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Roleplay mechanics in a Boardgame

8 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/04/2008

A current game I'm making is about creatures hunting and trying to kill the players. Players have to hide, search, etc different stuff like that to last for a week until help comes.
Now the mechanic of this I want to be loose so you can push cabnets in front of doors, climb onto the roof of a house etc... So trying to make a mechanic instead of if it makes sense do it.
Here's what I came up with. in a room you'll see everything on the board thats in each space. I was thinking that if you use something from that space place a used marker on that space or item allowing only 1 thing from each space to be used or if on item you can't use that item again unless going to the new location it is at if still intact.
This solves a lot of problems and I just need to make sure every item I draw in each space has some notes of usage and what all they do.
Does this sound reasonable or are there suggestions that can upgrade this idea to somethig that won't leave 100 counters over a board.

Curufea's picture
Joined: 12/14/2008
I had a similar idea for

I had a similar idea for items in a game based on Hellraiser (the Clive Barker horror series)
It's a problem alright - either items are on the board and you place use markers, or you place item counters in the initial setup.
There are other ways - to have a player map, or a designated book keeper who has their own draw-on version of the board,where they can check off used items.

A possibly less counter-heavy solution is to use pop-up technology if you are able to produce boards of that complexity. Have a two-state slider for an item "used/unused". You could possibly change the graphic of the item if it changes when used.

Joined: 08/04/2008
Well the slider thing won't

Well the slider thing won't work because the player wants to take a tv and bring it outside to smash some creature over the head or throw it out the window at something. Or rearrange a full room to barricade different areas.
Another problem is trying to think of everything players may want to do to apply rules to them that will be easily remembered so someone can be like well I trip the creature by swinging this 2x4 at it's legs.

SiddGames's picture
Joined: 08/02/2008
Might Need Tokens

It may be just as easy to stick with placing item tokens on the board during game setup. I mean, if a player picks up something, you need a way to track what he's carrying. If he drops it elsewhere on the map, you need to indicate that it has been dropped there. That sounds like you need a token anyway to show the new location, be that in inventory or elsewhere. Since you need THAT token, you might as well just use it when seeding the board during setup. Does that make sense?

Joined: 08/04/2008

I was thinking that and will have tokens but didn't want to add all the tokens at set up or it may take more time than I wish for set up. Since each room of the house and shops will have tons of things in them.

Joined: 10/07/2008
How about..

populating each location with tokens as a player enters the location? Would save on set-up time and could give a sense of discovery to the players.

Joined: 12/18/2008
About how many rooms are on

About how many rooms are on the board?

Are they the same rooms every time, or is it randomized/configurable?

How many items per room on average?

Does a room always have the same objects? Random? Partly random?

I'm thinking you could have discovery mechanic that would also reduce setup time. You could have a deck of cards to represent the rooms. When you explore a room you turn over the card, which tells you the items that are in the room. At this point you could populate the room with the items. To make this easier, you could have the items grouped into color-coded categories. At setup you'd just sort by color. Later the "baseball bat" would be easy enough to find, since it would be 1 of only 12 items in the (green) long and skinny object category.

InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008

kodarr wrote:
I was thinking that and will have tokens but didn't want to add all the tokens at set up or it may take more time than I wish for set up. Since each room of the house and shops will have tons of things in them.
Idea 1:
Certain locations are assumed to always have things in them, have a chance of having other things there, and can never have some things. For example, a kitchen will always have a refrigerator, may have a television, but will never have a chainsaw. You don't need to set up a token for every item in a shop. You just need to have a pool of tokens for the items that are in the shop. If you successfully find a specific item in the shop, and there's a token available for that item, then you can have it. If you drop that item later, you put the token in the space.

Regarding setup concerns: You just have to keep the tokens in separate baggies for each location. If you re-sort at the end of each game, starting the next game is a snap. If you color-code the items tokens by location, sorting becomes easy too.

Recap & revision: Locations have carryable items. At the start of the game, put those items in an item pool for that room. When you search, you blind-draw from the pool (better searchers get more draws) and keep one item you find (greedy characters get to keep two items). When you drop an item, you put it in the space you drop it in.

Idea 2:
Players can take actions to change the state of the location from "normal" to "barricaded". You don't actually move large tokens around the location. In fact, there aren't any tokens for large room items, like sofas, chairs, etc.. Instead, there are "barricade points" in the location. Imagine that each location is a tile. Now, imagine a Store tile – a top-down view of a convenience store with aisles, a register, and such. The front door, back door, and front windows each have a blue circle with a red number in it. These are possible entry points and the number circles are barricade points. The number indicates the maximum barricade value that barricade point can have, given the construction of the building and the resources in that building. The front windows might have "3"s in them (big panes of glass), the front door could have a "5" (a smaller, reinforced pane of glass), and the back door a "12" (solid metal door). When you take an action to barricade your location, you may add a barrier token to a barricade point in your location (as long as the # of tokens on that point is less than the number on that point). You also have to tell everyone what you're doing ("I'm pushing the ice cream treat refrigerator in front of the front door."). When a barricade point is attacked, it loses barrier tokens.

The point? You don't need to simulate a perfectly interactive environment. The primary thing characters will do is push large items to block specific entrances. Since that's the primary goal, that's what you need to simulate. I think design will be easier if you list the three or five most common or important character-environment interactions and create rules to address and simulate them.

Joined: 08/04/2008
Barricade tokens = good idea

I do like the concepts you gave InvisibleJon. I may see if I can tweak those ideas to what I need. I want the game to be open ended as possible for the players and play almost like a rpg but no GM and with a board and figures. I want a player to say I want to do this. And the rules will cover it in most cases. Rooms are all stationary and set.
Origional idea was to print all objects on the board and observent players can look at the tiles and be like I'm going to grab that bowling ball and use it as a weapon. Then place a taken marker on that space but this left it that players couldn't get muliple items from the same space.

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