Design Diary | Mech Battle 29/01/2021

ELEVATOR PITCH A mining site of rare precious metals was discovered and is now under contest by every nation that has enough money to fight for it. Each nation has built a team of giant mechanized robots to claim this site for themselves. Mech Battle is a competitive robot building game where 2-6 players each build teams of 3 custom Mechs and duke it out on a hex grid terrain with varied biomes. The last Mech standing wins.

This is a design diary of my thoughts, efforts, and decisions that went into designing board games I want to make.


Mech Battle Living Rulebook

Mech Battle Living Prod Guide/Assets

29th February was the first day this felt like an actual game. We playtested the new iteration with multiple changes that we had made prior. It held up decently, and we managed to get 2 good games in.


Here's an end screen of the second game. In a pinch, the game ended up being won by mining the VP.


Granted, there are still many unsolved issues, but these will get fixed with more playtests. The wins during this playtest.


Consolidated stats in the Graphic Design

With the new Squadboard design, the Mech data is on the right of the Mech. Any part cards placed there overlay the existing stats and build up Mech's general stats, represented by the bars on the left, with cubes to mark each stat.

This means a Mech can be deployed onto the field with 3 HP, 0 Armor, and 0 Load. Considering the new placement of information, discerning the cumulated stats of the Mech was much simpler.

Simple Player Action Choices

Since the last playtest, I created a simple action board with a single action token.

This allows players to keep track of and visualize the actions they can make on the board easily.


This is intuitive-ish but still needs some fine-tuning in the way of icons and graphic design. While the actions make sense in the rulebook, there has to be a way to quickly reference this during the game.


The tension of spawning vs building bots

It was a good decision to scrap having 2 parts to the game and simply start by drafting a single Mech and going full steam ahead. The issue is that drafting now took a back seat to the rest of the game. The plan is to make drafting a little more viable and less intrusive.


The immediate solution was to implement 1 free part card at the end of every turn, ensuring that players will have fully kit out Mechs in 6 turns without drafting.


Weapons and Ordnances

Getting weapons is also tricky. Ordnances don't do much now and SHOULD be playing a larger part of the game. Need to figure this one out.


Changes

The things I decided to change, moving forward.


The Spawn Tile felt too excessive with 5 spaces. Dropped it down to 3 spaces. Technically based on the setup, it should only be 2, but 3 gives a little more wiggle room if I wanted to change up the setup or spawning.


The Console needed some graphical updates. The terrain was updated, the quick guide to each action was added, and the Mech starts without the dodge die.

And the part deck needed to be separated. I've started getting a little more effective with Datamerge. Yay me!


Conclusions

Since then, my next tasks are to continue to balance the card powers. I also need to take a look at Ordnances, because they're pretty hit/miss right now.


There is also the question of drafting, and how the Mechs obtain their parts in the first place. Should the player choose if the parts are drafted? Should it be given to the player slowly over time. Then, are they allowed to skip their turn to gain more parts?


Also, the major question that I've been trying to ask myself is, "Is this even fun?"

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