I am currently in San Francisco. If you want to do things with me, you should poke me soon, as I fly out on Saturday.
But that’s not what I want to talk about here. What I want to talk about here is apple picking this past Saturday with Ben, Simiao, and Greg at Simmons Farm (argh blargh where is the apostrophe?) followed by awesome dinner at Bado’s Cucina (yay apostrophe). And by “talk,” I mean “dump lots of photos of the awesomeness.”
Simmons Farm now has a $6-per-person-minimum for apple picking, which is crap. Perhaps that means I will not go next year. But it was good times anyway.
Yay apples. Yay friends. Yay happiness.
I have been succeeding at my goal (from the last post) of being less computer-y. Each day I have gone outside, at least for a bit, and I’ve also been reading a lot… probably more in the past week or so than in the past 4 or 5 years.
A sampling of books from the last 7 days:
- Eats, Shoots & Leaves
- The Man Who Tried to Clone Himself
- Henry Huggins
- Henry and Ribsy
- Ramona and Her Father
- Bear, Otter, and the Kid
- The Hangman’s Daughter
- Witch and Wizard
- Island of the Blue Dolphins
- Green Gold
- A Wrinkle in Time
- The Eighth Day
- The Optimists
- My Sister’s Keeper
So yeah, generally a very eclectic mix of books.
Reading for pleasure again got me interested in buying a Kindle (and Amazon’s timing certainly didn’t hurt). Still, after some experimenting with Kindle books, I think I’m too unwilling to be locked down by DRM (and locked down to a single vendor and device) to justify the purchase. Perhaps this will change in the future, but for now, I’m happily reading my way through the bookshelves in the apartment.
On more computery topics, I’ve also been doing some preliminary planning for the next People Wars expansion, and the future direction of the game in general.
There are a few mechanics I know I want to include (or expand upon), and probably will start doing in this expansion:
- Ways to exchange kill counters for points, and vice versa
- More ways to retrieve cards from discard, into the deck or hand
- Ways to drain cards from opponent decks
- Ways to power up existing abilities (along the lines of Trigger Text from Student Wars)
- “Addition” attacks and skills that are stronger when used by the appropriate characters (“+1 damage, +2 if this character is ‘Tartan'”)
- Character-specific cards (so something that helps only a character named “Tim M.”, for example)
- “Famous” characters (Al Gore, Randall Munroe, Michael Moore) that have extra traits but negative abilities (“Power: Save the Earth – When you exhaust this character, you must place 3 cards from your discard pile out of play, or you must kill this character”)
- Larger card photos, particularly with characters, since this both allows me to cut out quotes (the hardest part of making characters right now) and makes the cards more visually appealing
- More late-game boosts, similar to Anna’s attack from the base set that gets stronger when an opponent has 80 points or 10 kill counters
Along those lines, there’s a couple ideas I’ve been mulling over, and may try out in different ways to see.
- Multiple of a trait requirements – Requirements like “Technology x 2” were very much a part of all previous iterations of the game mechanic. People Wars kind of naturally shirked that with its location-based trait tabs, and actually seems to be working out better for it. Still, I feel like there could be room for things requiring “Program x 2” or similar. This could be implemented as an addtional requirement in the card text (“You must also exhaust one of your Program characters to play this card”) rather than trying to clutter the trait tabs.
- Dual-type items – Cards like “iPad” that provides computer and game or “Kindle” that provides computer and book.
- Attachable Items – Items that bind to a character on play, can only be used by that character, but that refresh automatically with that character
- Making KGB the “victory” faction – Each of the other factions already has a theme (Tartan characters can boost attack, Clustar characters can share traits, Kiltie characters can cheer). It would be interesting to make the “exchange points and kill counters” mechanics part of KGB. That said, I do want to see the game move more towards blended decks (as opposed to the attack vs task deck distinction that is fairly necessary today), so this may not be such a great idea.
- Making KGB the “victory” faction – Alternately, have special KGB cards that would add alternate victory conditions. Immediate thoughts that spring to mind are cards representing KGB events (Get Board Get Carded, Steel Kage, Underground Tour) with different (potentially difficult) victory goals.
- Locations – To further encourage blended decks, I could add a new card type that requires points to play, but that provides combat benefits. The initial thought was Location cards that played into a side deck, then used when an attack phase begins, that could provide offensive and defensive boosts for that round. Then again, this can also be implemented similarly with storage cards, or as events
- Game-modification cards – Add a new “Seed” card type that is played during setup and modifies the game in certain ways (for example, establishing a victory condition of 50 points and 5 kill counters for you instead, or allowing a predetermined starting hand at the cost of deck discards before the game). This would also be a good way to encourage blended decks. I’m just concerned that the game is not large enough yet to support such modifications.
- Another special item type – Adding a new type which is used for extra powerful attacks and skills, but whose item cards always have negative requirements (like damaging the user or discarding cards). The thought was to use the type for deck-replenishing and deck-draining skills, since those are both particularly powerful mechanics.
- Group characters – Trios and quartets, in addition to dual characters, would seem to be beneficial for task decks (both due to higher HP and larger trait selection). Would be an interesting counter to some of the attack-boosting thoughts above.
I guess this post was mostly a brain dump.
If anyone has suggestions on books to read, game mechanics to try, or feedback on anything I have puked out above, please let me know. :)