When I joined Jeff to help bring Startropolis to life, he already had it in a pretty good spot. Jeff and I have worked together for years on various projects and he has always been a great idea man.
However as fun as Startropolis was, we both knew it wasn’t ready yet. One of the main issues I noticed with revolved around its auction mechanic. Auctions in board games can be really tricky to get to work. With Startropolis, I saw a couple of issues. The first was that auctions rarely work well with only 2 players. That meant that Startropolis really need 3+ to shine. Not ideal. The other issue with auction games is knowing how to value what you are bidding on. Experienced players had a massive advantage in knowing how to value the modules they’ve played with in the past. This created a run away leader problem as the rich get richer. Again, less than stellar (see what I did there?).
After many playtest sessions trying to fix this, we decide it was time to move in a new direction. The auction mechanic went into the bin and was replaced with a build track. To say that the game was immediately improved would be an understatement. Players no longer had to gauge the value of something before experiencing it, and in addition, were giving almost twice as many choices for purchase on their turn. This gave players many more options to tailor their strategies.
With the games underlying mechanics solved, Jeff and I turned our attention to refining and balancing the modules in the game. Startropolis features 6 different types of modules (not counting the core module), so we had to make sure they all could shine in their own way. This again, required not only many playtest sessions, but also lots of spreadsheets as we tried to wrap our heads around all the different ways the numbers could interact with each other.
However, what we ended up with was a game we feel is not only incredibly unique, but also a ton of fun to play. After countless hours of development, we are excited to finally see Startropolis come to life on our gaming tables.