Skip to Content

Suggestions needed for voting mechanism

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

This is my first post and I will try to keep it clear. Please comment on how I can improve my posting.

I am working on my very first game. I have a large part of the design in my head, and a small amount on paper and cardboard. I am kinda stumped on one part that I think will be a key element. Let me describe the basics and my roadblock.

The game is themed around the gangs of Chicago and prohibition. The board consists of a street map, creating two overlaping play areas. A grid of streets and intersections, and a grid of buildings. Each player controls one Gangster that moves from building to building, establishing progessively more profitable enterprises themed in 4 vices. Example: The "Gambling" vice has Bookie, Card Room, Off-Track betting, and Casino. Their movement is limited by the Cops. The cops stand in intersections and look down the strees in all directions, essentially creating an impassable barrier. A player cannot cross the view of a neutral or opponent's cop. If a gangster maneuvers into a building adjacent to a cop, they can put that cop on their payroll and now can cross the street. Players can move cops on their payroll to different intersections, making it easier to move and harder for their opponents. Several other rules apply including converting opponents cops, stealing businesses, vice monopolies, and much more, but here is where I get stuck.

I really want to have a feature of politics, power, voting, negotiating, backstabbing... I like the ability of weaker players to gang up on the stronger to change the rules a little. I like having rules develop throughout the game, but have the pace and order change based on player involvement and decisions.

Some of the ideas I have for things to vote on are:

Legalize a vice - makes all businesses in that vice less profitable
Vice specific crackdown - lose certain businesses
Taxes - the great financial equalizer
Internal affairs crackdown - mess with players' cops or their salaries
Elected offices - bonuses or salaries

Any thoughts on the following suggestions or new ones?
1. The weakest player pickes the ballot measure to vote on.
2. Players donate money to promote a ballot measure. When it has accumulated its determined amount, it goes to a vote.
3. Deck of cards with all the ballot measure. Shuffle. Flip them over one at a time (my least favorite)
4. How do I determine who gets how many votes?
5. Rotating position of power that grants the right to chose ballot measures.

I guess I have not found an idea that makes me excited so I am looking for more. Any suggestions or thoughts are great.

Hedge-o-Matic's picture
Joined: 07/30/2008
Suggestions needed for voting mechanism

Hi and welcome!

These are good ideas, and it great theme for a game. For your first game, you've got a pretty solid foundation, I'd say.

The main challenge I see in your voting mechanism is that it's slightly off-theme. This is why you may be having implementation problems. Gangsters are all about might making right, and the powerful take what they want. The opinions of the weak are not valued. This makes your voting mechanism awkward.

It could be that there could be a measure of competition between gangs, but that there's an unspoken "law of the street" that gives the gangs a tighter grip on one or another vice. The gangs "play nice" for a while, muscling in on each others territories a bit, but not enough to upset the status quo. This is the period of maximum financial gain.

When the infringment becomes more than any player can bear, the game can set aside the voting mechanism. This happens when one player decides to wack someone from another organization, or torch a rival casino, or put a hit on the conciliere. Perhaps the first player to break the peace pays a price, but will accept that to get the blood flowing. During this time, income is severly curtailed, and there will be a more open war in the streets. But the pressures of lost revenue will impel the players to re-establish peace, returning the players to the lucerative "soft" competition mode, including voting.

Just a thought. My advice would be to watch the "Godfather" movies a couple of dozen more times. It's all in there, really. Especially GFII.

Joined: 07/22/2008
Re: Suggestions needed for voting mechanism

Hambone wrote:
I really want to have a feature of politics, power, voting, negotiating, backstabbing... I like the ability of weaker players to gang up on the stronger to change the rules a little.

Perhaps the media would come in handy here. When the media's interest gets high enough, it investigates and "forces the issue" on the public which then demands that some action be taken. Here are some ideas:

Whenever the active player accomplishes something significant (or maybe just relevent) have him place an "evidence" token in the media. When the mounting evidence reaches a threshold amount (maybe when a player's evidence supply is exhausted), begin an investigation. Perhaps the player contributing the least amount of evidence gets to choose what is investigated and what the public wants to do about it. Maybe that player also gets the most heavily weighted vote. After each investigation, reset the evidence.

