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reducing cubes on around the board

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MarkD1733
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I have a push your luck dice game working with the theme of the players are ghosts haunting a house and scaring intruders out. Each player has a supply of ectoplasm cubes (about 10-14). When you try to scare an intruder (represented by tiles with meet-or-beat dice values), you leave an ectoplasm cube in the room where you did the scaring. If you succeed, you can chase them into a new room, with the general goal of ultimately driving them out of the house. However, 1s are bad...if you ever roll enough 1s, you "scare them to death," and that has negative consequences. When you roll 1s, instead of putting the ectoplasm in the room, you put it on the intruder tile

After all players take a turn, the intruders move around the house searching for ectoplasm evidence. If the find it, they collect it for evidence (currently on an evidence track that can hold about 12-15 cubes at this point. If they ever collect too much, the game ends (but the game end two other ways as well). There are mechanisms to reclaim ectoplasm on the board or in the evidence track. After a wave of 5 intruders leaves the house (by any of three means), another wave of intruders "intrudes" on the house.

Okay... so, there are lots of cubes everywhere as the game progresses. The question/challenge posed to me was how can we lessen the busy-ness of the cubes all over the board? NOTE: While I have the ectoplasm evidence track as a game-ending condition, it would be completely suitable to simply end a wave and then 4 waves ends a game. Thoughts?

let-off studios
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Cubes Only?

Are you committed to using only cubes?

I imagine that stackable chips - featuring different sizes for denominations, and/or colours per player, may be useful for you.

Can you implement a dial for each location? What about dice, where you flip upright the corresponding number of clues in that location?

Regarding your end-game condition: I really don't have an opinion on this. It may be wise for you to playtest the specific number of rounds condition you mention, and see if it still "feels good."

questccg
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I'm not sure I followed all the details but...

I had a couple of ideas:

Three (3) Types of ectoplasm: Yellow, Green and Blue. Then you could use a Game Pad like this:

https://boardgamegeek.com/image/3530362/tradeworlds-exterra-edition

But instead of having a 100+ track, you could have three (six) tracks from 0 to 99 each. With three (3) colors, you can EVEN use the colored acrylic cubes on the Game Pad too... So that it is more apparent/obvious.

Another idea has to do with having two (2) Phases. Phase 1: the Haunt and Phase 2: the Investigation.

Why? Well maybe if you divided the game into two (2) phases, one phase could DROP ectoplasm (the Haunt) and the second phase could COLLECT ectoplasm (the Investigation).

This would means that the acrylic cubes get "collected" even IF they were initially dropped.

TBH I'm not sure how these two (2) ideas will work for you. They are only observations based on what you shared with us. Feel free to use, adapt or ignore these ideas if they do/don't work for you.

Cheers!

questccg
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Some further information...

If you have Translucent Dice (12mm) instead of Acrylic cubes (8mm), you can do some extra type of potency of the ectoplasm.

Instead of being a "Cube" if it was a "Dice" you get 36 dice and each time you drop some ectoplasm (a Dice), the potency of the ectoplasm can be expressed as from 1 to 6. I propose using "6" instead of "1" for the most dangerous ...

But 36 x "5" = 180... That's more than "99" and players "lose" the game. As soon as one of the tracks goes higher than "99" ... the game ends in a loss (right?)

So this example shows how you COULD use the TRACK with 12mm DICE and it might be a little more "expensive" (using dice) ... But it could add a whole other "Tactical" Layer to the game.

Again feel free to use, adapt or ignore these ideas if they do/don't work for you.

Best.

questccg
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And if you were wondering

Where did I get the Translucent 12mm Dice from... It comes from one of my OWN designs "Quest Adventure Cards(tm) - Second Edition" (Quest_v2)... I was planning on using acrylic cubes too (8mm) ... When I found the Translucent 12mm Dice which could allow a STAT to be expressed.

In your concept if could be the potency of the ectoplasm...

In my own game (Quest_v2) it was a STAT based on class of the Hero (STR, DEX, AGI, INT, CHA, END) and represents a SOLO stat per class.

Anyhow I realize that the DICE are more expensive that the 8mm Acrylic cubes. That's a GIVEN. But if it make the game more Tactical and allows you to work towards that 100 point "bust" goal...


