Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Exodus: Proxima Centauri

The voting time is over for now and I want to thank you all for expressing your opinions. The space empire building game has now an official name and that is ... (drum-rolls) 

With more than 100 votes cast here, on Facebook and on BoardGameGeek forums and with input from our play-testers, the choice was obvious and also the favorite of the designers.

The story of Exodus: Proxima Centauri started in August 2011. While Warriors & Traders was printed in Germany, I was thinking of a new empire building game, similar in some ways yet very different. My thoughts were going towards a full civilization game with a powerful story line. I was looking through the science fiction literature and I could not find anything affordable that would fit my ideas for game design. I must confess that I did not have to look too long, because my co-designer Agnieszka is ... Polish. You may wonder what does that have to do with the game. There's a Polish writer called StanisÅ‚aw Lem, a visionaire who wrote in 1955 the novel The Magellanic Cloud, about a human crew travelling to Alpha Centauri. The moment she told me about this novel, I knew we'd found the golden goose and that I should look no further, I had the theme for the game.

This being decided, I started to work on in parallel on the game design and the story. Since I could not find an English translation of the novel, I listened to the abbreviated version carefully (Agnieszka had to have a lot of patience) and used it just as a source of inspiration. 

The first outcome of my work was the backbone of the story and the game structure. I would scan and post the first hand written draft of the saga of humanity, but I am afraid people would judge to harshly my hand writing :)
But I can tell you how the original structure of Exodus: Proxima Centauri looked like and what were my thoughts at that time.

Phase 1 - resource management with progressive tax, new players have time to catch up
Phase 2 - political - 4 laws to be passed by voting, one on Exploration matter, one on Technology, one on Political matters and one Election phase. The first player (Chancellor) would play a crucial role, breaking all the ties and all political decision would speed up the game, providing some kind of advantage to at least one player
Phase 3 - research - players could take advantage of the Tech laws approved during the previous step
Phase 4 - building - everyone could build ships and upgrade their weapons and shields.
Phase 5 - move and explore - explorations would be limited or enhanced by Exploration laws. All movement would be simultaneous, no turn order needed

The very few who have already played Exodus: Proxima Centauri will laugh seeing this 'ancient' structure, but this is where I started from and the core ideas can be found in the alpha version.

And to end everything on a bright modern note, here are some pictures from the latest play test in the Red Goblin gaming club in Romania.

Happy playing - the Council phase
The map after the battle - turn 4
1 space battle - 20++ dice!

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