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Track and intercept tornado mechanic

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NewbieDesigner
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I was watching Storm Chasers the other day and thought a game based on chasing tornados could be kind of cool. What I have in mind is a board that has a map of a city/state area including roads and highways. Players can move their car pieces (two per player) faster on highways and slower on roads. In order to score points, players would try to reach roads (or highways) where the tornado crosses their path in front of them indicating they were able to film it. The closer to the the tornado, the more points. Maybe eliminated if directly hit by an F4 or F5.

I'm trying to figure out how tornados would generate randomly and travel. Perhaps a hex grid would overlay the city and they would move in a general direction (can't reverse direction but can turn). Maybe players can collect weather cards indicating where the tornadoes will form, but if they wait too long, they won't be able to travel fast enough to get there. I'm just not sure on where they would form, how strong they would be, and how they would move.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

senorbaub
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I like the theme of your game

I like the theme of your game idea.

Like you mentioned you could always use a grid system and roll die but the trick is if you have an area where a tornado is more likely to spawn how to weight it so a tornado would appear there more often but not 100% of the time so there is some uncertainty. Maybe take the center point of the high risk area and use a die roll to determine if the tornado will form north or south of that point (indicated by a positive or negative sign) and by how many spaces. Another die roll would determine if the tornado forms east or west of the center point by the same method.

Robinson
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traveling tornadoes

That sounds like a cool ideas, how about creating an offset hex board (similar to Kingdom Builder - see image here http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1082933/kingdom-builder) where you could have rows and columns. Then you could generate tornadoes based on rolling coordinates, similar to Flashpoint Fire Rescue. If it is a 12 by 12 board or smaller, you could roll a pair of d6 two times to generate your starting location coordinates. Players might be able to collect cards that tell them either the N-S or E-W coordinate, so they have some idea where the tornado will form, but will still have some uncertainty.

For movement, a single d6 could be rolled and movement could work where a 1-2 moved the tornado left, a 3-4 moved it straight forward, and a 5-6 moved it to the right. Direction would be relative to how the tornado moved the previous turn (maybe have an arrow on the tornado marker to show this). Initial direction could be random or you could have a prevailing winds card that shows the direction all tornadoes started this round will move. You could adjust the movement probabilities to bias the results as a weather system mechanic that could change over the course of the game to shift the action to various parts of the map.
Good luck!

Chegra
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Twists and Turns

My friend made a similar game back when Twister first came out. He had a similar game without hexes. Your's sounds better and more thought out. I like the hex idea. The one thing he had that might work for yours would be odds of random things being different. Maybe instead of a 6 sided use a 20 sided with something along these lines.
Relative to momentum

17 18 19 20 Straight
12 13 14 15 16 Left
7 8 9 10 11 Right
5 6 Sudden track reversal
4 Tornado splits in two
2 3 Disappears
1 Disappears to build stronger

You could also add some things or subtract some and use less or more number for something else. This keeps it random but keeps the odds on movement.

NewbieDesigner
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Those are some good

Those are some good suggestions. Roll two dice to determine what coordinate has severe weather potential and if that coordinate area gets hit three times (or maybe just once if a low probably is rolled like two 1's or 12's), a tornado forms.

Perhaps there are six spaces within that coordinate area and roll one 2d6 to determine what space the tornado starts on and then a tile tornado is flipped over and placed on the board. No one knows the strength until it is flipped- F5's that are filmed score higher than weaker ones but perhaps have a higher risk of killing the players.

As far as starting movement direction, I really like the wind card idea.

I also like the idea of having of having gas stations spread around the board and players having to stop movement and refill at some point if they run low or out of movement points. Should car movement be something like action points with spaces being closer together on roads and further apart on highway? Some sort of card movement?

Impudent Mortal
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Tornadoes

I would advise some research on tornadoes. I live in Tornado Alley and monitor ARES freqs during storms and I know a bit about how tornadoes move.

First thing you need to know is that tornadoes don't move as randomly as you might think. The vast majority of them move on a northeast heading. They don't ever "turn around" and go the other way, so you have to take this into account in your mechanic.

The average tornado travels about 35 mph so your ground scale along with the tornado's duration (an average tornado lasts 10 minutes) and game time scale will dictate how far it moves for how many turns.

Tornadoes form in the "hooks" of storm cells. How to do that can really just be random unless you're modeling the storm action as well. Might be a little overly complex. I think in the context of your game you can presume the players are already in a storm, so it's just a matter of placing a tornado.

When simulating a real event like a tornado, you can use real data to form the basis of your game. You are modeling something real on a smaller scale. If you were building a small model car, you would use a real car for reference; all measurements will be proportionately the same, just scaled properly. Do the same for your game. Get stats on tornadoes and scale them to fit the constraints of the game.

