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Need a little thematic help...

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JustAnEye
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I'm usually pretty good at coming up with this kind of stuff, but I'm stuck on something here, maybe I've backed myself into a corner. I don't know. Anyway, hoping you guys can spit out some ideas, shoot from the hip and help me come up with something.

The game I'm working on is a steampunk themed deck builder. Two to four players are competing against each other (including by attacking each other), and are also competing against the Baroness and her minions (most of which are mechanical, of course). Essentially, along with various weapons and equipment and whatnot that come out of the deck for players to acquire, there are also enemies - the Baroness and her crew - that come up in the deck. The players can attack and destroy these enemies, and they can attack each other. Once per round, the enemy cards that are currently in play attack the players. In a sense, the Baroness is a sort of "fifth player". The difference is, however, she attacks with automatons and human allies (sky pirates, mad scientists, etc.) or directly as herself when her card comes up, while the players attack using specific weapon cards. The game ends as soon as any player is defeated OR when the Baroness is defeated. Victory points determine the winner.

The game has gone through a LOT of mechanical changes since I started, and the story/theme has dragged behind in evolving and has slowly gotten lost along the way... So I'm trying to catch up here. Where I'm stuck now, thematically, is "why?" Why are the players competing against each other to the death? Or rather, to the first death? Why against the Baroness to her death? Why does she fight differently than they do? Why will any one death stop the fighting/competition altogether?

Any help in thinking through this, any suggestions at all, would be hugely helpful. Like I said, throw out anything you can think of - even if the idea isn't a winner, it may be exactly what I need to spur creative thinking outside of this stupid box I'm stuck in...

Thank you in advance!

questccg
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Not sure ... but these are my ideas

So pretend each player controls one (1) continent... And that the Baroness is coming from her castle in the Skies. The players together must defend the planet from the invasion.

While the Baroness has yet to claim any continent and therefore still only attacking from the skies, there is hope.

But if one of the continents should fall to the Baroness' attacks, the World would be in danger of being conquered by Her and her minions.


Basically why she attacks differently is because her "base" (or castle) is in the skies somewhere. Why is it important for the players to keep her away from landing somewhere on the planet is because then she can begin to proceed to conquer the remainder of the planet.

As long as she and her minions cannot land... There is still a slim chance of defeating the Baroness...

Something along those lines is what I have thought of...

Note: It's definitely in-line with the theme (Steampunk) and it plays into the whole "great vessels in the skies even a floating castle..."

JustAnEye
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Nice!

Ok, this certainly got the juices flowing... my initial remaining question was "why are the players also fighting each other?" That theme would be perfect if cooperation was the main name of the game... but now I'm thinking maybe the world is at war over territory... the players each represent a nation/continent, and perhaps as you said the Baroness has no land, lives and rules solely in the skies. She is at war as well, fighting for any land territory she can get her hands on. Perhaps players fight because she can take over the other players' land, so long as it's not their own... then the war ends when one player or she is defeated because there's no longer one too many entities...

I'm going to stew on that some more... great stuff! Thanks!

questccg
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As you said...

I think the fact that I was trying to stress... Is that maybe the WAR is because of the fact that the Baroness is trying to conquer ONE (1) Continent. And each player is trying to make certain it is NOT his/her OWN Continent...

So naturally the WAR ends when one continent is conquered or when the Baroness' Sky Castle is destroyed.

I didn't include that bit ... because I thought it made sense ... that once one continent/Player loses ... the game ends.

Since the game is not really COOPERATIVE, the losing player allows the Baroness to WIN ... and therefore she is the ultimate victor. In the opposing scenario, when the Sky Castle is destroyed. The Baroness is the losing "player" and the WAR on the planet can be over...

Seems 100% logical to me.

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
100% logical

questccg wrote:
Seems 100% logical to me.

This is not a sentence that I see associated with steampunk very often :-)

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
One way to help at least one player survive

One way to help at least one player survive would be to give the Baroness and her minions some sense of location.

Half-baked mechanic:
The player that draws a badguy card places it between him/herself and the next player. When the player's turn is over, the badguys between him/her and the next player take their pseudo-turn which involves attacking the player to either side of this particular group of badguys.
Once finished, the badguys here move one spot opposite the direction that play proceeds.

So imagine three players seating around a table. The progression would be something like this:

Player Alice - (empty spot) - Player Bob - (empty spot) - Player Carol - (empty spot)

Alice draws a minion, giving us

Player Alice - (Minion 1) - Player Bob - (empty spot) - Player Carol - (empty spot)

Alice finishes her turn, and if Minion 1 is still around, it takes its turn attacking Alice and Bob, but not every player. It then moves

Player Alice - (empty spot) - Player Bob - (empty spot) - Player Carol - (Minion 1)

Assuming Minion 1 survives, after Carol's turn it will attack Carol and Alice.

Now, in a 2-player game obviously both get attacked every turn, but not by all minions all at once. It might make sense to ignore the usual movement rule for a two-player game, otherwise all of the badguys will tend to glom together.

You can include some wind weapons or weather control gadgets to allow players to manipulate the badguys' positions a bit. One use would be to break up a big gang that somehow collected in one spot.

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