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Kavik Kang

Does anyone have an opinion?

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If anyone has actually read the overview of the somewhat epic length story of my game universe I'd love to hear what they think of it.  I assumed that at the very least I would finally see what people thought of the story, but nobody has said a word yet other than one person I knew from somewhere else pointing out a minor problem he saw just from taking a quick look at it.  I'm guessing almost nobody has actually read it, there is a lot to read and nobody has a reason to want to read it.  But if anyone out there has actually taken the time to read it, I'd love to hear what you think of it even if you don't like it.  Especially if you don't like it, actually.  You don't need to post it here, you could just send me a private message through this site.

https://www.gamedev.net/blog/2315-pirate-dawn-universe/

If you want to see the story I am talking about, to just get to the story skip the blog and just download Armageddon Chess and Pirate Dawn.  You can actually play Armageddon Chess, but for the story just read Armageddon Chess and the "lore files" that are in the Pirate Dawn download.  Then if you are interested in more the Armageddon Chess post is mostly a very brief synopsis of the entire story, Armageddon Chess is the complete beginning of the story... like Chapter 1.

 

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I'm not going to read a long and superfluous story, for the simple reason that your main work is a chess variant. If you enjoy worldbuilding and alternate history, writing fiction would a far more appropriate outlet.

On the spectrum of different game types a chess variant, even more than other very abstract boardgames, is one of the least appropriate options if you want to do justice to the characters and events of your game universe: piece moves are extremely constrained by structural considerations and cannot easily fit what would be appropriate for the characters the pieces stand for..

The rulebook is unacceptably hard to read.

  • No introductory explanation of basic concepts (each piece represents a character with unique abilities, automatic capture is replaced by an extended combat, etc.)
  • Missing or misplaced definitions (e.g. "ranged combat" in the middle of explaining how pieces capture each other)
  • No fucking diagrams! No fucking examples!
  • A large amount of undesired backstory. The purpose of a rulebook is explaining how to play.

I strongly suggest describing the game clearly, in the most abstract terms (look at introductions to chess and similar games for inspiration) and limiting backstory and comments to the various army lists.

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There are no diagrams, and a few for a few specific things would certainly be helpful.  The story is the beginning of the story of a 12 game universe, not just the chess game.  The chess game was only made as a playable prototype to go with this presentation.  Territories is the game I am actually trying to make, which Armageddon Chess provides a great prequel story... or not.  If the entire PDU happened that would be great, but I am really just trying to make Territories and Rube.  Contrary to what you have said here, the chess game actually works perfectly to provide a "hazy glimpse" at many of the main characters of the overall story and establish the background about the Gods that I really needed to have exist before Territories.

If I am remembering right the rulebook to Armageddon Chess is about 6 pages long.  The actual rules, not counting the fact that the rules to chess also apply.  That is how rules to games like this are written, in a very minimalist way.  Particularly in Armageddon Chess, which is designed to have that Magic: The Gathering production element that "anything you can write on a card becomes a game rule".  The main rules are, necessarily, as minimal as possible to support this.  You understand exactly how to play the game, yes?  In 6 pages.  Look at the rules to chess, or checkers, or backgammon... how long are they?  Armageddon Chess is written as a classic board game, not a computer game. or SFB. 10 pages, not 100 pages.

I really do have decades of experience with this whole board game thing... 6 pages of core rules for something like this is not an easy thing to do.  Is there anything you don't understand about how to play it?  If not... 6 pages or so is pretty good;-)

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I skimmed the blog for a few minutes. It's more or less unreadable. There is so much unimportant stuff that the important stuff is drowned out.

And what's with all the music videos? Edited by Nypyren

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"Territories is the game I am actually trying to make, which Armageddon Chess provides a great prequel story... or not.  If the entire PDU happened that would be great"...

I skimmed your post but it was way to long.  This is part of the problem though.  What is a PDU?  Personal Destruction Unit?  Portable Display Unit?  Ohhhh Pirate Dawn Universe, it was in the URL which most people skip over, used in the first post. You cannot use an acronym before defining it for people.  Unless you want them to feel stupid and likely leave.  I looked over the post you used PDU in (quoted above) for it's definition, then over your original post.  But I don't see it anywhere.  Finally seeing it when I clicked the link a second time to check that page.  I want my 30 seconds back.

