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Worker Placement: How to "collect" resources?

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questccg
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I'm now working on "Planes of Aria" (PA) and I've got some good break-thru ideas that could propel the game into a GREAT one. But there are still a few issues with the design.

This topic has to do specifically with "Worker Placement".

Worker Placement is the "core" (or Primary) mechanic for PA. Each player gets three (3) tokens they can move around the area of play.

The idea of these "tokens" (your workers) is to collect "Qi" (Chi) from each one of their positions. So if you position had "1 Qi — 1 Black", you would have 1 Black Qi towards your goal of unlocking a "Cipher" location and be one step closer to win the game. There are SIX (6) "Cipher" locations which are randomly selected from a micro Deck of twelve (12) cards.

Now for my challenging "issue":

questccg wrote:
If an area of play (Game Tile) produces "X" resources (Chi), how do you "COLLECT" resources and somehow "RETURN" with them???

What I am trying to say, I don't want a player to SIT on a TILE and continually from one turn to the next collect the resources from it.

Anyone have ideas about this???

Thoughts, ideas, comments, questions, feedback are all welcome!

let-off studios
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Some Ideas
  • Monks are randomly teleported to another location on the map after collecting one Qi.
  • There's a hard limit to the amount of Qi a monk can hold, though this can be improved some other way in the game.
  • Monks must challenge and defeat another monk(s) at a tile in order to gain Qi at a location, so gaining Qi isn't so easy to do.
  • Once Qi is collected at a location, the type of Qi it provides is changed, so it's a different type of Qi. This can be randomly-determined, or cycled in a discrete pattern (maybe thematically-linked to the location itself). Monks can be improved or upgraded to sidestep or manipulate this change of Qi in some way.
  • Collecting Qi also affects the monk's health, so they might need to heal before collecting additional/large amounts of Qi. Again, this can be improved through upgrades.
  • Once a monk collects Qi, the location is dormant until some other criteria is activated.
  • Monks cannot collect more than one of the same type of Qi at the same time.
  • There's a time limit to how long Qi can "live" outside its collection point or a Cipher, so the monk needs to move quickly to preserve it.
  • Those are just some ideas that came to mind. Hopefully at least one of them is useful for testing. :)

questccg
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I have a QUESTION for you...

let-off studios wrote:
  • Monks are randomly teleported to another location on the map after collecting one Qi.

I think that "randomness" would most likely turn off players who prefer more deterministic play. And this is very important because aside from the battle dice, the game is deterministic.

let-off studios wrote:
  • There's a hard limit to the amount of Qi a monk can hold, though this can be improved some other way in the game.

This one is bang on! Yes there could be a limit of 3 Qi (Chi) per monk and the "Cipher" cards could influence this limit (like to maybe 5 Qi at the most) and there could be 5 Qi limit for one monk or +1 each monk. Definitely a GREAT suggestion, I had a similar thought.

let-off studios wrote:
  • Monks must challenge and defeat another monk(s) at a tile in order to gain Qi at a location, so gaining Qi isn't so easy to do.

While a challenge might be good; I was thinking about "Catan's Robber" and that maybe I could have something like the "Shadowforce" which goes around stealing resources from the monks as they collect it. It could be similar to a "Traditional Battle" between two (2) monks... You roll and see what happens. Yeah it's NOT deterministic due to die rolling but it is the most effective way of offering a mechanic which BLOCK or OPPOSES the monks.

So kudos on that one too... I think the "Shadowforce" might work in making the collecting more difficult. But ATM it's just an idea... I would of course need to playtest it.

let-off studios wrote:
  • Once Qi is collected at a location, the type of Qi it provides is changed, so it's a different type of Qi. This can be randomly-determined, or cycled in a discrete pattern (maybe thematically-linked to the location itself). Monks can be improved or upgraded to sidestep or manipulate this change of Qi in some way.

This would be very difficult to do since the Qi is connected to the "terrain". I'll ask you ANOTHER question (later).

let-off studios wrote:
  • Collecting Qi also affects the monk's health, so they might need to heal before collecting additional/large amounts of Qi. Again, this can be improved through upgrades.

