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Board Game mechanics from TTR

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ash4640
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Hi,
Im Ashwanth and Im new here, this is a good forum for Designers who are venturing into board games.

Im doing some research on designing a Board Game. I ve been a Video game Designer for quiet some time and Board Games are kind of a different ball game for me. But it is very interesting as you need to pretty much lay all the rules game beforehand and their is no AI.

I have been playing some famous games like Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan for some time and I have the following doubts.

- "Ticket to Ride" mechanics have impressed me a lot, are their any other board games which is very similar or with the same Game mechanic.

- Is it possible for me to use a similar mechanic of Ticket to Ride, is it ripoff or how much of it would be permissible.

- Just as a general feedback, why do you think that Ticket Ride is fun. Which part of the game makes it fun, is it the luck factor of drawing the cards or the the route laying process

- I just feel it is the simplicity of the game that makes it fun.... but i would like to have others opinions too.

Thanks
Ash.

larienna
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The main difference with

The main difference with board game design is that the design is more tight. In video games, you can vaguely design your concepts and if there is some unbalance or problems you just change some values here and there that are going to be muched into the various math formula.

In boardgame design, you can't do that. Everything must work on paper before making the final product. This is why a lot of playtesting is required. It's also easier to playtest because you do not need to spend time on a working video game engine before beign able to test the design.

You can't also make a poor designed game and fill the gap with good graphics and a cool theme. You must have a working design because your first test are going to be done on cheap black and white paper. This means no theme and cool graphics. So if your game is boring, you will know it.

hulken
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????

Why are you jumping al over people who design video games?

Totaly unnessisary, if you wont answer his question then do not post at al...

Yes there is several other games that uses the same mecanic that ticket to ride, it depends on what of the mecaniscs you refer to. Just an exampel the rute connecting part is used in several games sutch as Hansa Teutonica and several other rail games. The card drawing mecanic is also used in several games sutch as Uruk.

Yes you can coppy a game mecanic and use it in a game of youre own. It is very fue game mecanics that are protected, it is not worth the money or hassel to protect them.

larienna
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Quote:Why are you jumping al

Quote:
Why are you jumping al over people who design video games?

I am not jumping over people, I am explaining the differences between both designs type. I want to warn him that board game design is not easier to do because there is no programming. In fact, it's harder because the design is tighter.

Dralius
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Results may vary

larienna wrote:
The main difference with board game design is that the design is more tight. In video games, you can vaguely design your concepts and if there is some unbalance or problems you just change some values here and there that are going to be muched into the various math formula.

In boardgame design, you can't do that. Everything must work on paper before making the final product. This is why a lot of playtesting is required. It's also easier to playtest because you do not need to spend time on a working video game engine before beign able to test the design.

You may be making assumptions on based on your own design technique.

I for one am an experimenter. I test, change variables when needed then retest, make more changes etc... until the design is done. Many of my games turn out to be significantly different than originally conceived.

As for the original questions, I’ll address this one.

ash4640 wrote:
- Is it possible for me to use a similar mechanic of Ticket to Ride, is it ripoff or how much of it would be permissible.

Many games share common themes and mechanics. Can you use an idea someone else did? Sure you can. The more important question is are you recreating something that already exists. There is no need for a TTR clone. There is room for other games that use connection as a goal & use card drafting and sets to determine rout claims. You just need to go about it in a unique way.

hulken
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He have in no way stated that

He have in no way stated that boardgame design is easy... So youre making al the wrong asumptions and you where jumping al over him and other coputer programmer... (also jumping al over some one is not the same as jumping OVER some one)

Have you mutch experience with videogame design?? how do you knoe boardgame design is tighter as you say?

Many designers use auctions in games as a easy way of letting the player balance the game for them, still thing it is a "tight" design??

ash4640
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Re: Ticket to Ride type Game

Hi all,
Thank you all for your valuable suggestions.
Its been only few months since i started on Euro games and it has inspired me to become a part time Board Game designer from a full time Video Game Designer. I have been in the VG (Video Game) industry for almost 6years with 2 mobile titles and 8-10 other platform titles to my credit. Now I got totally inspired by reading about the Euro games and seeing videos from Scott, that I want to now become a parttime BG designer and bring similar games to my part of the world where there is very less exposure to euro games.

Though there are a lot of similarities between both VG and BG (Board Game) there is an equal no of differences between the two.

I respect the BG a lot, and I know very well that it takes a bit of effort to get a good BG up and running because it totally depends on the mechanics. But my perception is art and story can play an important of a game may it be a VG or a BG
true to some extent that in VG you can get away with few vaguely designed parameters but they have to fit well in the Level Design part otherwise the game won't play as expected. So we make sure than in the Level Design we try to balance it out.

@huken and @dralius - yes I want to use the Mechanic - connecting routes as a Goal and use card drafting for connecting these routes. This is the only part of TTR im interested in. This is just a small goal of several main goals.
Here is a part of what i have planned.
- Connect several routes starting from any of the cities on the board.
- You make new routes only by connecting to your existing routes. You have form a network of routes you cannot form independent routes several places of the board.
- Once you connect a route you own the route.
- The person with the maximum routes within the allotted no of trains win the game
- Also if he connects 5 routes from a single city then he gets 2 Victory Points

That game cannot be complex as it is aimed all family members, so i di not add buying shares etc.

Apart from being a very good Game TTR doesn't offer a lot of depth, still a simple family fun game. So how come it become such a big hit in the industry and it still sells, I presume it is the simplicity that made it a hit. Im I right, I would like to hear perpectives from designers like you.

hulken
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It sound just like ticket to

It sound just like ticket to ride to me...

A litle tip fore you, find a them you like (train games for an example) and look at the games that are out there with this them. And try coming up with a new twist to it. What you have sounds to me just like ticket to ride. You connect routs from city to city, basicly that is the whole game right there. The "ticket" cards are just fluff to make the rout connecting more exiting.

So my tip for you is try and find a new angle for a train game or try and find a new angle and then se where that angel lfits. Basicly it is the two main ways game design is done. Ithere theem first or mecanic first. (that is the two easiest ways atleast).

Best of luck in youre future endevors, just send me a message if you think I can help you with something. Se you in the forums.

Pastor_Mora
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2 cents

Hi Ash, welcome to the forum.

I've heard of many designers that started with a project focused in a variant of a mass-market title (I know I did). So, from my perspective, you are following the natural learning path. This is good, for starters, you'll be learning a lot from the experience. First of all, that your game sucks. That's ok. It means that you learn fast and that your curiosity made you discover many new things in a short time. Just don't fall in love with your first one. Better to move on to the next design fresh and wiser, even redo the whole thing from scratch if you choose to keep the theme. I know you already have experience in videogames, so please don't take this as a lecture, just a friendly comment.

Regarding your experience, it will undoublty (¿english?) help you, but there are some particular differences between designing board and videogames. As, for me, I like boardgames better because I get to understand how everything works. Rules have to be clear, because you are not trying to beat the game (unless you're playing Pandemic) but the other players. The challenge is to outsmart your opponents, not the game, and "playing the rules" is usually frowned upon. I can hardly say the same about videogames. Many times the sole objective of videogamers is to try to outsmart the videogame ("The Matrix" speech comes to mind).

This may sound off topic, but I tried to go to the basics, as the mechanics you are talking about now (even the theme) will change many times as your design progresses. Think about what will be the maths behind your cards count, your track lenghts, resources allocation and victory points acquisition. How much of it should be visible? What part will be hidden? Will that configuration lead to much "analysis paralisis"? Will it be too predictable? How much luck should you add to compensate the player that "thinks less" (kids)?

Anyways, welcome to the club and good luck. Keep thinking!

PS so, where are you from?

larienna
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Quote:Many designers use

Quote:
Many designers use auctions in games as a easy way of letting the player balance the game for them

So that's the reason why Auction is over used in Euro Games!

Auctions are Evil ... most of the time.

hulken
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Yes it is and yes they are...

Yes it is and yes they are... =)

ash4640
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Reiterated

Hi Hulken and Pastor,
Thank you for your feedback.

Like you guys suggested I've reiterated a couple of times and I came with the following new rules and mechanic.
Please let me know how this sounds.

- Theme is changed from laying train routes to bus routes.
- Laying roads includes a bit of resource management than just card picking like the previous mechanic

Main Goal: You have to build roads and lay routes to connect 2 cities, You have to connect maximum cities using your available resources.

- Build roads and Lay a bus route starting from one of the Cities on the board.
- You make new routes only by connecting to your existing routes. You have form a network of routes you cannot form independent routes several places of the board.
- Once you connect 2 Cities route you own the route between those 2 Cities.
- The person with the maximum routes within the allotted no of Buses wins the game
Bus Depot - If a player connects 5 routes from a single city then he forms a Depot and he gets 2 Victory Points
For each completed route the Player will receive 1 coins at the start of each round from the bank.
Trade - If player requires a route that has already been bought, then the player can buy it from the owner for the demanded amount.
Also a player can auction his route.
You can also build routes in other cities to stop other players building a Depot.

Building Roads and Laying Routes
You have to build roads using the Resources - Tarmac, Gravel, Sand and Water
Based on the routes each road will require a different combination of the 4 resources.
You have to buy resources from the from the Bank using Money (Coins).
You give 5 coins and you randomly pick a resource card from the Bank.
Once you have the resources and build the road, you also have to buy the permit for the route using Money.
Every route will be divided into road sections with Numbers for each sections.
- Each number represents the Coins required to buy that section.
- You draw the Money from the bank, once you have Coins required to buy a route then en-cash it in the Bank and place two Bus stops for the connecting cities
- You can en-cash using the exact or higher amount never a lesser amount.
- If you en-cash the exact Money value, the coins matching each section then you an extra turn.
- Once you purchase a route lay the connecting roads and put a bus in the middle of the route and put 2 Bus stops in the 2 cities.

Each Turn
Step 1: The player can pick 2 Coins from the bank.
(or)
Buy resources from the bank.

Step 2: Receive extra coins for completed routes.

Step 3: Once he has the required Resource and money he can lay roads or purchase the route.

Does this still have a bearing of the TTR theme and mechanic?
Thanks for your valuable suggestions and feedback.
Ash.

hulken
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Just changing the theem from

Just changing the theem from train to buss do not adress the promlem. I would rather say you should keep the train theem becaus trains are mor popular than busses. There is even a subcategory of games called train-games.

The resors part of the game sounds intresting. The onley think that sounds a litle iffy is the "take 2 moneycards from the bank". It so not fit in the theem, but then again it might work mecanicly. And it would not be the first game that uses that mecanic. Alhambra have it also.

It still is a litle bit to simular to ttr for my tast. It sounds like a ttr-advanced. But then again it might play difrently ehen the game is done. Depending on how big part of the game the difrent mecanics are alowed will make a big impact of the feeling of the game. And maby resorsmanagement is a big part, it is hard to say just reading about it. Also you might want to consider redoing the vp part.

ash4640
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ttr type game

- Is their any games with the same goals like TTR
1. Build routes to connect cities.
2. Draw money/ Cards / resources to build these routes.

- Is their a similarly themed game with Bus instead of Train.

Cheers
Ash.

ash4640
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ttr style

Thanks hulken for ur feedback,
- yeah i wanted to keep the base idea similar to TTR - building tracks / routes to connect two cities as the main goal.
But like you mentioned, if it still sounds as rip off from ttr then i will think of reworking on it again.
- Aren't their any other game except TTR that uses this mechanic / goal - build track / routes to connect 2 cities. If there are then which are those games?

- @Pastor Im from India(Asia), this was the place once Snakes and Ladders and few other good traditional games originated, but now board games means it is just Monopoly, Life or Clue and also BG culture was killed by the recent invasion of VG.
My Hope is to make at-least one game with a nice game mechanic, which can let people (at-least in my neighborhood or town) know that their are better games than Monopoly. I want to keep the first game at-least a bit less complicated and base it on a tried and tested famous game like ttr.

Cheers
Ash.

ash4640
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ttr style or ripoff

On reading about many games, i came to note one thing, there are a lot of games out their that uses core mechanics from famous games. But they are just repacked in a fresh theme. Moreover isn't their just a limited no of mechanics and it is just mixed matched to form many new games.
Which are all the published games that has similar mechanics to existing games; or ones which seems like of a rip off from other famous games.

Pastor_Mora
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Personal Experience

I'm from Argentina (South America) ;)

I know what you're trying to do, belive me. I endorse the idea. I designed a risk-variant for the 200th aniversary of or national revolution, as Risk mechanics are widely known here (we have a local version called TEG with 5 sequels and 2 millions copies sold over 30 years).

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/746541/pastor_mora

Anyways, there is a difference between ripping off a mechanic and making an "original" variant of it. That should be your job as a designer. Else, just buy TTR and show it around to your monotony-loving friends.

My advice would be to add an historical theme, not just changing trains for busses. Get Gandhi there! He did make quite a trip around in train back then. People love that guy. You could sell the idea abroad in no time. Think big. Do your homework. Make a difference. You are too good for TTR, meeh... I don't know why people play that game. You get the man on the train and make it worth a try.

Keep thinking!

PS hope you are with the guys that actually like Gandhi...

zamboni_64
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TTR Game-type

Ash,

I think your idea sounds great. I am developing a TTR mechanic game as well. I will be using taxis and moving tourists throughout a city. I really like the idea of choosing color cards and gathering sets. The tension that is built into that mechanic makes the game fun and engaging. Giving players choices is much better than chance (rolling dice). Although, I do still enjoy those type games (Risk, etc...) but I am really into the choice idea. And you are right about the simplicity of the TTR gameplay. It is nice for family and friends to play and fellowship at the same time. I like a game that keeps my interest but also allows for some conversation.

good luck

zamboni

ash4640
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Thanks Zamboni, Hi Mora, as

Thanks Zamboni,
Hi Mora, as you told I just skipped and went on with my next Design got to some extent. You can check it out and give you feedback here - http://www.bgdf.com/node/4030
At the same I have refined a bit more on the Bus game. I will post the update soon.

ReneWiersma
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I know this is an older

I know this is an older thread, but since a couple of interesting points are raised I want to comment on it anyway.

Why is Ticket to Ride such a popular game?

There are a few reasons I think. The rules are really simple and can be explained in five minutes. Game play is very straightforward. You can either take cards or play cards to lay track. This means that during their turn players think about how they can achieve their goal, rather than figuring out what exactly they can do in the first place.

The game starts with a strategic aspect: deciding on which tickets to keep. This gives the players a very good idea of what they have to do during the game, it gives them a clearly defined goal.

There is indirect interaction in the game. Other players will mess with your plans, but mostly inadvertently. Once you have build something it cannot be destroyed.

Compare this with a game like Puerto Rico. This is also a game I respect a lot and like to play, but it definitely is not a game that works as well as a gateway game. The rules are trickier and are not as easily explained. You can take various actions during your turn and seeing the outcome of the actions beforehand is not always obvious. The goal is not as clearly defined. What you should do in the game to win is a lot less clear, and will usually not become obvious until the later stages of the game. This does not make it a bad game, just a game that will appeal to a smaller crowd than TtR.

As for the video game versus board game design. I'm a programmer so I think I'm qualified to say a few things about this ;) The thing with computers is that they are very good at hiding complexity. It is good at keeping numbers, doing complex calculations and it can do some artificial intelligence. These are all things that are hard to do in board game design. In this sense board game design needs to be a lot "tighter", because complexity results in extra rules that have to be parsed by the user, the player. If there are a lot of variables to remember it has to be done by using a boards, cards, markers, etc, and you have a finite number of components to work with, because of production issues.

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