Ludum Dare 34 — December 11th-14th, 2015 — Theme Tied: Two Button Controls, Growing

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by Kerdelos - Jam Entry

Cell phi is a multiplayer strategy game in which you have to multiply and organize your cells in order to capture the cells of your opponents.

######### Tutorial #########

## Stem Cells ##
You start with a stem cell. A stem cell can divide into other stem cells. Each time the energy is divided between the old and the new cell. A stem cell can also specialize into another type of cell : energy, attack or defense cell. The transformation takes one turn to complete. If it is an energy cell, then the energy production will begin one turn after the transformation completed. Only stem cells can divide or specialize so take great care ;D

## Energy ##
By default a cell loses one energy bar each turn. If it touches an energy cell, it will gain one and if it is one cell away from an energy cell, it will not lose any energy. But it will loses one bar for every attack cell of another player directly in contact (except if it is a defense cell ). Cells that are in the process of transforming do not loose nor gain energy.

## capture ##
If you can get four cells or more be in direct contact with an enemy cell then this cell becomes yours (except if it’s a defense cell ). You can also use attack cells to capture other ones. When an attack cell attacks, it turns back into a stem cell or die if it attacked a defense cell. If you attack a stem cell, you capture it. If you attack an energy, defense or attack cell, then the attacked cell turns back into a stem cell.

######### know issues ########
- There’s no winning condition ( When you opponent has no remaining cell or cannot do anything, you can safely assume that you’ve won ;D )
- There’s no easy way to quickly relaunch a game or quit the game ( sorry about that alt-F4 stuff =/ )
- Energy is not handled correctly if the cell is an attack one.
- When a cell you just captured is the fourth cell to be directly in contact with an enemy cell, the capture does not work.

######### Credits ############
Winnilis : game design
Valérian : music and sounds
Tyrannas : graphics
KerDelos : programming and game design

Downloads and Links




Dec 15, 2015 @ 12:51pm

nice concept. there can never be enough couch co-op/vs games. i think it could need a little more explanation in the beginning and when a player can't do any more actions the game should be over (i had only one defense field left), but i'll definitely play this again with more people soon.

Kerdelos says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:47pm

Thank you for your comment Goodwolf! We are aware of this problems and we'll try to correct them in a further version :)

Chubb1337 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 4:44pm

Nice game! Love the simple graphics, love the background music, the mood, very nice.

I feel like like there would come no end to this game, but maybe that was because I was playing v.s. myself, haha ;)

AzureAspect says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 3:54pm

For some reason my cell options disappeared after first turn. I wonder if this was intended?
Game idea seemed to be nice though :>

flakoflak says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 4:00pm

Beautiful. i really liked it, nice music, i end up with no cells on both players. needs an end game rule. good work.

Max Amaden says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 9:03pm

Interesting idea! I had a lot of fun playing this with my friend! Keep up the good work :D

Wevel says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 8:39pm

Nice game, it seems like teams end up not being able to do anything and it could do with some more instructions

jstan says ...
Dec 24, 2015 @ 3:51am

I really like the gameplay. Keep good work.

Solifuge says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 11:37pm

Really liked the visual and audio design here. The gameplay felt a bit like Go, which was neat. I liked the number of different actions/strategies you can take as well; the surround-and-capture mechanic was my favorite, and I like that it differed from the Attack Cell in that it didn't weaken or destroy what it captured.

The game was prone to a lot of back-and-forth, I found, which could make it slow moving. I think it'd help if energy could be transferred between cells, to help players who have a clear number advantage win more quickly, rather than drawing out the game.

With the simple interface, this could be a really fun mobile board game for folks to play with friends. Thanks for putting this together!

Anti says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 12:28am

Nice game, enjoyed it very much! Keep up the good work!

Andy Gainey says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 5:30am

Wow, very fascinating. All sorts of nuance to be had here, it feels like. Certainly some balance issues and some UI issues, but it's already quite engaging as it is, and I get the sense that there's a lot of potential here. Feels a wee bit like a more complex version of Go, with how the pieces on the board can't move, and yet there's still some regional subtlety with areas of influence and such. However, the limitation of only placing pieces adjacent to existing pieces does lose some of the essence and depth of Go in favor of different gameplay. Whether that's good or bad or neutral is hard to tell, but my gut slightly suggests a loss of depth; I felt a bit too limited in my options at times; not enough flexibility to adapt one's strategy in response to an opponent's moves.

An attack cell turning an opposing energy cell back into a stem cell seems possibly overpowered for the defender. Frees up the cell to become something else. Though I discovered later on that this just requires the attacker to get two attack cells in place, or to attack just once and risk that this helps the defender before a second attack can take place on a later turn.

I think there need to be more things that can be done with energy. Such as inner cells with extra energy can be assigned to give one unit of energy to a neighbor each turn, but only if the cell doesn't do anything else that turn. Or get energy involved in attack/defense mechanics. (Maybe that's what you were thinking when you said that energy isn't handled correctly for attack cells?)

My biggest UI gripe: Once an action has been assigned, it's impossible to tell what that action was, and my memory is crummy. Once the board gets full enough, it becomes hard to remember which cell is assigned to do what.

One closing thought (after playing it for a full hour), even once one player has a clear advantage, the losing player seems to be able to make it tedious for the winner to actually win. As far as I can tell thus far, there's no "tipping point" at which the obvious winner can steamroll the other side and quickly mop up. Being able to do so is typically a good quality to have in a competitive strategy game.

Kerdelos says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 10:20am

Wow thank you Andy for this very constructive comment, it's heartwarming to see you spend so much time playing our game, we already have planned to do some of the improvements you've advice but some of them we didn't think of are really good ideas. (And yeah, as you can see I'm not a natural english speaker, sorry for the mistakes).

Big Cow says ...
Jan 1, 2016 @ 11:05pm

mmm smooth music. Interesting take on the theme (of growing I guess). Nice to slow down the pace from all the shooters!

BlackBulletIV says ...
Jan 2, 2016 @ 12:19am

Great concept, with nice music and minimalist graphics.

Xanjos says ...
Jan 2, 2016 @ 7:32pm

Game mechanics were pretty interesting but rather confusing without any clear visual instructions. Also the game title is pretty clever :)

Tapehead says ...
Jan 2, 2016 @ 9:26pm

it takes some time to understand the concept but if you get it then it's very cool board game! it's a good base! keep it up

Pantoufle says ...
Jan 2, 2016 @ 10:31pm

Nice game. I like the music and core gameplay.
I would like a tutorial with more explanations on how it works.
I'll definitely try it with 4 players.
Great job!

Afendar says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 5:45pm

very interesting game. Good job it's fun ! but after can you ad AI to play one player ?

paruthidotexe says ...
Jan 4, 2016 @ 10:59pm

nice concept. also art and music also looks nice.

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