A game about planting trees: Part 3

A few months ago I started creating a game about planting trees and introducing wildlife. Part 1 showed how the drafts moved from different trees and colours to four different environments. Part 2 showed how the art developed and I added relationships between the animals and plants, as well as looking at how damage could occur to the habitats.

I was having some issues with the willow trees. In the game, the player colours in the plants to show that they had been planted. Unfortunately that wasn’t always clear with the willow leaves — there was too much ink and not enough space for the colour. My first action was to try making them into whole trees, but that really didn’t work! So I decided to swap out the willows for bullrushes. I can draw bullrushes better, there’s more colour space, and frankly willows and bullrushes both seem bank-like.

I’ve previously thought about relationships between the animals — what happens if there were fewer squirrels than snakes, or fewer fish than kingfishers? I decided that the consequence should be first that the prey creature should be reduced, and then (if the balance isn’t righted soon) that the predator should be reduced. This basically means crossing off an animal in one of the squares. Similarly, if there are significantly more of the prey animals than predators, then the plants suffer instead.

Another question was around the end of each turn. I decided (rather arbitrarily) on ten turns, which each turn representing a year. After each turn, something has to happen — a year end, where the game has a chance to help or hinder you.

I started to think about the year end, putting a time line (1-10) at the top and following it with three different actions. The first part of year end is the relationships between the animals and plants. Usually this won’t kick in immediately, because you need to introduce the animals first. The second part of the year end is the weather. You roll two dice and the weather is an a result of that roll. If you have protection against it then you simply cross off that protection, but if not then you lose one of the plants on your sheet. (There are little arrows to show you which ones.) The third part of the year end is contamination. You have a number of clean up resources, and you can add to them by using dice in the “clear” part of the selection panel. If you have no clean up resources then you lose one of your plants. Contamination takes place every year end until all rows and columns have been cleared.

I’m feeling quite happy with it. I just need to write up the rules, put them online, and it’ll be done and ready to download.

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