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"United Nations" Card game

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Matt201's picture
Joined: 12/29/2010

I sort of have this game idea I've been working on, and I would like some feedback as to whether it's good enough to go to the next step.

It's a tongue-in-cheek comedy (hopefully) sort of game where each player is a member of a world wide organisation (that acts like the "United Nations". From now on I'll refer to it as the UN, but have every intention to later down the track come up with a fictitious name).

The game itself has no board, and relies on cards. There is a brief explanation below, but the way the distribution of cards will work is that you buy the base game, which includes a couple of the "larger" nations of the world, as well as all the other stuff you need to play the game. Later on, depending on how successful the game may be, "expansions" will be released, which are made up of new nations (which have unique cards) and cards that are universal.

The point of the game is to win (obviously), but there are two victory conditions depending on how the game plays out. It can end in war or peace. The idea is for each nation to work together to better their own nation and increase their global influence. However, at the same time players can secretly sabotage each other (and even themselves) to alter the outcome of events. Doing so results in corruption points (which are what are used to determine the victor at the end of the game).

Within the game there are two main decks (with one being subdivided into two types of cards:

"United Nations" Deck:
The communal deck of cards that is included with the base game. At the beginning of each round the Chairman takes the top two cards and picks one to play. Some cards help the UN while others hinder it, and the Chairman is able to pick the card that helps his/her own position within the game the most. The other players are not allowed to see the discarded card, and the Chairman can choose to remain silent, explain the other card, or lie about it.

Player Deck:
Action Cards: Made up of both cards unique to a player's nation and universal cards. Players use these cards to propose "objectives" to the UN. Successfully completed objectives advance a player's position in the game, while they are punished for uncompleted ones. Each player can only have one active objective at a time.

Resource Cards: These are the cards players "pledge" towards each others objectives. They either move the objective closer to completion or sabotage its efforts. Players pledge resources to their own objectives too.

The game runs for a predetermined number of rounds, each of which represent a year (i.e. one round equals one year). Each round is further split into a specific sequence, which is as follows:
1. The Chairman is elected for the year
2. The Chairman takes the top two cards from the UN Deck and chooses one to play.
3. Each player, one at a time (including the Chairman) proposes an objective to the UN, if their previous one has been competed (one objective at a time).
4. One objective at a time, players pledge resources secretly: cards are played face down and then shuffled. The cards are then turned up one at a time (nobody knows who played what card)
5. A check for completed objectives occurs. Any completed objectives are removed from the table and the benefits are collected.
6. A new year begins.

After the last year, each nation reveals their corruption level. The levels are tallied and if the total corruption exceeds a certain number the game ends in war, and if the corruption is less the game ends in peace.
In peacetime, everyone bar the nation with the most corruption wins, while in war this player would win and everyone else would lose.

CORRUPTION: A hidden measure of how corrupt a nation is. Players accumulate corruption points during the game, both though their own and others actions. It is each nation's final corruption level that ultimately determines who wins and loses the game.

INFLUENCE: A measure of how successful a player's nation is. The more developed the nation becomes, the more influence they have. The nation with the most influence at the beginning of the year is elected Chairman.

The whole idea of the game is to be a really cheesy sort of thing, that pokes fun at all the countries that are apart of it. I know you run the risk of offending people, but I think it will make the experience overall more enjoyable.

Some card ideas I've had for objectives include:
UNIVERSAL CARDS: Banana Plantation, Casino, International Airport, National Park, etc.
UNIQUE: Sputnik Satellite (Russia), Milkshake bar (USA), Ancient Wonder (Egypt), Kiwi Fruit Plantation (New Zealand), Comedy Festival (Canada), Fourth Reich (Germany), Oil Refinery (Saudi Arabia), etc.

I would love some feedback for the game, so please let me know your thoughts!

Joined: 04/13/2010
..sounds like a good and fun

..sounds like a good and fun theme! I am also working of a political satirical game, but more focused on the unholy marriage private sector - politicians.

Anyway, it would be cool if you could give a few examples of cards. What are the "benefits" of completing an objective?
How are corruption measured?

One idea (since I don't know the current system, this might be incompatible): all players start with the exact same amount and values of resource-cards. Some are worth negative resources (sabotage) and other positive (help complete objective). On some of the very negative cards (each player start with 4 of them) you have "corruption points". In the end of the game, check who has got the most of these cards left. This is the most "honest" player that tried to be a good guy and build up the world in a positive way. You may get points for your own completed objectives and also a bonus for being honest and not sabotaging other player (by not playing the very negative corruption cards).

Another idea: at the start of the game, you get a secret "mission". It could be "you get 1 victory point for all yellow Objectives completed by other players, but -1 VP for all green Objectives completed by other players". All objectives have a color. You get points for all objectives that you finish yourself, but points depending on what objectives the other players finish. Possibly theme the objetives (green = environmental improvments, black = war industry, purple = cultural, white = science etc.).
This could make the interaction between players more interesting.
Another secret "mission" could be "you get 1 VP for each Objective completed by the player to your right, but -1VP for all Objetives completed by the player on your left"

Anyway, a few thoughts! Let us know more about the details in order to get more relevant suggestions!

Matt201's picture
Joined: 12/29/2010
Basically the main benefit of

Basically the main benefit of completing objectives is that you get influence.
Influence is used to get elected Chairman, with the obvious advantage being you sort of "run" the game, at least to the extent of the United Nations deck.

Matt201 wrote:

Some card ideas I've had for objectives include:
UNIVERSAL CARDS: Banana Plantation, Casino, International Airport, National Park, etc.
UNIQUE: Sputnik Satellite (Russia), Milkshake bar (USA), Ancient Wonder (Egypt), Kiwi Fruit Plantation (New Zealand), Comedy Festival (Canada), Fourth Reich (Germany), Oil Refinery (Saudi Arabia), etc.

Basically objective cards can be anything that a nation builds. As you can probably tell, I'm playing up stereotypes (hopefully) in good taste, and there are also a lot of generic ones. The way the mechanic works is that cards cost 'x' resources and provide 'y' influence. In essence you buy influence by constructing these things, only you rely on other players to 'fund' the construction. There are obviously other outcomes to spice things up a bit (for example, building a Casino will give you a higher than average influence boost, but also adds corruption points).

In terms of resource cards, a lot of them are generic, "+1 resource" sort of things currently, but I'm not sure whether to add a couple of different variables that = resources (eg. wood, steel, oil, etc.) There are also negative sabotage cards (eg. "Extortion: All resources this turn either never arrive, or +2 corruption points for each resource received" and "Illegitimate Supplier: Take as many resources as you want, but +1 corruption for each resource received"). Others can be as simple as -1 resource, etc.

United Nations Cards are the ones I'm having the most difficulty thinking of. They obviously need to be big enough to change the course of the game, and there have to be enough of them that players will not get repeats during a playthrough (and best case scenario quite a few playthroughs before seeing a card again). Things like Global Financial Crisis that removes influence from players, and "revolutions" which cancel all active objectives. I also want the Chairman to be able to manipulate the situation, sort of like "I know this card is bad, but the other one was worse" (regardless of whether it actually was or not).

At the end of the day, I want these UN cards to be the real decider of whether it will end in peacetime or war, so the Chairman in many ways controls the game. You complete objectives to become the Chairman (most influence), so you can dictate how the game plays and manipulate it for your own good. The way I imagine it to play out is that the longer a single player is Chairman, the more likely they are to purposefully corrupt the "UN", because it's more fun to win outright, than to share the victory. Other players may like this idea, and secretly build up their own nation's corruption to steal victory away from this controlling player, or the nations can work together for peacetime, with this corrupt player shooting themselves in the foot. Sometimes, it's better not to be the Chairman at all, and allowing someone else to make all the hard decisions. If you think they are doing a good job, you pledge resources to their objectives to keep them Chairman, while sabotaging the others to stop them taking the top job, etc.

I actually really really like the different coloured cards for different types of objectives, and I'd love to implement that in some way.

Joined: 04/13/2010
Ok, thanks for the more

Ok, thanks for the more detailed explanation!
A few things that you could consider to include:
* there should be some in-game-mechanic that stimulate both open and hidden cooperation between players. As discussed before it could be "yeah, let's cooperate since we both want to complete a lot of Green Objectives". I think it would be cool if (temporary) alliances would form as well, like "if you support my project, I will support yours". Possibly some resource cards are played face up to really show your intention of helping.

* maybe players have one hidden and one open "mission" (collect green, stop yellow etc.). Certain cards may grant you the ability to look at another player's hidden card.

Anyway, good luck with the project and post any progress you make!
Have a good weekend!

Joined: 10/09/2013
Don't make it too easy

First thing I'd suggest is to provide a bigger reason to pick certain players objectives over someone elses. I guess this does leave room for diplomacy, but giving players something that they can use to barter with I believe will help the game out.

An idea could be that when someone completes your objective, you score immediate points or influence. The person who completed the objective would collect that card to hold. As the player collects cards he would get an influence multiplier depending on card color combinations and so forth. This would encourage players to complete more than just one player's mission.

Another thing I was thinking about is that the end game seems too narrow in a way. If I was the person with the most corruption. I'd try and accumulate as much corruption as possible so as to win the game instead of losing. I love the concept though. I just worry that this would be the easy path to victory once someone saw they were losing. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that, you'll have to be careful how easy it is to have the game end with war because if it becomes too easy, then I could see players rushing to get as much corruption as possible.

Joined: 11/22/2013
Games used as a template?

Very cool concept for a card game. What games have you found to help you with ideas for this game design?

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