Publisher diary 2/5

Nine Logo
Nine Logo

The First Steps

 

The 2nd part of our publisher diary unveils the 4 phases of a round of NINE. If you missed the 1st part, you can read it here.

At the beginning of each of the 8 rounds, players reveal a new Hourglass card and resolve these 4 phases from I to IV :

  • Dealing : players draw cards simultaneously
  • Command : in turn order, players select the cards they want to play for this round
  • Kingdom : in turn order, players trigger their majority card abilities
  • Clean-up : in turn order, players discard card until they reach the round limit

Round

 

Dealing phase

Each round, players draws the number of cards indicated at the top of the Hourglass card, then may discard a Culture token to draw an additional card. Players start the game with only one Culture token. As they are hard to obtain, this ability must be used wisely and most of the time, at the end of the game. Players draw less and less cards as the game goes, but they will control more and more. This is one of the key aspects of this Gary Kim’s design.

 

Phase 1
 
At the beginning of the 1st round, each player draws 7 cards, then they may spend 1 Culture token to draw an additional card.

 

Unlike its predecessors, NINE proposes a different progression concerning the cards drawn during the game. Instead of drawing 10,9,8,7… cards each round, NINE is more linear (7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 4 and 4).

You will draw less cards at the beginning in comparison to Koryo and Choson, but this gap happens during the early game when you draw enough cards to make your choices satisfying and when decisions are not critical yet. Most importantly is the last round, during which players draw 4 cards instead of 3, and this is very impactful! Drawing more cards at the end of the game when you want to optimize your possibilities was very important to us to maintain enough tension until the end of the game.

Drawing 7 cards instead of 10 is also a way to not give players with too many choices at the very beginning of the game. 7 cards are enough to propose various choices without overwhelming the players.

Drawing 7 cards instead of 10 is also a way to not give players with too many choices at the very beginning of the game. 7 cards are enough to propose various choices without overwhelming the players.

Broadcaster / Tomorrow
Broadcaster (Koryo) – Tomorrow (NINE)

 

Command phase

Phase 2
 
Select 2 different cards or X of the same type.

 

Each new version of Gary Kim’s game system offered more control options during this phase. In Koryo, player could only play X cards of the same type, unless a player controlled the most Shipbuilder cards (value 5) which allowed that player to choose between playing X cards of the same type OR 2 different cards.

Then Choson came and the Shipbuilder ability was integrated to the core mechanic: all players were able to choose X cards of the same type OR 2 different cards.

 

Armateur Koryo
Shipbuilder

 

NINE follows Choson’s path because it improves a lot the choices while removing a bad frustration feeling. However, NINE goes further thanks to Phoenix ability which allows a player to choose an additional card during the Command phase by spending a Culture token: this player can now select 3 different cards from their hand OR X identical cards + 1 another card! This ability is perfect to claim more majority abilities during your turn, to catch up if a lot of your cards were previously destroyed or to change radically your strategy!

Phoenix - Nine
Phoenix (Nine)

 

Kingdom phase

Phase 3
 
Reveal your chosen cards and activate your majority abilities.

 

This is the main phase of Koryo, Choson and NINE: this means it is the core of the game. What changed are the card abilities, not the way you may use them (by controlling the majority of a given type of card).

We will reveal all card abilities in the last part of our publisher diary ...

Clean-up phase

Phase 4
 
At the end of the 1st round, each player must discard cards until they control 2.

 

During NINE’s development we decided to change an important element of this phase: During this phase, each player must keep a growing number of cards in front of them. Koryo and Choson card limits started from 3 to end with a 10 cards limit. We decided to reduce this number by one each round (from 2 to 9)

For what reasons ?

  • Keeping less cards in front of them will force players to make tough choices and makes this phase more strategic and less automatic than before: the 1st player choice will certainly influence their opponent’s.
  • Majorities are harder to keep or if a player wants to keep a majority it will cost them another majority. Do you want to play both sides ?
  • The consequences to play powerful Hero cards (of -1PV value and that cannot be discarded at the end of the round) are mort impactful as their proportion is higher than before.

 

Galmi - NINE

The player with the most Galmi cards keeps increases their card limit by 2 at the end of each round.

 

 

Next week the 3rd part will reveal some card abilities and give a few strategic tips

See you next week,
Team SWAF

 

Publisher diary : Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

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