What is Galactic Council?

A Neverending Game

The Galactic Council game is, as it stands now, a science fiction themed deck-building game in which you are a ship captain aboard a spacefaring vessel, battling other players for control of territory and resources. However the current build is simply a starting point, while the bigger vision is a game shaped by and for the people who play it.

I have made the prototype game revolve around collecting the right equipment and personnel (in the form of cards) for your ship to get you to one of two victory conditions(a militaristic and a diplomatic condition) before your opponent does. However, when this project comes out of beta, the stamp of the player community should outweigh my own, which may take the game in an entirely different direction - and I’m totally ok with that. In fact, that’s kind of the point.

In every gamer, a potential designer

In a nutshell, Galactic Council is my attempt at creating a self-sustaining game that relies on its players to generate and vet game content and rules. While the community derives content for the game, it will be my job to provide suitable framework to encourage content creation.

It seems in most every gamer is a would-be designer. Art, lore, game mechanics, haven’t we all had a concept we’d like to see implemented in a game some day? I aim to give everyone that opportunity, and reward them for seizing it. As long as there is an active player community, there should be fresh new content to experience at all times.

Never say die

Galactic Council is a project about never having to face that moment of putting a beloved game on the shelf because you’ve seen all it has to offer. Come back to Galactic Council after any amount of time away, and find new rules and cards, offering a fresh and unique experience…forever.

What will all this look like?

Galactic Council will initially look like a deck building strategy card game residing within a website. While the options are limitless, the “official” themes I will be going for will mimic futuristic interfaces that a ship captain would use exploring and conquering intergalactic skies.

A website structure offers up great flexibility in terms of the actual appearance of the game and housing site itself. Given the amount of eventual complexity to be found within the game, much attention will be paid to hiding some of the more complex portions of the experience away until the player decides they wish to “tumble down the rabbit hole” a bit further and get involved with content creation behind the scenes. The primary deck-building game will be free to play for all, and will consist of the best 10% of content the community has to offer. Access to content creation and testing will require a membership to the housing website, which will expose players to the 90% of content “still in development”. Memberships will offer unparalleled abilities in shaping the direction the game goes in.

Help me create this game piece by piece.

Upon its initial beta release, players will be able to create three crucial aspects to the Galactic Council experience: game rules, card abilities, and cards themselves. Further along in the life of the project, I hope to allow people to make design layouts, code snippets, and eventually entire add-on expansions. My goals as a designer are to make these content sharing processes rewarding, straightforward, and most of all - fun.

Create what now?

Rules – Rules will change the structure of the game itself. Players will be able to suggest any rule they wish to see, and if upvoted enough times within the community, will be selected for implementation for a future build.

One might suggest rule(s) favoring a pre-constructed deck game versus a deck-building game. A race/faction expansion rule set. A brand new “dice” mechanic for more varied combat. 2v2, 1v1v1v1, 30 vs. artificial intelligence. New damage or weapon types, classes of cards, or inheirit player abilities. Different “packets” of rules will make up entirely different game types, breathing new life in to the game and providing endless hours of variation for those who wish it.

Abilities – Cards will have abilities that drive the game forward, such as gaining additional resources, drawing more cards, or searching through your deck for other cards. If you come up with a card ability that the community responds positively to and is selected for implementation, you and other players will be able to make cards that feature your newly created ability.

Cards – Select from previously created card abilities to make up new cards. With enough votes, your created card will make it in to the rotation of cards that will help shape other players’ experiences.

Draw the image associated with the card, or bribe (see credits below) a fellow member to draw something for you. Write a short story to go along with the mythos of your card for others to review and rate. Work on the balance of your card for maximal fun, for instance, how many/what kind of resources should it cost? Find that balance of power granted and skill required to make your card shine.

Why not do all three at once?

Make all 3, make a card that depends on a newly created ability that hinges on a rule/mechanic you’ve envisioned. Hit the forums to brag about your new mechanics, urge others to try it out/rate it/offer balance suggestions, tweak and repeat. Change the way the game is played in real time.

Monthly Build Orders

Each month, a new build of the website will be released. The new build will contain all of the content the member community has been able to beta test, balance and vet. Simultaneously, the background “content testing” pages for members will be updated with newly created content to start beta testing. I will then select the next batch of highly voted features to begin incorporating.

