Libraries are so old school.
With Zombology V2 all done except for the billions of playtests required, and my German language app awaiting beta testing feedback (it's taken me three attempts to get it my mate Mal), I've moved on, like a grown man with the attention span of a four year old, to Codename: Vacuum.
Over the last couple of months I've been considering coming back to Vacuum, and over the last week or so it's taken shape in my head. So much so that I was drafting cards towards the end of last week and designing a board in my head on the weekend. The weekend also involved quite a lot of research about country and continent populations in 1900 (it's set in a steampunk universe) and projections through to 2100 (it's a sci-fi game).
I originally wanted Vacuum to be a pure deck-builder (i.e. only cards) that played in about 45 minutes. I slowly weakened my resolve and some play mats and score tracking cubes crept in, but it was still pretty card-focused. The downside - with play mats, lots of card locations (that moved around!) and the decks spread out in the middle of the table it covered a lot of table top. A lot.
This time round I've relaxed my personal rules for what the game can contain in terms of components and I'm embracing a board (smallish), plastic ships (which I'm substituting wooden discs for at the moment) and a metric ton of wooden cubes (or 50,000,000 people as I like to think of them).
I've not made any bits for this version yet - I've not printed anything or tried anything out. When I do, it will inevitably be spectacularly broken, as all significant re-writes always are, but I've got a good feeling about this. The board for locations, the ship movement and conflict and the probes for exploration all work much more 'realistically'. The core mechanics (deck-building, direct conflict, multiple possible end game conditions of which only a few count) are all the same, but it just feels more right.
I'm off to Sheffield on Wednesday for a check up for my clinical trial. I'll use the four hours of train journeys to start knocking together the cards (with so many of them it's actually quicker to edit the pretty ones from the last version on the computer rather than scribble them all by hand).
I'm feeling pretty excited about Vacuum again after the two year break, maybe a fresh approach was what was needed...