Skip to Content

Looking for the perfect mechanic

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/12/2011

I'm working on (in short) a generally co-operative territory-control game with a secret loyalty aspect, and I'm looking for a good way to deal with a tricky mechanic. Would love to hear any suggestions, original or otherwise.

Basically, everyone has a faction that they control, with territories and pieces like Axis and Allies or what have you. There's also a non-player faction that functions automatically that can be banded together against and overcome fairly easy...but a minority of the players are moles/spies/cylons/whatever.

Each turn, players draw a limited number of certain types of strength cards--political, military, trade, fate, and power/magic--based on their factions' areas of expertise. Factions wouldn't have access to all types, only three or so is what I'm thinking.

I'd like for these strength cards to have two different applications. First, I'd like players to be able to use these to purchase static upgrades that improve their board position, enhance units, or offer unique effects.

Secondly, if you're familiar with the Crisis Cards from the Battlestar Galactica, or the missions from the Resistance, there's also a once-per-turn mechanic where players secretly contribute their strength to a check/vote, and they either overcome the crisis or fail to. I'd like these cards to be used for these contributions as well.

The intent is to bring a decision to the matrix of spending limited resources on what's best for your faction or holding out to see what's best for your team. However, I'm having trouble finding a good numeric balance for these demands.

The balance I'm looking for would involve:
- Limited draws of strength cards (or other representational value of a faction's influence)
- Room for wise players to be able to purchase one development approximately every other turn while still contributing to Crises.
- A once-per-turn Crisis difficulty level that would scale to number of players, considering that approximately one player in three (up to max 8 players) would be a mole. The intent is for a conscientious group of players to be able to succeed in the face of most Crises, but the moles could occasionally force one through, and always be ready to take advantage of a moment of weakness.

Thanks in advance,
- Mike

Joined: 12/12/2011
You mention the 'strength

You mention the 'strength cards' and that got me thinking.

So if you have a 'Crises' deck that flips over a crisis every turn, that crisis could have resolution difficulties based on the type of crisis it is. If it's some form of alien invasion, then it may have a military and a technological difficulty to overcome it.
I'm also envisioning these strength cards being concealed. So you see what type of strength card players are drawing, but once they're in hand, you don't see them.

During a turn, each player could have the opportunity to contribute to a crisis by putting any number of their strength cards from their hand face down under the crisis. At the end of the turn, flip all cards under the crisis face up, and if they beat the difficulty, the crisis was averted.

Some crises might require strength additions to be applied face up, some not.

There might also be cards that you can 'build' by spending strength cards from your hand of the required strength cost of the building.

Lastly, I think the most interesting thing will be to figure out how you want players to acquire these strength cards. Some sort of bidding system might be interesting, especially if you have to bid with the types of strength cards you have. For instance, military strength might be able to be used to bid on any other type of strength card, while political might be able to bid on itself or military, etc. But basically using strength cards to acquire other strength cards could be interesting.

Hopefully that all made sense. Please let me know if you need any clarification.

Joined: 12/12/2011
Thanks for the reply

Thanks for the reply :D

That's more or less the exact same system I've got going at the moment, I'm just looking to tighten it up or looking for new ideas.

The Crises do take specific types of strength to overcome on a card-to-card basis, the contributions are face down and shuffled together to hide the actions of the moles, and any type of strength that doesn't count positively counts against it. You know how many of what type of strength cards that each player draws, but you don't know what value they are, or what type they actually contribute. It's possible to deduce these things for a clever player, but not with perfect accuracy.

The things that you can build are the developments, or upgrades you can purchase by paying value of that type of strength. For example, a development you purchase with military strength might offer a bonus to unit's attack power. A political development might allow you to restrict attacks, or give you access to more information that would allow you to better infer whom the moles may be. etc.

At the moment, you draw a limited number of strength cards--currently 4 cards, each with a value of 1, 2, or 3 at an overall average of 1.5 value per card--each turn, and the faction you select at the beginning of the game dictates which three of the five types of strength you may draw from . I feel like this helps identify the different factions as having varying (but hopefully balanced) powers, and allows each player a unique skill set.

For the suggestions outside of this design...

I feel like having certain crises that require face up contributions would defeat part of the advantage of being the mole.

Right now I have the crisis resolution towards the end of each turn, after players have been given the chance to buy developments. I kind of like the idea of revealing the crisis card early and not showing what's been contributed until the end of the turn, it seems like it would really add some tension. However, that would make the negative effects predictable, and allow players to prepare themselves for them during the game turn, which I don't think would be worth it.

I like the idea of a bidding system to get the cards, but I'm not sure it's the right mechanic. As it stands, you just draw 4 per turn from within your faction's skill set, with very uncommon conditions that might allow an occasional extra card draw. My problem with the bidding system is that it would add another event to a turn sequence that's already pretty complicated. I also don't think there are any other viable resources that players could spend on these cards.

Using strength cards to gain other strength cards could be viable, but I think that would have to involve some kind of systemic change, and I can't think of any ways offhand to execute it.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut