Skip to Content

Underground Railroad theme

10 replies [Last post]
cottonwoodhead
cottonwoodhead's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/02/2011

I want to create a game based on the Underground Railroad. Players would have several routes they could move along with safehouses spread along them. Some routes are riskier but faster, you must avoid risks like the police, exposure, disease and so on. Each safehouse can only keep one escaped slave at a time. I should probably note considering this is my sixth or something post in two days that I'm going through my notebook of ideas and putting them out there, most of these ideas are quite short and not well developed and the reason I'm putting them up is because I'm hoping someone else will like the idea and take it in a new direction.

Markus Hagenauer
Offline
Joined: 12/04/2009
Mille Grazie

Maybe I can be a little like Mille Grazie http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/83199/mille-grazie
but more complex. One (or more) player secretly choose their routs, and other players try to guess their choice send the police.

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Markus Hagenauer wrote:Maybe

Markus Hagenauer wrote:
Maybe I can be a little like Mille Grazie http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/83199/mille-grazie
but more complex. One (or more) player secretly choose their routs, and other players try to guess their choice send the police.

Or... Each player has a slave (or slaves) to try and rescue, and each player also sends cops or whatever to catch the other players. The more slaves you get to escape the better, and after your route is busted maybe you do more cop actions per turn, making it harder for opponents or something.

cottonwoodhead
cottonwoodhead's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/02/2011
Who has what?

Ok then, I guess the biggest questions then are, how many players control slaves and how many control police or do all players control both at different times and what the ratio of police to slaves is. A way to do it might be to give each player a number of chips, most of which are blank but some of which contain an escaped slave. Players allocate these chips amongst different routes and move them along. The players playing police (maybe the same as the slave players) then try to catch as many slaves as possible before they get to the North. Players move the chips from safehouse to safehouse and the police can only raid a very limited number, and if they are also moving chips don't want to catch their own. I'm sorry if this sounds unclear, it's not very clear to me either at this point.

Markus Hagenauer
Offline
Joined: 12/04/2009
if all players play the police too, ...

if all players play the police too, you can give every player his won troop, or you can have the players vote, where to move the police. This might give the players an idea of who does not want to go to wich token, but you can also bluff and "protect" an empty chip.
Maybe besides the raid of safe houses, also routs can be permanently blockd by making guard posts.

cottonwoodhead
cottonwoodhead's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/02/2011
I think the idea of voting

I think the idea of voting for the police sounds great. The problem is that each player might vote on a different spot and the vote wouldn't be resolved. A bidding mechanism might work but the question would be what to bid since there's no money in the game. Bids could be resolved by people flipping up tiles, whoever agrees to flip the most tiles up gets to choose where the police go. I was also thinking that each turn each player could choose one square to be their safehouse, so if police attack that square the slaves there are protected, but maybe revealed as well.

bhazzard
bhazzard's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/25/2011
A recommendation

This theme sounds like it would lend itself very well to a cooperative style game.

To me the dynamic of sending police after other people's slaves doesn't fit the game theme very well and is even potentially historically inaccurate. Did slaves ever tip off the police about other slaves so they could escape? Maybe, but it doesn't sound like a game I want to play.

Cooperative games can be challenging to design, but they can offer a ton of fun and very tight gameplay that could give the feeling of barely escaping.

For examples of well executed cooperative games, check out pandemic and space alert.

Markus Hagenauer
Offline
Joined: 12/04/2009
Maybe not the majority

Maybe not the majority determinates where to send the police. Every player puts one location/direction token into a bag. Than randomly draw one.
And I agree, don´t call it "betray the other slaves". Better give the police wrong hints to divert them away from your slaves.

cottonwoodhead
cottonwoodhead's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/02/2011
I think I agree with you on

I think I agree with you on that the police doesn't fit well with the theme. The only way it makes sense is if players are playing multiple roles, plantation owner and slave which would in itself be strange. The fix could be one player as the police and the rest as escaped slaves but the problem is that I don't think very many people would want to be the police. Just moving the slaves along though wouldn't necessarily be very interesting, I don't want to create a simple roll and move game. Maybe slaves could accrue some sort of "noticed" markers that make the police more likely to come after them. This could be combined with a push your luck mechanic, having it so the farther you go before finding a safehouse the more likely you are to be caught.

hulken
Offline
Joined: 04/18/2009
I think you can take a lot

I think you can take a lot from the game Nuns on the run. Basicly you could just retheem it and then you get your game. But that game is a singel player game, maby you could do it with a twist so that the players can decide where the cops goes. That way you can try to catch the other players slaves or send the cop in the wrong direction if he is close to you.

Or you can change it up and make it a co-op. But then I would onley take inspirations from nuns on the run. =)

cottonwoodhead
cottonwoodhead's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/02/2011
Redo

Actually I think I'm going to abandon the idea of hidden movement and the police being directly controlled in some way. Instead I was going to change the game into a sort of push your luck. The map is composed of a series of safehouses spaced out from eachother at different distances, measured by squares. Each turn you may take one of several actions, place a slave at one of the starting plantations, move a slave from one safehouse to the next or rest and recover. The goal would be to get all of their slaves to the north, let's say five to ten, before anyone else. Each time you move you draw one card per square you pass over, some of the cards will say nothing, some will give you a bonus of some sort (more about that in a minute) and some will say "Caught!" and will cause your slave token to be returned to your stash setting you back. To avoid being caught you can use either "Fast Feet" or "Lucky Break" tokens, which can be gained either by resting or if certain cards are picked up. In addition there would be one policeman on the board who would move from safehouse to safehouse. A slave cannot move to a safehouse where the policeman is and if a policeman moves into a safehouse where there is a slave, that slave is then caught. Each safehouse can only hold one slave at a time. What to you think?

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut