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Design Diaries

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Arcanist Lupus
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Design Diaries

I just discovered Eric's most recent design diary. It's pretty interesting. I especially like comparing the final terrain patterns with the playtest versions. They're so similar, and yet so different. The final boards look amazing on both sides!

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/46879/spirit-island-design-diary-island-boards


"Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?"

- Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

arenson9
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Agreed. Very cool.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

dpt
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A new design diary is up: https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/46878/spirit-island-design-diary-pres...

This was not how I was the expecting the evolution to have gone. A lot of what seem to me to be core elements actually came in kind of late.

Eric R
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I can't remember which designer said it - perhaps Rob Daviau, or someone who worked with him on a project? - but there's the thought that the latest changes you make to a game tend to be some of the best ones, because by then you understand the game better than you ever have before.

(Of course, they can also be the most disruptive, because the rest of the design may be depending on things that you just changed.)

In the case of Spirit Island, there's also been immense variation between "calendar-time" and "testing-time". The first 4-5 months of work on it (in early 2012) were intense and contained huge amounts of change, both because it was early in the design and because I wasn't yet a parent. There followed 2.25 years of slow-burn development while I cared for a young child... and then 3 months of super-intense testing and rapid iteration in fall of 2014 when the game came to the playtesting forums here. Then I had my 2nd child, resulting in half a year of zero development (people were still testing, but I wasn't making changes). Dev ramped up again over the summer before the Kickstarter, peaking again in fall of 2015, and 99.9% finalizing by January 2016. So if I say "halfway through the game's development", in calendar-time that's probably winter of 2014... but I'm honestly unsure what it would be if measured in testing-time.

Bunston
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Another Design Diary is up! The topic of this one is Fear and Victory.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogcategory/3708/design-diaries

Thanks for making the time to write these up Eric, they are very interesting!

dpt
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Bunston
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Another Design Diary has been posted, this one is about events.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/67629/spirit-island-design-diary-events

EDIT: To those familiar with BGG, if I set up an account there will I be able to receive email alerts when a new Design Diary is posted? These are all so well written and interesting, I'd hate to let one slip by.

grysqrl
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Subscribing puts them into a feed (so you see "1 new item" at the top when you log in), but I'm not sure if you can set it up to email you.

Eric R
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EDIT: To those familiar with BGG, if I set up an account there will I be able to receive email alerts when a new Design Diary is posted? 

I believe you can, yes.

Step 1: Make an account.

Step 2: Subscribe to the thing you're interested in. You can get notifications for the Designer Diaries either by subscribing to the game Spirit Island (the Subscribe button is near the bottom of the black header box) or to the blog proper (the Subscribe link is on the right-hand side of the entry list). 

Step 3: Go to your "Subscriptions" page. From a game page, this is the megaphone in the topnav. From any other page, it's the little ticket-looking thing in the upper-left above your username / below the "mail" icon.

Step 4: Click on "Preferences".

This page gives you about a zillion preferences for your subscriptions; the relevant one is in the upper-left: you can choose on-site/RSS, email, or GeekMail* as ways to receive subscription notifications.

* = The on-site messaging system. You can set it up to cc: your email if you like; to do so click on the Mail icon at top-left, then Settings in the leftnav, then check the Forward to Email checkbox (the only Setting, which is kind of funny in contrast with the Notifications prefs page).

 

Eric R
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Worth noting: if you subscribe to the Spirit Island game, you'll by default get notifications every time someone posts a new thread to the Spirit Island forums there, among other things. You can customize what a given subscription notifies you for via the Edit Subscription page, which is on several subscription-related drop-down menus (click the downward-facing triangle to open the menu); one reliable place to find it is Subscriptions > Manage Subscriptions > Items, next to the word "Unsubscribe".

TakeWalker
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BGG also uses RSS feeds for various pages, but I'm not sure whether that's tied to account creation.

Eric R
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TakeWalker wrote:

BGG also uses RSS feeds for various pages, but I'm not sure whether that's tied to account creation.

If you set up an account, you can access your Subscriptions as an RSS feed. (Or so I see by the options / buttons available. I've never actually done so.)

Chaosmancer
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Just finished reading the design diary, and it reminded me of a question that has been nagging at me.

 

We'll take "Year of Little Rain" as an example. It says On Each Board: Discard a Minor Power *****

 

Now, my group has been reading this that the effect hits each board, but you only discard a single power from the top, using the one power to determine all four boards. Is this correct, or are you supposed to discard 4 cards checking 1 card per board?

dpt
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You're supposed to discard one power for each board. That's the intent of putting "discard a Minor Power" after "On each board".

Is there wording that would have been more clear for you?

Referee
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The alternative way would have been "Discard a minor power. On each board, ..."

phantaskippy
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I can see confusion from the word on.  There aren't powers on the board, my first thought was it meant discarding from your hand to your discard, since each board is associated with a spirit/player.

Would "for each board" be better?

Referee
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Reading old diaries I see there's a note that my (official) country, Spain, is not likely to appear. Maybe I can try to convince Eric about my particular corner of the country? wink

arenson9
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Referee wrote:

The alternative way would have been "Discard a minor power. On each board, ..."

I think 'For each board discard a minor power' is clearest.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

Chaosmancer
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arenson9 wrote:

 

Referee wrote:
The alternative way would have been "Discard a minor power. On each board, ..."

 

I think 'For each board discard a minor power' is clearest.

 

Yeah, I think that would be much more clear.

 

Ah, the joy of finding another thing I've been doing wrong (only in some games since I play a lot of solo in which there is only one board)

Referee
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I was saying about the alternative interpretation.

Arcanist Lupus
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Fortunately, this mistake isn't a big deal. It just makes those events a bit more swingy for large games.


"Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?"

- Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

dpt
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