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Rule variations. Also building hierachies

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kj's picture
Joined: 07/24/2008

I'm working on a medieval-themed building game. I want it to work for up to 6 players. I'm just starting on playtesting after fits of tweaking with the bits and rules over many years. A few questions.

1) What do you think about rule variations depening the number of players? An example would be payments for selling wine. With 4 or more players you earn more per bottle if not much is sold (in my game this would make sense because payments are based on how much is for sale in a round, and it's less likely that a low quality is for sale with more people).

2) Another example of changing the rules ... making it harder to get a resource. Let's say you have to roll to see if you can take a card. With 2 players you have to roll a 4 or more. With 3 players, a 5, etc. This so the game isn't awash in resources with more players.

3) Separately, does it seem OK to have a hierarchy of building requirements (example: You need to build "A" before you are able to build "B") without exception? In 7 Wonders, for example, you can play any card, but the prerequisites let you build for free. In my game, you would not be able to build "B" at all, and you may never get a tile for "A" during the game. So you'd have to work in a different direction ("C" or "D" ...).

Comments on all these are welcome...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Another alternative

For Point #2: making it harder to gain a resource.

My idea is sort of a bit more complicated but still rather simple in essence.

Instead of +1 on 1D6. Make it a combination of 3D6s. That way when you roll with less players (think 2) you roll 5D6s and with more (think 4) 3D6s.

What this does is make it harder. Let's say you are giving the Number of Rolls per Player and so 3D6, where you can LOCK a die or several if the corresponding match of the combination is achieved. And in total for 2-Players you would have 5D6s rolled TWICE (2x: 1-Per Player). For 4-Players you would have 3D6s rolled FOUR time (4x: 1-Per Player)... Again making the possibility for LOCKING and only re-rolling whatever dice are NOT locked.

This is much more EXCITING because the NUMBER OF COMBINATIONs of 3D6s are a TON. For example: 1-1-1 or 1-2-1 or 6-5-4, etc.

Again I think this is BETTER because it is BY FAR more "flexible" and offers a lot of variation. You can maybe even not rely on Players, you could say 3-Rolls per combination... Better than 2-Rolls and harder than 4-Rolls.

That's another alternative.

For Point #3: hierarchy of building requirement.

Sorry I didn't understand the Building aspect "A" can't build "B" but somehow you could build "C" or "D" without "A" or "B"??? Very confusing! The example isn't great, there's some ambiguity there.

Please clarify and I'll see if I can offer anything to help you out...


Note #1: Also about Point #2 ... You can VARY the combinations too: 2D6s, 3D6s or 4D6s... To make it EASIER or HARDER depending on the nature of the "resource". That's another ANGLE which shows how this is MUCH more "flexible" than rolling +1 or +2 on a single D6.

kj's picture
Joined: 07/24/2008
Thanks ... On 2) I was using

Thanks ...

On 2) I was using 2D6 but upping the threshold by 1 per extra player. Since dice aren't used much in the game I'm not sure a whole lot is gained by going to 3D or more but I'll think about it. The only resource the dice control is getting some cards that have a variety of types in the game. I want it to be roughly a one-half chance if there are around 2-3 players, and one-third at most for 5-6 players.

On 3) There are tiles for different buildings. A lot are University related.
Some examples: You cannot build a Physics class until you've built a Math class. You cannot build a Law class until you have built a Rhetoric class. And so on. It's a branching fan of requirements but that should give you the basic idea.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
About Point #3

Yes that much I understood. "B" requires "A" but you may never get "A". That much I got. But what "C" and "D" have to do with it, IDK?!

I'm not really a Fan of "Tech Trees" like Civilization (for example). A LOT of games use them and most Advancements have Requirements like you explained, "A" before "B"...

I'll pitch this idea AGAIN (not to you, on another project using a "Tech Tree"), because I still think it has merit.

Divide your "Skills" into 3 or 4 Categories. And then some kind of "Look-up" Chart which describes the nature of the skill earned by those "3" or "4" Categories.

Like "Might", "Diplomacy", "Trade" (3 instead of 4 in my example).

And M-M-M-M = Gunpowder (IDK I'm improvising)

Or D-D-T-T = Law College (Requires a balance of Diplomacy and Trade)

Or T-T-T-T = Merchant's Guild (Some kind of Bonus to Caravans... IDK :)

And you wouldn't NEED to know ALL the combinations (at first)... But as you PLAY the game, each time you LEARN something NEW. It makes for AWESOME replayability and surprises of the nature that you don't know what to research NEXT unless you have ALREADY unlocked something in a previous play-thru.

And 3x3x3x3 = 81 different types of "Technologies" or Advancements.

Keeps it relatively SMALL for a Board Game ... But like I said, YOU LEARN as you PLAY. The MORE you PLAY and "research", the better you figure out what is more important to your play-style.

Again something for you to think about.

BTW I think for Point #2 your 2D6s is REASONABLE (doing a +1 on 2 dice is better than just 1). Thank you for explaining that. I agree keeping it simple is what is important. As per your explanation, I misunderstood that you were talking about only 1D6. 2D6s is more flexible and doing +1 per player reasonable.

Note #1: Getting back to Point #3, the only PROBLEM is that it's HARD to keep the "Advancements" SECRET if you can READ them in a TABLE. You'd need some kind of randomization technique. Previously I pitched this for a Video Game (the other thread) and it was better because the computer kept the Advancements a SECRET until you unlocked the corresponding MATCH.

Anyhow it's just an IDEA. Maybe this might spark some other ideas in your own mind rather than going the CIV-way which is OVERDONE in too many games nowadays...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Also for you to consider

Is that the game can CHANGE according to a player's STYLE of game play.

For example:

M-M-M-M: Unlocks Gunpowder.

That's all find and DANDY. But you need to EARN "4" Might. What I mean is that each "M" you place has a REQUIREMENT. For example, you may need an "X" quantity of Armies on the board. So an EXPANSIONIST player may have more Armies than say someone who is focused on Caravans (and TRADE).

Each LEVEL requires MORE "Y" (of something) before you can choose that PATH.

And it's also a way to both "throttle" and "restrict" how you can conduct RESEARCH into the various types of Advancements you want to use in your game.

Again this is because I feel "Tech Trees" are OVERDONE and if you look at a game like Lorenzo Il Magnifico... It's ONLY a bunch of "Tech Trees" and the goal is to maximize your proficiency in them. How boring is that?!

Similarly we have Civilization which is using a "Tech Tree" and I don't like re-using the same IDEAS "over-and-over".

Just some ideas I'm sharing to see if I can spark some NEWER ideas in your own design.


Note #1: The ORIGINAL "Civilization" Game by Sid Meir's had a grand total of 71 Research Advancement. The concept that I've presented has 81 ... Which is very close without the need for "pre-requirements" in the tree.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

If you have a TRACK with Achievements, like earning "X" Might because of a Military Force Status... That could come as some kind of Table with the "3" or "4" Skills and you can track those globally.

Maybe to get "4" Might requires you to become a "Feudal Warlord" and results in a regime of "Despotism" which has a PENALTY on "Diplomacy and Trade"...

So maybe there can be TRADE-OFFs in what it is you are trying to achieve.

Like I said, I'm giving you things to "think about" because I don't know all the inner-workings of your design.

These are just IDEAs that could help you create something DIFFERENT than a Civ-style Advancement Tech Tree...


Note #1: For example to reach "4" of the Might Track, might mean that you LOCK "Position #1" to Might ("M"). Which means that as a "Feudal Warlord", you can ONLY research "M-?-?-?" Advancements. So when you get to that point in the game... You are restricted to 1/3rd of the "Tech Tree"...

That's another ideas instead of a "Penalty" to DIPLOMACY and TRADE.

I'm thinking in a WAY something ala "Scythe" where you have a player board and you unlock stuff as you go... But also restrict things from further attaining them once you SPECIALIZE in one aspect ("Skill").

Note #2: If you want to TRIM-THE-FAT a bit... You can also make some of the Research Branches DUDS. Yup NOTHING. That branch doesn't have a corresponding enhancement or benefit (in terms of research). So it could be LESS that 81 particular items... Just wanted to add that in case anyone is wondering if it MUST be 81... Or could it be LESS.

So instead of 81, you could have 75 (-2 on each track) so 25 Techs per Track, so-to-speak. That sounds like a really GOOD TREE. Something more interesting that a Civ-like Tech Tree where there are too many interdependencies in that you basically need to Research EVERYTHING, if you are expected to go FAR in the game.

kj's picture
Joined: 07/24/2008
Briefly responding on my

Briefly responding on my building tree ... it does not branch out real wide. It is expected that you'll more often go wide rather than real deep. I'll explain. There are two primary building tracks. You don't commit to one or the other. You'll be working on both during the game. One of them has a bit of a tree, the other less so. On the former, you can build one of six buildings at the first level. After that it doesn't branch out much. Each of those six let's you building only one or two follow-on buildings. Due to what building tiles you get access to (your "hand" so to speak) you'll adjust what you build. The city you're building on (roughly think of 7 Wonders) has a bonus goal for building a certain building, but it's a stretch goal as they say.

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