Wow, thats a post title! Well, first of all: Im very busy with my main project (gods & minions) ATM, so this post is just for brainstorming. Im far from launching another project currently - its just too much work.
Recently, after playing Spore, Ascendancy, Alpha Centauri and Master of Orion I thought about our community space game project once again. I did not want to post this in r0cknes thread, as my idea is somewhat different, although it shares the same tought: Epic Space Opera!
Ok, now here are some thoughts for a possible game that aims to be innovative of some sort:1. Pseudo Randomized Content for art and flavor text
While working on Gods & Minions (my main project) i realized how much time and care is required to build a background world including races, their cultures and technologies. This is okay for a medieval game that is limited to a single continent or planet. But a space game that features a whole galaxy or even universe, is too much work in my eyes. I want to keep this game expandable and would like to make this multitude of races a core feature.
In order to achieve this, some simplification is required. and a technique found in computer games - called "pseudo randomized content". I could imagine using random generators to creatte planets, races, names, descriptions, universes and more. this cuts out much of the development time required - and to be honest: most of the content is flavor text anyway. do we really require a background story-writer in a grand scale space game where the players are supposed to write the story themselves? But, this is a art/flavor thing after all and not important to the game itself.
Some links on the subject:http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=alienracehttp://omniversegc.wikia.com/wiki/Random_civilization_generatorhttp://omniversegc.wikia.com/wiki/Random_star_system_generatorhttp://www.rancorpit.com/planetGenerator.shtmlhttp://donjon.bin.sh/world/2. Mechanics with (almost) no tapping
I thought about getting rid of the tapping mechanic alltogether. Instead, the players would place tokens on their cards to indicate different states of advancement. in total there would be four or five different types of tokens in the game, some of them also represent the resources in the game:
* Worker tokens
* Resource tokens
* Time tokens
so, players put time tokens on cards to indicate how advanced a building or research project is. they spend resource tokens to bring new cards into play and use their worker tokens to get various jobs done. workers could be placed on a "civilisation/species" cards to breed (gain more workers) or draw cards from your deck, workers could also be placed on "planet" cards to grant their owner a higher resource income - and so on.
Being already more a boardgame than a card game, i would not care about the extra complexity at all. Using tokens that represent 1,5 or 10 at a time makes things a bit easier to manage.3. Grand Scale Mass Production of units
When a player brings a "Space ship" card into play from his hand, it should not represent a sinlge ship. It rather represents the players ability to being able to build this ship type.
Once played, you can build as many ships of this type as you want - by putting worker tokens on the ship card. this helps you to keep track of three things: the amount of workforce required to build it, the time/advancement of the building task and finally: the amount of people you need to crew the ship.
this rule could be applied to all kinds of ships, personell and technologies: the card just shows that "you can build it", the number of tokens shows how many you actually own.
maybe worker tokens must be converted into time tokens and time tokens into ship tokens. the details of this process are still to be developed.4. Research & development
Research works similar to Ship building: You bring a technology (or culture or whatever) card from your hand into play. this now represents merely a "blueprint", on the card it says that you require - say - 12 time tokens to finish the blueprint. the card enters play turned 180 degrees to show that its still in "research mode".
you can then place workers on the card. at the beginning of your turn - for every worker token on it, you may put a time token on it too. once there are 12+ time tokens on the card - remove all tokens and turn the card upright. it is now ready for use.
lets say we have a "space marine" card researched this way. once turned upright we can train space marines, also by putting workers on it. there could also be 1 resource token required to turn a worker into a space marine.
finished space marines are also kept on the card in token form. so with one space marine card, a player could easily represent 10-20 space marines - just by putting enough tokens on the card.5. Removing pre-determined species and ship types
this goes hand in hand with point nr. 1 - why not remove pre-determined species and their technologies at all? instead, let the cards be blueprints for tech-bits altogether. and let the players research, design and build ships anyway they like.
When using the token system - this would not be a problem at all! you can have a hull card, a engine card, several weapon cards and special cards. stack them all together on your side of the table. this reprsesents the complete blueprint of your ship-design.
finally, by putting tokens on it - you represent the amount of ships of this type you have in your fleet. its not required to have one card-copy per ship in play at all.
this idea can be maxed out: remove species as well and let players combine two or three cards to build their own species. put tokens on the "species stack" to represent total population - thats it!
of course, there must be some cornerstones like the blueprints, tech-bits and planets. but this is still open for discussion, testing and development.6. Final thoughts
Okay, thats a big wall of text, i better come to an end.
As a final note, i would like to add where my original idea for the community space game started: a game that is not focused on combat completely, but instead tries to represent intergalactic empire building at large scale. let there be diplomacy, intrigue, coalation victory, religious enlightment victory, managing the hapiness of your species as well as reaching transcendency victory by achieving technological god-like status - and then put a bit of space combat on top of it. but dont make spaceship combat the core of a project like this.
Malagar over and out!