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New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

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Anonymous

Hello everyone,

Anonymous
And I've screwed up my first post :P

...ahem...
So, I joined this forum after having read about it on the Yahoo! Board Game Design group. People there have given me some advice on this game concept:

The game is based around players trying to get a contract from a major theme park company. The deal is that the big company (7.5 Flags, Kings Ithsmus or whatever) is going to fund that park under the companies name, and YOU will remain manager of the park. This would turn your little carnival into a huge source of profit, so naturally, several other groups are interested as well. The game is set on a board of hexes in seven vertical rows of four hexes, representing available land. During the game, players advertise to attract one of the major audiences to their park (Families, Businessmen, Tourists, etc). At the beginning of each players turn, they roll two special dice that represent the guests that will visit a park that turn. Whoever controls those audiences wins the guests. Facilities can be built to prolong their stay (whenever a guest enters the park, two special dice are rolled: one representing 'patience' or how far they are willing to walk to reach their destination, and the other representing 'needs' with faces representing attractions, bathrooms, stores, and restaurants. If they cannot reach their goal without exceeding their patience, they become dissatisfied, and if they cannot reach their goal at all, they leave. If they reach their goal in time, they are satisfied (or become normal if they were dissatisfied before) and remain in your park for the next turn. At the end of the turn you collect points for each satisfied guest you have) , and the more satisfied they are when they leave (guests that are satisfied for three turns leave, attracting two more guests of the same type), the more likely they will attract another guest through word of mouth. All the bidding, construction, etc is hidden until the beginning of a round (a la Samurai Swords or Shogun).

The major advice I was given when I posted this idea in the group is that it is similar to a card game called "Scream Machine". I was wondering, does it sound too similar?

(EDITED: Added the 'patience/needs' and 'satisfaction' rules. I put them here so others who started the thread could read them. They are underlined for your convenience :) )

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

At the high level at which you described the game, I think it's virtually identical. (EDIT I missed the bit about the hexes; I think they're still pretty close conceptually, but yours may take the theme in a different direction even within the same goal structure) But of course, depending on the specific mechanics and systems that you choose, they could end up being different (though the similarity in thematic concept could make marketing your game tough...)

I haven't played Scream Machine yet, but the designer, Joe Huber, is a member here (Joe_Huber). Your best bet is probably to look up the game at www.boardgamegeek.com and read the rules for yourselves. Certainly, there's room for another amusement park-themed game in the world, but you don't want to reinvent the wheel if you can help it! You might also look at Roller Coaster Tycoon, a more mass-market game but one with some cute ideas (from what I've read about it).

Good luck with your design!

-Jeff

Anonymous
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

That's what I thought... I really like the theme though... I think I will try to focus more of the land-grabbing aspect, since in the limited playtests I've done so far, blocking of your oppenent seems to be an effective strategy. Thanks!

P.S. Wow, I wasn't really expecting such a quick response! :D

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
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Joined: 07/21/2008
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

Actually, having played Scream Machine, I don't think your game sounds like it at all. Of course the theme is similar- you have an amusement park and you try to win over various categories of patrons...

But yours sounds like it's got some real estate and business aspects to it, while Scream Machine was sort of a simple "play cards, see who has the most cards in each category" type of thing.

- Seth

Anonymous
Re: whatever my message topic was

Yeah, most of the similarities people seem to be seeing are in the way guests are attracted to the park... Also in the advertising being used as a method of attracting guests. I figured out the way I'm gonna make the guests work once they are in your park (they are not just gonna give you a VP, you have to make them happy), involving patience (how far they are willing to walk) and a 'wants' die (including the facilities and a smiley face indicating 'an enjoyable ride'). Through good design, you could keep guests in your park for several turns, giving you more money. I do see the similarities, but I think this is different enough, probably.
Thanks

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

Another game you might want to look at is ZooSim, even though it is about constructing a zoo and not an amusement park. It's main mechanics are closed fist bidding and tile placement.

According to the blurb on the BGG: "As a zoo manager you construct your own zoo to attract visitors into your zoo. Visitors are attracted by large zoo areas for certain types of animals. But don't forget to place the paths in your zoo so that visitors can walk loops through your zoo. Visitors also like many trees in a zoo. "

- René Wiersma

Nazhuret
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

what about the freaky clowns? does it have freaky clowns? if it doesn't have freaky clowns you should put some freaky clowns in there....

i'd buy it then

man...

those clowns....

they're freaky!

