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A bidding mechanic wanted!

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teriyaki
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Joined: 02/14/2012

I'm working on a light hearted game involving Ninjas attempting to rob a castle. The central mechanic would involve secretly playing cards to overcome obstacles. The players should work together in trying to clean a room which contains several challenges, but each player is scored separately on how well they perform.

The number of cards you can play is determined by how many ninjas you have in the room. So different players can play a different number of cards each turn, which complicates the matter further... Also there should be a resolution where a ninja succeds, fails or fails critically (dies).

I'm totally divided on whether the bidding should be simultaneous and secret or should the players take turns around the table.. Both have their pros and cons.

At the moment each player may secretly play as many challenge cards as he has ninjas. If you have more cards representing that challenge than anyone else, you've overcome it and collect the reward. Players who play equal number of same challenge cards cancel each other and their ninjas fail (go back to the dojo). At the moment I don't have a bluffing mechanic (you can't play a card unless its a challenge already present in the room) but I think it would be crucial to introduce one.

Any ideas on how to proceed with this? Maybe an existing game I should look to for inspiration?

NomadArtisan
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Joined: 12/12/2011
Brainstorm time!

I'm not sure I fully understand your current game play concept, however I suggest brainstorming how players and their ninjas interact with each other in the game (from an aesthetic perspective) and this may provide inspiration for how bidding interaction could work. For instance, do the ninjas clash and fight in the castle if they end up trying to steal from the same room? Are all players' ninjas working together to rob the castle? Does each player have a single ninja or a team of ninjas?

Also, are you thinking single deck of shared cards? One deck representing the castle and its challenges, and another deck representing all of the ninjas and their skills?

Anyway, as for bidding games. Blue Moon is my favorite. It uses bidding mechanics to represent combat and does so very effectively.

Good luck!

teriyaki
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Joined: 02/14/2012
Well, the story is that a

Well, the story is that a mysterious person hired several clans of ninjas to rob a daimyo's castle, without them knowing that other clans also have the job. On the night of the break in they realize that they are not alone! Since ninjas cannot fight among themselves nor renege on the job, a race ensues which clan will reach the lord's bedroom first and prove themselves the best by overcoming as many challenges as possible.

Each player has a clan of ninjas (think meeples in carcassone) and places them on or moves them around a board depicting a castle. Each room has several challenges, represented by counters which are uncovered during the game. There are 6 types of challenges (at the moment) and you overcome them by playing cards from your hand (say the challenge is pit trap, you need to have a "rope" ninja card or something). When overcoming a challenge, all the players who have ninjas in the room may participate.. but only with as many cards as they have ninjas in the room.

Basically I'm trying to get the players to balance between the need to overcome a challenge together OR collect as many points as possible for themselves. So, it's a dilemma between being cooperative or selfish with both choices being equally valid... depending on the situation. The cards are drawn from a common pool and I'm thinking of adding a rule where the daimyo wakes up when the deck is exhausted and the game ends with all players loosing.

In this card-playing part of the game I don't want the players to be able to fight among themselves but rather to have an option to either cooperate for a safe, shared gain OR betray others and risk disaster... and more points.

Blue Moon? Ill look for its rules, maybe I'll get some inspiration from that. Thanks!

NomadArtisan
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Joined: 12/12/2011
Based on your description, I

Based on your description, I don't see that as a bidding game, but more of a resource management. I'd suggest looking at forbidden island over blue moon (as your description makes me think blue moon's system may not be what you're looking for), and I'd also suggest you try your game as a cooperative game rather than 'competitive' for at least one iteration during playtesting if only to see how it'd work as such. Forbidden island is a cooperative game and may give you some good ideas.
Even a cooperative game with an ultimate winner would work, as in, players have to work together or else everybody loses. But players still have to one-up each other to determine who 'wins more'. That sounds like what you already have going for you, but extra cooperative elements would be quite interesting.

J. Alex K.
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Joined: 09/06/2011
Have you played Ninjato? It

Have you played Ninjato? It has a lot of similar elements to what you're describing.

Aladdins dragons has a great bidding mechanism, as do games like Evo and Cyclades (same mechanism in both).

teriyaki
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Joined: 02/14/2012
Alex, thanx!I had no idea

Alex, thanx!

I had no idea that Z-man actually just published a game with so similar a theme! And I've been considering them as the first publisher to offer it when it's finished, lol. :) But it doesn't matter, this Ninja game I have in mind is to be much simpler and faster playing... and with as much potential for humor as I can get into it so it's not really in competition. Hmm.. maybe if I change the theme? Say clans of dwarves raiding a dragon's cavern... or goblins after a Lord's treasure room. I'm going for a rules-light game that can be played with kids and adults - maybe something similar to The Great Dalmuti in complexity and feel but with a bit more flavor and a board...

Just downloaded the rules for Aladdin's and Evo and am studying them carefully. There might be some inspiration there.. Thanks!

J. Alex K.
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Joined: 09/06/2011
I hope those help! I'd

I hope those help! I'd suggest downloading the rules to Ninjato as well-- it's a worker placement game where players are trying to get past guards by either fighting (playing higher cards than the Guard's number), or sneaking (playing lower cards than their number). The trick is you have to decide first whether you're fighting or sneaking, and you must do the same for all the guards (though you only know the value of the first).

Also, could you explain a little more what the bidding mechanic will decide? This may help me give some better suggestions. Best of luck!

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