As with everything we do in this game, there is a good reason. So let's start with why we're changing things: feedback from our players! (But also feedback from a publisher, and observations from watching people play, but hey, ultimately it's players giving feedback directly or indirectly.)

There are four (4!) issues we're trying to address with this new feature:

  1. The first decision in a run is too complex: you need to choose which buildings you'll want to have for your next game, before you've even got to play with your current buildings.

  2. During a game, there are no decisions impacting the overall run. The game lacks interactions between the micro loop (building a city to secure a region) and the macro loop (improving your tools to reach the last region of the continent).

  3. There are not enough variations between games, the board is always the same (with the small exception of lighthouses).

  4. The game lacks an experience, a moment that is truly exciting, memorable, something that players can enjoy and tell their friends about.


The first thing we decided to add was ruins. It was supposed to be part of a bigger feature that we call "the terrain", where we wanted to add various types of tiles throughout the board, like lakes, mountains, swamps, things like that. To reduce the scope, we chose to add only the ruins for now.

So how to they work? Ruins are scattered on the board when you start a game, but you'll never find one directly next to your Aerostation. Once you've brought light to a tile containing a ruin, you can explore it. It costs you two elders (the action points) and gives you a choice between three options:

The first option unlocks a new building. It is added to your roster of buildings, and you will be able to find it in your market (if you have reached the level of that building). You'll keep it until the end of the run, so it will be available to you in your next games, until you either defeat the final region or lose.

Sometimes you might not be interested in that new building, or you might have more short-term objectives that require resources. The other two options cover that: you can choose to not gain the new building (and you won't have another chance to unlock it during this run) and instead gain materials immediately, or science over the next three turns.

You never know what you'll find in a ruin until you explore it, so there's a bit of mystery there. You also have to make a decision between short-term goals and long-term development, improving the interactions between the micro and macro loops. Finally, we're hoping that exploring a ruin will be a good step towards making the game more exciting and memorable — but we'll need to add more juicy effects to truly make it sensational.


Adding this ruins feature, and especially the part that gives the player new buildings, means that we need to re-think our rewards. Which is a good thing, because as I said in the intro, the first decision of the game (choosing between three packs of buildings) was too hard. It was also confusing players that they did not get to play the buildings they had chosen immediately.

So we've completely changed the rewards you get after securing a region: no more buildings — you need to explore ruins to get them. Instead, you get a choice between replacing a card from your starting deck with a new, better one (chosen amongst three options), or permanently removing a building from your roster — meaning it will not show up in your market anymore. This makes the first decision much simpler. We intend to add more types of rewards later on, but we wanted to playtest this simple version first.

And that's all I have for today! We're hoping this new feature will make Dawnmaker more enjoyable, and we'll be back soon with more good stuff for our game.

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