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Event Card mechanic needed

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Grudunza
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Joined: 07/27/2008

Hi everybody. Sorry I haven't been very active here the past year... I've been designing mostly variants to existing games as opposed to original things. But I'm working on a multiplayer version of my d6 Shooters game (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/54201/the-d6-shooters), and I'm looking for some help and input on one aspect of that (well, one aspect for now!).

The original version is a solo game where you move your posse along a map. Every so often, one of the spaces on the map triggers an event, and then you draw an Event card and resolve it (or roll dice and consult a table if you don't have the cards). I like the events being there and the flavor they add, but I was never crazy about them being at fixed locations on the map. It always seemed wonky to me that events would happen at the same places, but it was more that I was trying to convey the idea that events would happen every so often, or that certain places were more likely to trigger them. Anyway, I'm okay with that being the case for the solo version, but for the multiplayer (2-4 player) game I wanted to change that and make it more of an interactive thing.

Here's the idea I've been playing with...

There is an Event Deck, and each Event Card has both a good event (e.g. Gain 1 Food) and a bad event (e.g. Lose 1 Food). You get Event Cards only by rolling and locking a certain sequence with the dice (1-2-3-4-5), so they will only happen every so often, and players can choose to specifically "go for" an Event Card if they want. You hold Event Cards in your hand, and can play them at any time, either on yourself for the good ones, or on an opponent for the bad ones.

In a basic sense, I like that... It's simple enough and brings the events into the game. But my question/problem is that I'd want to encourage the interaction of that, and I'm not sure why a player wouldn't just always opt for the positive side of that. Or, at least, certain players might always opt for the positive side of that, and others the negative. You know what I mean... some people particularly relish playing "take that" cards on other players, and some people would never want to do that. So the goal is to make it more of a difficult choice, to encourage the passive players to use them as "take that" cards once in a while, at least, and to discourage the aggressive players from always using them as "take that" cards. Granted, certain situations in the game might make one choice or the other more preferable... if you already have plenty of Food then you're more likely to want to knock some Food away from the guy who's ahead of you... but my feeling is that by and large people might tend to use them in only one way or the other. Maybe I'm wrong, but in any case, my premise here is based on that assumption...

I was thinking that perhaps all Event Cards could be worth points at the end of the game, if they've been played, so whenever an Event is played on a player (either by them or by someone else), that player takes the Event Card and keeps it until the scoring. That would discourage the "take that" type of player from always using those cards for their negative effect, but then again, it would give extra reason for the non-aggressive player to never use those cards negatively... unless perhaps they also got some kind of "event token" to keep whenever they played an Event Card against someone else, and the tokens were worth some points, too. The idea being that it's not just the main objective of the game (traveling across state to confront a group of outlaws) that is important, but also the stories and fame that those who return will be able to tell. And sometimes you may get as much notoriety for stories that you tell about what happened to other people than for stories about what happened to you. And maybe it's not as cut and dry as each card being worth points, but whoever ends up with the most Event Cards getting a certain number of points... kind of like the "longest road" in Settlers.

Another thought is that if I skew each of the Event Cards between the two events, then that could help. So for example, instead of the two events comprising +1 Food OR -1 Food, it would be more like +1 Food OR -2 Food, or +2 Food OR -1 Food. That might make the choice a little more difficult, as far as which way you would want to play it. Or, it might make the choice more obvious, depending on the situation...

Another thought is to just have one event on each card, so it would have to be played either for you or against someone else. But I like the choice aspect of having two events... it's just a question about how to make that work effectively.

Any thoughts/comments/ideas?

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Two ideas – one with penalty pressure & one with reward pressure

Two thoughts:

1) Event cards you have at the end of the game are worth *negative* points. Also: You can't play events (positive or negative) willy-nilly. You can only play positive events when you make specific "triggering rolls" or have other triggering events. The same is true for negative events (although the triggers are different). This mechanical duo has the effect of giving players an incentive to play events (if you don't play them, they'll reduce your score) while making the opportunities to play events a little scarce. It also forces players with a positive/negative bias to decide whether they will stick with their bias, or use an event for its other (non-preferred) purpose when the opportunity presents itself.

