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					Team: Emblem
Dan Chung
Jeff Cropsey
Varun Mehta
Mike Pierorazio

Codename: “Shipcenaries”

“Shipcenaries” is a multi-player ship-building board game designed for players 14 - 30.
The focus of the game is on designing a space fleet to complete missions and wage war
against their fellow players. Players deploy these ships on a game board representing a
high-tech universe, a place full of planets, perils, and competing players. Every ship is
custom-designed by the player to meet whatever purpose he intends. He can design ships
such as attack frigates, defense cruisers, pirate destroyers, blockade-runners, and mega-
freighters. The process of ship design is simplified by constructing a ship from 4 basic
components: hulls, weapons, shields, and engines. In order to play “Shipcenaries,” only a
table, a game set, and a few friends are required.

Game Dynamics
Ship Design

At the start of play. and throughout the game, players accumulate ship component cards
which can be combined to form new ships. A ship must consist of a ship hull and at least
one engine. Each hull has some room to equip additional modules or store cargo.
Functionality such as piracy and attack are enabled through the design of ships.

As the game progresses, the level of technology available to players increases. This is
accomplished by stratifying the ship component cards into several separate “ages.” As the
cards of one age run out, the next age begins. Each component type can advance in age
independently of the others.

World Dynamics

The world consists of space, partitioned into interlocking hexes. Hexes may contain
resource centers, points of interest, or interstellar obstacles. Players can control hexes
with strategic value using their ships. Other player’s ships may not travel through these
controlled hexes or access those resources without the controlling player’s permission.
Alternatively, if consent is not granted, a battle can ensue.

Player Motives

Throughout the game players receive missions and are rewarded for successfully
completing those missions. Rewards may include ship components, notoriety, and
reconnaissance. Both ship components and notoriety are mechanics through which the
player can win the game. All events in the game are driven by players’ motives.
Subterfuge

A player’s mission objectives are hidden from other players until completion. This
establishes a need for players to infer their opponents’ goals based only on their actions.

Ship combat strength is hidden from other players until combat is initiated. Players can
bluff as to the composition of their ships, to the detriment of their opponents.

Reconnaissance missions may reveal either an opponent’s missions or a ship’s
constitution, giving that player the advantage of information.

Combat

Combat takes place between players’ ships. Unlike games such as Risk and Dungeons &
Dragons, combat is deterministic; similar to that of Magic: The Gathering. Advantage is
given to the attacker to counter the uncertainty of the target ship and to encourage
aggressive play.

Trade, Piracy & Ransom

Though mission goals are secret, there are opportunities for players to trade cargo to their
mutual benefit.

To that end, unscrupulous players can engage in acts of piracy, stealing cargo from their
fellow players. These dastardly players can also threaten other players with ship
destruction, and hold the ship ransom to receive goods. Exceptionally dastardly players
may exploit the secrecy of their ship’s combat strength, and obtain goods they would not
otherwise be able to steal.

Game Aesthetics

 “Shipcenaries” emphasizes the qualities of Fellowship, Expression, and Fantasy. Players
are the only driving force in the entire game. The interplay between players can create
intense rivalries that add to the player’s investment into the happenings of the game.
Ship-to-ship combat, subterfuge, and piracy combine to foster a charged, competitive
atmosphere.

The ability to design personalized space ships encourages the expression element of
players and love of their own designs increases the value of individual ships.

Influences and Inspirations

Many board games contain elements of trade and commerce or fighting. Most fail to
integrate these two core mechanics adequately. Games such as Iron Dragon and Settlers
of Catan contain strong elements of resource gathering and map control but lack any sort
of direct player vs. player confrontation. Risk and Stratego, on the other hand, utilize this
player confrontation element but lack resource and control elements. The combination of
these two core mechanics creates the foundation for our game.

Other elements such as the creative design of ships originate from Master of Orion II,
Ascendancy, and EVE-Online. These three games allowed for the extensive
customization of space ships down to their size and armaments.

Stratego and many space ship combat games obscure information about combat strength.
Combat resolution is similar to Magic: The Gathering’s creature combat.

Visual Style

The world of “Shipcenaries” is one of high-tech intrigue. Players will feel as if they have
been transported thousands of years into the future. While immersed in the
“Shipcenaries” universe it is natural to encounter weapons, defense, and propulsion
systems inconceivable with modern technology.

The mechanics of the game call for many different card types and a large playing board.
The futuristic visual style will be reflected on these assets. Ship designs have to convey
the scale and majesty of larger ships, and the speed and agility of smaller frames.
Weapons and shields need to seem menacing and dangerous. The game board itself has
to represent the vastness of space. The art on mission cards will reflect the nature of the
mission. Darker missions that involve marauding, assassination, or piracy will have their
gritty nature reflected in dystopian cyberpunk art. Lighter missions that involve policing,
rescue, and escorting will have more majestic art which will imbue the player with a
sense of pride.

				
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posted:4/20/2011
language:English
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