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Player interaction in a deck builder board game

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Trepid
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I'm working on a multi-player deck builder that uses a game board. I'm still trying to figure out the main objective but I might give the players the option at the beginning of the game to win by victory points or annihilation. One of the issues I'm up against is how to force constant player interaction (battle and/or trading).

There will be several decks to draw from on the board during your turn. You will also have something like meeples representing your warriors. You have to kill animals and scavenge for resources to learn skills and build huts/warriors. You will need certain resources to build huts so you can train more warriors to build your armies. On your turn you can move your warriors around the board and need to find a balance of attacking, defending, hunting and gathering.

I don't want the game to just involve players hanging out and becoming stronger and then just go to war when they're strong. I want to force constant tension from turn 1 so you never get a chance to take a breath and relax. I might set the game board up similar to something like settlers of catan so there's not a lot of empty space on the board. That would force the players to be closer together. I also have considered making the spaces color coded so they are more important to one team and not another (yellow meeples get bonus something or other on yellow spaces). I don't want the players to have to be doing any math and I don't want any type of scoreboard either though. I am looking for simple and straightforward. Basically, you have the board, multiple decks, your deck (with draw deck and discard pile to reshuffle), meeples and pieces that represent huts or homes. All actions and resources are on cards and each animal card has both a skill and a resource. You can only use one at a time.

What are some other methods/mechanics to force player interaction? I'm open to any suggestions/recommendations.

Thanks,
Trepid

terzamossa
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Hello, it's difficult to say

Hello,
it's difficult to say in general terms but briefly I would suggest:
-small map: Make sure every players can always reach another to combat/interact.
-limited resources: Make sure players cannot find what they need unless they take it from another player. So you force them to interact.
-Make sure the resources are somehow connected to fighting, either improving your skills, or how many warriors you create etc, not just resources that give very non direct bonuses.
-total annhilation is OK but only if you can make sure it happens relatively quickly e.g. as soon as one player dies all their assets go to the one who killed them, making this new player basically the winner next turn. Don't keep somebody out of the game for 45 mins. (and careful this may result in focusing attacks on the weakest player)

if you don't want to track points etc, why don't you just make a winning condition of the sort of "the first clan to get 10 warriors wins". So if a clan has too many warriors the others will have to mow them down (more combat). To get warriors and huts (needed to make warriors faster) you need resources and only some areas have the resources you need (so again more fighting in those areas).

I may be off depending on what you want, how does this sound? Is this in line with what you were thinking?

questccg
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Heck Ya... You're bang on!

Just wanted to commend you Antonio for sticking around BGDF.com. You've become sort of one of our "regulars". I know you are hoping for a nice and successful KS in "September" (Maybe? I could be wrong) and so I hope you do stay around even after your KS ... I believe Designing TableTop Games is what you want to do with your partners and you!? Anyways I thank you for contributing to BGDF.com (and I say that to all members) ... But being from Italy (I think!?) means that even with the Internet and no borders ... Still we don't have many Italian Members (You're the only one I believe).

You offer good suggestions and smart ideas. I personally thank you for "sticking around" and contributing to the conversation and threads! And for that matter, I thank all of our "regulars" (You guys know who you are)... And I'm glad that we offer you a service that is good for your projects as well as for your "peace of mind".

As a Game Designer myself, I know it can be frustrating when a design STALLS... And you become blocked without any further thoughts to ADVANCE that idea/concept. Using BGDF.com is a great "sound-board" and all of our regulars offer great advice and give good suggestions.

Again I thank you all for sticking around and participating in the conversation with all of the other designers including our newer members.

Cheers all!

questccg
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I just wanted to add...

Trepid wrote:
I'm working on a multi-player deck builder that uses a game board. I'm still trying to figure out the main objective but I might give the players the option at the beginning of the game to win by victory points or annihilation...

That while "annihilation" could be FUN for some players... The losing players may not LIKE that. And it could affect the "replayability" of a game if someone (or a couple) had a bad experience their first time.

Just going to SHARE a couple IDEAS/Concepts and you can use, adapt or ignore them if you want to.

Concept #1: Doomsday Counter

This is something like "Defeat" an AI Enemy that appears after "X" turns/rounds. Like you have an island and it gets raided by Vikings (for example). Winning players are the ones who SURVIVE the onslaught.

Concept #2: Allied Factions

This means that although it's a game where anything goes... Players can form "temporary" alliance in the bigger picture of the game. Like if the base game is four (4) players... And if two (2) players combine their Warriors and attack a third (3rd) player... Maybe the fourth (4th) player wants to help out ... Otherwise it becomes a 2-on-1 situation after the demise of one player.

Concept #3: Win by Territory

Although player start with a limited Territory... The goal is to obtain and SECURE x% of land. This can be figured out during play and it makes it a bit as you put: constant battles/skirmishes to reclaim territory back from a opponent who is near victory.

Just some ideas ... to work off and refine (or ignore). Cheers!

