I have an indirect area control mechanic that I am looking for some help with. There are three controlling attributes, i.e. A, B, and C. Players influence these properties through the game and the total is tracked as a +/-. I have six regions that will have one of nine "equations" that relate how each region responds to the three controlling attributes. For example, one "equation" is +1A, +1B, -1C. During scoring, the equation is calculated by multiplying the equation value times the attribute and then summed together. If the sum is positive, player X wins the region; if negative, player Y wins the region. So if attribute A is +2, attribute B is -2 and C is +2 then the equation result is 1*2+1*(-2)+(-1)*2 = -2.

During the last playtest, I ran into a situation where five of the six cards in play had one of the attributes as a negative. The three cards on the sidebar all had that particular attribute as postive. It was evident that one of the players understood how these equations affected the scoring regions as he didn't increase his standing in that attribute allowing the other player to dominate. The final score was greatly in favor of that player. After the test, it was determined that the second player did not understand how a high score in an attribute could be detrimental to her play. Is this a flaw in the system or a flaw in the player? I lean toward a flaw in the player; however, it got me thinking:

1) Is the mechanic flawed or overly complex? If so, is there a way to simplify it while still maintaining the indirect area control and the consequences of affecting other regions by your actions in one region?

2) Are the control equations balanced? Mathematically, it appears that over the nine equations, they are balanced. However, is a particular game flawed if a majority of equations have one or more of the attributes as negative? Or is this a flaw of the players not reacting to that particular set-up of the game?

3) Players can swap the equation cards with cards in adjecent regions in an effort to change the control and thus the VPs of the regions. Should players be allowed to swap cards out with the sidebar (3 equation cards will not be in play)? Another thought I had was the ability to invert the card, turn it upside-down or flip it over, so that negatives are positive and positives become negative.

4) Currently, players can only increase their influence in a given attribute. Two ways currently are avaialble to decrease influence in a particular category: 1) event cards, 2) opponent increasing their influence than that category. Both of these are out of control for the player in question. Should a player be able to negatively affect theri standing in a given category?

I understand that some of these questions can only be answered through playtesting of the various changes. However, I wanted to post some questions to start discussion and inspiration to look at things in a different way.

The complete rules in their current version can be found here if interested:

http://drop.io/yellowlab

Thanks,

Bob

It has been a while, but this has been reworked. I have taken many of your ideas here and worked them into what I was trying to accomplish.

* Players can now decrease their agenda spending. This however comes at a penalty of -1. Thus an agenda card with a value of 2 can increase spending by 2 or decrease spending by 1.

* The cards were rebalanced. There are no +2 or -2 values.

* I took the words of many posts that the math was too complicated to heart. I felt this way as well but couldn't figure out how to simplify it. I hope I have come up with a happy medium. Each card has an arrow either up (+1) or down (-1) for each of the three agendas. If the arrow is up pointing, then the leader in that agenda places a marker of his color on the card. If the arrow is down pointing, then the trailer in that agenda places a marker of his color on the card. The majority of markers shows who has control of each region.

* The boards have been redesigned. The negative aspect has been removed.

Thanks all for your help!