Picture yourself aboard a massive colony vessel; A space ship travelling far across the galaxy to a new planet. You are an engineer aboard this vessel traveling interplanetary. However, your ship is struck by space pirates/asteroid/a cliched space disaster, which forces you to your life pod, a single person escape pod, complete with air filter and all the basics you would need to survive.
Your pod crash lands upon a junkyard planet, one not fit for human habitation, and thus used as a dump for all the waste that this distopian, cyberpunk produces.
You know that the air, defense droids and any scavengers upon this planet will try to kill you.
What’s more, as you look above you, you see the nuclear Fusion Core of the ship falling rapidly toward the planet. When it hits, it will detonate, destroying all life upon the planet, yourself included.
Your only choice is to construct a vehicle out of the scrap around you, get to the Drop Zone and escape before everything that’s trying to kill you, does.
That is basically the storyline behind my game and how it fits into a cyber/future genre, as well as describing why some game mechanics will function the way they do.
Now, onto the actual function of the game.
MechYard (name still up for contention) will be a passively competitive round based tile laying game separated into two phases: Scavenging and Travelling. The game is inspired by Galaxy Trucker.
During the Scavenging phase players will (in real time and at the same time) pick up tiles, one at a time, and decide whether to add them to their Mech or to place them back in the Scrap pile. The players will need to manage four sides of their Mech (Front, Rear, Left Arm, Right Arm) and try to fit pieces together.
In a previous build, colours differentiated which pieces could fit together. During my pitch I was given advice that that would restrict my game from being playable by people with colour blindness, and I also have to admit that it was a bit complicated regardless. As such, I’ve decided to use lines; Vertical, Horizontal and Diagonal. Vertical attaches to Vertical, Horizontal to Horizontal, and Diagonal to all. A tile needs to be adjacent to at least one other compatible tile to be connected.
Each tile has one set of these lines in the background. The tiles that currently make up the game are Weapons, Shields, Boosters and Batteries. Weapons, Shields and Boosters all require Batteries to operate, and Batteries are single use only. After time has expired and players have scrutinized the other players Mechs (to make sure they only have compatible parts), the Travel phase begins.
During the Travel phase cards will be drawn which are various challenges/encounters that the Mechs need to overcome, or take damage (Lose tiles). The cards can be overcome using the different items available to the Mechs. The amount of Boosters at the end of the Travel phase will determine how far players will progress on a game board toward the Drop Zone. After each Travel phase is another Scavenge phase, and new tiles/cards are added.
A Drone has high firepower and is mobile, but is weak so it would take 3 Shields to take the damage, or 3 Boosters to outrun the drone, but only 1 weapon to shoot it down.
The game ends at the end of Travel Phase 3, and winners are decided based on who has arrived at the Drop Zone.
Current challenges are getting all the tiles ready for playtesting and making sure the gameplay is smooth and not jarring. Also, there are other ideas to add different sized tiles, different weapons, etc.