Energy Independence: Print & Play

This isn’t going to be a very long post, just quickly throwing up the resources for Energy Independence so that I can enter it into the Reddit 48-hour Game Jam. So, uh, here they are.

These cards have been cropped for printing, so they are 2.5″ by 3.5″ inches. I create all of my graphics slightly bigger than that for The Game Crafter, but this game will probably never make it there. Anyway, to play the game, print out 9 of each source card, and optionally, 45 of the backs. You will only need to print the guides once though, since they are only for reference. I didn’t have time to put them together in a big PDF, but I’ll do that after the time limit is over.

You can download the rules here. Although it says so inside as well, you will need to acquire two dice of different colors, as well as a pile of small change to use as currency.

Alright, that’s it for now. Later today I’ll add a little discussion of this game’s development and make an official Game page for it. Maybe after I go to the beach…


An unexpected challenge, and an unlikely success

I didn’t think I would be doing another 24-hour challenge anytime soon. But suddenly the game-design subreddit decides to go and do a 48-hour Game Jam, and who am I to say no to an offer like that? Unfortunately, I didn’t really find out about it until it was half over, so it became my third 24-hour challenge. Luckily, the restrictions were much more inspiring than the Board Game Geek contest, and I was able to really make some significant progress very quickly.

The theme for the contest is “improving the world.” The mechanical restriction requires the game to involve a 2d6 roll (ideally on each turn). It is also stated that the game must be aimed at children, but still be enjoyable for adults. My response: Energy Independence.

It’s stuff like this that makes me realize how much work I’ve put into this stuff over the past year. I never considered myself an artist, but it’s getting harder to keep calling some of my work “doodles” or “graphics.” Self-congratulatory nonsense aside, these are the energy source cards that make up the core gameplay of Energy Independence. In the upper left corner you can see how the weather affects the production of energy for each source. The rest of the card is totally decorative, since the game is supposed the be for kids. And yes, I realize that geothermal energy isn’t usually a giant hole in the ground, but it’s a tough concept to illustrate for kids. Give me a break.

So gameplay: it’s important. At the beginning of the game, you choose two sources as your starting cards. Then you begin the first year. Each year consists of four turns, each representing a season, always starting with spring. On each turn you roll 2d6, one to determine the weather, and one to determine “demand.” Weather ultimately decides how much energy you produce, and is dependent on both the roll and the current season.

In case anyone is wondering, yes everything is balanced. With such a simple game it’s really easy to make sure things aren’t exploitable. Anyway, you roll the weather die, count up your production, and then compare it to demand. Demand is created by adding the value of the d6 roll to a set “yearly demand,” which starts at 5 and increases by 5 each year. This means that by the third year you will need to be producing anywhere from 16 to 21 energy per season. If the weather cooperates, this shouldn’t be a problem.

The endgame of Energy Independence is simple. After playing through 3 years, the fourth year is an “audit.” So far you’ve used your profits (energy production – demand shortfall) to purchase new power plants. During the Audit, you simply roll through an entire year without purchasing or profiting. All you do is add up the total demand shortfall that you incurred, and the player with the lowest value wins. Very simple, and, well, completely luck-based. I just don’t have it in me to create a complex, skill-based game in 24 hours. This is truly a kid’s game.

I need to do some housekeeping stuff, like write up official rules and prepare some Print & Play documents, but the game is effectively completed from a design perspective. If I were to print or market this game, each card would contain some sort of “fun fact” about alternative energy so that kids could learn while they played. I might even include that as an optional document in the Print & Play resources, although I wouldn’t put it together until the contest was over. So expect a quick little update tomorrow about the fate of this game, including some of the thoughts I had for creating actual strategy that were unfeasible within the time constraints.

Three hours in, and things are getting weird…

So I’ve been thinking about the contest for a few hours, and I’ve had a good conversation with my friend about it. We’ve ended up in a really strange place, but I like it a lot. I mentioned earlier that I was hoping to have two thematic restrictions, and that I was disappointed that I only have one. So I instead decided to make my own conflicting theme decision: The Founding of America. It’s going to be weird. Here’s a little visual brainstorm.

Imagine this type of game:

But substitute this:

And people like this:

So all in all, a weird game. I have some ideas for the other players (Jefferson, Franklin, etc.), but that’s where I’m leaving it now. Actually, one more thing.

He would totally slay british dragons. Incidentally, British Dragon is a steroid, so that was a weird google search.

New Game(s)!

So the second game from Reluctant Pirate Games is finished, submitted, and soon-to-be in the mail. I won’t officially publish it until I have seen it in person and can be sure that is complete and playable. Until then, you should head over to the Games page and check out the much more affordable (free, actually) Print & Play version. There was a previous draft up here a few posts ago, but now there are rules and a final version. Obviously I will be posting when there are contest updates, but keep your fingers crossed. This time I will be going up against a friend of mine, so it could get personal. As in I will personally punch him if he beats me. Actually, I hope we get to play his game in the next few weeks so I can post some pictures up here.

Outside of contest news, there isn’t really much to say. There are two games in the works at this point, one reasonable and the other unreasonable, so I expect there will be some news about the former in the next week or so. Other than that, really excited to have two solid games, and hopefully things keep getting moving at this pace.



Gettin’ crazy here…

In contrast to the lack of posts, there has been a lot of work going on here. Gathering is moving along at a relatively good pace, and another game has been conceived of, tested, and partially drawn out. On top of that, another contest has been announced and another game has been suggested and begun. Unfortunately, there has been very little graphic work. Here is a little bit that has been worked on from Gathering.

I like to think that these drawings look better than the laughable triangles I posted last week. Now here’s a much cooler update. The new game, which is actually a second entry into the mashup contest, is called Satellite Salvo. It’s a Battleship/Yahtzee game about orbital lasers. I thought it would be cool to make a print & play version, so this is probably what it will look like. Obviously you need the full rules to play, so I will put those up once they are finished.


So yeah, that’s what’s going on here. Hopefully our resident artist will have some of the art finished up soon. The initial drawings are great, but he would probably prefer I only post finished drawings. Stay tuned!