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hotsoup
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I find that the best mechanics are ones that radically restrict something that you wouldn't expect. Also, they should be very integrated into the theme. I'm making a co-op board game, and came up with a few ideas. In the game, that players are all astronauts on a huge spaceship that has broken down. They have to go outside the ship in zerograv, and try to repair malfunctions before the ship breaks down entirely. Here are my two ideas.

1.) Every player has a small number of battery packs. No one is allowed to speak or communicate in any way during the game apart from thumbs up or thumbs down signs. If a player wants to speak, he has to spend one battery pack, and start a sand timer. That's how long he has until he has to shut up. New battery packs will be available, but at a very slow rate, so players must conserve talking as much as possible. In a co-op game, this should stop one player from ruling all the others, and also introduce a lot of tension.

2.) Scattered around the board (the exterior of the derelict spacecraft) are oxygen valves. During a turn, all players go take turns performing one action with their characters (moving, examining a malfunction, drawing a repair card, picking up a battery pack, etc). They are only allowed to BREATHE when they are at an oxygen valve. They must literally hold their breaths during a round, waiting for each other player to take their one action before doing theirs, making their way towards strategic points or air valves. If they breathe, then they are dead and eliminated from the game. Each round lasts the length of a sand timer, when it runs out, the only moves that a player make make are movements back towards an air valve. My thoughts: this could be the most intense and thematic game mechanic ever, or it could be really annoying.

Overall these mechanics should make the game both truly silent (where another person's voice is a welcome relief, and no one talks unless it is REALLY important) and breathlessly intense, as people feel like they are fighting for survival. (Dead Space would be the best name ever, but that video game took it.)

hotsoup
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Wow, it looks like multiple

Wow, it looks like multiple copies of this got posted. And BGDF won't let me delete the extra copies. I'll try again later.

JaffetC
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hotsoup wrote:I find that the

hotsoup wrote:
I find that the best mechanics are ones that radically restrict something that you wouldn't expect. Also, they should be very integrated into the theme. I'm making a co-op board game, and came up with a few ideas. In the game, that players are all astronauts on a huge spaceship that has broken down. They have to go outside the ship in zerograv, and try to repair malfunctions before the ship breaks down entirely. Here are my two ideas.

1.) Every player has a small number of battery packs. No one is allowed to speak or communicate in any way during the game apart from thumbs up or thumbs down signs. If a player wants to speak, he has to spend one battery pack, and start a sand timer. That's how long he has until he has to shut up. New battery packs will be available, but at a very slow rate, so players must conserve talking as much as possible. In a co-op game, this should stop one player from ruling all the others, and also introduce a lot of tension.

2.) Scattered around the board (the exterior of the derelict spacecraft) are oxygen valves. During a turn, all players go take turns performing one action with their characters (moving, examining a malfunction, drawing a repair card, picking up a battery pack, etc). They are only allowed to BREATHE when they are at an oxygen valve. They must literally hold their breaths during a round, waiting for each other player to take their one action before doing theirs, making their way towards strategic points or air valves. If they breathe, then they are dead and eliminated from the game. Each round lasts the length of a sand timer, when it runs out, the only moves that a player make make are movements back towards an air valve. My thoughts: this could be the most intense and thematic game mechanic ever, or it could be really annoying.

Overall these mechanics should make the game both truly silent (where another person's voice is a welcome relief, and no one talks unless it is REALLY important) and breathlessly intense, as people feel like they are fighting for survival. (Dead Space would be the best name ever, but that video game took it.)

Not talking isn't new to the board game designs, however having players hold their breadth for about 20-30 seconds can be a problem. what if the person naturally can't hold their breadth, would they still be allowed to play? Logically speaking since they cannot abide by a rule they would naturally lose the game. Literally nature would run its course and the person would not be able to win, ever.

Also, Sand timers aren't the most accurate of timers out there.

hotsoup
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There, the duplicate posts

There, the duplicate posts are gone.

Yes, I suppose that players who cannot hold their breath couldn't play. However, such people must be very rare. And even those who can't hold it for very long could still play, they just couldn't leave the airlocks for very long, and the other players would have to accommodate that. It would actually make for some interesting team dynamics.

I'm not surprised that a no-talking rule has been used before, but the one I'm talking about is one in which talking is an actual resource that has to be monitored. I don't think that's been done, but I'd be very interested in any games that have.

Agreed, sandtimers are not very accurate, but that wouldn't make any significant difference. It only has to be an unbiased time-keeping mechanism within the 1-2 minute range to serve my purposes.

I might possibly use an optional press-your-luck mechanic instead of the breath-holding idea for people who want more thinking time. But I like the panicky immediacy of breath-holding.

SLiV
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Sounds uncomfortable.

The game sounds really uncomfortable, to be honest. Not speaking is one thing, but having to keep your breath? It'd be more of a physical challenge that an enjoyable game, IMO. What if someone laughs? What if you want to eat some chocolate chip cookies? What if you need to go to the bathroom?