If I were doing this, I would make the appearance of a tornado random; roll some dice and cross reference it on the board grid. The definition of the tornado would be statistical. Roll 2d6 for ground speed; 7 = 35 mph, and anything above or below 7 increment or decrement by 5 mph. Seven is the most common result on 2d6 and 35 mph is the most common tornado speed. This will give you a very realistic stat spread for tornado speed since the chances of rolling other numbers are very close to the chances of real tornado speed variations. Results of 2 or 12 accurately represent the chances of a 5 mph or 60 mph tornado respectively occurring.

Direction is going to be NE 95% of the time, and about 1% of the time another direction. If played on a hex grid, roll d%; 1-95=NE, 96=N, 97=NW, 98=SW, 99=S, 00=SE. For other grid types, tweak as needed.

Duration can be 2d6 again. So the most common result of 7 means a tornado lasts 10 minutes (the most common tornado duration). Above or below 7 increment or decrement by 5 minutes and this gives you a pretty accurate statistical spread. Results of 2 or 12 accurately represent the chances of a 5 minute or 1 hour tornado respectively occurring.

All of this stuff can easily be put into table form for easy reference during play.

You now have to decide how much time a game turn represents and the scale of your map grid in order to figure out how many TURNS a tornado lasts and how far it moves per turn based on the stats above.

NewbieDesigner
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Good to know about the

Good to know about the direction of tornadoes (will have to research more). That is a lot of stuff to work out especially if I have to figure in car movement and making that correspond realistically to tornado speed. The closer I get to reality, the less intercepts will actually occur so I don't know how realistic I want to make it and what scale it should be (map the size of a city or close to state size?). I suppose I could get imaginative and concoct some scenario where it's the most tornadic day in history (global warming tipping point?) to get around some realism.

Impudent Mortal
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No fear

NewbieDesigner wrote:
That is a lot of stuff to work out especially if I have to figure in car movement and making that correspond realistically to tornado speed.

Actually, it's not. Everything is already worked out above. If you need the data in table form, I can type that up in 3 minutes for you.

As for car speed, you don't have to work out any relativity. Cars and tornadoes move in mph; they're already related. Speed is miles per (divided by) hour; distance/time. All you need to do is decided what a "mile" is in your game (hexes or whatever) and how long an "hour" (# of turns) is in your game. How big you want your map to be and how large of an area it represents will dictate these things. It's all just a matter of scale.

As for tornado frequency realism, don't worry about it. The game is about chasing tornadoes so you'll want them popping up more than usual. Just raise the chances of them occurring so that there are always a couple on the board.

You have a great idea for a game here. Don't be frightened by its perceived complexity, it's actually very simple. Just take each step IN ORDER. Most of your mechs will be defined by something else; each thing is a building block for the next. Start at bottom, build up. Since your map is defining things like distances, start with the map. Since speeds are determined by distance and time, do time next. Once you have distance and time, you got speed and speed dictates movement for everything; tornadoes AND chasers.

NewbieDesigner
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Thanks, I am going to put

Thanks, I am going to put together a prototype hex map next week and try some ideas based on some recommendations in this thread.

Impudent Mortal
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Tip

Make your map and time increment factors of the above with playability in mind. If a hex is 5 miles across, it makes your life easier for dealing with speed increments of 5 mph. Similarly, if a turn represents 5 minutes....

If you have 24" x 36" map with 1 inch hexes, that represents an area of 120 miles by 180 miles - a decent (and fairly realistic) sized tornado area - presuming 5 miles to the hex. Throw in a couple of interstates, a few state highways, and a load of county roads and you're good to go. Add gas stations, trailer parks, and the ilk as you see fit.

If you use numbered hexes, your random tornado placement gets simpler.

NewbieDesigner
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Unfortunately, I'm out of

Unfortunately, I'm out of town for the next few days or else I would continue this discussion. I'll be back on Sunday with some more fleshed out ideas and some questions about scale.

Impudent Mortal
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Cool

I love your idea and am willing to help you out in anyway when you get back.

NewbieDesigner
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thoughts

Some more thoughts:

1. The board will have 216 hexes with thirty-six 3x2 areas. 2d6’s will determine what 3x2 area the storm is building in and once a storm threshold is reached, one d6 is rolled to determine what hex the tornado will start on. Should all of the areas of the board have the same probability for where the storm starts? If the storms move NE, then should there be more hexes to the NE of the formation area to track them longer?

2. Timeframe= one day. 5 tornadoes per round, 5 rounds. 5 tornado pawns (how cool will 3d tornado miniatures look on a board?) on the side of the board. When a tornado forms, flip over a card that will determine what strength the tornado is, E.g., if an F5 card is revealed, place the largest F5 pawn on the board. Maybe there will be two F3’s, two F4’s and one F5 that will score the most when filmed.