I'll wait for ANOTHER question (later) to address this idea.

let-off studios wrote:
  • Once a monk collects Qi, the location is dormant until some other criteria is activated.

This would be difficult to track. If it was a "Video Game", this could actually work and it could be like a 3 minute time-out (per tile). But since this is an analog game... Would be difficult to implement.

let-off studios wrote:
  • Monks cannot collect more than one of the same type of Qi at the same time.

This could work... But not sure if it would be valid. Going back to the hard limit, if it was "3 Qi" and you have 3 monks that means at most 9 Qi. That seems like already a lot. Adding a "color" barrier would detract from the nature of the tiles: Some are single colored, others can be dual colors (implying a choice of Qi — Like Black OR White).

I am also leaning with "Colorless" Qi. An example would be "2 Blue Qi" and "3 Colorless" (any of the other colors). This is another consideration too. So ONLY having one color + only a fixed limit ... Makes for something "too restrictive". Again more playtesting. This is NOT a bad idea... Just needs to be validated.

let-off studios wrote:
  • There's a time limit to how long Qi can "live" outside its collection point or a Cipher, so the monk needs to move quickly to preserve it.

Again timing would work great for a Video Game: you have 3 turns per monk to return with the Qi. But again in an analog context... It makes it a bit "frustrating": you need to think but you are pressured by a timeout. I'm not designing a real-time game. So I don't think it could be feasible.

And NOW for that QUESTION that I have been wanting to ASK:

questccg wrote:
Can you think up of WAYS how to "track" Qi? I mean there are simplifications (like 1 color per monk — which I don't particularly like since there is already a limit of 3 Qi per monk)...

How would you keep TRACK of the Qi collected? In terms of actual PHYSICAL representation and form...

Please feel free to SHARE your ideas/thoughts/feedback/questions concerning this or even other aspects that we've been discussing. Cheers!

Fri
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Chi is gained by removing a monk.

Could you tie removing the monk actually gaining the Chi? Tzolkkien uses this form of worker placememt/resource collection. Of course in tzolkkien the resources you get increase every turn.

Could you use your shadow force to be something like a chi vampire? It would attack the monk that has the most chi. So it becomes some kind of push your luck mechanism if you try to collect a lot of chi. I am not sure what would trigger this shadow force to attack, but if you could figure out a way to increase the odds of an attack as more chi is collected would make for some nteresting decisioms.

Good luck with your game.

questccg
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About the "Shadowforce"...

All players control the "Shadowforce" once per round by rolling a "Shadowforce" die (Custom 1 to 3 or Standard 1 to 6 — depending on the number of players 2 or 4). So, like in Catan the "Shadowforce" is moved around by the LAST player in the Round. Sometimes you roll HIGH and other times you roll LOW. Therefore, there is probably some kind of AVERAGE roll that occurs although a player can be lucky or "unlucky" depending on how the players use this "Shadowforce".

What needs more playtesting is IF the "Shadowforce" STEALS all Qi from one monk or does it have to ATTACK (and then there is the whole dice rolling — for combat)... Not sure, requires more playtesting.

I took a look at Tzolk'in and I understood what you meant. There are other rules that you are encouraging me to ADD from the comments and ideas. Like you only have "3 monks" to collect Qi (Chi) but... You can have up to "2 additional monks" as Area Control (which could affect the abilities used in the "Cipher" cards).

There are some more thoughts like: instead of everyone waiting until the END of the Round to roll for the "Shadowforce", if you ROLL a "3 or higher", you get to roll for the "Shadowforce" also... So this is like the more you move, the HIGHER the actions ATTRACT the "Shadowforce" into moving...

Or it could be a CATCH-UP mechanic ... IF you roll LESS than a "3" (0, 1, or 2) ... You can at least roll for the "Shadowforce" as a counter-measure to BALANCE out your turn...

This is sounding HIGHLY plausible and good for general gameplay (rewarded for a crappy roll... Hmm!)