Another variation on this is to use the Acrylic Cubes... But each time you leave ectoplasm you roll a standard 1d6 (and add that to the track). Again if you reach 100+ point the players "bust" and everyone loses the game...

That might be a less expensive option and "6" could go for the "Scaring to Death"...

This is a similar option which may be less expensive (and do almost the SAME thing -- TBH)!

Sincerely.

Note #1: If you have three (3) colors (Yellow, Green and Blue), what this is effectively dividing your ghosts into three categories. Like Yellow can be Ooze, Green can be Slime and Blue can be Plasma (dark energy). And ghost/monster go from least dangerous "Yellow" to most dangerous "Blue" with "Green" being in the middle of natural colors "Yellow" and "Blue"!

Note #2: If you DON'T want to use the Tracks... And Game Pad, well you can use the 12mm Dice as a substitute for the Acrylic cubes and not need the Game Pad (with the Tracks).

Another point I wanted to make... If you use a standard 1d6 for the potency of the ectoplasm, you can roll ONCE when the ghost leaves his traces... And then ROLL AGAIN when investigating the ghost. In either case, maybe a "6" has some kind of "consequence". But values 1 to 5 get added or subtracted from the Game Pad...

You don't necessarily in this case NEED to divide the game into two (2) phases, they can be concurrent with one ADDING to the Game Pad and the OTHER REMOVING from the Game Pad... And always trying not to "bust".

questccg
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Also ...

If you feel like 99 points is too HIGH of a "mark" to REACH, you can have DIFFICULTY levels which specify the amount of ectoplasm that each track starts with:

(for example) = 40 Ooze (Yellow), 20 Slime (Green), 10 Plasma (Blue).

Those would be STARTING values for the three (six) tracks... And you can tweak these to match LEVELS of difficulty as per level being attempted. This adds to variability in-terms of the design.

It also can make for HARD or EASIER levels too. So when you start playing the game, maybe you'll want an EASIER level... But as you gain experience playing, you might opt for a HARDER level to test out both your knowledge and skills within the game.

Again feel free to use, adapt or ignore these ideas if they do/don't work for you.

MarkD1733
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Haunt vs Investigate

Thanks for the feedback and solutions. So, this kinda exists in the game. Basically, the players are the ghosts, so they are doing one of two things on their turns. They either try to scare the humans in the house (when they would deposit cubes) OR they haunt an empty room to recover resources (including the cubes). Then, once all the players have taken a turn, the humans collect the cubes, moving to other rooms if there are no cubes in their current room.

I do like the idea of having a separate track for each player color...which can possibly simplify cube management on the board. The cubes collected as evidence serve as a penalty of 1 pt per cube at the scoring at the end of the game. Depending on if I use them as a "wave ending" and/or "game ending" function, I can simply "collect" the cubes without worrying about a track to trigger game end. I can also simply separate the collection off the board in some way...if I do that, it may help with "cube clutter' even if the same amount of cube management remains the same. Thoughts?

questccg
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Hmm.. I kinda understand gameplay... but.

If a human collects one cube, it serves as a 1 point penalty, right??? So you need to have a way to TRACK without necessarily requiring an area in which you put THOSE cubes... The way I see it, the three (six) Tracks would do a lot to help keep check on how the ghosts are doing and how the humans are faring against them. So, I think you would need the Tracks to keep a tally on the "score".

If you want to trigger a "Game ending" via a function, well like I said in an earlier comment, you can set the difficulty of the game based on LEVELS of each COLOR... I don't know how many points get collected by the Humans versus reclaimed by the ghosts. But I THINK 99 points is a LOT. Especially if you are moving the tracks by 1 point.

That's where I had the idea of having a standard 1d6 roll each time a Human collects a cube ... And then the points get added 1 to 5 and "6" is reserved for a special "consequence" (like your "1" concept).

That method would of course make 99 points easier to trigger but still make the game FUN in that players know that they need to worry about their left-over ectoplasm ... Knowing that it can adversely react with the Humans.

But again ... These are just some ideas you can work with...

