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Worker placement/settlement building as a support mechanism for a dugeon crawling card game.

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Steve Broadfoot
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Joined: 04/25/2017

Ok, so my current game is a dungeon crawling card game, I'll likely go into details of that at another time, but right now Im working on a supporting mechanic. My game has a leveling system as well as a system for upgrades, acquiring new heroes and other such stuff and it is all tied into developing a settlement for the heroes (there are narrative reasons for all of this). My issue is how exactly to do this.

My first instinct was simple, provide players a settlement board with spaces for buildings and let them build whatever they like. Buildings would require resources and you could use gold found in the dungeon to hire workers which then can be used in a worker placement system. Run dungeon-place workers-upgrades and gear-back to the dungeon.

To me, this all feels excellent as its quick and snappy and is a more involved method of unlocking upgrades as opposed to just leveling and a list of new stats and abilities, but Im concerned it will all feel superfluous and clunky, and worse, pointless as it is really just glorifying upgrade trees.

So my new position on it is a sort of best of both worlds. The settlement will be an upgrade tree. The base of the settlement board would be plain, with upgrades on tiles. On the backs of the tiles are the unlock requirements, the front is an image of part of the settlement They will be designed so they all match up and the settlement is created, effectively allowing players to place and build, but they are still slightly tied to a tech tree. It allows me to maintain the narrative, which is important to the game as well as keeping the personal feel of creating this settlement, whilst maintaining the functionality of classic tech tree upgrading.

My one sticking point is wheher I use worker placement again. It feels more auhentic go need stone and clay to build a house then just paying 5 gold or sumsuch, but does it feel clunky and unnecessary, baring in mind that this is meant to be a support mechanic to the main dungeon crawl game.

I'm interested in all of your thoughts on this please.

Thanks.

Gabe
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Joined: 09/11/2014
Define your audience. Knowing

Define your audience. Knowing who your customer avatar is will help you make these types of decisions.

Do your ideal players enjoy a dungeon crawl or a Euro style worker placement game?

If they enjoy the dungeon crawl more, then be careful of how much worker placement the game requires. Players who love combat and loot will feel like having to stop and manage resources and workers is just getting in the way of more combat and loot.

And vise versa.

A Euro game with a dungeon crawl (ish) theme can work. The City of Kings proved that.

But be careful not to design a game that is really two games. The flow will be way off.

Steve Broadfoot wrote:

My one sticking point is wheher I use worker placement again. It feels more auhentic go need stone and clay to build a house then just paying 5 gold or sumsuch, but does it feel clunky and unnecessary, baring in mind that this is meant to be a support mechanic to the main dungeon crawl game.

It would be authentic if the player was high above the game controlling workers and resources. However, the player is on the ground, so having to control a character in a dungeon and a bunch of workers outside of the dungeon will cause a huge perspective shift that may cause the game to feel disjointed and like it's two separate games.

I really like the idea of having a settlement that can be changed and upgraded as players progress. It gives the players a lot more options and paths to do different things. But if your perspective is a character fighting through dungeons, it makes more sense to just pay people to build things. Or perhaps certain items or resources can be found in the dungeons that change the stats on buildings in the settlement.

For example, you find a magic red crystal in the dungeon and pay it along with gold to build a building that now has better fire resistance.

Steve Broadfoot
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Joined: 04/25/2017
Aaah, I suppose I should

Aaah, I suppose I should explain, the player is technically above the action as a sort of overlord type. The dungeon runners are in the nature of recruits, mercenaries. The settlement is intended as a mechanic through which mew mercenary types can be recruited and all the mercenaries get stronger to allow them to move further through the dungeon. The players overlord character has unique powers and buffs to aid the mercenaries.

Gabe
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Kind of like Lords of

Kind of like Lords of Waterdeep?

Steve Broadfoot
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Joined: 04/25/2017
Not really. Players still

Not really. Players still actually run the dungeon themselves, they just use a recruit for the job, the overlord just provides support (there is also a lot of narrative purpose behind this choice).

Gabe
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Joined: 09/11/2014
So the players are like

So the players are like omniscient hands guiding adventurers along?

If so, the worker placement mechanic makes a lot more sense.

The dungeon basically becomes another area to place and use workers or in this case the recruited adventurers.

Steve Broadfoot
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Joined: 04/25/2017
That sums it up quite nicely,

That sums it up quite nicely, yes.

The question still remains whether the worker placement aspect is superfluous as there is (currently) no restriction on it like players would het in a competitive worker placement game. There is no challenge in that side of the game, its just a mechanic that fits the narrative and adds character to upgrade functions.

Gabe
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Without having a good grasp

Without having a good grasp on what your game is trying to do overall, I'd say cut it.

Any part of a game that's there just to serve the theme, but doesn't create interesting choices or tension for the players, needs to be cut.

Or perhaps rework it so it makes an actual difference in the gameplay.

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
Embodying the tech tree

Gabe wrote:
Without having a good grasp on what your game is trying to do overall, I'd say cut it.

Any part of a game that's there just to serve the theme, but doesn't create interesting choices or tension for the players, needs to be cut.

Or perhaps rework it so it makes an actual difference in the gameplay.


One way to do that would be to make the physical locations within the settlement matter. As a simple example, a 5x5 grid where the player starts with base buildings on the lower-left and lower-right spaces. Dungeon specials may be able to upgrade certain tiles, but the normal progression is to buy a new tile that touches at least two existing tiles (the sides and bottom count for this purpose). That makes the player choose between deep or wide, and makes the middle column the most difficult to get started.

The cost is up to you and what makes sense to the theme. Part of the cost can be workers who aren't consumed in building the tile, simply to limit builds per turn. Or the "worker" can be consumed and become the farmer/blacksmith/alchemist/whatever who operates that building. Then the player needs to attract population in order to develop the settlement.

In any case, I would make the mechanics of the dungeon and settlement as similar as possible. If settlement position matters, then both dungeon and settlement should use the same map type (grids or hexes). They should both use a "programmed" or "possessed" style of issuing orders. And so on.

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