generating comments, suggestions and ideas.

I’ve had some great feedback on the rules and the general layout of the rule book from a few trusted sources who offered to take a look. That and more play testing have lead to a few changes with the game and tons of new stuff for the rule book. The book by the way, is available as a PDF on BoardGameGeek if you’d care to take a look.

I had a great time play testing this game with Scott and Jonathan during our 24 hour Extra Life game night. Feedback was very positive. A bunch of ideas were hashed over, and some could certainly be applicable to an expansion should this game ever get published and do well enough to warrant that.

All in all, I’m getting very excited about this game and what it has to offer! It’s fun! Everyone who’s played it have said something along the lines of “it’s not what I was expecting, but it’s a lot of fun!”  I’m becoming fairly confident that this game is good enough to start showing around. I’m certainly not opposed to more feedback, opinions, suggestions and criticisms – but I’m pretty happy with the way this game plays.

My mission now is to try and scrape up some basic artwork (such as is displayed in the card art above) – just enough to make the cards look better than plain text. Adding that to the prototypes will give it a bit of flash. From there, I’m hoping to order 3-4 prototypes, one for myself and several to distribute to interested publishers. Or, I should say, publishers I hope will become interested once they read the rules and play the game!

Here’s what the iconography stands for:

Attack Value – the damage that a War Bot can do.

Cost – how many cards you’ll need to discard from your hand to purchase this particular card.

Defensive Value – how much damage your War Bot can take.

  Goo – how much Goo you’ll need to print the War Bot or Upgrade.

Upgrade Value – either how many upgrades can be installed on a War Bot, or the total ‘cost’ of activating an Upgrade card and placing it on your War Bot.

The iconography is simple, and free (which is important to me) as I’m no graphic designer or layout artists. The cards will not be the prettiest thing you’d ever like to see, but they already look a hell of a lot better than the plain text versions I’ve been play testing with.

Next steps? Finish the design, find some artwork (I’ve got a few artsy types who’ve graciously volunteered their time and talents which helps a huge amount!) and then actually print out the prototypes from The Game Crafter.

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