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An epic space adventure where you explore any planetary system and experience everything from alien life discovery to warp romances.
An epic space adventure where you explore any planetary system and experience everything from alien life discovery to warp romances.
An epic space adventure where you explore any planetary system and experience everything from alien life discovery to warp romances.
389 backers pledged $29,511 to help bring this project to life.

Expedition Zetta: Day 3

Posted by Leo Borg
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Good news!

We have during the last 24 hours hit and exceeded 50% funding of the project, and at the moment of this update is getting published we are at 55%. So if we continue on we could reach 60% within the next day, or even more if we are lucky.

In this update (after the main part) you can read the first part of Jon Manker's, the designer of Expedition Zetta, designer diary about the design process of the game. The first part is about the Zetta PSG - Zetta Planetary System Generator. These are part from Jon's blog over att Boardgamegeek.

During the last two days we have sent out information about this new campaign to backers of our earlier kickstarters as well as spread the word about the campaign on different channels we have used before, including our own channels. Within the next couple of days we will have an ad campaign running on Boardgamegeek, so hopefully some new potential crew of Expedition Zetta will see and hear about the project. The more people who join us early on the more potential there is for more stretch goals being locked up during the campaign.

We have been called to attention that maybe we needed to expose the reviews better on the main campaign page. To fix this we have added the video review of Undead Viking directly under the quote. If you missed the video here it is also:

Review from Undead Viking:

After these last words for today follows the first part of Jon Manker's design diary.

Good work everyone and thank you for following us on the venture!

/ The team of Expedition Zetta

Expedition Zetta Design Diary #1 - The Zetta PSG Design Process

It was an article about how many stars there are in the universe that sparked the idea for Expedition Zetta. In it they spoke about that the Universe now is thought to have 10²² which was a thousand times more than previous estimates. A thousand times more is insanely much, I thought, but still both figures are impossible to grasp so what's the difference really. But the I realized that you can actually design a game system where you, (at least physically) grasp this number, by using 11d100s. So, now all I had to do was to figure out a game to use it in

The very first Zetta PSG randomization during the first real playtest session of Expedition Zetta (then under the working title EXO)
The very first Zetta PSG randomization during the first real playtest session of Expedition Zetta (then under the working title EXO)

 

 In a way it was a better feeling to roll 22 dice but it also made the reading of them more difficult. A lot of fiddling to pair them together, a lot more risk of accidentally change their numbers. And it was a more challenging design task to make a component where you read the result. The first idea was to make a tabbed book that had 11 tabs and 100 pages on each tab. This would have been a nice, but (as playtests proved) a very clumsy component to use.

The first working Zetta PSG with tabs and d100s
The first working Zetta PSG with tabs and d100s

But the tabbed solution stuck for a while and I actually went on to ask manufacturers about the production cost for such an item. The answer was another heavy argument against it

I had developed the tabs prototype a few steps along the way. This is how it locked when I decided to go for other solutions.
I had developed the tabs prototype a few steps along the way. This is how it locked when I decided to go for other solutions.

As someone who played a lot of tabletop boardgames during the 1980’s I have no problem with reading long tables, I actually find it fun. Once when I was designing things to my role-playing group I actually designed a random discovery table that had 1000 rows, to be used with a d1000 So my next solution was a 100-row table where you could read all the results in 11 rows.

The d100-table version of the Zetta PSG
The d100-table version of the Zetta PSG

This was in a way much easier to handle than the tabbed book, but at the same time it was difficult to read, even to me. We tried to make it into something anybody could read using layout tricks, but we never managed to get it to work. Instead I went in the direction of cards. So the table was transformed into 11 decks with 11 cards each. This was a very good solution since it made the Zetta SSG much more user friendly.

The Zetta PSG in 11d10 card version
The Zetta PSG in 11d10 card version

The first versions of the cards worked well but other problems in the design made me change it over time. It was clear that 3 values per card (one modifier per discovery type) was too much information. And external factors also kicked in. I realized that the estimation about how many stars there are in the Universe had shifted upwards, to 6x10²³. I made changes, modified the number of values per card to just one and spread it evenly between the 3 discovery types. And I changed the Zetta PSG to instead use 11d12's and 11 decks of 6 double sided cards (12 cards per die) to make it approximately 6x10²³ combinations. This is the version used today.

The very first warp using the new d12 version of the Zeta PSG.
The very first warp using the new d12 version of the Zeta PSG.

There has been numerous smaller tweaks and layout decisions along the way but this was a short description of the major game design decisions involved in the Zetta SSG. Hope you enjoyed it.

That's all for now. Thank you for reading this. Board game design on!

Lars Backstrom, Leo Borg, and 8 more people like this update.

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