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Scraps: Game Dev. Diary 2 – First Playtest(s)

THE FIRST PROTOTYPE:

After developing the initial concept and idea a bit more, it was time to make the first prototype of the game to try out the mechanics to see if they could work.

A simple paper prototype was sufficient enough for the first couple of tests just to check how the mechanics would turn out.

Since most of the body parts and the card design was already drawn, it was time to print and cut, cut and more cut….. yeah, there was a lot of cutting!  Eventually everything was ready for the first play test.

 

 

 *Side note to anyone interested in boardgame design and would like to make prototypes: Invest in a proper paper cutter, and an ink conserving printer that can print on both sides… will save you a lot of effort and time.

FIRST PLAYTEST(S):

After the first couple of tests it was immediately clear that the game needed more balance when it came to the turn actions, so before further development I jumped on to modify the board, adding more action spaces and making some minor adjustments to the “science fare” action, initially meant to be a space to compete for events related to intelligence and technology while having the “Arena” for competitions related to more “physical” attributes; Now all of the competition and events take place in the arena, and the “since fare” was converted into a “market” to be able to sell the extra parts that the players no longer need.

Initial Board design
After extending the board

SECOND PLAYTEST:

After the board expansion and adding the new actions, the test result was satisfying, the game seamed to be on the right track so far. Of course it still needed to be balanced in many different aspects, but at this point it the game engine was already working nicely.

The main feedback recorded from this internal testing rounds was:

  1. Balancing the Body parts Cards “cost” vs. the amount of scraps “resources” players gain from the action.
  2. The “Body Parts” also needed to be divided into different categories to help identify the robot structure as making sense of how to build the robots, thus, a new card concept design was needed for 3 main “body parts” categories: Heads – Main Body – Limbs (arms and legs)
  3. The “Competition” cards have 3 different style of events, some of which require the robots to have certain values of strength/defense/intelligence/speed… these values are calculated based on the parts that make up the robots and they also needed to be slightly balanced based on how many parts we were able to fit during the game, and what was the sum of these values on average
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Scraps: Game Dev. Diary 1 – Idea and Concept

Welcome to SCRAPSVILLE!  

Scraps is a fun game medium-weight game about putting together different scraps to create robots, competing in competitions and events, trying to win the big tournament.

The game takes place in the same universe as many of the other games I am designing, All of which are different races created for my first asymmetric game: Dominance. 

Scraps is one of the original six races in Dominance, meant to be the “comic-relief” in the storyline of the Dominance universe, Scraps are a race of robots, living in a wasteland that used to be inhabited by primates. Generally a peaceful race, that go about their daily cycle scavenging for valuable scraps to sell, exchange for batteries or use to build other robots.

Scraps live to worship the glowing green rock! a radioactive crystal that emits energy… their source of life… in the game batteries are the most sought after resource, they indicate the wealth and power of each robot.

 

GAME THEME & FEEL:

I always love in boardgames the feeling of “accomplishment”… how the game looks in the setup vs. after the game ends… like in carcasone, Imperial settlers, Terraforming mars, Everdell…. mostly engine building / tableau building games…. but that sense of being proud of what you have “created” regardless of winning or not…. 

So in Scraps, I wanted to have players create silly, ridiculous looking robots, using them to compete against each other in the big arena.

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GAME MECHANICS:

Worker placement, tile placement/puzzle solving, special abilities… all of which to gain the most victory points through various ways.

Players will be collecting scraps, using them to build different body parts, butting them together in creative ways to form their robot… each body part gives different stats, either makes the robot stronger, more defensive, smarter or faster…

Player take turns sending one of their robot helpers to do one of the following actions:

  1. Collect scraps from the scrap pile
  2. Build a body part
  3. Install a new upgrade 
  4. Compete in the arena
  5. Participate in the science fare

DESIGN PROCESS:

I started by drawing the gameboard, which for me sets the entire theme and feel of the game. The next step was to define a grid for the player boards, and build the player boards in a way that the robots are hidden.. they are only reveled during the tournament phase.

After that I spent a lot of time drawing different body parts that would later make up the robots….. That took a LONG time! but once it was done, I jumped on to making a sketch for how the cards would look like, having the four different stats defining the body part attributes.

Finally, I made the upgrade tiles and the scrap tokens.

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