Skip to Content

Dream Game: Ideas, Concepts, and Brainstorming

The concept I have in mind is that of Geo-political strategy, military strategy, economic strategy... overall global strategy. I want this game to be all strategic in nature, where you are the leader of either a custom nation or a realistic nation.

In order to do this, there are should be atleast 3 manageable areas of focus: Politics, Economics, and Military.

The inspiration I have comes from games like:
Advance Wars (Tactical game for Nintendo Gameboy Advance and DS)
SuperPower 1 and 2 (PC games)
Geo-political simulator (PC Game)
Civilization (PC/Board game)
Risk
Diplomacy
Axis and Allies
Dungeons and Dragons (Role play aspect)

I want to incorporate concepts of all of these types into an ulitimate strategy game.

For the mechanics of the game, I'd like to:

1. Make very fluid, non-linear, "anything can happen" type gaming scenarios
- No game plays the same way twice

2. Create the game in a way that not everyone has to be at your house on a saturday playing hours and hours only to complete an unfinishable game by having to forfeit due to time constraints; a game that can be played/updated at any moment or anytime.

3. Roll play
- In diplomacy, your ability to influence, betray, and support others throughout the game had a huge impact on your strategy. Sometimes people would agree to a treaty, then break it when it came time to attack. Player's own creative political rhetoric based on the roll they choose to play as a leader should be used in the dynamic of the game.

4. A mixture of both turn based and real time strategy
- Turns may be taken to resolve combat, but to manage ones own economy, international and internal affairs, boosting ones military, may happen at the same time as other players.
- at the end of a set "time", country's will collect income, add new units they bought, research develop and know the results of a spy operation

Game setup:

I'm thinking magnetic sheets and would serve as the overall game board better than the conventional cardboard board games usually come with. With a magnetic board, the units and all other game pieces should be magnetic. This way, units or game objects wont go flying everywhere in the event of an accident or someone decides to display poor gamesmanship. Magnets will allow pieces to be moved just as simply as if they were not.

Maybe 2 types of game boards:
- A real world game board (the way the earth looks)
- A customizable board (players agree upon the placement of differnet shapes and sizes of magnetic continents or islands to be placed on the board to create a custom "world")

For the customizable board: different shapes and sizes of land
- Continents and islands
- Extra large, large, med, small sizes of each

In addition to the ground/land, there should be different terrain features:
- Forrest
- Tundra/Snow
- Mountains
- Plains (standard land terrain)
- Rivers
- Each land featur have an economic and defensive value

It should Resources to secure and use:
- Oil
- Coal
- Water
- Minerals
- Gems
- Precious metals
- Foods

You should have the ability to do research:
- Military
- Scientific
- There should be some ability for players to use their imagination and conduct research on possible new military upgrades or scientific technology that doesn't currently exist

The 3 areas of gameplay:

MILITARY

There should be standardized military units for all players:
- Air
- Fighters, Bombers, Transports
- Naval
- Subs, A/C carriers, Destroyers, Cruisers, Gun boats
- Land
- Infantry, Scouts, Tanks, Artillery, Rockets, Anti-Aircraft guns, Surface to air Missiles
- If a country chooses, it could research and develop nuclear weapons and purchase ICBM units, add nuclear weapons capability to submarines, bombers, and upgrade things such as Carriers to nuclear power

POLITICS

- Cards are dealt to players who select what kind of government they'd like to have
- Each government has a different effect on economics and military
- Maybe have different circumstances in your country effect change in government from 2 party Democracy to Anarchy
- Your people's approval rating of you should be based on a number of factors such as how well the Economy is doing, the strength of your military, Forming treaties, etc
- The approval rating of your people is important. While you may be thinking "who cares? i'm the only one to replace me as president" a low approval rating should affect the stability of your government, and if your government falls, you lose the game.
- Make treaties with other countries that bind you in agreement. There should be consequences for breaking a treaty, politically, economically, or militarily.
- Role play to the imagination of the players to add interest to the game.

