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A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

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Cogust
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Joined: 04/15/2009

I'm currently working on a game where the players are different Gods (God of War, God of Culture ec) and move along their believers on a map. At the beginning all believers are nomads, scattered around the board, but the players can, by spending divine power (created by prayers and sacrifices of their believers), inspire their subjects to build cities and temples to make the God even more powerful.

Temples will generate divine power for their God, but the cities will generate VPs by conquering other cities, build wonders, become more civilized etcetera. These actions will give each citystate VPs of different types (military VPs, cultural VPs and so on), the scoring is similar to Euphrates & Tigris but with the difference that one category is halved before it is compared with the other categories (ie. the God of War will halve his number of military VPs before comparing them to the other categories), this will force people to play somewhat balanced but they must play 'in character' to get the most out of their God.

People from different Gods can coexist in each area of the map, so each citystate will probably contain several religions and the controlling player might find himself being a minority in his citystate if he conquers many new areas. The other players can then attempt to challenge him for the control of the citystate, this can reduce the amount of influence the controlling player has over the citystate or the controlling player can give up his control (to cash in his VPs, see below) and give the citystate to the challenger or it can lead to a civil war that might break the citystate into several new states.

A player will only get VPs from a citystate when he loses control of it (or at the end of the game), depending on how much political control his believers are holding (if there's 10 VPs on a state that changes controlling player and the former owner had 60% influence over the citystate, then he would get 6 VPs and the other 4 would remain on the state that is then given to the new controller). This would give a challenged controller a tricky decision, will he cash in his VPs now and lose control of the state or will he risk losing some VPs by lowering his influence but keep control and perhaps score more VPs with his citystate?

This is the basic game, it's more or less a civilization game, but the civilizations will change owners during the game and you can control more than one civilization at once.

There are more things that I wan't to add in the mix as well:

- Prophets to steal other player's believers.
- Missionaries to convert heathens.
- Barbaric invasions, uncivilized nomads invading civilized states
- Nomads settling down inside civilized states to wrest control of the state from the current rulers

Etcetera..

What do you all think, does it have potential? Did you understand my concept at all or am I too confusing?

Anonymous
A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

It sounds like a solid idea to me, though it certainlly needs to be fleshed out.

Quote:
A player will only get VPs from a citystate when he loses control of it (or at the end of the game), depending on how much political control his believers are holding (if there's 10 VPs on a state that changes controlling player and the former owner had 60% influence over the citystate, then he would get 6 VPs and the other 4 would remain on the state that is then given to the new controller). This would give a challenged controller a tricky decision, will he cash in his VPs now and lose control of the state or will he risk losing some VPs by lowering his influence but keep control and perhaps score more VPs with his citystate?

By this system it looks like I only stand to lose VPs by building a city (because if I don't build one, I can't lose one.) What things would motivate a player to build a city?

Anonymous
A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

I tried to make a game on similar levels to what you are wanting... once. I found that by making a fairly complicated game that the game was especially dull and boring. I don't mean to try and poo poo your idea, but such a game I think would be difficult to pull off. of course if you can pull it off, it would be a game that I want to play.

Michael

Cogust
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A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

The only way to GET VPs is to build a city, you'll get a percentage of a city's VPs (depending on your influence) whhen you lose control of the city. As long as you control the city the VPs will remain with it, you will score VPs when you lose it or at the end of the game.

Cogust
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A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

Dr Mayhem,

I have tried a few similar ideas earlier and they have indeed gone down the drain by being too overburdened by rules and strange mechanics. This game is aimed at being as simple as possible while still being fairly meaty. The mechanics this far isn't that complicated, but I can still do many bad design decisions to turn it into an unplayable monster. The reason I brought the idea up here is to get input from other game designers so that I could avoid the more obvious pitfalls.

The game this far will require pawns in several colours to represent each player's believers (my prototype will probably use RISK tokens or something similar), VPs in a few colours (I'll snatch these from E&T if possible), nation cards (where VPs accumulate and you put influence tokens (the RISK tokens once again)).

The game would probably have to be action card driven to reduce the rule burden, probably by allowing the same card to do different things when played (similar to Hannibal where you could move armies, raise armies or playa special event with the same card). Some actions would cost divine power (like creating a Prophet or Missionary), but others would be free and always available (move nomads). The resolution of events should be swift and easy, but I'm not quite there yet as I have only pondered the theme, scoring and a few basic mechanics this far.

I will probably make some 'shadow rules' and then put together a playtest prototype by scavenging other games for parts and play it with a few friends to see how the games feels and if there are some fundamental flaws in it. I will then clarify/write rules as we go along playing and then go back to design phase to incorporate the new rules and streamline the entire game before playtesting again.

