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1337Nick
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Joined: 06/22/2010

This is a pretty broad topic, basically discussing intuitive ways for resource managing or collecting games. A problem I often find is that resource collection tends to really take away from the pace of a game, even though it may be vital to gameplay. This is especially true in games that are related to empire building kind of things.

For me, one of the best solutions has been to have a system similar to SoC, where players are able to collect resources, even when its not their turn. This really helps to keep people focused on the game and not bored.

Except I still have problems when it is high amounts of resources to be distributed. Right now I am working on a kind of Empire/Financial/Wargame/Economic Simulator/RPG thing. I guess its alot of genres kind of mashed together into one epic game that is great, but moves a little slow. The problem is that each person, on their turn, collects resources based on territories, factories, and population that they own. This part of the turn is what I dislike the most in the game because it isnt really streamlined very well. Im trying to think of ways to make it much cleaner, easier to calculate and faster. Maybe a way that only certain territories produce, depending on some condition. I am considering modifing the whole game so that everyone's turn is at once, similar to Diplomacy. But there would still be the problem of a massive resource disributing phase. Id just like to finish by saying that obviously this is not a game aimed at the average American Family. It is for people who enjoy setting aside the better part of a day on 1 wargame. Small Audience, but it is there.

Interested to hear your thoughts.

Louard
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Joined: 02/09/2010
Limit the scope, limit the math.

I will echo your comment about limiting what produces and when. You could have a set of event cards, or perhaps an even die used during a production phase where only one source will produce for all players, either territories, or factories, or farms or whatever, but only one based on the result.

The simplest would probably be a production die with faces representing the different possible sources of cash (resources, whatever). On the production phase, the die is rolled and everyone gathers from the appropriate source. So say the die shows a factory, then factories produce for everyone.

For more player involvement, maybe consider something akin to the roles in San Juan/Puerto Rico. Where players can somehow determine what will produce, possibly through an auction, or a hand of cards or something.

Limiting what type of source will produce will probably be a big step toward making the whole production thing go much faster by reducing the number of different production sources types to add up/compare etc.

Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008
I feel your difficulty, as

I feel your difficulty, as I've had to struggle with the same problems.
In my own experiments, I usually start with a pretty straight forward system:
1) Collect resource tokens during your turn according to some kind of rules (controlling an area, 'refining' a resource into something else, collection capacity, etc.)
2) Then you can build a unit or building by spending the listed resource cost.

The problems of this type of thing, as you are noticing, are:
1) Lots of fiddling with bits, and that takes time.
2) Typically, too few resources in the early game (not necessarily a bad thing)
3) Typically, too many resource in the end game. And this leads to wasted time collecting when the player has everything they need. Or they have reached an equilibrium where they are simply spending what they are collecting, but still takes a lot of time to process this action.
4) Managing stockpiles of resources can become cumbersome.
5) The more interesting the system and resource variation, the worse all these problems become

Here's what I've been working with lately, and seems to have a lot of promise:
I've eliminated the idea of collecting stockpiles of tokens. Instead, all that is required is to control the are where a resource comes from. Basically, you are simply tracking access to a resource. The resources are printed on the board with a nice little icon, if you have your worker there, you have access to it. Then limit how many things can be produced via a production capacity or something.

Naturally, you have to adjust the cost of everything.
Also note that requiring 2 units of something was probably a lot easier to gather than requiring access to 2 of the same item. And that needing a handful of varied resources was probably a lot harder to maintain every turn, then having access to the same number. This leads to less variation of costs. However, an access system lends itself much better to having more resource types, so you can make up the loss of variation if it is a problem.

Also notice that once a player has the access to build a particular good unit, they may have no reason to build a weaker unit anymore, and this wasn't the case before. My solution here, was to simply limit the total number of any particular unit type in play at a time with physical limitations of the unit markers themselves.

One of the other challenges was to replace the loss of the ability of stockpiling to mitigate the event of blockade or loss of resource gathering areas.
1) You could let players stockpile built units instead (possible keeping them out of play, in 'reserves' or something).
2) Make some units cost nothing (The city or whatever is assumed to have stored materials on hand to produce them), but the units may be of low quality. And again, limited by the number of unit counters of that type available.

So far, I was able to retain he feel and flavor (improve it, even), and it speed things up a bit. Of course, I'm still looking for ways for it to be even better.
Hope that helps generate some ideas for you.

Relexx
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Joined: 05/31/2010
I feel that the speed of the

I feel that the speed of the game has more to do with the interaction the player feels they are having. Take SoC, for each players turn every other has a chance of multiple game interactions, picking up resources and trading. This keeps the potential for all player to be involved in the game. Another option is speeding each players turn up, this is typically done by reducing the game interaction that they can do during their turn. Ticket to Ride for example.

Pastor_Mora
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Joined: 01/05/2010
Resources per area

Desprez wrote:
Here's what I've been working with lately, and seems to have a lot of promise:
I've eliminated the idea of collecting stockpiles of tokens. Instead, all that is required is to control the are where a resource comes from. Basically, you are simply tracking access to a resource. The resources are printed on the board with a nice little icon, if you have your worker there, you have access to it. Then limit how many things can be produced via a production capacity or something.

