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Blood Lines discussion

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bhazzard's picture
Joined: 01/25/2011

I was pleasantly surprised to have gotten some votes in the GDS this month. The entry was a bit last minute and more of a game concept than a well developed game. If you have the time, let's talk through the promising parts of the game, and the problems I ran into while conceptualizing it.

Blood lines is a a game about Royal Families marrying and warring with each other while trying to expand their influence.

The play basically involves male and female cards that can be "married" and produce new generations under them which can in turn get married and produce new generations.

Each tree of generations represents a territory. Players can break out new territories by removing the lowest generation of one of their existing territories.

Players can defend territories by playing facedown cards at the top of territory. Each card represents a soldier. Players can also use up these soldiers to attack opposing players territories. I think a one for one system would work best. Basically, I can discard one of my soldiers to force you to discard one of yours. If the opposing player has no soldiers on a territory, you can kill one of their royal men.

To win, a player needs to have either 10 territories, or 0 generations in one territory.

To do all of the things above I was thinking of relying on role selection mechanics. I also like the idea of creating tough decisions by making cards useful in several ways. In this game the different uses could be soldiers for attack/defense, money for taking special actions, royalty that can marry and produce heirs.

I also thought about giving the various royalty cards powers like: While this king rules a territory add 2 to its defense and others like that.

Thoughts on ways I could develop the game?

rcjames14's picture
Joined: 09/17/2010
The Royal Arena

So, one of the things that immediately comes to mind in a game about marriage, bloodlines and inheritances is the family tree. It's not clear to me from what you wrote whether you plan to fill in the tree a generation at a time, but it seems to me that the game can be separated into rounds which each represent a generation. Once the marriages/political alignments for each generation are filled, the round ends and something happens. There could be rules governing how you can place cards in each generation and special abilities that are triggered by some condition of card play (perhaps marriages trigger special effects).

What I envision here is a game that feels a little bit like Colossal Arena. Instead of having 8 columns, each devoted to one creature, you would have 6 territories each with two slots (male/female). The common deck would be composed of 8 families, each with an equal number of men and women, of various different ranks. Each territory would have a value associated with it, and the goal of the game would be to back the families who control the greatest value of territory by the end of four or five generations of maneuvering.

There would be rules which structure who can be placed where, using a combination of lines of decent and card ranking (I'm thinking that you can only place women who are descendents of the males with the highest ranks in the previous generation and vice versa for men/females). Each card may have a special ability on it which triggers when it is married to another card, the card with the lower rank being the one activated.

Each round, effectively determines what cards can be played in subsequent rounds, but because of the recessive nature of inheritance, certain lines could rise to prominence even if they don't succeed in the current one. Since each player would be randomly assigned two of the eight families at the beginning, the goal could either be to see your line(s) be the most prominent in the last round (if your lines are hidden), or to score after each round/generation and have the most total points over the whole game. I feel like the latter (being both different than colossal arena and more euro) would actually be the preferred scoring system.

Thematically, the territories/titles could be either the nations of Europe or areas of only one of the European nations, like France, Spain, Italy, etc... And the value of each territory in each generation could actually vary according to historical events. The amount of realism could be pretty deep.

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