One of the main reasons that I purchased a Forge was to be able to make game items. In particular it is a great tool for fast prototyping and creating custom components.
I’m working on a game design of my own for a game called Scorched Earth. Essentially I looked at the current hotness a few months ago, “Roll and Write” games (Yahtzee is a great example of an R&W) and said “what could I do to make something unique?” I decided to mix the mechanics of roll and write with those of a “4X” game.
For those that don’t know, a 4X game is a game that centers around 4 actions; Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate.
My game is Scorched Earth, a dystopian future in which warring factions explore the harsh wilderness for farm-able land, expand their settlements and fields, exploit the lands of their enemies, and exterminate their enemies when they have the opportunity. War causes terrible devastation however, and what was once barely farm-able can soon become Scorched Earth.
The idea was to make a very interactive roll and write, as most tend to be solitaire style games where you simply compare scores at the end. So I wanted a re-usable surface of tiles. I decided on white acrylic and after a few iterations ended up with six tiles of varying numbers of hexes per player. The player rolls their dice to see which of the four actions they may add to their tile, then places their tile to take those actions on the previously placed tiles.
Each player has their own color of dry-erase markers. Black “X” spaces represent land that has been scorched by the ravages of war. Initially, I used letters to represent the actions, and I went simple; A, B, C and D. It was fairly confusing however. In the game these represent settlements. The squiggly lines represent the fields, the combination of which make territories for each player. These territories are scored at the end of the game to see who wins.
Oh, white acrylic engraved and cut, then spray painted with the masking still on to make the dark lines.
I needed custom dice. My very first iteration was just Sharpie on the dice, but I soon decided to engrave dice using the forge. This jig I made worked “ok” and I had a single set of serviceable dice. But as I said before the letters were confusing, so I was looking for an alternative.
I received a lot of good feedback through play tests, and the mechanics of the game have evolved a lot since my first iterations.
I decided to do away with the black sharpie and use black cubes for scorched earth spaces. I also changed the fields from squiggles to three lines. That way a second player could “share” without having to mix marker colors.
And then I got access to Snapmark! I could create custom stickers with ease to create numerous combinations of dice!
So I did. I also changed to symbology, but these things would be difficult for players to draw, so I decided to move to tokens instead of dry-erase!
I made tokens for each player out of engraved acrylic, and replaced the scorched earth cubes with “X” tokens as well. Players still draw fields using the dry erase.
The table presence of the game improved dramatically (and it was already quite eye-catching) once I added the tokens. The gameplay also improved because players didn’t have to draw the shapes or write letters any more.
The dome with the windmill is a farm and represents the Expand action. In this image, there is also an observatory representing the Explore action and a tractor representing the Exploit action. The last token (not in this image, but visible in the previous and next images is a tank representing the Exterminate action.
My latest play test. I am nearly there. I just need to focus on a couple of issues. Primarily, a first player disadvantage, and a way to diversify the scoring so that there are a couple of paths to victory.