Trepid
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Thanks

Thanks for the ideas. I really like the idea of having to take rare resources from the other players. This definitely forces lots of interaction and I'm 100% agreeable on using a small map. I also like the idea of controlling % amount of territory. This would definitely keep the tension high and you are always pressing forward trying to gain new territories by either reclaiming one you lost or trying to just move into a new one. I'm not quite sure how to utilize an AI though.

This is a sample of how your turn will operate:

You have 6 cards always in your hand. You have a couple warriors 1 space away from another player. In your hand your cards are a bow/arrow (so you can do a ranged attack to the next space), a sword card, and the other 4 are animal cards. Each animal card has both a resource and a skill. For example, when you have enough skill and weapon to kill a wolf for example there will be several different wolf cards. One might be skill = rush and resource = bone. A different wolf card might have skill = sidestep (counter attack) and resource = wolf hide (fur). You can use this card for either purchasing/building or for attacking depending on the circumstance. With several decks of cards in front of you, let's say you can turn over 3 cards. (decks are scavenge, hunt, weapon, etc). You can turn over like 3 in one deck or 3 different decks or whatever.
After you purchase or get cards you then put those in your discard pile to shuffle later. Now you play all the cards in your hand if you want. You can move and attack the players in the next space, or scavenge/hunt on some other spaces, or just move, or whatever you want to do. Given that info, how can you incorporate an AI?

questccg
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You almost "expressed" the answer with YOUR reply!

Assume that the "Barbarians" will come after a specific number of Rounds. This can be figured out given timing and after some playtesting. How about something simple like... You have "X" Barbarians that SHOW up at the start of Round #Y. And they get places on territory which are NOT occupied by any of the other players.

Maybe like you say, they have "Z" Huts that appear in those spaces making it HARDER to PUSH and advance into those territories.

So NOW you have an AI player that wants to ATTACK the players and the Players want to ATTACK the AI to gain some of the "extra" territory...

For the AI options: you can have say a DECK of twelve or fifteen cards with multiples (as desired or even configurable for variation of difficulty) and they have actions like "ATTACK the adjacent territory with the LEAST amount of Warriors" or "ATTACK the adjacent territory with the MOST amount of Warriors" or "Recruit +U Barbarians" and of course "Defend Territory" (which is like a FREE/Pause Action).

Whatever ACTION you want to have ... you add them to that Micro Deck for the AI. Each player draws ONE of those cards at the start of their turn (or once per round) and perform the action.

That's the SIMPLEST form of AI which is "Doomsday"-based and AI-Driven. And it can really impact the DIFFICULTY with the Number of Barbarians and the type of Micro Deck used to simulate their "ACTIONs/Turns".

If you have questions please let me know... But I think this could be a GOOD ... Maybe GREAT direction for your design/project.

Cheers!

Note #1: If there are "choices" to be made by the "Barbarians" ... Like if there are 2 or more choices for LEAST amount of Warriors in adjacent territories... Well the the AI is controlled by the player who's is the ACTIVE turn. This means that PLAYERS can use the AI to compete and HARM their opponents TOO! Pretty neat if you look at it from that perspective!

Trepid
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Great idea

I really like that extra deck idea with the directions for the AI. I think it would be good to use this as well as keeping pvp. You would have a lot more options during your turn now that you have an AI to deal with. You could ally with other players to try and wipe out this round of AI before another gets put in the game or you can let the AI do its thing since it's closer to hurting one of the other players. I think it would be neat also to have the chance of one more army of AI developing elsewhere on the board. These cards could be shuffled into the animal deck when you are hunting. I love it. I am hoping to avoid victory points in the game if I can since so many deck builders rely on them. This game could be all about property ownership and I suppose that is kind of a victory point situation. My big thing is avoiding a bunch of tokens and little pieces to deal with.

questccg
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About avoiding Tokens and Little pieces

I guess if you have "Warriors" that are scattered around the board and are color coordinated to match the player... I have YET another IDEA/Concept for you:

Use a "Joystick" like seen on TGC here:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/parts/joystick-purple

And to indicate it's STRENGTH with a VARIETY of "Different" TYPES of "Warriors"... Use a "Torus" like this:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/parts/ring-white

With the amount of Ring/Torus COLORS ... You can have like EIGHT (8) different types of UNITS to add a bit of FLAVOR to "spice up your armies" just a TAD BIT!

Again all things that I have contemplated in my time ... Researching games and various of my own designs. The Joystick/Ring (or Torus) concept is something that I've been working on for a little while (had the idea a few YEARS back). But had no design to implement it with.

Looks like this might be a GOOD way to say "Red Warriors" with up to FIVE (5) Rings. The other ALTERNATIVE is maybe using THREE (3) Ring colors for counts: like Red = 10 Warriors, Green = 5 Warriors and Blue = 1 Warrior.

So ONE (1) ARMY of Warriors is AT MAX 50 Warriors (5x Red Rings).