ECONOMY
- Each player should be an economist to generate for themselves (and their country) income to purchase military units, cities, do research, etc
- A currency chart, or some form of paper money should be dealt to players based on their GDP
- The amount of resources x cities x bases (air, naval, land) - military units should be a rough formula for calculating income
- Trade resources with other players
- Trade military units with other players either for money, resources, etc

Comments

the 4-ton game

Sounds like impossible to me. Any board game nearly as detailed as a modern grand strategy would take a box of about a cubic meter. How long would a turn take with each player making decisions in currency exchange, military, diplomacy, trade, building? There is a reason these games are played on computers. Pretty fast computers actually. If you're into this kind of gaming, get Civ or HOI or whatever, and play online.

Complex but doable

I understand your thinking of this invention, however I think maybe you have several games in which you are trying to put into one big game, in general as the world is today.
To increase the simplicity of your gaming, maybe you should try one theme at a time. For example since you are obviously trying to create a non time consuming game with all the worlds problems try focusing on politics for one game. Another subject such as climate control or something to that effect.
Good luck

games

The graphics are amazing , just finished the trial and i can't wait to purchase it , that is it for me , i quit download party poker and move on to PC and xbox games .. hmm maybe I'm too old fr those but they are amazing

Sounds maybe too big

Have you played Imperial?

Imperial is a game focusing on several different countries and their economics. There is an extremely basic military (one unit for land and one for water), and the economy of each country is also very basic and derived from the size of the country and a few buildings. From this extremely simple setup you get a very full, rich, and complex game. Just adding the complexity of differing terrains, would double the game's complexity, to say nothing of many different military units, politics, technology, and several other things you are adding.

I'm not saying it can't be done or that you shouldn't do it. Heck, I'm designing my own massive Civ game, but I built it up slowly, only adding to it when something felt missing. When I got to adding Economics and Politics, I realized it didn't fit, and I stepped back.

Knowing where you want to go, is good, but don't start at the end. Start with the map. Then define how your country will grow in both size and technology. Then figure out how each country interacts with the other. Then add financial. Then military. Build it slowly.

As to the comment you made about magnetic pieces, the problem of pieces flying all over the place if someone bumps the board or loses their temper is not unique. I'm sure every game in existance suffers from this problem, yet it is not a problem I hear discussed often. If it was a major problem then we would have more locking pieces or magnetic setups out there. So I either don't think it is much of a problem, or developing magnetic pieces is just too cost prohibitive.

In my Civ game, I saw that I had the potential for a lot of pieces that would constantly be moving everywhere and it would be very easy to get them all confused. My solution was to laminate my player boards and keep lots of the information with dry erase markers. You can jostle the board all you want, but the numbers won't change, yet armed with a Q-tip, they are fairly easy to change.

this IS

This is a very similar concept to my current project. I have to tell you though that certain things about your dream game were simplified, removed, or added to in my own case.

As you mentioned above your interested in a game that has versatility. The goal of any game is multifold, as we weave a web of illusions to distract and enthrall a player we have to give them more just then a myriad of mechanics for entertainment. I have found that many games hold aspects that, when combined, create a cocktail of addiction.

First and foremost, what we give them they must earn. It cant be easy, but again we cannot make it unattainable.

Second we must give them something so enthralling, so satisfying to thier tastes that they will plot and scheme, plan and toil over the fastest route to thier goal.

Lastely we must offer them the chance to leave the table with something tagible. This tangibility drives them back to the game a second time and again and again.

WHat you suggest, as you write it, is a game that would do precisely this for you. Thier are many people, includeing myself, who would love to paly a game that held all the features you describe.

I work on a project that is very similar to what you have above outlined. At some point in the near future i hope to begin posting a Dev blog about it. Unfortunately im not really sure WHAT to start posting about as ive already got it all so spread out across my desk :)

This isn't spam!

Hey AMR,

Wow, that's quite the big game idea you've got going there! I have to say that when your first listed inspiration was "Advance Wars" I instantly became interested!! I have many fond memories of that game, and while playing it I often pondered how it would translate into a board game. I figured, though, that keeping track of the units' HP, differing terrain, etc would be too much to keep track of and would bog down the speed of the game.

That's why, reading this blog, I was particularly fond of your focus on not making the game drag out too long. I also really like that you want your rules open enough that every game could play out very differently. For this to happen, of course, there need to be a lot of ways to win. This is what makes Civilization games so interesting: multiple victory conditions.

That being said, if you want to incorporate ALL the aspects that you've mentioned in your blog post, you're going to have a big challenge on your hands trying to figure out how to make it quick and playable, yet not bogged down in details. Computers handle details well, humans don't... which is why the kinds of games you are talking about tend to be video/PC games.

I remember playing a card game version of Age of Empires. My friend and I, both avid gamers, tried playing twice and both times got too bored with so many details.

Here's an example of what I mean: you mention that you want different resources, such as oil, food, water, etc. This is a good idea, but you want to make sure that players don't have to spend too much time updating these things. For example if they have to calculate how much they gain of each every turn, that could be bothersome. On the otherhand, if you had tokens representing how many SOURCES of each they had, then they would only update it once in a while: whenever they discover a new one, or another player offers a source.

Also, I think that terrain features for defense are fine, since it's easy to see what it is after you get used to the defensive values of terrain. However, make sure not to fall into the trap of having it so that for every combination of units and terrain there are a different set of movement rules. A good idea is that a certain unit type has 4 movement points, and a forest costs 2 movement points. It's a bad idea to say that one unit has 4 movement points and forests cost 2, but then another unit has 6 unit points but a forest costs 3... that would cause a lot of headaches.

If you want to limit the time taken in your game, then make sure there are no elimination features... those can be annoying and take forever. Instead, you could set a point limit, or even a turn or time limit. (You mentioned time limits briefly, so I think you already have that in mind)

You mixture of turns and same-time actions has very good potential for allowing more game depth without other players having to suffer through long turns. I'm imagining something like all-at-once, everyone updates their stats (or what have you) and then one by one the players take their turn. After each as taken a turn, they update once again. I could imagine this working very well.

For research, I imagine something like this: every turn, players have a certain amount of research points. They can put them on a separate board which has the "flow" of research already laid out. When they finish research on something, they take the card from the board itself: it is no longer on the board to show where in the "flow" they are currently at. It also makes it clear which technologies they have, because they lay the card in front of them for the rest of the game for everyone to see.

Also, maybe it's possible that players who have finished a research can make deals with other players. For example, if I have the "gunpowder" technology, I could offer another player that technology if they give me 1 source each of oil and food. That player is then able to take the research card off their flowchart and put it into play without paying research for it.

I don't know about the "if your government falls you lose the game" rule, since this promotes elimination, which is no fun. Instead, maybe the status of your government dictates what you can and cannot achieve. For example, a card you might want to play requires that your government level is at such-and-such.

For income purposes, you want it to be very quick to calculate. You don't want players to have to sit there and count units every single turn. Instead, I would recommend that you have a board, like a scoreboard, to keep track of your income. When you do certain things, you move your token up or down accordingly RIGHT AWAY to adjust to your new income. For example, as soon as you built a town, your income goes up 2. When you begin your turn, where ever your token is determines how much money you get. It's quick and simple and updates as necessary, to minimize calculations.

Unlike the pessimistic view of some of the comments here, I really do think that this is a doable game, as long as it is designed well. The key is to minimize time taken for things, and minimize micro-managing. You want everything that happens in the game to be interesting and exciting, not yet another count of this and that. :)

I wish you luck on creating this game, and would love to hear more about it whenever more is available.