3. I’m not sure how to implement the direction suggestions above with hexes. It seems the tornado should generally move NE from one hex to another. Based on some tornado path pics I saw, it does seem like they move in mostly straight lines. What if the dice was 1=NE, 2=NE, 3= NE, 4=NE, 5=N, 6=W. This would produce a mostly NE track with some possible changes to the N and E. To be more precise, it seems hexes would have to be dropped.

4. I like the idea about determining ground speed with rolling two 2d6 with 35mph being the likeliest outcome. What about determining how far it travels? Should it get weaker along the way assuming it will start at max strength.

5. I’m worried about tornadoes forming and players immediately calculating that they cannot intercept the tornado in time. I suppose if they control two or three cars, there will be tactical play trying to position themselves in front of hexes that are about to produce a tornado. Car movement has me most worried at this point.

6. What if players had a speedometer and gas gauge (faster=more gas) in front of them for each car and use the gas like action points? Should players have to make one gas stop per vehicle during the game? Any restrictions on movement? Can players just pass their turn and simply not move if they think they are in a good position? Not sure I like that idea even though it’s realistic. Based on 216 hexes how far can cars move per hex? What if there were three speeds, 30, 45, & 60mph? 30mph = .5 hex movement; 45mph = 1 hex movement, 60mph = 1.5 hex movement. Does that seem accurate?

7. Scoring. Players get points to how close they are to the tornado. One hex away gets the most points with lower points the further away it travels (might have to zoom in the scale a bit for visibility accuracy). There could be hills, trees and buildings that obstruct visibility so an open field would allow players to see the tornadoes easier and score point longer if they can follow it. F5’s would be more visible than F3’s and stats for this would be shown on the card for each tornado.

8. Tentative name= “F5”. Being a fan of the mountain climbing game “K2”, I like the simplicity. Any thoughts?

NewbieDesigner
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thoughts

Some more thoughts:

1. The board will have 216 hexes with thirty-six 3x2 areas. 2d6’s will determine what 3x2 area the storm is building in and once a storm threshold is reached, one d6 is rolled to determine what hex the tornado will start on. Should all of the areas of the board have the same probability for where the storm starts? If the storms move NE, then should there be more hexes to the NE of the formation area to track them longer?

2. Timeframe= one day. 5 tornadoes per round, 5 rounds. 5 tornado pawns (how cool will 3d tornado miniatures look on a board?) on the side of the board. When a tornado forms, flip over a card that will determine what strength the tornado is, E.g., if an F5 card is revealed, place the largest F5 pawn on the board. Maybe there will be two F3’s, two F4’s and one F5 that will score the most when filmed.

3. I’m not sure how to implement the direction suggestions above with hexes. It seems the tornado should generally move NE from one hex to another. Based on some tornado path pics I saw, it does seem like they move in mostly straight lines. What if the dice was 1=NE, 2=NE, 3= NE, 4=NE, 5=N, 6=W. This would produce a mostly NE track with some possible changes to the N and E. To be more precise, it seems hexes would have to be dropped.

4. I like the idea about determining ground speed with rolling two 2d6 with 35mph being the likeliest outcome. What about determining how far it travels? Should it get weaker along the way assuming it will start at max strength.

5. I’m worried about tornadoes forming and players immediately calculating that they cannot intercept the tornado in time. I suppose if they control two or three cars, there will be tactical play trying to position themselves in front of hexes that are about to produce a tornado. Car movement has me most worried at this point.

6. What if players had a speedometer and gas gauge (faster=more gas) in front of them for each car and use the gas like action points? Should players have to make one gas stop per vehicle during the game? Any restrictions on movement? Can players just pass their turn and simply not move if they think they are in a good position? Not sure I like that idea even though it’s realistic. Based on 216 hexes how far can cars move per hex? What if there were three speeds, 30, 45, & 60mph? 30mph = .5 hex movement; 45mph = 1 hex movement, 60mph = 1.5 hex movement. Does that seem accurate?

7. Scoring. Players get points to how close they are to the tornado. One hex away gets the most points with lower points the further away it travels (might have to zoom in the scale a bit for visibility accuracy). There could be hills, trees and buildings that obstruct visibility so an open field would allow players to see the tornadoes easier and score point longer if they can follow it. F5’s would be more visible than F3’s and stats for this would be shown on the card for each tornado.

8. Tentative name= “F5”. Being a fan of the mountain climbing game “K2”, I like the simplicity. Any thoughts?

NewbieDesigner
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Oops, sorry about duplicate

Oops, sorry about duplicate post. Anyone know how to delete one, let me know.

Impudent Mortal
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Great ideas so far

NewbieDesigner wrote:
1. If the storms move NE, then should there be more hexes to the NE of the formation area to track them longer?

