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Card-based action mechanic

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jwarrend
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Card-based action mechanic

sedjtroll wrote:

I think I mentioned this in an IM... the sense I got of the 'master/apprentice' idea was that players would "gain followers" which they would keep in front of them, and then when you 'found a church' you take some of the followers you've gained thus far and leave them behind at that church. After reading your last post I think that could still fit, but rather than other people 'paying to use your master', you gain more followers at your church (if X happens, where X is something in the same location as your church).

That's certainly an interesting idea. I will certainly keep that in mind. It's a slightly different model than what I was working on, but it could work well.

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I thought your scheme of paying more to move your followers is a good one, so if you have x followers in front of you your Move action costs some function f(x), and your other actions cost some other function g(x).

It's sort of like this, but the idea currently is that your followers can act indepentently of you. (ie, can act in different places simultaneously)

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I suppose you award victory points in some way related to the number and strengths of the churches founded?

Exactly. The exact formula is TBD, as I want to encourage players to have to balance starting several churches with strengthening those churches. One way I'm planning to do this is to have the number of cards you draw related to the number of churches you've founded (sort of), which I *think* incentivizes founding churches enough.

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So I wonder what you've got planned for 'strengthening another guy's church.' My first guess is simply that certain actions add (or subtract) followers to the church(es) in the appropriate location (maybe some actions add or subtract followers from ALL locations for example)

Pretty much; the idea is that when you add "members" to other players' churches, you get VPs for that immediately. (You also get VPs for the members in your own churches, but at the *end of the game*, and keeping the members in your church for the whole game will require some effort!)

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Oh, interesting. I hadn't really thought about that, but I assumed that there would be more followers around (total). Maybe you'd only bring about 3 with you, but I figured you'd have more than that by the end of the game- the game is about accumulating followers, right?

A primary ingredient of the game is accumulating *members* of churches, but these have no functionality in the action system. The "followers" are called "Helpers" in my rulebook; they're, in some sense, extensions of yourself, making it easier for you to act or, alternatively, giving you the ability to act in several places at once. The board is bigger than Disciples (14 cities instead of 6), but it would still get pretty cluttered if more followers than that were available. I think that there will be about 10 available to all players, so in a 4 player game, most players could (if they wish) take on 2 or 3 of those helpers.

Hope this clears things up a bit, at least in terms of what I'm envisioning. Obviously, it's such an early stage that it's all in flux anyway, but it does seem to be crystallizing pretty well, in my mind, at least!

Thanks again,

Jeff

sedjtroll
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Card-based action mechanic

jwarrend wrote:

sedjtroll wrote:

I thought your scheme of paying more to move your followers is a good one, so if you have x followers in front of you your Move action costs some function f(x), and your other actions cost some other function g(x).

It's sort of like this, but the idea currently is that your followers can act indepentently of you. (ie, can act in different places simultaneously)

I'm not sure I understand the difference, if there is one, between this and what I said. Unless we're using different terminology or something... I see now that your game has 'helpers' and 'members (of churches)', and it sounds like you can perform actions in locations where you are or where you have a helper... though it also sounds like it might be tough to know who owns which helper if they are 'left behind'... unless you can 'use' any helper that's not 'attached' to a player atm... Hmm...

Anyway, in the thread there have been other terms thrown about, 'follower,' 'apprentice,' 'master...' Maybe the difference in terminology is causing me confusion.

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I want to encourage players to have to balance starting several churches with strengthening those churches. One way I'm planning to do this is to have the number of cards you draw related to the number of churches you've founded (sort of), which I *think* incentivizes founding churches enough.

Depending on how the cards work (as we have only started to discuss them here) it certainly could incentivize founding churches. Be careful not to make it TOO good or people might just found churches and never strengthen them! One way to avoid that is to have a limited number of churches (maybe 1 per town), which might further incentivize founding churches- lest space run out and you get screwed!

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the idea is that when you add "members" to other players' churches, you get VPs for that immediately. (You also get VPs for the members in your own churches, but at the *end of the game*, and keeping the members in your church for the whole game will require some effort!)

Could this be done without having to keep track of VPs during the game? What if, for example, actions added members to chruches, and your VPs are calculated at the end as a function of the number of members in your churches (and whatever else counts)? So if someone adds members to your church and you keep them then you score VPs.

Oh, I see, then they don't score anything... well, I guess that depends on the action that added the members...

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A primary ingredient of the game is accumulating *members* of churches, but these have no functionality in the action system.

I guess this is what I really had in mind but never really said it... that the 'followers' in the church would DO anything except score you points. The fact that you HAVE a church in a location would mean you could act there, and the 'followers' who are 'in your supply' (your Helpers) would assist in paying for actions.

jwarrend
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Card-based action mechanic

sedjtroll wrote:
I wrote:

It's sort of like this, but the idea currently is that your followers can act indepentently of you. (ie, can act in different places simultaneously)

I'm not sure I understand the difference, if there is one, between this and what I said. Unless we're using different terminology or something... I see now that your game has 'helpers' and 'members (of churches)', and it sounds like you can perform actions in locations where you are or where you have a helper...

That's exactly right. It's possible that the "difference" may just be semantics caused by confusion on my part.

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though it also sounds like it might be tough to know who owns which helper if they are 'left behind'... unless you can 'use' any helper that's not 'attached' to a player atm... Hmm...

Maybe the latter, but to start, you will have a card indicating your "supervision", as it were, of each of your helpers, and either a helper-specific pawn, or perhaps you have 3 sets of 2 pawns, all in your color but each set has a special marking; and when you pick up a helper, you choose one of those sets, one pawn goes on the board and one goes on the helper card. It's a representation problem more than a fundamental problem, I think.

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Anyway, in the thread there have been other terms thrown about, 'follower,' 'apprentice,' 'master...' Maybe the difference in terminology is causing me confusion.

Me too. To clarify, my understanding was that what David was advocating was a model where you have a pool of "followers" who can either be "apprentices" (in which case they can travel) or "masters" (who stay put). To clarify, in my game, you have up to 4 "moving pieces" -- one is your Apostle, up to 3 are "Helpers". In addition, one of the things you're doing is creating churches, and these have "members", but those members are non player-specific.

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epending on how the cards work (as we have only started to discuss them here) it certainly could incentivize founding churches. Be careful not to make it TOO good or people might just found churches and never strengthen them!

Agreed; with my current scoring model, (which I haven't gone into) I'm afraid simply controlling one church and boosting it up could be a valid strategy. Another aspect is that events happen which will weaken churches, and if a church gets weakened out of existence, you lose points; that should dis-incentivize haphazard church founding.

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One way to avoid that is to have a limited number of churches (maybe 1 per town), which might further incentivize founding churches- lest space run out and you get screwed!

Yes, it's one church per town. Additionally, some of them are pretty far flung, so managing several churches can be challenging simply because of the travel required. I think there are enough variables that I'll be able to balance wanting to found a few churches with an appropriate level of difficulty associated with doing so.

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Could this be done without having to keep track of VPs during the game?

I don't really think so. The nice thing about keeping track of mid-game VPs is that I plan to use it as a turn order determiner. The player with the most VPs gets to act first. May lead to a "rich get richer" problem, but since mid-game VPs come *only* from helping other players, concentrating on this too much wouldn't set you up as well to win.

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I guess this is what I really had in mind but never really said it... that the 'followers' in the church would DO anything except score you points. The fact that you HAVE a church in a location would mean you could act there, and the 'followers' who are 'in your supply' (your Helpers) would assist in paying for actions.

I think that's about right; the only minor wrinkle being the additional idea that other players can act in towns with "your" churches. In a sense, I originally wanted a mechanic in which there was no church ownership whatsoever, but I couldn't really think of any good ways of getting VPs in such a model that had any amount of strategy; it would have just been things like "get a VP for strengthening a church", etc. I think having players "supervise" churches gives them an extra stake in those churches and gives the game plenty of strategic scope. It may give other players too little of a stake in those churches, but since that's the route to mid-game VPs, I bet it will be balanceable.

Thanks again.

-J

sedjtroll
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Card-based action mechanic

jwarrend wrote:
you will have a card indicating your "supervision", as it were, of each of your helpers, and either a helper-specific pawn, or perhaps you have 3 sets of 2 pawns, all in your color but each set has a special marking; and when you pick up a helper, you choose one of those sets, one pawn goes on the board and one goes on the helper card. It's a representation problem more than a fundamental problem, I think.

Personally I much prefer having single differentiable pawns rather than helper cards and reference pawns. I suppose the problem stems from this: Is there a set of, say 10 specific helpers (like Bob the Builder, Mo the Mover, Frank the Church Founder...) of which you can 'own' (control/supervise) up to three at a time? Or are there simply helpers, three of which you can bring with you. If the latter, are the helpers 'action specific'? Or do any/all of them help for any action? Finally, are there more than 3 different actions to take, so if you have helpers A, B, and F (of helpers A through G) and you want to take actions C and D, you'd have to leave 2 of your helpers somewhere and go pick up Helpers C and D?

I would think it would make the most sense if each player had a set of Helpers in their color (maybe there are different pawns for the different actions if the helpers are action-specific)... but I don't know if that would actually work for the game.

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I'm afraid simply controlling one church and boosting it up could be a valid strategy.

Shouldn't it be? I mean it would be the extreme... like only shipping Corn in PR, and never building anything. So it should be tough to really win that way, but if you invested everything into 1 church, were smart about it, and got a little lucky then maybe you should win. Probably better (economically) would be to found a few churches and build them all up. The other end of the spectrum of course is founding LOTS of Churches and not building them up, which runs the risk of them closing. Suppose the scoring was a base of 5vp per Church plus 1vp per member... if you have 5 Churches with 1 member each that's 30vp, 1 church with 25 members is 30vp, and 3 churches with 5 members each is 30vp. Those numbers could easily be manipulated to make any of those scenarios harder or easier.

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Yes, it's one church per town. Additionally, some of them are pretty far flung, so managing several churches can be challenging simply because of the travel required.

Is that to say that upkeeping a church means stopping in and doing stuff at that location? Just curious. Sounds like a good idea.

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I don't really think so. The nice thing about keeping track of mid-game VPs is that I plan to use it as a turn order determiner. The player with the most VPs gets to act first. May lead to a "rich get richer" problem, but since mid-game VPs come *only* from helping other players, concentrating on this too much wouldn't set you up as well to win.

From what I can tell, this kind of turn order determiner is best used as a fix to a problem rather than something to design around. I tink it worked well in Everest because there was a distinct advantage to going first. I liked it for 8/7c because it already had a round structure, and I wanted to make it easier for the losing player to score. I don't know if Acts has a round structure or a continuous flow of turns, but if the only reason to do that is so that the VPs can determine the order each round, and the only reason to do THAT is because it might be nice then it might be the case that it's not necessary, needed, or optimal.

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other players can act in towns with "your" churches.

... as long as they are there themselves, right? Because if you have the church there and there's only 1 church per town, then they couldn't have a Helper there (having a helper that isn't with you is the same as having a church if I understand it right) and act remotely... but they could do an action in the town their pawn is in, so if I'm in a town where You have a church and I do an action, then your church gets members (or whatever)... right?

GeminiWeb
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Card-based action mechanic

All sounds very interesting. However, my brain is starting to have trouble keeping up with rate at which ne wissues are being added in. Nonetheless, let me try ... :?

Some of it will be ideas who may want to consider, although others will be interesting ideas that probably aren't right for your game, but sound like they could be good for some game (yet to be designed ...)

On helpers

I can see a tempting variation - you are allowed one action per follower ... while still being constrained by your cards ... wth card replenishment only happening at the end of the turn ...

This leads to another more mechanistic way of thinking ... If a player can have helpers at different locations, how is this handled with game pieces? That is, it becomes necessary to be able to identify both the specific helper (given helpers have specific abilities) and the player they are helping.

Some Possible Options

- helpers are differentiated by (say) different coloured pawns. Pawns are placed are different coloured disks (or have different coloured rings placed on them) to identify the player they are helping.

- helpers are differentiated by (say) different coloured pawns and are never player-specific. However, churches are identified by player colour. Thus, players can draw on helpers in their church. Helpers not in a chrch can be accessed by anyone.

[Alternative ... combine both options above, but with limited rings/disks which are freed up when a player-specific church is founded ... this would restrict the number of 'non-church' followers for a player at any one time]

On scoring

I see a possible mixture of options here ... scoring rounds and immediate VP returns for specific actions.

Possible options include ...
- immediate VP returns on:
- founding a church
- strengthening your own church
- strengthening someone else's church
- scoring rounds
- number of existing (own) churches you have strengthened
- number of existing (other) churches you have strengthened
- respective strength of (own) churches

For the scoring round idea, every time you strengthen a church, place a coloured marker (to identify the player) at the church. This is refereced during the scoring rounds (triggered by some event or secific turn track?).

The above example would reward founding and strengthening lots of churches, and making your own churches even stronger (noting that the scoring pay-offs do not need to be linear)

... just some thoughts anyway ...

jwarrend
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Card-based action mechanic

sedjtroll wrote:

Personally I much prefer having single differentiable pawns rather than helper cards and reference pawns. I suppose the problem stems from this: Is there a set of, say 10 specific helpers (like Bob the Builder, Mo the Mover, Frank the Church Founder...) of which you can 'own' (control/supervise) up to three at a time?

Right, that's the idea. The "reference pawns" let you connect the "special abilities" of the helpers, as indicated on the cards, with the board representation of these helpers. It's, I think, only a minor inconvenience, and at any rate, simply an implementation issue.

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Or are there simply helpers, three of which you can bring with you. If the latter, are the helpers 'action specific'? Or do any/all of them help for any action?

In either case, the answer is that, to the extent I've developed the game at this point, that any helper can take any action. The helper is a "little you". It can do the same things as you, but not quite as effectively (e.g., I have that your Apostle can play 2 cards to supplement an action, whereas a helper only plays 1).

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I would think it would make the most sense if each player had a set of Helpers in their color... but I don't know if that would actually work for the game.

Yes, that's my idea; it's just that there are 2 of each "style" of pawn (each has a unique marking, e.g.) in your color, and one goes on the board, one is used to denote which card goes with which board helper.

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I'm afraid simply controlling one church and boosting it up could be a valid strategy.

Shouldn't it be?

Good point. Let me rephrase: "I'm afraid it could become the dominant strategy. It's a balance issue, but you're right, players could pursue the extremes and in theory do well. I just want to make sure that the extremes (from a thematic standpoint) don't become normative by virtue of being overwhelmingly successful.

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Is that to say that upkeeping a church means stopping in and doing stuff at that location?

Yes, basically. I'll divulge more at a later time about what exactly is involved in building and maintaining a church. I think it's pretty cute.

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I don't know if Acts has a round structure or a continuous flow of turns,

It will have a round structure, each player gets 1 turn per round, in which they take as many actions as they want and can pay for.

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From what I can tell, this kind of turn order determiner is best used as a fix to a problem rather than something to design around.

I don't agree in this case. A design principle is "cooperation is encouraged". Getting extra VPs for helping others (in a way that doesn't benefit you in any other way) is one way to encourage this. Letting the players who've been "the most helpful" encourages it further. It's an open question whether player order even matters, but coming up with something more thematic than "the player to the left of the start player becomes the new start player" need not be introduced simply to solve a problem; different may not always be better, but neither is it always worse...and in this case, it's different for the sake of theme rather than for the sake of novelty.

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other players can act in towns with "your" churches.

... as long as they are there themselves, right?

No, as long as they or one of their helpers is there. Again, a helper is a "little you".

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Because if you have the church there and there's only 1 church per town, then they couldn't have a Helper there (having a helper that isn't with you is the same as having a church if I understand it right)

No, a Helper doesn't nucleate a church simply by being separated from you; starting a church requires a specific action. Your helper can then come with you to help you out, or stay behind to supervise your church...

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but they could do an action in the town their pawn is in, so if I'm in a town where You have a church and I do an action, then your church gets members (or whatever)... right?

This much is right; if you take an action in a town in which I have a church, then "my" church benefits. It's currently an open question whether churches can "change hands", or whether they can be "owned" at all, but as I discussed above, it's currently the best model I've come up with.

-J

jwarrend
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Card-based action mechanic

GeminiWeb wrote:
All sounds very interesting. However, my brain is starting to have trouble keeping up with rate at which ne wissues are being added in. Nonetheless, let me try ... :?

Please do! I really ought to workshop the thing so you guys can see it all together. If you want to see the rules now, just IM me...

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I can see a tempting variation - you are allowed one action per follower ... while still being constrained by your cards ... wth card replenishment only happening at the end of the turn ...

I agree, I think this could work quite well. I think that for this game, I am going to start with what I currently have -- that helpers give you the possibility of playing more "supplemental" cards. I like this mostly because it gives the idea of the helpers and apostles "collaborating", rather than each taking a separate action. But I suppose going to a model where they simply let you take extra actions would work fine too.

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Some Possible Options...

Good ideas! I'll take them into consideration...

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I see a possible mixture of options here ... scoring rounds and immediate VP returns for specific actions.

Yes, I'm thinking along similar lines...

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Possible options include ...
- immediate VP returns on:
- founding a church

This sounds like it make sense, but ironically, I am trying to avoid a scenario where a church pays out an intrinsic VP reward. As a general design principle, I try to separate the resources that help you "play" the game from those that help you "win" the game. In this case, I already have an in-game benefit of churches, and additionally, they provide VP potentiality; but you have to actualize that potential.

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- strengthening your own church

Again, sounds good, but I don't think I'll have this, at least not to start; I think strengthening your church is a long-range way of scoring; you don't get points simply for putting together a gee-whiz church; you've got to shepherd it as well.

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- strengthening someone else's church

Definite yes.

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- scoring rounds
- number of existing (own) churches you have strengthened
- number of existing (other) churches you have strengthened

Sounds good, but a nuisance to keep track of.

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- respective strength of (own) churches

Yes, for sure.

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The above example would reward founding and strengthening lots of churches, and making your own churches even stronger (noting that the scoring pay-offs do not need to be linear)

Yes, I want to force players to strike a balance between founding many churches and making those churches very strong. I think that this will work by the end-game (or scoring-round) reward paying out relative to the total strength of your churches, but the in-game function of churches makes it such that you must have more than one to be able to have enough resources to perform actions.

... just some thoughts anyway ...

Much appreciated!

-Jeff

GeminiWeb
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Card-based action mechanic

jwarrend wrote:

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I can see a tempting variation - you are allowed one action per follower ... while still being constrained by your cards ... wth card replenishment only happening at the end of the turn ...

I agree, I think this could work quite well. I think that for this game, I am going to start with what I currently have -- that helpers give you the possibility of playing more "supplemental" cards. I like this mostly because it gives the idea of the helpers and apostles "collaborating", rather than each taking a separate action. But I suppose going to a model where they simply let you take extra actions would work fine too.

... and that brings up another interesting idea. Don't thin it would work for this game, but it does sound interesting ...

