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Original Mechanic?

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Ark1t3kt
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How it works:

Every player has a strip of cardboard on which there are slots numbered left to right from six to zero. Players take turns drafting tiles from a general pool. Each tile has a number on it. When you draft a tile, you place it under the slot corresponding to the number on said tile. Then, you slide all of your tiles down one slot. Whenever a tile hits 0, its action is triggered and then it is placed back under the slot corresponding to its number. For example, a number one tile will trigger every turn, whereas a number four tile will trigger every four turns. Of course, the higher numbered tiles will have more powerful effects.

Questions:

Is this mechanic original? Are there any games that do something similar?

What are your thoughts on the mechanic in general? Do you think it has strategic value and depth?

Can you think of a simple name for the mechanic? Do any themes come to mind?

X3M
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You should ask yourself. If

You should ask yourself. If you are happy with the amplifying effect of 6 cards activating all at once.

How big is THAT impact?

Map out how many times it occurs.
Will it occur during gameplay?

If the track is build up at random. It might occur faster then you think for 50(?) percent of the time.

I rarely have seen this mechanic to be honest.

Tbone
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Very Cool

I like it. Simple and could create a TON of replay-ability. So are you drafting one tile a turn? Turn order = Draw tile, place tile, shift tiles, execute slot zero tiles, place tiles back to their number slot? A simple fix for X3M's comment about having too many tiles executing at once is "burning" a tile that is placed on a slot with three tiles already there.

I see this as a type of "Deck Builder" where you are trying to make your slots more efficient, attempting to burn tiles that are useless or harmful. It would be cool to have double sided tiles where one side has positive effects, and the other negative. You want to keep the positive tiles while attempting to burn the negative ones. Idk.

For this mechanic, I see something to do with a river. Maybe the Nile river? The tiles (boats) are trying to build pyramids on each slot. I know they used the current to travel down to get supplies and then went back up stream to build (im not sure if that is completely accurate lolol). But that would make sense for this theme, you hire workers (draw tiles), send them to a pyramid to build (place tile) they float down the river (tile shifts), grab supplies (executing zero slot tiles), and scoot back up the river to build stuff (placing the tiles back on their number slot). Just some of my ideas. I'm not even sure this is even close to what you have explained haha.

Ark1t3kt
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Hey, thanks for the

Hey, thanks for the feedback.

I've been playing around with it a little bit and it seems like it would be incredibly hard to get six tiles to all line up like that... especially when you take into account the fact that your drafting from a communal pile and someone could easily block you by drafting the tile you want.

In other words, I feel that a player should be granted with a pretty huge effect if he actually manages to time it that well.

(But it's something to keep an eye on, no doubt!)

Ark1t3kt
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Thanks for the feedback, glad

Thanks for the feedback, glad you like the idea!

Yeah, you've got it exactly right except instead of drawing a tile you draft it from a communal selection.

That's definitely a good idea for a solution... but in the minimal playtesting that I've done i've found that it's extremely difficult to time it well enough to abuse having a bunch of tiles in one slot...

Yeah, this is an engine-building/deck-building style mechanic for sure. However, I envision the strategy as being more focused around the timing and the efficiency of your machine as a whole, rather than the individual slots.

For example, in an ideal game you would want to set up a situation where the tile that produces fish triggers just before the tile that sells fish. You could even have tiles which interact with the system directly: Maybe a number four tile that when triggered moves all your tiles down another slot.

Ooooh, I like the idea of a river too... it makes sense. Another route I could go is by simply conceding the fact that it is an abstract way of representing how long it takes for a given building to produce something, etc...

gxnpt
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orbits or conjunctions?

The trigger effect could be done as orbits. (But some method of advancing or retrograde would be ideal then).

Some orbital triggers could be conjunctions and such (steal from astrology?).

I can see a major result "when the stars are right if you have a captive politician to sacrifice plus a sacred knife and a way to reach the appointed place" sort of thing.

Ark1t3kt
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Thanks for the feedback! Lol,

Thanks for the feedback!

Lol, I love this theme idea... it's definitely original!

Yeah, something to do with astrology would be fascinating...hmm...

FrankM
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Conjunction function?

If you want to go the astrology route, I would suggest a fictional set of aspects. Sure, some real astrologer might get be bothered with some simplification you made, but the reason I suggest this is actually for replayability.

Suppose the players are gods with each one trying to tune the world to favor his or her Chosen People (that is, a player will control the actions of one god an associated tribe/nation of Chosen People). There are three distinct phases here: what original resources are available to the Chosen People, what the Chosen People do, and what the gods do.

