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Critique this Movement Mechanic

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schmanthony
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Joined: 12/18/2008

I'm designing a game featuring point-to-point movement. During the movement phase of a turn, a player uses a collection of "tool" counters to move across multiple spaces.

There are 3 types of borders between spaces, and 3 types of tools. To move from one space to another, a player selects the tool that will allow him to cross the border, and places its counter in the next desired space along the path. This way, the possible paths a player can take are limited by his collection of tools (which grows throughout the game).

Given my description, does this movement mechanic seem viable? I'm concerned about Analysis Paralysis, as the possible paths will be difficult to visualize at first (which is intended to be part of the challenge.) I'm also concerned that players will see this as "work" and not "fun," or that it will just drag out what some might see as a relatively mundane part of any game (moving your guy around).

I'm hoping to create those "aha!" moments when a player happens to spot just the right path, perhaps while it's someone else's turn.

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
Well . . .

What sort of game is it?

If I had to do this for every tank in axis and allies, yes it would be quite a bit of hassle and un-needed work ;)

If the game is based around collecting tools, and going places, it sounds like it would work.

I am wondering if it might be simplified so that each space requires a certain tool to enter from any direction (or if it already works this way!). That would make things easier.

Also, some sort of color scheme--subtle or not-- might work to help players see things. That would be very easy to do if each square (I'm imagining squares) had the same access requirements from any side. It would still be pretty easy to do even if there was the potential for different colored gates at each door. In fact, you could have the tool tokens colored, and require them to be placed on the gates, rather than in the room. That might be a little more intuitive. The colors match, the tool is on the door, not past the door they haven't opened yet.

Just quick thoughts!

:)

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
I had to post again!

I got so excited.

So, now I am imagining like, three different colored doors, and three tools that open them. But then there would be like, one time use tools of other colors that get through doors (like, the explosive charge is orange, and can be used to go through a red or yellow door, but then gets used up).

I have no idea what your game is like, but on the off chance that's helpful, there ya go!

:)

Brykovian
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Joined: 07/21/2008
MacGregor

The children's game MacGregor used a mechanic where players moved between rooms by playing a card containing a key of the same color as the door between those two rooms. That's pretty much the main mechanic of that game.

This sounds similar, but with a different theme, and likely less consistently-shaped paths.

My guess is that the tool-collection and usage-for-travel won't be an issue as long as the possible paths do not get confusing and/or frustrating (such as a single rare tool is required to move into an important/interesting area on the board).

-Bryk

schmanthony
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Joined: 12/18/2008
a little more info

Thanks for the replies so far. I thought I'd add a little more information about the game in case it might encourage more discussion.

The greater part of the game is an economic system. Each player controls one pawn (your "entrepreneur"), which moves around using the mechanic in the original post. The purpose of moving around the game board is to collect materials, which sets the stage for scarcity and valuation of those materials in a market. This is somewhat like the resource market in Power Grid, only in reverse. Instead of the market determining the cost to acquire a resource (which in my design come freely as a result of movement), the market determines the value of the materials at a point in time.

These resources are then sold to "factories" (for market value) that use them to produce "tools" - the very same tools that each player must purchase in order to increase his movement capabilities, which is directly related to his ability to acquire materials and affect the market.

I'd like to clarify how I see the movement phase working. Starting with the space his entrepreneur currently occupies, he begins laying down his tool counters along his desired path of movement. Each counter must match the border it is designed to cross. When all counters are placed, or the desired destination is reached, the player moves his entrepreneur, collects materials from the market that match the spaces along his path, and finally retrieves his tools from the board.

The placement of the tool counters before moving the entrepreneur accomplishes several things. It establishes the route, ensures that the entrepreneur does not travel to an inaccessible location, indicates which materials will be collected and prevents the entrepreneur from re-entering the same space along the path.

So, you can see how the movement mechanic is tightly integrated with the economic system. I don't feel that I can easily yank it out without destroying the whole concept (or at least turning it into something terribly mundane) - but I'm wondering how it can be streamlined. I just don't want it to interfere or detract too much from the greater part of the game.

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
definitely . . .

. . . sounds like it wont be too confusing or paralyzing.

Is movement simultaneous, or do the players take turns? Do the resources disappear for any period of time? I'm just trying to think of ways where being able to plan movements better than the opponents will really give an advantage.

:)

schmanthony
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Joined: 12/18/2008
I'm leaning toward a typical

I'm leaning toward a typical rotating turn structure split into a few steps. I'm not yet decided if movement will be something you'd do on every turn, or if you'd have to choose movement from a short list of available actions.

The resources come from a market, like the market in Power Grid. As a resource becomes scarce in the market, its value increases (unlike Power Grid, where its cost increases).

I do want resources to occasionally be depleted completely, as this is what will cause the maximum value in the market, and hence the maximum cash bonus when a player sells them to a factory.

I intend to have a rule to prevent resource hoarding from being a game-winning strategy, although I want hoarding to be effective to a point. This rule may simply be a limit on the total number of resource a player can hold at one time.

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
I am . . .

. . . considering using a limit on resources to prevent that in a game I'm working on too. It seems like as long as players can reasonably buy stuff, and are rewarded for doing so, that will work pretty well!

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