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Resource Harvesting Mechanic

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/08/2009


I am making a game which requires resource harvesting and I really don't want to make it dice controlled, since two other mechanics in the game are already dice controlled. The idea is you want to harvest/summon crystals, and different crystals have different terrain types, so you must be at that terrain type to attempt harvesting/summoning crystals. But my problem is how you find/summon/harvest the crystals without using purely dice and tables. Any ideas would be wonderful.


Joined: 07/08/2009
well . . .

. . . what would keep you from being able to harvest the crystals? Skill? Manpower? Luck? Opponents foiling the plans?

I am working on a game right now, and the units have different values in different categories, and whoever has the highest total in each category gets a resource.

So, maybe everyone has a pile of crystal drilling tanks on a square (hex, space, w/e). Some of them are smarter, some of them are stronger, some of them are good in swarms . . . then whoever has the most intelligence, strength, and number of units present gets to collect a crystal.

I guess my advice is to figure out why the mechanic needs to exist, then abstract it in the best way to fit your game.


Joined: 08/11/2009
Why does there need to be a

Why does there need to be a chance of failure in the first place? Another option would be to look at the terrain type and player skill and give them a set number of resources. Thus, a player would improve during the course of the game. This could produce an interesting trade-off between going for a good spread of resources, just very few of each type, or huge numbers of just a couple of categories. This could also produce a completely different game to the one you want...
Another option is to have a deck of resource cards. They could possibly draw a card, if that resource type is possible for the location then they keep it, otherwise it's 'obviously a mis-identification' so they put it back at the bottom of the pile.

Just a couple of ideas.

Joined: 12/18/2008

You could collect the resource automatically just by entering the space. In one of my new designs, I'm attempting to combine movement with resource collection: (

How about allowing the player to build "collectors" of various kinds on the different terrains? Maybe certain types of collectors are more valuable and thus produce crystals more frequently. This could be dice controlled (the dice activate collector types instead of terrain types), or card controlled or even non-random. Imagine some sort of track with a counter that moves every turn:


(Or something vaguely like that.) Collector type "A" obviously produces much more frequently. Perhaps it is more valuable/costly or perhaps it produces smaller amounts. Collector type "C" is either less expensive or produces much more, albeit less frequently. In any case, the point is that you can easily see how many turns your payoff is and exactly what it will be.

InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008
History / stacks / beads...

Seed each harvestable area with a number of resource counters at the start of the game. This is a cap on how "rich" that area is in resources.

Have one deck of cards for each terrain type. The cards in this deck can be blank, have a bad harvesting event on them, or indicate how much of a given resource as harvested.

When you harvest from an area, you take resource counters from that area and immediately spend them to draw cards from any deck of cards that match that area. Draw the cards one at a time, resolving each card before advancing to the next card.

Things you can do with this:
* You can have an area match more than one terrain type. This is valuable because you can draw all from one deck, or spread your counters around to draw from several different decks.
* You can make one resource easy to harvest but have a low return, while another resource can be hard to harvest (either a lot of blank cards or lots of nasty events), but be profitable when it hits.
* The cards act as the resource markers, so you don't have complex resource trackers.
* You can replenish the resources in an area by putting more resource counters on that area.
* You can inject events into the resource harvesting.
* You can have special harvesting results with a bit of text on them (since it's on a card).

The card deck abstracts the information you'd normally keep on a table, disassociates it from a linear format, and empowers players to "take" and keep pieces of the table.

The tokens disassociate the area you're harvesting from tables and give a clear graphic representation of how wealthy or poor an area is.

I could go on and on, but I have to get moving.

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