I’ve spent the past week focusing on getting the 3rd Edition of Jump Gate (“JG3”) ready for the shop at TheGameCrafter.com.
I went into detail a few posts back about how this edition will be different from the earlier editions. Since then, as I did final testing and worked on how to present things in the rules, a few more things have changed.
Not a whole of earth-shaking changes … for example, not quite as drastic as removing the title-object from the scoring (already did that 😉 ) … but a few needed changes to finish tightening things up.
Here’s the list:
Discs Instead of Cubes: Since the number of player markers has been reduced to 10 per player, I had opted to try out little wooden cubes instead of the original plastic poker chips … and I really liked how they looked and felt. So, to take it a step further, the player markers are now going to be wooden “discs” instead of cubes.
Box Bottom Artwork Updated: The previous versions had the printed “shards” or the cubes as the player markers … so those have been replaced with the discs, and I have tweaked the description text a bit.
Sand Resource Scoring Changed: The original intention with the new resource was to have something that would pay little at first, but then ramp up quickly once you started collecting a number of them — a bit of a stronger risk/reward scale than the other resources. After some trial-and-error, I finally put everything into a spreadsheet and worked out a scoring pattern I like.
Updated Setup Method: What started out as a way to simplify/clarify how to setup the game for the rules turned into something very cool. Combined with the new player “hidden resources,” there are a different number of planets set out based on the number of players in the game. Each planet gets 3 face-down resources and 1 face-up resource to start. If you did the math in your head really quickly (like I know some of you did), that means some resources are left over. Those left overs simply get set aside and are not used in the game. Since they are unknown, it hides a little more info from players as to the distribution of the resources in the game. I really like how this turned out. Simpler, easier, and better game-play with this one change.
Changes to “Scan” and “Harvest” Actions: I’ve always wanted to tweak things in the game to feel more “natural” with respect the space exploration theme. One of those areas that I looked to improve was how to make it seem more realistic as to how resources at a planet were revealed and collected. What testing showed was that it works better to only allow each player to mark a single resource at each planet as part of the “Scan” action. To collect that resource, the player can now “Harvest” any resource they’ve already marked OR Harvest any unmarked resource at a planet that has already had all of its resources revealed. This means a player can quickly bring a resource home by doing a Scan action followed by a Havest action. If the player leaves their marker on a scanned resource, they will be able to collect that resource later when the planet is claimed. This gives players a fast-and-exact and a slow-but-wider-range method for collecting resources.
Black Hole Impact: This was another simple tweak that simplified a part of the game. If the Black Hole causes the end of the game, the player with the most markers on it will now lose their hidden resources that were dealt to them at the start of the game. Previously, it had been a number of randomly-selected resources. But this was awkward to carry out and lead to quite a range of random results. With this new change, the player already knows ahead of time what they are risking by being overly-aggressive in collecting black hole resources. Perhaps it won’t matter much if you don’t have those 2 or 3 cards in your scoring … that adds an extra little strategic factor into how you can play.
Claimed Planets Worth More Points: Based on the spreadsheet comparison work I did on how the resources are scored, and on the change to how resources are scanned at a planet, I’ve decided to adjust the scoring value for claimed planets from 3 up to 4. While it doesn’t really seem like that much, it puts more importance on claiming planets. In our tests, the winning player tended to have claimed the most planets — which seems right to me.
Jump Gate, 3rd Edition, is expected to launch in the TGC shop on Tuesday, July 16th.