This COMPACT use of the Joystick/Ring COMBO makes it EASY to manage the armies with some options depending which direction you prefer: quantities or various types of units (Warriors).

Again feel free to use, adapt, ignore these ideas. I'm just sharing because this seems to me ONE (1) direction you can go with... Which is SIMPLE and elegant in design.

Again cheers and I hope some of this is of VALUE to you!

Note #1: Also you can decide IF you pursue the design and/or project further... To create CLAN "Miniatures" with a Base that HAS a built-in Joystick for the Rings/Torus. So like you could have like maybe(!?) ten (10) or so miniatures ... But for prototyping purposes you can simply use the "Joysticks".

Again this is if you get REAL SERIOUS about the design and want to have CLAN "Minis" (which could dramatically increase the interest with people who love games with Minis). Think something like Scythe from Stonemaier Games.

Note #2: Also about the CONTROL of % Territory... With like ten (10) "Armies" your GOAL would be to CAPTURE and HOLD-OFF three (3) ENEMY territories in addition to having your OWN five (5) territories with Huts/Warriors.

So the MAP could be COLOR coordinated or you can have TILES with the colors and either the board is FIXED or DYNAMIC ... Both ways work. You can ALSO have NEUTRAL Territories too.

And then you have like two (2) "Armies" which are EXTRA to help "jockey" for positioning and/or to battle the AI opponents too.

Again more for you to ponder.

Note #3: All the "numbers" are just representative ... you can TWEAK them to what works best for your game. Like maybe 15 minis per player are more feasible and work better for your game. This IDK. Because it's YOUR game. I'm just offering you "general" ideas that you can work with and improve upon to make them WORK for YOUR game.

questccg
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I personally prefer the "TYPE" instead of "COUNT" option

What I mean is that each player has his/her Joystick COLOR representing their "Warriors" and CLAN ... And then the RINGS indicate ONE (1) "Army" and the COLORS represent different TYPES of "Warriors". Like a White Ring could be a "White Wolf Rider" (for example). And so you can have VARYING armies with up to FIVE (5) Units each.

Why I like this BETTER. I think it's because it is MORE UNIQUE and easier to manage than having "COUNTS" (the 2nd alternative that I proposed in the previous comment).

You could also with the "TYPES" go into ANOTHER direction and make WHITE RING signify different TYPES per CLAN. Like for one player it's a "White Wolf Rider" and for the other players it's a "White Giant Owl"... And maybe play into American Indian Culture (with their Totems and dieties) and the connection with ANIMALS in nature.

That could be real neat too... But again it's your game. I think TYPE is better than COUNT (in terms of the general idea, its potential and the uniqueness of it).

Hope I'm not flooding you with TOO many ideas. Take from this whatever you like. That's what I've got for now.

Cheers!

Trepid
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Super cool

Those are all wonderful ideas. I'm trying to build this with my buddy and it's our first game. I lean kind of towards a longer game (3-5 hrs or more) but he really wants a short game (less than an hour). To be honest I haven't played any of the new deck building games but I've seen lots of reviews and tutorials and what not. I know there's a space ship game (can't remember the name) but it moves very quickly and it's ranked in lots of people's top 10 best deck builders of all times. One of the reasons I'm trying to avoid a lot of things is to keep the playtime down. I love the idea of using AI and I think it will help the game tremendously in regards to interaction, enjoyment and flavor. One thing I worry about is adding a whole other layer to the game, possibly adding to its playtime.

I agree that the joystick and rings are a fantastic idea. I also prefer the idea of TYPE over COUNT. I'd like to be building a long game where you have your "warriors" different strengths and whatnot but I really want to push for more of a simple playstyle without too many layers. If I was to add rings to the joystick as a counting method then math becomes involved in the game (which I want to avoid). The only math I want to use will be on the cards. An example is my black bear card has the skill second attack (which is a primary attack and a secondary counter attack card you can use as defense) with the number 6. If the opposing player's grey wolf rush card has a number lower than 6 then I am successful in killing one of their warriors. That is about the extend of math I want to use.

questccg
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Hmm... Let me see if I understood

So you have cards with Attack Numbers and you compare these between players.

How do you know what card is for what "Army"?

Like if you have both a Red Fox and a Black Bear card in-hand ... How do you know which position has which card???

That's why I was leaning towards Rings/Torus to KNOW what Army has what UNITS. Otherwise it is NOT possible to "track" which card belongs where?!

Do you understand what I mean? Location and Territory is very important especially in a game where it's about "Area Control" and "Worker Placement". The Rings establish WHICH units are at what position (in location/Territory) and I just don't see or know how you can keep track of which cards belong to which "Warrior"!?

Maybe you've invented some AMAZING method... If so I'd be curious to know what it is...? Again feel free to share whatever you feel like sharing and I will understand if some aspects you want to keep "private"...

questccg
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Also ...

I thought about it some more... And I think it would be possible with "shards" or "chits". Like one has the symbol of the Bear and the other one has a symbol or the Fox. Is this something like what you plan to use???

Obviously they would be color-coordinated for each Player and could also be different and then it would be obvious that Unit #1 is a Bear and Unit #2 is a Fox...

Am I correct in what you plan on using???

The only downside to this "method" is that each spot is controlled by ONE (1) Unit. Now while that may be OKAY for your game... I see the Joystick and/or Ring/Torus combination more "flexible" to allow MORE than one unit be in-play at any location (on the game map).

So without the rings, you have "Bear" or "Fox" or "Owl", etc. But only one of each at each location (using chits or shards). And with the rings, you can have "2 Bears, 1 Fox and 1 Owl" (as another example).

Having more than one chit at a location is problematic (messy and hard to upkeep). The Joystick Method is easier from that perspective.

But again it depends HIGHLY on YOUR game and how you are implementing it. I'm not a mind-reader so I don't know all the details ... One COMPROMISE you MAY be doing is allowing only ONE (1) TYPE per location.

Am I correct with this assumption???

questccg
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The more I think about this...

The more the "Area Control" feels like "Smallworld"... Is this part of the inspiration for YOUR game??? Because "Smallworld" ONLY has one (1) unit TYPE per player (A certain Race and Trait) and then you use Tokens on the board...

Are you at all looking at "Smallworld"???

Because that game uses one or MORE tokens at a location but are all the SAME as the "Race and Trait" combo.

Anyways I may be way off... I just got the impression you may be doing something similar. Or it just may seem that way ... Because I don't know all the "Deck Building" aspect of your game (You did say it was a Deck Builder, right?!)

Trepid
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Correct

Yes, it is a deck builder. I wasn't really wanting to do the worker placement style but I suppose it will be like that. You will have to have one of your warriors standing in an area to 'scavenge or hunt space' so you can use one or more of your 3 draw cards on your turn to draw a scavenge/hunt card. As long as you have one of your units on a scavenger space you can scavenge. But there will be no separation between worker and warrior though...same unit but the unit can do scavenge, hunt, or battle.

I haven't looked at smallworld no. Also I wasn't thinking different insignias for different types of units either. I was thinking more along the lines of when you obtain a new card (scavenge or hunt) it is more like an "investment" and any of your units on the board can use that card no matter where they are. So a unit in space "a" will be the same exact as a unit in space "b". If I'm about to fight another player on the north side of the board and I play a black bear card with second attack I can play it, or I can choose to use that card for a different battle on the west side of the board against an AI, or I can use that card as a payment towards a better card (this card has both second attack and its resource is a bear hide)...like bear hide + lumber + stone = hut or warrior's longbow or something similar. After you play the black bear card it goes back into your discard pile whether you are successful in using it or not. It will get reshuffled again for later use. That was kind of how I view the INVESTMENT of the card instead of it only applying to a certain group. However, I'm not locked into that by any means and am open to suggestions. If this investment method seems way to simple to be an intriguing mechanic for the game then I"ll just throw it out.

Trepid
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amazing method...

And if you have any ideas in regards to a new amazing method or mechanic that is new and pertains to what I've talked about already I'm all ears! I just wonder that if I did have to differentiate between units/armies, it would be quite frustrating trying to draw the proper cards for that specific unit when you really needed them.

For example, if I had a bear unit, fox unit, and owl unit and I was really trying to use my bear unit to fend of an AI attack I could be in real trouble if I'm drawing nothing but fox and owl cards from my own draw pile. I like the idea of using different units but it might be too hard to control. I'll read back over all of your stuff again to see if I missed something. Thanks for all this great information though.

questccg
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I know it's late ... but something came to mind

While I was trying to fall asleep at 3:00 AM today... I came up with an INTERESTING concept concerning the "Deck Building" aspect of the game. Its got to do with your Warriors/Workers and it goes something like this:

Player's start with a Starter Deck of "N" Cards each. If there are four (4) players, their colors are Red, Green, Blue and Yellow.

Each Player starts with Cards in their Deck for their COLOR so things that can be done in THEIR OWN COLOR-CODED Territory and the available lands around them.

In the area of Play are four (4) Piles: one for each color (so Red, Green, Blue and Yellow).

Each Player may BUY cards from the four (4) Piles by drawing an "Diplomatic Measures" card which means that you can perhaps BUY or TRADE or something for a card of another COLOR.

This produces an interesting dichotomy:

1. You can BUY cards from your own Territory (Same color as a Player).

2. You can BUY cards from ANOTHER player's Territory (Other colors).

The PURPOSE is that while you may have a "Scavenge" card for YOUR Territory (Let's assume Red Player), you DON'T YET have a "Scavenge" card for the Yellow Player's Territory.

Which means by drawing a card like "Diplomatic Measures" and combining it with either a BUY or TRADE method, you can ACQUIRE cards for the other three (3) Players.

What is the relevance???

Well it's interesting because unless you learn the opponent's CULTURE and skills they use to "Scavenge" or "Hunt", you CANNOT perform that action in their Territory. This could also include taking actions such as battling an opponent for some of their Territory.

It also means that the more of YOUR cards you BUY ... Means the less chances the opponents will have to buy cards for YOUR Territory (Red). The four (4) Piles could have a preset amount of cards which can allow you to vary the degree of difficulty and add tremendous replay value.

So your meeples (Red) may be sharing a space with the Yellow Player but cannot take battle his opponent until your obtain a "Declare War" for the Yellow Player's Territory.

Again just some IDEAS... Figured it's 3:00 AM ... And if I FORGET... I almost did when I was awake in BED (I was going to get up and post about it ... And then I said no it's too late ... But then when I tried to gather my thoughts about the ideas ... I had forgotten them... Took me a couple minutes to re-think them) and voila I'm at the keyboard banging the ideas out ... So that you have other ideas to help with the DECK BUILDING aspect of the game.

Feel free to use, adapt or ignore these ideas ... I figured it would be great if although there was battles for Territory ... They needed a good "balancing mechanic" to ensure it's not ONLY continuous battles one after another... This adds some variation in that you need BOTH the meeple and the "right card" to engage an opposing player.

And you LEARN these techniques through diplomacy or Battle Tactics if you prefer... Cheers!

Stormyknight1976
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Awesome advice

Awesome advice Kristopher.

Here is something you all may know or not know about the AI movement. Here is the definition:

Quote: Morten Monrad Pedersen (user mortenmdk) has codified, named[1], and popularized the "automa" style of AI opponent, which allows games to be played solo while providing an experience similar to having human opponents.Jun 6, 2017.

This was copied from the internet and just sharing here.

It's called Automa game mechanic.

For the Torus:
I know of a game that uses the joystick/torus mini and it's called Canosa.

For more information about Canosa, check out board game geek and Facebook.
It might help you figure out if the torus Meeple is right for your game.

Keep up the great work everyone.
Bows respectively;

Jesse

Trepid
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balance

I am in agreement with you about a balancing mechanic so it's not continuous battle. When I mentioned constant tension I didn't necessarily mean constant battles. I just want that tension where you know it could be just a turn or two away that you could be attacked by one more more players + AI.

I really like all of your ideas and I have added them to consider along with all of mine. One more layer though...I am thinking of bringing back the use of chaos, harmony (unity) and coup (prestige). This was a design from the original work on this game that involved certain things that would happen depending on your own actions. Chaos is not necessarily evil, nor harmony is necessarily good. They are treated like a moral standing but one is not better that the other...just different. If you attack another player or AI that would be chaos. If you defend yourself that is harmony. You would obtain a higher or lower rank on your scoreboard/wheel. The weapons, skills, and hunting of certain animals is entirely dependent on not only your skills in your hand but your chaos/unity standing.

Also, you would have a counting coup meter (or prestige points) that can be treated like bonus points that can cover the missing costs. An example would be that you need 6 chaos and 2 harmony to research an etched tomahawk but you only have 5 chaos and 1 harmony. You do have 2 coup which you could spend to complete that research but those 2 coup now are gone. You will acquire coup when you are successful at your action (if you attack and win or you try to defend/counter and win). You acquire nothing and lose a warrior if you lose the battle.

There could also be 2 meters: 1 chaos and 1 harmony. Each time you do something chaotic the chaos meter increases 1 and your harmony meter decreases 1. So you always have this balancing act. You can increase the margin between the two with your coup as well. For example, you have 6 chaos and 2 harmony but you are headed towards another player's territory. You know that there are more animals that have harmonious (or unified) stats so you spend some of your coup to widen the gap...so now you have 6 chaos and 4 harmony. Maybe perhaps when you lose an action your meter goes back down too. If you attack and lose you lose a chaos. If you defend and lose you lose a harmony. You would then have to spend coup or win an action to acquire some rank back.

One of the other members of these forums Tbone had mentioned using 4 different principles or guides as well: judgement peace, prosperity, and wisdom. You actions reflect which guides you will follow but that to me starts getting quite complicated and now you have the addition of more tokens and pieces on the board.

questccg
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Too much "Balance" can be frustrating too

What I mean that instead of an Chaos Action earning 1 Point and the opposite Harmony losing 1 point, maybe you could DOUBLE the successful Actions and only penalize the Balance 50%.

For example: A Successful Chaos Action earns you +2 Chaos Points and the side-effect is -1 Harmony Points.

This could be more user-friendly... The opposite for Harmony is true too: A Successful Harmony Action earns you +2 Harmony Points and the side-effect is -1 Chaos Points.

I think this sort of un-even BALANCE will be more GAME-FRIENDLY. Although I applaud the Action/Re-Action concept, I don't think an EXACT BALANCE will make the mechanic work as good in practice. I know in theory it sounds good but in practice it might be better to REWARD players than penalize them.

And yeah I know @Tbone too... He hasn't been around for almost 2 years.

I personally prefer YOUR idea: Chaos, Harmony and Coup. I like the "un-even balancing" (I proposed) and the Coup could be for every 3 Coup the leading side gains +1. And for every 1 Coup the lagging side gains +1.

So if Chaos = 6 and Harmony = 4. "3" Coup gives +1 Chaos and each "1" Coup up until 7 Harmony, gives +1 Harmony. So "3" Coup gives +3 Harmony. And then Harmony is AHEAD which means "3" Coup now only gives +1 Harmony and +1 Chaos for "2" Coup gives +2 Chaos...

Something like that... I personally LIKE this "Layer" Idea ... It means decisions have "consequences" which could be good or bad and every action has some kind of "re-action" too.

I'd go with your GUT. And personally I prefer your concept (for my taste)! But feel free to explore @Tbones ideas too!

questccg
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Another thing about your "Warriors"

To make the game LESS like "Smallworld" where all the units are the SAME, I would entertain the possibility of having multiple TOKENS for different units. It doesn't need to be dramatic ... And you can do it VERY SMARTLY.

Like for example, you define THREE (3) CLASSES of "Warriors". And then your Bears can be the Tanks and maybe White Wolves can Hybrid and Grey Owls can be Flying.

And you can VARY them per CLAN (per Player) too. So say this is a 4 or 5 Player game, you'd have either 12 or 15 Different units in the game.

That to me sounds SUPER exciting and that makes a distinction with "Smallworld".

Now I know your game is NOT like "Smallworld" ... But you Area Control Mechanic does feel a bit like it (or from what I understood).

If you add just a little bit of "flexibility" in units (like having 3 CLASSES) ... You'll make the game less "linear" and offer more interesting CHOICES (Strategic Depth) than "a" and "b" locations having the SAME actions to play.

I'm advocating this ... Because it not only increases the Strategic Depth it also adds much to Re-playability. "Smallworld" does a lot with their "RACES" and "TRAITS" to make armies that conquer the board... Having maybe "3" unique Units per PLAYER (with corresponding actions) could be something very interesting.

Again just something to think about. Cheers!

Trepid
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interesting

That's a very interesting concept. I hadn't planned anything 'fantasy' from the start. All of my animals were standard animals...different bears, wolves, snakes, coyote, vulture, hawks and eagles and owls, moose, bison, etc.

I am really liking the different classes and definitely going to put more thought into that. I used to make areas for MUD (specifically Aardwolf MUD) and every one of my areas was pretty realistic except for a few different races. I do however think each faction (player) having 3 different classes would be super cool. Lots more to think about! Thanks so much. I can't thank you enough for your time, ideas and other input...especially from someone that is so experienced with helping others from the countless projects you have seen.

questccg
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I try...

My only hope is for you to make a BETTER game in-the-end. So IF some of my ideas help you work-out other concepts/layers for YOUR game... Well that makes me happy to know that something I shared gives you a way to take your game to a higher level.

Like I always say, you can use, adapt or ignore the ideas I present. In many cases, designers have their OWN direction because they are closer to the design (and know the inner-workings more accurately) and so the second option "adaptation" is probably where more ideas go...

Of course some ideas just don't match the general direction of certain projects and that too is perfectly okay. Like I always say "YOU are the designer" ... You know what is best for YOUR game.

But sometimes getting fresh ideas can help and unlock other possibilities and improve the overall potential of the design. If it helps YOU figure out more ways to make a BETTER game... Well them my job is well done!

Cheers and please continue to share with us your progress and direction.

Trepid
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stalemate

What concerns me most now is hitting a stalemate again. I haven't been on in two years and this game is pretty much picking up where I left off. I stopped working on it for so long because there was so many possibilities and I couldn't make a decision. The big stonewall was the main objective and the movement/action. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned before 'how will you track which warrior has what'. That really bound me up and I became very frustrated with that and the objective of the game.

Hopefully with some new fresh ideas I can try to make sense of things more and hopefully get something else put together to at least test and see how it plays out. Fortunately my buddy is available and nearby and will be happy to test some things out. The issue is we don't see eye to eye on a lot of things. I recently heard from a friend who is VERY successful in business about how different personalities in business partners work very well. For example, he thinks in big picture and can see pretty far ahead and thinks in very large terms. His business partner however gets caught up in little details and doesn't think big picture at all. He said these two different perspectives in business work out quite well because then you get a whole package that is useful for solving many problems rather than having the same two sets of eyes looking at one issue.

So I guess my next step is probably spend a couple weeks thinking things over and reading this forum topic several times and get a feel for what works. Is there another game besides smallworld that you would recommend that is similar to what I am building? I wouldn't mind seeing a couple of similar mechanics being utilized which might trigger some more inspiration.

questccg
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Maybe other designers can respond???

Trepid wrote:
...Is there another game besides smallworld that you would recommend that is similar to what I am building? I wouldn't mind seeing a couple of similar mechanics being utilized which might trigger some more inspiration.

