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Relative Income and Spendings

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

Let say you have a game where you can spend money of different 3 different kind of stuff. If your income is 10$, you will spend in average 3.33$ on each of the 3 elements.

Now let say you want to make an expandable game and you add 2 new categories of stuff to buy which are as important that the 3 previous ones. Now the average money spent on each element would be 2$.

So adding stuff, split the player's resources which will change and slow down the behavior of the game. I found a way to make sure that you could add stuff indefinitely to the game without having ressource split problem.

A simple example: each character as a wealth level. If you allow the character to buy an item, he can take any item where the price is equal or lower to the character's wealth level.

With this method, money does not tell you how much you can buy but rather what is the highest quality you can acquire.

I was thinking to implement this in a civ game. For example, your economy level could determine what you are allowed to place into play.

An idea I had is to have for example a production level, which gives let say a base production of 3 point from various infrastructure. Then you could use money tokens to increase these levels for the turn. For example, you could add 2 coins in production to boost you production level for this turn to 5.

So you could en up with a situation where you could control your spending in various categories without having to calculate income and spendings. You could have for example 3 different level.


Each would have a basic level according to your empire's infra structure and you could split money tokens between those 3 values. this will determine the levels for the turn, which will give you access to different things. (Ex: a high military level allow you to maintain higher quality units)

From that, the notion of flexibility comes in. You can either have little base value with lot of money, that allows you to adjust your levels more easily. OR have high base values and little money , which gives you less way to manipulate the levels.

It might be a bit hard to understand, but I am a bit in a hurry, so I cannot develop more.

In general, do you like the idea?

Joined: 12/01/2010
This is a great idea!

This is a great idea!

That's spurred quite a few interesting mechanical representations of that idea in my mind - utilizing a small economy board for each player that they can build like a tech tree to flesh out what kind of buying power they want to control.

loonoly's picture
Joined: 02/12/2011
Abstraction of resources

A similar sort of abstraction of wealth has been used in RPGs such as Burning Wheel and Diaspora, but I don't think I've seen it used in board games before. It's a very interesting idea.

In the RPGs I've seen that use this sort of abstraction, they allow you to purchase anything up to your resource value without trouble but if you want to go above your resource value you make some sort of risk. Success means being able to purchase it. Failure can either mean getting the purchase with a penalty of some sorts or not making the purchase at all.

For instance, say your civilization wants to build a monument that costs 5 and their economy is a 4. You could have them risk it (i.e. a dice roll or other randomizing mechanic). If they succeed the monument is built. If they fail, the monument is built, but their economy is reduced by 1 because they have exhausted all of their resources on the build. They would then have to rebuild that level of their economy.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I have been toying with the

I have been toying with the idea. I have a hard time to make the core of the economy work. I tried so many system so far. Here is a summary of what I have done.

I first thought of using 3 level (CIty, Military, empire) and then make them progress through the game. But an idea I found really cute would be to have a small city design (3x3 grid) where you can place buildings. The design would represent the configuration of your whole empire. You could flip some buildings to upgrade them. This would reflect more the theme of the game.

But it leads to many other problems like player using an optimal pattern of buildings and repeating the same pattern in every game.

I first had an idea like in endeavor, you take 1 building per turn. This means the player will progress as the game evolves but even if they lose half of their empire, they do not lose their building config. So there will still be advanced buildings in the remaining city. It reflected how city worked in the civilization video game, the older are the cities, the more buildings there are.

I was not sure if I should go for 3 abstract values, or many buildings to add more unique details. For example, I could say that if you want ships, you city level needs to be level 2. That is the plain abstract method. OR I could make a port building to place in your city template that will unlock ships. I find this much more elegant, but every building will have a somewhat unique effect rather than raise a value. Requirements will require a certain building rather than a level, unless some buildings add levels.

The other unfortunate thing is that I realized that even if spending money can be problematic, as illustrated in the first post, it is fun to spend. So I am thinking either to have real money that can only spent on unique stuff (rather than regular empire management). OR every turn, you have a wealth level that varies from a turn to another(Economic system), and if the player has enough wealth, he can buy it.

bonsaigames's picture
Joined: 12/20/2010
Limited Tiles

larienna wrote:
...But it leads to many other problems like player using an optimal pattern of buildings and repeating the same pattern in every game...

You could llimit the number / type of tiles available as in Puerto Rico.
Hope that helps,
Levi Mote

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:You could llimit the

You could llimit the number / type of tiles available as in Puerto Rico.

That could be an idea, but not for the type of game I am making.

An idea that came back to my mind to to have most or all of the buildings require special resources which are found on the map. The resources you have access to will change from a game to another. Some races will also have some restricted buildings. So it should give enough variety to make sure players does not use always the same pattern.


As for the economic system, I am thinking a of slight variation with 2 different options.

- Player will get 1 gold from each city.
- Player will have maintenance cost to pay everyturn, which reduce the wealth level of the player. Maintenance is paid for empire size, army size, mercenaries, etc.
- Players can buy resource from other players every turn. This is done by permanently raising the wealth of your opponent and reducing yours if he agrees to sell you the ressource. The wealth stay there until the agreement is broken.

All the above could be considered maintenance reduced from the income because paid everyturn. Now there will be a certain wealth level left.

First, this wealth level cannot be accumulated. So for example, you have 5 gold left, if you do not spend anything and the next turn has the same budget, you will not have 10 gold on turn 2, but simply 5 gold. From there, 2 solutions can be used.

A-Limited gold spendings: You can buy stuff by reducing your wealth level, but on the next turn, you recover to your maximum since there is no accumulation. You could split your gold on multiple items to buy.

B-Compare wealth: Like I explained in the first post, if the price is <= than the wealth, then you can do it. The restriction on the amount of stuff you can buy is fixed by the game.

Solution B is more expandable and prevent keeping track of gold spent, but solution A seems thematically more logical.

Still, what I have realised is that if there is a lot of maintenance cost to manage, there will be some sort of budget management in the game. I think that was the problem, because if you can simply buy everything below level X, you do not feel like managing a budget. But if you have a lot of maintenance cost, you could actually try to reduce your maintenance cost in different ways to increase your wealth to buy higher quality stuff. So it has the same feeling has managing a budget, but you do not physically substract money from your treasury.

I think that is the solution I am going to use.

Joined: 11/25/2010

I think this is similar to the system in endeavor. you are assigned a level you can build at. you just choose from that building level or lower.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I also borrowed the "You can

I also borrowed the "You can build 1 building each turn" from endeavor.

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