Monorails of Mars is the type of game Eagle Games would publish. Big hex map board and lots of components. And of course, a train theme. So this is only the second time I’ve considered selling instead of publishing a design.
The concept is fairly simple. You start with no money, and whoever has the most money at the end of the game wins. You take out loans to build track to connect a city that produces goods to another that wants them. Every time you do, your income goes up. You can also develop towns so that they start producing goods. Beyond that, the similarities with previous games ends.
You can slow down other players by raising tariffs between territories through which they ship. Monorails can’t cross, so blocking other players is a much more important consideration. And you can build incomplete tracks, but then you risk getting blocked more seriously.
During the play test on Saturday, two players tied, but the high and low scores were around 286 and 86, so there needs to be some adjusting of cost and reward numbers in the game. But usually, some mechanic on a first prototype breaks down before the game can come to its expected conclusion, so I was pleasantly surprised about that. And I started to see which strategies were innovative and poorly conceived.
Although it’s a thin theme, I have tried to make it mildly educational. For the game board design, I copied the terrain of Mars when imagining it as terraformed and populated, using place names derived from the named craters near them and putting water in all the lower elevations.
The game may end up on our list at some point, but it’s way too early to tell. I try to make it a practice of continuing to design new games when I am inspired. It’s an investment though, as it takes several days of designing and building and around eighty dollars to produce an attractive prototype that people will want to play. It’s a minor gamble that I am trying to make into a habit.
After all, I’m increasing my ratio of marketable games each time I try.
Anyone have kids around 10-12 in the New York City area who would be willing to test this one? I suspect they would grasp and enjoy it pretty quickly.