The other game I would look at is "Scythe" by Stonemaier Games. It's more explicit in that you have "Warriors" (Mechs) and "Workers" (Pawns) and they both do different actions. That would be another game to look at... Since unlike "Smallworld" where the "Conquering" Mechanic is the most important, Scythe is about Victory Points and optimal actions per turn. So while in "Smallworld" you are about controlling Territory (and getting points for the territory you own...), Scythe is a bit more varied in how you can collect the most Victory Points. And there are several ways to do so. I'm not a PRO Scythe player... I've just discussed the game on one occasion and it's about "optimizing" the actions you take each and every turn to score the MOST victory points on your turn.

Again your game is NOT about "victory points"... So in a way it is DIFFERENT than BOTH of these games. But how you go about in the MAP is sort of like "Smallworld" and a little like Scythe.

So maybe other Game Designer can respond with OTHER "Area Control", minor "Worker Placement" which are MAP-oriented games...? Cheers!

Note #1: I also forgot to mention, Scythe is NOT a "Combat" game. And I see this as a CLEAR differentiator between your game and Scythe. But that's why I mentioned "Smallworld" because it is about territory and sometimes skirmishes occur between the players. For the conversation I had about Scythe, usually the Mechs are put into play towards the near-end of the game when there is limited amount of "free" territory (and protecting your own workers).

This is VERY DIFFERENT from YOUR game... Which you want to ENCOURAGE battles and jockey-ing for land ownership. You very much WANT the combat mechanic to be used often and also early in the game.

Another major difference with Scythe. Cheers!

questccg
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Check out this URL/Link for more games

I found this Googling a bit:

https://brilliantmaps.com/strategy-board-games/

It's a list of the 28 Top MAP "Board Games" ... And maybe you can look at some of these and see what you LIKE and DISLIKE. Many of them use a LOT of pieces... Which I know you want to minimize in YOUR game. But this is an exhaustive list and you can BGG-search the ones you find the most interesting by their description (or board).

I haven't the effort (or stamina) to search through 28 different games. But if it's something YOU want to do to LEARN more about MAP board games... Well then I encourage you to READ and see which ones you want to check out on BGG and maybe Google "Tom Vasel" for the ones you really like.

Again it's something that may take a couple of hours to do... So it's not something that anyone would do... Unless it would be to their BENEFIT in that they are looking for ideas concerning certain MAP-Oriented games.

Hope that helps you out a bit more... Cheers!

Trepid
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Appreciated

Thanks very much. I'll check it out.

questccg
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Also ...

You may want to check-out "7 Wonders" and "Five Tribes" too... I found those in other lists and they may be closer to what you are looking for.

7 Wonders features "Card Drafting" as one of its primary mechanics. So this is definitely a game to look into ... For comparison to the other games that have a flavor of "Smallworld". Check this one out too...

The interesting part about "Five Tribes" is FOUR (4) players control FIVE (5) Tribes (per the description and what I found). This is sort-of like the AI player or that FIFTH (5th) Tribe you control to your opponent's detriment...

Lastly "Smallworld" was modeled after "Vinci" another earlier Board Game. The 2009 version of "Vinci" was re-worked and offers similar feel to "Smallworld" but is set in Medieval Europe. People often compare the two games as they are very similar.

That's all I got for now... Cheers!

terzamossa
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Thanks for your comment Kristopher,

Thanks for your comment Kristopher, happy to be of any help :) I'll post something on my KS at some point soon, aiming for October and things are going pretty good I think!

On the topic at hand:
I skimmed at medium speed through the whole thread and I do like several of the ideas bouncing back and forth here! Good point Kristopher on how to balance harmony/chaos etc! Trepid, I am not sure I understood how you are planning on using them? Would they lead to different winning conditions? I guess this would be quite cool, with some players focusing on getting harmony, so if they are attacked all the time you are actually helping them (which avoids a poor person to become the default target of everybody)

Although I like the idea of quality over quantity of troops, consider how hard this may be for new players. While 2 units are intuitively double as strong as 1, a red one over a black is...I'll check the rulebook! It's fine of course, it just depends what kind of involvement you want from players and how many other rules they need to learn.

On the wolves etc being attached to troops, I would be careful: As in your game there are no dice, combat risks of turning into a math exercise. What breaks the balance, is that the other players cannot know which card you will play to support your troops (e.g. it is 2 warriors against 1, but the person with 2 warriors is playing the "little bird with attack 1" and the one with 1 warrior is playing "the bear, attack 3", and wins, standing ovation, everybody is shocked) If everybody already knows where the bear and the little bird are, you need something else to add unexpected outcomes, which is fine but again, make sure you are just not overcomplicating things that worked fine.

Finally, what is your main mechanics with cards? I am not an expert in deck building at all, but I find very weird when you just draw cards and can use them all. I think it removes the pleasure of choosing how to play.

questccg
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Just some other ideas...

terzamossa wrote:
Thanks for your comment Kristopher, happy to be of any help :) I'll post something on my KS at some point soon, aiming for October and things are going pretty good I think!

