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Race for Wonders

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Dagar
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Joined: 01/23/2015

As you may have read in my blog posts, my game is a Civilization type of game. The goal is to have the most culture at the end of the game (as in Through the Ages).
One way of getting culture is to build world wonders. What I do not want are specific wonders but rather generic ones, linked to the 'Age' the game is in, which is determined by the level of technologies acquired. Once the (or one) wonder of Age I is built, you can build the one(s?) of Age II with more investment.

A game round plays simultaneously, i.e. all players play at the same time. So it might be that two players build at Age I wonders at the same time.

Now there may be different ways to reward the players:

a) There is a flat bonus of culture for the wonder
b) You will get culture for built wonders every round
c) There is a 'special power' for the one who built the latest wonder
d) c) plus one a) or b)

The special power would be to decide which kind of action (trade, research, production, aggression, ...) is rewarded with (more) culture next round or which is punished by less (or negative) culture. It will go over to the first player building a wonder of the next Age.
Since the game is simultaneous, I run into problems, if two or more players build a wonder in the same Age. I do not want the players second or third (as you might have read, there is a real time aspect, so in a round, there likely will be the 'fastest' player to build a wonder) to building a wonder of the respective Age to get nothing.

w) If the reward is only culture (once or per round) you could reward everyone the same or diminishing return for finishing later on.
x) If the reward (also) contains the special power, either the players agree via discussion on which action to reward or they take turns in deciding.
y) Or, more harsh, the first to build a wonder of the current Age has the power.
z) Players get votes according to completion order. The first player in a four player game gets four votes, the second three and so on. At a draw (1st and 4th vote together vs 2nd and 3rd, or 1st vs. 2nd and 4th) the first players vote counts. Or should it?

Maybe you have some other ideas concerning possible rewards for wonders and completion order. What is not negotiatable here is specific wonders (like the Pyramids, the Great Wall and so on).

Any help would be great. Thanks in advance!

Josh 'Dagar'

Orangebeard
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Joined: 10/13/2011
A, B and C!

Dagar wrote:

a) There is a flat bonus of culture for the wonder
b) You will get culture for built wonders every round
c) There is a 'special power' for the one who built the latest wonder
d) c) plus one a) or b)

Hi Dagar,

I think I like "a" and "b" as they are written, but would suggest that "c" be modified to being a special power or bonus culture if you have more wonders than anyone else.

I really like the idea of generic wonders as well; were you thinking things like "Music" or "Cave Art" or "Monuments" or an even more generic "Age I Wonder"?

Are there other sources of culture and/or are wonders the main source?

Good luck with your design!

Dagar
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Joined: 01/23/2015
I thought more in the terms

I thought more in the terms of 'Age I wonders'. There are other options to gain culture, e.g. by trading and by taking time for cultural things (e.g. 'bone carving' or 'copper jewellery' early on, 'art of poetry' or 'rock festival' a little later on) which give you a flat cultural bonus.

Not a bad idea with the most wonders, but I fear that the 'empowered' player (let's call him the cultural leader from now on...) then will always stay the same one. On the grand scheme I'd like to have players shift focus of their nations/cultures through time. Maybe a very productive nation turns to being the peak of technology, then devoting more effort to culture, then entering a military epoch and so on.

Perhaps newer wonders should count more in favour of the becoming cultural leader than older ones, like taking the sums of Ages of the built wonders. This way a once culturally invested player may lose that position to a more recently invested opponent.

fayinsky
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Joined: 08/02/2014
Hi Dagar, my chemistry game

Hi Dagar, my chemistry game also has scientific breakthroughs (wonders) and victory points (culture), and after testing a few types of mechanisms I think flat amount of VP works the best (simplest).

If you go with the option of generating VP each round, I think you need to make sure the amount of VP generated each round of wonders from an earlier age should always be less than those from a later age. Otherwise, the more "advanced" wonders will end up generating less VP, which doesn't make sense to me.

Another thing that needs to be considered for option b) is the amount of VP that can be generated for each wonder, which might be too much under certain circumstances. Taking my own game as an example, it will last for about 30 rounds (just an estimation as I'm still adjusting game mechanism), which means that even the very first wonder with +1 VP per round can generate 30+ VP in the end. With 5 wonders from various ages, it is quite easy to hit 200 VP. If wonder is not the only way to generate VP in your game, you certainly wouldn't want to see them generating too many VP in this manner.

Dagar
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Joined: 01/23/2015
Hey fayinski, thank you for

Hey fayinski,

thank you for your feedback (and thank you to Orangebeard as well, of course). Yes, I definitely would increase the amount of culture per round for wonders of later Ages. Maybe I could even decrease it with newer wonders built. For example, the newest Age wonders would generate 3 culture per round, the one of the Age before only two and so on. As soon as someone builds a wonder of the next Age it diminishes the returns of the wonders previously built (of previous Ages, that is).

But this will be an element I will heavily evaluate in playtest rounds.

fayinsky
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Joined: 08/02/2014
Hi Dagar, you have proposed a

Hi Dagar, you have proposed a very interesting mechanism here. There's one thing worth considering imo, which is the possibility of players not wanting to build wonders when they expect a wonder from later age coming soon. It may not really be an issue in your game design though.

