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Should I separate player color from player power

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MarkD1733's picture
Joined: 07/05/2014

I have a 2-5 player game, where all the players each have their own special power. One in particular has extra currency that is in the form of color-coordinated cubes. So, the simple question is whether or to make the power specific to the color...Red player always has the extra currency. Blue player can move one extra space. Etc. Or do I need to let players choose their preferred colors and let them match to their preferred power?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Juzek's picture
Joined: 06/19/2017
I think locking currency

I think locking currency colors to powers is great! I've never not played a game simply because my favorite colored token wasn't an option.

Besides, if you end up needing additional cubes because one of the players (or let me call them factions) uses more, if you keep them a consistent color, you can save on pieces on the other colors.

Depending on the other aesthetics and artwork in your game, you could even have the specific color themes woven throughout. such as this green faction gathers resources faster, the blue one travels on water quicker, etc. (No idea about your theme or anything)

I guess the only thing that might get confusing is if all the factions are sharing the different resources, players may get a little tripped up at first if they don't realize that they have access to all three resources rather than just their own.

If I'm completely off-the-mark, just tell me a little more about the specifics.

evansmind244's picture
Joined: 04/09/2015

Juzek, you have become a priceless help to the BGDF community. Good work!!!

As for my perspective on the question I look at it from a simplicity standpoint. If you are marketing this game to people who would read a 40 page rule book then you may want to give them the extra option to Chose color, and also their special power.

If you are marketing this game towards a mass market appeal you may want to make that simple. One color comes with one special power. Its easier to explain in the rules, and easier to remember for the 2nd and 3rd time the game is played.

One thing I don't like about that idea is that if a player likes a particular special power, and another player wants that special power then you have a problem that needs to be resolved before the game even starts. Which could end up with one of the players not even wanting to play unless they can be the blue guy.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Evans makes a good point.

If it's more of a mainstream game, I would agree with @evansmind244 and say using color-coordinated abilities and cards could be very beneficial in one sense, in that you don't need any "guess-work": This is Red and that is Blue, etc. We did this with TradeWorlds (TW): Red, Blue, Green and Purple. All very distinguishable and the card backs have the Faction's Logo in the correct color ... So you KNOW who's cards belong to what player. Even for the double-sided cards, there is a FLAG on the cards themselves telling you the Faction Logo. Again making a Faction's card very evident.

Of course TW has four (4) different players ... And with a future expansion, we hope to get it up to SIX (6) different players... One of the future expansions is about two (2) other Races and comes bundled in a format good for Five (5) or Six (6) players. But naturally you can play 2, 3 or 4 players with the NEW Races... That's not a problem. Of course this expansion is yet to be designed... So, not just yet for a moment.

Again, we don't solve the problem of choosing first which Faction each player gets to play... Only that you MAY choose from four (4) different Factions in the "core" game (and current expansions: from 1 to 4 players).

That's my bit of advice and some facts about what I (we) did over at OLG (Outer Limit Games LLC.)

ferventworkshop's picture
Joined: 07/22/2020
Yes, when I make a game that

Yes, when I make a game that has Variable Player Powers, I associate a certain color with the player/power. If you browse the Images of games that also have this mechanism, I think you'll see that most games follow a similar approach.

(Matt Leacock has tons of really clear-to-understand examples, too. In Pandemic, the scientist is always the white pawn; you want to be a scientist, then you get to dress up in a white coat. In Forbidden Desert, the water carrier is always the blue pawn; you want to get wet, then you need to get blue.)

The wrinkle comes when other players might also partake in some of those powers or associated resources at certain times. For example, maybe you have a character class / faction called the "Time Wrinklers" who can reverse the direction of their motion along a time-like track (and the other players can only move in one direction). But perhaps there is a special card called the "Time Warp" that when expended lets the active player move backward a fixed amount.

So now you've got the Wrinklers and you've got the Time Warp, both of which have something to do with the concept of moving backward. In that case, I'd pick a color--let's say blue--to represent the concept of moving backward. I'd give the Time Warp card a little bit of that color (because it has limited capability) and I'd give the Wrinklers faction mat a lot of that color (because it has more extensive, ongoing capability). I might also distinguish the two by size (small card for the limited capability, large mat for the faction) or other similar characteristics that both cards and faction mats have, for which I can give more to one and less to the other.

My 2c.

Joined: 01/27/2017
Easy way and hard way

The easy way is to go with what's already been proposed: make the currency-related artwork red, the movement-related artwork blue, etc.

The hard way would be to come up with player identifiers that don't interact with the resource identifiers. It'd be hard, but not impossible, to come up with ten distinct colors. Slightly less hard would be assigning colors to one group and shapes to the other.

I'd recommend the easy way.

MarkD1733's picture
Joined: 07/05/2014
coordinating color with power

This was a pretty unanimous response. The rules are not 40 pages...more like 10 at most with lots of visuals. It would save on components, and simplify the overall understanding of the how players will understand and remember other players's powers, which I think is helpful.

Thanks everyone.

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