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endgame mechanic

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Casamyr
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Joined: 07/28/2008

Hey Folks.

Its been a loooong time since I last posted here, but RL seems to get in the way of part-time board game design. Anyways, I've had a game on the boiler for a very long time, and the general game has undergone several iterations and I still have haven't settled on a mechanic to control the win/endgame aspects for players. Sitting around last weekend playing Fury of Dracula, I started to have a few inklings of an idea that'll change the way the game is played, but the theme will stay intact, which I think is the key to this game.

Just to remind everyone, and for other interested party - The theme is set in an old asylum during the Victorian era and the Players are members of a Paranormal/occult group who have been assembled by the government to thwart the insidious evil of the Dark Gods who are trying to break the seals of their prison and re-enter our world to set up a new reign of death and destruction for eternity.

My problem was how to make the game exciting for players and develop an interesting endgame gambit that should ratchet up the tension. Initally I had the game as a co-op affair with players trying to beat the game, but I couldn't get it to work. My second iteration had it as a team game, kind of like WOW the boardgame, but again the ideas didn't feel right. But last weekend and the last few days, I've been looking at other ways.

Now I'm thinking that it should be a tile based game (think descent/heroquest kinda tiles) and possible scenario driven with a player being the Dark Gods/Great Old One/or some other moniker while the others are the heroes entering the asylum to investigate the strange goings-on, and ensure the seal is intact. Here is the new idea for the endgame and reason for being.

The Evil player draws x number of story cards (probably 1-3), based on the scenario. These cards are how the evil can win and are placed face down in front of the player to be referred to as and when necessary. As the evil player meets the requirements of the story cards he flips them over and gains the reward. However, each story card is allocated a number of research tokens which the scenario will determine how many there are. As the heroes venture through the asylum, they will be investigating the strange events and when certain requirements (undecided as yet) have been met they can gain a token from one of the story cards. Once all the story tokens have been removed from a card, the heroes have discovered what the evil is up to and can actively stop it. Again the card will say how the story/event can be stopped and the reward if successful.

The reward: A puzzle piece/s. Huh? you're probably thinking, but each side has a puzzle to solve, both are yin and yang. The heroes are trying to assemble the seal and once the last piece is placed the seal is fully reassembled and they win. At the same time, the evil is also tryig to assemble a different puzzle, an anti seal. Once this is complete the seal holding the dark gods back is destroyed and the world succumbs to death and destruction.

I'm thinking that there should be other ways to gain puzzle pieces, but that mechanic has yet to be worked on, but I felt I needed to put this out into a public forum and gain some feedback as this will be a major component of the game and probably the make-or-break mechanic.

What do people think?

Brykovian
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Joined: 07/21/2008
It reminds me of the

It reminds me of the collection of light & dark swords in Shadows Over Camelot.

If the players need to collect all of the pieces to win, then it doesn't necessarily need to be a puzzle ... just a collection of a certain number of things. Having those things fill-in a picture is a nice thematic element married into the measurement mechanic.

I think you have an interesting idea on the the mini-goals (story cards) with tokens on them, which the heroes take away by completing tasks.

Maybe the backs of the story cards could give some sort of hint as to the type or difficulty of the Old One's task ... and when they complete whatever gives them the opportunity to remove a token, they can choose which card to remove the token from. Or, perhaps the type of thing they complete directs which sort of story card a token would need to be removed from.

When the last token is removed from a card, that card goes over to the heroes and they complete the "heroes' goal" part of the card. Otherwise, it remains with the Old One who is working toward the other goal on the card.

I think you're on to something there.

-Bryk

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Puzzle pieces...

Casamyr wrote:
The reward: A puzzle piece/s. Huh? you're probably thinking, but each side has a puzzle to solve, both are yin and yang. The heroes are trying to assemble the seal and once the last piece is placed the seal is fully reassembled and they win. At the same time, the evil is also tryig to assemble a different puzzle, an anti seal. Once this is complete the seal holding the dark gods back is destroyed and the world succumbs to death and destruction.