Scurra
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Joined: 09/11/2008
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

I must admit that I thought it sounded more like ZooSim (or O Zoo Le Mio under the reprint name) than Scream Machine. In ZooSim you build your own park however, so there's no direct interference with other players which makes some sense: those sort of attractions don't generally get built right next door to one another - at least not outside of Florida and/or California at least :)

Anonymous
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

I just want to thank you all for your help on this so far. This game has made more progress in the last day and a half than it has in quite a while...

Anonymous
Clowns

Oh and Nazhuret...

Yes, the game now does have somewhat freaky clowns. Buy it now. :P

Actually it has entertainers, some of which are illustrated as clowns. They prevent ussatisfied guests from leaving the park by blocking off the escape route... hehheh, kinda evokes a funny picture... huge lines of clowns preventing families from leaving the park...

Nazhuret
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

(in the mode of Mr. Burns)

Eeexcelent.... :twisted:

Joe_Huber
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

Sorry for my delay in replying - I was pleasantly occupied playing games last week, and managed to avoid the net for the whole of it... :)

I don't believe what you've described feels much like Scream Machine; hard to say without absolute certainty without playing it - oftentimes dissimilar games will have a similar feel - but I don't see any reason to suspect a problem.

FWIW, I believe there's plenty of room for amusement park-themed games; I've designed one other, have ideas for three more, and have played one other prototype (in addition to Roller Coaster Tycoon, which I agree you should also take a look at).

Joe

Anonymous
Victory Conditions

Umm...
Here's my thoughts...
VP gained through awards listed in rules (Most facilitites of each type, most rides appealing to each audience, etc.)
VP gained through guests (Attracting large numbers of difficult to please guests, such as Thrill-seekers and Businessmen, gives you VPs)
VP for having satisfied guests of each type in the park at once (1 VP for one of each, 4 VP for two of each which should never happen under the rules right now unless someone was somehow ridiculously wealthy)

Also, the needs dice has left the game in favor of beneficial effects from facilities: Adding patience, bringing in money. Now all guests have to do to be satisfied is end their move on an appealing ride. A guest cannot change direction or land on the same ride on the next turn. I see now that it would be easy for a guest to get "locked" in between two rides, just going back and forth... I need some way to fix this that does not involve a heap of counters. Maybe all guests move, then satisfied guests move again on the same turn and all guests are removed at the end? That might work...

Anyway, any help with this stuff would be great. Until next time...

Who is Driving? Oh my GOD, BEAR IS DRIVING!!! How can that be!?!?

Anonymous
Who is driving? OMG BID HCTB!!!

Here, some more stuff:

To increase player interaction (the basic interactions were claiming land and auctioning audiences) I have added a new event card type: the Award card. These have time limits on them, and whoever reaches the goal within the time limit (such as building a specific ride or acheiving a number of guests) or is the leader at the end of the limit (such as having the most thrill rides) wins the card and the VP. Multiple contests can be in play at once.

Anonymous
New designer needs advice on Amusement Park-themed game

Ok, here's what I need now:

Mechanic to keep guest pawns from using the same attraction more than once. I've tried one-way paths, but loops can still be built that trap guests and rake in the money, and this shouldn't happen. Since there can be quite a few guest pawns in play at one time, counters are out of the question. Basically, here's the way it works now:

There are three turns (Spring, Summer, Autumn) and a WInter in each cycle. At this point, guests generated in the first turn move along one length of path to the first ride they encounter (the player controls the movement at forks in the path). If they like that ride, they remain on it until the next turn. (this doesn't mean the same guest actually stays in your park for a season, but represents return visits and word of mouth advertising). Each turn, the guests furthest from your entrance move first, then the next, then the next, followed by the guests that just entered your park. At the end of autumn, you score 1 VP for each guest in your park. Guests cannot move from a ride to a ride closer to the entrance. (I don't like this because it is possible to shuttle a guest back and forth on two rides equally far from the entracne, scoring you a lot of cash if you place a store on that path.) All guests are removed from the park during winter, and some rides 'close' (you have to pay a fee to reopen them for use).

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