2) Event cards you play are worth points at the end of the game. When you play an event card, put it in your "good karma" (for events that you played for positive effects) or "bad karma" (for events that you played for negative effects) pile. At the end of the game, score one VP for every card in the smaller pile. Example: If you have five bad karma and two good karma, you score two extra VP. This gives players incentive to play as many events as possible (you get VP) and incentive to keep a balance between good and bad (you only score the smaller pile).

Note: I'm not suggesting that you use both ideas simultaneously. These suggestions are independent from each other.

treybert
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Joined: 12/21/2009
I don't remember exactly how

I don't remember exactly how they did it, but the Starcraft board game wrapped event cards into the game clock. The event card deck was stacked into stages where the events would get more intense as gameplay progressed. Some cards were global (meaning they affected everyone) and some where for the individual player only. The game would end when all event cards were drawn, or when drawing 2 specific cards in succession to add a little uncertainty on when the game would actually end.

Event cards were drawn at the beginning of each round, but players also could use their turn action to draw a card (speeding up the end of the game).

Not sure if that helps.

Sarge
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Joined: 03/03/2010
"purchasing" the cards

How about instead of something triggering the event, have each player draw a card on every turn or so, then the player decides and controls the event by “purchasing” or paying for it with some resource (kind of going along with your “point“ idea). That way, to make either a good event for you, or a bad event for your opponent happen, both of which can be on the same card, like your idea, it will cost you something. You could set the costs at such a level to encourage or, discourage certain types of events ect.

larienna
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Quote:I've been designing

Quote:
I've been designing mostly variants to existing games as opposed to original things

Since I make a lot of variant too, I am curious, what games have you made variants for? By the way, if you are part of BGG, there is a new microbadge I asked for which is now available for variant designer.

Grudunza
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Some great ideas all around!

Some great ideas all around! Thank you very much. On first glance, the "good/bad karma" idea sounds like it might be the best fit, because as you say, it requires the balance that I was going for. But I'll definitely mull all of these ideas over.

larienna wrote:
Quote:
I've been designing mostly variants to existing games as opposed to original things

Since I make a lot of variant too, I am curious, what games have you made variants for? By the way, if you are part of BGG, there is a new microbadge I asked for which is now available for variant designer.

Yeah, that would be a nice microbadge to have. Well, let me see... Among other things, I made a Pandemic variant based on the Incredibles (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/456484/incredibles-retheme-of-pandemic), a full Outskirts Expansion for Arkham Horror (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/473967/outskirts-expansion-board-ver...), and a Zombie Hero Heroes variant and some custom Heroes for Last Night on Earth (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/496872/zombie-hero-special-abilities & http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/499699/5-custom-heroes).

Piqsid
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Joined: 02/17/2010
Don't Use Points . . . My opinion

It sounds like your game has a very strong theme, and in my opinion, the best way to ruin a game's theme is to answer the question "Why are you doing that?" with "Because it scores more points." Now, there are a lot of games where the object of the game is to score a lot of points, but it seems to me that you want events to occur to add flavor and diversity to the game. If you make the playing of events (or not playing events) worth points, then players will start to not care as much about the event as they do about the points they will get by playing it.

In your solo game, it looks like the game plays the event cards against the player when they land on a certain tile. You didn't like the idea of events always happening on the same tiles in the multiplayer game, so instead you have players playing events on each other. Why not just roll for events on every tile?

Roll a d20 or d10, and have events happen on the top half of the roll. Events will occur 50% of the time. Theoretically you could roll a dozen times and not get an event, so you can add modifiers so that each turn without an event adds 1 or 2 to the dice roll. And in turns immediately after an event, you subtract 5 or more from the dice roll to diminish the chances of back-to-back events occurring.

I think in general, when trying to influence players to do what you want them to, you should try to do so within the theme of the game. Obviously everything depends on points at the end of the game, but try not to make it too obvious.

magic_user
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Event cards or Action cards?

The way you describe these, they sound more like actions the players take, not events that happen randomly. I would assume an event was like "rattlesnake scared your horse, -1 health" or "you shot a prarie dog - +1 food" as opposed to an action like "throw a rattlesnake at your opponent, -1 health" or "shoot a prarie dog, +1 food". It may be a minor difference, but it changes the way I think of using the cards.

Thanks.
Jim

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