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Water Movement / Flooding

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Soulmate's picture
Joined: 05/23/2011

Greetings all,

I live in the Netherlands, a country known for it's struggle against water. This struggle develloped over the past centuries, and gained many interesting aspects. I've never found a game that implements this well though (Survive is the closest), so I recently started a new project at which I'd like some feedback.

The game is set on a blue board, made up of hexes. This board represents the water, and on this board different tiles are places, which represent the land areas. players build villages on these tiles, and try to protect the villages with dikes build on the edges of the tiles. Each turn, however, the water level rises...

I currently am in the very first stage of the game, and I'd like to find as many mechanics as possible for the movement of water and/or flooding of land. I would like to ask YOU to help me think of as many mechanics as you can, to help me get a wide vision of all the possibilities.

To help you get started, I'll put up an example:
The height of the water is represented by blue tokens, placed on the water hexes. Each turn, each player places a token on a hex adjacent to a village (tokens can be stacked). Then one token per hex is moved in the direction of the wind (shown by a compass on the board).
The token will only move if the level of the water is higher than the level of the adjacent hex. Land tiles have a level of 1. Each token on a water hex increases the level of that hex by 1. Dikes will improve the level of the land by 1 if it stands on the edge between the land and the water.
If a token is put on a land tile, that land is flooded. The tile and token are removed and villages on that tile are destroyed.

I'd very much like to hear comments or suggestions :)

Joined: 10/13/2011
Fluid Dynamics?

Hi Soulmate,

Could the "height" of the land be represented by land tokens in the same way that the depth of the water is represented by water tokens?

Wind would certainly be a factor in flooding, but normally, water will always flow to the lowest point and/or will spread out until all of the flooded areas have an equal water level.

There will also be a maximum water flow rate through narrow areas. This would cause slower flooding on one side of the narrow area, but the water level will build up quickly on the other side; possibly to the point that it flows over the dykes.

In your example, wind might blow water into an area where the land and water levels are the same.

Can the players build dams to control water levels? Can they adjust the "height" of the land by digging canals, lakes or building up hills?

Does it ever stop flooding/raining in your game or is the increase in water a constant danger?

It seems this type of game might work well with more, smaller hexes rather than a few, larger hexes.

Good luck with your design!

Soulmate's picture
Joined: 05/23/2011
Small Changes

Hi Orangebeard,

Different heights of land could be taken into account, but tokens would be a problem. Villages are already placed on the land tiles, and other tokens simply wouldnt fit. A solution would be different land tiles with different heights. For example: beaches (height 0), plains (height 1), hills (height 2) and mountains (height 3).

Water flowing to the lowest point is a great idea and easily done. For example, one water token is moved from each hex to the lowest adjacent area each turn. Ties are broken by the direction of the wind, giving it a lesser but still important imput.

I want the control of water levels be the most important part of the game, and the ideas you present might help achief that. Dams could work the same way as dikes, but building in water. As for the land heights, this might be changed by changing the kind of land tile to a better or worse one. For example, a Plains could either be changed to a hill or a beach.

The flooding is constant, although it lacks a elagant mechanic. I want players to really feel the pressure of the rising water, and I want sacrifices to be made. The amount of hexes is yet to be specified, but I dont want the board to be overwhelmingly full or large.

Thank you very much for your suggestions :)

Joined: 10/13/2011
Flood Levels?

Hi Soulmate,

What about an overall water level meter that increase each round and the "flood stage" level is written on each hex? For example, low, coastal area hexes may have a flood stage level of 1 or 2; when the water level meter (or die, track, whatever) reaches 1, then the hexes with a 1 will flood; this might allow you to remove some of the stacked tokens from the board, leaving more room for dyke, canal and dam pieces. I think you may still need some kind of flood token to mark a flood hex though. In this example, pieces like dykes may increase the flood stage level of the hex.

Does the flood come from one direction or all directions? (can we skip the dyke and build an Ark? :) )

I'm still not sure there is an "elegant" way to handle fluid dynamics, but the idea of players trying to manage the flood is very interesting.

Good luck with your design!

Soulmate's picture
Joined: 05/23/2011
All water is equal, But some water is more equal than other

Hi Orangebeard,

An overall water level would be usefull, but this would mean a hex tiles had to be protected from all sides. A village surrounded by water would be near impossible to protect. A solution could be that a tile can only be flooded from one direction at a time (wind direction?).
Another thing is that the flow of water is totally ignored, making dams or canals useless. Maybe dams could enclose water to provide new lands, and canals could prevent the flooding of certain area's?

Another idea I had was pumping mills, that pump the water to other tiles. These mills are placed on the corner of tiles, and can move the water tokens around, to prevent or make floods. This idea is harder to implement in the scenario of equal water heights...

Thank you very much for your imput :)

Joined: 09/06/2012
possible mechanic

liked your idea about flooding
some wild ideas for possible game mechanics
to prevent flooding, flood prevention structures should be used.
these structures are sandbags, canals, windmills (to pump water to a nearby canal), dykes, Ark!!
these structures may have different building costs, sandbags cheapest but prone to flooding when wind blows from specific directions.
villages expand and diminish by time passing (some randomization for village growing and diminishing)
bigger villages generate more resources.
resources will be used to build and maintain flood prevention structures
each turn wind direction is decided by some random (8 side dice?)
each game maybe different by arranging tiles (water, beach, plains, hills) randomly at game begin (like catan hexes arranged)
there maybe victory points at game end for situations like oldest village near to water, biggest village, etc.
hope it helps
best regards

JustActCasual's picture
Joined: 11/20/2012

Even though it doesn't have to do with water, Pandemic's infection mechanic seems like it would work well for this kind of system. Basically, you randomly select which tiles get water tokens each turn, but once a certain tile 'fills up' then when it gets selected you add tokens to ALL adjacent tiles instead. It's a fairly elegant base system, and is really good at providing rising tension over the course of the game, as lategame overflow chains means the stakes rise exponentially.

I'm wary of your current wind mechanic, as checking and/or moving tokens from every hex every turn seems really time consuming. Maybe just use a modifier system: for example, if the wind is going East all easternmost water tiles count as 1 higher and/or all westernmost water tiles count as 1 lower. Whenever a land tile is lower than any adjacent water tile you add 1 water token to it. This really keeps the attention on the borders rather than all the water tiles.

Also I was wondering what you were looking at in the way of wind change probably want an incremental random change system (ie. d6 no change/no change/+1 clockwise/+1 counter clockwise/+2 cw/+2 ccw). Going too random can be a problem as it has major strategy implications and defeats IRL expectations of winds.

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