Players can offer cards to the active player. In return they either get VPs directly (but probably not as this might be too much of a reward) or 'helping' tokens ... which count towards VPs at the end of the game (linear [e.g. 1 VP per 4 tokens] or non-linear [e.g. 1/1/1/2/2/3 VPs for 1/2/3/4/5/6 tokens] or player with the most tokens or ... you get the idea).

sedjtroll
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Card-based action mechanic

jwarrend wrote:

sedjtroll wrote:

Personally I much prefer having single differentiable pawns rather than helper cards and reference pawns. I suppose the problem stems from this: Is there a set of, say 10 specific helpers (like Bob the Builder, Mo the Mover, Frank the Church Founder...) of which you can 'own' (control/supervise) up to three at a time?

Right, that's the idea. The "reference pawns" let you connect the "special abilities" of the helpers, as indicated on the cards, with the board representation of these helpers. It's, I think, only a minor inconvenience, and at any rate, simply an implementation issue.
So you say that the individual helpers are not differentiable from each other- that is the 'helper cards' you mention are all identical, right?

But you still have to distinguish which is which... hmm. At present is it possible for a Helper to 'change hands' during a game? For one player to 'gain control' of another's helper? If not, then I think the cards is a bad idea. If so then it might be somehow necessary. I was going to suggest something like GeminiWeb said about the colored bases to indicate the player, but I guess he beat me to it ;)

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any helper can take any action. The helper is a "little you". It can do the same things as you, but not quite as effectively

I see...

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[Acts] will have a round structure, each player gets 1 turn per round, in which they take as many actions as they want and can pay for.

Sounds fine, but I don't know if I understand what the round structure works to accomplish here. I understand you're trying to do something thematic with the round structure, but I don't see how that's working here. Maybe that's because I'm not seeing the whole picture. It sounds as if you are trying to say "If you don't want to go first in the round, you should do something that gives other people points." which is only meaningful at all if there's some benefit to not going first. If there's a benefit to going first then there could be a problem: "I don't want to do any actions that give other people points because then they'll go first and get that advantage"

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A design principle is "cooperation is encouraged". Getting extra VPs for helping others (in a way that doesn't benefit you in any other way) is one way to encourage this. Letting the players who've been "the most helpful" encourages it further.

I think I misspoke a little above. So if you do an action that helps another player (and by help I suppose I mean strengthening their Church) then you get VPs right then (the opponent will get VPs for that later). The player who does that the most (helps others the most, gets the most VPs) in a round (or else cumulatively... I don't know which you're doing) gets to go first in the next round. Again, this is only important at all if there's an advantage to going first. And if the advantage to going first is VPs then you probably have a runaway leader problem. If the advantage however is strengthening a church then maybe that's ok... you get rewarded more later by helping others more now. Still something of a runaway leader problem.

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It's an open question whether player order even matters

Which is why I'd hesitate to use VPs as a determiner- I'd probably leave turn order until later to figure out.

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but coming up with something more thematic than "the player to the left of the start player becomes the new start player" need not be introduced simply to solve a problem; different may not always be better, but neither is it always worse...and in this case, it's different for the sake of theme rather than for the sake of novelty.

Another question it raises... do turns go clockwise from the start player? Or do VPs determine turn order all the way down? Is that any more or less fair? is that any more or less thematic? What about ties?

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other players can act in towns with "your" churches.

... as long as they are there themselves, right?

No, as long as they or one of their helpers is there. Again, a helper is a "little you".
Ok, I got confused because every time I read about a Helper being left behind, I also read about strengthening a church (you say it again in a second). But it appears that's not necessarily the case. I guess you can leave Helpers places and then later those helpers might or might not found a church (even after you leave). I was thinking more along the lines of 'dropping off a Helper' in a town = 'founding a church' in that town.

By extension, does this mean with a Move action you could move your pawn (+ up to three helpers with you), and with another move action you could move a different helper that's not with you atm?

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Your helper can then come with you to help you out, or stay behind to supervise your church...

Aha! See? Evidently they can also stay behind and NOT supervise a Church..?

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if you take an action in a town in which I have a church, then "my" church benefits. It's currently an open question whether churches can "change hands", or whether they can be "owned" at all, but as I discussed above, it's currently the best model I've come up with.

I don't think the game makes much sense if the churches aren't 'owned' (or in a player's charge). I also don't think it works the way you're describing it if churches can change hands- I'll help build up your church all day long if I know i'm going to control it later- that's not cooperation!

Again, I don't know the whole game at this point, but the format that makes the most sense to me is that players found churches and score for the number and strength of the churches at the end of the game. Also, though it might work just fine, I am skeptical of the helpers that can stay behind without being associated with a church. I'm also skeptical of the helpers that can 'change hands'

What might I ask are the actions that you can do, aside from Move (yourself and Helpers) and Found a Church? As I understand it Strengthening a church is the result of an action, not an action itself (although I guess it could be).

I can't stop thinking that it would be neat if each player had their own 'supply' of followers (out of play), when they accomplished a certain thing (as an action with a particular cost) they could 'recruit' a follower (in play but not on board), and then as a different action in the location of their pawn and for a particular price (including 'saccing' followers) you could Found a church. Maybe the more followers you put into it the cheaper it is, or the more members it comes with, or somehow the cheaper it is to upkeep (because there are more people working on it). OR maybe the number of followers at a church determines the max number of Members the church can support (a simple 3 per follower or something), so if you want to grow your church you go back and drop off more followers...