Maybe. This is going to depend on playability factors more than game constraints, but it's a good possibility considering some other things you need to deal with below. All you really need to do is weight your spawn roll so that the odds are in favor of areas on the southwest quadrant of the map.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
2. Timeframe= one day. 5 tornadoes per round, 5 rounds.

Not sure what you mean by this, but it's a little too vague to determine movement; more on that coming.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
3. What if the dice was 1=NE, 2=NE, 3= NE, 4=NE, 5=N, 6=W.

That seems pretty reasonable and easy to deal with. It will also come in handy later if you want to consider the possibility of the tornado changing direction. It's realistic in that tornadoes can veer a little left or right and your die allows for that.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
4. What about determining how far it travels?

Distance over time. If a tornado's ground speed is 35 mph, then it moves 35 miles in an hour. If your hex is 35 miles across, then it moves one hex in an hour. Problem is, tornadoes RARELY last an hour, more like 10 minutes, so your tornado isn't going anywhere. So make your hex scale smaller and your time scale smaller.

If your hex is 2 miles across, a 35 mph tornado moves 18 hexes per hour, 35/2=17.5, round up. If a turn represents 6 minutes of real time (10 turns per hour), then the tornado moves 2 hexes per turn, 18/10=1.8 round up. You can base other speeds around this median value.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
5. I’m worried about tornadoes forming and players immediately calculating that they cannot intercept the tornado in time.

That's a possibility and is going to happen. But, it's not going to happen to all players all the time. Plus, more tornadoes are going to spawn out of this supercell storm pretty darn quick and the next one might be right on top of the player who was too far away for the last tornado.

Another thing to consider is that tornado chasers usually have a pretty good idea where tornadoes are going to form. They're watching radar and listening to NOAA so they know where to look. They have a "head start" and you could incorporate this into your game.
There are precursors to tornadoes. Wall clouds form, then rotation starts, a few more things happen, and then a tornado forms. In your game, instead of placing a tornado figure right away, maybe you place a Wall Cloud marker instead. Then every turn after you can roll for rotation, and if you get rotation, then a tornado touches down the turn after that. That gives players a small head start on getting to the tornado simulating having radar and/or radios.

This also may ameliorate your need to have more tornadoes spawn in the SW (in question 1). If players have a slight head start, it balances out the fact that tornadoes might be farther away.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Car movement has me most worried at this point.

MPH is MPH. A 35 mile per hour tornado is as fast as a 35 mph car.

Thing is, modeling all those speeds makes movement too complicated. All you need to figure out is the maximum speed and then say "cars move UP TO x hexes per turn". On the interstate in pre-tornado conditions (thunderstorm), a car's top speed is about 80 mph for crazy tornado chasers. Assuming the same scale of 2 miles per hex then a car can move 40 hexes per hour, or 4 per turn. Cars have to go slower on county roads that are unpaved, so adjust your "speed limit" accordingly.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
6. Based on 216 hexes how far can cars move per hex?

This isn't the question you're trying to ask, but you're close. See above.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
30mph = .5 hex movement

How do you move half a hex?

NewbieDesigner wrote:
7. Scoring.

Base it on your ground scale.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
8. Tentative name= “F5”. Being a fan of the mountain climbing game “K2”, I like the simplicity. Any thoughts?

Personally, I think "F5" is great. Tornado purists might nit-pick that the Enhanced Fujita Scale has made "F5" an obsolete designation.
Other great tornado related words are "Supercell", "Squall Line", and "Outbreak Sequence".
Make a list of potential names you like and start asking other people what they think.

NewbieDesigner
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Impudent Mortal wrote:

Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
1. If the storms move NE, then should there be more hexes to the NE of the formation area to track them longer?
Maybe. This is going to depend on playability factors more than game constraints, but it's a good possibility considering some other things you need to deal with below. All you really need to do is weight your spawn roll so that the odds are in favor of areas on the southwest quadrant of the map.

Good idea to control where they are likely to start. Perhaps Oklahoma City could be the featured city that is positioned on the Southwest part of the board.

Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
4. What about determining how far it travels?
Distance over time. If a tornado's ground speed is 35 mph, then it moves 35 miles in an hour. If your hex is 35 miles across, then it moves one hex in an hour. Problem is, tornadoes RARELY last an hour, more like 10 minutes, so your tornado isn't going anywhere. So make your hex scale smaller and your time scale smaller. If your hex is 2 miles across, a 35 mph tornado moves 18 hexes per hour, 35/2=17.5, round up. If a turn represents 6 minutes of real time (10 turns per hour), then the tornado moves 2 hexes per turn, 18/10=1.8 round up. You can base other speeds around this median value.

