Dev Diary - Week 4: Playing Up Ship Creek

This week in class, we were introduced to the Studio 1 made game: Up Ship Creek. I was fortunate enough to be one of the three people to play the game and I really enjoyed it. The first thing you notice, are the large amount of mechanics. The 6 on-board card holders, characters, items and systems needed to be done each turn creates a certain experience.

One which makes the player feel as if they are on a spaceship in a hectic situation. Hazard zones, rolling on luck (in a way) and being under time or turn pressure adds to the experience. Every decision matters and the constraints (time or turns) impact that. If the team is under a time constraint, then it will be a mad rush normally. We got into gear and headed straight for the objective, not picking up items and generally not planning ahead for where we will be for the next crisis. Whereas, when there was just a turn constraint, taking out time was much more common and we went over multiple different plans of attack before committing. This relates back to how a situation like this would really go down. If there was a real life time constraint, then there would be a mad rush to get whatever is causing the countdown to stop. Whereas if time is not a problem, then the situation can be approached from a more thought about point of view, focusing both on what needs to be done now and how we can make it easier for ourselves in the future.

A system in the game that confused me a bit while playing, but is clear now, is the rolling of dice. If you land in a hazard zone, then you are rolling against the board for the lowest number. Whereas if you are attempting to "complete an objective" (beating a condition card), then you are rolling against the board for the highest number. This is because hazard zones are more generous to weaker players, where as the condition card roll is more generous to players with the required resource. If we flipped the hazard room around and made it so that rolling the highest number grants you victory, then they wouldn't really feel like a hazard. You send the player with the most health or the most stats off to do the dirty work, because if they get affected somehow, it will be less of a blow to the team. It makes hazard zones less of a "why bother going there, I'm low and probably going to die", and more of a risky chance.

Another interesting thing that was told to us after playing which we didn't even think about, was our starting positions. Each story has a different starting room and the placement of the players actually matters. You want the people with the least action points closest to the exit of the room, and the people with the most, you want further back. We started totally at random, with out 3 players lined up, not in action point order. If did, then the start of the game would probably have been easier as we would have been able to move around further.