For simplicity, let's say the initial resources are somehow random. Actions that involve one of the allocated resources has increased effectiveness, but any player can perform any action. For example: The blue player draws "sheltered bay" and "extensive forest."

The Chosen People operate much as you described, setting long-term plans in motion and trying to arrange synergies. Each shift represents one month of time.

The gods operate in a common celestial area, probably a big disk with concentric rings of spaces. The outermost would be for the "signs", which will probably have 12 slots positioned in every third space of a hypothetical 36-slot ring. As you move inward, the rings have fewer slots, with the one for the Sun having 12 natural slots. Perhaps 36, 24, 18, 12 (Sun), 9, 6, 4, and 3.

For a god action, the player gets to place an aspect in an unoccupied space. This could be a "sign" (constellation) in one of the 12 fixed outer positions, or any chosen spot on an unoccupied ring (planet or Sun). Every aspect -- other than the fixed "signs" -- advances one space on its ring each turn.

The arrangement of aspects affects every player that turn. Suppose a god put the "fertility" aspect in one of the outer planetary rings. When that aspect has a favorable conjunction with a "ocean" or "fish" aspect, then anyone fishing that turn will get a bonus. A "wealth" aspect interacting with "mountain" might help mining. Just pick aspects that have relevance to the game's resources.

There can be unfavorable conjunctions as well. According to Wikipedia, things that are lined up, 30-degrees separated or 60-degrees separated are favorable interactions; 90-degrees has the "outer" aspect dominate the "inner" one, and 180-degrees is unfavorable to both.

So the Chosen People are playing an engine-building game while the gods are fiddling with the rules.

Bonus Complication: the god can declare itself to be the God of [Aspect]. Not sure how this would actually work, perhaps a permanent favorable bonus to that Chosen People only. The aspect token would be placed on the player's board.

Extra Bonus Complication: The Moon would operate with an orbital period of 1. If the Moon has an aspect, the Chosen People can time their actions so that the Moon is at any desired angle. This can let them game the favorable conjunctions, but can create some unfavorable ones as well. A player considering assigning an aspect to the Moon needs to keep in mind that every Chosen People will be able to time it on their turn.

Ark1t3kt
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Wow, you've put a lot of

Wow, you've put a lot of thought into this!

You have a gold mine of ideas that I'll definitely consider, but I want to make sure that it doesn't become too complex...

Right now my internal debate is between two different courses of action: Do I try to use the moving of the tiles as a direct tie-in to a theme where things move? Or should I simply use the mechanic as a way of representing how long/how often a building produces something. The latter is definitely the easy way out, since I could apply pretty much any city/civilization building, or euro-ish theme to it.

Here's yet another theme idea: Players are in control of trading empires, trying to make the most money. Each tile represents a contract with a merchant. (Ships, caravans, characters, etc...)

In summary, do you guys think it is important that the tiles represent things that actually move?

FrankM
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Ark1t3kt wrote:Wow, you've

Ark1t3kt wrote:
Wow, you've put a lot of thought into this!

You have a gold mine of ideas that I'll definitely consider, but I want to make sure that it doesn't become too complex...


Yeah, my suggestions have a history of being in the sounds-neat-but-adds-complexity variety :-)

The simple version (but still including gods) would be just placing aspects as constellations and have a generic Sun move around that track. The aspect in line with the Sun has the biggest bonus, two or four spaces in either direction has a minor bonus, three or six spaces in either direction has a penalty.

The whole thing with multiple planets could be an expansion.

Ark1t3kt
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Sounds Really Good

No worries, that mechanic sounds really good!

I'll probably end up using your idea regardless of the theme, to be honest. (Perhaps it doesn't have to be a tile that starts in play. Perhaps you can simply draft tiles that have the effect you described.)

FrankM
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Ark1t3kt wrote:No worries,

Ark1t3kt wrote:
No worries, that mechanic sounds really good!

I'll probably end up using your idea regardless of the theme, to be honest. (Perhaps it doesn't have to be a tile that starts in play. Perhaps you can simply draft tiles that have the effect you described.)

I was imagining that the gods draft aspect tokens using a mechanic parallel to how the people draft their actions/buildings. The division between god actions and people actions need not be absolute... you could always use an American Gods justification that gods are manifestations of the people's needs/wants/aspirations. Need something humming along every four turns? Associate its aspect with something of period 4.

