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Take-what-you-want to start a game

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SDHokie's picture
Joined: 04/18/2019

Throwing a topic out there to start a discussion.

Has anyone experienced, designed, or simply thought of a game where you take all resources you want to start a game?

I'll even say that first player can be a jerk and take everything, but of course there is a catch depending on how much you have; you obviously can't be too greedy.

Say the resources include money and simple provisions like wood, stone, and clay. Without being too "linear," e.g. X many resources = Y many moves/actions/etc., how can a game manipulate this starting mechanic over in-game time (turns/rounds) without the greedier players being too powerful?

Are there games that do something similar?

Edit: To contribute, perhaps there is a tax rate for how much of a resource you have. Or, introduce a high-risk-high-reward feature where if you take the high reward, your actions must be higher risk; a backwards take on the concept. What would be a good theme to wrap around this?

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Why not make it EVEN EASIER!

Instead of TAXES, why not simply make the RICHEST player a TARGET to being attacked by all of the OTHER players. This could introduce some kind of teamwork/cooperation with other players and there could be some kind of agreements like: "For the next ? turns, you're going to give me X iron..."

And then your game has collaboration included with the whole "control" of resources.

SDHokie's picture
Joined: 04/18/2019
Sure, but I'm wondering if

Sure, but I'm wondering if you simply leave that up to the players versus making it a rule in the book. More specifically, the targeting. The greedier player will likely be targeted naturally. The rules can enforce mechanics which keep the greedy players from being overpowered.

Maybe the resources determine a specific decision space and are not directly related to a player's power. In reality it actually does, but maybe there is a way to make this work?

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I think naturally is a good way

Perhaps what you need to focus on is "Treaties". HOW players can collaborate and compete with each other given a specific "framework". Like if treaties were controlled by rounds (rather than turns), you could enforce a treaty to "x" number of rounds, usually negotiable between the parties involved in the agreement.

Greedy players are natural targets as you have said. Adding rules to protect them IMHO is not a good direction for the game. Empires rule and fall all by HOW they manage the relationships with the other parties or players.

You have to have the players "working towards" something. Maybe if you included some kind a "semi-random" element like "Warring Nomadic Tribes" that travel around and attack players who have a lot of resources available to them... Smaller players don't have the same possibility of "booty" if you know what I mean.

Without some cooperation the "greedy" player may get conquered rather quickly and lose the game... (For example). But with collaboration from one or two players, he could survive the onslaught of the warring tribes! This could be rather REALISTIC scenarios.

This could also shift player styles... Like you can all be near equals and try to fend off the hordes by yourselves or you can be richest vs. poor and require some kind of collaboration based on serfdom to help fend off the hordes with friendly allies.

IDK... Just some thoughts off the top of my head...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Victory Goal

The reason I see starting out with whatever you choose is that it makes it more difficult on how to handle the "Victor Goal"... It can't be about accumulating "resources" and MOST games that how you compute victory. You need some other way of winning that isn't tied to how much you accumulate in term of playing the game.

If everything is MANAGED by ROUND, it means that even if you have a TON of resources, you are limited to what you can do EACH TURN per round.

But having a lot of resources and building what you want in terms of cities or armies would be much easier that NOT having the resources.

I have AN IDEA.

You may LIKE IT or NOT... But let me share it with you.

RATHER than "taking as much of the resources" from the start... You have maybe six (6) resources and six (6) cards. Each player CHOOSES ONE (1) of these six cards and they have an UNLIMITED supply of THAT RESOURCE!

Why is this cool??? Because it will setup a natural economy and encourage players to TRADE what they don't need at any specific given time...

The "essence" of having "whatever" resources is SIMILAR but NOT exact... I don't think I've seen a game like this. Even one where you choose to have "unlimited X"...

Like I said this could be a COMPROMISE to just grabbing a bunch of resources at the start of the game. It would setup some interesting paradoxes where some players NEED certain "resources" and offer some kind of "treaty" to help solve their shortages...

Just another thought.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Debt As A Feature

Your question makes me think of how to develop economic games where players are allowed to begin the game in varying degrees of debt. There's a universal resource (like cash money) players can acquire a massive amount of at the outset of the game, but then they are tasked with paying it back, along with debilitating interest payments.

It seems to me that to make that kind of game fun, paying back the debt and/or acquiring more money would need to be closely connected to interaction with the other players of the game, else it would be closer to a multiplayer solitaire game, where players are obsessed with paying back their debts.

It might also be interesting to ration the collection of victory points based on how well a player utilizes the resources of the game. Someone who starts the game with relatively few resources has an untouched victory point scale. Meanwhile, a person who starts a game with an abundance of resources will score much fewer victory points than the first, either permanently or at least until they attain a specific objective or "tier" of achievement within the game.

I also wonder about solo games with this same kind of feature (?), and it seems to me that a solo game would more easily mesh with this scenario of selecting how much debt with which to begin the game.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Monopoly variation

Borrowing money from the bank.
And pay rent everytime when we passed start.
10% of the total. So passing start was getting 5000. Players could only pay off (20%) or borrow more (30k) when passing start.

SDHokie's picture
Joined: 04/18/2019
Good ideas

Good ideas, folks. I didn't mean to convey that the greedier players are "protected." Instead, perhaps certain actions (the decision space) are available to them based on the "tier" they put themselves in. Maybe the game difficulty is greater along with the high-risk-high-reward nature of handling large amounts of resources.

"Own an unlimited supply of the resource of your choice"
A great idea. It almost sounds like it creates an asymmetric game with each player controlling a different type of resource. Depending on how this is carried out, the game should still be more punishing to greedier players. With some creativity, this could be a neat game implement.

Why didn't I think of this sooner? Debt and interest are of course the instantaneous consequences of borrowing loads of money. As you said, there should be some way to avoid making this a multiplayer solitaire with too much focus on paying off debt. This can probably be handled by placing the element of making money on interaction with other players, and side jobs that make you spend more money to make money. This is a pretty good solution for a game that open with a free-for-all grab of resources.

Combining with the idea above, there could be a game in which players choose a resource they control (unlimited supply), then choose as much of other resources they want with which they will face debt. So maybe I am a pink resource kingpin and I choose a little bit of the black resource, a lot of the blue resource, and a ton of the purple resource. I'd be in debt for black, blue, and purple, but the pink resource I would control for the game.

Joined: 11/27/2019
A cool theme

Maybe a them about ‘Robber Barons’. The federal government starts to crack down with rules that come up over the course of the game. The ones that save the most money by flouting loopholes wins, but the ones with most resources are targeted first.

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