Designer’s Diary: Dead & Breakfast

Hi, my name is Rodrigo Rego and it’s been 0 days since I last dabbled in game design.

Since 2013, I’ve dedicated almost all my spare time to creating board games. Some might think it’s an obsession, but as a result I’ve created some games that I’m very proud of, like Papertown, Copacabana, and of course, Dead & Breakfast.

Let me tell you the story of how Dead & Breakfast came to life.

The inspiration

The inspiration for what eventually became Dead & Breakfast happened around June 2016, while playing a game called The Little Prince – Make me a planet. In this game, each player makes his own planet, using tiles with roses, baobab trees, animals and many other things.

The fun of the game for me was not knowing at first how your planet would score. The scoring tiles, that are also part of the planets, show up during the game, so to begin with you want a bit of everything. The trick is, the most abundant tiles are also the most risky, as they can be taken away from the planet.

Your planet at the end of Little Prince – Make me a Planet

The idea of a game in which you start building something without knowing how it will score got stuck in my head.

So far so good – the ideas are flowing. A few of them keep recurring, and each time they do, they bring a new mechanic that might work well together, or a theme that might serve as a good metaphor.

The ideas build up until you have no alternative but to start cutting up paper and putting it into practice.

The philosophy

Before I go further, let me tell you about my game design philosophy.

I’m mostly a light gamer. I like games that are easy to learn. That’s why I put a lot of effort into making simple, intuitive games. Clarity (a lack of ambiguities and rule exceptions) and fluidity (ensuring every action progresses the game in some way) are as important for me as strategic depth and balance.

Those were the principles that guided the creation of Dead & Breakfast.

The idea

The initial idea was: players will create a building seen from the front, in a 5×5 square. Each player starts with a lobby, and each turn places a double tile made of 2 windows. Each window had different objects – in the original game, they were teapots, birds and pies etc.

Each time you complete a floor (a row of 5) you invite a dweller and place it on a window. It’s these that determine how you score. Some give you points for pies on the same floor as them, others for birds in the same column.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it didn’t work.

Problem 1: different conditions for scoring

But that was expected. Never have I had an idea for a game that worked first try. Actually, I believe that people who think that their idea work well the first time are not looking close enough.

The first problem I found is that the game scoring was a little one-dimensional. The only thing you had to consider when selecting and placing a tile was how to align the objects to maximize the dwellers’ scoring. The game needed another way of scoring, one that the players had to consider simultaneously.

After many tries, the best option was to create an ivy that would grow on the building’s walls. Each tile now had a branch of ivy connecting 2 of its sides, and on each branch there were flowers of various colors.

Each player’s lobby scored points for 2 different colors of flowers in your building, as long as they were connected to the lobby by the ivy.

It worked very well, mechanically and thematically. Now the players had to consider in each turn not only how to align their objects but also how best to connect their ivy. That made every decision much more interesting.

An old version of Dead & Breakfast: 5×5 square building filled with objects, guests and ivy.

Problem 2: the drafting mechanics

I tried many different ways that players could draft tiles, from the classic Suburbia treadmill to blind auctions.

After all, what worked best was the simplest idea, as it often happens: 6 open tiles in a circle and a pawn on top of one of them. On your turn, you must take only one of the first three following the pawn, and advance the pawn to the tile you took.

This mechanic fit perfectly for Dead & Breakfast because:

  1. It allows for planning: with 6 open tiles, you can think 2 turns ahead
  2. It allows for indirect interaction: depending on how much you advance the pawn, you may deny the next player the tile he needed
  3. The game would not need a currency

Problems 3, 4, 5… of course there were way more than 2 problems in Dead & Breakfast’s creation process. Creating games means not only find the best way around them, but also, being able to find them. Watch people play and spot the moments of struggle, doubt and detachment, and try to remove them.

But now we’re getting into the next phase, which is…

The balance

Once the general principles of the game are set, it’s time to play with numbers to guarantee everything will work perfectly.

I have now 8 games in various stages of development. Not one demanded more work to balance than Dead & Breakfast.