Create content? Don’t game players just want to play?

I want to build software that facilitates complex and meaningful interactions within community members – both in game and out. I have many ideas on how to achieve this, below are some examples.

Voting – I plan on putting a voting system in to just about everything the game has to offer. Vote up (or down) cards, rules, abilities, a game you played, a player you played with, a comment in the forums, concepts for future ideas… anything and everything. Interact with the site and receive "Beacon Nanons." Beacon Nanons are akin to experience points found in most RPG's, additionally Beacon Nanons are instrumental in earning "Prestige Votes".

Galactic Council will only be as good as the ability of the players to express their opinions. I’m going to make sure voting on content is easy, everywhere, and meaningful. Get experience points for voting/contributing and level up your profile. Earning a certain amount of points will earn you credits the next day. What can you do with credits?

Prestige Votes – While points are meant to represent your overall contributions to the site, credits are your reward to be spent most anywhere for an extra “umph”. Credits are meant to be a representation of your time spent contributing to the community, and the website pays you back with concentrated currency you can spend purchasing what YOU want.

Spend credits for extra votes where ever votes are possible, as bounty for artists/programmers/reviewers, as a reward to the creator of a new card you love, to gain extra visibility for created content, as collateral for wagering before games, for special card packs only obtainable via credits, for improving abilities of cards you've created…even for purchasing a membership to the site.

The 5’s Forecast

5 weeks after Initial Beta Release – A healthy beta should be available for all contributing/interested individuals. Members will be able to play Galactic Council, make abilities/rules/cards, and interact with the robust community system voting on anything and everything. The goal of the community will be to get the “10%” portion of the game ready for release, hopefully at…

5 Months – At this point the main “10%” game should be out of beta and free of bugs, playable on most browsers, handle smoothly, and look pretty. The game will have taken shape into its basic form; the rules/cards/abilities everyone loved and upvoted during beta. Now the community focus will be on creating exciting new content, while my goal will be to expand the ways players can contribute to the game and incentives to do so.

Naturally I will take my direction from the community on where they would like to be able to pitch in next. Visual design? Background coding? Universe expansion? The community speaks and I code. The options are limitless, and I'll be granting precedent to those most invested(I'll be tracking "investment" in a variety of ways) in the community.

5 Years – Given the nature of the game, it is hard to imagine exactly what it will look like in 5 years. I don’t see this as a negative. Focusing on new features and new ways to allow the community the chance to contribute will allow this game to take off in many different directions. However, there are a few certainties I see...

Future Certainties

Endless Content – I imagine at 5 years the game would have enough content created by its players to make it practically impossible to “see it all” – especially with my focus being on enhancing the ways players can contribute to the experience.

Community Jobs or Classes – Coder. Reviewer. Lore Builder. I want to see profile pages that brag about what a player has contributed to the Galactic Council experience. The basic idea is the more input you put in to this project, the more Galactic Council will pay you back. I want special class designations for those who have put in the time and effort into making the game better.

These won’t just be meaningless titles; they will confer certain “powers” that normal users won’t have within the membership pages. Change the border of forum posts to make your entry stand out. Move your created content to the top of the “stack” for review. Join a pool of "expert reviewers" who's collective scores of content is widely respected, and who's suggestions are almost always heeded because of their reviewer status. Be selected to create reward structures because the community recognizes you as fair and balanced in deciding what rewards should come with what challenges. Climb the ladder and wield the subsequent power that results.

Hiring From Within – Members with impressive profiles demonstrating creative power and influence within the community will not go unnoticed. My goal is to have a profile page section that reads like a resume to a game company – what you’ve made and how well received your creations were. Use it to apply to your favorite game company, show them your work, passion, and demonstrated talent. That is if I don’t get to you first. Where else would I look to hire than those who are already familiar with the environment and a well-documented track record of making it better? Work to earn credits one day, and be selected to get paid the next.

Multiple “layers” to the game, all interconnected – A shining example of this is a 2 vs. 2 format where each player on the team relies on resources acquired by their teammate – who is playing a completely different game type. How different (and interconnected) the 2 game types are is completely dependent on the community – so hopefully we can all dream big. Collectively, we can build amazing things together brick by brick, card by card.