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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

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sedjtroll
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I posted a Journal entry with a crude draft of rules for the game I made out of the Stagecoach mechanic (which was born of Nando's discussion of jwarrend's Caravan discussion in this thread.)

Let me know what you think. I wish it were organized a little better, but I think it gets the point across. I'm sure it will get cleaned up over time, as this looks like something I'll actually make a prototype of and give a try.

- Seth

I made a MAP for the game! I think the Route markers will start randomly distributed between towns 2, 3, and 4, with the 4th marker starting at the mine. I thin kI forgot to mention it in the rules, but the 4th marker just bounces from the Mine to the Bank and back, it never goes to a town.

DSfan
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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

Hi Jeff,

Just looked over your stagecoach game, very nice. I (personally) don't see a lot of old west game arounds, and I like the change. It also sounds like it would run smoothly and not be very complicated.

I see that no one has playtested it, if you want I would be glad to.

I would also like to note that your link doesn't work (You have to add a www). I think you did that before...

-Justin

Nando
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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

Goldhounds of El Dorado County

sedjtroll
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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

DSfan wrote:
Hi Jeff,

I take it you mean Seth ;)

Quote:
Just looked over your stagecoach game, very nice. I (personally) don't see a lot of old west game arounds, and I like the change. It also sounds like it would run smoothly and not be very complicated.

Glad you like it.

Quote:
I see that no one has playtested it, if you want I would be glad to.

You can feel free. I just was putting a prototype together last night, I just need to make some sort of town indicator- something to secretly determine which town the outlaw is in which can be revealed to show the location. Maybe I'll just make sets of Town cards for each player, like for the roads. That's 28 more cards, but it's probably easier than the little pinwheel things like El Grande or Pirates Cove has.

Quote:
I would also like to note that your link doesn't work (You have to add a www).

Hmm... that's odd, it works for me.

Thanks for checking it out. Let me know if you make a prototype and I';ll discuss the rules with you (via PM or chat) to make sure they're clear and up to date.

- Seth

sedjtroll
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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

I discussed possible names for this game last night with Nando and Rick-Holzgrafe, and we didn't come up with much...

Nando wrote:
Goldhounds of El Dorado County

This isn't terrible. The front runners from alst night were:
Outlaw(s)
Banditos (taken)
West was Won or How the West was Won
The Lawless West
Lost Dutchman's Mine
The Legend of Curly's Gold <-- or maybe change it so it doesn't sound like it's based on City Slickers.

Anyone think of a better name?

- Seth

sedjtroll
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Map for Stagecoach game

I made a MAP for your viewing pleasure. The first three Route markers will probably start out randmly distributed to towns 2, 3, and 4. The last one will start on the Mine.

I thinhk I forgot to mention it, but the last marker just bounces from the Mine to the Bank and back, it never ends up on a town.

jwarrend
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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

I had a chance to read through the rules quickly, and I think I followed them. It seems like you have some good ideas, but at present it seems like a classic case of Too Much Going On (TM), which is appropriate for a 0.1 version rulebook. I feel like you've tried to include every wild west motif you could think of, and you've got a lot of whittling to do.

Having said that, I'm going to suggest even more motifs! There isn't currently an element of "shootouts". Maybe each player has a "gunslinger" who is particularly good at shootouts. Maybe each town reaching some critical mass of "dudes" results in a shootout, and having your gunslinger present helps your chances of winning shootouts.

The stagecoach bears little resemblence to the caravan concept (and there's nothing wrong with that!) In Sands, the caravan was meant to be a way to permit players to interact, whereas in your game, it's used more to define where they are able to act, a la El Grande or Hansa. It's kind of like the inverse of El Grande -- instead of the King telling you where you CAN'T act, the Stage tells you where you CAN.

I think the similarities to games like El Grande and Carolus Magnus are a bit too overt. In particular, the provinces/yard mechanic from El Grande is out of place here, and really only serves the purpose of signalling to the player, "yes, the designer has played El Grande, and is conciously borrowing from that extremely popular game".

I might also consider an expanded role for the sheriff whereby he tries to "chase down" players who ambush the stage coach, and if he finds their hideout (however that happens), something bad happens to the player (or something good happens to the player who moves the sheriff into the hideout), kind of like the "guess the traitor" mechanic in Disciples.

I'd also consider reenvisioning the whole stagecoach mechanic. The idea could be that the stagecoach is collecting gold from the saloons to bring to the bank, so as it gets closer to the bank, it fills up more and more, making it more attractive to ambush. Building the game around ambushing the stagecoach, and trying to get the loot to your hideout without getting caught by the sheriff, could make for a very unique and interesting game. I think a bigger scope game like what you've currently got could work as well, but it feels to me that the biggest problem in the design currently is that the player's identity in the game is not well specified, and the result feels like a hodge-podge of mechanics and thematic elements. Defining precisely what the players are supposed to represent will help you craft a coherent set of mechanics and hopefully carve out a more unique niche for the game.

