4X Trading – Design Post 1

As promised in my earlier post here is the first design post for my as yet unnamed 4X game. The focus is on trading so it will be called 4X Trading for now. 

The design so far. 

Large hex tiles make up the play area. They are split into smaller hexes for movement. Some tiles have planets on them that take up several spaces. 

Planets have associated cards that track their resources. They start with a unique mix of 4 resources and the price of resources is based on how many of that resource are on that planet. So prices will fluctuate with demand. Some planets will produce resources and add to their amounts. 

Each player has one ship that is represented on the board by a generic ship and in front of the player by a card that has all of the ships info. 

The ships can’t be modified like in Eclipse or Xia. They have weapons, shields, possibly special abilities, engines, space for cargo and crew and energy to use all of these. Ships can be bought, sold, and traded to planets or other players. 

Crew members are represented by cards and can be hired on planets. Each crew member adds abilities to a ship like extra energy or increased weapon power. In this way you can customize your abilities and keep them if you change ships. 

In addition to a basic pick up and deliver system to earn money moving goods from planet to planet and playing the market. You can get mission cards that will give you special prices on goods or have a unique mission to fulfill. 

Players are not limited to being friendly traders though. You can be a pirate. Attack other players’ ships or planets to steal resources. This will have a big effect on the game. 

The karma track. Each player has a karma track that will go up for doing good things like making, donations, helping a player, completing good missions, being trust worthy and it will go down for doing bad things like piracy, completing bad missions or attacking planets. Also the crew you hire will affect your karma. Hiring a known pirate might make it easier to attack ships, but you’ll definetly get a bad reputation hiring them. 

Your karma is very important. Certain planets won’t trade with you if your karma is at certain levels. Good planets won’t like pirates and smuggler planets won’t trade with anyone that’s too good. Also any planet that you attack will remember and not trade with you until amends are made. 

In addition there are hidden events that can trigger in certain areas that will play out differently depending on your karma level. Space police could show up and are only a problem if you have low karma. On the other hand if space pirates are around you can scare them off if your karma is lower than theirs. 

The goal of the game is strictly financial at this point. You play to a predetermined amount of money. Though there is a lot of variety in how you achieve that money with piracy, trade with planets or even swindling other players. 

I want the karma system to be a very large part of this so players won’t make any choices lightly. 

With all of that I want the game to move quickly. I’m not aiming for a short playtime but I want to minimize downtime. So short turns and stuff to plan or pay attention to when it isn’t your turn. 

Also a resonable amount of pieces that aren’t too fiddly. This is still in the early stages and I’ve started a few prototype pieces. The biggest hurdle now is coming up with variable crew and ship cards. 

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