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A bit of help with end game conflict.

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Patrick Robles
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Joined: 09/10/2012

I'm about to enter initial testing of mechanics for one of my games and I can't seem to come up with a satisfying way to format the player versus player conflict that ends the game.

To give this context I'll briefly run down the game. Each player assumes the role of a being who has recently come into possession of a dream kingdom, and with that kingdom a single child in the waking world who acts as host and power source. The end goal of the game is to recruit more children than the other players, this is achieved by "programming" the behavior of the Host Child in the Waking World.

Game play consists of a week, Sun-Sat, with each day split into a dream and a waking phase.

During Dream Phases players chose roles to build sets for dreams, upgrade sets, hire actors to populate dreams, place actors into dreams, and various other theater themed activities. Depending on how dreams and actors are used they will fall into one of four categories, these categories correspond to broad behavior types: aggression, heroism, fear, intelligence, at the end of each Dream Phase players receive behavior cards of the correct quantity and type to match active dreams which are then added to the default starting Host Child deck, which is then shuffled.

During Waking Phases each player will take turns initiating conflict, this is done by playing one of their dreams built during the Dream Phase. In effect determining if the Host Child is angry, afraid, feeling heroic, or being a smartass. the remaining players draw the top card from their (random shuffled) Host Child deck to "respond" to this conflict. A number of non-host children, henceforth referred to as "thralls" or "converts," are dealt to act as the reward for the conflict. Thralls come in four types that directly correspond to the aforementioned behavior categories, and are rewarded to the winner or loser of a conflict depending on how the respective categories match up. Each behavior has one other that it will beat, one to which it will lose, and one that will force both players to draw one more card each from their randomized Host Child deck to resolve the conflict or potentially lead to another round of drawing cards. If the same behavior type is drawn, at any point, the two players split the payout of converts.

In subsequent Dream Phases thralls are used to build additional dreams, upgrade dreams to increase payout, string dreams together to build simple algorithms to guide Host behavior, and to unlock additional roles. These new roles are the only way to interact directly with other players during Dream Phases, to steal converts, interrupt dreams, etc.

Now to the problem at hand. Initially I had the game end after the Saturday Waking Phase was completed, players counted thralls to determine the winner, The End. I thought that a bit dry, and the phrases "daydream" and "king of the mountain/castle" came to mind, this gave me the idea that the last Waking Phase of the game should be a battle royale between players and that they should have direct control of the Host Child/deck (it being a daydream) and engage in a direct conflict with each other. But I'm coming up with nothing that really satisfies me on how to format this conflict.

Orangebeard
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Joined: 10/13/2011
Nightmare?

I like the idea that the players have direct control of their Host Child for the final conflict. Could the Host Children work together to fight off the Nightmare with the winner being the Host Child that contributes the most to the final battle?

Things like number of thralls, dreams, etc. could be used by the Host Child, but also have a random element of some kind to make the final battle a little unpredictable.

Good luck with your design!

Patrick Robles
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Joined: 09/10/2012
Cheers. That does help.

Cheers. That does help.

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