I realize this is probably nothing like your game, but maybe it will give you an idea from the outside point of view, based on what I've read in this thread, this is one way to do some of what it sounds like you are trying to do with the game.

- Seth

Interesting thoguht based on my description above... a player could add followers to another player's church (maybe the churches aren't owned after all, or can be co-owned), which increases the max number of members, and ALL players with followers in the church score VPs for that church at the end- based on the number of members in it. They could be distributed based on the number of followers, like if I have 3 followers and you have 1 in the church, and there are 10 members, maybe I get 6, you get 2, and noone scores the last 2 (or we each do). Just a thought...

In case that math wasn't clear, here's another example using the same math... I have 2 followers, you have 2 followers, and Joe has 3 followers, and there are 19 members. You and I each score 4 and Joe scores 6, and then noone (or everyone) scores the last 5.

(Divide the total number of followers into the number of members, that's the number each player will get PER FOLLOWER, and the remainder is either discrded or shared... whichever is more interesting)

Scurra
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jwarrend wrote:
For one thing, and this is the main point, the game is meant to be at a relatively low level of complexity (no guffaws about this convoluted card mechanic I'm trying to come up with!),

Too late. :-)

Now you've put it in context, obviously the "master/journeyman" model doesn't work at all - but it certainly belongs in another game (surely it's been done before?!)

It's very important that you don't have the pyramid-selling effect in a game about the Apostles as that's very much against the spirit of the concept. But I can see how recruitment would be tricky since you don't want to get into the murky waters of sects and different theological traditions (I don't know if you've ever seen Credo but it probably covers that ground about as well as anyone could want, albeit from a somewhat satirical pov.)

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sedjtroll wrote:

So you say that the individual helpers are not differentiable from each other- that is the 'helper cards' you mention are all identical, right?

No, each "helper" will have (probably) a unique special ability. But I won't be developing that aspect for a while.

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At present is it possible for a Helper to 'change hands' during a game? For one player to 'gain control' of another's helper?

TBD, but I don't think it will be a "wrest control" effect, so much as a "here, use my helper" effect.

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Sounds fine, but I don't know if I understand what the round structure works to accomplish here. I understand you're trying to do something thematic with the round structure, but I don't see how that's working here. Maybe that's because I'm not seeing the whole picture.

Yes, that's the problem exactly! Of course, I'm the cause of the problem in this case... The round structure exists in part because of an "Event" structure where Events last for a whole round, then new Events are revealed.

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I think I misspoke a little above. So if you do an action that helps another player (and by help I suppose I mean strengthening their Church) then you get VPs right then (the opponent will get VPs for that later). The player who does that the most (helps others the most, gets the most VPs) in a round (or else cumulatively... I don't know which you're doing) gets to go first in the next round. Again, this is only important at all if there's an advantage to going first. And if the advantage to going first is VPs then you probably have a runaway leader problem.

No, I don't think there will be a runaway leader problem because the only way to get mid-game VPs is to help other players, and that is done by building up others' churches (which will give them end-game points); there's no end-game benefit to doing this, so to stay as the "first player", you have to keep taking actions that throw points to other players. There's no limit to how many people can strengthen a church in a turn, so going first shouldn't in principle keep you in the lead for continuing to go first.

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It's an open question whether player order even matters

Which is why I'd hesitate to use VPs as a determiner- I'd probably leave turn order until later to figure out.

Then you wouldn't be designing games like I do! Seriously, I look at design holistically; I'm leaving out special powers for now, but I want to get as much else ironed out as soon as possible. If this doesn't do what I want, I'll know pretty quickly in playtesting, and I'll do something else. No need to worry about it on my behalf!

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Another question it raises... do turns go clockwise from the start player? Or do VPs determine turn order all the way down? Is that any more or less fair? is that any more or less thematic? What about ties?

VPs determine turn order all the way down. This game, and Disciples, are build more on a model of thematic consonance than on thematic exactitude. (ie, the mechanic has the right "feel" or "spirit" even if it doesn't literally translate into a specific concrete justification). The idea that helping others gives you a little "boost" fits very well with what Jesus said -- "The greatest among you shall be your servant."

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Ok, I got confused because every time I read about a Helper being left behind, I also read about strengthening a church (you say it again in a second). But it appears that's not necessarily the case.

Right, a Helper can do the same kinds of actions you can do, including moving around. It's a "little you". I say "leave behind" simply because that's sort of what's happening strategically; but mechanically, it may be unnecessarily loaded.

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By extension, does this mean with a Move action you could move your pawn (+ up to three helpers with you), and with another move action you could move a different helper that's not with you atm?

Yes.

