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Tracking conventions.

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Anonymous

I posted a game to the GDW a while back. Treasure Castle.

I'm currently in the process of completely reworking the game.

I have a couple ideas for keeping track of things, but I just wanting opinions on whether or not they're too complicated.

The original game had each player choosing a theif they're representing. Now, each player is assembling a team of 3 theives. Each theif has a corresponding card with attributes and information etc.

Now, each player gets three pawns. At first I had thought that the values of each theif just added to a "globaL" total. For instace, say these thiefs had a trap skill. To determine the trap skill the player will use, you simple total up all three theives. Therefore you wouldn't have to keep track of which pawn is which theif.

However, I'm starting to see why keeping accurate track of which is which is going to be necessary. So I decided each player will get a pawn marked A, B, and C.

Now, each player arranges their theif cards in front of them from left to right. The left being A, middle being B, and right being C. Is this sufficient without any further markers? I personally think it works fine, but not everyone is me :P

The second is the laying of traps. I originally had each player own a set of trap tiles, but I wanted more of strategy in placing and choosing of trap tiles.

Now each player has a small screen, so they can pick and choose their sets of traps, but keep them hidden from everyone else. So the key will be to remember who has what traps, etc.

Anyway, one of the traps (possibly more as I get further into this) is a "catapult" type thing. When it's sprun, it will move the victim one space in the direction of the arrow. When I had the tile placed face down at first, then there was a possibility the alignment changes when it's flipped. Something that would cause argument, or even unscrupulous play. So I made it so players place an ownership marker on top of the tile then place it. That way the ownership marker can just be taken off and the alignment stays what was intended (unless the player messes it up, but that's why I gave them a screen).

Do games with a screen feel clunky? Even if it's a small screen? I remember seeing a few board games that use screens, and I figured it fit the bill perfectly here.

phpbbadmin
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Screens

Bandecko...

No I think screens can have their place.... Actually Random_Person and I are collaborating on a game that will involve the use of a screen....

During a marketplace phase, players will secretly choose which goods they want to sell. Then everyone reveals simultaneously what they have for sale... The money received for each good will be determined by how many of each good are for sale and how many different people have that good for sale. The screen will help by preventing the other players from seeing what you may have moved from your warehouse area to your goods for sale area. In actuality, I'd prefer to *not* use a screen because it might add unnecessary costs to the game, should it ever be published, whether by professional publisher or self published. However, in this particular instance I think it will 'break' the marketplace phase if it isn't used. I am going to try my best to think of a way around it, because, as I said, I'd prefer not to use a screen if possible...

-Darke

SVan
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Tracking conventions.

One of my games will use a screen, but i'm leaning towards mini-screens that screen, but do not take too much space. Since I'm nowhere close to getting a prototype done on this game, it'll be a while before I can say if it will work. Maybe a small to medium overhang(s) on the top and sides can help.

Anonymous
Re: Tracking conventions.

Bandecko wrote:

Anyway, one of the traps (possibly more as I get further into this) is a "catapult" type thing. When it's sprun, it will move the victim one space in the direction of the arrow. When I had the tile placed face down at first, then there was a possibility the alignment changes when it's flipped. Something that would cause argument, or even unscrupulous play. So I made it so players place an ownership marker on top of the tile then place it. That way the ownership marker can just be taken off and the alignment stays what was intended (unless the player messes it up, but that's why I gave them a screen).

I have not seen the rules for your game, but why not just label a 'direction' in text on the catapult card instead of an arrow? You could say right or left or front or back, and then, when the card is flipped, there is no confusion as to which direction the pawn is moved. This may not eleminate the need for the screen, but should eleminate the need for the ownership marker.

- Just my two pence.
Geoff

FastLearner
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Tracking conventions.

Perhaps if all tiles had an arrow on the back (to disguise which ones were catapults and which weren't) then it should be pretty easy to maintain orientation upon flipping a catapult (as long as players stay conscious of the original orientation). It would also make it really easy know how to flip it: along the axis of the arrow so that it's pointing the same way.

For that matter the tiles could simply have a line down the middle of their backs: when you flip a tile you always do so along that axis (the catapult direction would line up the same way as the line on back). A diagram in the rules would make it clear.

-- Matthew

Scurra
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Re: Tracking conventions.

Bandecko wrote:

Do games with a screen feel clunky? Even if it's a small screen? I remember seeing a few board games that use screens, and I figured it fit the bill perfectly here.

Games with screens aren't clunky unless you've got too many of them.
For instance, in one of my games players need to have six screens in front of them, because there are six different things to bid for. As it happens, this is either the perfect solution or so clunky as to make the game unviable for production (despite it being a pretty good game.)

It's very hard to come up with a solution to a multiple hidden action problem that doesn't involve screens of some kind.

jwarrend
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Re: Tracking conventions.

Scurra wrote:

Games with screens aren't clunky unless you've got too many of them.
For instance, in one of my games players need to have six screens in front of them, because there are six different things to bid for. As it happens, this is either the perfect solution or so clunky as to make the game unviable for production (despite it being a pretty good game.)

I think it's clunky. Why not use the solution of Samurai Swords, that has blind bidding behind a screen, but each bid option has its own bin that you place your bid in? Unless there's some reason that the bids can't be revealed simultaneously, something like this would be better than 6 screens, I should think (though you may have to think a little big about what to use, since not everyone has access to a styrafoam tray like in Samurai Swords!)

I think screens are definitely clunky, with only a few exceptions. For one, they take up table space (though, I guess, so do "player mats"). For two, they can tip over. For three, they only keep info hidden if everyone stays in their seat and doesn't get up to go to the bathroom or something. For four, and this is the biggest one for me, I don't like having to "destroy" components that come with the game, and I feel that in the act of folding up the screen, I am marring the product that came in the box. Now, sure, the same is true for punching out tiles, but it's obviously different. The problem with screens is that you have to constantly fold and unfold them to set them up and put them back in the box, and unlike the game board, they aren't usually designed to take this wear and tear gracefully. I guess I just like all of the game components to feel durable and "permanent", and screens definitely feel like the flimsiest part of a component set.

I haven't used a screen in my games, and I hope to not have to; I just feel that there are better ways to keep information hidden. Upside down cards and tokens can do this just as well as hiding behind a screen. Often, a screen is simply used to mask the amount of something that someone has. If one used a better way to track whatever commodity that was (cards, say), this might work better.

Bandecko, I admit that the "orientation dependence" of your tiles is a problem. But as for the screen thing, I don't really see yet why you need it. I understand that you want people to pick and choose their traps, but I don't see why this needs to happen behind a screen. Won't other players know how many traps the player has? If not, why not?

So, assuming quantity is public, just have the players keep their traps face down in front of them, and place them face down on the board. This will be a little bit "clunky" in that players will have to keep looking to remember what they have, but other than that, it doesn't seem like a problem. Or, use a screen; it doesn't really matter either way. But I think screens are sufficiently annoying that I personally try to avoid them. Clearly, as the others point out, they have their uses!

Good luck,

Jeff

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Tracking conventions.

It's funny, in every publihsed game where we have several face-down items (not cards) that we have to keep referring to -- by picking them up one-by-one, looking at them, and then putting them back down in such a way that we don't reveal exactly what they are to the other players (Nuggets* is a recent example) -- we almsot always say "this game needs screens." I suspect that it's very much a matter of personal preference.

-- Matthew

*Nuggets also needs some decent graphic design, but that's a different story.

jwarrend
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Tracking conventions.

I had an idea for a game of mine that uses "hidden information" but for which screens wouldn't be appropriate. The idea is that you have cards that are at different "levels" and the cards themselves are known only to you. My idea was that it would be cool if there was some sort of way to make something that the cards could slide into such that you could see when a level was occupied, but not what the card was, unless you flipped the whole thing over -- in other words, the bottom would have windows that, by flipping the device over, you could remind yourself what your cards were.

It wouldn't be that hard to make something like this with cardboad, an xacto knife, and some clear card protectors, but I haven't done it yet. Still, something like this would be a good compromise for games with cards, particularly when the "local configuration" of the cards is important. For games where tokens or cubes are to be hidden, I suppose screens are the best.

The other option, of course, is to limit the number of hidden things that a player has so there isn't an unintentional memory element built into the game. In my game, there are only 3 levels, but people (me included) still forget what their cards are. So, a game with much more than that, screens might be better *unless* keeping quantities public is important.

But yes, I assume it's a matter of personal preference to some extent...

-J

sedjtroll
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Tracking conventions.

jwarrend wrote:
The idea is that you have cards that are at different "levels" and the cards themselves are known only to you.

If I understand this right, the level is public information but the cards are private. Is each card at a different level? Or is a player at a particular level, and as such his cards are at that level?

If it's the latter you could simply have a seperate indicator as to what level the player (and his cards) are at... 1, 2, or 3. Then the cards would have all three effects on them, labelled of course by level.

This could be expanded to make different types of cards with a different level per type- say you have 4 suits of cards (Spades, Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs) and each suit has it's own level. Again, each card would have the three effects or whatever on it, and the one that applies depends on the level of that type of card for that player.

This would not work if each individual card needed to have it's own level. For that you would need some indicator on each card like the contraption you desribe. That seems like a lot of work- how many cards does your game have?

- Seth

jwarrend
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Tracking conventions.

sedjtroll wrote:
jwarrend wrote:
The idea is that you have cards that are at different "levels" and the cards themselves are known only to you.

If I understand this right, the level is public information but the cards are private. Is each card at a different level? Or is a player at a particular level, and as such his cards are at that level?

The former. Each player has 3 "levels", each of which can hold exactly one card. The level determines the way in which the card is played.

Quote:

This would not work if each individual card needed to have it's own level. For that you would need some indicator on each card like the contraption you desribe. That seems like a lot of work- how many cards does your game have?

There are 2 decks, a deck of "action cards" and the "other deck" that go into the levels on your "player mat". My point is simply that if the mat was transparent underneath, and if there was a way to rigidly hold the cards onto the mat, you could pick the thing up and remind yourself what your cards were without having to flip them individually. I'm sure I could rig this up, but I haven't yet. But, perhaps it might be a useful way for others to be able to keep track of "hidden specific, but public quantity" information.

It's not at all complicated in the game I mention. Everyone has a play mat with 3 levels, each can hold one card. That's it. No messy bookkeeping or anything.

-Jeff

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