The next stage of the game project is to get a working prototype for self testing by the end of Monday. That is harsh time frame, in case anyone was unsure. So with that in mind, here are my expanded ideas for the project. This is copied from the corse forums, so you get yet another brief intro, and possibly some odd formatting.
The plan is to work on Colony, which somewhere along the line I have retitled in my head to Colony One.
Posting elements of the game here, as it is a good place as any to record thoughts, and I always appreciate feedback if anyone is kind enough to provide it.
So far I have taken a bit of a kitchen sink idea to the design, throwing in lots of stuff and mechanics. Anything that doesn't work can be jettisoned. Anything that does work, but doesn't really serve the game will be reluctantly placed on the shelf until needed in this game or another. Material
A set of worker/population markers in a different colour for each player.
Some money chips.
Resource tokens in the following varieties:
- 5 Heavy Metals mines, with spaces for 4 Heavy Metals markers
- 5 Volatiles mines, with spaces for 6 Volatiles markers
- Story tiles, so that 6 can be mixed in each game, ideally a pool of more than 6, possibly in sets intended to go together. Currently having imagination issues with this, hoping to get a second set and develop more with play.
A set of tiles available for purchase on Earth, that provide advantages on Colony One. Possibly a mat to go with them that restricts order they can be bought. Could be controlled just by price.
Some tiles to represent loans taken
A Board, with the following features:
- Turn track, and a track for turn phases (there are currently a lot)
- A place to put exploration tiles. Not sure yet whether to have a stack, or have a track with story events embedded at set places.
- Action boxes - much of the game is driven by placing population tokens in action boxes. The ones on the board will be: exploration for 3, exploration for 4, possibly exploration for 5 but this requires a Colony Module, so may be best to use the module instead, an extraction box either one for all types, or one for Heavy Metals and one for Volatiles, a processing box, there may possibly be a political box.
- An independence track, showing the colonies independence (or lack there of) from Earth Government
- A turn order track to indicate the turn order of the players
Each player takes 6 of their worker markers in front of them, and $10.
The exploration tiles are shuffled and placed on the board, with some set rules regarding the story tiles to time them coming into play, and what their make-up is.
The Colony Modules are laid out (listed somewhere below or in another post)
The Independence Marker is placed in the middle of the independence track
A population marker of each player is taken from the bank, and placed in a random order on the start track.
Everything else is placed aside in a bank area. The turn order
The turn consists of three broad parts. The first part is preparing the colony ship for going to Colony One. The second part is the actions on Colony One. The third part is loading up the ship, returning to Earth selling what was gained from Colony One. So each turn represents a round trip between Earth and Colony One.
Part I: Earth
 In turn order each player may choose to one of the following:
- Take a government grant: Gain $4. Move the independence marker towards the government side.
- Take a loan. Gain $6 and a loan tile.
- Pay back all your loans - pay $8 for each loan tile.
- If you have no loan tiles, make a speech for independence of Colony One. Move the independence marker to the Colony Independence side 1 space + 1 space for each Political Point you have + 1 space for each player that has already made a speech this turn.
 Change the turn order. The player in last may pay $1 to go to first place. If they do so, then the player in last may do the same. Continue until the player in last chooses not to. Heir position is fixed, start again the player in second to last place, until every place if fixed.
This may take too long for the game, but I'd like to try it. Alternatively a rotating start player may be sufficient, but I suspect there is enough turn order importance to avoid a left/right binding.
In turn order players may purchase a Colony module at the listed price. (Alternatively auction)
The ship travels to Colony One. This is mostly a place holder on the phase chart to show the story element, as in "hey there is a big ship travelling between Earth and Colony One with everyone's stuff on it". Players who have taken habitation modules could take their additional population markers at this time.
Part II: Colony One
In turn order players may place population markers on Action boxes to do stuff. I will mention specific Colony Modules in this step as they are important to how everything plays out. In general a Colony module can be used several times, and by more than one player. While no money transfers between players and the bank in this part of the turn, it may be freely exchanged between players. In fact it would be expected for players to wheel and deal the use of their modules to other players.
The number of spaces on the boxes are likely to not survive initial playtesting and are going to require much fine tuning.
If this makes the game drag too much, or players are too likely to be uncooperative, I might change it to a set fee to use a module of another player, and they have no ability to say no. If this rule is used then it will have to an auction for the Modules in part 1.
- Exploration. There are two exploration boxes, costing 3 and 4 population each. Using this option gives you an exploration tile, which becomes yours. If a mine, you place cubes on it immediately. Modules that effect - two that reduce the cost by 1 (Rover Garage and Base Station), Orbital Satellite Monitor which lets you draw two and choose the one you want and one which gives the option of a third box (cost 5). Any number of these can be used for a single explore
- Extraction. Spaces for 12 population. Place 3 population for Heavy Metal, or 2 population for one Volatile. You must own the mine, or be allowed to use it (no doubt at a price). If a negotiated thing, you get to negotiate amine to use before taking the action. Modules that effect: Mining Laser - take an extra cube when mining either Volatiles or Heavy Metals. Mining Robots - 1 less population cube required for mining Heavy Metals. Reticulated Transport - 1 less population required for mining Volatiles. Deep Core Drill - allows a population marker to be added to Extraction to instead of mining, add 4 Volatile markers to an existing mine.
- Processing - 4 spaces available. Placing a population marker here allows a Processing Module to be used. An Alloys Processing Plant converts 1 Heavy Metal and 1 Volatile to 1 Alloy. A Goods Factory converts 1 Alloy and 1 Volatile to 1 Colony Good. A Research Station allows 1 Artefact to be produced if you have access to a tile with thee Archaeological Site symbol (Story tiles gained from exploration will have these). A Hybrid Tech Plant converts 1 Artefact and 1 Heavy Metal and 1 Volatile into one Hybrid Tech Good.
- Political actions. There may be some political actions here. I may decide to only leave then in Part 3 of the turn. I'm a bit softer on how the independence/political element works. Colony Modules that have political bearing: Administration Computer. So far this is the first political module you cna get, and it is worth 1 Political Point. Political points are good for VP, and driving the colony to independence (or maybe away from). Next is the General Store, this is woth a Political Point, and you can place a population marker to get $2 from each other player. Atmospheric Processing Centre, Political Point again and once it is on the colony, the survival phase (at end of Part 2 of the turn) is skipped. Last is the Militia Training Centre, as well as political points, I was wanting players to be able to place population pieces on it as a militia. To reach independence a certain number of population markers need to be placed. Hybrid Tech Goods can be placed as a substitute for population. I haven't got a clear picture of how this works yet.
As I have described all the other Colony Modules in the Part, the others were Habitation Modules, which each provide 2 more population markers for a player.
Once all players have exhausted all the actions they want to do, there is a Survival phase. Each player must pay 1 Volatile, or lose a Population marker.
Part 3 - The Ship Returns to Earth
 The ship goes back with all the good produced, except Volatiles. Volatiles cannot be transported so either stay at in a players possession, or so not survive the turn. The latter appeals to me, but may be too harsh. If they don't survive the turn, then there should be a module that lets you keep them.
Goods pay out:
Heavy Metals - $2
Alloys - $5
Colony Goods - $10 (and Independence track moved to independence)
Artefacts - $10 (Independence track moved to Earth Government)
Hybrid Tech Goods - $30 (Independence track moved to independence - but add to required number of militia needed for independence (this suggests they and be used as a weapon))
(Numbers pulled from nowhere, to be changed soon, but should give an idea of progression)
 The Independence Track is moved by players with Political points, in the direction of their choosing.
- After some turns, set events, the resolution of either the story tiles or independence, the game ends! Victory points are awarded.