Tag Archives: Speed

Prototyping with a Cyborg Octopus


Playing my game became the best experience in finding out what works and what does not. As more play tests happened there were certain results that I did not plan for or expect a player to do. The following blog will present those changes and how I changed the game to suit what I preferred.

I intended for my game to be quite long, but as I am happy to grind out playing my game this was not the case for a majority of play testers. The first design of the board had empty spaces that did nothing. This was changed as the first play testers found that the interest in the game came from being able to do something other than just roll. The solution became to fill in the empty spaces with actions that meant every player would be able to do something besides just roll every turn.

board changes

The revamped board

Continuing play tests found that the board was quite slow when starting to attack the Queen. I had designed in a way that the damage to the Queen is exponential as the turns go on. Even though you may not have done any damage to the Queen this turn you are building up your stats to do more damage when you do get the chance to attack.

Card upgrades

An aesthetic upgrade for the cards as well as a colour coordination on the map. Blue = Action, Red = Queen, and Grey = Mechanical Piece

The Significance of the Card draw is to be both beneficial and disruptive to the players. The Mechanical Pieces that you get from the “M” spaces boost your upgrades though as there were Action Cards from landing on the “A” spaces that allowed you to get Mechanical Pieces also it presented itself as a redundancy for the players drawing this Action Card.

Redundant cards

26 redundant Action Cards. Players wanted something more beneficial than just a card that equaled landing on a Mechanical Space. So they were scrapped.

Scrapping these cards caused a significant decline in getting Mechanical Pieces in order for upgrades. A short solution was to give players 5 Mechanical Pieces to start with instead of 3, and for every 2 damage done to the Queen a player would receive 1 Mechanical Piece.

Attacking the Queen is the main objective for the first round of the game. Though early play tests made this quite the struggle as you would have to land on or pass Start naturally to be able to attack the Queen or get an Action Card that would allow you to damage the Queen. Feedback suggested making the other three corner spaces ‘Attack the Queen Spaces if landed on (for your attack stat)’. This change was beneficial for the speed of the game in further play tests.

Start Changes

Landing on or going past Start is the biggest benefit as you get to attack the Queen but also a Mechanical Piece to get further in upgrading your stats.

Play tests also made the change for the purpose of the ‘Movement’ stat. While I had thought that this was to increase your dice roll movement many people; even myself found that it was incompatible with the natural flow of rolling a dice and moving that number of spaces. A simple redesign changed the ‘Movement Stat’ to the ‘Speed Stat’ that benefits in the Second Board Battle Phase. Where the player with the higher Speed Stat goes first when it comes to attacking or defending.

A little playthrough

A Short play test of the game showed that by turn 6 the Queen would be Half Health. This was also the play through where I decided to change the Movement Stat to the Speed Stat.

As the game was played there are a number of Cards that cause a player to lose stats and this made their stats go into the negatives. This was something I did not like as it made the Revenge Map quite redundant. As it is your stats that are your life total so having negative stats meant you were handicapped with both your character and your revenge octopus.

Turn and rules changes

‘Your Turn’ and ‘Rule’ pages were created for some guidance

Some of the Queen cards are specific in that they only heal damage tentacles or the most damaged tentacle. In early play tests players were only focusing on one tentacle at a time which made these Queen cards redundant. So introducing the rule “Three tentacles need to be damaged before the first tentacle can be completely (dealing the 8th damage) destroyed” sorted out this issue.

Damage to the Queen also became significant when players were attacking multiple tentacles in one turn – an overflow of damage from one tentacle to another. I set in place the rule that no overflow of damage is allowed as these tentacles are gigantic compared to the player so there is no way that a single blow from a player would be able to go through multiple tentacles. This rule aided in the game being more strategic but also the Queen Cards being more effective if players are careless.

Something as simple as rolling doubles seemed common and I wanted players want to keep rolling doubles so I made the simple rule of “If you roll doubles have another turn” (taken from monopoly but with no threat of jail). I though this was a fine rule as the board layout prevents a player from continually attacking the Queen as the board is 11 spaces on two sides and 10 on the other two. So consecutive attacks are rare but doable.

battle board changes

The Revenge Board saw a couple of changes to guarantee some progress

First changes on battle board

First Round of changes on the Revenge Board

The Jump Forward Space was added so the Mobile Octopus had a guarantee goal for at least getting into a fight with a player. As landing on this space jumps the Octopus forward on the map (following the layout of the map) to the nearest player and getting in some damage.

Changes of software and hardware

A review of the end of a game and some feedback suggested putting specific stats on the Mechanical Pieces and having them be in certain groups so that players had to coordinate certain pieces from those groups together in order to get a bonus. Above is a little look at setting out that design. I did find it interesting though the implementation seemed quite hard.

Next set of changes

Some changes that I planned to play with on the next play test

The paper clips and elastic bands seem to be the best representation for the Queen and her health. Overall I am happy with my game and how it is turning out.

It’s a Cyborg Octopus life after all – Game Pitch

Octopus aesthetics

Source. The general aesthetic I would like for the Queen Octopus and the board game itself.

A huge cyborg Octopus stands in the way of salvation. Everything that we once knew is now controlled by the Queen Octopus. The world is a dark place where the only way to survive is to rummage and destroy other cyborg beings for their hardware and software. You upgrade yourself in order to become stronger, wiser and faster to defeat the Queen and the secrets that rest within her body. Yourself and three friends goal is to defeat the Queen’s tentacles and her powerful minions, though not everyone gets to reach salvation.