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I don't think the game makes much sense if the churches aren't 'owned' (or in a player's charge). I also don't think it works the way you're describing it if churches can change hands- I'll help build up your church all day long if I know i'm going to control it later- that's not cooperation!

I agree.

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What might I ask are the actions that you can do, aside from Move (yourself and Helpers) and Found a Church? As I understand it Strengthening a church is the result of an action, not an action itself (although I guess it could be).

Unfortunately, I'm not going to tip my hand publically on this one yet, though I can fill you in off-line, if you would like. It's not super earth-shattering or anything, just not ready to spell it all out yet. Sorry...

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I can't stop thinking that it would be neat if each player had their own 'supply' of followers (out of play), when they accomplished a certain thing (as an action with a particular cost) they could 'recruit' a follower (in play but not on board), and then as a different action in the location of their pawn and for a particular price (including 'saccing' followers) you could Found a church. Maybe the more followers you put into it the cheaper it is, or the more members it comes with, or somehow the cheaper it is to upkeep (because there are more people working on it). OR maybe the number of followers at a church determines the max number of Members the church can support (a simple 3 per follower or something), so if you want to grow your church you go back and drop off more followers...

This all sounds fine, and indeed, might actually work ok as a game "in between" Disciples and Apostles, in which you focus more on starting churches and then in Apostles you focus more on building them up. The only thing I worry about, and this goes for the scoring example you presented, is that it sort of reduces to "every other area majority game" with the differences being more chrome than anything else. That's not a bad thing at all, but I'm trying for this game (and with all my games) to do something unique, if only for the sake of uniqueness. Granted, on some level, my game will reduce to abstractions that can then be broadly classified with a lot of other games, but for me, I want the theme to motivate new mechanics. I feel like having a "pool of followers" that you add to churches and then score for having the "most followers" or "best followers" would lose some of the theme-specificity; it could equally well be having the "most politicians in city councils across the region" or "the most of your lionesses in the various regions of the savannah". Granted, scoring points for the "strongest churches" doesn't sound particularly original either, but I assure you, there are a couple of thematically motivated twists that I think connect the scoring concept with the theme pretty well. But scoring is definitely still up in the air, just from a philosophical standpoint; "what should be rewarded with points?" So your suggestions are very much appreciated, whether or not they're appropriated!

-Jeff

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Scurra wrote:

Now you've put it in context, obviously the "master/journeyman" model doesn't work at all - but it certainly belongs in another game (surely it's been done before?!)

Isn't there something like it in "Bridges of Shangri-La"? I agree, it's definitely a mechanic looking for a theme.

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It's very important that you don't have the pyramid-selling effect in a game about the Apostles as that's very much against the spirit of the concept. But I can see how recruitment would be tricky since you don't want to get into the murky waters of sects and different theological traditions

Yes; even though the game is competitive, the players are always "on the same team" (except in Disciples, where one is Judas, but anyway). Moreover, this game takes place during the mid 1st century, when, at least as recorded in Acts, there was pretty solid agreement on points of doctrine (with the occasional healthy dispute, of course...), as compared to the 2nd century and on when all manner of teachings start creeping in.

I have thought about a "3rd game" in the series, and while my original thought was to make it about the "persecuted church", it might be interesting to take the game into the 2nd century and make it more about fighting heresies and such (although "Apostles" already has an ingredient of that, so they might be too close). But even then, it would be "us against the heresies", not "which of 'us' will define sound doctrine?" My Christian-themed games will always take a "high view" of Scripture, and while I'm obviously not opposed to allowing slightly "ahistorical" sequencing and events for the sake of playability, I wouldn't ever create a game like "Credo", for example...

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(I don't know if you've ever seen Credo but it probably covers that ground about as well as anyone could want, albeit from a somewhat satirical pov.)

I'm familiar with it, but I haven't played. It sounds kind of cute, but definitely not the kind of game I'd design, let's leave it at that!

As for the "Amway" model of masters/followers, I agree, you should work on it, and by all means, use this thread to brainstorm if you want; sounds like Seth has some good ideas for directions it could go in. I'm sure there's a good game in that mechanic.

-Jeff

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jwarrend wrote:
the idea is that when you add "members" to other players' churches, you get VPs for that immediately. (You also get VPs for the members in your own churches, but at the *end of the game*, and keeping the members in your church for the whole game will require some effort!)

I was re-reading this stuff, and I thought of something. I don't know how helpful it will be because it's in the same vein as some of the stuff that I think you said wasn't fitting into your game, but here goes:

Remember for a minute the scenario I talked about previously where players 'accumulate' followers, then drop them off in a location to found a church there (so the Churches would be like you 'helpers' in that you could take an action at your church locations in addition to your own current location).

Now, by doing certain actions involving or in the location of another players church you want both the church to be strengthened (for end game scoring on behalf of the church owner), and the player doing the action should also be rewarded by immediate VPs.

What if the reward for strengthening another player's church was more followers in your 'supply'? So you do some action, and as a result X members are added to the church and Y followers (X may or may not equal Y) are given to the player doing the action.