Dagar
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Joined: 01/23/2015
Well, since building wonders

Well, since building wonders is not by far the only way of acquiring culture and it is not the most straight-forward (compared to flat culture generating) and I hope there will be new Ages fairly regularly, I hope this will not be a major concern. In the first playtest I will either not use wonders at all or keep them simple, maybe like flat culture bonuses.

I have another possibility of using wonders to ones advantage in mind, but I'll write it down sometime tomorrow, as it is pretty late here.

Thank you again for your input!

Miika
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Joined: 02/01/2015
Interaction

Is there any chance to interact with other players projects? E.g. you could "steal" one piece / card that other player really needs.. But you would have to pay somehow for it, like you couldn't get culture to your own project if you go for the piece thats important to other players..

If you have played 7 Wonders (Quite a coincidence with the themes), you would know what I mean.. There you have an opportunity to take away one card per turn.. e.g. You can take one resource card what could be very useful to others, even tough you wouldn't need it anymore.. But in that case, you can't take a card that would be useful to you in that turn..

Dagar
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Joined: 01/23/2015
Hey Miika, thanks for your

Hey Miika, thanks for your feedback. Yes, I know seven wonders and no, it is not really like that. The wonders are just one possible part in my design; it is a fully fledged 4X Civ type game (maybe without Extermination, but definitely with domination instead).

As for stealing other players cards or parts: I don't think it will work this way. You see, you play an action card and pay the resources for it whenever you like and can afford (the game is time dependent). Stealing someone elses materials used for the project would be overkill in complexity I think. But maybe it could work out, I will maybe try it in a playtest round. After all, there are secret service type of cards (for now mainly used to hide your own actions making it harder to predict what you are up to, but as my game is still in the early, brainstormy phases, everything is possible...

What I had in mind yesterday night was some small passive bonus to your nation for building a wonder. There are only some of these bonus cards, all specialised for a single element of the game (e.g. if you completed your wonder you can choose to take a small bonus on production or on trade or defense or...). As soon as someone else finishes a newer wonder, he/she can choose a bonus as well. If it is the bonus you had until then, he will take that card away from you.

Where this idea stems from is that e.g. the Great Lighthouse from Pharos was a wonder built to make trade via ships easier. The pyramids were built for cultural (religious) reasons. The Great Wall of China was built for defenses sake, the Hoover Dam for economic reasons. I'd like to mirror this 'purpose' of each wonder in my game, just without letting players build real existing world wonders, because I think this is rather dull.

Miika
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Joined: 02/01/2015
Dagar wrote: As soon as

Dagar wrote:

As soon as someone else finishes a newer wonder, he/she can choose a bonus as well. If it is the bonus you had until then, he will take that card away from you.

Something like this exactly.. So its not just that everyone plays their own games and see who finishes the goal first.

Seems like you have some interesting project going in there.

Dagar
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Joined: 01/23/2015
Thank you :) If you think so,

Thank you :) If you think so, be sure to read my next (and, if you really want to, even my former) blog entries :D

Seriously, the next episode will (hopefully) be a structured report on what my design ideally will some day be.

Zag24
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Joined: 03/02/2014
Last Wonder built advantatge

Dagar wrote:

c) There is a 'special power' for the one who built the latest wonder...

The special power would be to decide which kind of action (trade, research, production, aggression, ...) is rewarded with (more) culture next round or which is punished by less (or negative) culture.


This is brilliant, and I think you can build a whole game around it as the primary strategic/tactical point.

For it to be the centerpiece of the game, then it should take 3-6 rounds for one player to build a wonder (assuming 4 players). This means that you usually get to keep that advantage for one round, occasionally 2, and very rarely 3. Also, it should be possible to know whether others are close to gaining a wonder -- if it looks like all your opponents are about to get one, it might make sense to hold back and build one next turn, when you'll get to keep the advantage for a couple of rounds.

Also, it should possible to predict (though not with perfect accuracy) what advantage a player is likely to take. Even when you're stuck with a difficult wonder to build, you should be able to align your tasks with the player who is about to succeed in building a wonder, and reap the same advantage. Something like this: "Fred can build that wonder this turn, and he's got a lot of iron that he doesn't need for the wonder. I'll bet he'll apply his bonus to the selling of iron. Buy iron this turn, and jump on his bandwagon next turn."

Concerning multiple players building a wonder on the same turn, I suggest that none of them get the advantage. It makes the game that much more strategic concerning when you build them. However, there should be some wonders, Miracle Wonders that are noticeably harder to build than normal, that give the advantage even if another player makes a wonder in the same turn. You might also have some Minor Wonders that don't give the advantage, but do prevent another (non Miracle) Wonder from gaining the advantage when built in the same turn.

Dagar
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Joined: 01/23/2015
Thanks for your feedback and

Thanks for your feedback and your compliment. As I already said to Miika, my game is not all about the wonders like seven wonders. But if you like the idea, feel free to use it. For some lighter game than I have in mind, this could be a good starting point. Maybe some successor to seven wonders. Or maybe one should take the mechanics to another theme. Whatever you can come up with, I don't mind if my ramblings inspired anyone to a game design, on contrary, I would be proud to having been part of a good game design.

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