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The Three Kingdoms: revisited

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sedjtroll
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A journal entry descibing my latest (not too recent) thougths on The Three Kingdoms can be found here. It's a tile placment game with a loose sort of Lord of the Rings theme where you have to promote and balance your three kingdoms - Elves, Dwarves, and Men- while opponents are doing the same, under the constant common threat of an Orc invasion.

That's the idea anyway, and with that much I'm happy. You can read the journal entry for waht I've got so far, but it needs a lot of work. The highlights are as follows:

You get followers in each race. Your Lord in each race has a military strength and a Political strength, measured by your followers in that race on the board or in your hand. You score by collecting sets of these followers and turning them in for Alliance tokens.

So you have to get followers of different types and then decide weather to hold them, play them to the board, or turn them into VPs.

More VPs are earned by fighting orcs and for controlling tiles of the various types (1 type for each race).

So here are the new thoughts I just had on this game, and I'd be happy to hear any ideas anyone else might have for implimenting these design guidelines I've mentioned.

Orc tile placement:
Rather than any of the fiddley mechanics I've thought of before, suppose there is a starting spot on the board for Orcs. Tiles could be drawn/played 1 per turn (a la Carcassonne), and when an Orc tile comes up you place it connected to the existing orc tiles and play again. Thus the Orc region grows and grows, eventually running into the other regions.

I think this might give players freedom to build up their kingdoms in the early game, but then build tension as space starts to run out.

This could work a couple different ways- one might be to have enough Orc tiles to cover the whole board (maybe more), have the orc tiles replace other tiles, and have the game end when the last orc tile comes out (kinda morbid). Anther idea could be the same, only orc tiles never get played where there are alliances (1 army of each race) on the board. Or have the orc tile NOT replce other tiles and just take up space on the board as they come out (and cause problems when they are adjacent to other tiles).

Political power:
Another idea I just had was this- and it makes the game less like Tigris & Euphrates (which could be either good or bad). Rather than each player having a lord of each race, have only 1 lord of each race, and have a track for each to show who is in control of that lord. Your choices would become holding your followers for scoring, playing them to the board to combat orcs, or 'spending' them to gain control of the lord of that race. The lord in control would do things like move armies of that race around the board, maybe get followers when tiles are placed, something like that.

Getting Followers:
I'm still not sure what the best way to go about distributing followers should be. It ought to be player driven, since position and scoring are directly related to followers. Also, since followers are sort of like a resource in this game it has to be possible to get them. I imagine it'd be tied into tile placement somehow.

One more odd idea:
Just thought of something a little off the wall. Instead of players jockying for control of each lord, each player could be 1st in charge of 1 lord, 2nd in charge of another, and 3rd in charge of a third. Then the game could have a round structure where on the Human round the player 1st in charge of Humans would play first and get benefits that round in the way of Human followers or something. Then the next round would be an elf round, where the turn order would be different and the 1st in charge of the elf lord would get the benefits, then there'd be a Dwarf round, etc.

This would limit the game to 3 players exactly, but it could be expanded to other races (1 per player). Imagine Puerto Rico where the Governer always gets the priveledge...

- Seth

jwarrend
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Re: The Three Kingdoms: revisited

sedjtroll wrote:

Rather than any of the fiddley mechanics I've thought of before, suppose there is a starting spot on the board for Orcs. Tiles could be drawn/played 1 per turn (a la Carcassonne), and when an Orc tile comes up you place it connected to the existing orc tiles and play again. Thus the Orc region grows and grows, eventually running into the other regions.

One thing I keep forgetting, and that you probably ought to mention, is that you're not envisioning placing tiles onto a "free form" board like Carcassonne, but rather a rigid board like Tigris and Euphrates.

Quote:

This could work a couple different ways- one might be to have enough Orc tiles to cover the whole board (maybe more), have the orc tiles replace other tiles, and have the game end when the last orc tile comes out (kinda morbid).

The former will feel like a lot of wasted componentry (maybe), and the latter will feel fiddly -- imagine playing Carcassonne and you have to keep removing and replacing tiles without disturbing the others. Probably the former is the better option of the two.

Quote:

Anther idea could be the same, only orc tiles never get played where there are alliances (1 army of each race) on the board. Or have the orc tile NOT replce other tiles and just take up space on the board as they come out (and cause problems when they are adjacent to other tiles).

I think before coming up with placement rules, it's important to first define the impact on the game that Orc tiles are supposed to have. Once you've done that, a logical placement rule will be easy to come up with.

Quote:

Rather than each player having a lord of each race, have only 1 lord of each race, and have a track for each to show who is in control of that lord. Your choices would become holding your followers for scoring, playing them to the board to combat orcs, or 'spending' them to gain control of the lord of that race.

I think this is a promising idea; certainly if you're going to have Lords influencing both militarism and politics, you need something like this to divorce the two. This feels very vaguely like Carolus Magnus, in which you must also balance "board power" with "political power", in the sense that you only have control over those pieces on the board for which you have majority control in your personal holdings. It's also a little bit like the Yard/Provinces aspect of El Grande, but the Yard in that game is more of a holding area, whereas you're investing it with some functionality.

Quote:

This would limit the game to 3 players exactly, but it could be expanded to other races (1 per player).

