Proto, gameplay et explications…
Creating the ignition:core prototype, and the first glimpse of gameplay.
Greetings all ! Hopefully the weekend finds you well. As we look forward to the first release of ignition:core late next month (pending any delays) I’m certain there are questions about the gameplay behind the gorgeous minis.
Hopefully this post on the prototyping process offers a few hints. We will be making follow on posts leading up to the game’s release spotlighting different rules and mechanics that will allow you to make an informed decision about if ignition:core is a game you would enjoy.
I have constructed, de-constructed and rebuilt this game more times than I can count on one hand, just to ensure the end experience is the most engaging, thematic and tactical experience it can be. Additional details are in the photo captions. Enjoy!
We wanted to theme the data cards for each entry around a blueprint as if each card is a monitor. This image comes out dark on the printer and our graphic designer is lightening this for the final version. These components will be PDF print and play at launch to keep costs down for you.
The current footprint of the ignition:core prototype. The rulebook will be short, teaching you gameplay structure, activation sequences, initiative and how to resolve an attack action. Any information beyond that is on your data cards. In playtesting we have observed that the basic rules are picked up very quickly and gameplay flows uninterrupted by delves into the rulebook.
A closer look at a single player’s data cards. Here you track ammo and damage while having quick reference to each unit’s abilities. We streamlined gameplay with the ‹ Standard Issue Wargear › card, a reference card for commonly occurring weapons like the Valkyrie Mini-gun, Defender Hand-gun or Hellfire Missile Rack.
Here is the very first iteration of the prototype. It was clunky, space consuming and had a ton of parts. Still, it got the game to the table.
The current data card for the « Rook » support mech (left) vs the original (right). In addition to being way smaller, the newest version is color coded (HP is green, move/action stats are purple, hit locations are red etc…) and the location of each piece of data is standardized from one unit entry to the next. Prior to this we found playtesters were suffering a mental strain as they tried to track data and rules. Simple color coding removed this strain allowing gameplay to flow better.
A similar comparison, this time show-casing the « Knight » warlord-class mech. The first versions had a fuel stat and a critical hit location chart. Both turned out to be bloat and were removed. It turns out limiting ammo was sufficient to add a logistics element to the game. Further, we found a more elegant way to add ‹ Crits › that felt rewarding, without the RNG factor making the game feel unfair. (The latter came about after several cheap and demoralizing mech-pilot casualties )
A third example of the current prototype, infantry and standard issue war-gear cards (center and left) vs the older version. We found that for recurring weapons it was better to have a simple ammo tracker on the unit cards, with all the stats consolidated to the war-gear card. Also, infantry were simplified to have two hit locations (head and torso) rather than the six hit locations of the big stompy mechs. I liked the idea of tracking leg and arm wounds for infantry more than I liked it in practice. Ground troops play a crucial role in ignition:core. More on that in a later post
Here’s a closer look at the Knight mech. This may offer some hints about gameplay. This game will be a D10/D8 system, but we found D6s were very handy for tracking wounds.