I'm well aware I write a lot of fluff and dribble so I refrain from writing and designing and sticking to my strong suits.  I think a few writing classes would help you out a lot.  I'm just not that interested to do it myself, at this time.  You could likely lose about 1/2 of what you wrote if it was better formed and more concise.  I have zero interest in reading about history in a rule book unless it pertains to the rules.

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I really do have decades of experience with this whole board game thing... 6 pages of core rules for something like this is not an easy thing to do.  Is there anything you don't understand about how to play it?  If not... 6 pages or so is pretty good;-)

You are missing the point: you have a 15 pages document, the first 3 of which are a wall of backstory. Then the rules begin but the only thing you make clear is that you aren't good at explaining rules and your game isn't worth understanding.

If Armageddon Chess is an old design of yours (given the accumulation of units and variants, it certainly seems mature) I would expect you to be able to explain it in writing as well as you have taught it to many players over the years. Decades of experience with board games should include an understanding of what makes rulebooks good or bad, and of how players learn board games.

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What are you talking about?  I never said I am not good at explaining the rules, that's what I do.  As far as I am aware, there is nothing wrong with the Armageddon Chess rulebook and it explains how to play the game in an especially efficient way.  It is also practically a dream game from a production standpoint of a board game publisher... it sells miniatures in bulk.  I really do know what I am doing here, and you don't seem to understand board games at all.  Especially not "classic" games like Chess or Checkers.  Look at the rules to chess or checkers and get back too me.  The whole point is to try to explain the rules in 2 pages.  Just 2 pages.  That will never happen, but with a game like this 2 pages of rules is what you are shooting for.  If it winds up being a dozen that is fine, but once you hit 20 pages you've left the realm of chess and checkers.

Armageddon Chess is only about 6 months old.  It is not old, it has never been playtested.  I came up with it entirely for this blog after it was suggested that I make a playable prototype.  The fact that it appears too you that it took some one many years to come up with should, I would think, say something too you.  I only included 7 chess sets with it... nearly 30 exist including an entirely separate Star Trek version of the game with 6 Star Trek themed chess sets.  Its "that Big Three thing".  Several people with decades of experience producing board games are looking at it, and not one of them has any problem with how the rulebook is written.  You don't seem to understand board games at all, and the things you are saying don't actually relate to Armageddon Chess at all.  It's like you are talking about a completely different thing.  You are the only person to say that you can't understand the rules so far, or had any comment at all about the actual rulebook.  Nobody else, all people with decades of experience actually making board games, has said a word about there being any issues with the rulebook.  And I wouldn't expect them too, since this is such a simple game and such a simple rulebook to write.

A functioning simulation of God is hard to write as a set of rules functioning on a table top, Chess is easy;-)

Its also very ironic that you mention "how players learn board games" because that appears to be exactly the thing you have no understanding of.  The Armageddon Chess rulebook is written to support a "rules are on the card" system, and to serve as a "reference rulebook".  It is not a "tutorial rulebook", like what you seem to be insisting is the only kind.  This style of rulebook, normally used for far more complex board games, is meant to teach you the game as you try to play it and then serve as a reference guide.  It is not meant to teach you how to play the game before you try and play it, it is specifically written to teach you the game as you try and play it.  It was done that was specifically to support the "rules on the cards" design.

I don't really know what to say other than it sounds like you've never actually played board games before so you've never seen a board game rulebook before?  Is that what the situation is?  That is the only thing that makes sense too me. I don't understand what you are even trying to say.

Edited by Kavik Kang

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"Territories is the game I am actually trying to make, which Armageddon Chess provides a great prequel story... or not.  If the entire PDU happened that would be great"...

I skimmed your post but it was way to long.  This is part of the problem though.  What is a PDU?  Personal Destruction Unit?  Portable Display Unit?  Ohhhh Pirate Dawn Universe, it was in the URL which most people skip over, used in the first post. You cannot use an acronym before defining it for people.  Unless you want them to feel stupid and likely leave.  I looked over the post you used PDU in (quoted above) for it's definition, then over your original post.  But I don't see it anywhere.  Finally seeing it when I clicked the link a second time to check that page.  I want my 30 seconds back.

I'm well aware I write a lot of fluff and dribble so I refrain from writing and designing and sticking to my strong suits.  I think a few writing classes would help you out a lot.  I'm just not that interested to do it myself, at this time.  You could likely lose about 1/2 of what you wrote if it was better formed and more concise.  I have zero interest in reading about history in a rule book unless it pertains to the rules.