It’s 6 different objects on the windows. 4 colors of flower. 6 possible exits for the ivy, which might or might not have bifurcations. All this must be properly confined to 54 tiles creating a whole mathematically balanced.

Besides that, it was necessary to calibrate the game’s difficulty – place it in that exact point on the complexity curve that doesn’t make it too frustrating nor too easy.

At each change in the balance of the game – more flowers, less ivy exits, less victory points per object, I needed to recalculate each of the 54 tiles. This was by far the longest phase of the development of Dead & Breakfast.

The publisher and the theme

But why would a game about creating an apartment building with birds and pies be called Dead & Breakfast, you ask? That’s where the publisher comes in.

As soon as they took an interest for the game, Braincrack Games suggested the theme change: instead of creating a building, why not a hotel? And not only a hotel, but a haunted hotel? Filled with ghosts, zombies, bats and voodoo dolls, that’s how Dead & Breakfast was born.

Besides the theme, Lewis was a great editor, seeing the potential of the game and helping me test, balance and close many loose ends.

Then he found Louis Durant, who used his cartoony style of illustration to make a hotel that was at the same time terrifying and cute, exactly how it needed to be.

Cute and scary – the new art by Louis Durrant

Now, Dead & Breakfast is available on Kickstarter.

I hope you think that it can be a great addition to your collection: a game that is at the same time cute and creepy. Easy to explain but full of hard decisions. Good for non-gamers, but very strategic.

Dead & Breakfast

Dead & Breakfast
2-4 Players – <30 mins playtime
Designed by Rodrigo Rego
Illustrated by Louis Durrant
RRP £19.99

In Dead & Breakfast, players are tasked with building the most horrible hotel in the land. By filling their hotels with ghosts, bats, spiders, zombies, creepy dolls, and covering them in poisonous flowers, players aim to attract unwitting guests with the sole intention of frightening the life out of them.

Built around a simple but “deceptively thinky” (Mawhitec) tile drafting and placement mechanic, Dead & Breakfast offers players of all ages a frighteningly fun, brain-busying experience.

Why we wanted to publish it

Dead & Breakfast is our favourite kind of game – one that’s fun-looking enough that you could play it with pretty much anyone, simple to teach but addictively puzzling, and short enough that you can say ‘one more game?’ without eliciting a collective groan from your fellow players.

With a tight design and awesome artwork from Louis Durrant, we just know it’s going to be a crowd pleaser.

How we’re releasing it

Dead & Breakfast funded on Kickstarter in March,  for £8259! Delivery is expected in June / July.

A free Tabletopia demo of the game is available here (you know, just in case you don’t trust us when we say THIS GAME IS AWESOME.)

Get updates

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Announcement: FARSIGHT – Global Conflict

As interest has built over these past weeks in the world we’ve built for FARSIGHT, we’ve had plenty of people asking us if there will be a story-driven scenario campaign available to play with the core game.

So, we’re happy to properly announce something we’ve been working on under wraps for a while now: FARSIGHT – Global Conflict.

The World


FARSIGHT takes place in the future, after a period known as The End of Nations. After severe economic and political downturns, many of the Earth’s governments have been overturned by privately-sponsored, heavily-armed rebels. In the decades that follow, roughly 80% of the worlds population live as Sponsored Citizens under the reign of vast private military corporations.

These corporations are unlike those we know today: they preside over entire former-countries, provide for currency-less societies, and care for their citizenry: the vast majority of whom work in their military.

Yet despite this new-found status quo, nothing is stable: the corporations vie for more land and power. They fight to destroy the last remaining nations, desperate to wipe any idea of nationhood or patriotism from history, writing it off as a folly of the past. But more importantly, they fight each other: for borders, cities, resources, technology and personnel.

This is where FARSIGHT takes place – and where the FARSIGHT – Global Conflict campaign begins.

An early draft of the Global Conflict interface.


The Campaign

The standard game mode of FARSIGHT is a skirmish between 2-4 players, where they build an army, deploy them to the field, fight for control of objectives.