First progress in the following two images shows the first stages of thinking out the game and its mechanics. I had an idea about wanting to do a two board, two phase game. Where a large octopus is placed in the center of the board to provide both a visual representation of the enemy but also an added aesthetic for the narrative of the game. Drawn in the top right of the first image below you can see the general though for the game. A added change was also a battle mechanic where instead of armour and weapons it became about stats and upgrading those stats through gathering Mechanical pieces.

1st plan part 2

First plans about the board game

actual 2nd phase 1st draft

Continued plans

Playing the Game

First choosing a character out of Human, Shark, Cow and Bottle. Players are given the player-card corresponding that hold details about the beginning stats and the special upgrade ability of that individual character. Players are also given 3 random Mechanical Pieces. Then taking turns moving around the board by using two dice and adding your movement stat (e.g. dice rolls 3 and 4, your movement is +1, so you move a total of 8 spaces) your turn begins.


A write up of the characters and their cards. Each character is different and is played with a different strategy in mind.

1st phase board drawn up

The concept for the board. A simple 4 sided 11 spaces on each side form. Trying to work out the appropriate amount of each different kind of space to balance the mechanics.

Octopus elastic.jpg

A prototype that I’ve been using to represent the Queen and her tentacles. 64 Parts = 64 health.

After rolling and making a move players can land on 1 of 4 different spaces. First is a space labelled ‘A’ which corresponds with the Action Cards. 104 in total, Action Cards aide in both helping and hindering the player. They are the source for dealing damage to the Queen (e.g. deal 1 damage to the Queen). In the case of dealing damage to the Queen the player would add their Attack stat to the damage asked to be dealt with by the Action Card (e.g Action card says deal 2 damage to the Queen, Attack stat is 1 attack, so the total damage to the Queen is 3 damage). Action Cards are the main aide to the player and so needing to find the right amount to come up with to create interaction with the players and the board 104 seemed quite a lot but has been working with the play tests.

Action cards

A look at all the action Card and their design. The design though out is a place holder as I am never happy with what I come up with. So just making it simple seemed easiest.

The second space players can land on is the ‘Q’ space. Which represents the Queen Card interaction. The Queen is well aware of the impending danger that the players can create so she must intervene and cause as much distraction as possible to prevent being defeated. The Queen Cards are a way for the Queen to mess with the players by moving them around, getting them to lose stats and by making the fight go on longer by healing her damaged tentacles. The Queens Health is represented by her tentacles. With 8 tentacles separated into 8 pieces the Queen has a total of 64 Health.

queen cards

A look at the first progress of Queen Cards and Design. Currently the game play consists of 27 Queen Cards.

The third space players could land on is the ‘M’ space which is in relation to the Mechanical Pieces Cards. These pieces are what players collect in order to upgrade themselves to be having higher Attack, Defense and Movement. Mechanical Pieces are used in pairs to upgrade any one stat by 1 point. Some Mechanical Pieces can be used with other Pieces to double the benefit but players must use them at the same time in order to get that benefit (e.g. A ‘Key’ used with a ‘Keyseat’ doubles the stat upgrade from 1 to 2, so a player would add 2 stat increases to any skill instead of 1)


mechanical cards

Here is a preview of all the Mechanical Pieces in play. A total of 60 are used throughout the game.


The first round of cards. Simple writing on paper. Around 180 all up.

The fourth space is just a blank space that does nothing. Looking at played games these spaces will be filled with the previous cards mention to level out the mechanics of the game.


Once the Queen has been defeated players should notice that the Queen never attacked the players back just messed around with them. The Queen was focusing on giving birth to a new spawn of Cyborg Octopuses that become mobile and are a danger to the players. Throughout the game the Queen kept an eye on every stat change that the players made and created babies that reflect those stats.

The Queen has been killed. A huge Explosion erupts all over the battlefield. The land has been changed. Out of the dust of the Queens remains 4 Mobile pissed off Octopuses await the players and are the final battle to determine who reaches salvation. The Octopuses want all of the pieces of their mother back but you have been using them as upgrades. So something needs to be done about that.

Battle Phase

revenge map big version

The first design of the Battle Board. Quite Large.

revenge map smaller version

Resized the Battle Board. A more intimate field that allows multiple paths so players can both attack and defend against the enemy.

phase 2 revenge

The first print of information about the Battle Phase

The board has flipped and a new battle has begun. Players now have to control now just there original character but one of the Octopuses also (Players would be a different colour and so would control the octopus of the corresponding colour). Turns are now a round of two phases. First phase is the players original character, go around the circle. Second phase is the movement of the corresponding colour octopuses. These Octopuses are what players use to capture the opposing players in a fight to weaken them.

Every Octopus has the same stats that the player that controls it has. A red human has the stats of 10 Attack, 8 Defense and 8 Movement. Their Octopus now has those stats also – 10 Attack, 8 Defense and 8 Movement. To move around the board is the same as before, roll two dice, add your movement and then move that allotted spaces. Players want to avoid landing themselves on Octopuses but what their Octopuses to land on opposing players as that is how you win the game.

octopus vs player

This image showcases the battle system that the game follows. Every encounter causes some damage to the player if they are caught by an Octopus

After every fight the damage dealt to players is taken away from their stats. Once a player has run out of stats they are out of the game. However their Octopus remains on the field and is now classified as a ‘Bomb’ which has 50 Attack. This is so people that get knocked out early can avenge themselves and keep them engaged with the game. The last player with stats remaining wins the game.

(Through constant test playing some of these aspects have/will change, but these are how they stand as for now)