A Few Insights on the Design
I want to talk a bit about some design decisions in this update. After all, I made over twenty unique prototypes with this theme over the past five years. Some of those ended up becoming other games, like Above and Below and Islebound. Most of them approached the theme in very different ways, and most ended up on a shelf collecting dust.
Why only eight planets instead of twenty or more?
One thing that I feel like I miss in most space empire-building games is unique planets with character. In the 4x genre, it's not uncommon for planets to be little more than rocky globes with few features other than a resource or two. In many of my Empires of the Void prototypes in past years the planets lacked enough personality, history, or inhabitants to help me remember them clearly while I was playing.
I settled on a smaller number of planets because it means that we can tell more stories about those places. We can spend some time on them, learning about the people who live there and experiencing the memorable events that take place. Does this mean that there are fewer spaces compared to other games in the genre? Not really. Each tile has 6 spaces, which in another design might have been split into 6 different square or hexagonal tiles. Putting those tiles together means that players can spend more time making interesting choices rather than slowly uncovering the map one tile at a time.
My favorite thing about Empires of the Void II are the action and event cards. The action cards were inspired by games like Twilight Struggle and other modern war games, which I admire for their ability to tell a compelling story in an area control game. I love the multiple uses they have, and the challenge of playing them in the most efficient way possible. And you can't just get rid of them. You've got to use each one, and when you find that perfect combo of actions it can be extremely rewarding. Will you use the high power number for battle? Or will you wait and bide your time and use the card for an action at the perfect moment?
Many of the design choices were based around player interaction. It's common in a 4X game to not have anything to do with your opponent until over half-way through the game, when you finally have that giant battle, which is something I wanted to avoid. That can be fun, but I wanted to explore a new angle in the genre and give players something different.
Right out of the gate, you'll be competing against your opponents and working on a strategy to get ahead of them. You'll be battling each other before even half of the board is revealed. The tension is fun and immediate, and that's the way we wanted it.
Alien Units Instead of Ships
There aren't many different types of starships in the game. We don't have buckets of generic plastic fighters or carriers or dreadnoughts, or battles that include throwing rounds of dice to see how they fare against one another in a battle of attrition. Instead, I wanted to give the alien inhabitants the spotlight. Each alien that you encounter in the fringe has their own power and special abilities. Some of these let you disable other types of units. Some allow you to move farther. They break the rules in interesting ways, and encourage you to make a unique squad of memorable characters.
Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of my thought process with you, and thank you for backing! I'm excited to keep working on art for the game and posting it in future updates.
Have a great day and play lots of games!