The rules are checked, testing is done, so now I can show you the fun that will come from the optional EXPANSION TILES!
These five double-sided tiles may be played in two ways: either as "Achievements" (which are point-awards given to the first player who satisfies the conditions shown on the tile) or as "Coffee" (which provides each player a one-time special power I'll get to below). These certainly aren't required to have fun—in fact, I wouldn't try them until after you have at least a couple games' experience—but they push your game decisions along slightly different angles.
After playing or watching hundreds of games, I know the narrative path that most games take. Specifically, the beginning doesn't vary THAT much from game-to-game. This is common to most euro-style games that build a resource base before making a "switch" to generating points, and Lunarchitects's first 4-5 turns aren't very exciting.
I felt like if players have played so many times they want something different for these early turns, I should provide—so I came up with these Achievements. They are shuffled and dealt 1 per player beside the board, visible to all, and are awarded to the first player who satisfies the goal... which means the first half-dozen turns become much more exciting, where speed is of the essence.
From left to right, here are the goals:
- The first player to fill up two resource-generating tiles gets 3 points
- The first player to have one of each resource gets 4 points
- The first player to surround an empty spot gets 5 points
- The first player to have one of each scoring item gets 2 points
- The first player to have three Astronauts on two adjacent tiles gets 3 points
Most of these don't give a ton of points, but they can give the early game an interesting direction. And if YOU don't claim them, an opponent probably will.
A fun note: you keep your awarded Achievements even if the conditions are no longer satisfied. For example, the 5pt-for-surrounding is extra fun when you can surround an empty space, claim the Achievement, then later drop a tile in there to activate SEVEN different tiles.
The idea for this mechanism actually came from the playtesters: almost every group joked that they wanted a way to destroy other players' buildings. (I guess "take-that" actions runs deep for some people). But destroying another player's building tile would be VERY harsh, and would come with lots of rules caveats. And currently all player interaction takes place on the conference table, which I really like. But wait, interaction on the table? What if one were to "accidentally" spill their coffee and ruin a blueprint?
All identical, one Coffee tile is dealt to each player at the beginning of the game. Each do one of three things:
- During your turn, you can DRINK it (return it to the box) to move one of your astronauts from a blueprint tile to any other blueprint tile
- During your turn, you can POUR it (return it to the box) to permanently remove an unclaimed blueprint tile from the queue
- If you keep it until the end of the game, you get 5 points
They really solve two things: it gives people a way to mess with another player—say, to keep a strong lead in Rockets—or it gives players an escape-valve for those times they REALLY want to build something where they don't have an Astronaut.
Story time: Last weekend I was playing a 2-player game with Enclosure as an end-scoring scheme (5 points per empty space in enclosed areas), I still had an unused Coffee tile, and it was near the end of the game. He was trying to enclose a double-spot (for 10 points), but I saw he actually needed three tiles to do it: one placed next to a Quarters to move an Astronaut into place, then two more to enclose the area. I was able to Coffee-sabotage a tile right before the end lap-line and make it so he could only take two more tiles! It's hard to know whether it was worth the 5 lost points (he ended up going a different strategic direction instead, getting more points in activations than if he had completed his loop)—but that's what makes having the Coffee fun!
Here are the rulebook sections on the expansion tiles if you're interested:
A few other news notes:
- The rulebook text copy is with translators, after final edits from editors. Final layout and imagery renders are in process, and are 95% complete.
- Demo Day at I'm Board in Middleton, WI was fun! It was great to meet some of you backers, and teach it to new players as well.
- Buildings and tiles art complete except for Backer Quarters: I'm still waiting for responses from some of the Executive tier backers to complete the art. Final premium print-and-play getting closer.
- A Tabletopia online-playable version of Lunarchitects is in final tweaking, all components and models are in, everything is functioning appropriately. It's now just a matter of smoothing the gameplay for the online interface. Familiar with Tabletopia and want to try Lunarchitects with me there? Email at firstname.lastname@example.org :)
Thank you all again, and stay tuned for more updates soon!