When creating Chromosome, I thought about many different mechanics that I could implement to the game. Initially I wanted it to be easy to learn, replayable, and filled with many significant choices to make during the game. Unfortunately this ultimate goal of every designer happened to be really hard to accomplish. Either it was too difficult, or too random, or it „played by itself” leaving almost no decisions for the players. It wasn't easy to improve all those elements and make them work nicely together.
So I started to add things: event cards, game board, individual player boards, dice and so on. I implemented hand management, card drafting, area control and action point allowance mechanics because I thought they fit my idea perfectly.
An interesting mechanics that came into my mind one day was a bag of gene tiles that were used by all players. There were a lot of discussions and controversy so finally I decided to ditch it. It caused too much randomness, that could not be made up for with tactical skills.
But the biggest breakthrough was yet to come. Microbes got their individual powers and the play area went a long road from macro to micro scale. I also added modular board which increased replayablility even more.
I pulled the genes out of the bag and put them on the game board where they formed a supply. I added fortune points to the game – another mechanism that help you to control randomness. And on top of that – radioactive spaces. This was the moment where energy manipulation became a very important and unique part of Chromosome.
Creating a game is a lot of hard but enjoyable work. Finding a perfect balance between different mechanics requires many hours of play testing. You are constantly trying to find an exit in seemingly never ending labyrinth of thoughts. But the final result is always rewarding. I recommend every young designer to try and follow that path. It's worth it!
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