That is how I did it in Roman Emperors, plus I added counter track so you don't need to keep counting resource areas. Check it here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/738085/pastor_mora

If you really want some special units built (over more than a turn, like the Bismark or something), use cards and place tokens over them.

Another way I think of is depicting in the board the unit (not the resource) you may produce in each area. That way, you don't get to choose what to produce, you just place the depicted unit in each of your areas. It's faster and even other players may help you do it. You may pre-separate your production before your turn, or someone may do that for you in your turn.

I'm having a hard time figuring how (or how much) you are going to playtest a game that lasts a whole day. Please, tell me it isn't a 2 to 6 players! You know you shoud make a minimum 15 PT sessions per player setup of your final version, right?

Keep thinking!

1337Nick
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Thanks for all the great

Thanks for all the great replies, really helped jump start my mind. I really do appreciate being able to hear from people who clearly have far more experience in this field that I am still relatively new to. I definetly am getting past this mental block on resource distribution, and am working on a way that uses a few different elements and should be really interesting to try out.

Here is more background info more about the development process rather than the game itself, if anyone is interested, if not skip ahead to the numbers below. It goes back to before I was introduced to higher gaming than what I find at the local Walmart. Because for me my "Gateway" game was really modding my Risk game. Eventually I decided to look up other people's varients and then stumbled onto BoardGameGeek.com. It was really a big eyeopener and showed me how vast board games can really be. So anyways I have a couple friends really into military history and that sort of thing. We had been playing Risk games long before I knew anything about Euro types of games. After I started explaining to them about the flaws in Risk, we slowly started making modifications that eventually faded out the actual Risk rules. Eventually I decided that I would write down all of our mods in a Rulebook format. We then began mixing in various elements from other games we have played, and had some long discussions about the mechanics and fundementals of the game. So really what we had was an unorganized mess of a bunch of themes and mechanics that we enjoy, all tying together to some degree. We knew that noone would play it but us, we loved it though. Kind of like an inside joke that no one else understands, but you like it because its yours. So this has always just been this quirky weird game that we played just a couple times a year. Ive since done much more game designing, but recently (past 6 or 7 months) Ive decided that it would be fun to take the core idea of a big genre mashup and rewrite the entire thing into something well-thought out and makes sense from a Game Designer's perspective. We are in the very early stages still, when I look at how many things need to be worked out. We still have playtested it within only our group, me being the main developer, with the others being more like advisors maybe. It flows very nicely now compared to before it was rewritten, and has made a lot of progress from previous versions, but still has some major flaws to be worked out.

So really whether or not you read the above, just understand the following:
1) Right now, this is not close to any sort of Publishing
2)When I feel I have a finished product, it would be self published and sold through online mediums
3)I understand that may people would be turned off pretty quickly by the complicated nature of it
4)I like to think of this as a self-test of my mediocre development skills
5)The Game is being developed in a group setting, with me as the main developer/designer

Pastor_Mora wrote:

I'm having a hard time figuring how (or how much) you are going to playtest a game that lasts a whole day. Please, tell me it isn't a 2 to 6 players! You know you shoud make a minimum 15 PT sessions per player setup of your final version, right?

I understand the obvious problems you see. I would like the final version to be cut down to an average time of around 4 or 4.5 hours. Still long, but that is almost what the game is aiming for. Every game really does end up in story worth talking and laughing about months or years later. It is quite unstructured, where players have alot of reign in what they can do, and basically tell a story through the game. There are many different routes a play could take, with different endings. Because of that the game naturally ends up very long. Which, of course, has a limited audience who like that kind of thing. Anyways, you are absolutly right. Playtesting has been a concern in the back of my mind. I am working on ways to bring the focus onto specific modules for the testing, which I think would aid alot in making the PTs work better and help the overall development process. Also, like I said above, I would aim to self publish it. I can't picture any of the big publishers taking a shot on this, just because it doesnt make sense as a financial investment because of the small audience, complexity, small profit margin etc. I would also make a sort of "lite" version for the more casual gamer, or to someone who just doesnt have time. So Id probably start off with around 500 copies and see how I can do with online retailers. I would also make a sort of "lite" version for the more casual gamer, or to someone who just doesnt have time. Again, from a pure business point of view, this isnt my best game. But I really enjoy seeing where I can go with it.

I appreciate all the input so far.

Pastor_Mora
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Joined: 01/05/2010
Just final remarks

It doesn't mind if you publish the game yourself or give it free over the net. It HAS to be playtested. Be responsible about what you do (I'm sure you will).

You don't know if you are a mediocre designer until you finish your first game. THEN you do ;)

To test your game, you can use an alfa version with a fixed 4-player setup. If it works, expand further.

In your first run, go for 100 instead of 500.

Keep posting here for feedback, we'll be glad to help.

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