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Too many darn cards.

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Anonymous

One of my projects, I thought was basically complete, has been bugging me majorly. The synopsis for it goes as such.
The players are Mad Scientists with a plan to hold the world hostage. They have to run around the town and gather the parts for their plans from certain stores.

Seems simple enough, however I don't like how I have it set up to track the items received. There are 11 plans, with 5 items for each plan. The original plan was to have a card for each of the item. Which comes to 55 cards, and a massive pain to work with.
The mechanics were that there was a 30% chance that the item they needed was there. If they failed the roll, the item was Out of Stock, and the card was turned sideways and placed at the bottom of the deck. At the beginning of each player's turn, there was a 50/50 chance of each item coming back in stock for another try at getting it and placed correctly in the deck.

In all that seemed too sloppy and cumbersome to deal with, so I'm trying to think of another way to simulate Mad Scientists on a shopping spree. I've pondered replacing the cards with cards with some other form of markers (color coded for each player for example) that they place on all the areas and lay them on their side or flip them over for a failure. The current system needs all 55 cards to be placed regardless of the number of players. The counter/marker method would only require 7 markers (1 for each location) per player. Much more scalable.

The whole marker/counter just sorta came to me as I was typing this up. Thinking out loud. But I am curious as to what other ideas I can hear from you guys.

Scurra
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Too many darn cards.

55 cards sounds just about right to me :)
(See the other threads about card sheets and printing etc. Most printers have a standard card sheet size of 55 cards which makes that a good target to aim at. All my card game designs keep coming out at 110 cards at the moment.)

So this is a set-collecting game is it? And am I correct in assuming there is some sort of board (showing the stores they can visit - and their secret hideouts?) - or is it just an abstract array of piles of cards?
It doesn't sound too complex - then again, I haven't seen the rest of it!
Your second suggestion seems much more complicated really since there actually seems to be book-keeping involved.

IngredientX
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Re: Too many darn cards.

There's a good deal of chance in this design, considering that players have only a 30% chance of getting an item the first time, and 50% thereafter. From those numbers, it would seem to me that the winner would be the player who would roll better. And this is assuming that the card that comes up is the card the player needs. To be honest with you, I don't see any strategy there other than "draw well and roll well." It's a cool theme, and it deserves a little better.

Have you considered implementing an auction mechanic instead? Every turn, a "lot" of several items comes up for auction. The scientists bid in the lot. Perhaps there are special cards they can use to screw each other.

There have been many auction games designed, so be sure to check them out. It's a very nice, balanced mechanic. It probably won't be as cumbersome either.

Perhaps if you tweaked the die rolls a bit to make player's decisions a little more meaningful, the game may not be so luck dependent.

Just a quick $.02.

Anonymous
Too many darn cards.

Scurra wrote:
55 cards sounds just about right to me :)
(See the other threads about card sheets and printing etc. Most printers have a standard card sheet size of 55 cards which makes that a good target to aim at. All my card game designs keep coming out at 110 cards at the moment.)

*grins* Heh, thanks for the vote of confidence, but publishing isn't a concern to me. But those are just the item cards. There are another 60 cards that the players can use on each other that represent various gadgets and other things to make life difficult for each other. That's another reason I want to replace the item cards...

Scurra wrote:
So this is a set-collecting game is it? And am I correct in assuming there is some sort of board (showing the stores they can visit - and their secret hideouts?) - or is it just an abstract array of piles of cards?
It doesn't sound too complex - then again, I haven't seen the rest of it!
Your second suggestion seems much more complicated really since there actually seems to be book-keeping involved.

Yes, there is a board representing all the places that the mad scientists get to run around. The item cards were to be placed at each location and when a scientist got there he could attempt to get the item he needed.

It really isn't meant to be complex. Just a tongue in cheek romp around a town with a bunch of demented wackos.

Anonymous
Re: Too many darn cards.

IngredientX wrote:
There's a good deal of chance in this design, considering that players have only a 30% chance of getting an item the first time, and 50% thereafter. From those numbers, it would seem to me that the winner would be the player who would roll better. And this is assuming that the card that comes up is the card the player needs. To be honest with you, I don't see any strategy there other than "draw well and roll well." It's a cool theme, and it deserves a little better.

Yeah, normally I have no problem with luck being an important factor in games, personally. However this is just too messy even for me.

IngredientX wrote:
Have you considered implementing an auction mechanic instead? Every turn, a "lot" of several items comes up for auction. The scientists bid in the lot. Perhaps there are special cards they can use to screw each other.

There have been many auction games designed, so be sure to check them out. It's a very nice, balanced mechanic. It probably won't be as cumbersome either.

I can't really picture and auction mechanic with the way I have it set up. Each scientist has their plan and specific item cards they need to finish it. That is part of the silliness of the game. I don't think auctioning represent the viciousness that mad scientists will use to go after each other. At least not with the way I've seen it.

IngredientX wrote:
Perhaps if you tweaked the die rolls a bit to make player's decisions a little more meaningful, the game may not be so luck dependent.

Just a quick $.02.

This is what I was hoping for, but it does get me going on a different thought train, making their decisions more meaningful... I was wanting to make it important to hide your plan from the other players. That if they found out what it was, they could mess you up...

Maybe change the rules from searching to interference? Have it relatively easy to get an item normally, though not easily enough that they can just grab up all the items and win the game. But, throw in the ability to sabotage items and places...?

FastLearner
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Re: Too many darn cards.

Zanian wrote:
I can't really picture and auction mechanic with the way I have it set up. Each scientist has their plan and specific item cards they need to finish it. That is part of the silliness of the game. I don't think auctioning represent the viciousness that mad scientists will use to go after each other. At least not with the way I've seen it.

Not saying it will necessarily work for you, but if you recast the idea from an "auction" to "bribing officials" and being willing to "pay the most" to an arms dealer or such then the auction mechanic might make sense with the theme.

Anonymous
Too many darn cards.

Zanian, I LOVE this idea, have you made any more progress on it?

I want to play it already!

hehehe :D

Naturally I would have my own take on the rules, but it's your game and idea, so I couldn't step on your toes...

phpbbadmin
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Darn

I missed this thread the first time.... but you could have the players pay more money to increase their chance of getting the correct item.. Or pay more money to be able to roll more dice.. There is a game that I consider to be a masterpiece for it's time called Elixir that does this to good effect. When players brew potions, they spend gems to increase their chance of successfully brewing the potion. The higher value of the gem, the more likely they are to succeed. It works wonderfully for Elixir, perhaps it may work for your game as well..

-Darke

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