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Cumbersome Initial Game State

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 10/13/2011

Hi Everyone!

I'm looking for more input on mechanics that can be used to set the intial "state" of a game I am designing. Conditions are below...

There are 3 types of hazards (A,B & C) and these hazards will exist in the 14 rooms on the map.
A single room may have some or none of the hazards.
A single room may have multiple copies of the same hazard
Depending on the degree of difficulty the players select at the start of the game, a room could have up to 3 hazards
The total number of hazards will depend on the degree of difficulty

I am trying to avoid the cumbersome process of rolling dice for each room at the start of the game to generate the type and quantity of hazards present. I would also like to avoid a 100% pre-determined distribution.

Do I stick with a rolling method? Deal from a deck randomly? Roll and look up the "state" on a chart? Pre-determine for the easy level and fully random for hardest levels?

Any thoughts are appreciated!

MarkKreitler's picture
Joined: 11/12/2008
First blush idea...

Hey Orange,

Can you provide some more detail about your system? Such as:

How many hazards are there, total?

Would it be acceptable to draw them as players enter the rooms, as opposed to defining the complete configuration at game start?

What are your design goals with the hazards?
Are they the primary source of difficulty in the game?
Do they significantly affect the pace of the game?



GreenO's picture
Joined: 11/14/2011
Counter pull from a bag would

Counter pull from a bag would seem to work, given how you've described the problem.

Have four different types of counters with hazard a/b/c and blank. Swirl them up in a bag and place them face down on the rooms. Change the degree of difficultly by changing what you put in the bag. This sort of mechanism works well and is pretty fast to set up. Endeavor uses something like it as does Settlers if you randomize the numerals on the hexes.

Joined: 10/13/2011
Blush Response!

I am not sure about the total number of hazards; I still need to crunch through the math behind hazards and the amount of game time it takes to deal with them; there is no upper limit to the number of hazards that could be on the map during game play though (see below)

Yes; there is potential in the game to add hazards when players enter (room entry event cards); also, see my older "fire hazard spreading" post; the fire hazard can spread to other room if not kept in check

hazards exist to eat up the amount of time players have to finish the game; you can choose to ignore them in favor of completing the game objective, but if you ignore them for too long, they might make it impossible to win (this is a co-op game by the way...)

I would consider them a secondary source of difficulty. The primary difficulty is the management of game time.

I am actually trying to avoid a situation in which the game's focus becomes hazard management. I envision hazards as something that the players need to keep an eye on, but not deal with them every turn. Maybe similar to the Robber in Settlers of Catan? The Robber matters, but only affects the final outcome if the Robber is on you for a really long time.

Good questions - thanks!

Joined: 10/13/2011

Hey thanks for the input - I think GreenO's "counter pull" suggestion is going to work fine.

And it gives me more uses for a little bag to store game components - Yay for multi use game components!

Avianfoo's picture
Joined: 01/31/2012
Counter Pull

Pretty much what I was going to suggest as well. Though how you use it very much depends on what you want to do in the game.

If you want to setup the board with 3 hazards in all 14 locations: that's 42 counters distributed at the beginning of the game. Which seems like a lot but if they are all simply dumped on the board and sorted into the locations, it should be pretty quick. (Assuming counters with A,B,C and blank)

Another approach is to have some counters that have more than one value on it e.g. "AB", "BB" or "ACC". Then base setup is uses only 1 token per area drawn from a bag of tokens. Though then the difficulty drastically increases by adding 1 additional token per area.

Yet another approach, if you don't need to know the values of the different locations until you reach them is to pull the counter(s) only when required i.e. when you get there. This saves on setup time. After the hazards are dealt with they can then either be thrown back or remain in the location depending on how your game handles them or could even do both with different hazards.

Joined: 01/30/2012
If they are cards or tiles or

If they are cards or tiles or whatnot you could always put little symbols or ever +1 +2 etc on some of the tiles/cards. When drawn if the room is not full and you get a +1 you draw 1 more thing, if that has a +2 you draw up to the max 3 for the room. Tuning how many have +1 and +2 on them should give you a nice mix, plus it also allows for variability because if you draw two +2 tiles in the first room it will make the rest of the rooms easier.

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