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Brainstorming help!

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Antec's picture
Joined: 08/10/2008

Hey Guys,

I'm working on a tile game at the moment and I need some ideas for tiles. The tiles represent terrain or properties of a country. Each player will use the tiles to make their own country to play on. The tiles you choose will determine what your country can do, and how your country 'works' (it has a military, economic, and political aspect to it).

The theme is set in the fantasy world, so anything goes really. Ideally, I want each tile to infleuence the game somehow, for example "Bank - Collect one dollar each turn". And I want some basic tiles, for example: "Hills", "Forests", "Swamps", etc. But I'm not sure what benefit those basic tiles would provide (ideas maybe?)

Because of the three major catagories - Military, economic, and political - the tiles have to create game effects in those catagories (and really, I don't have much of the rules down, so whatever you think would be a cool effect, just blurt it out!)


Rob Decaire

ilta's picture
Joined: 12/05/2008
There are many directions you

There are many directions you could go with something like this.

You could have straight-up land-based resource generation, Magic: The Gathering (or if you prefer, Settlers) style. Each land type might provide a different resource, or mix of resources, which in turn are used (in aggregate) to purchase various things in the game appropriate for that sort of resource. Hills might produce clay, bricks, ore, coal, gold, or simply brown mana, forests produce wood/green mana, swamps produce oil/souls/black mana, etc.

You can shake this up a bit by making some tiles benefit from being next to OTHER tiles; perhaps for a sorcerer, a single large swamp is a better source of mana than a bunch of little swamps. Maybe each swamp generates X Black Mana for the total size of the swamp. So:

1 swamp = 1 mana
2 swamps = 4 mana (2x2)
3 swamps = 9 mana (3x3)

Another geometric pattern: swamps work on a sliding scale, each one adding the total number of swamps. So the first one is worth 1, the next is 2 (total 3), the third is 3 (total 6), the fourth is four (total 10), and so on. This kind of scaling is a much easier to control, but more mathy.

Piling tiles on top of one another is another cool direction to explore -- perhaps some land types aren't worth much unless they're developed, but the development tiles are only able to be put on a certain kind of terrain. Mines on mountains, cities/mage towers/farms on fields, etc. This might be really fun because the players will start out with a mostly barren countryside and end up with a bustling nation-state.

Again, you could have simple 1:1 resource generation, but the resource is military units. Each forest produces one elven archer, each hill produces a hobbit (sorry, halfling), each swamp produces an orc/zombie/ghoul/wraith, etc. This might be per turn, or every X turns, or it might be the total maximum supported army size, in which case you'll need to create another means for players to purchase armies.

Another option is providing a stat buff to existing army units, depending on the scale of your combat. A really general example: each hill is +1 fighting power (from mining higher quality armor and swords). More specific: each forest gives your archers +1 range in their bows. You could have players allocate stat buff points -- with this example, perhaps 10 forests give you 10 green cubes that you place on a card, allocated between defense, offense, archer range, archer reload speed, whatever. This can be as general or as granular as you want, but the cool thing is that players can choose to make really specific armies based on the layout of their countries. Balancing would be hell though.

Each terrain type might support a different constituency, with varying needs that must be met by any good ruler. Dwarves (mountains) want gold, elves (forests) want... to be left alone, maybe? Orcs (swamps), of course, want power.

A player might count which terrain type holds the majority of his country, and advance the interests of that group in order to win, or simply receive an improved ability to win according to that group's ideals. If you have more swamps than any other terrain, your armies are stronger; if you have more forests, you're better at magic.

Anyway, just some random thoughts to get you started. Good luck!

Joined: 10/12/2008
Some more thoughts

Here's some more random thoughts...


Terrain is a big player in terms of a military campaign... not only strategically, but also tactically. Impassable terrain types and highly defendable types could be used to effectively make a country a fortress based on landscape with minimal forces/fortifications. The speed at which an army can move through a terrain type is also important, because it could determine intervals for garrisons for an effective defense response. Highly defendable terrain may not always be highly productive terrain economically.


If your looking for a more agrarian economy, you probably should have terrain that can support farms/vineyards/plantations. An industrial economy should have access to raw materials. Cities/towns in a country should have access to water/food/etc...


If everyone can make the same thing, then there's little need for trade (excepting generic bonuses). If there are limited types of terrain that produce special resources divided amoungst the players, then that could require trade to survive/grow/develop etc... This could provide for military targets to obtain those resources if supplies are cut off or provide for initiatives for treaty development.

You could also provide for commerce raiding (kind of political, economic and military all in one)... this could be interresting if there were neutral regions to base state sponsored pirating activities out of or if there was an overarching power that players were subserviant to. For instance, say all players had Greek colonies (autonomous city states) in a mythological setting and had to provide a required tax of money/goods to the parent nation. If the colonies were separated by land and water from each other and the parent nation, then the individuals could raid each other's shipments and curry favor with the parent nation to look the otherway. Having a neutral parent country would also give a player a central place to trade, buy mercenary forces/special units, or obtain/use political influence over the other players.

If you make terrain types that align with neighboring countries, you could make it easier or harder to develop political ties (I have elves and you have elves so we get along better than our neighbor who has orcs). This could also divide a country (my elves don't like my orcs), and even make for having mulitple armies/militias within a country (my elvish army can't go near my orcish army or orcish lands, but my humans can go to both elvish and orcish areas).


Antec's picture
Joined: 08/10/2008
Thanks for the reply's! I'm

Thanks for the reply's! I'm still working on trying to have the players interact more. I don't want it to feel like a solitaire game, so I like the political ideas mentioned above.

Thanks again,


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