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pyramid-building euro-game

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gilamonster
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Joined: 08/21/2015

Hi everyone

I'm starting to work on a euro-style game where you have to build a pyramid of a certain height to win. The most original part is that you actually build a three-dimensional pyramid out of resource tiles (or wooden blocks - see below) with a tower-of-hanoi-like mechanic - at least I hope it is original!

At present, it should be a fairly standard resource-gathering game, possibly with a minor worker-placement aspect; you have a player board which you try to populate with buildings which improve your resource-gathering abilities, and possibly a certain number of worker tokens which you have to assign to different buildings or tasks to perform them in a turn. The resource-tokens will be thick tiles or wooden cubes which you can alternatively place on your pyramid (at an additional cost in resources and workers which increases with the height of the pyramid. Originally, I had thought to have several decks of resource tiles, each deck of a different size/ Each of which would contain tiles of all or most of the resource types (possibly with some omitted or less frequent in certain decks to balance the game and keep it "stable" - i.e. to prevent runaway wins). For actually building the pyramid, only the tile size would matter (the resource it represented would not be important). It will also be possible to reclaim the topmost resource token from the pyramid once a turn (probably at a high cost in terms of workers/actions).

Stylistically, it bothered me that a bigger tile would be worth the same quantities of resources as a smaller tile, and I doubted that it would be a good idea to have larger tiles worth more resources. So then it occurred to me that I could just as well have the player build the pyramid out of equally sized wooden cubes or rectangular blocks, eg for a pyramid 3 blocks high, you would place three rows of three blocks in a square so that they touch their neighbours, then place two rows of two so that they sit on the lower level in an overlapping fashion, and finally the last block overlapping all four below it. But this would require far more resources to build a layer in the beginning, and it would be easier as the game went along unless the building cost became extremely high for upper levels, and it would complicate the rule for reclaiming resources (would you reclaim an entire layer or just one block at a time?). So I don't like this fix much either, but can see that it opens possibilities not available with different sized tiles.

So I'm looking for suggestions as to which is better, how to mitigate the weaknesses of either or each, or for a completely different method (as long as they keep a 3D pyramid build of stacked layers)

Also, I realised that instead of a player board, I could just use cards to represent each building. Perhaps not as eye-catching as little wooden buildings or printed tiles on a board, but functionally the same, and with the possibility of including more text/instructions on them (so less referring to the rules-book or a cheat-sheet) Is there any reason other than aesthetics to use one or the other?

let-off studios
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Joined: 02/07/2011
Different Layers = Different Costs

If you really want to stick with the three-dimensional schematic, I recommend you find some way for the upper levels/layers cost more resources of some kind in order to reduce the potential of a runaway leader issue.

Another alternative (or perhaps you could combine these two) is to provide a bonus to the player who first completes a given layer, but then the resource cost for other players to complete that layer would cost less resources than it would for the first player.

Those are the first two things that came to mind regarding your dilemma. Good luck with your design. :)

gilamonster
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Joined: 08/21/2015
let-off studios wrote:If you

let-off studios wrote:
If you really want to stick with the three-dimensional schematic, I recommend you find some way for the upper levels/layers cost more resources of some kind in order to reduce the potential of a runaway leader issue.

Definitely - there will be a resource and worker/action cost associated with building each layer (over and above the tiles/cubes used in the actual construction), and this will increase pretty sharply as the pyramid gets higher. Possibly the resources needed will be more common in the lower-level decks, assuming I stick to multiple different-sized decks, This increasingly seems like the lesser of all evils, and I could also allow a variable building cost-per-level by having the cost printed on the back of each resource tile. Then the resource-tiles would be placed resource-face up (which is needed by the resource-gathering mechanic I envisage at present), so that the cost is unknown until the player aquires that resource tile. That makes the choice of which tiles to use as resources and which to use for the pyramid more interesting I think.

let-off studios wrote:

Another alternative (or perhaps you could combine these two) is to provide a bonus to the player who first completes a given layer, but then the resource cost for other players to complete that layer would cost less resources than it would for the first player.

That's a good idea; I'll look into this. It could work well with the futuristic arcology building theme which I'm considering at present (as a change from the popular but overdone ancient world building themes, and because I like sci-fi) - a player "discovers some new technology" to build each level, giving them an initial advantage, but sparing the other players the need to "research" it themselves - all of this is of course abstracted away as a gain in terms of number of structures, worker numbers or resources, or a reduction in certain costs.

Thanks for the advice!

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