Now getting back to "Wave" vs. "Game" endings. If you have a "Game Ending" function, you're going to need a Track (or several). As for "Wave Endings", you'll have to manually track that ALSO if it has some kind of influence in the end-game scoring (as per your explanation).

Again these are just some ideas ... The real point that I want to make is that, If you ADD some kind of RISK to leaving ectoplasm around (1 to 5 points plus a "6" consequence) it adds TENSION to the game.

The ONLY issue that I have is with this statement:

MarkD1733 wrote:
...Then, once all the players have taken a turn, the humans collect the cubes, moving to other rooms if there are no cubes in their current room...

Does that mean the Humans collect ALL cubes or just one per room??? If it is ONE (1) cube per Human ... Well then I would ADD the 1d6 die roll... And add that amount to the corresponding Track color.

Why? Just because I think 99 points where you go up 1 point per cube SEEMS to me to be an awful LONG time. Like nobody will ever reach 99+. But if you add a die roll, then the ectoplasm has a significant more likeliness to have an "End Game" trigger function. And like I said earlier (in one of the previous posts), you can have LEVELs of difficulty. Maybe a Deck of 10 cards with different distributions of the LEVELS. And that could add more replayability because the ghosts have different trigger/levels to worry about when collecting the ectoplasm.

Again feel free to use, adapt, ignore these ideas if they do/don't work for you.

Note #1: BTW how do the ghost's haunt the Humans??? How does that mechanic work?! I ask because it could maybe impact scoring as well... I'm just asking because I don't know ... And would see if there is a link to the left-over ectoplasm or the collection of ectoplasm by the ghosts themselves or the Humans...

And sorry IF I repeated a bit of what I had posted earlier... I was just feeling like the whole "1 point" per cube seems relatively with little to NO TENSION. Meanwhile a die roll with a "consequence" on a "6" is very tension-filled. 1 to 5 add to the Track (again no worries early on ... but towards the near END of the game... HUGE Tension for EACH ROLL!!!) and whatever you want as a "consequence" could also add more tension to the game too... "Please don't rolls a '6'!!!" Hehehe!

Note #2: Or a "6" could be a benefit like -5 Points off that Track ... That means EVERYONE will be hoping for a "6" later into the game and the values 1 to 5 just ramp up the tension too! It doesn't mean that the consequence "needs to be BAD", it could be in the player's FAVOR also!

Note #3: And if a track goes beyond 99 points... The Humans CALL 555-2368 (the "GHOSTBUSTERS") and it's END-GAME for all the ghosts! Hahaha! :-)

questccg
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Another IDEA...

About the whole "rolling a '6'" has some kind of consequence... Remember an OLD game called "Monopoly"??? Hehehe... Well if you rolled DOUBLES 3 times (3x), you would land up in JAIL!

What if you roll three (3) "6"s in a row ... Maybe that has some kind of BONUS feature for the ghosts: like summoning some kind of GREAT DEMON! "666"...

Like we said that rolling a "6" is good in that it could LOWER the Track by -5 Points... And if the players roll three (3) "6"s in a row... Maybe they win the game...

Which brings me to another point: what is the objective of the game???

Cheers!

Fri
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And more ideas

Could you limit the number of cubes/dice each ghost has and then make losing all your cubes a game ending condition? In this case the dice/cubes would represent the ghosts essence. In order to perform a actions in the mortal realm the ghost must leave some of their essence there, which become ectoplasm. Of course the more powerful of an action they take, the more essence/ectoplasm they leave. It could be something like leave 4 uses to do the really good action. If you used dice it could be something like roll 14+ to do the really good action. The dice rolling can represent the difficulties that ghost experiences when trying to take actions in the mortal realm.

Maybe if a intruder is scared to death, it attracts more intruders. Thematically emts, police, detectives, paranormal investigators, ghost buster knock off, mad scientist, ect. Maybe these could be super-intruders. Super intruders would simply be a intruder with that does things slightly better than a normal intruder. Thematically, after three deaths the premises would be overwhelmed with super intruders thus making it unbearable for the ghosts.

Ghost not wanting to share a house with the new owners is the starting premise for the movie Beetlejuice. So there is an off chance if you watch it you could draw some inspiration from it.

Feel free to use, disregard or improve upon. Good luck with your game.

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