I'm thinking that there should be other ways to gain puzzle pieces, but that mechanic has yet to be worked on, but I felt I needed to put this out into a public forum and gain some feedback as this will be a major component of the game and probably the make-or-break mechanic.


Funny, I'm also working on a game where the players (or the opposition) gain puzzle pieces as in-game rewards.

You may not need to have two puzzles (Seal and Anti-Seal). You could have one puzzle duplicated multiple times. The evil player's puzzle reward is to claim one of the normal puzzle pieces. If the evil player gets enough of the pieces, it becomes impossible for the good guys to complete the Seal. By making both sides compete for access to a limited resource, the game becomes a little more interactive.

Other opportunities:
* One team can try to "raid" the other team's piece stash.
* Cards can use puzzle pieces as "fuel" (Add one token to any card. Add two more tokens for each Seal fragment you return to the "un-found" pile. Add three more tokens for each Seal fragment you give to the other team.) (Deal three hits to one Monster. Deal two more hits for each Seal fragment you have with a red gem on it.)

Your game sounds fun. I hope it turns out the way you want it to!

Casamyr
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Brykovian wrote:It reminds me

Brykovian wrote:
It reminds me of the collection of light & dark swords in _Shadows Over Camelot_.

If the players need to collect *all* of the pieces to win, then it doesn't necessarily need to be a puzzle ... just a collection of a certain number of things. Having those things fill-in a picture is a nice thematic element married into the measurement mechanic.

I think you have an interesting idea on the the mini-goals (story cards) with tokens on them, which the heroes take away by completing tasks.

Maybe the backs of the story cards could give some sort of hint as to the type or difficulty of the Old One's task ... and when they complete whatever gives them the opportunity to remove a token, they can choose which card to remove the token from. Or, perhaps the type of thing they complete directs which sort of story card a token would need to be removed from.

When the last token is removed from a card, that card goes over to the heroes and they complete the "heroes' goal" part of the card. Otherwise, it remains with the Old One who is working toward the other goal on the card.

I think you're on to something there.

-Bryk

Ah, Shadows over Camelot another Fav game. Maybe my subconscious was at work here. :)

Yeah, puzzle may not the 'right' word to use but you've hit it on the head as a thematic measurement mechanic. I envision each piece as another chunk of the seal that locks into place an slowly forms the seal. Invisible Jon also had an interesting comment that I had already considered about a limited pool of pieces to increase interaction between the Old One and the heroes. I am playing around with how this idea'll work and it'll need playtesting to figure out the ideal. My ideas are: each group will be building their own seal/anti-seal, pieces going into a single puzzle, seal trying to surround the antiseal; or limited pool very similar to SoC where pieces can be flipped from 'good' to 'evil'.

I had considered that point about the type/difficulty. In fact inital thoughts were that each goal card had the number and type of investigation tokens already printed on them, but I kept thinking about multiple games and players once familiar with the cards could figure out the goal quite easily. So I had thought that the scenario would set out the number of goal cards + the number of investigation tokens, but the Old One decided which goals got which tokens. May he decides to place several on a minor goal in the hopes that the heroes fall for his trick when he is actually working towards something else.

I feel that the heroes should be the ones who choose the token from which card, and definitely the type of investigation they complete will dictate which kind of token they remove. There will be around 3 different kinds of investigative 'skills' so you'll need a mix of different characters to be successful.

I see that once the last token is removed from the card it should go toa more central position. Neither side has yet completed it, but the reward is still up for grabs. It only makes the action more open and puts the heroes and Old One is direct opposition with each other. Granted either side could give up the goal and let the other have it, but that seal is steadily being strenghtened/weakened if you let it go.

Maybe the seal/anti-seal pieces make the game easier/harder depending on who has the upper hand. As the seal is being built the Old One's power is waning and being contained, whereas if the anti-seal (really needs a better name) is closer to completion, the Old One's reach is spreading further and further into our world.

hmmm. Food for thought.

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