Then your score at the end of the game could be a function of the strength of your churches AND the fololowers in your supply. Also, the followers in your supply coudl be used as a resource for things like founding churches and doing actions.

So that's a way you could accomplish rewarding the strengthening of another guy's church, reward strengthening your own church, and also make the cost of actions somewhat interesting. It may still not fit the structure of your game though... I imagine people would have little piles of 'followers' in front of them and paying to move them all would be a pain. However there could be a special kind of follower which is different from the generic ones that are a resource/VP and those could be pieces on the board that you move around. It might be interesting if you have only a certain number of those, and they're the ones that turn into churches (you would leave them behind to found the church), such that you can only found X churches total, but you don't want to found too many too fast because you NEED the 'special followers' to do actions and stuff- possibly the number of followers you have is limited by the number of Special followers that you have, so if you found too many churches you'll have trouble affording stuff, or at least you'll miss out on income...

wow, I kind of went stream-of-conciousness there, I hope it made sense. Even if it doesn't work out for your game, maybe it will port well to my Campaign idea.

- Seth

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jwarrend wrote:
Yes, it's one church per town. Additionally, some of them are pretty far flung, so managing several churches can be challenging simply because of the travel required. I think there are enough variables that I'll be able to balance wanting to found a few churches with an appropriate level of difficulty associated with doing so.

Ooo... just had another idea! I have no idea what you have in mind for 'upkeeping' a church, but in thinking of what it might mean- how you might have to actually visit a church to keep it up- I thought of this. It might be an accounting nightmare, but...

Say each church has a "level" which would represent it's state of repair or how badly it needs your attention in some way. At the beginning of (or maybe end of, or at some point during) your turn each of your churches "loses a level", unless your pawn (or a helper maybe) is at the location- in which case it 'gains a level'. If it loses too many levels then either the members start to leave, or the church shuts down until you bring it back up, or maybe it's removed from the game alltogether. Thus you'd have to stay on the move and visit your churches regularly. If you have too many, then they will probably all suffer as it would take too long to visit them all. OR, in the case that you allow a helper to count as you, you could leave helpers behind to watch the churches, but then you can't do actions (or not as easily) because you need your helpers for those.

Peripherally, the member capacity of a church could depend on it's 'level' - that's one way to show that as it gets ignored it costs you.

- Seth

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sedjtroll wrote:

Remember for a minute the scenario I talked about previously where players 'accumulate' followers, then drop them off in a location to found a church there (so the Churches would be like you 'helpers' in that you could take an action at your church locations in addition to your own current location).

I think you come up with some fine ideas here (helping others gets you more "followers"), but I don't think it would work well in this context because, again, "followers" are in some sense generic; the point isn't to accumulate followers for yourself, it's to win believers to the Gospel. So in that sense, I've adopted a model of giving players access to two or three "helpers", which has good precedent in the book of Acts, but as for the model of accumulating a pool of followers, which you then play to the board, it probably won't work for me, though it would work just fine in a game like the "karate dojos" model I suggested, or perhaps the "election" model.

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Say each church has a "level" which would represent it's state of repair or how badly it needs your attention in some way. At the beginning of (or maybe end of, or at some point during) your turn each of your churches "loses a level", unless your pawn (or a helper maybe) is at the location- in which case it 'gains a level'. It might be an accounting nightmare, but...

Yes, I have something pretty similar to this in development. My system has a little more complexity, but it's the same basic idea -- you're trying to improve "your" churches, but there's also an element of "maintenance" and making sure they don't slide into "disrepair", as it were. My one concern about the system I have is, indeed, that it may have accounting issues. It remains to be seen.

Wait and see how the final system works, I think you'll like it!

Thanks again for the input,

Jeff

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Another option might be that the number on the "activator" card could indicate how many supplemental cards you're allowed to play. This might be a nice source of tension wrt the "high number cards", since now you really want to use them to activate actions (but doing so reduces the "power" of your hand to perform other expensive actions).

I was re-reading this thread, and something else occurred to me. Maybeit's because now I've played El Grande...

The number on the 'activator' card could be th number of Followers you're allowed to move/add/use that turn. I guess this is pretty similar to the El Grande mechanic where the turn order bid card also tells you how many Caballeros you can bring to your stagin area, and the action cards tell you how many you can play to the board.

- Seth

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jwarrend wrote:
My initial idea was that you "program" your followers (a la "RoboRally", e.g.) to take 3 actions over the next couple of turns, and after they've done that, they're free to be picked up by other players.

This sounds like a REALLY interesting idea! Hmm... what context could it work well in. Something where you (the player) would command or control other units, but not directly. I can only think of a war context at the moment, but there must be something else... maybe management in a company.

The idea being that you 'program' your followers and then they carry out the whole program no matter what happens. This is kinda like roborally only you get to program multiple followers, and I think there wouldn't be the spacial aspect. Only actions...

- Seth

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