With Global Conflict, we plan to release online missions, with new set armies, new game modes, rule modules, and lore, giving you new ways to use your core FARSIGHT game at no extra cost.

Why online? Simply put, we want to make this campaign reactive: when you play a mission, we’ll ask you to tell us who won, where in the world you were playing, as well as other relevant info from your game.

We’ll then use this to inform who wins in the story, change future missions, and update a world map of what corporations are dominating in each region.

We hope that this campaign will give people plenty of opportunity to get involved in the lore of the game, and get as much out of their copy as possible.

Thanks for reading!

Play Farsight on Tabletopia!

Wait, this isn’t Tabletopia?! Nope! We just need to give you a few things before you go in. Once you’re ready, you can PLAY HERE

SHADOW MAP

Even if you ignore everything else in this post, download this Shadow Map and either print it out or open it in some software like Paint or Photoshop.



Drawing on the shadow map (usually located on the reverse of the reference board) is the one thing we can’t replicate in Tabletopia.

ARMIES

The tabletopia version only includes the preset armies: these are marked with Silver and Gold symbols – use the gold armies if you are playing on your own (2 player or as the lone player in 3 player) and the silver if you are on a team (4 player or on the team in 3 player.)

There also aren’t miniatures in this version, at least not yet!

MATCHMAKING

Don’t have anyone to play with? Post in the FARSIGHT group on Facebook to find someone!

RULES

You can read the full RULEBOOK HERE, or jump straight in with the quick start rules and use the rulebook as a reference:

Choose the faction and army you want to use, and begin. Each turn is fought over four phases:

– EVENTS: At the beginning of each turn, both teams roll a D6. On any symbol, draw and resolve a card from the Events deck. Event resolution guides are in the Rulebook.

– DEPLOY: Teams take turns to deploy one unit (battlefield (small) or specialist (large)) up to their limit – 1 battlefield unit per turn and 1 specialist unit per turn, +1 of either for every Supply Line they have deployed.

– Battlefield units are placed face-down on the first row of the board in front of you.

– Specialist units are placed face-down off the board and given a position anywhere on the shadow map, unless they are an assassin, in which case they are placed face-up and not given a position. When used, specialists are revealed.

– SPECIALISTS: In this Phase, players take turns to use all of their specialists of one type, before moving onto the next, and so on. The order is as follows: ASSASSINS, SPIES, SABOTEURS.

– Assassins — name a place on the board, a player, and a type of specialist. If there is a specialist of that type in that space, it’s destroyed. If there is a specialist of that type on the board, the player must tell you how far away in orthogonal moves the nearest specialist of that type is.

– Spies — have a box range of 2 squares in any direction. They can reveal one battlefield unit within range per turn.

– Saboteurs — have the same range as a spy. They can place a sabotage token on one unit per turn. This stops them moving, and gives them a -2 in combat.

– BATTLEFIELD Phase is broken down into 3 Sub-phases:

– ARTILLERY: Players take turns to reveal and fire artillery units. They have a box-range of 3 (+1 if on hill), and roll 3 dice, -1 for each casualty the enemy unit has sustained, -1 if it is armoured, and -1 if it is on an objective/forest, down to a minimum of 1. Artillery that has fired cannot subsequently move – put a dice on it to show this.

MOVEMENT: Face down units have a movement of 3, as do revealed ‘Fast’ units. Specialists cannot move. Players take turns to move one unit each until no more units can move. Put a dice on a unit once it has moved. No diagonal moves, and no moving through units/lakes. Units may rotate for free at the end of each movement. To engage in combat, a unit must be able to move into an enemy-occupied space, and move slightly into it to indicate this — once they have, the enemy is pinned down and cannot move.

– COMBAT: Reveal the unit if still hidden. Units roll dice (for diceless rules, see last page of Rulebook) equal to their attack/defence value, depending on whether they are attacking or defending, plus/minus any applicable modifiers listed on the reference board. Each explosion icon is a hit. For each hit, units gain a casualty: one token has both the 1st casualty (outline) and 2nd casualty (solid) on either side. When a unit takes its third casualty, it’s destroyed. After each bout of combat, units advance or retreat depending on who inflicted the most damage. On a tie, defenders always win.

BASES: At the end of each turn, if a unit is on a base, that base changes to that units faction – use the triangle pieces to indicate this. If the unit leaves, the base is NOT lost.

VICTORY: The first team to hold a 8 bases (or the 3 closest to their opponent) wins.

Farsight & the Art of War: Blitzkrieg

by Farsight designer Jamie Jolly

Throughout history there have been many military doctrines that link theory, historical knowledge, and often just experimentation into practicable principles of engagement. In Farsight, which is set in the near-distant future, players control conflicting corporations, each of which has assembled an army of both Battlefield units and hidden ‘Specialist’ units, to crush their opponent.

But despite its sci-fi setting, Farsight’s versatility can make a study of historical warfare useful. In this series of blogs we are going to look back at some of the most effective and intriguing tactics used throughout history, and how they can be applied to a game of Farsight.

Blitzkrieg was, in typical Nazi fashion, an unsubtle but brutally effective tactic employed by the Germans during their expansion throughout France and Poland during World War II. The principle was simple: a highly mobile armoured force forms a speartip that is driven through the enemy’s frontline, reinforced by aerial and artillery support. The armoured force’s primary objective is not to inflict maximum damage, but to penetrate the line, allowing the armour to follow through and attack support forces like artillery, and cut off reinforcements.

This strategy was effective at unbalancing the enemy, as the previously unified fronts found themselves split into separate encircled groups now harried on two fronts.

But rather than linger and harass the divided fronts, the armour avoided lengthy engagements in favour of moving swiftly from objective to objective. The key to pulling off this tactic lied in the blinding speed with which it was executed, and the apparent irrationality of it. This forced the enemy to take a reactive stance, creating an ever shifting battle-line which kept the allies on the back foot for much of the campaign.

In Farsight these types of maneuvers can be put to good use as an opening to your campaign.

Two units in particular lend themselves to the lightning war, the Prototype and the Assault mech units, both of which are ‘Fast’ units allowing them to move one extra square per turn. They have high attack values and can destroy individual units very quickly. In the early game, when Supply Lines are still forming and defenses are developing, the units you choose to bring on first can have a big impact.

By bringing a highly mobile force and concentrating that threat into a small space, the spear can penetrate the line destroying one unit and quickly moving on into the enemy’s back line where artillery can be hunted and objectives gained quickly.

This leaves your units with a valuable ability to flank or rear-charge the enemy, and support weaker units as they keep the enemy busy. The enemy here may attempt to react to the armoured assault, but if the assaulting player can keep the distance whilst picking off prime targets, the speartip can dismantle the enemies plans.

Countering a Blitzkrieg

Like in real warfare the primary danger to a lightning strike is the loss of momentum: should the enemy manage to wither the original impact, or bog down the armour by deploying with deep lines that allow for counter attack, the tip can quickly be blunted.

This is best done by having armour units form a rearguard to your force, close enough to reinforce each other should the enemy break through.

Additionally, by committing some of their most powerful and expensive units early, the assaulting player takes a lot of risk. Artillery is particularly effective at softening up valuable units: a concentrated shelling of the speartip can break the back of a charge, causing the enemy to retreat rather than risk losing the cream of their forces.

Off the battlefield, some well-placed saboteurs can cripple the movement of the units, stopping them in their tracks and making them even more vulnerable to shelling. For this reason the assaulting force should have a good understanding of the enemy’s specialists before attempting this maneuver: assassins should be used to locate and hunt down any saboteurs in the target area before the attack, and spies should reveal any hidden units that the speartip is aiming for.

Farsight is coming to Kickstarter this April. Like our Facebook page for updates, or sign up to our newsletter for a notification when it launches!

 

8 Years & Counting: How I Designed Farsight

In a guest blog, designer Jamie Jolly shares the lessons he learned whilst making Farsight.

