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Steampunk Action Mechanic Based Around Rotating Gears

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 07/28/2008

Okay. I am working on a co-op steampunk game where players are working together to gain resources (like aetheric energy, wood, and cogs) in order to repair components of their flying city.

I have come up with a mechanic that I would like feedback on as it would be the central part of the game and how much of impact this will have.

As well as the main board, there is a central gear rondel. Fairly large. Around the outside are spaces for smaller player gear rondels to slot into the gear system.

The current player rotates their gear to reveal an action. Player gear rotations are limited based on their role. For instance an Engineer may be able to rotate their gear up to 4 cogs, while the Aristocrat can only rotate up to one cog. “Let the riff-raff do all the work” and all that.

As the player does this, all the gears in the rondel are going to rotate. Once done, the active player takes their action, then checks the central gear to see what enemies do. Now, my other option is that the active player takes their action, then all the players take their revealed actions, if able, then resolve enemy actions.

I have yet to actually prototype this as I still need to work out what the player rondel action distributions will be (as I want them to be different as well as what the enemy actions will be as well. Prototyping will probably answer my question whether single player activation, then enemies, or all players, then enemies. It could lead to some interesting player strategizing, especially, if player gears are quite different from each other.

But thoughts would be nice.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Sounds Interesting

Note that players may feel a bit "out of control" because they're being shifted around so much by the other players' actions. I assume there will be a lot of discussion/disagreement regarding who turns gears and how far, particularly so since you want to create a co-op game.

I tried a similar mechanic late last year (I guess?) while going through the online board game design workshops. It was competitive, so the shifting around was interesting and accepted as a matter of course. Trying to work together to have each gear connect in a helpful way will be a challenge for the game, definitely.

Once you have a prototype put together, you'll see a bit better how the gears all connect and move one another. Good luck on your design! :D

Joined: 07/28/2008
That's my one concern about

That's my one concern about this is that lack of control that players may have. Prototyping will see how much of an issue this is going to be in a competitive game, but I do have a couple of thoughts on it, if it is a big issue for people.

designbomb's picture
Joined: 07/22/2013
Maybe you could have

Maybe you could have something set in place to allow certain players to remove their gears from the main gear, or outside another player's gear, to reverse their gears. Not sure if each tooth of their gear is a different action or icon? But allowing them to move their gears around somewhere else on the board to move backwards could be interesting, allowing the player to choose previous actions.

Just thinking out loud. I like your idea though, especially for a cooperative game. Would love to see a sketch of this idea in place and a little more detail.

Good luck!

ilSilvano's picture
Joined: 07/31/2008

Nice idea, but please take a look at Tzolk'in; it is a pretty famous game which uses a similar set of interlocking gears:

Joined: 07/28/2008
I'd heard of Tzolkín but

I'd heard of Tzolkín but didn't realise it had a gear mechanic to it. Damn. Well, not damn, I'll just need to work on it and ensure it is not the same, which after reading a couple of reviews, I think there is enough difference there with the rest of the game to be fine.

@DesignBomb - I was thinking that each tooth would highlight one or two icons which would indicate the actions that a player could take. I hadn't considered rotating forward and backwards, but that could fix the lack of control, and really add an interesting dynamic for co-operative play.

I'll look at getting a sketch up for you.

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