Edit:
My undertsanding of game play is

0. Players draw initial resources or pick pre-built factions with assigned resources.

Each turn:
1. Advance the aspect(s) in play. For the simple version, this would be the Sun. Technically this should happen in step 6, but doing it first simplifies short-term planning.
2. Each player drafts one aspect tile. Order/initiative/etc. however you envisioned it for the initial draft (maybe each player draws a new tile into the pool, giving later players some shot at good tiles).
3. Players place their aspect tiles. Again, I don't know how you're handling order.
4. Each player drafts one action/building tile. Order mechanic as similar as possible to the "god" order mechanic, though the outcome might be explicitly independent/reverse of the "god" order.
5. Players place their action/building tiles.
6. Perform the tile shift for each player and resolve actions. The yields will be modified up by resources and up-or-down by aspects.

Ark1t3kt
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Yeah, this is sounding really

Yeah, this is sounding really solid. Thanks for your investment in this idea!

For the drafting: I was considering doing something similar to Smallworld/Century: Spice Road. (You pay 1 resource onto each tile to the left of the one that was drafted, then shift all the tiles down and replace the rightmost one. If you draft a tile with resources on it, you gain those resources.)

My rational for using this type of system is that it exaggerates the difficult timing decisions in the game.

For example: You want to draft z right now so that it lines up with tile y, but it might be too expensive at the moment.

Or: You don't want to draft tile x yet, but someone might draft it before your turn comes again.

What do you think?

FrankM
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Sounds good, but not familiar with them

That mechanic sounds good, though I'm not familiar with those particular games, which means I don't know how they work in practice.

If you are going with the god actions and people actions, it would help to have the mechanics as similar as possible... with any differences clearly justified within the context of your theme.

The tile positions seem to represent opportunities to economize on certain projects at certain times. This concept of better or worse timing is handled abstractly, but it represents things like building a dam in the winter when the water conveniently stops flowing over your worksite.

I don't see any reason why this couldn't work for aspects as well. Some things are cosmically simpler when done at the right moment. The question is, how does this differ from the action/building draft?

If the gods have "mana" then it might make a decent resource, though there'd have to be some reason to have mana and want to spend it on other things. Maybe mana powers general-purpose miracles like allowing the Chosen People to reroll dice. Trying to take a shortcut to an aspect Before Its Time could plausibly tie up mana in the environment, and others could extract it later.

Another option is to use normal resources, where the Chosen People had to make expensive rituals and sacrifices to enable their god to manipulate the aspect. Here it's less clear that someone should be able to come along later and extract those resources.

"How did the Green Nation warriors get horses? They have no ranches!"
"Yeah, weird. Looks like about three dozen horses. And we just sacrificed three dozen horses to our goddess to bless the harvest..."

Though we are talking about gods here. If everything the did made sense, they wouldn't be gods!

That said, if resources to acquire aspects get destroyed (unavailable to other players), then I guess the cost should be higher.

Ark1t3kt
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More Musings

So, I was doing some more pondering on the theme earlier today...

Although the idea of gods working parallel to people is really cool thematically, I'm not sure if it brings that much to the game. Effectively, it's a duplicate of the original mechanic with a different theme. And sure, you could differentiate the two by adding side mechanics to each, but why not simply focus on making the core mechanic as good as possible? In short, I'm getting the sense that the gods idea is redundant.

With that in mind, I'm leaning towards a city-building theme, where the tiles represent buildings/infrastructure that produce some type of action every so often.

In order to prevent the mechanic from becoming abusable, I'm going to try implementing Tbone's suggestion: If there are ever more than 3 tiles in a slot, you have to immediately "burn" tiles of your choice until there are 3. This opens up the possibility of having negative tiles (that do bad things when triggered). Instead of drafting a tile into their own city, players could draft a negative tile into an opponent's city... Clever players could use the "burning" mechanic to get rid of the negative tiles...

I'm thinking that the objective of the game would be to have the most gold when the game ends. This means that gold could be the resource spent to draft tiles.

Here are some more details that I think will exaggerate the engine-building and timing aspects:
- A limit to the amount of resources you can have at any one time
- Resources gradually spoil (maybe lose 1 every turn?)
- Tiles that improve actions of other tiles that trigger at the same time
- Some tiles may have restrictions that must be met to trigger
Ex: "Can only be triggered if it's the only tile in its slot"
- Tiles that affect the opposing players' cities
- Tiles that give bonuses to other tiles triggered after them
- Tiles that allow you to draft another tile
- Tiles that modify the positions of other tiles

All feedback is welcome!