That's very helpful, thanks. This way, cars travelling at maximum speed can cover twice the distance of an average moving tornado.
Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
5. I’m worried about tornadoes forming and players immediately calculating that they cannot intercept the tornado in time.
That's a possibility and is going to happen. But, it's not going to happen to all players all the time. Plus, more tornadoes are going to spawn out of this supercell storm pretty darn quick and the next one might be right on top of the player who was too far away for the last tornado.
Another thing to consider is that tornado chasers usually have a pretty good idea where tornadoes are going to form. They're watching radar and listening to NOAA so they know where to look. They have a "head start" and you could incorporate this into your game. There are precursors to tornadoes. Wall clouds form, then rotation starts, a few more things happen, and then a tornado forms. In your game, instead of placing a tornado figure right away, maybe you place a Wall Cloud marker instead. Then every turn after you can roll for rotation, and if you get rotation, then a tornado touches down the turn after that. That gives players a small head start on getting to the tornado simulating having radar and/or radios. This also may ameliorate your need to have more tornadoes spawn in the SW (in question 1). If players have a slight head start, it balances out the fact that tornadoes might be farther away.

What if 6, 7, and 8 rolls needed three "hits" (place a wall cloud marker for the first two hits) for a tornado to form; 4, 5, 9 and 10's require two hits; one hit for 2, 3, 11, & 12. Would the odds of one starting still be more likely to form in the SE if the 6, 7, and 8 areas were placed in the SE; 4, 5, 9, and 10 towards the middle of the board, etc. (not good with figuring out math probablity)? If players had three cars to move, they could have one travelling around the 2, 3, 11, and 12 areas for the abrupt forming ones.

Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
Car movement has me most worried at this point.
MPH is MPH. A 35 mile per hour tornado is as fast as a 35 mph car.
Thing is, modeling all those speeds makes movement too complicated. All you need to figure out is the maximum speed and then say "cars move UP TO x hexes per turn". On the interstate in pre-tornado conditions (thunderstorm), a car's top speed is about 80 mph for crazy tornado chasers. Assuming the same scale of 2 miles per hex then a car can move 40 hexes per hour, or 4 per turn. Cars have to go slower on county roads that are unpaved, so adjust your "speed limit" accordingly.

I'm thinking 3 or 4 speed choices should suffice. Did you like the idea of gas management?
Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
30mph = .5 hex movement
How do you move half a hex?

I had in mind edge, middle, edge but that will all depend on scaling fine-tuning.

Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
8. Tentative name= “F5”. Being a fan of the mountain climbing game “K2”, I like the simplicity. Any thoughts?
Personally, I think "F5" is great. Tornado purists might nit-pick that the Enhanced Fujita Scale has made "F5" an obsolete designation.
Other great tornado related words are "Supercell", "Squall Line", and "Outbreak Sequence".
Make a list of potential names you like and start asking other people what they think.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Impudent Mortal
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Fujita's Nightmare

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Perhaps Oklahoma City could be the featured city that is positioned on the Southwest part of the board.

Possibly. That would be a good choice considering the frequency of tornadoes in that area.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
What if 6, 7, and 8 rolls needed three "hits" (place a wall cloud marker for the first two hits) for a tornado to form; 4, 5, 9 and 10's require two hits; one hit for 2, 3, 11, & 12.

That seems reasonable. Pencil it in.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Would the odds of one starting still be more likely to form in the SE if the 6, 7, and 8 areas were placed in the SE; 4, 5, 9, and 10 towards the middle of the board, etc. (not good with figuring out math probablity)?

Yes, but you mean SW instead of SE.
As for your 'figuring out probability' you did it right empirically. The way you 'set the spread' accounted for odds. You already knew that 7 was the most common result and 2 and 12 are the least common result and did it accordingly without needing to know the exact chances of any roll. Keep thinking critically like that and you'll do well.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
I'm thinking 3 or 4 speed choices should suffice. Did you like the idea of gas management?

By '3 or 4 speed choices' I take you to mean speed limits on roads and I think you're right.
As for gas management, that might get sticky; here's why:
If your map is 216 hexes, it's somewhere around 14x15 hexes. If each hex is 2 miles wide, that map only represents an area of about 28 miles by 30 miles. If a typical chase car has a gas tank capacity of 14 gallons and gets 20 miles to the gallon, the car can go 280 miles before refueling; that's 140 hexes at 2 miles per hex. That means a car can traverse either axis of the map TEN TIMES before needing to refuel. If a car moves 4 hexes per turn max, the car moves for 35 turns minimum before refueling.
Do you expect the game to go more than 35 turns? If not, there's no need to refuel.

If you want to incorporate a refueling aspect in the game, you might need a bigger map and/or cars with poorer mileage/smaller gas tanks.

