Skip to Content

poker, chess & an embarassment of riches [LONG]

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi all,

I have been browsing gameboardgeek for ages now off an on, and a thread I saw there directed me to this forum. I have a nascent idea for what I think is a ReallyCoolGame(TM), but am somewhat stuck as to how to narrow my ideas down and start working out some actual mechanics.

The idea is for a boardgame which combines:

(1) a 'chess style' movement and capture mechanic:
- potentially with a multiple sequential move mechanic, allowing the same piece to move and capture multiple times in each players move.
- Further, the possibility that a player may move more than one piece per turn, perhaps mediated by the mechanic below
- a non homegenous gameboard with some form of 'terrain' that affects play

The above ideas should result in a dynamic game difficult to analyse too many moves ahead - I want to focus on strategy, not tactics.

(2) a 'poker style' side game of hand management, betting and bluffing the outcome of which could potentially:
- affect the movement and capture abilities of the pieces on the board
- affect the points scored by events ocurring on the gameboard
- alter the gameboard itself in some way
- provide pieces for deployment to the main gameboard
- provides an element of non-determinism

Finally, some additional ideas and thoughts that I came up with (some of which probably need to be dropped so I can move forwards with this):

- Territory Control. the object of the game is to control territory on the gameboard. Once territory is won it can be defended by the deployment of pieces specific to defending safe enclaves.

- Retaliation. If a player is permitted to move multiple pieces multiple times per turn, allow the inactive player to make simple retalitory moves of limited scope. This is primarily to avoid an issues of downtime and/or feeling of helplessness during an opponents turn.

- Cardstock and aesthetics: I didn't like the idea of standard cards too much - it didn't seem to fit the aesthetic of a chesslike game. Then I had the idea of using a mah-jong set as cards - 144 tiles with 3 suits and plenty of special tiles which should provide plenty of flexibility.

- Analysis Paralysis: The main danger with this mish mash of ideas (apart from the obvious suggestion that it would be unplayable) is that it results in something so complex as to render meaningful choices impossible.

I've ordered the game design handbooks, and am reading the threads on this forum - I already found the doomtown CCG via another thread here, but in the meantime, anyone got _any_ advice or feedback???



Joined: 12/31/1969
poker, chess & an embarassment of riches [LONG]

Well, it's hard to give specific advice on this. It seems you have a bunch of ideas, and the direction of the design could still go a lot of ways. Some questions I always ask myself in the early stages of design:

- How does a player win the game?
- How does the game end?
- What does the turn structure look like?
- How do players interact?
- What are the interesting/tough decisions you want players to make?
- How do you create uncertainty in the game?

At first, keep it simple. You seem to have an idea for moving and capturing pieces, and a mechanic for card playing. Try to integrate these two mechanics, and then see if you need to add more mechanics. Also, think about how these mechanics fit into the turn structure.

If you are worried that a game might become too large, write down a list of components you think you will need for the game. Compare this with other similar existing games. This will give you an indication of whether the game becomes too large. A great variety of components often also means a lot of rules and a certain amount of fiddly-ness.

Joined: 12/31/1969
poker, chess & an embarassment of riches [LONG]

What's the most important thing in your game design, theme or mechanics? That is, do you want a game full of flavor, or a game with niffy mechanics?

The Star Wars games are full of flavor but (mostly) have horrible mechanics.

Reiner Knizia's games have fun and intriguing mechanics but the theme is glued on with scotch tape.

Once you decide which you want to be most important (note that a good theme doesn't mean crappy mechanics, only from which end you'll start the design) you've halved your initial design scope.

If you choose theme, then write the theme down into points and try to think what mechanic best reflects that part of the theme, and if you can use the same mechanic for different theme points.

If you choose mechanic then you'll have to pare it down again; what part of the game is most important, what will your players be doing the most, where will the main tension lie? Then you'll know, for example, whether you've got a boardgame with some hand management (like Risk) or a card game with some board elements (like, err, I'm stumped here help me out ;)).

Try to pare it down to binary choices - this or that - and you'll have an easier time making those choices. Having to choose between this or that or that or that or... is always harder.

Hope this helps a bit.

Joined: 12/31/1969
poker, chess & an embarassment of riches [LONG]

Thanks for the tips. Sometimes one needs to hear sensible simple suggestions such as these from someone else! Thinking about the answers to the questions above has definitely helped me get my ideas into focus.

In answer to whether it's theme or mechanics that are important, definitely the latter. What I do want to do is create a game with a wide strategic horizon and alot of depth. I guess that's more a catgory than a theme though.


Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut