It’s been a while since I’ve wrote a blog post about “After the Crash”, but that’s only because I’ve been waiting for the new version of the game to arrive, after all the changes to the game mentioned previously.
Wow, what a difference a few playtests make. This version of the game is much snappier, and already I’ve had to make decisions that were agonizing.
In one single player trial ( and trial seems to be the right word to use ) I’ve had to:
- Grab every Plane Item and laugh at how easy I thought the game would be, but be a bit annoyed that I didn’t get a Crash Ax.
- While foraging for food, a bear attacked me and seriously banged me up, and that damn bear would hunt me down for the rest of the game. I wish I had that Crash Ax.
- After running so much, I was dying of thirst, so I went to the nearest river to try and drink some clean water. River’s have moving water right? I should be good?
- I got dysentery.
- Boston, I don’t love that dirty water.
- I’m starving.
- I made a spear with wood and a rock, then used it to kill a wolf, so that was pretty cool.
- I then had to burn my precious spear to make fire so that I wouldn’t freeze through the night.
- That fire died by morning, so I couldn’t cook the wolf meat I had, but at least the fire kept the bear out of my cave that night.
- I then had to run as fast as I could to the nearest river, avoiding the bear, and then try dirty water again so I didn’t die of thirst. This river was clean, so my bowels would hopefully live another day.
- Still outrunning the bear, I was slowly dying of hunger, every hour I could feel death’s bony fingers tapping on my shoulders. The wolf’s ghost was laughing at me through it’s flesh I was carrying. I could eat it, but I know it would give me food poisoning, and I would die. I continued to forage, hoping that I could find suitable firewood in the forest. Mother Nature plays some pretty mean practical jokes.
- Foraging through the forest, I encountered yet another bear, and ran away from it, only to collapse and die alone in a pond from starvation.
So after playing this once, I’ve learned a few things:
- I probably should have been a boy scout as a kid. That might have helped me be more of a survivor.
- This game is getting awesome. I can’t wait to see how other people like it.
- This is going to need a YouTube video to explain the rules and how the game plays.
Hopefully just reading this has you as excited about the game as I am. Feel free to leave some comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
So after playtesting at both the Boston Festival of Indie Games and the Game Makers Guild in Boston, I’ve learnt that there’s still a long way to go to get After The Crash ready for prime time. I received some very helpful feedback from a number of people, and it was great to hear that people wanted to buy the game now, I want to make sure that the game is super tight, easy enough to pick up by using real life as a starting point, and tense and interesting enough to provide players with many replays of enjoyment. I also want each game to feel like a different experience each time.
So here is a list of the changes that I’ll be making to the game. Maybe the change you recommended is in here, if not, feel free to leave it below, and I’ll reply with my thoughts.
- Less Plane cards. Only 5 now. I was seeing doubles of cards all the time, no matter how many times I played the game or shuffled the deck. Lighter, Crash Ax, Plane Food, Water Bottle, and Med-Kit. Each of these cards is super-powered, but missing one of them will make you wish you had it.
- Less Forest cards. Only about 30 now, but now you can only pick up 10 before reshuffling. Difficulty level of the game will be determined by how many wild animals (wolves and bears) are in the pack.
- Seems like the first day was a bit slow for one of the players. After you find a cave and water, there’s not much to do. I think making the players light a fire in the cave is the way to go, and I’m adding some extra work for the water. This could make it pretty tough for less than 2 players. At least the chances of one of the players getting a water bottle are pretty high now. And if they don’t get a water bottle, they will get a lighter, so making a fire should be reasonably easy.
- Going to have double the wood cards, since wood is needed to make fire and spears, and fires are much more important now.
Trying to make the first day more interesting:
- Adding a river area. Many people were asking about stagnant water rules. I’ll be adding rules for purifying water to drink. I think this will add more to the first day because you’ll need to find a shelter, somewhere you can forage, and a safe place to drink clean water, which is a lot to ask for the first day! All players will be able to use their clothes to create one water filter to make the water safer to drink. Bad water will reduce your food by 4 points to a minimum of zero and don’t affect your life points, and your water points down to 4 from full. Not sure which yet.
- You need a fire in the cave you want to sleep in, or sleep in the hut without a fire. Players will lose one life point if they sleep in a cave without a fire.
- Exploring will now let you see everything in all directions around you, since you need to find drinkable water and shelter in the first day, and people kept wanting to see all around them.
- Players and animals can now move in 8 directions. This means you can move further, but so can the animals, so packs of animals can get to you faster. And so many people were moving in 8 directions I figured I might as well.
- Removing the flare. All the flare really does is make the game shorter if you are doing really well at it.
- Thinking about removing the flint card, and replacing it with a rule that lets you create a fire with two rocks. This should simplify the rules a little bit, and people will have to juggle if they want to make a fire or make a spear, so a more interesting choice will appear. I never saw a flint card get used, since most games had a lighter, and fires were only needed for food. More rocks should make spears easier to make.
- Spears don’t break, but axes give a +1 chance to kill an animal.
- Need to figure out food, water, trading better. I’m thinking you can only eat and drink after everyone’s turn. You can only share food and water after everyone’s turn. You can trade at any time while you are on the same square. This means you’ll need to end your turn on a river or pond to drink.
- Water and food will go down after every turn. The water meter max will be increased by one, and all food increases will increase by one. It was too hard to figure out when the meters should go down or not.
- Group Fighting needs to be simpler – Have attackers and people without weapons can go on the same square. Attackers go first, multiple attackers decrease the amount needed to kill the animal, If anyone rolls more than the amount needed the animal is dead, but anyone who rolls less than the amount needed is hurt. After attackers roll and the animal isn’t dead, people without weapons roll, with the amount needed to avoid being hurt reduced by the number of attackers.
- When cooking meat, you can cook as much meat as you want for your action.
- Fire in a cave can stop animals – Animals can’t go inside caves with fires and huts, but can go on that square. Defenders can’t get hurt that round. Attackers can still attack. This was mostly because it seemed kinda weird to be cooking meat while a bear was attacking everyone in a cave.
- Animal direction mechanics need to be tightened up. Maybe animals need to go in different paths to get to you, but they can land on the same square? Will need to work on this more.
- On the last day when the helicopter appears, one wolf will appear on the squares furthest north, south, east and west of the crash site, and one or two wolves (depending on players) will appear on the crash site.
Interesting extra rules:
- You can’t talk to each other unless you are on the same square.
- You have to hide your cards from each other unless you are on the same square.
- Everyone still keeps mentioning cannibalism. I know who I wouldn’t want to be in the wilderness with…. But this might be happening in an expansion, as long as this does well enough.
- Could look at everyone having their turn at the same time. Maybe introduce a timer? Only two actions tho, so not sure how to enforce that.
- Movement only moves you one space, but you can use one food point to move an extra space. Interesting rule, not sure how this would play out.
Wow, that’s a lot of changes. Hopefully you made it this far, and if you did, I’d love to hear what you think of the changes, or if you have any other changes you think would make the game better. As always, you can leave comments below.