 

Mike, I think the primary issue is that you have no reason to want to read it.  Nobody does.  I could definitely learn a lot from people who teach creative writing.  There is no question about that.  I did actually take a lot of English courses in college.  I went to college on my own self-made "game design curriculum" in the late 1980s.  I had already been designing games for several years, there was no such thing as a course in game or simulation design then.  I went to college never intending to graduate and took courses I thought would help with game design.  This amounted to lots and lots of English and writing because that seemed to be, by far, the most relevant thing to focus on while I was there.  So I did actually take a lot of those courses at a state college for 2 years, but that was a very long time ago and I've always been a game designer forced to write and not a writer making games.  Writers making games make RPGs... (Ducks for reviving a 50 year old jab at the RPG guys;-)

So I am not saying that it is some great writing of a story, or insulting you in anyway when I say that I think the main issue you are really trying to get at is that you have no reason to want to read it.  Nor should you.  It's not like Territories is on your hard drive waiting to play it once you catch up to the story... That's what the Armageddon Chess story is leading to, Territories.  And it's not like it is the next installment in the Star Wars or Star Trek story or anything like that.  Nobody has any reason to want to read it, or to get into it at all.  That is a big problem I have with anyone even taking the time to read it, nobody has a reason to want to read it.  Which I completely understand.

This is just my last try at finding a way to make at least just Territories and Rube.  I don't actually expect anything to come of it, especially through the computer game industry.  In fact, from the moment I posted this I have really put it out of my mind and forgotten about it, I am focused on making several different board games right now.  There are people in that industry who will understand what I am talking about, I can probably make something happen there.  Rube seems "indistinguishable from magic" to the rest of the world, as far as I can tell.  I really want to make at least Territories as a computer game, and it is so much more as a computer game, but am making a board game version of it now that will probably actually get made.  Unlike my computer games.

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 In fact, from the moment I posted this I have really put it out of my mind and forgotten about it, I am focused on making several different board games right now.  There are people in that industry who will understand what I am talking about, I can probably make something happen there.

 

So if I am to read this correctly:

 

  • You have moved into the board game forums where you have found a more receptive audience to your board games than here.

 

  • The posting of this thread really had no purpose or anticipated outcome for you? 

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No.  I am not in any board game forums, I know people in that business.  I would love to make the computer games, much more so than the board games, but after a lifetime of trying to do that I don't see that happening.  I've taken my best last shot at that over the last year or so with my blogs here and on Gamasutra.  Like I said in the blog, I am out of ideas again for making the computer game.  These two blogs were it.  If nobody in the modern game industry is capable of recognizing that Rube really is very important to the world of simulations and games there is nothing more I can do to convince them.  I've done my best to try and do that with these two blogs.  If someone winds up contacting me about it and something comes of the computer games I would, of course, love to do any of them.  But I don't think that will happen.  There is no reason to add anymore to this, if these two blogs don't work I have no more ideas for getting the computer games made.  Or, like it says in one of the songs in Armageddon Chess...

"It's not work that makes it work, just let the magic do the work for you."  At this point either the magic will do the work for me or it won't.

I am focusing on board games now while I wait to see if anything comes of the blogs because I can almost certainly get a board game published.  Maybe even several of them.  That might in turn help get the computer games made, especially a Territories board game, and if not at least I publish Territories as a board game.  Even the board game version is a primitive version of Rube, but very limited compared to the computer game version of it.  I am also going back to that industry because I know people there who will understand the fundamental basis of Rube, where as far I have been able to discern nobody else on the planet other than them has any frame of reference to understand it.  It's not magic to them, they understand what I am talking about.  So I definitely still want to make the computer games, I just don't see that as being very likely.

Right now I am working on three board games.  I have become so accustomed to working on many games together that it is actually hard for me to work exclusively on one.  I like to be able to "bounce" between at least several based on whichever one I have new good stuff to add at the moment.  I already have two variants of Armageddon Chess that make the same game using more popular source material, PDU Armageddon Chess only really works if the PDU exists.  I am also working on Territories and am making a Star Trek themed board game version of my NCBB from MD/Clash/AI since I really feel like doing something outside the PDU right now.  Doing it as a Star Trek game isn't a waste of time because it still achieves everything I am really doing it for, to refine the NCBB of the PDU, and if did wind up being published as a board game it would almost certainly be done as Star Trek and not PDU.  So that one is more to refine something in the PDU, but at the same time could also actually wind up being it's own Star Trek thing.  These are things that have a good chance of actually happening, where I have 30 years of experience to tell me that the computer games won't ever happen.  Even with Rube.

