Grim Prospects: Classic

by ACWraith
Grim Prospects: Classic
A card battle over mining rights.
While working on another project, I found out that I forgot to make the host options button display changes in my mining card battle, Grim Prospects. I fixed it, added an option I forgot completely and then made some improvements to the help file.

  • Fixed host option buttons so that they display updated values.
  • Added an option to set the duration of the phase timer. Lowered the default to one minute.
  • Separated and expanded thematic portions of phases in the help file.
  • Emphasized the dual (tunnel segment and miner) purpose of cards in the help file.
  • Explained the player display in the help file.

Incidentally, the project I was working on was a new version of StarScurrier. After going as far as deleting its hub, I had planned on taking my Star*Scurry sequel in a slightly different direction. However, StarScurrier's map design seems both more user-friendly and less resource-intensive for the multiple game rooms I now desire. Plus, I like the name.

The new StarScurrier should support up to four players. The annoying randomness of the original Star*Scurry will be replaced with sectors that sell the same goods throughout the course of the game and store prices that depend on distance. Like the previous version of StarScurrier, players will gain upgradeable sector rewards. However, I'll remove the weak, allegedly event-friendly mechanics that I originally included (like the ability to join at any time and an inability to gang up on someone)... It's sort of like moving from GrimTunnel to Grim Prospects, I guess. Except, you know, with a map.

As for subscriptions, no "coupons" will be offered this time around. (Sectors might offer cargo that does the same thing.) Instead, I'll probably stick with the ability to create new game rooms.
I gave Grim Prospects a spin. Very good presentation all around, I can tell you put a lot of work into it, so I regret to confess that I'm a bit lost. The game data is presented in a fairly COIK manner, it's not something I could just muddle through. I should give it another spin later and read the manual more carefully in order to figure it out so I can give you a proper review.
Tiberath was a bit lost as well, but I'm hoping that the help file adjustments improve things.

I'm thinking of adjusting the support tables by writing "SUM" over the row header icons and changing the column header icons to outlines that match the power ratings. That should make what the numbers are more clear.

Meanwhile, long icons that say "TUNNEL" might help label the tunnel column headers better than the pickaxes. (I'd rather come up with a legible symbol though.) Perhaps I can extend the walls on one side to emphasize who they don't belong to as well.

...Hey, did you say "review"? ;)
I think what bothered me the most is when I get to the combat resolution part and it gives me a moment to acknowledge the results... and I have no idea what I'm acknowledging.

It's a fairly tricky concept to explain how these cards work and are supposed to interact with eachother.

ACWraith wrote:

...Hey, did you say "review"? ;)

Indeed so!
There are 3 factions. Each card is a member of a faction. Each card has one power rating versus each faction. These are the plus, minus and blank symbols.

One faction from each side does battle. This includes the cards a player sends into battle. These are the hostile workers. It may also include the support cards sent by opponents if they are of the same faction. These are the loitering miners.

To find a player's battle power, the computer looks at the cards the player has in battle and adds up their rating versus the faction the opponent played. The highest total wins. If it's a tie, the tunnel owner wins.

At the moment, the interface just displays the relevant battle totals of each side and assumes players can realize which is greater. I'm still trying to think of a way to neatly highlight the winner without making the display drastically different from other phases.
Even in painstakingly explaining that to me, I'm pretty oblivious.

* I'm not sure how potent the various factions are against each other. I should probably check the manual more carefully, there's probably a table in there. I wonder if I could arrange to have that table always be visible to remind me until I've memorized it.

* I'm guessing if I have a card with all five factions shown next to it, that means it has one faction of each?

* Does the battle resolve left to right versus other cards? That is to say, how can I make sure my strong factions are being used first?

* Which order of cards are battled for if I'm up against two other opponents? Is the order something I can figure out how to exploit?

There's a lot of little details here that make sense to the guy who invented and programmed the game, but may need to be displayed in a real simple way (perhaps a visual animation) to the rest of us knuckeheads.
I'm open to expanding the help file, but you're creating gaps that don't exist. =)

All 3 factions are equal. There is no persistent rock-paper-scissors relationship. You choose the right cards based on the miners loitering around you and your opponent. The numbers in the support tables add up their power ratings so you don't have to.

A card is only part of a single faction. Next to the faction identifier are the power ratings. Each card has one power rating per faction for a total of 3 power ratings. They are plus and minus symbols on silhouettes of the factions.

Both battles are resolved simultaneously. There is only one faction per player per battle. The faction is that of the card you chose during the Send Fighters phase.
I really didn't have a clue about any of that when I was attempting to muddle through.

Basically, you're asking me to make three choices every round: a mine to sacrifice, two workers to fire, and then two mines of workers to attack and defend. This much I know because the game tells me, textually, that's what I'm doing.

However, in each choice, I'm basically trying to make sense of these "cards" which consist of a pick or diamond (I'm told the diamonds are worth 2 points and the picks are worth 1 point) and then 1-5 icons. I assumed the 1-5 icons were miners of different factions, but now you're telling me that there's only 3 factions.

The icons aren't implicit in their understanding. I think something a little more is needed to explain to the players what's going on. Like maybe an tutorial window that explains to the player the ramifications of the choices they have available, which can be disabled at the player's choice when they feel they know the game well enough to no longer need it.
What I'm getting out of this is that you find the silhouettes confusing. Perhaps I'll remove them and simply use the plus/minus signs inside.
Could be. I think it's relatively fair to say that, if you give a person a line of different icons, they're going to automatically assume that there's a reason why these icons are different. There's probably ways you could visually present it that this misconception would not occur, but it's tricky!