I’ve decided to stop working on my board game Under the Moons of Mars. It’s still online, and there should be a link in ‘My Projects’ in the upper right corner of the blog if you want to play it. However I’ve found that, while I really like the setting, the game didn’t seem to live up to it.
Since my course has finished, I’ve started again on Under the Moons of Mars.
I’m going to be adding the ability to buy and use special items.
At the moment there’s nothing new to see when you play the game, except that the ‘character sheet’ at the bottom of the screen has a space for ‘special items’. Since you can’t buy them yet, it will obviously tell you that you have none.
The special items will be as follows:
Compass: From the British colonies. If you roll any ‘Travel’ results in a given turn, you travel an extra thaad that day.
Field guide: Also from the British colonies. Each ‘Food’ result counts as 2 Food.
String map: Of Green Martian origin. Until you reach the next city, every roll is treated as if you got an extra ‘Travel’ result (unlike the compass, you will travel 1 thaad if you got no ‘Travel’ results).
Spirit dolls: Also Green Martian. If you defeat Green Martians in combat, Hostility goes down by 2 due to their fear of you.
Carbines, long rifles, jizals: Of British, Green Martian and Bedouin origin respectively. Give you 1-3 extra dice in combat (1 for carbines, 3 for jizals).
Radium swords: Of Red Martian origin. Give you an extra dice in combat. The difference is that you can get a bonus from the sword as well as from guns, whereas you can’t get bonuses from two types of gun.
I’ve just handed in an essay about the influence of D&D on fantasy fiction.
The ‘standard fantasy setting’ seems to be quite influenced by D&D. At least, it has a lot of features that are found in D&D, and never or rarely found in Tolkien or other pre-1970s writers.
The main ones I found were:
Fantasy worlds with no connection to the real world That is, they’re not stated to be in an imagined past (like Lord of the Rings) or future, on another planet, in an alternate history etc.
Many species living more or less peacefully in a single civilisation As opposed to Middle Earth, where everyone lives apart, often don’t even know of each other’s existence, and if they do interact tend to hate and kill each other.
Polytheism combined with a setting resembling medieval or later Europe Pretty self-explanatory.
Systematised magic That is, the reader is told the ‘laws’ governing magic. Wizards are often analagous to academics in the real world. The Earthsea series is a partial exception, in that it has systematised magic and a school of magic, and dates from the late 60s.
China Mieville’s Bas-Lag trilogy is an example of a post-D&D setting with all these features, and he’s said that D&D was an influence on him.
I’ve made another small update to Under the Moons of Mars. There’s now the possibility of airships flying between settlements, which will let you pay to travel.
As always, please give feedback (that’s why I made an online version).
I recently bought the pdf of Fantasy Chess, a game which adds simple RPG-like elements, such as hit points, rolling to hit and healing, to chess.
This is an idea that’s appealed to me for a long time, possibly fueled by the book The Chessmen of Mars and the old computer game Battle Chess (although Battle Chess is actually just normal chess with cool animations).
Anyway Fantasy Chess does a good job in my opinion, although I changed some of the rules to make it easier (specifically the rules about carrying other pieces). The actual pdf looks quite amateurish, but the game is better than that suggests.
If you’re interested in playing this game, you need a bigger board for your pieces than for normal chess. This is because up to 6 pieces can be on the board at the same time. I was lucky in finding a single eBay auction which had a chess set and a larger-scale checkers set for sale.
As the title says. You can now look for Info in settlements in Under the Moons of Mars.
As always, please let me know what you think – especially if you find any bugs.
I’ve made a small update to Under the Moons of Mars.
I added a new type of settlement: the major settlement. This might tempt some of your Followers to desert you.
When I implement special items, major settlements will have all special items available, rather than a randomly chosen one.
I probably won’t post anything for a week or two, because I’m quite busy with study.
I’ve updated the Mars game so that, once you get to zero ‘Info To Go’, you make a Fate Roll to see who sabotaged your flier, with a resulting adjustment to your stats (for example, more Willpower if it was your childhood enemy, less if it was your beloved).
Thanks to a reader’s suggestion, I’ve also changed the part where you try to sneak through a herd of banths. It used to be that, if you had a large number of Followers, it was impossible to avoid having some of them trampled. Now none of your Followers will be trampled on an 8.
I just made a very minor adjustment to Under the Moons of Mars: the ‘character sheet’ at the bottom of the screen tells you how much Info you still have to collect, rather than how much you’ve collected so far. This will hopefully make it easier to keep track of what you have to do. It will also make it easier for me, when I reprogram it so the player can choose how much Info to set as a target.