Game Prototype

Hi, I have one that is an abstract 3 Dimensional. I call it Crusade. Here is the web: http://robpion.webs.com/
I'm in the process of trying to find publishers also. If it sounds interesting to anyone, I invite them to check it out and drop some feedback.
thanks,
Rob

Doable... with some simplifications

I am a fan of grand strategy games, both PC and board. I like all the concepts that you've outlined in the OP, but I think it needs some simplifications to make it playable as a board game in a reasonable time frame.

Take Axis and Allies, for example. It has a world map divided into territories, no terrain. It has some differentiation in military units (infantry, tanks, fighters, subs, destroyers, etc). The economic system is quite simple and it has no political system. So overall it is much simpler than what you propose, yet the game plays very slowly (in my opinion). That said, Axis and Allies does not take advantage of simultaneous turns and combat slows things down.

I second Jean's comments about having "Sources" (or "Income") rather than stockpiles of resources. Keeping track of both Income and Stockpile in 6 different resources would be prohibitive for a board game. However, with a nicely designed player mat you could keep track of a variety of sources without too much trouble. Still, I'd recommend consolidating the number of resources.

Have you considered abstracting the military units into a "Military" rating for each country rather than having individual units? The Military rating is handled just like the other resource ratings; e.g. each Military Base you own gives you +1 Military. You could put Army / Task Force markers on the map representing specific missions, which then disband once they have finished their mission. You can gain advantages over other countries based on your research, without needing to represent these units directly on the game board. Different research may also allow different mission types. E.g. You have researched Bombers, which lets you declare a Bombing Mission.

Money could be handled using a GDP rating, rather than stockpiling money. In fact, in economic theory money is the flow of wealth, not a tangible asset in itself. This is why countries are ranked on GDP, not on gold stockpiles. Each turn you can allocate your GDP to different things (supporting Military bases, international aid, resource exploration, health care program, etc), but you can't stockpile it from year to year.

Some quick random thoughts:
- Make as much use of simultaneous turns as you can. Waiting for other people to have their turns is a major drawback of grand strategy games, but you can overcome this with good game design.
- Simplify everything. After that, simplify it again.
- Consider different methods of "conflict". Countries can fight in political, military, and economics. With a suitable abstraction you could use the same "conflict resolution" system for all three if you wanted.
- Consider your time scale. If "turns" are 1 year or more, then there is no need for individual units on the board; only capability matters. If "turns" are less than 1 year, then there is not much scope for research or developing new capability. For example, developing a new military capability (e.g. the JSF) takes far more than 10 years from concept to operations even when working with what is essentially existing technology. Developing an operational military capability from ground-breaking research takes decades.
- Maintaining military capability typically costs far more than acquiring it, and providing an effective capability is completely different to the initial research. For example, the principles of nuclear weaponry are well understood, but turning this into a viable nuclear weapons program takes a huge amount of effort to maintain. So military research could be expressed as a cost, not a benefit. I have to choose which technologies/capabilities I want to maintain. Maintaining my nukes costs me 2 GDP. Maintaining my aircraft carrier fleet costs me 3 GDP. Maintaining my spy satellite network costs me 1 GDP. On the other hand, each of these technologies allows me to perform certain actions that other countries who do not have these technologies cannot perform. But I could scrap my carrier fleet to implement a health care program to increase stability within my country, or implement an international aid package to expand my political influence.
- Be careful of mechanics which "spend money to increase income" or "spend research to increase research rate" (these mechanics turn up in many grand strategy computer games). While not necessarily unrealistic, they can lead to runaway leaders which is undesirable in a game.

All the best with your game design. Have fun and keep the ideas flowing.

Regards,
kos

rcp246 wrote:Hi, I have one

rcp246 wrote:
Hi, I have one that is an abstract 3 Dimensional. I call it Crusade. Here is the web bla bla bla

I know I'm new to the forum but what does it take to get banned for spamming around here? Rob I get you got a game you want to draw attention to but jumping on every thread regardless of topic and linking to it isn't the proper way to do it.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Syndicate content


blog | by Dr. Radut