The main idea is that you build up your town using the resources around you. Each building has a benefit for your town and the more advances buildings require that other buildings have been built first. By placing roads and outposts, you can explore the land around you, uncovering more resources. You can only harvest a resource if you have a road connection to it. Also, there are no moving units in this game (where have I seen that before?).
But just building your town and exploring the land isn't all. Sooner or later, you'll run into the blight. This corruption slowly spreads across the land, making buildings unusable and preventing you from harvesting resources. You can defend yourself by building special walls and blight-reducing towers, but eventually you'll have to venture out and remove the spots where the blight originated, the primal blight.
And that's the game in a nutshell. Now for some more detail.
In my test games, I found that sometimes the stone runs out. It then becomes really difficult to get more stone both because of the blight and because roads, like all other buildings, require stone. In the game pictured above, I didn't have that problem, but eventually the stone nearby my town ran out and I had to venture farther afield to get more.
Obvious solutions to this problem are to either add more rocks to the map or to increase the amount of stone from each rock. But since resources block roads, this spawns other problems such as getting hemmed in. Also, if adding enough stone for a worst case scenario makes it too easy to get in a normal game, the game becomes less fun. So I've been mulling this over for a while.
The solution came to me somewhere over the holidays. As you can see in the picture below, it's possible to construct mines on mountain tiles:
Sometimes I drive myself crazy because I can have trouble accepting a less-than-elegant solution for a problem. At times like this though, I'm happy that my mind won't let go of this until I've found something that really fits and preferably does work on multiple fronts. I guess that what I'm trying to say is that I like this solution :).
I'm also considering whether I should add the possibility to plant new forests, making it less likely that you'll run out of wood. But I'm not really sure yet about that. The main thing stopping me there is that it takes a very long time for a forest to mature enough to have produced a significant amount of wood. I'll probably have to test this to see whether there's a sweet spot for the amount of time this should take in the game.
It was about this point in the game that I realized that I was enjoying myself. I think this is a good sign. At the very least, there's one person who has fun with this game ;). And since I don't consider myself to be particularly unique, there's a chance others will like it too. (I think. Perhaps.)
This did make it all the more annoying when I 'found' a bug which crashed the game. I wasn't sure whether to be happy that I found a game breaking bug or cranky that my fun was brutally cut short. Although I must say that having the possibility to fix something like that yourself is a pretty good antidote for the crankiness :).
Anyway, that's it for now. I'll keep on tinkering and showing that here.
- Willem -