Scurra
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A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

I would point you to my GDW submission last year, and the original material is still up on my website: The Wheel of Time

But yeah, I ran into the same sort of issues you had - basically, the depth conflicts with the breadth and you end up with something overcomplicated and full of bits.
In my case, I wanted to have a mechanic that limited actions choice, but instead of using cards I built the Wheel, which serves a similar sort of purpose but adds a bit of tactical choice as players don't always have access to the actions they want.
My major mistake was to try and incorporate a resource generation system into the game as well, which just made for too many bits and didn't really add anything. My current version uses an action point system instead.

However, the one thing that did work was to separate the players from the pieces on the board - so that you didn't need individual colour tokens for each player. Instead, they were associated with the different countries, and it was the player who had the most influence in the country that could move them. This made the players feel much more like Gods rather than Rulers, since from turn to turn their influence changes.

But no-one has really cracked this game genre yet, so I look forward to seeing your take on it.

Cogust
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Joined: 04/15/2009
A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

I will check out your game as soon as I get home from work, it is always very interesting how others have tackled the same issues that's giving me trouble now.

I did some major thinking last night and today and I'm more and more leaning towards a more abstracted game, cutting much of the religious chrome in favour of playability and a heavier focus on the civilization building. I will most definitely keep the scoring process (the civilizations are getting the VPs and they are only distributed to the controlling player when he loses control of it, gaining a certain percentage of the VPs depending on his influence) as it can lead to an interesting subgame where the players challenge each other for dominance and either strike a deal (readjusting the influence markers, bribing eachother and/or changing controlling player) or head for civil war (where the country will lose VPs until the war is resolved, a long civil war where both sides are evenly matched and won't give ground will lead to the destruction of the civilization and the emergence of new nations from the ashes of the old empire).

I also like the mechanic that will make large heterogenic empires become weaker and weaker the more it grows to finally crumble to dust from within. That will force players to balance their civilizations between small, homogenic nations (you won't get many VPs with it, but you'll be able to keep a high percentage of them and won't face many dangerous challenges from the other players) and larger civilizations that will be more heavily contested must will generate more VPs.

Anonymous
A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

Cogust,

I have noticed while playing games with my wife's family (not hardcore gamers for sure, but have been turned on to the better games in life i.e. Carcasonne, Ticket to Ride, Peurto Rico) that they really have difficulty dealing with some kinds of cards. Especially cards that cause contradictions with one another and ones that contradict the rules.

Keep this in mind while designing and testting the cards. More and more non-gamers are buying good board games (it seems to me)

Michael

Cogust
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Joined: 04/15/2009
A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

Good advice, I was thinking about using cards similar to how they are used in 'La Citta' for example where each player plays one action card each turn and perform one action that is mentioned on the cards they play. There would be a limited amount of different actions, say 5-8 different actions or so, but I might as well skip the entire action card system and allow each player to choose between all of the 5-8 actions each turn instead of being constricted by the cards in his/her hand.

If I can streamline the game to some 4-5 possible actions, then the action cards would probably only be a complication and I could go for summary cards for each player where all the actions are very clearly defined. I currently in a very good streamlining mode, throwing out a lot of neat but probably useless quirks and pieces of chrome, so I might drop the whole action card system before long (it's a lot of job construction those cards in the first place, so it might well be for the best after all).

Abstraction will give a simpler gave that will appeal to more casual gamers, but if you abstract too much then much of the theme and meat will be lost. It's the difficult taks to walk that fine line between too much abstraction and too much chrome, I don't want another chess variant nor do I want another 'Campaign for North Africa'.

Anonymous
A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

Streamline as much as you can is my suggestion, although I have little experience :). The previous games I tried to make were very complicated and boring/lame. I have come up with basically 2 comeplete games in the last couple of days by keeping to extremely simple rules.

Of course I have an advantage over many people here probably. I have a wife who I can convince to play any of the games I make. so I have easy acess to playtesting. so I can afford to make a simple game with some interesting aspects, and then play it and see if it is any good, and if it is any good, then expand/revise as necessary.

But my advice is keep it as simple as possible while still maintaining what the game is

Anonymous
A game idea with Gods and Civilizations

DrMayhem wrote:

Of course I have an advantage over many people here probably. I have a wife who I can convince to play any of the games I make. so I have easy acess to playtesting.

Heh. Yeah, I'm always bugging my girlfriend to playtest with me. She is generally willing to humor me.

I would definately suggest simplification and abstraction of the game. Whenever I create a game, I generally start with an overwhelming amount of details, rules, mechanics, and my revision process is all about cutting things away. For example, I am currently working on a game inspired by particle physics/quantum mechanics... and needless to say, I had to simplify some aspects so a person wouldn't need a PhD to play the darn thing. :)

BUt I have a serious bias towards the "simple but complex" sort of games. My ongoing game muse is Go. The king of all things simple/complex. ;)

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