Developer Blog: EONS part 2

With playtesting in full swing for EONS, several rules have been modified, but I am very pleased to say that after six weeks of solid playtesting, we made an overhaul of the original rules and tweaked others to come up with the general ruleset that I went over in the first EONS dev blog entry, and even that has changed.  The entropy counter is now a cosmic countdown instead of counting up, we are dabbling with a constant entropy countdown every fusion phase, we are also looking at removing the players’ ability to destroy another player’s last star to keep the game in balance.  All small changes that will ensure a competitive game and a good experience at the table.

 Just to give an idea of where we started, we had fusion cycles that followed the conservation of mass principal, and had many hydrogen creating a carbon, and so forth.  We also had a resource marker that escalated the price of elements based on scarcity.  It was a disaster, so we scrapped the resource market and made resources a fixed cost because the first person was able to buy, and it got so expensive that everyone else was shut out of the resource game, and we had a runaway victory.  We also had stars collapsing after 4 turns, and it was almost impossible to take resources and have a star survive…another disaster, so we overhauled the fusion cycles and added fission.  This makes it possible to sustain a star indefinitely and still get resources off the star.

We also had a problem with people simply building stars to let them die and get the Uranium, build a planet and collect the essence, buying more resources and creating a runaway chain of more and more essence and the ability to build almost unlimited planets and win the game with no issues…another bad deal which led to stars supporting a certain number of planets or the essence is cut off.  This was the change that made the game work and made it a very good game until the douchebag factor reared its ugly head and some players just blew up stars because they were there…and another tweak to make killing other players’ stars harder to destroy.

The next change we made was to limit the resource pool and redo the mathematics behind the essence and victory points associated with each cosmic body.  When this change went in, this made the game go from good to great!  We are very proud of the game at this point and are still conducting more playtests to hone the rules before the kickstarter campaign gets started.

This entry, I’d like to talk about the gameplay a little bit and how the turn order affects the EON cycle.

EON_Cycle

EONS does not really have turns, so to speak, but each EON is represented by a complete cycle.  At one point in the cycle, the turn order is established and each phase in the EON cycle is marked with a green arrow that points downward, indicating that the order of play goes from top to bottom on the turn order, or a red arrow that points upward, indicating that the order of play goes from the last place in the turn order to first.  As the players move through the eons, these are thephases  in each EON:

Purchase – Players, in reverse turn order, can purchase resources at the cost of 1 essence per Hydrogen, 2 essence per Carbon, 3 essence per Oxygen and 4 essence per Iron.

Build – Each player, starting with the 1st player in the turn order, can build one cosmic body at a time, and the turn order repeats until everyone has passed.  Once a player passes, she is done for that EON and cannot build again until the next eon.  In endgame, this means that the person in the lead is often a target for supernovas and cosmic collisions, so plan accordingly and be able to build and replace stars for your lost victory points.

Account – Generate essence for all your cosmic bodies that are in play and supported by stars.  Also, the number of victory points are tallied and the turn order is adjusted for all phases until the Account phase is completed in the next EON.  This phase flows from first to last in turn order.

Plan – In this phase, players may discard from their hand, and redraw cards up to their total of 7 cards allowed in their hand.  This phase flows from first to last in turn order.

Fusion – Players create new elements in their stars and are able to retrieve elements after fusion.  Each star has resources available for fusion in the resource box at the bottom of the card, as resources are removed and placed in the element pool, the fused elements are then placed inside the star image on the card.  Only elements within the star image on the card can be removed at the end of the fusion step.  It is important to note that if a star cannot fuse due to a lack of available elements on the star or in the pool, it collapses and all resources on the star are released to the resource pool and a uranium is generated for the player that owns the star.

Purchase – Players, in reverse turn order, can purchase resources at the cost of 1 essence per Hydrogen, 2 essence per Carbon, 3 essence per Oxygen and 4 essence per Iron.

When the entropy marker indicates that the game will end, the game actually ends at the end of the Account Phase that follows the event that caused the entropy marker to trigger the endgame.  This means that a star collapsing during fusion will allow for an extra build and purchase phase, but a supernova or cosmic collision will not allow for an additional fusion or purchase phase.

Turn order is important, as the players with lower Victory Point totals are given the first opportunity to purchase or fuse scarce resources.  Smart players that corner the market can actually cause a star to collapse if there are no elements available for a star to complete their fusion cycle.  This happened in our last 5 player playtest when carbon was fused into extinction and the point leader lost his star, and his essence for the unsupported planet, and oh ya, the game too!  That one planet cost him the essence and he was one short of building the star that would have had him on top, but the game ended before he fused the element on another star.

There are so many avenues to pursue in this game, it is hard to say what the dominant strategy will be, since the cards play an important factor in who blows up who first but one thing is for sure…the game is getting better and better and we feel that the game is in a place that it is ready to present to the world in a kick starter project next week.  For a preview, check this link here… http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/435243061/1076545863?token=2b0bac40 and let us know what you think.  I will be adding a few tidbits until launch, so check on us frequently.

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