I’m happy to report that as of today Over the Next Dune’s PC implementation is fully rules-enforced! Everything you can do in the board game you can do in the PC version, and everything you can’t do in the board game the PC version prevents.
As I coded the last rule (players leaving trails and searchers following them) I realized that one element of the rule wasn’t satisfactory: how searchers deal with encountering multiple trails at once. In the current board game searchers that encounter trails leading in different directions follow the center-most trail relative to the board as a whole. That works, but it’s arbitrary. Nothing about being in the middle of the board makes a trail more of a priority; if anything, following those trails might tend to keep searchers in the middle of the board, when the whole point of the trails was to draw the searchers toward players on the edges.
I’ve now changed the rule so that searchers prefer to follow trails that are closer to the players’ finish line. My thinking is that that will encourage the searchers to chase players closer to the goal, hopefully leading to some exciting photo finishes. It will also help keep the searchers relevant by encouraging them to move upward as the game goes on and the players start to occupy the upper portion of the board. A small change, then, but I expect it to be a beneficial one.
Coding a board game isn’t always easy, but I’ll say this for it: it forces me to look at each rule in isolation. When working on a game as a whole it can be hard to drill down and say “is this little part as good as it could be?” Having to program all those little parts creates opportunities to ask that question.