Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Siberian Dawn – Hub Overview

In Siberian Dawn the interface between the Overseer and the world is called the Hub, so today we delve into the components of the Hub and take prospective Overseers through how it all goes together to present them with all the information they need in the missions ahead.

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The example Hub shown on this page is for the Resource phase, where the Overseer can buy additional resources, deploy units, and use the abilities of other resources they currently have available.

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1 – Resources

These are the resources the Overseer has drawn this phase, with the number drawn based on their current Rank. Any not used at the end of the Resource phase are discarded.

2- Active Resource

This is the active resource selected, a Guild Scribe. Active resources and actions will be highlighted by a glowing border.

3 – Action Pods

These 6 pods will give the Overseer contextual actions that are available with the resource they have currently selected, providing a quick and simple interface to control the Resources and elements of the Hub.

4 – Resolve Button

This button will show the current action waiting to be resolved and is the final confirmation to perform that action. Overseers have to always be alert with what they are doing as there is no undo in the heat of battle.

5 – Data Display

This displays the data for the currently selected resources, giving more information on the item, their status, and any costs an action with this resource might be. The Data Display will also show events and Strategic data during those phases.

6 – Current Command

This is the current Command points an Overseer has. They are normally gained from Logistics cards, and any unused are lost at the end of the Strategic Phase.

7 – Current Union Credit

This is the current Union Credit points an Overseer has. They are normally gained from Investment cards and any unused are lost at the end of the Strategic Phase.

8 – Overseer Rank

This is the Overseer’s Rank. The Rank starts at level 5 and is increased by unlocking Strategic sites. Rank determines how many resources are drawn in the Resource phase and also the Rank of units the Overseer can command.

9 – Overseer Glory

This is the Overseer’s Glory. It can be increased by defeating hostiles and performing other actions. Glory can be moved to the Overseer’s Command points and some resources can also move command points to Glory. Glory can be lost with Hostile actions and if it drops to 0 the Overseer will lose a rank and a Strategic site will lock.

10 – Area Vitae

This is the Vitae for the area the mission is taking place in, and is a measure of the energy present. If Vitae is reduced to 0 the Overseer has failed their mission. Hostile actions will drain Vitae.

11 – Bank

The Bank is the Overseer’s Credit reserve. Normally one Investment resource can be banked per turn, and Credit in the Bank can be transferred to the Overseer’s Current Union Credit pool.

12 – Resource Pool and Discard

This is the pool that the Resources are drawn from at the start of each Resource phase. Resources dropped or gained are added to the Resource discards. When the Resource pool is empty the discards become the new Resource pool.

13 – Tactical Pool

This is the pool that the Tactics are drawn from at the start of the Strategic phase. Any Tactical cards discarded or gained are added to the Tactical pool as there are no separate discards.

14 – Current Objective

This shows the current Objective in the mission and also shows how much of the Objective the Overseer has completed if it has an amount, otherwise it would just be a 0 for incomplete or 1 for completed.

15 – Bond

A Bond is a link the Overseer can pick before the mission starts that gives them a connection to one of the groups in the game. A Bond can be improved during the game and the Mentor unit has their abilities linked to this Bond. Each Bond also gives a unique bonus to start that game.

16 – Locked Union Strategic Site

This strategic site is locked. The Overseer can pay command equal to their Rank plus 1 to unlock this site, allowing them to then deploy a unit here and also increase the Overseer’s Rank by 1. Attacks on this site are undefended.

17 – Deployed Unit Strategic Site

This strategic site has a Grunt unit deployed here. During the Tactical phase the Grunt might be able to attack the Hostile in the opposite site. The Grunt also defends against any attacks of the Hostile opposite.

18 – Empty Strategic Site

This strategic site is empty, but can have a unit deployed here if the Overseer pays Command equal to the units Rank. Attacks on this site are undefended.

19 – Unknown Hostile Site

This Hostile is unknown. They will be revealed if the Overseer places a unit in the strategic site opposite, or they will be revealed in the Hostile phase if they become active.

20 – Inactive Hostile Site

This Hostile is known as there is a Union unit opposite, but the Hostile will not be acting in the Hostile phase this turn.

21 – Active Hostile Site

This Hostile will be taking an action in the Hostile phase unless they are removed or deactivated first.

22 – Threat Level

This shows the current level of Threat. For each level of Threat an extra Hostile will be activated this turn, and if it is above level 4, Hostiles might get an action bonus.

23 – Influence Flanks

There are two displays that show the Influence for the right and left flanks. As units occupy sites and take actions they add to the Influence for their side. As Influence increases, units on that flank get a bonus to actions.


And there you have the details of the Hub and what each of the elements do in the interface, a tight integrated system that allows the Overseer to do what they do. But some keen eyed observers might point out that there were two pods at the bottom that weren’t explained… well you always have to make sure you have some spare buttons, don’t you?

In future blogs I would like to cover some of the elements introduced above like rank and also take a look at the Fate Helix, the innovative way the game works out the resolution of actions, but let us know in the comments what you would like to see about the game here or on Facebook and we shall see what I can do.

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Siberian Dawn - Three Questions

Listening to other game designers you will hear some of the top ones say that when pitching a game to a company you shouldn’t start by talking about what type of game it is, like a deckbuilding game, but instead you should answer three questions. Who you are? What you do? How do you win?

You then go and watch a video by one of these top designers about their new game and the first thing they tell you is what type of game it is, but never mind them not taking their own advice I would like today to answer those three important questions they mentioned, in this blog, in relation to my game Siberian Dawn.

Who Are You?

In Siberian Dawn you play the part of an Overseer, one of the tactical experts of the Union who are responsible for quickly dealing with troubles as they arise using a limited resource pool, controlled squad level force, and possible support from the Guilds.

The game starts as hostility has been growing for the last few weeks in Industrial Habit IH-54 of the Eastern Zones. Outcasts are rumoured to have been stirring up this dissent and it is believed they are connected to a cult called the Dawn, Overseers have been assigned to deal with this unrest and you are one of them.

What You Do?

You start the game with a basic set of resources that include Investment cards and Logistics cards. You will then use these resources to buy Union units that can be deployed to strategic sites, gain Guild units that will support you, or buy higher value resource cards. During the tactical phase deployed units can then fight hostiles using the tactical cards you have in your tactical hand, which can also be improved.

Increasing your rank is another important thing you must do in the game, as this increases you hand of cards and allows you to command more powerful units.

How Do You Win?

In the game you will play various missions that will give the Overseer a series of objectives to complete which have variety and offer the Overseer different challenges during the mission. Each objective has a different goal that might be such things as occupying a number of sites, reaching a certain rank, or defeating a number of hostiles.

Once an objective is complete the next objective is given to you and when you complete them all you are victorious in the mission as long as you don’t let the Vitae, the life level of the mission area, reach zero.


And there you have the three questions answered and hopefully I have given you a better understanding of what Siberian Dawn is all about. Next time we will take a look at the Hub, the interface that the Overseer uses to communicate with the world, or as some might call it, the game screen. What are all those numbers, cards and strange pods doing on the screen, and how does it all come together to give you the tense game that is Siberian Dawn?

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