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Would you play an open world board game?

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Rick L
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BHFuturist

BHFuturist wrote:


I feel like this just happened:

Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: You have to tell me about that sometime.

Shepherd Book: [pause] No, I don't.

Only I am Mal and Gabe is Book, LOL

@BHFuturist

P.S. Just kidding about the last part ;)

Firefly lives on! Lol

As for the weapon ideas, how were you thinking of representing them? Cards, or tokens/chits? If you had something like .75" or 1" tokens placed on your character mat or something, you could tap them after each battle - 90° , then 180°, then flip it for "too dull to use". So you'd get 3 uses before having to swap it or repair.

One thing that occurred to me for an open world concept is to have every item assigned a "blunt" stat. It would serve both for how much blunt damage it could sustain AND inflict. So if you dull your knife you can still use its blunt stat to "pry" open something, or use the back of an axe or a sword pommel to pound through something. Just a single stat to deal with any non-combative way to improvise uses.

Not sure if that's too involved for your concept, but just some thoughts I had.

BHFuturist
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Rick L wrote:you could tap

Rick L wrote:
you could tap them after each battle - 90° , then 180°, then flip it for "too dull to use". So you'd get 3 uses before having to swap it or repair.

Well, I am not looking to hijack Gabe's thread... but, as for me I don't want the players to "track" this sort of thing so closely. I agree with how Gabe put it earlier:

Gabe wrote:
I want the player to have to do as little book keeping as possible...

The two durability levels I am talking about are more like Great and Fair, rather than Good/Bad and items would never "break" or become "unusable". When you find an item it might start on fair.

For me the durability would only change if an event card had it as the consequence of an action. So, if the player chooses to pry a door open with a knife it might change into the Fair quality knife.

I am not even sure I will use anything like this in my game... as of right now, I don't have a system built for this. It is in the idea stage and I have not prototyped anything for it. I do think I would make it a card split in half with the top and bottom as the two item states and use a 180° turn to show what side the item is on.

I do like the idea of a generic "blunt" stat that can be used for any item even after a weapons durability has been exhausted, but it is not something I would use in the game I am making. But I am sure in another game that could be very cool. It sounds like something I might use in an "urban zombie survival" type game.


Gabe,

Why don't you like procedural generation for aspects of the open world? I am trying to find was to make it work that do not take players out of the game by making the generation part of Exploration and Search type actions. Even if exploration just meant a 2 factor "tile and token" draw, that could give many location combinations. Is it because the story would be affected by how locations are placed? just wondering...

-@BHFuturist

Board Game Desi...
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BHFuturist

BHFuturist wrote:

-----------

BHFuturist wrote:
If this is the case I would love to hear more about the mechanics and systems you are testing for this open world idea.

Gabe wrote:
So, yes, many systems have already been prototyped, tested, altered, and decided upon. But the overall concept of the game is still very much in flux. I'm still working through a lot of "Ok, how would this work?" type questions.

-----------

I feel like this just happened:

> **Capt. Malcolm Reynolds:** You have to tell me about that sometime.

>**Shepherd Book:** [pause] No, I don't.

Only I am Mal and Gabe is Book, LOL

@BHFuturist

P.S. Just kidding about the last part ;)

Yeah, that's totally what just happened, haha. Sorry about that.

Right now, the systems and mechanics are very simple. The complexity comes from the amount of options a player has to work through the story driven encounters. Nearly every choice is branching and leads to rewards, consequences, and more choices. One choice could cause a consequence that happens 3 hours later in the game. (Since it's a solo game, a player can play for as long or short a time as he wants. Play for 20 minutes and explore some areas or play for 2 hours and finish a quest. The game will save the player's progress.)

But as far as the systems:

Characters have 4 stats: Fight, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma. (standard fantasy stats)

Similar to Arkham/Eldritch Horror, every choice leads to a die roll that needs a certain number of successes to get certain outcomes. A 5+ is a success. And there are tons of ways to manipulate dice, roll more dice, roll bigger dice (d8, d10, d12), etc.

Run into an NPC with vital information? How do you handle it? Attack him or negotiate?

Attack leads to combat.

Negotiate leads to a Charisma roll with branching conversation options.

Combat is also simple and based on the 5+ system.

Roll combat dice based on your character's Fight stat, weapon equipped, and/or special ability you choose to use. A success equals 1 damage.

If you do enough damage to kill the enemy, the combat ends. If you don't, the enemy does damage to you based on preprogrammed outcomes based on the round of combat. For example:

Round 1: 3 damage
Round 2: 2 damage plus poison
Round 3+: 2 damage

Combat encounters have been averaging around 30 seconds in playtesting which I feel really good about. Obviously, boss fights take longer.

There's more I'm working on, but those are the systems that are working really well right now.

Board Game Desi...
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[quote=BHFuturistFor me the

BHFuturist wrote:

For me the durability would only change if an event card had it as the consequence of an action. So, if the player chooses to pry a door open with a knife it might change into the Fair quality knife.

This would be a good way to handle durability. The player wouldn't have to keep track of anything.

Something else I've been messing with is giving certain items, weapons, and allies time tokens. For instance, you meet a stone golem through a random encounter, and he decides to join you for a while. He would start off with 5 time tokens, and after every turn, you would remove a token. When all the tokens are gone, the stone golem leaves and his card is discarded.

And there's a certain sword in the game that's super powerful but comes with 4 time tokens. After the time is up, the player goes to the adventure book to find out that the sword's former owner (now a ghost) has appeared and demands the sword back. And you can comply or not...

Gabe
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BHFuturist wrote: Why don't

BHFuturist wrote:

Why don't you like procedural generation for aspects of the open world? I am trying to find was to make it work that do not take players out of the game by making the generation part of Exploration and Search type actions. Even if exploration just meant a 2 factor "tile and token" draw, that could give many location combinations. Is it because the story would be affected by how locations are placed? just wondering...

-@BHFuturist

Taking the player out of the immersion is a big reason, for sure. Also, since it's adding more things the player has to do and keep track of, it means there's more possibility that things can get screwed up. Misreading or misunderstanding the rules can lead to playing the game wrong.

But more importantly, I need the world to be static to line up with the stories in the game. I'm a big fan of how the new Zelda doesn't hold your hand. It doesn't give you waypoints or tell you exactly where to go.

I would do the same thing. It wouldn't be "go to the farm on tile/map C." It would be "go to the farm north of the town of Lux." The player would have a book of maps where he actually plays the game (one would lead to another) and a general world map on a piece of card-stock that he uses to figure out where things are. (Think Tolkien's map in the front of LOTR.) And you'd have to figure out a path to get where the quest told you to go.

Often, designers use procedurely generated and modular things to give the game more replayability. But my hope is that this game will get played over and over again because of the amount of content and different branching paths.

BHFuturist
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Another wall of text...

Gabe wrote:
... I need the world to be static to line up with the stories in the game.

I don't think you should worry about the story lining up with a static map you should build systems to control the way the modular map is built for each adventure the player will go on.

The part of procedural generation that you might not be actively thinking about is the procedure side. We are not talking about random generation (the most common type in modular board game design). A modular procedurally generated game board does not need to be a deck of map tiles that are randomized at the start of a new game.

That is random generation not procedural generation. These two very different ideas are confused a lot even in video game design. This is because the procedure used to generate things needs the variables for how it will be done each time to make it different from the last time that same procedure was used to add variance. This is why random seed sharing is a way to get the same results for sharing the same game/world experience with others. We both have the same game that uses the same procedure.

If you made the procedure for how the world is made, the unique adventure book would provide the "random seed" that would set a static world the adventure would take place in.

But rather than making the player jump through the hoops of running the procedure it would be better to have the procedure only done once as part of initial setup per adventure using the set of modular components.

Gabe wrote:
... my hope is that this game will get played over and over again because of the amount of content and different branching paths.

A static world with static story equals very limited replayability even with many branches. It takes dynamic changes to add replayability. some limited replayability is gained in a static world by large branches close to the start. This large branch even in video games is normally character creation.

With a different character I can go through the same story with different skills and a different sub-set of ways to deal with the all of the game's events/challenges.

The farther from the start of the adventure the branches happen the less impact they have on the player's overall experience. This is seen by the picture of a tree as the sub branches have thinner and thinner sub-branches with fewer and fewer leaves on them.


I would not replay such a game just to force myself to play in a different way in order to find other parts of the story. That might just be me...