After our last post, some of you asked about the difficulties of games design: the roadblocks we faced, and how to get around them.

It’s been 8 years since I began designing Farsight – it sounds unusually long but, on-and-off, it’s taken this long to get the game to where I’m happy for it to launch.

Today, I don’t want to do a huge sprawling encyclopedia of info, but share with you some big things that I found on the way.

 

The Idea

The idea for Farsight came from this idea of what a strategy game should look like, and not being satisfied with what I found in other games. Whether the game meets your ideal is not for me to say, but identifying what I wanted in a game was really helpful for generating ideas.

Do you want to be a pirate? Do you want to rule the world? Do you want to live in an underwater biodome? If you can find your yearning, play games that try to offer it, and come away disatisfied, you might have the creative fuel to create something truly new.

This works for mechanical design as well as theme. Do you want a trading system that really works, and makes you haggle with your fellow players? Do you want a combat system that feels visceral – that’s still challenging, but less abstract than the strategy games you’ve played? Do you love a game that feels five times more complicated than it should be and want to strip it down?

Those unfulfilled desires are a great catalyst for design, but remember to do your research first: if you find another game that already does something perfectly, it begs the question whether this new game needs to exist as well. There’s a fine difference between ‘I want to make a game that makes you feel like a pirate, exploring a new world,’ and ‘I’d like to design a game like Seafall.’

“Prototype” Mech Miniature for the final release!

Prototypes

£50 is what I told my wife I was spending on models for the first prototype.

Reader, I spent £250. (Hazel if you’re reading this I love you.)

About 5 people played that early version – that’s £50 per person, if you were wondering, and that’s not a very good fun:cost ratio. It had a 4 ft board, which I spent a day painting, and every time I tried to move it sand would scrape off it and cover my car. What I learnt from prototype overkill…

  1. Don’t spend lots on early prototypes – in fact, try and spend nothing – because they will change really quickly. Even that thing that you’re sure is going to make it into the final version.
  2. Target your design for the market at the early stages: if you’re breaking bank to create a game that will compete with £20 titles, you might be barking up the wrong tree.
  3. If you need 100 different models just to make it work, you’re stuffed. (Unless your mum works for CMON)
  4. If you need 300 pieces of unique art, you’re stuffed. (Unless your mum works for Fantasy Flight)

Testing

You know who your friends are when the prototypes come out and you ask “Who wants to play?”

The reality is, playing even a very good prototype game is not everyone’s idea of a fun Saturday afternoon, so to reduce tester fatigue as much as possible, play the game against yourself at least once before you give it to anyone else – even if the game technically doesn’t work with one player, you can highlight simple fixes just from running through some turns and moving the bits around. This way, you’ll avoid giving playtesters an obviously broken game, and keep them sweet for when their help is most needed.

Balancing

Realistically, any game where numbers or costs are present will involve maths. In addition, if you can get the maths nearly-right, your playtests will be able to focus less on balance and tweaks, and more on player experience.

I got around a lot of potential balancing issues by giving all players in Farsight access to the same units –  this type of design really helps balancing as it starts everyone off on an equal footing. With the custom armies feature, any unusually weak or strong armies would likely be the result of the player’s choice – not unlike a poorly built M:tG deck.

This left the internal balance between units, which did have to be answered in the maths and the testing, and a lot of ‘feeling’ the balance. Computer games have an advantage over board games when it comes to balance, as patching allows for compensation as the meta (i.e. The ‘fashion’ of strategy in multiplayer) shifts.

With board games, the box is relatively ‘sealed’ once it’s released, unless you have a distribution similar to a CCG – but even then, one unbalanced release can ruin the trust of your players.

If you’re designing a game with a points system, a good tip is to track more than just the score results from each game: jot down where each player – whether they won or lost – got their points, and map them in a spreadsheet. Later, if you want to adjust point values to create a tighter end-table of scores, you can adjust one column at a time, rather than play all those sessions again.