You might have "media trails" (hot on the trail?) for each issue you'd like to vote on -- a numbered track representing the media's interest in a given issue. Perhaps the active player gets to move a meter either up or down on his turn. Once an investigation is triggered, let the triggering player determine the specifics of the issue (like which vice gets taxed). Let the players weight their votes by "spending" some number of evidence/informants from a finite supply.

Or maybe have "investigation boxes" on the board somewhere to which players can deploy informants/evidence. Let players rearrange their evidence however they wish during the game. When enough evidence accumulates for one issue, the story breaks, etc. Weight votes by the quantity of informants/evidence in the box. After an investigation, the evidence is redistributed and that issue is not revisited during the game.

If you rigged it where the issue/effect always resulted in a vote of yes/no or a specific vice or a specific player, that might be good.

Joined: 12/31/1969
Suggestions needed for voting mechanism

I am so glad I found this site. These are great thoughts and will surely be a help to move my game along. Thanks for reminding me to keep with the theme. You both are giving me something to sleep on. I look forward to some intelligent thoughts that I can respond with. It takes me a long time to work up an outline and you'all contibute meaningful comments in a matter of hours. Thanks all.

a thought...

maybe the media element is a way for those behind in the game to try and catch up. As annonymous tips about certain cops add up, or maybe you can sacrifice something of your own to hurt another player that may be in the lead.

I guess it depends on how grand a game you want to make it. If it's mobster vs. mobster with police influence, or mobster vs. mobster vs. police vs. city hall or some combination of all of them.

I think the negotiation element minus voting might be more interesting. You "work together" with another player for as long as it benefits you, but then you have the paranoia of wondering if/when that player will backstab you.

Joined: 12/31/1969
Suggestions needed for voting mechanism

I appologize in advance for my thoughts bouncing all over the place and bringing in completely unrelated metaphors.

My latest thoughts are to have "thermometers" for each vice. Every time someone does something to advance a certain vice, the "evidence" builds closer to an investigation. The investigation, crackdown, or whatever, creates some hindering effect to either the person in the lead or everyone with assets in that specific vice.

It promotes a balanced development and keeps someone from getting too far ahead. One thing I enjoy in a game is keeping it competetive throughout the entire game. There is nothing worse than being so far behind in a game that you are just waiting out the end that seems to never come. I like rules that unfairly target the leader, within reason. It's just fun sometimes.

It also allows players to gang up on a strong player. Everyone needs to advance as far and as fast as they can, but they need to stop before they build up too much evidence. The other gansters can tip the scale by all tossing a few more straws on the camel's back.

I think I need to have a way to buy back your contibution to the evidence meter. There should be some way to reduce your "aggro" or exposure to the inevitable crackdown.

:idea: I just thought of a way to use cards. Each vice has a certain number of cards. Every time you start an illegal business or pay of a cop, you take a card from that vice. You can pay cash to return cards from your hand back to the deck. When the deck expires, the result is triggered. That result is based on the undisclosed message on the final card.
Example: Gambling Vice - Everone builds a bookie and takes a card. 3 players build a card room and each takes 2 cards. 2 people pay a fee to discard 1 card each. 2 players each build Off-track betting and take 3 cards. The final card reamains. The next person to build something takes the final card and discloses the result. The result of the last card could be one of the following.
The person with the most cards loses everything
The person with the least cards gets a bonus
Least cards is immune to crackdown/fines/loss of businesses
Person getting last card is immune
Person getting last card is target of investigation
everyone loses all assets in the vice

Because players can pay to discard, you need to keep track of how many cards are in the hand of others and you cannot tell by looking at the board. There may need to be a low number of cards and an inexpensive way to return them to the deck. The players can guess the likelyhood of the final reult by seeing what is in their hand and no longer in the deck. If they have lots of cards that would benefit them, they can predict the final result would not benefit them and therefore try to change their position in that vice or prevent the cards from running out. The bottom card would not change throughout the game, so even if they pay to return cards to the deck, it wouldn't alter the final card.

Man, this is therapeutic. I need to stop for a while. Feel free to add to my thoughts. Thanks all.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut