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Finding alternatives

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Carlo007's picture
Joined: 12/15/2021

Hi, I'm making a board game about Ancient Greece, where you collect meeples (voters) throughout the game and, after some turns, when elections come, everyone gets a votation card.
The person who puts more meeples on a votation card is the person who gets the card and scores points, however, if you choose to use your voters on that votation, you will lose your meeples even if you don't win the election, but the obvious thing here and that has playtesting shown is: why should someone put voters on the votation card, when they know in advance who has the most?

For example, votation arrives and I chose to put 2 meeples on the card, then the person next to me puts 3 meeples on his card and gets the card and scores points, but in reality, I could have skipped not to vote since I knew, before the elections, that the other person had more meeples.

So I'm looking for an alternative, thanks in advance!

Joined: 01/27/2017
Hidden Ballots

Hi, what you've set up is an auction mechanic, and the sequence of steps is going to be key to how this affects player decisions.

If the person with the least meeples votes first, the second can decide to take the votation or not, spending the fewest meeples possible to win and dominate the votations until more meeples arrive.

If the person with the most meeples votes first, they have to decide if they want to put up an unassailable number... then lose the next votation because the second player will put up zero this round.

I think it might work better to have the meeple voting set up in secret and revealed simultaneously. It could done one votation at a time, or all at once.

To do them all at once, the votations can be put in numbered slots, then players put their meeples on a separate set of numbered slots behind a screen.

pelle's picture
Joined: 08/11/2008
Sounds not entirely unlike

Sounds not entirely unlike how Smash Up works. Normally the minions you put on a base in Smash Up are returned to your discard play, and may very well soon be back in play, but I still think many of the effects that game uses might help with the voting problem as well.

Off the top of my head:
- Bases that award points almost always also to the second player, often even to the third, so it is better to have something on the card than nothing.

- Cards that let you manipulate the board state just before you trigger scoring for a base. For instance moving your own minions to the base you want to score so that you suddenly have a majority there, or moving someone else's minions away.

- Cards that create sudden combo effects, making some of your minions count double for the current turn etc, so that you have the majority on a base the instant when it matters.

- Action cards that can be played "before scoring" so that when some other player (or you) trigger scoring of some base you can suddenly do something like the previous actions.

- Bases that punish the winner in some way. They still get points, but something bad happens in addition, so aiming for scoring fewer points on that base might be better sometimes.

- Bases that give some special action to everyone that have minions there at all times, so that it may be worth having some minions there even if you know you will never get any points when it scores.

KC's picture
Joined: 03/22/2019
I'm looking for an alternative

If you are looking for a 'hidden' ballot, then it is just a question of how you hide the meeples. You could provide each player with a screen that physically hides them, or you could substitute meeples for a card with a number on one side. Then all players reveal their meeples/card value simultaneously.

As a mechanic, I think both would work. The issue is the context, if you want lots of information (you can see the previous players' bids) then turn order becomes important, or the game (as others have posted) may provide disincentives to the highest bidder, etc.

My preference would be to keep it simple.

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