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trade mechanic

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thepurplebotanist
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Joined: 01/22/2011

I am finishing up on my game idea, Mercantile, which is a game centered around the economic system of mercantilism.In the game you and up to 3 other friends are competing nations trying to increase national wealth and use colonies to your advantage. My mechanics idea involves the international trade portion of the game. I was thinking of having a little board of to the side that represents how much money each item (resource or product) is worth during that turn.i want the price to fluctuate throughout the game so I was thinking a deck of event cards that is drawn from on everybody's turn would help the market fluctuate well. i was wondering if these cards should be kept in ones hand, to be used when a person wants to change the market; or should be played immediately, which would cause the market to fluctuate greatly and often?

Also I am completely new to board game design and I need some ideas on what to do next. I have almost finished my game design and I am wondering what to do now. should I write out some rules or should I have a group play test my idea? I am an awful artist, I would like to try to avoid that so how much art should be done before the board game is published? how much of the board game should be done for play testing?

-ThePurpleBotanist

mdkiehl
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Joined: 12/10/2010
Art, and Markets

For play testing you don't need art at all. I've seen professional game designers just taping ink-jet prints of a basic layout onto foam-core. For cards, ink-jet prints (with text) put into a card-sleeve works fine. I've even used hand drawn and hand-written stuff. Go for the most basic things you need to test the mechanics. Play-test with whoever you can find. Most people are curious when you say that you invented a game and they don't mind it having no art.

When approaching a publisher art still isn't terribly important. The publisher might even decide to re-theme your game. For example I heard about a monster game that was published with different art as a robot game. If the mechanics are the same it is still your game. The publisher might make decisions like this in order to work their market. If other economic games are coming out the same year then they might choose a different theme for your game, like putting it on Neptune just to make it different.

I'm not sure if I can offer any solution to your game mechanic issue without knowing your game better. Adding cards that effect the market might be an easy way to do this. I do wonder what it would be like with a predictable progression of the markets that is the same from game to game too, you might play-test it both ways. I might even see if there is a way for the supply of resources to effect the value of those resources. Play-testing will help you to choose one way or another. I think players who like economic games would rather have some kind of semi-predictable fluctuations in markets rather than pure chaos.

Regards,
Matthew Kiehl

http://mdkiehl.wordpress.com

thepurplebotanist
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Joined: 01/22/2011
Thanks

Thanks,
that really cleared things up, now i can really focus on playtesting. The game is on a board that is a map of a world (not ours but a fanciful one). It is takes place in a situation simalar to that of euroupe after america was discovered. the powerful monarchs of the time are triyng to use their colonies to there advantage by selling goods produced in those colonies. they are also trying to gain economic wealth which is the object of the game. The nations are on an island towards the center of the of the board each owning about a fourth of the island. in the center of the island is a small land locked country. this country is like the bank in catan, it isnt a player but its someone to trade with if no one else will accept a trade you need. there are small islands scattered around the board. each has its own type of reasource(which is placed randomly using tiles in the beginning. on those tiles there is also a number which tells you how plentiful the reasource is how plentiful the reasource is.). you get three free colonies to build in the beginning of the game. instead of building modes of transportation like (boats and trains) you pay captains(for boats) and rail companies(trains) to ship goods and from your homeland and the colonies, as well as transfer goods for trades with other nations(or when you buy something with currency form your oppnent or the bank country, you have to buy trains to ship it to you).At the end of the game(ten rounds) you will take all your reasources and sell them at market value(this is where the mechanic would be most prevalent but it will be used throughout the game as well) and who ever has the highest score wins. I hope that clears things up.

-thepurplebotanist

gabrielcohn
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Joined: 11/25/2010
San Juan

San Juan has a nice, simple mechanic for making markets fluctuate. You might imitate that...

thepurplebotanist
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Joined: 01/22/2011
I have not played San Juan or

I have not played San Juan or have ever seen it played (I am really quite new to the world of board games, I have heard of a lot of games and know a lot of mechanic types, but I have only played Catan and Carcassone). Can you describe how that mechanic works. I think it is a tile drawing which may be a little too random, but i would still like to know how it works.

-Thepurplebotanist

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