Tumblefolk Tempest V2


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Tumblefolk Tempest is a game that me and @Toad_Racer have been working on, on and off, for the past year. It's a small little turn-based tactics game, centering around a pretty unique core mechanism of drawing tethers between actors on a board to alter their path of movement.

In January of this year we released the "first" version of it (Here's the link to the original Dinofarm forum post about the game http://www.dinofarmgames.com/forum/index.php?threads/tumblefolk-tempest.9024/), we didn't think it was in a great state, but we really just wanted to get it out there and get feedback on it. We've since been working on a massive update that we think fundamentally improves the game in a lot of cool ways. So without further ado, here are the gigantic Patch Notes for your reading pleasure.

Tumblefolk Tempest v2 Patch Notes!

-New Core Mechanism!
We first designed the game with an action we called a "tornado", drawing a loop with wind tethers which caused everything on those tethers to rotate, in mind as the core mechanism. We realized after a while (and a lot of awkward "forced" mechanics) that that wasn't actually the core mechanism of the game we made. The real core mechanism was simply drawing wind tethers to create a path for the Tumblefolk.

This revelation was gigantic and basically shaped this entire update.

-Changed how Tribes work!
In the first version of the game, "Tribefolk" were a rarer type of Tumble that could spawn randomly on the board. They were easy to tell apart due to their altered colors and Banners, showing off what tribe they belonged to. The tribe they belonged to determined an optional way you could capture them in order to get some bonus energy, keeping you in the game for longer and allowing you to score more points.

If you also recall from the first version, when Tumblefolk collide with each other, they "merge". So for example, if a 1 Tumble and a 1 Tumble collided you'd be left with a tumbleweed with 2 Tumblefolk faces poking out of it (worth 2 points). A tumbleweed could support a maximum of 5 Tumblefolk in this way, and any collisions that result in more than 5 Tumblefolk would kill the excess.

We changed how Tribes work, combining them with the merging mechanic, to make a much cooler and more elegant system in my opinion, one that leads to longer arcs. Now Tumbleweeds always spawn in with 1 or 2 Tumblefolk in them, "Tribefolk" can no longer spawn onto the board. Instead, when you merge enough Tumbles together, they reach a big enough population for them to form a Tribe on their own. 3-4 Tumbles creates the red tribe, and 5 Tumbles creates the blue tribe. The red and blue tribes are always randomly chosen out of a pool of tribes at the beginning of each match (which is the same as before), but now you have to build up to having Tribefolk, which we think creates a much richer game space, and allows for some other cool changes.

Also Tribefolk can now only be saved by meeting their tribe's capture requirements, it's no longer an optional bonus.

-Added a new resource: Seeds!
In an effort to support our new core mechanism, Tumblefolk now produce Seeds. Seeds are a resource that Tumblefolk carry and subsequently drop on the ground when you draw a tether connecting to them. If they move into a space that contains a seed, they either pick up the seed (ready for them to drop it again) or they "capture" the seed (we'll get to that in a second). Default Tumblefolk drop regular seeds and pick up regular seeds (they don't capture anything), Red Tribefolk drop SUPER SEEDS and pick up SUPER SEEDS and capture regular seeds, Blue Tribefolk drop nothing and capture both regular seeds and SUPER SEEDS.

So the very basic dichotomy is that you need Red Tribefolk in order to produce SUPER SEEDS, and you need Blue Tribefolk to make use of those SUPER SEEDS. I'll explain what Seeds do a little bit further down!

-Removed the Portal from the game!
-Added Vacuum Tubes!

We removed the Portal from the game and replaced it with 2 "Vacuum Tubes" off the sides of the board (they look a bit like goals in soccer or hockey). Vacuum tubes are unmovable objects, but otherwise work quite a bit like Portals worked. They have a pink AoE radiating outwards from their opening and pressing the Q key will now activate the vacuum, causing it to suck up and save all the Tumbles in the AoE.

Once activated the Vacuum Tube goes dormant and the one on the opposite side of the board activates.

Switching to having 2 alternating capture points allowed us to avoid situations where you could funnel Tumblefolk into one space, and also moving them off the board itself allowed us to avoid some weird interactions between the Portal and Tumblefolk.

-Changed Energy's functionality!
In the first version, energy was a resource you lost every turn and could get a bit back by meeting Tribefolk's special capture requirements. It helped you stay in the game a bit longer to maximize points. When it ran out, it was game over.
Now you start the game with 7 energy, and it costs 1 energy to activate a Vacuum. The game is still over if it runs out. This means you get 7 activations per match and it's up to you to maximize those activations.

