I'm working on a new game which involves moving groups of "survivors" on a partially destroyed map of the world. ("Doomsday" is its current title.) The main theme of the game is escaping imminent doom with the winner being the player with most survivors still on the map at the end of the game.
So, I've got most of the mechanics down pat... except the movement one. The important elements are that you can have survivors belonging to different players at the same location at the same time and that some of the territories are "devastated" - moving through them should be hazardous.
Also, I'd like to have something besides overland movement, for example airplanes which could take the survivors to safety quicker.. The main thrust of the game should be taking your folks to safety - so it's to be a "traveling" game with the challenge being taking your survivors to safe spots before the catastrophe strikes.
The map all this is happening on is basically a modified Risk board, but I'm also considering making it a "net of cities" one like in Pandemic, for example.
I've been thinking about all kinds of mechanics, from simple dice rolling to some kind of numbered cards or maybe Elfenland-style different transports for different routes but that wouldn't exactly work for modern world. When thinking about how the game should flow think the movie "2012" with various groups of survivors desperately trying to reach the only safe spot.
So, what do you guys think? Anyone know of an interesting "moving across the map of the world" mechanic i should look into?
I like the travel network of Pandemic mixed with the random-esque movement of Arkham Horror baddies. I'd try for something like giving each link between locations a color, and then each turn you roll a die for each color, with the die result determining the cost of travelling that route. The cost could be either how many movement points need to be spent to travel that link (if you allow for multiple links travelled per turn), or how many survivors can travel that link that turn (if they can only travel one link per turn).
For example, green paths could indicate relatively safe routes, where the die tends to result in low cost, high traffic (multiple survivors per turn), or few random encounters (hazard/enemy). Red paths could indicate dangerous routes with high cost/low traffic/many hazards. Yellow could be chancy (wildly different results), and Blue could be not random at all/protected (guaranteed safe, but only one survivor per turn). One fun option you get by seeing link disposition is that you can wait until after the players have decided which route to take before rolling for travel cost. Also, the expedited travel option can be as simple as allowing a group to skip several links of a specific type/color, or allowing one type/color of route to be temporarily treated as a different type/color.
If you take the option of limiting the number of survivors that can take a link on a turn, you have extra option of making players either have to share the link on a turn or contest to see who gets to use it.
What about a system similar to that proposed by akanucho, except that the players themselves are the ones that determine the "randomisation" of the different colored routes.
Say there are 3 different colored routes on the board joining a network of cities, and 3 corresponding colored boxes on the side of the board. There are 3 "difficulty" tokens and 3 "danger" tokens which are divided between the 3 colored boxes. The cost (e.g. in action points) of moving along a route is determined by the number of "difficulty" tokens on that color box. Similarly if you move on a route with a "danger" token you face some kind of danger (roll a die, draw a card from the Event deck, or whatever mechanic you have for danger).
Each turn the active player can move 1 of the tokens to a different color before moving his pawns. Naturally players will try to allocate the tokens so as to benefit their own pawns and hinder their opponents, and that is where the fun is. It is also a natural catch-up mechanic as players ensure that the paths near the leader's pawn(s) will be more difficult.
"When thinking about how the game should flow think the movie "2012" with various groups of survivors desperately trying to reach the only safe spot."
- In a postapocalyptic world, I think means of transportation like motorcycles (especially off-roaders), boats and even bicycles and the like, are pretty much the only ways "to get there faster". Roads will (in 90% of cases) be blocked by abandoned cars, so even a bicycle is more valuable. Air balloons might also work. Trains and airplanes as well, as long as one in the traveling group knows how to operate them.
Did you consider the psycological factors? Like in a postapocalyptic world, people will act very different than in a "normal" world fx. more likely to join a gang of "criminals", looting, stealing, murdering to keep themselves alive, or maybe even groups will turn to cannibalism, should foodreserves run extremely low etc. There should be tons of inspiration in this reguard from almost any postapocalyptic movie/TV-series.