I think for PA, the idea is that each of your monks collect Qi (Chi) and must return it to the "nearest" (or player's choice) Gateway such that the Qi can be counted and applied for the current "Cipher", unlocking a "Location".

Yeah... I am definitely LIKING the "Crappy Roll Reward": roll for the "Shadowforce"...

X3M
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Replacement of a monk?

Allowing a monk to carry only 1 to 3 QI could be done in:
replacing the monk with a different piece. This piece represents 1, 2 or 3 QI. Depending on how many the monk would carry.
The different piece would have different attributes.

Speed adjustments
Other adjustments

FrankM
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Physical pieces

How are the monks and Qi represented in the game? Colored chips or chits for Qi (Qips or Qits?) could be stacked on or under the monk token until brought to a designated gateway.

"On" the monk is thematically closer to carrying, but it doesn't really matter if the Qi is "carried" within the monk.

Definitely not the direction you seem to be leaning, but it'd be fun if the monk was flat-topped (rook-like) with chips stacked on top. The monk can carry as many as you like, but any that fall off when physically moving the piece are lost.

questccg
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No dexterity required...

FrankM wrote:
...The monk can carry as many as you like, but any that fall off when physically moving the piece are lost.

I didn't want to have this game be a "dexterity" game! lol But yeah I do have some ideas about how to make it "work".

One of the ideas @X3M touched on was having three (3) different pieces and also having a card for each piece and using 8mm Acrylic Cubes... This was one of my ideas. So each card is linked to a piece (maybe). Once you move from a position in play to the nearest gateway, you can then "collect" the Qi (Chi) and then score it.

Of course there can be additional restrictions like @X3M mentioned like only being able to carry one type of Qi (Chi) per piece... This would obviously need to be playtested. But the IDEA sounds interesting and meritorious.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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I have a move and collect game

So I have a squirrel game with some similar elements. In my game, the squirrels can only carry two acorns at most, but must stop by the tree at the center of the board to drop off and secure the acorns. To answer your "how to carry" question, I use a card with pictures of the squirrel and the tree trunk. When a squirrel board piece collects a nut from the board or steals a nut from another squirrel, the acorn goes on the card on the picture of the squirrel. When the squirrel board piece returns to the tree trunk, the acorns on the picture of the squirrel are slid over to the picture of the tree trunk and are secured.

I don't know if you have cards in your game, but is having a card to represent each of your monks on the board an option? This may complicate your monks too much as you would need a unique identifier for each monk to match to each card. Just a thought.

questccg
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Your solution is near identical to @X3M one...

AdamRobinGames-ARG wrote:
...In my game, the squirrels can only carry two acorns at most, but must stop by the tree at the center of the board to drop off and secure the acorns. To answer your "how to carry" question, I use a card with pictures of the squirrel and the tree trunk. When a squirrel board piece collects a nut from the board or steals a nut from another squirrel, the acorn goes on the card on the picture of the squirrel. When the squirrel board piece returns to the tree trunk, the acorns on the picture of the squirrel are slid over to the picture of the tree trunk and are secured...

Yeah I was thinking about something similar ... But I have three (3) Monks per player and either 2 or 4 Players. I don't want to invest in designing and making miniatures which are all different that match the "card" as in your solution. @X3M solution is pretty much identical, except he was suggesting DIFFERENT pieces per Monk.

I may have another solution, but I would need to playtest it and see how it "feels". But for the moment, both @Adam and @X3M seem to have the same idea about how to handle "carrying" and "dropping".

BTW my "dropping" mechanic is similar: you must make your way to one of the Gateways in the play area. This is how you "drop" Qi (Chi) and unlock the "Cipher" card. That card once unlocked gives the player some bonus ability(-ies).

To unlock the "Cipher" you need to have the right combination of Qi and the card can be flipped and revealed. So your Monks need to have the correct combination (think of it a bit like "Mastermind" for those who know that very old game). But in this case, the "Cipher" is simply a combination, there is no "guessing".

I don't know if anyone else has ideas/comments/feedback concerning the various suggestions posted. I'm guessing that so far only one solution has been proposed and a couple of our members have already mentioned their solution...

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