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Board game idea. Need a more experienced set of eyes..

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/19/2010

First up, this is my first post on here. So hey everyone.
I've been constantly making adjustments to a board game that i designed that contains both an element of luck ( to keep the game from becoming stale and totally predictable) and a larger element of tactics and player to player negotiation. Balancing these out while still trying to ensure the game can be understood and enjoyed straight from the first play has been difficult, but its slowly getting there. We've been using a pad and paper for each player to make deals and negotiate without letting other players in on their plans.

Anyways, i thought i'd take the time to post the very basic foundations of the game. This game has been tested by a fairly large group of friends who, like me, are definately not experts but have found it fairly enjoyable and easy to understand. I'm not looking for ideas from anyone on here as such, but more an extra set of eyes to look over it and let me know where it stands up and falls down in your mind.

The game is set during the prohibition era in a fictitious city. The basic lead in story is that one of the old goats with a seat on the mafia commission has kicked the bucket, paving the way for one of the 2-8 players controlling the local crew's to step into his shoes and take a position of power. Each player can win the game in 3 different ways.
- Commission task card: at the start of the game each player is dealt one task card. This has a task that can be completed for the commission to earn their respect and be awarded a seat (so far i have 24 different ones including "Respectable earner"- pay a tribute of $5000000 while having no association with narcotics, "Hitman"- eliminate the player to your right, "Keep a clean nose"- pay $10000000 without going to war, ect). Each players task is known only to them. Although if your unable to hide what your doing well enough, an experienced gangster will soon work out what it is that you've been tasked with and take steps to block its completion. This will force you to either rethink your strategy for completing your task or to abandon the task and pursue a different course to win the game.

**The system of using war chest cards in the game needs abit of work i think**
- Elimination: this one kinda speaks for it's self. If your the last candidate standing or you have everyone working for you, you'll earn the seat on the commission by defult. This is the most direct way of winning. Although "going to the mattresses" with another player is by far the biggest drain on money and resources in the game. So even if your the most powerful and wealthy crew in the city, it helps to have a good stratagey on how to defeat your opponent without leaving yourself vunerable for other crews to take advantage (calling them to a sit-down to get 1 on 1 or asking another crew to be part of your plan, ect). Attack and defence in the game is done with War Chest cards. These come in 3 different levels, with level 1 cards being the cheapest and level 3 the most expensive. Each player starts with two level 1 cards but can buy more as these are used. The cards can be used to attack enemies and more importantly, defend your businesses. You can assign one card to each legal business and two cards to your illegal money makers. You can also assign one card as a bodyguard. Each player can only hold two unassigned cards in their hand. Once the player has been defeated they have the choice of either being 'whacked' and eliminated from the game, or they can choose to work as a soldier for the crew that beat them (you can also agree to do this voluntarily at any point in the game). By choosing this option the player pays tribute of all property and 50% of all profit they make from that point onwards. This is designed to give an alternative to being knocked out of a game and having to wait untill the start of a new one. It is also to simulate the life of a mob soldier. Lots of hard work for little profit. Will you stay loyal and help your boss reach the top? Or will your ambitious streak get the best of you as you sell out your boss and seek out allies to help you overthrow him?

- Bribe your way to the top: This is the third way of winning and was put in to avoid having a stalemate between two powerful crews to find a winner. If your Commission task has been blocked then a crew can take a bribe of $100000000 to city hall to win the game.

Sorry about how long this is. The game starts with each player being dealt 5 Item cards. These are how a player collects raw materials (illegal liquor, opium, punters for illgeal casinos and occasionaly other useful things). These are replaced as they are used or traded or sold between players. When the player enters back into their original District, 3 of the cards (player chooses which ones) are discarded and replaced. The board is divded into 8 Districts which are seperated by a bridge or tunnel (each are one square). Most Districts have 6 squares (4 legal businesses, 1 hotel and 1 vacant lot) except for the city which also has the poice station and city hall. The player starts the game owning all of the property in their District and can buy unowned property that they land on. The vacant lot can have one of 5 buildings erected on it (player must own the vacant lot AND the hotel in that District before building can be done). Each building opens up a different source of income with different pro's and con's when built. For instance, if a player builds an Opium Den all the Item cards containing Narcotics can be used to make money. Dealing in Narcotics makes the most money but also attracts the biggest fines and the biggest problems from the law. Each source of illegal income (Narcotics, Prostitution, Gambeling and Alcohol) also only has a certain amount of commodities for each. Meaning the more players operating the same businesses the faster these run out. This can lead to all out war over certain commodities, so the player needs to choose wisely. You can also build a corner store which will act the same as other legal businesses you own and give you a profit each time you pass your District. The last set of cards are called Toll cards. The player picks these up when they land on and bridge or tunnel space or the police station. These cards can occasionaly be good, but often lead to police raids on properties (which can cause rack up fines) or having to bribe members of the public.

Sorry again for how long this is... But like i said it has a few rough prototypes, so its a little more than just an idea. I've also left alot of details out of this (like game mechanics) or i'd be here typing all day, so i know theres pieces missing. If anyone has actually managed to read this whole thing i'd appreciate any thoughts (Positive thoughts are cool but Negative ones are useful so don't think twice about it)

red hare
red hare's picture
Joined: 11/09/2009
what are the basic mechanics

Based on what you've said, I think you have a lot going on here with a great theme. There's plenty of potential and i like the idea of people forming alliances and being restricted in how they achieve their goals, despite being cold hearted gangsters.

So I'm with you on the theme and the premise, but I'm not clear on the core mechanic of the game. it sounds like people go around the board (rolling dice ala monopoly?) and have opportunities to buy/ develop properties in the districts. I wasn't sure how the properties, raw materials, and the money connect so that players are able to acquire money.

Perhaps this is just a personal thing, but I think the dollar amounts have far too many zeros. Maybe commas would help or just use lower denominations.

Anyways, these are just my thoughts...

RacNRoll Gaming
RacNRoll Gaming's picture
Joined: 05/12/2010

I've gotta agree with red hare on this....I am picturing one thing in my head but am not 100% sure it is what you are describing.

I love the theme...I'm a sucker for any mafia/organized crime genre game. Unfortunately many of them fall short of the mark capturing the true essence of the theme. You seem to be on the right track.

If you need help playtesting this one let me know as I would love to help in any way I can to get a good of this genre out there.

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
How much????!!!!

"take a bribe of $100000000 to city hall to win the game"

Whatever that number is, it can buy you the presidency in my country

So, is this print and playable? do you have a shared on-line folder or something? are you mailing the prototype? is the actual rulebook posted anywhere? (you DO have a rulebook, do you?)

Keep thinking!

Joined: 04/18/2009
I think it sounds like

I think it sounds like gangstar monopoly, build buildings onley if you controle the entire block. also you can onley build if you land on it and you can collect income if you pass a sertan building type. Maby you want to explain more about the game mecanics.

Also I am wondering about the "no player elimination" thing. If I submit to you, I prity much have ruind my chance of winning. If I backstabb you and help some one els, what is in it for me do I get to start up again? and if so then why would you want to submit some one, it seems like you just invite him to backstabb you at the first moment he gets.

Joined: 09/19/2010
At the moment there is just a

At the moment there is just a few very rough prototypes that i made and myself and a group of friends play on. This is my first attempt at making a game so naturally there are things missing and other things that need tweaking.

As for all this....
"So, is this print and playable? do you have a shared on-line folder or something? are you mailing the prototype? is the actual rulebook posted anywhere? (you DO have a rulebook, do you?)"
-I don't know what you mean by print and playable.
-I don't know why i need a shared online folder
-Why would i be mailing the prototype? Its just something my friends and i play on.
-Yes, there is a rulebook. Although its going to continue to change untill im happy with the game. So posting it somewhere would be a waste of time.

This is my first attempt so i obviously don't know the ins and outs. I created the game so that we had something new to play. I don't intend for it to go any further than that. If your trying to say through constructive criticism that you like the basic idea and that i should change my intentions towards doing all those things and trying to get the game out there, then thankyou very much but i wouldn't know the first thing to do. On the other hand, if you were entertaining yourself for 5 minutes by pointing out a bunch of my short comings by posting questions that you already seem to know the answers to then perhaps its time to grow up?
Although i appologise if thats not the case, it does seem that way doesn't it?

Joined: 09/19/2010
@ hulken

Yeah the gangster monopoly thing is something i've tried to avoid. The way i've tried to get around it is by having players already own the district they start from and only needing to own the vacant lot and the hotel (not the 4 already operating legal businesses) to build on the lot. So the idea being that you don't need to scramble around buying up property to be powerful or win the game. Its more about how you play the people around you.

There is still player elimination. Taking your victim over is just an option that both parties have to agree on. Its not forced. If either says no, then the player is eliminated. Submitting to someone is still pretty much the end of the game for you. But the idea is that by submitting you can still participate and shape the outcome of the game, rather than just sitting around waiting for it to finish. For the player taking control the advantages are 50% of the money they make from that point (which isn't much) and more importantly taking over their property. Having someone working for you also means you can have access to their cards. In other words your ability to make money (Item cards) and your ability to go to war with someone (War Chest cards) doubles. Naturally this gives a big advantage and paints a pretty big target on your back meaning you have to way up the pro's and con's before making a decision. I know what your saying with the player who's submitted being likely to backstab their boss the first moment they get. But the submitted player can still hire 1 bodyguard like everyone else and can still be whacked (even by their own boss if they suspect something). Money which buys your War Chest cards also becomes hard to come by. Meaning that if you want to go for revenge straight away then your going to need allies and a plan (one man taking on an empire alone is very difficult). I feel that it makes the game more volatile and gives players something else to think about.

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