-Changed how capture AoE is influenced!
In the first version of the game, when you reactivated the portal with a tornado, it's AoE (number of pink capture spaces around it) increased by the number of tethers you had on the board.

Now, whenever you capture a seed, you increase the AoE of the dormant Vacuum Tube (seen as light grey squares). Remember, Red Tribefolk can capture normal seeds (increasing the AoE by 1 space) and Blue Tribefolk can capture SUPER SEEDS (increasing the AoE by 3 spaces!). When you activate a Vacuum, it becomes dormant and the previously dormant one becomes active. The more seeds you can collect before activating, the larger your next Vacuum's AoE will be.

This system naturally leads to a bit of juggling Tumbles on the board. In the first version of the game, letting some tumbles slip by to their death in the cactus patch (the downside of juggling) really didn't mean much. It was at worst a couple of potential points lost, and at best not a concern at all. Now though, to create a tension between juggling Tumbles for a large AoE but also not losing too many point opportunities, every tumble death decreases the size of the Active Vacuum's AoE. In addition to that, if a Vacuum's AoE is down to 1 space, then letting another Tumble die will automatically activate the portal (costing you 1 energy!). We feel this greatly increases the skill ceiling/muddles up what it means to play optimally.

-Changed the Ability System!
Originally to use Abilities you would have to draw a wind tether over top of an ability tile, causing that tile to go on cooldown. Creating a tornado would reduce their cooldowns by 1. We felt that ultimately this system was too limiting and often resulted in simply wasting abilities that you didn't even want to cast.

We changed it so now you have 3 inventory slots on the UI that can hold abilities (almost think of them like Runes from Auro), moving a Blue Tribefolk on top of an ability tile now puts that ability into an empty inventory slot. You can now cast them from wherever Nimbus is standing by pressing 1, 2, or 3 (corresponding to the slot).

We feel this system gives you a lot more opportunities to use abilities in creative ways, makes ability tile placement less variant, and ties back to the Blue Tribefolk giving them even more value and making them more desirable to build up to.

-Added 6 New Abilities!
It was always part of the plan to have more abilities, I think it was kind of boring to just have 3 in the original version and to get the same ones (just in different locations) every match. Now each match should feel more unique, as there's a lot more potential combinations of abilities to play around with.

Stack - Pulls Tumbles on a wind tether adjacent to the space you cast this in.
Cyclone - Create a tornado around the space you cast this in.
Sever - Destroy a Tether
Reverse - Reverse the direction a wind tether is going in, causing all tumbles on the tether to now move in the opposite direction.
Shake - Cause all Tumbles on a wind tether to drop the seeds they're holding.
Upgrade - Add an additional Tumblefolk to all Tumbles on a wind tether (like a merge had happened)

-Added a New Tribe!

Friendship Tribe - This tribe needs to be adjacent to another Tumble in order to be rescued by the Vacuum.

-Changed the Board's Orientation!
Tumbles now go from the bottom to the top of the board, rather than from the left to right. We needed to change this to make room for the Vacuums on the sides!
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And I think that's everything. We think this new version is a lot more interesting to play overall, you get this cool tension between juggling Tumbles, building up Blue Tribefolk, collecting seeds and abilities, building Vacuum AoE, and maximizing payouts with your limited number of Vacuum activations. There's a lot more to consider here compared to the old version.

We unfortunately didn't get around to switching to a win/loss Elo system, it's still a highscore game. We went back and forth on this several times, and ultimately kind of made the same decision as last time, we prefer win/loss but we just didn't have enough time to develop it to a state we were satisfied with. If you have any questions or comments, feedback of any kind is most appreciated, and thank you so much if you take the time to play some Tumblefolk Tempest!

Here is the link to download the latest version! (don't let the page confuse you, we haven't updated with new screenshots or anything yet) https://toadbird.itch.io/tumblefolk-tempest

With all this said, me and Toad_Racer have decided to put Tumblefolk Tempest on hiatus, and start talking about our next game. We're very excited to start exploring something new, and I hope you guys are too.
Here's a couple tricky rules I didn't get to in the tutorial video:
  • On each turn you can only activate vacuum tubes and abilities before you start drawing a wind tether.
  • Ability and seed collection only happens at the beginning of each turn.