To me, it sounds just as farfetched as a game set in a russian prison and the person who dies of starvation first, loses.

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea as a whole, just not the breathholding part.

I would personally go with just oxygencanisters that you need to refill. I think it'd give you about the same amount of stress, but without people passing out.

Cogentesque
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Heya soupy! I have heard of a

Heya soupy!

I have heard of a "no talking" game but have never played it or know anything about it - I for one think that's a super idea :)

i like the no talking idea a lot. The breath hold idea is super good, but as agreed elsewhere, it wuould probably be very impractical. And also simply: some people better at holding their breath will have an unfair advantage and is similar to just "rewarding taller people" or something. Perhaps you could include it as a optional extra in the rules.

The theme I think is really really brilliant, the outside space ship astronauts theme sounds to me like a real winner - I don't think we have any similar games like that whatsoever? I for one would enjoy the idea of being a repairman astro-walker :) that would kick ass.

An idea to add if you do go with that: a special event card / rule where everyone can shout up to 10 words (one sentance / one word/ for 3 seconds) at once. And that is the only form of communication - sounds fun!

pelle
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outside spaceship is part of

outside spaceship is part of "Wreck of the BSM Pandora" coop game (ca 1980), although the repairs are done inside of that ship only iirc.

Holding breath is interesting, but I would also dislike it. Maybe as a gimmick at some rpg event more than a boardgame mechanic.

Doesn't sound like a very social game. That could be a problem to many.

Players that fo not like sand timers can just use a stop-watch. Remember doing that a few times for games that came with timers.

hotsoup
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You guys are probably right

You guys are probably right about the breath holding. Maybe I can use it as an optional mechanic for people who want more theme. Instead I'm thinking that instead of battery packs, I'll just use air canisters. That way players can choose to either spend air talking and planning, or moving around and repairing. That should keep the tension up.

That being said, I would still like a bit of uncertainty, so that players will be thinking to themselves "Do I have enough air to reach the malfunctioning solar panel, or will I pass out in space?" I would rather avoid player elimination, so I might have it that if a player runs out of air in space, he goes into a coma and has to be retrieved by another player, essentially wasting time and resources.

Maybe each air canister IS a sand timer. That's worth thinking about. Or perhaps the different actions that a player can take (finding a tool, repairing a malfunction), takes an unknown number of tries to finish, so players won't know if they can complete it in time. This might also lead to some players sacrificing themselves to finish a job, and relying on other players to save them.

JaffetC
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hotsoup wrote:You guys are

hotsoup wrote:
You guys are probably right about the breath holding. Maybe I can use it as an optional mechanic for people who want more theme. Instead I'm thinking that instead of battery packs, I'll just use air canisters. That way players can choose to either spend air talking and planning, or moving around and repairing. That should keep the tension up.

That being said, I would still like a bit of uncertainty, so that players will be thinking to themselves "Do I have enough air to reach the malfunctioning solar panel, or will I pass out in space?" I would rather avoid player elimination, so I might have it that if a player runs out of air in space, he goes into a coma and has to be retrieved by another player, essentially wasting time and resources.

Maybe each air canister IS a sand timer. That's worth thinking about. Or perhaps the different actions that a player can take (finding a tool, repairing a malfunction), takes an unknown number of tries to finish, so players won't know if they can complete it in time. This might also lead to some players sacrificing themselves to finish a job, and relying on other players to save them.

something about theme just doesn't flow to me quite well... For example, many of us have watched the movie apollo 11 and so forth. And usually, the pilots are trained at handling malfunctions, but if ever arises a problem that they cannot handle it is usually the people in command on earth that handle the situation. Or in the case of Star Trek sometimes, they have the team of engineers that can pin point the problem and state how to solve the problem... The main thing im getting at is that Planning a way to fix the situation is a pre-occuring theme. It never doesn't happen. and Usually not EVERYBODY is heading out of the ship in order to fix the problem. It almost seems like there are too many head chef's in the kitchen kind of situation. Also even if air supply isnt in abundance in air canisters the relay messages from the fixer are like yes, or no.

Maybe its me, but im really not getting how all the players being both silent and holding their breath flows with the theme of the game. Lets think about this in a RPG perspective. (board games and RPG's arent that entirely different they are both game types.) In a RPG perspective, 1. The players can communicate unless they choose not to or are too far away. 2. If they have to run a skill event only those proficient at running that skill tend to take on the challenge. there are a few "miracle" moments, but usually its the one guy that can do that special skill that takes on the challenge... Similarly, if the game is a Co-Op game, yet no players co-op with each others it makes the game no longer co-op.

For example, What stops me from staying in the ship and giving my air tank to the person with the best position to fix the problem?

Now, restrictions are good, no doubt however I see the restrictions hurt more than help or bring more fun. Heres a quick game to think about.

