Saturday, December 24, 2011

And the vote is in....

...and the polls are closed!  The theme of Taipan will remain set in a historical Earth.  With how popular the Steampunk genre is at this time, I have to say I am kinda surprised that it didn't go that way.   I am also not disappointed.  I have a feeling that changing themes would have been more work than I thought it would be.
A great paining of the ship HMS Nemesis destroying War Junks in 1843 during 
the first Opium War.  The Chinese Junk Captains called her the "Devil Ship".
With my art bug temporarily satisfied, I have returned to working on making changes based on the last play test that went so horribly wrong.  Mostly card changes and minor adjustments to various rules.  But there are some major changes to the game as well:

The first big change is that all event cards will be a global even that will effect all players equally.  This will be good for eliminating the severe amount of random swing in the games outcome, but makes the world map feel a bit small and static.  I am wondering if I should have two decks, one for Global Events and one for  Player Events.

The Second big change will be making all city Cargo Values based on a universal value that only changes slightly.  For Example: Hong Kong is stable with its Rice cargo selling for 1 coin.  2 Spaces away Shanghai will sell their rice between 1-3.  4 Spaces away Hai Phong will sell their rice between 2-4.  Additionally, where the price is very good, the cargo value will be marked by a special color.  Buying or selling the specially marked colors will cause the card to change to the next pricing card for that city.  This is somewhat similar to the value of goods in San Juan, with a value token for every city.
In San Juan, the value of Goods changes very little but it makes a big difference.
Change number three will be that every city will let the player Upgrade their ship.  The difference being that Hong Kong is the least expensive place to do this.  Hong Kong will have the Upgrades for 4 while everywhere else will have them for 6.

The Fourth change is that all players start with -50 in debt tokens.  This is the players score.  The first player to pay off his debt ends the game once all players finish their turn.  The player with the most coin and least amount of debt wins.

The last big change is that a player's ships can be destroyed.  If a player reaches 0 on any of his stats, his ship is destroyed.  The player looses all cargo, half of their carried coin, and is returned to Hong Kong.  The player receives a -5 Debt Marker and may continue playing on his next turn.

There are lots of other smaller changes, and I could write all day explaining everything I am doing to change the game and the rules, but I think I will just start working on the changes instead.  On a similar note: I am trying very hard not to copy Merchants and Marauders.  It's a great game and there is no reason to have another game just like that one.  Its just that they did so many things right that, even when I am not directly copying it, its hard not to see similarities in what they did and what I am doing.
Such a good game, I must do my best to learn from it but not copy it. No small task!


  1. A small correction: the painting is the Nemesis fighting Chinese war junks. The Opium Wars were about the Chinese government trying to shut down the opium trade, with the British trying to keep it going, as the drug import business was making the Brits boat-loads of money (ha, literally!). The Chinese navy was seriously outclassed by the British ships, even though the Chinese had a larger fleet.

  2. Whoops...small typo there. Yes, Opium Junk should be War Junk. I will fix that. Thanks Ben.