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Kings & Chronicles: Getting Close to Open Play Testing

Posted June 5th, 2013 at 11:54 PM by jbbnbsmith
I was hoping to have everything ready to post print & play files for Kings & Chronicles by now, but the process is taking a little longer than I had hoped. I didn't realize just how bad my rules were! I had made so many revisions over the past two years that they were woefully out of date. Rather than simply cleaning them up I've been pretty much writing them from scratch.

I also realized that some of my terms were confusing. For example, the cards used by the players to drive the game forward were called Event Cards. But an Event Card may be played in one of three ways, activate the Event, spend the Point Value of the Card, or use the Battle Effect to impact combat. After writing the phrase "Event Card Event" several times I quickly realized that this doesn't work. I am changing the name to Action Cards, which not only better describes what they do, eliminates the redundancy and the confusion. This means I have to update the backs of all the two decks....
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Kings & Chronicles Annual Update!

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 12:07 AM by jbbnbsmith
It's been over a year since I last posted about my game design, and a lot has changed. I am really getting close to being ready for some serious playtesting. Here is the status and a description of the changes.

1. Instead of one player controlling both Judah & Israel and the second player controlling the surrounding nations, now it is Judah vs. Israel. This makes the game flow SOOOOO much better, and it finally helped me nail down victory conditions for the game.

2. Change #1 meant a complete rewrite of the two Event Decks. After a good deal of additional research and several tweaks I am now pretty set on the Event Decks for both players. The only thing that may well change are the Battle Effects.

3. The King Cards are back! They really are needed to provide historical background and help drive the game forward. Also, having Kings Decks allows for the option to play with the Kings in chronological order or randomized.

4. Era's...
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Kings & Chronicles...A Long Process

Posted March 22nd, 2012 at 02:29 PM by jbbnbsmith
After quite a few games and plenty of small tweaks, it has become obvious that the game in its current state is just too long. It is also obvious that the whole Assyrian invasion isn't even close to being nailed down in terms of both timing and balance.

What I've decided to do is a pretty serious overhaul of the game. Here are the things that seem to be working well and will remain essentially the same:

1. The Event Cards. These cards are sort of a cross between We the People (now Washington's War) and War of the Ring. All cards contain both an event and a point value. (They also contain a Battle modifier and may be played during combat to gain a bonus) The events cause certain historical events to happen, while the points may be spent to raise armies, build fortresses, declare war, make treaties, or move and attack with your armies. While I'm still tweaking the events for balance, the card-driven approach works well.

2. Combat. The combat system...
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Kings & Chronicles Game Pics

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 12:36 PM by jbbnbsmith
I just finished the first draft of all the events cards and have roughed out some of the timeline issues I mentioned in the previous blog. Now I just need some time to try it out! I have no doubt there will be plenty of revisions, revamps, and redesigns, but I'm close to having a completed alpha version. Even though everything is still in the very early stages, the game looks surprising good. Here are some pics:

This shows mmost of the components.


Here's a sample of some event cards. Obviously I haven't spent much time with the graphic design aspect (I hate the light blue on red!) but I just want something I can edit and print quickly. One major design mistake is that I put the point value of the Event Cards on the top right. They need to be top left so you can see them when you fan the cards normally. As they are now, you need to do a backwards fan to see the points.
...
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Kings & Chronicles Game Development Update

Posted November 12th, 2011 at 02:23 AM by jbbnbsmith
So I may have given this game a name; "Kings & Chronicles". I kind of like it because it summarizes the nature of the game (the chronicles of the various Kings of Israel, Judah, and the surrounding nations), it is the name of the two Biblical books in which this period of Israel's history is discussed, and it has a nice alliteration to it.

Speaking of chronicles, I have been spending a good bit of time working out the chronology of the game. I want to keep the basic flow of the history, but at the same time I want the players to both be able to rewrite history and not be able to predict what is about to happen in the game.

One solution related to the King Decks is an idea I've borrowed from Pandemic. There are two decks of cards which contain all the Kings of both Israel and Judah. Various game activities and events are dictated by the current Kings. I did not want players to be able to memorize and thus predict the order of these events as this...
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