Now you're beginning to understand the importance of map scale! It dictates just about everything you want to do with this game. However, you are going to run into some limitations and have to sacrifice reality with playability. It's likely that you'll have to fudge some numbers to get everything to work together smoothly when it comes to map size, hex size, and hex scale. There's a happy medium in there, you just have to find it.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
8. Tentative name

You may be interested in a book entitled "Heavy Weather" by Bruce Sterling. It recounts the adventures of a hardcore storm troop chasing The Big Ones in a near-future slightly cyberpunk-tinged North America. It's one of my top 10 fave books of all time and I recommend it to you because it might give you some ideas for your game, particularly motivation and VC.

NewbieDesigner
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Impudent Mortal

Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
I'm thinking 3 or 4 speed choices should suffice. Did you like the idea of gas management?
By '3 or 4 speed choices' I take you to mean speed limits on roads and I think you're right.
As for gas management, that might get sticky; here's why:
If your map is 216 hexes, it's somewhere around 14x15 hexes. If each hex is 2 miles wide, that map only represents an area of about 28 miles by 30 miles. If a typical chase car has a gas tank capacity of 14 gallons and gets 20 miles to the gallon, the car can go 280 miles before refueling; that's 140 hexes at 2 miles per hex. That means a car can traverse either axis of the map TEN TIMES before needing to refuel. If a car moves 4 hexes per turn max, the car moves for 35 turns minimum before refueling. Do you expect the game to go more than 35 turns? If not, there's no need to refuel.

Yeah, I think you're correct. Even if the vehicle is a large gas guzzler, drivers have larger gas tanks to compensate and I think I want the timeframe to be one day. Any thoughts on end game conditions? I'm thinking after the 10th tornado dissipates may be a good starting point. That means no rounds, just driving around until all of the tornadoes occur.
Impudent Mortal wrote:
Now you're beginning to understand the importance of map scale! It dictates just about everything you want to do with this game. However, you are going to run into some limitations and have to sacrifice reality with playability. It's likely that you'll have to fudge some numbers to get everything to work together smoothly when it comes to map size, hex size, and hex scale. There's a happy medium in there, you just have to find it.

Yeah, glad you brought all that to my attention although I'd like to think I would have eventually done some research and figured out the importance of scale. :-)

My biggest concern is still the driving aspect and players just hanging around waiting for a tornado to form or come their way. Can you think of any other things players can do for points while chasing? Something like paramedic help for places that have been hit? Maybe the player who assists the most in this regards gets a bonus at the end, although not big enough to deter chasing, but something to do if one of their vehicles can't currently intercept or chase one. Road damage and fallen trees are a reality but I'm not sure how to implement that without hampering travelling too much.

Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
8. Tentative name
You may be interested in a book entitled "Heavy Weather" by Bruce Sterling. It recounts the adventures of a hardcore storm troop chasing The Big Ones in a near-future slightly cyberp

Thanks for the recommendation. I may pick it up on audio if available.

Impudent Mortal
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Oh yeah

NewbieDesigner wrote:
I think I want the timeframe to be one day.

It could be much shorter than that. Tornado super outbreaks rarely last more than a few hours. This is because the supercell moves and changes. Your game "day" could be six hours or less.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Any thoughts on end game conditions? I'm thinking after the 10th tornado dissipates may be a good starting point.

That sounds reasonable. Can always adjust it as needed.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
I'd like to think I would have eventually done some research and figured out the importance of scale. :-)

Oh, you'll continue to have opportunities to do so. As you tweak certain variables you'll see how it affects others.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
My biggest concern is still the driving aspect and players just hanging around waiting for a tornado to form or come their way.

Well, that's what happens in real life. To avoid this, increase the frequency of tornadoes. More tornadoes = more for players to do.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Can you think of any other things players can do for points while chasing? Something like paramedic help for places that have been hit?

I can think of things, but you have to keep these side projects at a lower value. If the object of the game is to film tornadoes, you don't want players spending their time rounding up cows for VC. You could end up with a saddle point where the best strategy to win the game is NOT filming/chasing tornadoes.

Storm chasers don't do anything other than try to film tornadoes and scream like kindergarten girls (you've seen the show). Storm SPOTTERS on the other hand provide valuable info and service to NOAA/NWS and never scream.
Other things players could do as spotters might include retrieving livestock ("Loose cow!" - happens all the time), digging out trailer parks/reporting to emergency responders, reporting to NOAA/NWS, and related ilk. These are all things that happen AFTER a tornado though.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Road damage and fallen trees are a reality but I'm not sure how to implement that without hampering travelling too much.

