A few weeks ago, I really felt like playing an exploration game, only to realise I didn’t really have anything that was going to scratch that itch. The best I could do, (coupled with my lack of self-control or sense of responsibility), was to design something new. The result – so far – is Horizons. It’s still got a *lot* of testing to go, but early results are promising.
In Horizons, you are part of a colonizing fleet, exploring a new land. Of course, each Captain wants the glory of the expedition to fall upon their own shoulders. The game is divided into two distinct phases – Exploration, and Conquest.
In the Exploration phase, you explore the land, harvesting resources (food, wood and gold) to build your fledgling nation. Once the final Terrain tile has been drawn the game enters the Conquest phase. The focus now moves from exploring to dominating, with the elimination of the first player triggering the end of the game. At this point, the Captain with the most Prestige (gained by Exploring, Settling, Trading and Attacking) wins the game.
- Are there enough Terrain tiles in the game? Exploration should be a major part of the game. Too little and it will end too soon, without enough room to manoeuvre during the Conquest phase. But if there’s too many, the game is at risk of dragging on.
- Should there be a limit to the number of units (Ships, Cavalry, Explorers) that each player can recruit/build? Or will it be self-limiting through the need to gather resources to recruit them?
- Players should not be eliminated during the Exploration phase. Everyone should have something to do right through to the end of the game. However, preventing players from attacking each other during the Exploration phase is heavy-handed, and unnecessary.
A lot more testing. It’s reasonably fun to play, but every time I sit down (whether it’s with my kids, or my adult gaming group) there are more questions that pop up and need to be addressed. This is only to be expected, but I didn’t want to spend time writing up a complete rules document while I was tweaking the actual mechanics and actions. The time for full rules may have arrived.
I’ll give some more details on the various mechanics and action types in another post.
In the meantime, leave a comment! Your encouragement is… well… encouraging.