# Clues and discovery mechanics

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Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008

I'm trying to think of some discovery mechanics. I have a few ideas bouncing around, but nothing too promising yet.

Here's the premise: You are trying to discover the location of some hidden object, and along the way, you collect clues that get you closer to figuring out where it is.

I'm specifically looking for something different that the main mechanic of the game 'Clue'.

The Magician
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Joined: 12/23/2008
There's a children's game

There's a children's game called "Enchanted Forest". The mechanics looked kind of interesting to me and thought about checking it out someday.

I had some vague edeas about putting monopoly houses scattered on a map randomly with numbers on them. (ah, my computer is performing irritating magic dricks: "the dissapearing words and letters, and m aking them teleport to a different sentance."
atte

Anyway, the numbers could correspond to some cards with items on them or something else. If this sparks anything let me know.

Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008
Decoder Rings

I thought about some ideas involving 'decoder ring' type dials, which could be pretty neat bits.
The idea being that there would be public information, via cards or something. Then for a single (or more) players, spinning the dials a according to the card would reveal clues.

In one example, there would be several stacked dials. At the beginning of the game, a randomized element would have everyone set two rings in a permanent game position. This would 'select' a game to play, with the number of possible games determined by the multiplicative number of the two randomized elements.
Each player's ring would have punchouts in different locations, effectively making everyones ring unique. Then, when a clue card is revealed, everyone sets the next two dials in the indicated positions, and one player (players) will get a clue and others won't, because of the differing punchout positions.
Still working out if this is feasible and practical.

The other example was not exactly related to the original question, but rather, was the result of thinking about players sharing data/clues in the open but meaningless to the wrong party. The rings would serve as a sorta-public-key-encryption-lite type deal. But with fruit and vegetables and stuff. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public-key_cryptography)
The idea was that Alice wants to send Bob some information, or a clue, or something. She would look at the backside of Bobs ring, and see it is set to Apple, and Boots (his public key). So she dials that in on her own ring, then moves another dial to select the information she wants to send, and it comes up Banana. She says to Bob, "Banana!" Then Bob, dials in Apple and Panda (his private key) and Banana, and it results in the message from Alice.

The idea was that other players could encrypt a message using a player's public key, but it can't be decrypted except by the recipients private key. Just like public key encryption, but instead of the keys being linked mathematically, they'd have some relationship that is worked out by the geometry of the dials.
(Of course, I'm not looking for the same type of security of factoring large prime numbers (I'm using fruits, after all) but it was a similar feel that I was after, but with perhaps just enough security in the space of a board game.)

Sadly, so far I can't see a way for this to really work without unintended players quickly being able to decipher the message. I don't think this is really possible with dials. You might conceivably be able to work up a 'table booklet' to accomplish this though. But at that level of involvement, it had better be the major point of the game.

At any rate, there seems to be much simpler ways to accomplish either of these ideas.

The Magician
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Joined: 12/23/2008
Anything is possible

Desprez,

This is an interesting idea, I like the "asymmetric key cryptography", in the link you posted and find it a sweet thing for a board game idea. And the using simple fruit is a good simple way I think to represent information. It doesn't have to be fruit though. It could be anything. Whatever your theme or audience I guess. From the sound of it, it seems like there would be some good tension and uncertainty as information is hidden to other players. This sounds like a great spark of an idea.

Anything is possible.........."but"..... with a game, under certain principles of design. Like simplicity, and then everything that makes it fun and interesting. You Know! However, I don't see why what your explaining can't be turned into a fun game. It's an interesting idea. What I see is that while it has the hidden factor about it which is good, what choices does it have built into it. Are there meaningful choices and rewards? Surprises? Have you developed other demention of the game experience? Having this seemingly technical dial thing doesn't mean the game can't be simple. If you like the idea I hope you give it a chance.

The Magician
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Joined: 12/23/2008
Here's one way to look at it

In regards to the other people not knowing what someone is encripting, here is a perspective. I can't beleave I'm offering this way of looking at it being that I strongly apose the object of the example which are Magicians (illusionists). They are cute! I can't say much more for them except they have great will power and persaveerance to learn to fool the viewer. As an aside, the difference between me and the street and stage magicians is that they require a viewer to do the magic. It is only magic if someone is there to see it done to beleave what is shown; is erelevent when the magician is alone. Never mind my alias, it has a different meaning.

Often when I ponder how to pull off something in a game, I have my own way of looking at street magicians and how they pull of complicated illusions. They have a system. So do games. This is a strange way of looking at it but you wonder how you can share information with some players and hide it to others without them catching on. As much as I look down on illusionists, they have given me a way of looking at problems. Many illusions are math based. What can you learn from this? What skill is cross referance? Here is a video of a clown performing something silly that may give you something to think about relative to your delema. If not, well maybe you don't look at it the way I do and that's fine. I thought this perspective may be of service.

The Magician
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Joined: 12/23/2008
Well I can't forget the link

Well I can't forget the link can I!

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Passing secret info...

Desprez wrote:
Each player's ring would have punchouts in different locations, effectively making everyones ring unique. Then, when a clue card is revealed, everyone sets the next two dials in the indicated positions, and one player (players) will get a clue and others won't, because of the differing punchout positions.

(snip!)

The idea was that Alice wants to send Bob some information, or a clue, or something.

(snip!)

The idea was that other players could encrypt a message using a player's public key, but it can't be decrypted except by the recipients private key. Just like public key encryption, but instead of the keys being linked mathematically, they'd have some relationship that is worked out by the geometry of the dials.

(snip!)

At any rate, there seems to be much simpler ways to accomplish either of these ideas.

Although your idea of secret decoder rings and verbally passing information is really nifty (Really. I like it a lot. It's very engaging.), the first "easier" idea I had was this:

Imagine a card that has all the icons printed on it in a ring. Imagine a disc pinned to the middle of the card so it can rotate with just a little friction. Imagine a window cut out in the rotating disc so you can see one of the icons. Instead of calling "banana" across the table, Alice sets the dial so it shows the lemon (the information she wants to pass) and passes the card face-down across the table to Bob. Bob picks it up and sees the lemon.

A variant idea: The rotating disc has two or three viewing windows cut in it. When you pass information, you have to have at least one correct piece of information visible in a window. In this variant, Alice could set the dial to show panda, lemon, and banana. Bob knows that at least one of these pieces of information is correct. If he's already deduced that panda is false, he'd know the correct one has to be lemon or banana.

Just a thought.

The Magician
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Joined: 12/23/2008
I was currious. How many

I was currious. How many players is this game? From the basic mechanic you described above, does this work and for how many players?

Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008
Yes, that was one...

@InvisibleJon
Yes, that was one of the easier ways to accomplish the same thing between players.
I even imagined you could make a ring that could construct simple phrases to eliminate players having to discuss plans in the next room and such. That could be useful for many games.

What that doesn't solve is the game passing public info meaningful only to certain players, which is a slightly different problem.

@The Magician
There isn't any game yet. I'm just thinking about mechanics for a game that's still mostly in my head.

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