Fair enough. I had a KS slated for September too... And I'm thinking October may be a better date too... We'll see, I am still missing some quote information (for the boxes).

terzamossa wrote:
Although I like the idea of quality over quantity of troops, consider how hard this may be for new players. While 2 units are intuitively double as strong as 1, a red one over a black is...I'll check the rulebook!

I think this is why he has a Deck of Drafted Cards. From his initial thoughts, a unit "A" and a unit "B" in two different locations could use the SAME cards. There was no differentiating factor. That's kind of why I suggested like three (3) CLASSES of "Warriors" and Class 1 could only use Level 1 cards and Class 2 could use BOTH Level 1 & 2, leaving Class 3 to be able to use ANY cards (or all the cards - if you prefer).

terzamossa wrote:
Finally, what is your main mechanics with cards? I am not an expert in deck building at all, but I find very weird when you just draw cards and can use them all. I think it removes the pleasure of choosing how to play.

Note that I suggested CLASSES for the Units/Warriors such that there is some DECISION making with the cards... Will I play a Level 3 card or should I player a Level 2 and save the Level 3??? This introduces a better decision mechanic as to WHAT you should do. If you limit your Hand to five (5) cards, there should be NO analysis-paralysis... Making the Hand a bit bigger (think 6+) could lead to more analysis and maybe a risk of paralysis in that there might be too many cards to choose from.

But I agree too (although I don't think it's "weird") I think it would be too open and too VANILLA in terms of drawing cards. Then all it becomes is LUCK of drawing the BEST cards for the right situation. With CLASSES it becomes MORE "strategic" it that you have more OPTIONS of figuring out which cards to play when.

Even though there is LUCK when drawing cards, if you can KEEP cards between TURNS ... That would mean a significant STRATEGY mechanic in that you can SAVE cards (powerful ones) for when you really NEED them.

Again this is just me sharing my thoughts... Feel free to use, adapt or ignore these suggestions. I, personally, think they can improve the game's overall strategic footprint... But that is my personal opinion. You as the Game's Designer need to figure out what works best for YOU!

Cheers all!

Trepid
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keeping cards

Yes, you can choose to keep as many cards in your hand as you want. Can you explain what you mean by being too vanilla? I do like the classes idea and thinking of doing the rings on the joysticks idea to represent class. There is also the aspect of animal class. I have the animals in a rank of 4, with most of the smaller animals (rabbit, king snake, ground hog...mostly determined by size) being rank 1, biggest most dangerous animals are ranked 4 (moose, grizzly bear). I was thinking of having the hunt spaces on the board using colored borders to represent what rank animals can be hunted there (blue and yellow means you will find both rank 2 and 3 here, red only will be rank 4, white is rank 1).

questccg
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Sure ... let me explain what I meant

Trepid wrote:
Yes, you can choose to keep as many cards in your hand as you want. Can you explain what you mean by being too vanilla?

What I was talking about being "too vanilla" is ALL Warriors being able to use ALL cards without any restrictions. That to me reminds me a lot of "Smallworld". I remember telling you that by your "explanation" this felt very similar to that game.

Trepid wrote:
I do like the classes idea and thinking of doing the rings on the joysticks idea to represent class.

You could also use Chits with a Symbol (Like a Bear Paw or Owl Feather, etc.) and include a Level value (1, 2 or 3). This way you don't need to memorize anything: you see at a glance of all your Warriors in play which ones are Level 1 and which are Level 3. You can place the value in the Bottom-Right corner of the chit.

Trepid wrote:
There is also the aspect of animal class. I have the animals in a rank of 4, with most of the smaller animals (rabbit, king snake, ground hog...mostly determined by size) being rank 1, biggest most dangerous animals are ranked 4 (moose, grizzly bear). I was thinking of having the hunt spaces on the board using colored borders to represent what rank animals can be hunted there (blue and yellow means you will find both rank 2 and 3 here, red only will be rank 4, white is rank 1).

Whether it's 3 Levels or 4... That is for you to formalize. I'm just explaining the "principle". Again instead of colors and rings, you can use square chits (so that you can specify the level in the bottom-right hand corner). So you would have values 1 to 4.

I personally think it would be best using chits over the Joystick/Ring method... Because it's EASIER to "comprehend". 4 = 4, 3 = 3, etc. Whereas White = 1??? And Red = 4???

So you have to have COLORED "chits" ... No worries. Like 20 chits per player, five (5) of each value (1 to 4). And COLOR represents the PLAYER's Warriors. That feels more clean (at least to me).

I must admit this is all sounding very cool. I'm upset that someone in 2021 beat me to the name of "SHAMAN"... Because your game seems to have a LINK to nature and animals ... I was thinking some kind of Native American theme. Oh well... Too bad for "SHAMAN"!

BTW what's the NAME of the game (WIP or future name)???

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