Tbone
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Project Manager?

You could be the project manager, juggling the different needs of a city. Housing, factories, food production, entertainment; you have a lot to work with. You can make this a really elegant game. Honestly, tiles, slot board, and maybe one other component (population cubes?), that is all you need. For me, I like managing very different aspects (actions) that all collaborate together. Maybe there could be 7 major needs in a city: Jobs, Leisure, Security, Health, Belief, Technology, and Attractions. Those can pretty much determine just about anything you'd find in a city. Each one of these you could attempt to "specialize" in, trying to promote your city and gain the most population/reputation. The buildings could be the tiles and each tile would show you what points you acquire analogous to the 6 major needs. These points show you how the building has attracted populations.

So for example, a Shoe Factory tile would give you 2 Jobs point, 1 Attraction, and 1 Leisure point. The shoe factory might be a slot 3 tile, not an extremely illustrious building, but not terribly useless. Essentially the points are the amount of people (populations) that have come to your city because of that building. Now we have the Space Station building which is a 6 slot (takes longer to build). Could have 1 Job point, 2 Belief, 1 Security, 4 Technology. Now these points would be placed on your slot board (the bottom will be where you put your tiles, the top will be where your points go to each city need). Each need would give you the ability to do an action by "spending" your population points. Job points increase money for building buildings, Entertainment points increase population points, Security points make sure few negative effects make it into your slots from other cities, Health points allow you to regain used or hurt populations, Belief points upgrade your population or actions, Technology points gain you more powerful buildings.

The only thing that doesn't make great sense is the fact that you would be building these buildings, over and over again. Easy fix. The first time a tile goes through the slots, you must pay a building cost. Once you do this, you will continue to gain the benefits of that building. So when you place a building tile down for the first time, you would put a building marker on the tile to represent that it hasn't been built yet. Again, you can do A LOT with what I have just laid out here. This is just a sketch.

Buildings could also have special abilities noted by symbols. Example: Fast Food Restaurant [slot 2]; 1 Job point, 1 Health point, 1 Attraction point; Health Risk symbol (every time you activate this building, decrease a Health population point) and Efficiency symbol (if this building is executed with at least one other building, gain +2 Job points). So placing a Fast Food Restaurant is great for Job points, but it will force you to manage your Health points a little more aggressively and for a 2 slot building you get quite a few points in a variety of different needs.

So essentially your turn would be REALLY simple: Move tiles down one slot, execute slot zero buildings (building first time buildings and gain points for buildings), and use population points for purchasing/executing further actions.

I really enjoyed coming up with ideas. Excited to see what you do.

Ark1t3kt
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Thanks a million for putting

Thanks a million for putting so much thought into this!

Yeah, I think that if done well this mechanic could be the core of an extremely elegant game. The side mechanics and details really just depend on preference and how playtesting turns out.

I wouldn't think of it as if you are building the buildings over and over again. I would think of it more as if that particular building produces a thing or does an action over and over again.

For example: Every time the movie theater tile hits 0, it abstractly represents that theater screening another film.

You have lots of great ideas, keep those juices flowing!

P.S. Simply because of my own personal preferences I'll probably end up going with a historical setting rather than a modern one...

FrankM
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Historical Setting

Are you envisioning something colonial, medieval, ancient, primitive? Perhaps a historical setting about new civilizations on Mars that engage in 5-on-5 skirmishes ;-)

No worries about ditching the gods, it was just an extension of the suggestion to use fictional astrology (as opposed to Aries, Leo, Scorpio, etc.).

I might try to use something like the synthetic astrology we discussed if I ever revive an almost twenty-year-old idea I had for a fantasy-genre board game. In that case, the aspects would likely get assigned to commemorate legendary actions (sort of a replacement for those achievement badges you see in videogames nowadays).

Ark1t3kt
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[/quote]Perhaps a historical

[/quote]Perhaps a historical setting about new civilizations on Mars that engage in 5-on-5 skirmishes ;-)[/quote]

Haha, yeah that'd be a theme alright!

I'm not sure yet, but I was thinking about any era from the bronze age up to the renaissance. I also have a steampunky world that I've begun working on for another game... I feel like that would be cool to use here as well...

What do you think about designing more than one game in the same fictional world?

That twenty-yer-old idea sounds really interesting, you should revive it!

Ark1t3kt
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Lol, how do you quote

Lol, how do you quote properly on this site?

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