You could have more than three players, and just have additional, non-Lord options for the extra players. Perhaps one player is the "Uber lord" and can control all three races. Perhaps each player must spend a turn as the "Orc lord" and actively control the Orcs. Perhaps you just have to take an occasional turn where you're not a lord. It could still work.

I still have an overall difficulty in visualizing this game. I get that there are tiles indicating a certain race. There are also pieces representing those races, and there's also some way that you have control of specific pieces on the board. Can the pieces move? If so, how will you simultaneously indicate that "this piece is mine AND this piece is an elf"? With miniatures you could do this, I suppose, but perhaps you have something else in mind.

-Jeff

sedjtroll
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Re: The Three Kingdoms: revisited

jwarrend wrote:
One thing I keep forgetting, and that you probably ought to mention, is that you're not envisioning placing tiles onto a "free form" board like Carcassonne, but rather a rigid board like Tigris and Euphrates.

That's one of the first things I mentioned, which would be better? Most of the other ideas I have are based on a board like Tigris, so that's probably the best way to go.

Quote:
Seth wrote:

This could work a couple different ways- one might be to have enough Orc tiles to cover the whole board (maybe more), have the orc tiles replace other tiles, and have the game end when the last orc tile comes out (kinda morbid).

The former will feel like a lot of wasted componentry (maybe), and the latter will feel fiddly -- imagine playing Carcassonne and you have to keep removing and replacing tiles without disturbing the others. Probably the former is the better option of the two.

The quoted portion above was all one idea, and it was the first, so I'm not sure if you were referring to part of it as the former and part as the latter, or all of that as the former and something else as the latter, but either way:

The idea of replacing would mean you drop the Orc tile on top of the existing tile. In Zaiga's Gheos you can replace tiles and I quickly realized that it's much easier to stack them than physically remove the existing tile first.

As for wasted componentry, I don't think that's the case- if the idea is that the game goes on until orcs cover the board then there would have to be at least as many orc tiles as spaces on the board. More if it has to happen faster. I don't think this is the ideal solution though.

Quote:
before coming up with placement rules, it's important to first define the impact on the game that Orc tiles are supposed to have. Once you've done that, a logical placement rule will be easy to come up with.

The impact of the orcs is intended to be as follows:

1. Common threat/enemy of all players
2. Hinder "production" or "income" - thuis presenting a reasonable threat
3. Serve to usher in game end (and supply mounting tension over time) as the orc tiles take up space- or as tiles get 'infested' by orcs.
4. Supply an additional VP source for fighting off orcs.
5. Supply a possible cooperative aspect whereby players must/can cooperate to drive off orcs and share scoring when they do so.

Based on that, and how other parts of the game sound best, what would a good mechanic be for orc tile placement?

Quote:
sedjtroll wrote:

Rather than each player having a lord of each race, have only 1 lord of each race, and have a track for each to show who is in control of that lord. Your choices would become holding your followers for scoring, playing them to the board to combat orcs, or 'spending' them to gain control of the lord of that race.

I think this is a promising idea; certainly if you're going to have Lords influencing both militarism and politics, you need something like this to divorce the two.

My first thought was that the difference would be Military = followers on the board, and Political = followers in hand. The player with the Elf lord in a particular region controls the Elf armies in that region. You gain control of those armies by fighting the other player- either through military (external conflict in T&E) or Politically (Internal conflict in T&E).

In this other idea quoted above, the player in control of the Elf lord would control all elf armies on the board, and you would spend followers to gain control of the lord. You'd still have to commit followers to the board in order for anyone to control them.

Quote:
This feels very vaguely like Carolus Magnus, in which you must also balance "board power" with "political power", in the sense that you only have control over those pieces on the board for which you have majority control in your personal holdings.

I'm not familiar with that, but yes it sounds very similar.
Quote:
It's also a little bit like the Yard/Provinces aspect of El Grande, but the Yard in that game is more of a holding area, whereas you're investing it with some functionality.

Yes again.

Quote:
You could have more than three players, and just have additional, non-Lord options for the extra players. Perhaps one player is the "Uber lord" and can control all three races. Perhaps each player must spend a turn as the "Orc lord" and actively control the Orcs. Perhaps you just have to take an occasional turn where you're not a lord. It could still work.

All good ideas. I think that might not be the way to go overall, I hink the prior ideas sounded more promising overall. But still worth noting.

Quote:
I still have an overall difficulty in visualizing this game. I get that there are tiles indicating a certain race. There are also pieces representing those races, and there's also some way that you have control of specific pieces on the board. Can the pieces move?

I think the armies should be able to move, in order to drive orcs back.
Quote:
If so, how will you simultaneously indicate that "this piece is mine AND this piece is an elf"?

So far the idea is that the Elf tokens would simply be green, and they are not owned perse but controlled by the player with the lord in the region (or now the player with control of the elf lord). There would be one supply of Elf tokens, you'd take them as followers (your own holdings), and once on the board they are not owned.

Quote:
With miniatures you could do this, I suppose, but perhaps you have something else in mind.

Was my description above more clear?

Thanks for the comments, they were helpful... but there's more to figure out... any further comments on my clarifications are welcome!

- Seth

sedjtroll
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The Three Kingdoms: revisited

Does anyone think this idea is worth puttng into the GDW?

- Seth

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