The Process – The First Idea: Outriggers

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There is a bit of a theme to the first three ideas, and that is that they have all been borne out of dead games whose carcasses lay littered at the side of the board creation road.

Outriggers was an idea that I came up with my friend Wez. Wez is a creative genius who originally worked as an artist for Disney, before leaving to following his passion on his terms. The idea was for a game that focused on building a model that you then played a game with. Think of it a bit like Galaxy Trucker, but building a 3D model.

In short, it didn’t work. We were using LEGO as the basis of the building and instead of being able to play an awesome game with an awesome model, you got a half-baked model that really hindered playing a game. With the game being structured around the model, when the model aspect wasn’t working we walked away from the project.

Listening to one of Gabe’s Podcasts, I think it was the one about designing massive games with Isaac Childres, this game returned to my head with a new vision of how it could work. The model building is gone and replaced with a card draft and this has turned the main phase of the game into a deckbuilding/worker placement feature. I have not played Dune Imperium yet and would like to wait until I do move development so I can use the ideas from a published game to fix problems and not be tempted to rip a whole system off.

Without further adieu I present Outriggers:

Theme: Space Western

Story: You are Space miners on a backwater planet you need to scavenge for material, build ships and collect resources before flying home through asteroids/space pirates to sell your goods.

Mechanisms: Card drafting, Deckbuilding, Worker placement, luck mitigation, supply and demand economics.

Win Condition: Most money

Gameplay: There are four distinct phases to the game:

Phase 1: A card draft to create a deck of 10 cards. Players draft cards to build the beginnings of their spaceship. They draft cards based on the back of the cards (Cockpits, cargo, engines, guns) which determine the capabilities of their ship. The front side of the card will have actions that will be used during Phase two and powers that will be used during Phase 3.

Phase 2: Worker placement with deck building. Players will use card to place and move workers around the board to activate different locations. Actions on the card will also be able to be activated at different locations to provided bonuses. Additional cards to build players deck will be able to acquire more cards to build deck. Players will draw a hand of 5 cards.

Phase 3: Luck mitigation. Players will traverse a grid of cards representing out of space and encounter various events (positive and negative). Powers on their cards will allow players to negate luck if they have chosen the right cards.

Phase 4: Economic market. Players will sell resources in a fluctuating market based on supply and demand. Powers on player cards will be able to affect the market.

Extra Ideas:

Asymmetric characters

Legacy/Campaign Mode

Different boards for different planets

Boards can be arranged in different ways for different layouts

Event deck

Planet storm coming limiting the rounds of the game

Corporations/factions for different win conditions/player powers

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  1. This is interesting. But one phase will likely be more fun than the other phases, and that will become the whole game, if you trim it down well. Many popular games have followed this path.

    1. Good point Ken. Phase one is only meant to be 5 mins and phase 3 is meant to be 10mins with the middle phase being the main chunk of the game.