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Cost Mechanic

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Louard's picture
Joined: 02/09/2010

Again, no real game to go with this, just a cost mechanic I wanted to get feedback on.

So, picture this. A game where players can play actions on their turn.. Like play cards or whatever. Every action they can play has an associated cost. We'll say it costs coins to play actions. Here's the thing, players don't start with any coins but there's a pot full of them that doesn't belong to anyone.

So how does a player play an action if the player has no coins? Easy, instead of paying the action's cost him/herself, the player takes coins from the pot and gives the full cost of the action to every other player. So, If I have no coins, and I want to play an action that costs 5 in a four player game, I take 15 coins from the pot and give 5 to each other player.

As players play actions they can't afford, they make it possible for the other players to afford playing more actions.

Extra value could be given to coins you have by setting a limit to how many coins you can spend above what you actually have.


Joined: 04/13/2010
Sound great. As you mentioned

Sound great.
As you mentioned there must of course be a limit to how much you can "borrow" from the pot. Otherwise the last move a player does when in range of winning is "borrowing" 1000 coins from the pot and make 100 actions, thereby winning the game before the others have a chance to do anything (they´re just sitting there with surprised faces and 1000 coins).

Joined: 05/11/2010
Nice idea! Conversely,

Nice idea!

Conversely, playing high-cost actions means putting more money back into the pot for someone else to borrow from. If the pot is empty, you might play something weak to ensure that the next guy who is broke is stymied. There might also need to be some free actions to make running out of money completely bearable.

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
Looks unbalanced

It seems you'd be helping others a lot. After all, you get only 5 coins and all others get times as much (20 coins against in a 5 players game). I foresee the dead-beat feeding all others (much like a runaway looser!). Unless you plan a game about foreign debt in third world countries, it looks unbalancing.

I say that if you run out of coins, you could "sell" your action card to the pot. That means you could get a lot of coins for discarding a high value card, but you'll be loosing a high value card. This way you can also deal with high value cards appearing too early in the game (thus unplayable) or weak cards in late game (thus unuseful).

Keep thinking!

Joined: 04/18/2009
I agree, it sound very

I agree, it sound very unbalanced.

5 player game:
player 1 plays 1 action and pay the 4 other player 5 coins.
player 2-5 play a action using the 5 coins (or less) they already got.
Now it is the first player again, who still have 0 money (but have borowed 20 last turn) so if he wants to play a action he have to borow money again, and giving the other players more money... And around we go...

So I would not want to be startingplayer...

If you rotat starting player then what?
Then the player who is second player, the next turns starting player, will use the money earned the first turn and do 2 actions from that so he would not need to borow money. If the smalest action cost the same as the first player spent, then every one will do that action and the one who is the first to do a more expensive action will be the new hole digger.

It will be very hard to balance difrent starting actions in a game that uses this mecanic. I think it will be very easaly broken. Resulting in players doing the exact same action, or that the first player always wins etcetera.

You could still use a simular mecanic in a game, but I think you should skip the "give money to other player" part. Maby it could be an option, ither take a lone, pay youre self or give every other player money. Also if you have the "give other player money" I think it would help if the other players reciving the money do not get the same amount as I have spent. I use a action that cost 5 money in a 4 player game. The other players get 1 or 2 money I think would be more easier to balance. Also I think having a fixed amound would help also, not depending on what type of action I do.

Well thats just my thinking on the mecanic anny way... ^^

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
I don't think Louard was

I don't think Louard was talking about borrowing but just taking for free instead. So when you play an expensive action you cannot afford, and give money to the other players, you are not generating debt.

That would just keep the balance among players so that the sum of actions spent + money in hand is the same for all at all times, which is not too different from giving all players X money to buy their actions.

The interesting part of this idea, to me, comes when you limit how much you can use from the pot, but let players spend as much as they want from their hand. Then you have an interesting savings system where the player who's spent less in his actions so far has an advantage proportional to his frugality. If you combine this with some -limited- free actions and a rule like "no drawing from the pot on the last round(s), after some game end condition is triggered", you have a pretty interesting scenario.

Louard's picture
Joined: 02/09/2010
I love this forum!

You are all reaffirming why I love this place!.. Throw out an idea and you get some of the best feedback!
As embarrassing as it is to admit.. I hadn't even considered the simple scenario of every other player simply 'living off' the first player by spending less than the first player on their action, thus forcing the the first player to continually give them cash. A really good point!

To Pastor_Mora:
Though I agree that your suggestion deviates pretty greatly from what I was suggesting, I really dig the 'sell cards' mechanic. In a card game it could be an alternative to mana/resource cards, You instead sell your cards to accumulate money!.. I love it!

And right, in what i proposed, there was no concept of borrowing, dept, or the pot ever running out... Though the idea that the game contains a finite amount of money that can only be passed around or spent back into the pot IS interesting!

What if there was no pot, all the players started with money, but playing actions had you spending the money by giving it to the other players?

Joined: 07/08/2009
What . . .

. . . About letting players bid on how much they'll take from the bank to let you play your card for free?

(Just popped into my head, and kind of related, and might fix the whole 'I'm giving away 5 times what I spent, which in theory should then get some damage spread around, but might just get pointed back at me by each of them' thing.)

Kind of like taking on your debt, or being a contractor or something.

I'm sleepy.

RacNRoll Gaming
RacNRoll Gaming's picture
Joined: 05/12/2010
What about?

What if other players could "outbid" you to prevent you from playing a card if it required you to take out a "loan" from the pot.?

Say it costs 5 coins to play a a 4 player game you would need to borrow 15 coins if you didn't have any based on your idea....another player would be able to pay into the pot the X number of coins to prevent you from playing the card. So now you add in 2 extra levels into the games strategy. Do you give up coins to block someone else thus lessening your own coin pool OR do you play a higher value card in an attempt to draw a "veto" from another player thus weakening his coin pool.

Just a thought.

Graviton Nay
Joined: 05/08/2010
I think the idea is OK, not

I think the idea is OK, not knowing ofcourse how it would play out, but when I started reading I felt like it was a real good idea, until you said how coins would be distributed.

My opinion is that this will quite soon equalize the whole coins distribution and that it won't really have a big impact on the game.
You might wanna lower the distribution of the money, and enforce that a "building" that is built with the common gold pot is open for public use, and a building built with your own money is all yours to control.
Or say that money you take out of the pot is actually a lone from the other players in the sense that you have to pay the money back to the other players during the game.

I like the initial idea, but I think it should be a more "cut-troath"

Joined: 04/18/2009
In the newest dice tower

In the newest dice tower episode the talk about a game that utelices a simular mecanik as yours... so maby it is not new but onley seldom used??

I can not remember the games name tho, so you have to listen to the podcast.

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