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Do you think this is a viable mechanic?

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 06/07/2016

So I had this idea come out of a play test for a different game recently. The issue was that the players spent a horrendous amount of time debating strategy (I mean we had 30 minute turns when a typical turn is 10-15 minutes) and I thought "there has to be a way to limit this..."

That led me to an idea. Imaging there are 3 players (call them 1, 2, and 3) and 5 cities (a through e). Players conceal their actions from each other despite being on the same team. Each city has an envelope, each player has a deck of cards (colour coded to keep track of whose is whose) that represent actions. Each player puts their actions into the envelope of the city they are in, without communicating those actions to the other players. Actions get resolved all at the same time at the end of the turn.

Inter player communication would be limited to essentially sending letters, where the players could place actions in the envelope of another city as a way of secretly informing other players in that city only what they are trying to do.

So do you think this mechanic has any viability?

Willem Verheij
Willem Verheij's picture
Joined: 06/08/2016
I quite like the idea of

I quite like the idea of sending secret offers to other players, but I think it needs to be mixed since if everything is secret there wont be much interactivity with other players, talking and all that.

I think its best if something like that is only one part or option in the player turn.

I dont know all the stuff that can be done in your game, but for example there could be three parts to a player's turn:

-Faction actions.
Do something for your faction, like buying stuff, increasing forces, etc.
-City actions.
Do something to improve the city openly.
This would be sending secret messages to other players to make arrangements that could come into play the next turn.

Either way its nice to have a secretive element, but that should not be the full player turn.

Joined: 01/30/2012
Allow open communication

What is wrong with open communication? I think that allowing table talk and secret meetings could be intriguing. If the actual actions of a player are secret, then I think there is potential for some great backstabbing and double-crossing. Players may be free to say whatever they like, without those promises actually affecting their actions. Players have to make offers and lay out plans that are mutually beneficial to other players if they want them to cooperate.

I am imagining Player A promising to help Player B build a Barracks in City X, only to instead play a Pillage card there instead, gaining 2 Coins in the process, while Player B is out 2 Bricks due to the trickery. Meanwhile, Player C, not trusting either Player A or B at all spent his turn improving the Harbor in City Y in order to gain more VP via the Whaling Fleet card in his hand.

Edit: So I re-read the OP a little closer. If each player has his or her own deck, there might be some interesting ways to introduce asymmetry. Perhaps the Red Faction has more warlike cards in its deck than the others, meaning that the Red player is more likely to have cards that benefit from hurting other players. The rest of the people in the game, then, would have to be especially careful when proposing plans that involve the Red player.

Similarly, perhaps the Blue Faction has many cards that grant VP for city improvements related to the water. The other players would have to be careful when improving the cities' Harbors, since doing so may benefit the Blue player much more than themselves.

Anyway, lots of different ways to implement this. The fun is exploring what works and what doesn't. Good luck!

Joined: 06/07/2016
Since this is a bit down the

Since this is a bit down the list in my notebook right now (my current project is marching ever closer to publication and is taking 90% of my time and attention) I will have to record a few of these notes and revisit the concept when my plate is a little more clear.

One thing I definitely want, however, is to implement some sort of secret actions, maybe in conjunction with public actions. My forte in design is medieval history (one of my hobbies/passions). Imagine a game where the players represent nobles of various position. There is a succession crisis and the claimants to the throne are trying to entice the nobles to their side. Here is an example of what I am thinking:

Each turn the nobles draw 1 cars from each faction deck (the "offer"). They compare the two offers selecting the one that is the most appealing and discarding the other (the next turn they compare 2 new offers to what they have already been offered and choose between those). Changinger offers may result in grater wealth or political power, but not changing offers would grant loyalty/honour point's that would positively influence relations with your own soldiers (more fight, less flee, for example). Actions could be public (constructing a building, forging an alliance) or private (sending out a spy). At the end of the game the civil war comes to a head and the players reveal what side they are on and fight it out...

I forsee some flaws, but I may deal with them if I ever get around to designing this for real.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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