Cost

If you have a few thousand pounds/dollars, you can outsource your idea into a prototype board game of world-class quality. With it you could afford all the artists, sculptors, and graphic designers you need. However, I work in the charity sector, where there’s not a lot of money lying around, so I was on a tight budget.

I raided stock art sources: Shutterstock, RPGNow, Game-Icons.net etc. – theres a lot of good free stuff out there, but if you are prepared to pay even £5 an image you can get amazing deals.

Talk to Artists: you’ll be surprised how many people will respond to you and be prepared to support your project with existing art at a much lower rate than commissioning. Be prepared to share royalties. This is especially helpful when your game already fits into a set genre in which artists might be practicing.

Learn Photoshop: This is an investment in time, but for £9 a month you can have a powerful tool with a wealth of good quality tutorials available online. Some art, textures, icons and basic photoshop skills can give you market-quality game components if you have the time.

Time

Without having a passion for the game, no independent games designer would ever finish a project. It’s why I think there’s a lot of great games waiting in the wings away from large publishers who don’t take submissions.

I don’t know how many hours Farsight has taken – several thousand I’m sure – but it’s been time well spent. Not in terms of cash flow, mind you – the game hasn’t even gone on sale yet – and you regret it at 2am when you’re trying to work out how to undelete something’s head in Photoshop, but at the end there’s a feeling of completion. There’s no better feeling than having made something good.

Farsight launches on Kickstarter in April. Sign up here for updates!

“Somewhere between chess and Warhammer” – Why I Designed Farsight

In a guest blog, Farsight designer Jamie Jolly shares his experiences of strategic wargaming, and reveals why he spent eight years designing something new.

I’m not sure if this is true of more well-rounded individuals, but I’ve always wanted to feel like a General.

Sure, I might not be quite cut out for an actual real-life conflict, but the idea of preparing a battle-plan and deploying my forces, deceiving the enemy with cunning maneuvers and feints, leveraging the advantage and closing the trap, appeals to me. And if you’re reading this, it might just appeal to you to.

I’ve designed this game, Farsight, over the last 8 years. It’s a project borne from this unfulfilled dream of being a general on a battlefield: something simple and easy to grasp that allows you to use your strategic creativity, but doesn’t require years spent working up the ranks in the military.

I’ve been a war-gamer all my life and played just about every strategy game worth playing, but was almost always left with a sense that there is something more on the horizon. Abstract strategies like Go or Chess are incredible arenas for manoeuvring, and zone control, but are detached from any sense of reality. There’s no new or visceral experiences, no characters, no terrain, no unexpected influences like weather or illnesses, and all the information you need to win is right in front of you (not necessarily a bad thing, but there is a certain allure to spending time gaining important intel.)

Then of course, there are wargames: highly thematic, cool miniatures, and enough stuff to bankrupt even the deepest wallets. But, understandably enough, these big name game systems tend to be built around selling new miniature lines, hefty books and a design philosophy that says ‘the more complex it is the more strategy (and by extension, value for money) you will get out.’

In practice however I’ve found that what is being dressed as strategy often has the whiff of veiled resource management: each unit in a game like Warhammer is a complex set of numbers that, if invested into the right fight, will give good returns in value – much like choosing the right pension or building society.

In this designer’s opinion, choosing to shoot the tank-unit with the anti-tank-rocket-unit does not really constitute a rewarding strategy.

But above all, the complexity and time commitment can be a real stumbling block for those who just want to open a box, have fun, and use their intuition to win a fight rather than a pre-game hour of statistical analysis.

Somewhere between these two worlds I felt there was a game begging to be made – a ‘battle in a box’ – something that was easy to learn but represented the many faces of battle: the spies gathering intel to turn the tide, the rain beating down on armour, the decisive ambush and unstoppable advance. So I made Farsight.

If this has come off like a frenzied hatchet job of all existing war-games, then let me offer a brief step back: I’ve played a lot of war games of the years, and many of them offer great takes on the subject with different focal points and great game-play – but I wanted something different.

It’s a mammoth task to attempt to offer even a nearly-comprehensive war game that is still simple enough for players to learn, and Farsight is by no means perfect. But I hope that it is a step in the right direction, and more importantly, an enjoyable addition to this genre’s storied history.

To find out more about Farsight, click here. 

To get updated about Farsight’s release, click here.

Farsight: A Futuristic Wargame by Jamie Jolly

farsight

In the distant future, civilization as we know it is crumbling.

After decades of increasing reliance on the free market, governments around the world are struggling to stay afloat among mounting troubles: food shortages, rioting, global warming, and the threat of invasion. The world’s population is in revolt, and for most, the future is uncertain.

But hope is by no means lost: a select few corporations, each with their own militias, landmasses, and societies, step forward to offer those displaced by conflict and famine a new beginning. They provide jobs, homes, education, and respite from the outside world. They build vast ‘Safe Zones,’ and offer ‘Sponsored Citizenship’ to those who can contribute: whether it’s behind a desk or on the front lines protecting their newfound borders.

Before long, the biggest four corporations – Ares, Zafar, Vestus, and DAIA – begin to ‘recover’ land once owned by since-fallen nations, marching mechs and men into decimated cities to support their respective colonies. With the people on their side, the corporations slowly begin to replace the idea of a nation altogether.

But the dust has not settled: in this new world of aggressive expansion, rampant ideology and almost wholly mechanized warfare, allegiances are only temporary, and every weakness in the competition brings the opportunity of bigger profits, broader horizons, and happier people.

Developed over 8 years by veteran wargamer Jamie Jolly, Farsight offers a rich and fresh take on the world of war-gaming: combining fog of war mechanics, hidden units, dynamic and interactive terrain, and unpredictable events, into a simple and fluid system that will appeal to newer gamers and hardened tacticians alike.

Players control one of the four dominant corporations, in a campaign to control a sprawling map of forests, mountains, lakes, and tactical objectives. Everything from positioning to weather to terrain is crucial to succeeding in combat, ensuring a tactical implication of every move.

In the design of Farsight, a key goal has been giving players the freedom to be creative: unlike games with pre-written strategy cards or restrictive paths to victory, Farsight gives you the power to play how you want. Whether it’s tailoring the rules to your desired play experience or skill level, creating custom armies to enhance your planned strategy, or adapting tactics from history for use in-game, Farsight puts players firmly in control from start to finish.

During the game, players deploy and control two distinct types of unit: Battlefield Units – such as infantry, armoured mechs, artillery and towering ‘Prototypes’ – and Specialists – such as Spies, Saboteurs, Seers and Assassins.

Battlefield Units are deployed directly to the map: engaging with the enemy, using the terrain to their advantage, taking casualties, and reacting to battlefield events such as blizzards or fog. They’re the bread and butter of any army: capturing the objectives needed to win the game, and defending your territory from the enemy.

Specialists, whilst much more subtle, are just as crucial to victory. Deployed to the shadowmap (a hidden board that relates to the map itself,) Specialists do not move, but offer unique abilities, such as predicting events, sabotaging enemy units, spying on your opponent, or hunting enemy specialists.

Information is a big step towards effective strategy: battlefield units are deployed face-down, appearing as mere blips on the radar until they are engaged or spied upon. Deploying spies to reveal enemy units early on allows you to plan ahead, intercepting powerful units and maneuvering to destroy their supports ahead of time.

Once you’ve held 8 bases for a whole turn – or the 3 closest bases to the enemy for one turn – your corporation claims their dominance, and has won the battle… for now.

With plans for an expansive and interactive online campaign series, telling an evolving story and giving you new ways you use your core set, Farsight is set to be a grand new adventure for all of us here at Braincrack, and for all of you as well.

To stay updated on Farsight and all things Braincrack Games, sign up to our newsletter here, or like us on Facebook here.

Good hunting!

BoardGameGeek

Farsight Wiki

Pre-order Here!

Mined Out! Strategy Guide

Nothing sucks worse than being bad at the game you’ve just shown your friends, so we thought it might be good to give you guys the inside loop on how to build a winning strategy in Mined Out!

In the game, there are a lot of things to consider to win – and although players compete in their own individual mines, watching other players and forming a strategy that can be pulled off before they end the game is an important skill to have.

But we’ll look more at that later on – first, let’s look at the easiest way you can get points in Mined Out!

EXPLORATION!

At the end of each game, you can earn two points for each card in your mine that hasn’t collapsed – essentially meaning that you can simply walk the length and breadth of your mine without mining anything and still get a nice 24 points at the end. If you pick up a few gems along the way, this can quickly boost – but unless you spend gems to get supports or upgrades, you might find that this is not enough to beat the competition.

SUPPORTS

Supports will help you get gems from the two cards that a single support is adjacent to – meaning that the potential haul from those cards is infinite, as long as nobody drops any dynamite on them. Each support costs two yellow gems – a potential of 4 points, which may seem like a lot, but is won back by securing two mine cards, and any gems that you pick up from those cards after the support is placed. And if an enemy chooses to throw dynamite at your card – well, you’ve lost 2 points, but so have they! And the support will still hold up the other adjacent card!

GEMS

Gems are the bread and butter of Mined Out, and will give you a lot of the information that will help you make your decisions during the game. For instance – if you only see one green gem (one point) on a card, you might skip it, and choose to keep that card uncollapsed for two points. But the two biggest facets to understanding gems are knowing where they might be, and knowing when to use them:

There are gems of all types on every layer of the mine – i.e. if you’re lucky enough, you can find yellow and red gems on the top layer, and green gems at the bottom – but you might as well find only one or two gems on a card. Averages of each gem and gem density are distributed unevenly between layers, with each colour gem appearing more frequently on it’s own row, and gems generally becoming denser towards the bottom. Statistically speaking, you will always need to look around for the gems that you need, but will very rarely not be able to find the right ones anywhere.

In terms of spending gems on upgrades, the point return on an upgrade will always be one less than the gems spent – for example, if you spent the green and red gem required to buy a shovel (together worth 4 points) the shovel itself is only worth 3. Considering the action points required to buy an upgrade, this may sound like a bad deal, but each upgrade can give you a cutting edge towards winning the game.

UPGRADES

The other thing to consider when buying upgrades is the order in which you buy them, as this can form one of the biggest parts of your strategy.

Simpy put, there are three categories of upgrade, with the humble shovel falling into two of them:

Movement: The Shovel and Ladder upgrades have an emphasis on movement, helping you move down for 1 point instead of two, and allowing you to move upwards respectively. These two cards are good for two general strategies: getting to the bottom, where you’re more likely to find red gems, and giving yourself better access to the gems needed to buy upgrades, if you want to rush to the finish line.

Efficiency: The Shovel and Coffee both allow you to do things faster than usual or in less time (depending on how you look at it) meaning they’re great for both Rush-based and Exploration-based strategies. The Coffee is expensive, but if you can time it just right, it will allow you to get the most point-potential out of your mine whilst your competitors are still grinding away!

GEMZ: During the game, it’s a totally legitimate strategy to want to just hoard your gems forever – but if you want to do this, the Mine Cart is a wise investment, especially early on. Simply put, the Mine Cart allows you to hold 10 of each gem, rather than 6, meaning that if you can fill up your inventory (which is possible!) you can get – wait for it – 60 points worth of gems. Which is a LOT.

DYNAMITE

If there’s a double-edged sword in Mined Out, then dynamite is it – when you use dynamite on an opponent’s card, they will lose the two points that uncollapsed card will have gained them, but you will lose the two points that the dynamite will have given you. In addition, most games that use dynamite end in retaliation – which can be devastating unless your strategy is bulletproof.

However, timing your dynamite use can be important in stopping other players from getting a quick advantage on you. Maybe they’ve just uncovered a card with all three types of gem on it, or they’ve supported two cards with lots of valuable gems on them. Whether you’re using it to stop people stacking up too many gems, or finishing the game early, timing your dynamite use is crucial to making it effective.

 

Want to get a copy of Mined Out! Find us here, on Kickstarter!