Motora Dev Diary: Components
When you're designing a board game there is so much you can do to design the game. You can experiment with how you think rules will work, you can roll dice hundreds of times to test probability and you can bounce your ideas off of people to see what they think about your rules. However, it's almost impossible to refine your components without sitting down and making them. I'm going to talk about two components that have changed over the development of Motora.
The initial design for my board was a single large piece with a double layer that allowed the tiles to be slotted in like a big frame. This design ended up being changed for three reasons.
- Practicality - The size of the board meant that fitting it inside another box / bag was pretty much impossible, this was not something that I was happy with. I looked at the possibility of making a folding board but the double layer meant that this was much more difficult and impractical.
- Gameplay - In Motora one of the main points is each player's home village. These villages are the location where resources are stored and where all tribe members venture out from. I debated making the board more of a frame (like in Settlers of Catan for example) but this would mean that the village tiles were placed randomly. This would mean that players could end up right next to each other. While I did want a certain amount of competition between players over resources I also wanted to ensure each player had some areas of the map that would be easy to reach only for them. By keeping a lower layer to the board I could mark out the spots where the different villages could be placed, allowing me to add some more balance to the game.
- Replayability - While the tiles of Motora already make sure that the island is never the same, a friend of mine who played the game (thanks Ross!) gave me an idea that allowed the game to have even more possible set ups. A board made up of four sections that could be arranged together in multiple different ways.
The result was what you can see in the image. The island became more of a square shape, split into four sections that added another variable element in the setup of the game. When you take into account the different ways to arrange the board sections and tiles Motora has a mind boggling number of different potential setups.
The Resource Tokens
The resource tokens in the game have been through more iterations than any other component. You might my recognise how my first idea was based the games I had been most familiar with; Monopoly and Catan. You can see this is in the shape size and multiple denominations of the resources. These paper tickets were a nightmare. They got worn out really easily and they weren't even that effective when it came to quickly checking resources. Players would have to sit and count through their cards which definitely had a hand in dragging out the game length! The one upside of these cards was that it was east to keep them hidden.
The next version of the resource tokens actually used stones from a Go set that I took and spray painted. I actually really enjoyed using these as trading them between players and the resource pool felt very weighty and satisfying. However, the game required such a huge pool of tokens that these tripled the overall weight of the game. I tried using small plastic chits instead of the Go stones and while these didn't have the same problem with weight they weren't satisfying. One problem shared by both the stones and plastic tokens was that counting them out was almost as slow as the paper cards.
It was around this point that I played Blood Rage for the first time. While I love the game (it's become one of my favourites) there was one part that stuck out to me. The player board of Blood Rage has players sliding tokens along a set of numbers to keep track of their resources. After a couple of playthroughs I knew that this was the answer I had been looking for.
I don't want to dive too much into the process of how the art was designed (you can look forward to that in a later Dev diary) but if you take a look at the resource section of my player board, you can see how much it was influenced by games like Blood Rage. Now when playing Motora keeping track of your resources is quick and easy... just as it should be.
Until next time!