Its a co-op game, You are stuck in a room with a piece of paper, the other person is stuck in the opposite room with a piece of paper as well. If you two work together, without talking, you can help each other escape. There are no peep holes, and no small holes to pass the small pieces of paper to one another. Additionally the room is being fumigated with poison. the poison is only strong enough that in 10 minutes you both will die. What do you do?

hotsoup
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I agree that re-enforcing the

I agree that re-enforcing the theme is important. I think the backstory of the game is going to be that the ship, which is on a deep-space exploratory mission, has been caught in a meteor shower and badly damaged. The ship has been depressurized and the life support system is offline, as well as major systems. Luckily some of the crew were able to get into spacesuit in time, and now have limited time fix the ship before (air tanks run out, ship is permanently disabled, ship falls into the sun, whatever).

I see what you mean about co-operation. And I definitely want that, so it's just a matter of tweaking the number of air canisters available so that people can talk, but are forced to be short and direct, and cannot monopolize the conversation (which can be a problem in some co-ops). I think that players exchanging tanks could be a great mechanic actually, and another opportunity for cooperation. However, if players just sit around and do this, then their team will be short a man and the operations will be in danger. Anyhow, it'll take some play testing to see if the feel is right.

Right now I'm working on the mechanism by which the malfunctions are fixed. At the moment I'm thinking that the ship's major systems are scattered around the hull, and players have to get to them. Every turn, a time marker is placed on the malfunction, and after certain intervals of time, if they are not fixed, they can cause more malfunctions on different parts of the ship. The malfunctions are salved by playing combos of repair cards, but players have to retrieve those cards from other places and can hold very few of them so they have to cooperate.

I'm looking for a way to make this more elegant though. Perhaps a malfunction is fixed is a group of players performs an action at several different parts of the ship at once? I should look up more co-op games on bgg for ideas.

JaffetC
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hotsoup wrote:I agree that

hotsoup wrote:
I agree that re-enforcing the theme is important. I think the backstory of the game is going to be that the ship, which is on a deep-space exploratory mission, has been caught in a meteor shower and badly damaged. The ship has been depressurized and the life support system is offline, as well as major systems. Luckily some of the crew were able to get into spacesuit in time, and now have limited time fix the ship before (air tanks run out, ship is permanently disabled, ship falls into the sun, whatever).

I see what you mean about co-operation. And I definitely want that, so it's just a matter of tweaking the number of air canisters available so that people can talk, but are forced to be short and direct, and cannot monopolize the conversation (which can be a problem in some co-ops). I think that players exchanging tanks could be a great mechanic actually, and another opportunity for cooperation. However, if players just sit around and do this, then their team will be short a man and the operations will be in danger. Anyhow, it'll take some play testing to see if the feel is right.

Right now I'm working on the mechanism by which the malfunctions are fixed. At the moment I'm thinking that the ship's major systems are scattered around the hull, and players have to get to them. Every turn, a time marker is placed on the malfunction, and after certain intervals of time, if they are not fixed, they can cause more malfunctions on different parts of the ship. The malfunctions are salved by playing combos of repair cards, but players have to retrieve those cards from other places and can hold very few of them so they have to cooperate.

I'm looking for a way to make this more elegant though. Perhaps a malfunction is fixed is a group of players performs an action at several different parts of the ship at once? I should look up more co-op games on bgg for ideas.

You are on the right track if you start looking into other games in order to make your game more elegant. Also, what if you did Scenarios... or Mini Events that lead to fixing the big problem... Also, would the players be allowed to ever jump ship?

have you played Anima: Beyond Good and Evil the Card game? at the start of the turn each player gets a mission, when a player has completed one mission they can choose to activate the final mission. Any other player that has completed at least a mission can be part of the final mission. The final mission is then randomized between 3 mission, and each one has a spin down die attached to it. At the end of each turn the Clock goes down by 1. until it reaches 0. If it reaches 0 and no players have completed the final mission they all die.

Im thinking that maybe depending on a scenario you can have the crews face impending doom by falling towards a sun if they cant get their Engine Coils fixed on time. Also, if lets say a leak has been sprung on your pressure system you would need to fix it before the rest of the crew members in side die of loss of oxygen. what ever comes to mind, im sure you'll figure this one out :D

hotsoup
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Those are some great ideas,

Those are some great ideas, I'll definitely think about using scenarios...

I was really excited for a second because I thought that that game you mentioned, Anima: Beyond Good and Evil, was based on the video game Beyond Good and Evil, which is a fantastically fun game, involves completing missions, and used a resource called Anima. Turns out it's just a wild coincidence.

JaffetC
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hotsoup wrote:Those are some

hotsoup wrote:
Those are some great ideas, I'll definitely think about using scenarios...

I was really excited for a second because I thought that that game you mentioned, Anima: Beyond Good and Evil, was based on the video game Beyond Good and Evil, which is a fantastically fun game, involves completing missions, and used a resource called Anima. Turns out it's just a wild coincidence.

yea Edge Ent. / Fantasy Flight are really pushing the Anima line... theres a few rpgs, card games, and even a skirmish miniature game. and all of them are fun. My only problem with the RPG was that they put far too much.

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