Posted by Colin Hanna on Nov 27, 2013 under

Hey everybody!  I am proud to finally post the first news of what will surely be a long and rewarding march through the development of Waves of Wealth and War.  For those of you who have seen Waves grow through every stage of its life, some of this will be familiar ground, but for those new to the machinations of Brave Legacy Games, this will serve to illustrate where Waves came from in the very beginning.  However, the fledgling strategy game is beginning to spread its wings, and there is also a preview of great things to come!

Why I bothered to keep the very first version is beyond me.  It's a terrible mess of paper that I kept in the box of a pair of costume boots.

You might also notice that the tags I've inconspicuously placed on the sides of the box read "Waves of War and Wealth."  That was before I realized that the title sounded much more dramatic with War at the end.  But, despite its shortcomings, this humble container held the earliest version of a pet project that inspired me to start a company.  I suppose that might be why it's still around.  

As you can see here, every piece of the game was made out of paper.  The Port Chart, the Ships, the Sailors, the Officers (formerly called Captains despite the fact that one of the ranks was, in fact, Captain... would you pass me a Captain? Sure, which one? The Captain. Oh, right), the coins, the Victory Point stars, the Trade Agreements, the upgrade cards, the flags denoting ownership of Ships -- everything was paper except the dice, which for testing purposes were cannibalized from another game.

The paper was functional, but messy and crumpled easily.  It was awkward to slide a stack of six pieces of paper across the table together, and veritably impossible to keep in any sort of order.  It is perhaps these shortcomings which inspired me to make a better prototype -- one with actual pieces to represent the stuff in the game.

And so the second version was born.  From the illustrious vaults of Hobby Lobby and the forge fires of my grandfather's woodshop emerged the glorious Waves redesign.  I even found a special box for it.

There had been many small iterations of the game before I made the second version, of course.  Lots of minor rule changes and tweaks.  But this time, I set out to revolutionize Waves.  I added huge features and severed swaths of scrap cards to make room for new ones.  The final design for the Ships ended up working like the cars in The Game of Life or the ships in Battleship, with the crew members and officers made out of pegs designed to fit into the slots on each Ship.  When you build or buy a Ship in the game, you take one from the box and put your flag on it, designating it as yours.

I was forced to change the rules of combat after an incident where two super fleets of eighteen ships made it apparent that battle was only balanced on a small scale.  And there was way too much math involved.

But we had fun with this iteration.  There were many good playtests and it was unanimously agreed that the feel of the game was great.  The act of building Ships and sending them out on long but profitable ventures to other players' Ports across a Great Sea where anyone can prey on your fleet is both tense and rewarding.  It feels satisfying, whether you gain your riches through guile, honest trade, or open war.  Here are some pictures of past play tests with slightly earlier editions.

As you can see in these pictures, there is no central board per se.  The table itself (or whatever surface you happen to play on) becomes the Great Sea.  When crossing it, you simply move your ships from one of the Ports to the center of the table.  In the future, perhaps there will be an accessory, such as a circular play map resembling a sea chart, which will augment the aesthetic of the game.

As much as I have come to love this version of the game -- the wooden pieces that my father and I carved and drilled and sanded ourselves -- I am eager to test with a plastic set that will somewhat resemble the final, retail version of Wealth and War.  I personally designed the 3D models for the newer pieces with Tinkercad, a wonderful, free, browser-based program.

I have enlisted the aid of a man who is currently printing these models with his 3D printer.  I hope to have the first plastic prototype set in soon.  Here is a preview of what is to come:

I hope you all enjoy this news as much as I do!  I look forward to sharing more with you and I can't wait to playtest with the new pieces.