New design solutions, new writing problems

Hello, dear readers! I haven’t forgotten about you, but my day job has been taking up a lot of time and energy, so all the design work I’ve been doing has been in my head. Admittedly, it’s a bit hard to read there, isn’t it? Corona continues to be a difficult game to translate from the ideal in my head to a published and playable state, so I’ve been pouring the majority of my efforts into finally getting it to a finished version so I can rest!

A long-standing problem with Corona has been capturing the essential elements of both immersive political roleplaying and strategic maneuvering in a way that mesh intuitively together, without too much bookkeeping involved. The prior drafts got close, but there was still a lot of number-crunching going on, particularly for the Void, and that was causing huge disruptions in the flow of play at the end of every span.

A far more elegant solution finally emerged earlier this week (just before sleep, as some of the best ideas often do), but with it came a new problem: Corona would have to be gutted and rewritten for a fourth time, because the new solution completely obsolesces the basic resolution system. It also moves further away from the most board-game-like aspects of the game, which is probably welcome news to some players but a sad loss for others. Corona is very much in the vein of “new Braunsteins” currently popping up all over the indie tabletop game scene, and this new form of intrigue development/resolution removes some of the appealing strategic crunch. I’ll see about restoring some of that style of play – it’s something that I consider crucial to the essence of what Corona is – but it will be tricky to accomplish without seeming “bolted on”. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share a new version with playtesters very soon; I’m also aiming to have a draft to take to Metatopia, which is just over two months away.