You would be excused for thinking that I've begun a third career, designing boardgames. Being part of a large and varied group of gamers that meets weekly is a tonic that often breeds new ideas.
When I finally discovered a place that met my graphic needs for SCAVENGE, I re-activated it and moved it to the head of the line. Because the visual elements are unlikely to be affected by tweaks to the game-play during testing, I went ahead with a professional printing of the prototype, as with SC PRIMARY FIGHT! The printer had a mean glitch in his order software, which fortunately I detected just prior to committing the order, which delayed the printing for a week but at least avoided it being printed hopelessly and uselessly wrong. I am, in fact, pleased with how it turned out!
The map is based on part of the city of Tobruk, in Libya. The dusty roads and flat-topped buildings give the sense of a city that was hardscrabble to start with, even though it is now a treasure-trove for the humans who sneak in to bag some needed items. (See my prior post)
The game has been play-tested twice now. I successfully taught it to a 6-yr old, a 9-yr old, and a 10-yr old. My target audience is age 11-14 and their families. That seems to fit with my observations - the younger kids didn't really have the attention span, even if they understood the game, and the adults who have played didn't regard it as terribly fun. My challenge in development will be to compress the play-time further, reduce the time spent on moving patrolbots, and add more interaction.
Two more designs have hit my bin of ideas to continue developing. RAILROAD MOGUL uses a patch of pre-RR countryside with several small towns and nearby resource locations, like mines and logging camps. Each player receives a commission to start short-line service between a pair of towns. As they build their rail networks, extending it to other towns and resource sites, the towns grow and evolve. The challenge is to grow smarter than your opponents, so that you can fund a bigger rail system and acquire a larger working income.
WIZARDS DEFENSE has an interesting (to me, at least!) premise: wizards are tasked with preparing the City for repelling a pending invasion by a hostile power. Starting with no standing army, they must quickly create one from raw human recruits and various beasts & birds they can acquire in the countryside. The combat system will involve Color Magic, where the interaction of colors provides buffs and nerfs - and since the days of the week are associated with colors, the line-up of who has the best chance to beat whom depends not only on their weapons & training, but the color of their unit Banner and the day they will fight!
More especially, the Invading Power can be chart-controlled. This will allow the game to be played solitaire, or by a pair of players who must cooperate to save the City, or by two teams of players.