Let's see, where did we leave off? That's right, keeping you hanging :P
So last time I gave you a small idea about the beginning process I went through in taking an interested idea without mechanics, or art or story into something that had all of those things. Unfortunately that's not something that happens all at once.
I think the first thing that really changed the game from an idea to a game was in changing the wooden cylinders which represented the cities into hexes tiles. Around this same time I had also been working on a hex-card game called Fruit Flip! I've always loved hexes as components because unlike making this in square shapes, the hexes (tiles, or cards) offer a bit more versatility and, especially when the number of side equals the number of options a player has, expands the amount of choices in a game. My vision for the roads-in-the-cylinders game included being able to insert up to 6 'road' pieces into each city/'cylinder'. So the hex tile was a quick easy decision.
after I decided on making each city a hex tile I realized just how many options I then had. each piece wasn't just an upgrade to the city but each hex tile could be a unique upgrade offering it's own abilities and bonuses onto the city it becomes a part of when placed.
It was somewhere around here that I decided to base the game on corporations improving these cities to receive additional income every turn.
Once I had made these decisions I then spent months (Although really the story development process has been continuing and evolving over all the last 4 1/2 years) deciding on the story line of the game and how to apply the story ideas into usable mechanics in the game. Over the next few years and very much in between working far too much at my day-job I slowly continued to improve on the game, add new artwork and graphic design, and consistently play test to death.
The biggest most time consuming thing I had to do was playtesting. every time I made even a minor change I'd play it myself as 3 or 4 different players. By the way, it's a challenge to not just use one 'player' to boost the other 'player(s)'. At the beginning of each game I'd decide on a strategy or theme to follow throughout the game for each 'player'. I'd even stick to it when the strategy looked like it would fail. Doing this gave me ideas and help to weed out problems in wording, eliminate overpowered/useless abilities, learn how to add things in the game that could or should stack, and most importantly figure out a good way to end the game.
I'm one of those gamers that loves to find a way to increase my score/winning options and keep the game going as long as possible and kill my score to really be proud of it. @VindicationBoardGame is a great example of a game that I'll always do my best to stretch out longer because I have so much fun playing, even when losing (there's always a chance I'll catch up if there's enough time left!). So deciding on how to end the game became a real challenge. I eventually settled on an option that sits between the players having a say in when it ends and have the game force it's end upon you. Somewhere around this time was when I was working on the Event Deck which became the deciding factor on when the game end. Utilizing the event deck, the game lasts for 8-12 or so rounds. Period! There are a couple ways to add a round or two to the game giving the players a bit of control, but generally the game takes charge and forces it's own end to prevent it from running for hours.
Check back in next time for the next steps we went though developing our first little diamond of board game goodness!