P.S.  With this thread I had really just been hoping to find one of the few people who might of read it, it is almost entirely focused on the story, to see what someone thought of it.  But it doesn't look like that will happen, I doubt anyone has actually read it.  Nobody has any reason to want to.

Edited by Kavik Kang

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"Territories is the game I am actually trying to make, which Armageddon Chess provides a great prequel story... or not.  If the entire PDU happened that would be great"...

I skimmed your post but it was way to long.  This is part of the problem though.  What is a PDU?  Personal Destruction Unit?  Portable Display Unit?  Ohhhh Pirate Dawn Universe, it was in the URL which most people skip over, used in the first post. You cannot use an acronym before defining it for people.  Unless you want them to feel stupid and likely leave.  I looked over the post you used PDU in (quoted above) for it's definition, then over your original post.  But I don't see it anywhere.  Finally seeing it when I clicked the link a second time to check that page.  I want my 30 seconds back.

I'm well aware I write a lot of fluff and dribble so I refrain from writing and designing and sticking to my strong suits.  I think a few writing classes would help you out a lot.  I'm just not that interested to do it myself, at this time.  You could likely lose about 1/2 of what you wrote if it was better formed and more concise.  I have zero interest in reading about history in a rule book unless it pertains to the rules.

 

Mike, I think the primary issue is that you have no reason to want to read it.  Nobody does.  I could definitely learn a lot from people who teach creative writing.  There is no question about that.  I did actually take a lot of English courses in college.  I went to college on my own self-made "game design curriculum" in the late 1980s.  I had already been designing games for several years, there was no such thing as a course in game or simulation design then.  I went to college never intending to graduate and took courses I thought would help with game design.  This amounted to lots and lots of English and writing because that seemed to be, by far, the most relevant thing to focus on while I was there.  So I did actually take a lot of those courses at a state college for 2 years, but that was a very long time ago and I've always been a game designer forced to write and not a writer making games.  Writers making games make RPGs... (Ducks for reviving a 50 year old jab at the RPG guys;-)

So I am not saying that it is some great writing of a story, or insulting you in anyway when I say that I think the main issue you are really trying to get at is that you have no reason to want to read it.  Nor should you.  It's not like Territories is on your hard drive waiting to play it once you catch up to the story... That's what the Armageddon Chess story is leading to, Territories.  And it's not like it is the next installment in the Star Wars or Star Trek story or anything like that.  Nobody has any reason to want to read it, or to get into it at all.  That is a big problem I have with anyone even taking the time to read it, nobody has a reason to want to read it.  Which I completely understand.

This is just my last try at finding a way to make at least just Territories and Rube.  I don't actually expect anything to come of it, especially through the computer game industry.  In fact, from the moment I posted this I have really put it out of my mind and forgotten about it, I am focused on making several different board games right now.  There are people in that industry who will understand what I am talking about, I can probably make something happen there.  Rube seems "indistinguishable from magic" to the rest of the world, as far as I can tell.  I really want to make at least Territories as a computer game, and it is so much more as a computer game, but am making a board game version of it now that will probably actually get made.  Unlike my computer games.

 

 

I'm on these forums to help, learn from, grow myself so I can help others better.  It was just to wordy for what one is expecting and you're more or less telling everyone here we're wrong and you're right yet you're asking for help.  So honestly, don't expect much.  I had planned to read it, but it was to verbose for a rule book.  It seemed to more belong in a backstory area.  Those looking to clarify rules do not care in the least about backstory at that time.

Just my opinion.  And the last I'll be in this thread.  Best of luck.

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Its too wordy for what you expect of a story that encompasses 12 games?  From the formation of the earth to the explosion of the sun?  There is actually very little here, it's an overview.

I'm really confused by most of what you have said here.  Wrong and right about what?  Asking for help about what?  

I was just wondering what what someone thinks of the story, if anyone has even read it.

As for the Armageddon Chess rulebook... it's like 15 pages long.  It would be hard to make it much shorter.  It's intro is, I think, 3 pages.  3 pages is too much opening story to a game for you?  I'm really confused, what you are saying doesn't make any sense on a lot of different levels.

Edited by Kavik Kang

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