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Moving Multiple pieces on a Single Turn

7 replies [Last post]
Yeti Ball
Joined: 07/12/2011

Hello all,
This is my first post, and before I post my quandary I just wanted to say hello and say that this site and all of your input has been a great resource in the past.

But now I have a question that I could not find addressed elsewhere so I signed up to ask.

My question is this: Is there a mechanic would allow for a player to move as many pieces as they wanted in one turn and eliminate any potential confusion as to which pieces they have already moved.

For example, imagine a game of Chess where, instead of only moving one piece per turn, they could move as many as they wanted. It could become very confusing and difficult to remember which pieces have already been moved and which have not by the end of the turn, especially once you reached the middle of the game and pieces are spread out all over the board.

A solution I thought of would be to use cylindrical pieces that have two different colors (black on the top and white on the bottom, for example) that would be flipped over as they are moved. So at that start of a players turn, all their pieces would have black facing up and once they are all moved they would all show white.

This would work fine, but would require the player to move ALL their pieces each turn.
Although it just occurred to me while typing this that at the end of the turn, any pieces the chose not to move could simply be flipped on their current location.

Does anyone know of or could anyone suggest another mechanic that could be used so that the player could move any number of pieces per turn that would eliminate confusion as to which pieces have been been moved or not moved during the turn.

Thanks in advance!

Yeti Ball

Joined: 05/15/2011
Flipping or marking

I think that your flipping of the pieces is the best you can do in your case. There's still some place for confusion there: On one turn black on top means the piece can move, and on the it means the opposite.

It might be also problematic in case there are many different pieces. By using this mechanic you're enforcing the shape of the pieces and thus losing some flexibility (I'd be quite unhappy with cylindrical chess pieces).

In a game of mine I'm using "activation markers" (small beads) put together with the pieces on a field. This is necessary as there are up to 7 pieces per field (and the activity is per field as opposed to per piece). It's practical since there are usually no more them 10 groups on the board per player and you quite often want to move them all.

Alternatively, you could constrain the possible moves, e.g. enforce that a piece may be only moved when all pieces to its left (or whatever) have moved already. But this changes the rules quite a lot and probably doesn't fit your game.

Joined: 01/17/2011
Imposed constraints

Flipping the pieces would work, as you suggest.

Using activation markers would also work, as Maartin suggests. (This is a relatively common technique in miniatures wargames.)

Another option is to constrain or group movement in a way that makes it easy to remember/determine which pieces have moved, either based on unit types or board locations.

Example 1: A game involving planes, cars, and pedestrians. You must move all your planes first, then your cars, then your pedestrians. As long as you don't have too many of each unit type (and each move does not involve a lot of other processing), you should be able to keep it in your head without the need for physical activation markers.

Example 2: A game on a chess-style board divided into four Quadrants. You must move all the pieces in Quadrant 1 before you move the pieces in Quadrant 2, etc. As long as the Quadrants are relatively self-contained, you should be able to keep it in your head. (Beware of complexities involving pieces moving between Quadrants, though.)

Example 3: A game on a chess-style board which has a defined your-side my-side. Let's say the row closest to you is row 1, and the row closest to me is row 8. You must move your pieces in row 8 first, then row 7, then row 6, etc. (The interesting thing about this mechanic is that if pieces move "backwards" they can get multiple moves, which could open up nice strategic options.)

Hope that helps,

deFunkt29's picture
Joined: 01/04/2011
If the game is played on a

If the game is played on a chess style board, with units facing/moving in mainly one direction (pawns towards the opponents side) you could possibly go for an even simpler idea of just turning the models, a quarter or a half turn. This obviously would have some problems if the direction that the units facing matters in-game. Another method could possibly be putting a band or ring on top or through a part of the model, to show that it has moved that turn. (only problem is, it's a hassle to take off). You bring up an interesting point though, and this is an issue i've yet to solve in my latest game idea.

Yeti Ball
Joined: 07/12/2011

Thanks for all the comments.

I agree that having to flip the pieces is less then desirable since it would be limiting in terms of character design, but it may be something I am forced to accept.

I feel like having to place markers on the pieces would greatly slow down game play, which I envision as been fast paced. All the other suggestions might work in some cases but simply would not work in what I'm trying to accomplish.

This thing is in its very early stages. If I end up going forward with development I will keep this space updated.

I'm a toy designer by profession, and I don't have a ton of experience with board games, both playing and designing, but I wonder if its possible that out of the thousands of board games that have been designed none of them have involved this mechanic of moving large groups of pieces on a single turn?

Any other thoughts are of course welcome, thanks again to the above!

Markus Hagenauer
Joined: 12/04/2009
Flipping or split areas

I´d also say flipping is the easyest way.
But if you want to have more different looking pieces, you could also split the areas.
So for example if you have a square grid, place the moved pieces in the right half.
With a rather abstract game it would work fine, otherwise I´m affraid it will feel a little strange.

Is it more likely more than half of the pieces will be moved, or less? Depending on this, you should either also move/flip the pieces not moved or reflip/move the moved pieces at the end of your turn.

Joined: 05/15/2011

Another possibility is to give the units an orientation. Now, units heading forwards may move. You still need to either make all units head forwards on the beginning of every turn, or change the rule so that every second turn the units heading backwards may move.

This is about the same like flipping, but it may you give more flexibility in design. For example, I can imagine orienting chess pieces (unlike flipping them).

Yeti Ball
Joined: 07/12/2011
You are correct sir.


Last night I grabbed the "meeples" from my Carcassonne box to do some quick play testing. Simply rotating the piece 90 degrees each time you move is not only sufficient in marking which pieces have moved, but it sort of has a unique way of mimicking the movement of a person strolling about in a rather aimless pattern, which is exactly what I'm trying to simulate.

Thanks all for your comments and suggestions.

Yeti Ball

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