Movie companies don't release two copies of a movie just to give people the alternate ending they had for it... it is just a bonus feature.

I am the sort of person that won't kill that one npc that is found 4 hours into the story just to see the small side plot you came up with for that outcome... and I won't go through the parts of the main story I have already seen just to get to a small branch point I have not seen yet.

Reading a choose your own adventure novels is this way. There are other paths but the reader does not go back to reread the parts they have already read, they just skip to get the new options.

I think you will find that the reason designers have started using more modular mechanics is because of human nature when it comes to the cult of the new and the diminishing returns on minor variations to far up the branches of the tree.

Having a modular board design for the game world makes it so at the start and only at the start of a new adventure players can have "a whole new world" to explore this time. If this is paired with "a whole new story", you will have a combination for amazing replayability.

Having a dynamic modular board gives you the ability to have players build the board as they go adding to the sense of exploration and discovery based on the hidden information of not having the completed map, but that is not what we are taking about here.

Some dynamic systems can be used to add the higher branches of the sub-tree that is not affected by the main story line of the adventure book.

This comes in the form of sub-quest/NPCs/sub-locations when precise placement in the world is not needed to add variety. 100 sub items that are randomized and only 20 are put in the event deck this game add dynamic forces that add flavor to the procedurally generated but set in stone game world of an adventure.


7th continent almost has the system I would use... and you gave me the idea for how I would change it. This would require some work once per adventure to setup.

  1. The board (map spaces) are numbered custom square card sleeves that can fit 4-5 cards.
  2. The cards that go in the sleeves would be numbered terrain cards and other modifier cards (reference numbers, location and resource icons) done with transparency (like you were talking about for character cards)
  3. The adventure book would tell you how to combine these for the adventure you are going on this time and that deck and the numbers would then be set for that adventure book.
  • The finished "card set map tiles" would then be stored as a single deck just like they are in 7th continent. The clear front of the sleeve is the part that has the numbers (north/south/east/west) that are referenced by the adventure book. To say nothing of reusable stickers!

Done with the right graphic design the board would not need to be overly large and have uncountable variations. A 10x10 map made of 100 terrain cards and just 100 overlays could build thousands of set in stone game worlds (keep in mind coast lines, lakes, and major terrain features can be done with a set of solid water overlays).

Events could also be generated with a set of mixable sub-components...

Each adventure book could also come with a small set of unique overlays and/or event cards to further add to the base set of world building components included in the base set and would let you say things like:

Gabe wrote:
"go to the farm north of the town of Lux."

I think I am at about 45 cents and I am not sure if I am making sense... so I will stop for now.

I just think you should explore the idea of modular components and procedurally generated content. These things are well suited for the type of game you are making. You don't need to give up control over the modular and dynamic systems to random forces.

The trick is to do as much of that "generation" work as you can for the players (as you build the books) and keep the setup time to under 30 min. For a single adventure that might be playable for 30-40 hours what is a few minuets of setup time...

Game setup: Put these numbered cards in these numbered sleeves, place them off to the side to form the locations deck then turn to section 4 of the game book and begin your uniquely crafted adventure story!

@BHFuturist

Gabe
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You make a lot of really good

You make a lot of really good points!

When I say "procedurally generated map," I mean that the player has to go through a procedure to generate the map. And I don't want that. Similar to TIME Stories, that map is set, and the players just have to explore it and find out what's around the next corner. There's no setup other than put the map on the table.

This is one of those situations where it makes a ton of sense in my head, but it's difficult to flesh out in a forum. When I get a solid, mapped out prototype, I'll post a video.

I think you have a really cool idea for a more scenario driven game, but I don't know that it would work for a game that would allow the player to attempt to go beat the final boss from the start.

Also, the game would have lots of places on the map that would spawn a random encounter from an encounter deck. So, it wouldn't be completely static.

As far as replaying through the stories:

The quests are broken up into 3 parts. And the major decision point comes at the end of the 1st part. Also, the 1st part of the quest is generally navigated by gaining "renown" which can be accomplished by doing tons of different things, so that part can be totally different from one play through of the story to the next.

Plus, as you mentioned, there could be a number of different playable character options that all have different abilities and play styles.

BHFuturist
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I am confused...

Gabe wrote:
I think you have a really cool idea for a more scenario driven game, but I don't know that it would work for a game that would allow the player to attempt to go beat the final boss from the start.

I am glad you think these are cool ideas but I think I must have miss explained something... if you think the way the map is originally created has anything to do with the gameplay turn-to-turn after the map is setup.

If I have a game with only 9 terrain tiles and 9 location overlays and one adventure story for every combination that could be created from that set. What is stopping the player from moving from the first map location they start on to the last tile to fight the boss?

A single scenario and a single adventure story are functionally the same things but with different size scales.


In the following two stories, each map tile's final resting places within the map are pre-determined by the storybook and were finished maps before the player ever took the game home with them. Even if shuffled (or put back in the box) the deck of cards that make the board would be searched for the map tile that should come next when moving from one location to the next. The map tiles being numbered on each edge (by the sleeve they are in), just as the map tiles in 7th continent are numbered north/south/east/west)

If the empty card sleeves were placed out empty on the table based solely on the numbers at each edge they would form a rectangular game map shape, just without any map terrain to look at.

Example of the numbers on the sleeves

The numbers in the center would be on the back of the sleeves. Also, 0 would be for impassable map edges like coastlines.

The letters in the examples below represent terrain cards placed in the card sleeves. Where the card sleeves sit in the map does not change only the cards inside do.

At any time the player wants to stop and "save" the game for later.. all they need do is set aside the one location card for where they are at right now. All other cards are placed back in the box as normal.


Story one: As you explore. The tile you are on tells you what tile should touch the side you are leaving. From the very start, a player could if they wanted to, place out all of the tiles to form the complete map.

  • [A][B][C]
  • [D][E][F]
  • [G][H][I]

Each tile is a different type of world terrain. In this story, you start on [A] and the boss is on [I] (not that you know where the boss is at the start of the story). You find out the boss is on [I] only if you find the clues on [C]. You may travel one tile per turn with no restrictions other than you cannot move north to south through [E] because of the Grand Canyon overlay. There is a large lake in [D] because I say so... and it has a big creepy island in the middle shrouded in mystery. You can only find out about this island if you talk to the old fisherman at the wharf in [D]

When did I tell you not to go fight the boss in [I]?


Story two: As you explore. The tile you are on tells you what tile should touch the side you are leaving. From the very start, a player could if they wanted to, place out all of the tiles to form the complete map.

  • [C][H][A]
  • [I][E][F]
  • [G][B][D]

Each tile is a different type of world terrain. In this story, you start on [G] and the boss is on [D] (you know where the boss is at the start of the story). You might find items that would help you kill the boss is on [A] but only if you find the clues on [H] or if you talk to the little old lady who lives in a shoe on [C]. You may travel one tile per turn with no restrictions other than you cannot move east to west through [E] because of the Grand Teton mountain range. There is a large lake in [F] because I say so... and it has magical fish that can cure any illness when eaten, or so the legends say if you talk to the kids outside of the pub in [G].

When did I tell you not to go fight the boss in [D]?


You might call this trying to make my point the hard way, but I am not sure you understood what I was getting at by the modular map that is static for each grand story. Having the players "set up" a few components to create a static map that can be used for the rest of the time they play through one long adventure story that was written with that one static map in mind, has nothing at all to do with how the player interacts with that finished map.

7th continent has hundreds of cards that make up a large static game world.

However, the same functionally large map could be given to players with much fewer and more modular map components. The transition between bigger regions would require a relatively small setup time (compared to the overall game length) to change out the map cards and overlays to form the new region they can then explore for many hours of play. Players can even be given a full map of what the current game world looks like for reference in the book and by moving card to card through the numbered map deck they would be able to reach all of the "named" locations placed in the game world for that one story. The map is effectively static after the one time set up (per adventure/region). They would just need to build the one used in the adventure they are playing from the provided modular components base on a pre-set list of what cards go in each numbered card sleeve.

Don't get me wrong, if you feel a single map board for each story is better for the game you are designing then that is the way you should go! For sure I am not saying you must or even should use this type of thing.

But for sure I do want you to see that it could work for a long grand adventure (even when players can go anywhere and do anything) just as easily as it could be for a shorter scenario. In fact the longer the map is in one static configuration the better for the players, as they have less work to do switching out the cards in sleeves to build a new static map.