Good luck!

-Jeff

sedjtroll
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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

Regarding shootouts, while they are definitely thematic, unless I can think of a good game reason to have them in they don't seem to fit in the game system. Maybe it could be a way to remove other peoples Dudes from the board... you challenge them to a shootout. I don't know how that would work exactly- maybe you can reveal your Outlaw's location and he challenges some player's Dude to a shootout. Obviously the Outlaw wins, so the Dude goes off the baord (and back to the hideout, even though he's technically dead). In other words, as an action you can remove a Dude in the town where your Outlaw is. I guess that could work.

Jeff brings up another good point. The Hideout/Playmat mirror of El Grande's Province/Court mechanic doesn't add anything thematically at all. I like the 'scarcity' issue in El Grande though that you have to recruit Caballeros to your court before you can play them to the board, making it not always possible to just play guys to the board.

Is there another way to go about that? I had the same question with my Chasing Tail showdown entry in which I had players somehow EARN dogs to be placed on the board.

It just seems like always having guys to place is sorta boring. But perhaps if you had to use an action for each guy you want to place- and you can only place them where the Stagecoach is- and there are other things you want to do with your LIMITED number of actions as well (move guys around, holdups) then maybe that's ok. This would mean deleting the Recruit action and having Dudes go directly from your Hideout into towns (or roads I guess).

One more issue regarding Dueds in roads, waiting to Ambush... what if a player wants to move one back to a town? Should they get to move them directly to any town they want? If so it would be 2 actions to teleport across the board, vs 1 action to move to an adjacent town. My other thought is to make them move to the Town Selector, and then you can only move Dudes from the town selector to the selected town at the beginning of the turn (though of course you select the town when you put them there)

Finally, one other idea might be to only allow Dudes to move from towns to the ADJACENT roads. In that caseI would think a hidden placement would be in order. Say you have a bin for each road, so you can see when a Dude ENTERS that bin, but you can't count how many dudes are in that bin... that might make Ambushes still be interesting. I know some people (Jeff?) aren't a big fan of hidden but trackable information, but remember that people would have about 13 bins each, and Dudes would move in and out of them all the time. I think there would be enough transactions in that case that people wouldn't bother keeping track (as opposed to El Grande where it's relatively easy to remember how many guys are in the Castillo if you try).

Thanks for the comments,
- Seth

P.S. I wonder if the towns shouldn't start with some gold on them. That might make the game a little more exciting.I don't see this game having any kind of "story arc".

sedjtroll
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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

Journal has been updated to clarify the Ambush rules. I also took Jeff's advice and removed the Recruit action and even added a Shootout action.

The idea here is to give you all kinds of things to do with your actions, and then to only give you 3 actions a turn, presumably fewer than you'd really like to have.

- Seth

sedjtroll
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Spice up the early game

Perhaps instead of players starting with 2 Dudes in a single town, and having a turn order effect involved in placing them, what about using the Town Selector to simulaneously place 2 dudes, then a second round to place 1 more Dude...

Furthermore, perhaps the towns should start with some gold chits on them.

Wouldn't that spice up the early game a bit?

- Seth

sedjtroll
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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

It appears I reply a bunch of times to my own message... is that good or bad?

What I wanted to say is that I'd like this game to have a more upbeat, actiony feel to it than El Grande, but to maintain some of the strategic depth of that game. It could easily be argued that this is an El Grande knockoff, but that's not so much my concern. It's supposed to be like El grande, only more "fun" or themed... to appeal to a wider variety of gamers.

Frankly, if it played just like El Grande, but was lighter and more thematic, then I'd be happy.

- Seth

jwarrend
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Stagecoach game... almost done. Comments?

Here's an idea I had today for a more restricted version that changes the game from an area majority/pick up and deliver to a press your luck/deduction game.

The board would have a bunch of towns and a "city" which contains a bank. The stagecoach travels around the board, visiting the towns and picking up gold (from the saloons, or whatever). When the stagecoach visits the bank, it unloads.

However, while the stagecoach is still traveling, players may choose to ambush the stagecoach. Each player has a hideout, and each hideout is connected by paths to some of the various towns (or routes between the towns), and you can only ambush if the stagecoach is reachable via a path from your hideout.

This means that ambushing the stagecoach gives some information about where your hideout is located. Therefore, there's a deduction element to the game whereby you are trying to figure out where the other players' hideouts are (and maybe there is some "sheriff" mechanic who can raid a hideout.

Perhaps when your hideout is discovered, the player who's currently the sheriff assembles a posse and there's a big shootout at your hideout. So you can spend your turns doing things related to ambushing stagecoaches, or strengthening your hideout so as to be able to withstand a shootout at the hideout.

It's clearly a different game than the one you're working on, but it could be interesting, and the main advantage, to me, is that it has a more restricted focus.

-Jeff

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