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Scavenging With Diminishing Returns

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tdakanalis
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Joined: 10/20/2012

Hello everyone,

I am currently working on a post-apocalyptic game and I am trying to simplify the scavenging mechanic.

Currently, each location has an overrun track which determines how many resources get scavenged each time. The track goes down after each scavenge action and as a result you gain less resources.

The problem is that players often forget to modify the track after each scavenge action. So, I try to figure out a way to achieve the diminishing returns without requiring the players to do any further action.

Any ideas or any games that could help?

Thanks in advance,
Themis

Fri
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Joined: 09/06/2017
draw deck with junk

In Dead of Winter players can scavenge for items that are represented by cards at various locations. Players can draw X cards with a penalty for each one drawn after the first. They must keep one and place the others on the bottom of the deck. Some cards are useful items others are junk. (literally junk see picture below) So as the game progresses the decks get thinned of all of the good items. In fact at the end of the game you may draw nothing but junk.

Dead of Winter rules Page 4 (Search):

http://www.orderofgamers.com/downloads/DeadofWinter_v1.2.pdf

Picture of junk card:
https://boardgamegeek.com/image/2395653/dead-winter-crossroads-game

tdakanalis
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Joined: 10/20/2012
Fri wrote:In Dead of Winter

Fri wrote:
In Dead of Winter players can scavenge for items that are represented by cards at various locations. Players can draw X cards with a penalty for each one drawn after the first. They must keep one and place the others on the bottom of the deck. Some cards are useful items others are junk. (literally junk see picture below) So as the game progresses the decks get thinned of all of the good items. In fact at the end of the game you may draw nothing but junk.

Dead of Winter rules Page 4 (Search):

http://www.orderofgamers.com/downloads/DeadofWinter_v1.2.pdf

Picture of junk card:
https://boardgamegeek.com/image/2395653/dead-winter-crossroads-game

This is a clever idea! However, since I have a lot of locations that you can scavenge I cannot dedicate a deck to each location. Moreover, it is a strategic game where I try to give players a much information as possible. Card draws would introduce an increased luck factor.

Paul Ott
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Joined: 01/22/2018
How about instead of a track,

How about instead of a track, use tokens that the players have to pick up when they scavenge? Might be easier to remember if they can correlate "scavenge = pick up a token". The symbolism is a little tighter to the action that is happening. You can require turning in the token to collect from that spot. If a space starts with 3 tokens, the player picks one up and turns it in for 3 resources. Next time, when the spot has 2 tokens, turning it in gives you 2 resources. And so on.

You could even have the number on the token itself if that would be easier. It would give you power to make it more variable too. So if there are three tokens, one might be worth 5 resources, another worth 3, and the last worth 1.

Or you could go the opposite route, and have players place scavenge tokens when they do it, and this causes the location to dispense less resources the next time it is scavenged.

tdakanalis
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Joined: 10/20/2012
Paul Ott wrote:How about

Paul Ott wrote:
How about instead of a track, use tokens that the players have to pick up when they scavenge? Might be easier to remember if they can correlate "scavenge = pick up a token". The symbolism is a little tighter to the action that is happening. You can require turning in the token to collect from that spot. If a space starts with 3 tokens, the player picks one up and turns it in for 3 resources. Next time, when the spot has 2 tokens, turning it in gives you 2 resources. And so on.

You could even have the number on the token itself if that would be easier. It would give you power to make it more variable too. So if there are three tokens, one might be worth 5 resources, another worth 3, and the last worth 1.

Or you could go the opposite route, and have players place scavenge tokens when they do it, and this causes the location to dispense less resources the next time it is scavenged.

I have thought about replacing the track with tokens but I didn't go into further analysis. Your analysis is very interesting!!!

kos
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Joined: 01/17/2011
Tokens

If the game allows a stack of tokens per location, you could use something like:
- Roll 1d6 vs the number of tokens in the stack.
- If it is <= number of tokens, take the top token.

The inverse would produce the same effect (start with zero tokens, roll > number of tokens, place a token when you search), but psychologically it is different and players are more likely to forget to add a token than they are to forget to take the token -- especially if the token itself is what gives them the reward/resources.

I'm struggling to come up with any alternate ideas that don't involve a stack of tokens per location.

A variation on the Dead of Winter mechanic referenced earlier would work if the number of locations is small, or the locations can be grouped into a small number of categories. It works like this:
- Have a single deck of loot/resource cards.
- Each loot card identifies the location(s) where that loot can be found.
- Some of the loot cards are junk.
- When you search a location, draw X cards from the deck, choose one of them that matches your current location, and place the rest on the bottom.
- If none match your current location you get nothing.

All of the above ideas involve randomisation, which you said you wanted to avoid so they may not suit your game as written. But maybe something will trigger your ideas.

Regards,
kos

Fri
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2017
Some ideas to possibly explore

So here are a few ideas that may work separately or in combination. They aren't necessarily are hard and fast resource reduction, but ways to accomplish the same thing.

Each player could be limited to carrying X items. So the first player to get to an area can carry off X items. Then the second player to get to that area probably already has 1 or 2 really nice items so the most they can take is X-1 or X-2. This has the possibility to open up some interesting decisions. Do I leave the gun so I can take more food. If I take all food will the player with me protect me like they say they will ect.

If the locations are explorable areas, (like the building in Flash Point) then you could distribute the items around the area so that and introduce a reason to force the player leave. The first player there will get all the easy to reach and/or best items and other players will have to settle for what is left.

You could have unlimited resources at a location, but the thing that is forcing players to leave become more intense after each player. Like more guards are assigned to that building.

You could have items in groups at each location. Once a player reaches that location they would decide on one group of items to take. The first player in a location would take the best group. (at that time for that game) Maybe you can set this up as these items in different rooms but you only have time to explore one room. This might make balancing the game easier.

Feel free to disregard, use or improve upon.

Also IMO "scavenge" may not be the right word for this action. Though I admit I find it tough to find a better one. Scavenge in my mind means looking for commodities in a location and these commodities may or may not exist. Maybe "gathering supplies".

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