Archive for Turf Wars

More Play Testing: Turf Wars

Played two more games today (#11 and #12) and somehow, the secret win condition: encircle is how the win was achieved both times. Encircle involves surrounding a troop on all sides.

We were able to uncover the need for a minor revision to specify that there be a minimum of 5 exposed adjacent squares in order for encircle to be valid. One of the wins only required 3 squares based on the position on the board (with dead spaces also surrounding the encircled player).

Any game that uncovers something is useful. It’s also good to hear that no one is bored with this game despite the fact we keep making people play it. 🙂

Play Test #10: Turf Wars

We’re playing TW a 2nd time with the group of friends we sometimes get to see on Wednesdays.

They marveled at how much the game changed in the 10 days since they last played. They were also a little shocked/scared to hear that we had changed it up and played 4 times between that last game as well.

“We at Cray Cray Games are cray cray for games!”

So… yeah. The game ended quickly because a secret win condition (protecting the swamps) ended up triggering because no one was in any swamps in the 5th round. Something to look at… potentially… because we don’t want any too-cheap wins.

Play Test #9: Turf Wars

Didn’t I just play this yesterday? Oh yeah…

So, we’re playing with 2 people who last saw the game in the first play test session for games 1 & 2 on 4/14.

Seeing all of the changes that were implemented in the last three weeks, one said: “This almost seems like a completely different game given the amount of work that’s been done. It’s cool.”

Some comments were given on the troop-loss cost given to winners and discussion was had on how that should be calculated. Overall, there was no substantive feedback given.

Play Test #8: Turf Wars

It’s been a whole week since the last game. Shocking.

We’re taking a trip to Worcester today to see some friends who live there. Two of them have already played the game but we are introducing the game to someone new today. Yay! A fresh set of eyes.

In the process of playing we stumbled upon a bit of feedback regarding the priorities on the Action Cards and will implement that and test it out next time.

Action Cards
Action cards are how things are done in this game. Each round, the player with the First Turn Token (FTT), after the event is read and troops are added to the board, draws N (number of players) + 3 action cards. He selects the action that will be played for the round and passes the rest of the selected cards so that the rest of the players can choose their action.

Yes there is shuffle-randomness to what actions are available each round. This also introduces a little bit of an ability to be… cut-throaty and take an action you don’t even want to use just to screw over another player. Good times.

The actions are as follows with the following priorities:

  1. Place 2 defensive troops
  2. Troop Maneuvers
  3. Move to or Attack a Desert
  4. Move to or Attack a Forest
  5. Move to or Attack a Mountain
  6. Move to or Attack a Plains
  7. Move to or Attack a Sea
  8. Move to or Attack a Swamp
  9. Place 4 defensive troops

The feedback we received concerned the set priorities for Turf types. A desert always being a 3, etc., was favoring turf types over others because their numerical priority was based on alphabetical order.

In addition, the guy with the fresh set of eyes suggested perhaps adding teleporter-free movement around the board w/o using the current set of attack cards. That set off some discussion regarding how the game works, the intent of mechanics Josh and I put in play, etc. and in the end I took many notes on potential changes to implement and test.

It was a very productive day and the new person liked the game and looks forward to seeing it again after further progression.

Fourth Play Test: Turf Wars

We played two more games (#6 & #7) today. We only had four players today which was opportunistic because we could try out the 3-4p version of the game which modifies the game board a bit – decreasing the number of available turfs.

That’ll make more sense when we show pictures of the board. We won’t do that, however, until we’ve worked with artists to get what we would consider the final version of the art work.

Today we played with the 2 people who were involved in games 1&2 and 3&4 and even though it’s been 8 days (and 2 play test dates with 3 games) the game has progressed quite a bit.

We were showcasing the fact that a win-cost was introduced, the teleportation rules addressed and the board configuration adjusted so that the distributions gave no unfair advantages.

We played 2 games and there was no substantive feedback given nor issues uncovered.


Play Test #5: Turf Wars

Only 4 days later, we’re play testing TW again. Tonight it was with a gaming group we know really well.
We’ve all been critical together about other games’ rules, game play, inconsistencies and f’d-up-ness so we were a little nervous…

In the last 4 days Josh and I did some work to address some faction issues, teleportation rules and added a new event or 2. For the teleporters, since there were 4 of them, we made it so that each teleporter only sent you to one place – a turf adjacent to the opposite-diagonal teleporter.

Every round is started with an event of some sort. Some examples of events:

  • Attacks are prohibited that target a certain turf type.
  • You can gain or lose a round on the round counter.
  • You can gain or lose troops in one or all turfs depending on what’s happened.
  • Or, nothing at all may happen on this “nice, quiet day.”

We played one game and one of the players had a bad deal regarding his Combat cards as they were mostly 1s and 2s so he didn’t feel like he’d have any chance at winning.

Combat Cards
Combat cards are played after the number of troops are declared by both the attacking and defending player. The sum of the troops played and the value of the combat card played (0-10 or special) are compared and the one that is higher wins. Ties go to the defender.

The feedback from this game:

  • Figure out how to make game play better for someone who is the victim of a bad shuffle.
  • Adjust the teleporter-adjacent turfs so that they are exactly even and give no one an advantage.
  • A troop loss was suggested for the winners of turf wars so that no player could, through a lucky combat or 2, continue to wipe the board with the blood of the other players. Josh and I had personally liked that feature, and were still willing to think about it. 🙂

Ultimately, they liked it and would play it again. Yay!

Second Play Test of Turf Wars

We played another two games tonight. With 1 player (not including Josh and I) who had seen the first 2 games, we introduced 2 new people to the game.

The Board
I spent a lot of time on making sure that we got the board created this time. The board needed to accommodate 6 different turf types (plains, seas, swamps, mountains, forests, deserts).

Win Conditions

  • A player will win if his faction controls 5 or 6 (we’re still deciding) turfs that match the home turf as listed on the faction card.
  • We introduced faction nemeses as well. If a faction’s nemesis is in play AND they land the killing blow, they win.
  • We also introduced “Secret Win Condition” cards so that people without a nemesis in play could have another possible win condition.
  • At the end of the game (round 10) the player with the most Dominance Points (DP) will win if the no other condition was met.

Secret Win Condition Cards
Some examples:

  • Undefeated: If you’ve won all of your turf wars, you win the game.
  • Double Rainbow: Control 2 of each turf type.
  • Card Carrier: Hold one of each Combat Card from 1 – 10.

I created a simple 6×6 grid for the board. I didn’t like that board so much and had a brainstorm.

I then did some cray mathematical computations and used a Sudoku solver I had written in Excel in 2005 to create a 9×9 grid that introduces dead spaces, additional turfs and teleporters to enable faster navigation of the board to allow the possibility of attaining the appropriate number of home turfs in about 10 rounds.

Josh and I had many discussions over the last 2 weeks about this board and my description of it and why I was bothering with it, etc. We left it as: we can play test it and if it is too cray and doesn’t add anything but complexity, we can always scrap it.

We played the first game with the 6×6 grid and in the process… no names… someone spilled some wine on the 6×6 board.

We then played the next game with the cray-9×9 grid and teleporters and experienced VERY different game play. Because the teleportation rules were not yet finalized there was a teleporting frenzy and the distribution of faction troops on the board were essentially clusters of troops spiraling out from the 4 teleporters.

Despite that, and the uneven distribution of turf types adjacent to the teleporters, everyone liked using the cray board vs. the simple one.

Again, the feedback was essentially: still fun and it’s improving. Woot!

Inital Play Test of Turf Wars

We played the first two games of our creation with the working title, Turf Wars. And the initial verdict is, it doesn’t suck!

Woo hoo!

That may not sound like high praise but Josh and I consider it a win. It’s one thing to have thoughts of what would be a good game when bouncing it off each other and it’s quite another to have things clarified and justified and argued by others who were not involved in its creation.

We’ve uncovered some issues during the play and had some going in that we knew about given time constraints, etc.

  • The Board
    It wasn’t done in time. That was my (Phil) bad. I ran out of time and underestimated the effort involved in dealing with the images, printing them and then pasting them in the proper order on big card board. Ugh. We drew a board on my dry-erase tiles I use for an um… RPG and that served well enough but there were issues of fairness that were uncovered while quickly drawing it.
  • Retreating
    We wanted wars in Turf Wars, oddly. And while we think retreating should be possible, being able to do it at no cost was problematic so we’ve added a cost.
  • Dominance Points (DP)
    These are earned based on controlling turfs and is a win condition but we don’t want this to be primarily a game about accumulating points. We want it to be about war! So we’re going to take a hard look at DP awards and potentially introduce the ability to trade in DP for game-related advantages. TBD.
  • Faction Powers
    In the course of playing, we discovered that some of the powers/abilities we gave to factions were severely under or overpowered so we’ll be making tweaks to get them right. Tonight, we’re thinking of nerfing the Unicorns and Geomancers a bit.

We will continue to publish our progress and major discoveries during the play testing of this game.