Also, the method used to build the map would happen only once before play actually begins and no procedure is used during the adventure story. The person who is "generating" the map would be you as the designer. The player would only need to follow a simple "list" to build the map you made (they just organize the cards into the right sleeves).

Just food for thought, nothing more :)

@BHFuturist

X3M
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Regarding weapon durability.

You could use different dice to indicate the durability. After every use, you replace the better die with one step lower. Example:
D20
2D8
D12 or 2D6
D8
(D6)
D4
The same could be for shields.

FrankM
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Wear and tear

X3M wrote:
You could use different dice to indicate the durability. After every use, you replace the better die with one step lower. Example:
D20
2D8
D12 or 2D6
D8
(D6)
D4
The same could be for shields.

First, I think the current plan is to have weapon dulling be an event or special ability rather than something that just happens on its own. (For example, fighting a Steel Golem blunts whatever weapon you used.)

Second, be careful about mixing single and double dice in the same progression. 2D6 clusters around 7 whereas 1D12 is evenly spaced, which can feel very different when the to-hit number is 9 or 10.

They aren't cheap, but D16 and D24 do exist. A progression could be made from D24 > D20 > D16 > D12 > D10 > D8 > D6 > D4 > oh for crying out loud get a new sword! Throw in a D30 at the high end for bonuses pushing beyond realistic.

The questions become: (1) How do you store the equipment's "wear and tear" state? and (2) Having gotten to a point in the game where D16 and D20 weapons are a thing, what possible use is a D6?

Gabe
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BHFuturist wrote: You might

BHFuturist wrote:

You might call this trying to make my point the hard way, but I am not sure you understood what I was getting at by the modular map that is static for each grand story.

You're right. I was not grasping what you meant, but it makes a lot more sense now.

BHFuturist wrote:

7th continent has hundreds of cards that make up a large static game world.

Very true. And maybe big square cards is the way to go.

BHFuturist wrote:

Just food for thought, nothing more :)

@BHFuturist

And it's all greatly appreciated!

Gabe
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X3M wrote:You could use

X3M wrote:
You could use different dice to indicate the durability. After every use, you replace the better die with one step lower. Example:
D20
2D8
D12 or 2D6
D8
(D6)
D4
The same could be for shields.

This is a very interesting idea! However, I don't think I would have such a big spectrum. I think I would keep it simpler with a 3d8-->2d8-->1d8 kind of thing.

BHFuturist
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Intresting

Gabe wrote:
... I think I would keep it simpler with a 3d8-->2d8-->1d8 kind of thing.

It might be cleaner math to keep a bell curve involved in all three rolls and also keep the variance lower with something like 4d6 > 3d6 > 2d6

Here is the breakdown...

  • 3d8-->2d8-->1d8
  • 3-24 (bell curve on 13-14 @ 9.38% each)
  • 2-16 (bell curve on 9 @ 12.50%)
  • 1-8 (even distribution @ 12.50%)

  • 3d8-->2d8-->1d8
  • 4-24 (bell curve on 14 @ 11.27%)
  • 3-18 (bell curve on 10-11 @ 12.50 each)
  • 2-12 (bell curve on 7 @ 16.67%)

On the flip side if you are calling that lowest level "broken" the d8s might work better than the d6s...

@BHFuturist

ssm
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I think it could work for an

I think it could work for an 'open world' physical game for the video game Dragon's Quest(?), but that really isn't 'open world', it gives the feeling of 'open world' as long as you don't change your mind.
To me, 'open world' means I get to make the decisions- I can walk out of a dungeon if I remember I wanted to do something else.
A really big component to 'open world' is being able to die over and over trying different things. How would an 'open world' board game handle this?

I have thought about this over the years, but always ended up with something big and unwieldy with every mechanic, or something relatively small with one or two mechanics. Either way, it is a tough sell.

The Odd Fox
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How's the game idea coming?

Gabe,

I've been thinking on a game design that is not "open world" per se but is story driven and lot's of variable outcomes depending on player choice. I was talking with BHFuturist and RickL and they directed me back to this thread (which I read when it posted but gave me a lot to think about on my 2nd read through). I'm curious if you've continued with this design idea that initiated your post or if the idea went off to the deal with it later file? ;)

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