Downed trees and electrical wires are more common than damaged roads. A tree or wire down on a road could hinder a player for one turn while the road is safely cleared. In a case like this, you can have these obstacles, just don't let them be too punitive. Having to stop movement for the remainder of a turn is probably enough considering tornadoes are only going to last a few turns. You want this obstacles to be strategically interesting, not entirely preventative.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Thanks for the recommendation. I may pick it up on audio if available.

Look for it, it probably is. You'll love it.

NewbieDesigner
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I'll tinker with downed trees

I'll tinker with downed trees after I test without them to see if it needs something else.

Ok, so here is what I have in mind for a sample turn. There will be eleven "tornado zone" groups consisting of ten hexes each. The groups will be numbered 2-12. The hexes will be numbered 2/12, 3-11. Inactive hexes will be placed beyond the active zone to expand the board a bit. Roads will exist throughout the entire board.

1. Roll two dice to determine what group a wall cloud will be placed in. Maybe roll twice?

a. If a tornado forms, roll two dice to determine what hex the tornado will be placed on.

2. Players take turns moving their vehicles; 2 hexes for highways (60 mph), 1 hex for all other roads (35mph).

3. If tornadoes exists, roll for movement.

-6, 7, 8= 1 hex Northwest (35mph)
-4, 10= 2 hex Northwest (60mph)
-5, 9= 1 hex West (35mph)
-3, 11= 2 hex West (60mph)
-2, 12= no movement

Any thoughts on the car/tornado movement and scale? Think moving a maximum of two hexes is ok?

Btw, I think I am going to buy some Scupley polymer clay this weekend and attempt to make some clouds and tornadoes for the prototype.

Impudent Mortal
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Play it

NewbieDesigner wrote:
I'll tinker with downed trees after I test without them to see if it needs something else.

Good idea. You can always add stuff once you have your mechanics down. It will be easier since a lot of the rules will already be in place and you can build from them.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
1. Roll two dice to determine what group a wall cloud will be placed in. Maybe roll twice?

I interpret "maybe roll twice" to mean rolling for another possible wall cloud. This is a possibility that will depend on playability. It's hard to know how many wall clouds generating tornadoes will make the game fun; too few makes a boring game, too many makes the game too easy. You'll have to playtest to find the happy medium. Start with one roll per turn and change it if needed.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Any thoughts on the car/tornado movement and scale? Think moving a maximum of two hexes is ok?

Max two hex movement is probably OK considering the size of your board. The problem you MIGHT run into is players not making it to tornadoes before they "rope out" (dissipate). You haven't mentioned how long the tornadoes will last; the shorter the duration, the less likely players will get to the tornadoes. If you're set on keeping max movement 2, it will be easier to tweak tornado duration than re-do movement.

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Btw, I think I am going to buy some Scupley polymer clay this weekend and attempt to make some clouds and tornadoes for the prototype.

Cool. Some cotton dyed grey and twisted up might make a neat tornado. Low grade aspirin bottle cotton would be perfect. Soak it in watery grey paint and get some black/brown chunks in there for debris. Twist it around a wire armature and base it.

It's time for you to start testing the mechs to see if you like the interaction. Chase a couple twisters around your board and see if you need to adjust anything. Sounds reasonable so far, it probably won't take much.

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Impudent Mortal wrote:Max two

Impudent Mortal wrote:
Max two hex movement is probably OK considering the size of your board. The problem you MIGHT run into is players not making it to tornadoes before they "rope out" (dissipate). You haven't mentioned how long the tornadoes will last; the shorter the duration, the less likely players will get to the tornadoes. If you're set on keeping max movement 2, it will be easier to tweak tornado duration than re-do movement.

I think I am going to bump up car movement to three hexes for highways, two for regular roads and one for back roads.

Yeah, I can't think of a good dissipation mechanic. I tried to research how often a tornado changes speeds but didn't have much luck. It seems like they would form, go from weak to strong and then eventually disappear. The speed mechanic seems straight-forward enough but it gets tricky factoring in dissipation. What about adding a step 4 to the game turn and rolling for dissipation based on how fast the tornado is currently moving?

-No speed- dissipates when 2, 3, 11, 12's are rolled
-35mph- dissipates when 2 or 12's and rolled
-60mph - never dissipates

This makes it that most move off the board but some will disappear. I might have to sacrifice some realism but frequent dissipations would be annoying.

Impudent Mortal wrote:
Cool. Some cotton dyed grey and twisted up might make a neat tornado. Low grade aspirin bottle cotton would be perfect. Soak it in watery grey paint and get some black/brown chunks in there for debris. Twist it around a wire armature and base it.

Great idea- I was thinking about forming grey clay into some sort of cloud mass but cotton might be better. Time to get crafty!

Impudent Mortal
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Duration

NewbieDesigner wrote:
I think I am going to bump up car movement to three hexes for highways, two for regular roads and one for back roads.

Just remember that mph is mph. A car traveling 35 miles per hour is just as fast as a tornado traveling 35 miles per hour.

It doesn't make any sense that a car going 60 mph would move more hexes (3) than a tornado going 60 mph (2 hexes).

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Yeah, I can't think of a good dissipation mechanic.

Tornadoes dissipate over time. Tornadoes also never last indefinitely. You can end the tornadoes randomly if you'd like or after a certain number of turns.
Keep in mind that if you do it randomly you will have tornadoes dissipating the turn after they're generated on occasion. Conversely, you will have tornadoes that last until they're off the map, so there's no reason to have a separate "lasts indefinitely" category to begin with; random already produces that result.

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Impudent Mortal

Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
I think I am going to bump up car movement to three hexes for highways, two for regular roads and one for back roads.
Just remember that mph is mph. A car traveling 35 miles per hour is just as fast as a tornado traveling 35 miles per hour.

It doesn't make any sense that a car going 60 mph would move more hexes (3) than a tornado going 60 mph (2 hexes).

While not exactly proportional, this is what I'm thinking for hex movement:

Tornado
1 hex- 35mph
2 hex- 55mph

Car
1 hex (Dirt road)- 35 mph
2 hex (regular road)- 60 mph
3 hex (highway) 80 mph

Based on this scale, how many hexes do you think should exist as far and length and width of the board? For the tornado formation area, I want to have eleven areas (10 hexes each) positioned in the SW that will determine where the storm is forming, and once formed, what hex it starts on.

Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
Yeah, I can't think of a good dissipation mechanic.

Tornadoes dissipate over time. Tornadoes also never last indefinitely. You can end the tornadoes randomly if you'd like or after a certain number of turns.

Keep in mind that if you do it randomly you will have tornadoes dissipating the turn after they're generated on occasion. Conversely, you will have tornadoes that last until they're off the map, so there's no reason to have a separate "lasts indefinitely" category to begin with; random already produces that result.

I'd rather have them run off the board more frequently with the thematic assumption that they dissipated at some point (in another county?) than on the board. Maybe the edge of the board can represent gas mileage range? Remember, these tornadoes will be big and frequent so some that last 200 miles is possible. :-) I think I like the uncertainty factor as long as the odds are kept low compared to knowing when they end, e.g., after a certain amount of turns. I think the former may create a push-your-luck factor compared to knowing exactly when and where they'll end. Play-testing should reveal though.

Impudent Mortal
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Map

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Based on this scale, how many hexes do you think should exist as far and length and width of the board?

Speed doesn't determine distance. Speed is a function of distance; miles (distance) per hour (time).

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Remember, these tornadoes will be big and frequent so some that last 200 miles is possible.

If your map scale is 2 miles per hex, and you want to have a tornado travel 200 miles, you'll need 100 hexes to do so. If those are 1" hexes, that's a map at least 8 feet long. With half-inch hexes, it's 4 feet long.

questccg
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A quick idea

NewbieDesigner wrote:
I'm trying to figure out how tornados would generate randomly and travel. Perhaps a hex grid would overlay the city and they would move in a general direction (can't reverse direction but can turn). Maybe players can collect weather cards indicating where the tornadoes will form, but if they wait too long, they won't be able to travel fast enough to get there. I'm just not sure on where they would form, how strong they would be, and how they would move. Any ideas?

Also using a TIMER for turns (like say 30 seconds to take your turn) could add an extra depth to the game: it could make it more stressing to figure out what your next move is:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/parts#category=Timers

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Impudent Mortal

Impudent Mortal wrote:
NewbieDesigner wrote:
Based on this scale, how many hexes do you think should exist as far and length and width of the board?

Speed doesn't determine distance. Speed is a function of distance; miles (distance) per hour (time).

NewbieDesigner wrote:
Remember, these tornadoes will be big and frequent so some that last 200 miles is possible.

If your map scale is 2 miles per hex, and you want to have a tornado travel 200 miles, you'll need 100 hexes to do so. If those are 1" hexes, that's a map at least 8 feet long. With half-inch hexes, it's 4 feet long.

I mentioned 200 miles since that is how far tornadoes can travel. I didn't need the map to represent that distance though. Once they go past the edge of the board (perhaps road travel is no longer possible), they simply keep going and players won't know when dissipation occurs.

NewbieDesigner
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I'm thinking for the

I'm thinking for the prototype board of printing the hexes on two 11x17 pages and will tape them together so 1/2 the hex grid will be on each page.

Impudent Mortal
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Cool

Sounds perfect. How big are your hexes going to be?

NewbieDesigner
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I found this hex grid (24x24)

I found this hex grid (24x24) and will split it in half:

http://www.wuphonsreach.org/Games/Civ5/HexGrid-Civ5-Hexagons-24x24.png

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