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Game Concept: Research Corps

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JaytotheROC
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Joined: 02/12/2010

Well I have done some preliminart testing, and I believe that I have worked out the worst of the bugs, and I now have a system that I am going to attempt to optimise. I had started to write out the full rules, then realized that it was very long. If people would like to read the detailed rules, I will post them, but I didn't want to scare off people with a rediculously long post right off the bat. Here are the basics, up for discussion:

Game: Research Corps.
Type: Resource Management Euro Game

Overview:
Players represent competing corperations in the Electronics Industry. They are competing in 6 different fields: Computers, Telephones, Televisions, Audio Player, Video Player and Cemeras. Each field has three products, in a sequence (ex. Telephone - Cell Phone - Smart Phone). Players each have a deck of cards with each of the 18 products in them. They will draw cards into their hand, and play them onto their player board to research them. Once a product has been played the player will have to acumulate a certain combination of factories (indicated on the Product Card) to begin the research, and play them onto the card. Then after a certain number of turns the product will be ready to be taken to market. When a player takes a product to market they will gain a certain market share each turn based on their position in the market (first to invent the Telephone will be in the best position, second will be in 2nd etc.). In addition to this, the market share of a product will change the second a superior product is invented (For example if you are in a good position in the Telephone market, you will imediately lose market share when someone invents the Cell Phone. Players will collect market share points each turn based on thier position within all of the markets. Every twelve turns (year) players will collect money depending on how much market share they ended up with, and will have to pay depending on how many factories they have running. The actual gameplay is more involved then this, but this gives you an idea of what the game is about.

Interesting mechanics/aspects of the game:
-Turns move quickly, on a turn the player adds up their market share, and moves their marker on the track, then they perform one action from a list of possible actions.
-Players draw from a limited amount of resources, that is only replenished once every 12 turns (year).
-Players may hire staff (Scientists, Marketing Specialist, Accountant) to help them save money/time in certain areas.
-Players may chose to draw Action Cards, which will allow them to do special tasks/manipulate the game board/decks etc.
-Players will be able to attempt to improve their market share in a product (moving up the chain) by paying an additional marketing cost in a given turn.
-Players will have to balance gaining a good position in a certain product, with researching the next product, as an advancement in that particular field will seriously reduce their market share (ex. Players will want to gain a good position in the Telephone field at first by inventing the Telephone, but they can't dedicate too much effort to is as someone else might just invent the next generation product in that market: the Cell Phone).
-Every product takes a certian number of turns to create, which will give you some insight into what people are planning.

Like I said before, I have a completely flushed out version of the rules already made, this is just a quick summary. If you are interested in reading the complete rules, please let me know.

My biggest issue with my game is that I am not convinced that the Electronics Industry is a very strong theme. I have tried to think of a better theme that would fit with the concept of inventing a product that can later be made obsolete, along with the viscious competitiveness of corporations, and the companies that popped to mind were Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Panasonic etc. If you have an idea for a theme that sounds more interesting, but still fits this framework I would be very interested in hearing it.

Some alternative ideas that I have had for the theme are:
-Weapons Developers: competing for government funding (I would have to make some changes, as the marketing concept doesn't quite fit)
-Goblin/Imp Machines: a more humorous theme, with wacky inventions, trying to sell them to the goblin public, or warlords etc.
-Medieval Inventions: biggest problem is that there wasn't such a consumer/corporate atmosphere back then.
-Industrial Revolution era: early factory inventions etc.

Any feedback of any sort would be very welcome, be they ideas on how to improve the game, alternative theme ideas, or even ways for me to better communicate my concept on this forum!

I thank you in advance for your time in helping me out,

Cheers!

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
The Theme . . .

. . . definitely wouldn't sell it to me, but it might just be me, though you said you worry about it a little bit too.

It might just be that it seems really specific, but by it's nature would have to be pretty abstract as far as actual historical development timelines go, and as far as what real companies actually develop (especially since history has shown that perhaps pirating technology a little bit is better than actually wasting time researching it yourself!) Also, different countries have probably experienced the innovations differently, so audiences might react a little differently.

I dunno. It seems like Euros work really well with distant themes where the details can be a little sketchy/fantastic which abstracts better (Endeavor, Agricola, Dominion, etc.) And it seems like games based on history do well by trying to be really accurate about how events might affect each other, even while being abstracted (Twilight Struggle, Age of Napoleon, etc.)

So it seems like the electronics industry is something that would feel a little pasted on if it was abstracted too much, and would feel weird if it were approached accurately. But, I'm a lover of theme and mechanics being related.

As far as the game description goes . . . I'd want to check out the actual rules.

:)

**Edit** Also, the theme is likely to be outdated pretty quickly, if you were too specific about things.**

JaytotheROC
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Joined: 02/12/2010
Well said

Thanks for the well thought out critique!

I agree with many of your points, you actually described very actually a few of my own concerns.

I also posted this on the Board Game Geek forum, and someone pointed out that perhaps a future-setting would work better. With such a setting the corporate competition & marketing themes still work quite well, and it would get away from the somewhat dull (and as you pointed out inconsistent, and soon-to-be outdated) technologies of the electronics industry.

Would you agree that a future-tech theme would be more intriguing, and solve some of these problems? Or do you (or anyone eles) have other themes/settings that might be better?

Here is a working copy of the rules, please bear in mind that specifics (how much things cost etc.) are not included yet as that is what I am currently playtesting. However it should give you a much better idea of how the game works.

http://www.filefront.com/15807389/Research%20Corps%20Rules%201.01.docx

Thanks for the input!

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
:(

I can't read that file, sadly. Maybe if it were just a text or rtf file?

I think big future super-corporations would definitely work a little better than present/ recent past ones.

:)

SiddGames
SiddGames's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2008
Perhaps not limit it to

Perhaps not limit it to electronics. Abstract out one step and have Electronics be just one of the several suits/types. Electronics (or Telecommunications), Pharmaceuticals, Transportation, Military, etc. This also has the benefit of not having to tie things down to specific items that may be outdated (say, Electronics could be Analog, Digital, Implanted as the three levels rather than specific devices).

JaytotheROC
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Joined: 02/12/2010
Rules in txt format

Here are rules posted in a text document for those of you without msword:

http://www.filefront.com/15845685/Research%20Corps%20Rules%201.01.txt

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