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Different victory conditions for secondary roles?

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Joined: 03/27/2011

I've been working off and on for several years now on a history-inspired game, based on a conflict between different "royal" families for the crown of a particular country. Historically, each of the royal families was a significant power in and of themselves, but key to their success was winning the support of other dominant noble families.

For each of the three "royal" families, the victory conditions are pretty clear: arrange/acquire the stated prerequisites for their "rightful heir" to be crowned king. HOWEVER...

I'm trying to make this a multiplayer game (suitable for 4, 5, or even 6 players), but I'm having troubles figuring out how to make the roles of the non-royal-family players interesting. Clearly, each of those families would benefit from being on the winning side at the end, but I'm currently thinking that there needs to be some method of "proving oneself" to this or that royal faction. You shouldn't just be able to say at the end of the game, "My family supports the crowned king"; somehow one should have had to earn some credibility for that claim. Gaining sufficient credibility perhaps should be harder and harder as the number of times one's allegiance has changed from one faction to another increases?

To some extent this could be measured militarily: I'm planning on their being a territory-conquering aspect with a mechanic borrowed and modified/adapted from "Shogun"/"Samurai Swords" and "Axis & Allies" (though somehow simplifying/shortening things so one game can be concluded in four hours!). I'm wondering whether there should be some sort of political component, though, too, whereby motivations for declaring for this faction or that are wrestled with.

Has anyone here experience with any games that have sort of "secondary" or "supporting" roles like that I've described, and/or suggestions on how to make those roles as interesting for players as are those of the "royal" families?

Joined: 03/12/2011
What it means to have power

In order to maintain power, the families must maintain some kind of relations with other power groups. These include the lay Military(those parts consisting of non-blooded forces), the Bourgeouis(in that era merchants), the common and higher Church(perish and Bishop), the countryside(the landowners and minor aristocracy that control the peasants).

These factions represent the power base needed for successful administration. The family that can provide these resources to the crown will be the one ultimately vested with its power.

Joined: 04/14/2009
Interesting, but tough question!

Random thoughts mode: (just throwing out ideas and musings as they come to me)

So...this is sorta-kinda a cooperative game? If the Royal Family wins, then you win, too? it clearly just a win for the Royal Family? (or rather...the player that represents the Royal Family)? If I'm not playing as one of the "three" then I'm not sure what my motivation is for playing the game at all. If it's a team/cooperative game, that could be fun, but only if the victory is shared equally...otherwise I'm just helping one player beat out a couple other players.

The above aside...put yourself in the shoes of one of the non-royals. What would you do during your daily life? Let's say you're a Baron of some kind. You've got a lot of land, a bunch of serfs to do the work, etc. Let's say your particular area is GREAT for growing grapes. You've got lots of vineyards. You make lots of excellent wine. Fine. Except you don't have a good way of transporting such wine. might make a deal with another Baron that controls the ports. And the two of you might make an additional deal with someone that can transport said wine from your vineyards, over to the ports. Everyone benefits from this. Perhaps one of the Royals can supply troops for protection, or additional ships?
I dunno...I don't know how this is fun for the other players, though.

Maybe you set up the game with a bunch of Character cards? You grab a bunch of 'em and you simply shuffle them and pass them out. That's what you'll be doing for that game. Some players are Royals, some are merchants, some Barons, etc. Each has a specific job to do. Kinda like the different aliens in Cosmic Encounter. Your character lets you do some things that the other characters can't do.

Meh. Seems a bit complicated the way I've described it.

Have you already got the secondary roles figured out? If so could you list 'em?

Proving oneself to a Royal Family is one way to go about it, but also....couldn't the different non-royals choose to whom they'll pledge their allegiance? Seems to me that the Royals also had to prove themselves to the other prominent families. So let's say it's strictly a land grabbing game and you've got Royals and other families attempting to gain control over as much territory as possible. Let's say I'm not a Royal, but I'm at war with another player. I need more iron to build more weapons...or I need more horses. If a Royal were to give me those resources, I might be more inclined to help out such Royal if he needed assistance. In return, I agree that I'll give the Royal additional cash when I use the land to expand my wine making business.

Meh....once again...I'm rambling.

I don't see the motivation for the other players. Does this game have multiple winners? Are there different goals for different players? Perhaps the game is purely points-based. A certain Royal could be crowned king, but a really effective Baron ends up winning because not only did he sell a lot of wine, make good deals with other Barons, he ALSO helped get his King crowned. Each of these goals for the character provided bonus points that makes him the winner. THAT would make the other roles interesting. A chance for anyone to win even if they're not a Royal.

Cosmic Encounter was sorta like this. Each player tries to take over (and hold) a certain number of planets. On each turn you can decide if you want to help a player attack another player OR you can decide if you want to help another player defend. There are different pros and cons to each decision. Ultimately...there's only one winner, but everybody is motiviated to do help attack or defend depending on their current situation.


Joined: 01/17/2011
Interrelated roles

A while ago I toyed with the idea of a game that involved multiple roles, where you are competing only against the players who are in the same role. I'll explain by example:

Say you have a 6-player game, with 3 royals and 3 merchants. The Royals fight each other for control of the territory, while the Merchants compete to earn the most money. At the end of the game there are 2 winners: 1 Royal and 1 Merchant. During the game, you cannot compete directly against the other type of character, but you can take actions to aid or hinder them. For example, the Royals need resources to recruit armies, so it pays to be friendly with a Merchant who will supply you with the resources. Likewise, the Merchants need protection from bandits, so it pays to be friendly with a Royal who can spare some troops to keep the trade routes safe.

I imagine that a game of this type could create some interesting politics in choosing who to support.

Other ideas for non-Royals would be Clergy, Nobility (landowners), Knights (landless), or even Clan Chieftains (in the sense that clans often crossed over national lines, and often commanded more loyalty than the king).


Joined: 03/27/2011
In some ways, the historical

In some ways, the historical situation I'm looking to play out reminds me some of the War of the Roses, as in the old Avalon Hill game, "Kingmaker", and it's that role of "I couldn't have done it without you, and trust me, you'll be rewarded for it" ally to the throne that the non-royals would be competing for.

You've each noted that same sticking point I've run into: how does one create an in-game motivation for one of the non-royal families to support this or that royal family? Historically, I think typically the rewards are gained AFTER the winning side is comfortably in power -- which means AFTER the game is over! So I'm trying to figure out some way of modeling a cost to a royal for taking on this or that ally, and some way the ally benefits DURING the game for having declared for this or that side. There's the military side, but also the political side.

It might help if I stop being cagey... I'm looking to design a game based on the fight for the throne of Scotland, with the "royal" factions being the Bruces (who won), the Comyns (who supported John Balliol, who became king but not successfully), and Edward I/II of England (who felt there was no need for Scotland to have anyone but him in ultimate charge). The other players, historically speaking, were the various earls of Scotland, and the Stewarts, who supported Robert Bruce, eventually themselves became kings of Scotland -- and England, as well, when Elizabeth I of England died and the crown passed to James VI of Scotland (Better remembered historically as James I of England).

In a hex-grid-&-counters wargame of this conflict I have, earldoms NOT under the control of a player can be "overawed" through military invasion to side with this or that royal faction, and perhaps some way of modelling the non-royals as sort of "non-player characters" in the game might be better, but if possible I'd love to figure out some mechanism to make that power-behind-the-throne role an interesting player role in the game.

Hmmm... maybe political indebtedness costs royals victory points somehow, and earns the non-royals victory points?

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