# City token shape in an hex ... part 2

17 replies [Last post]
larienna
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008

Hi, I came up today with a new shape for my cities token that must fit inside an hex. The idea is that the player must be allowed to place a city at a different place inside the hex to get access to various resources.

The goal of the previous thread was to find a way to block 2 out of 3 resource with a single token that was easy to cut. I think I found the solution.

Look at the attached picture.

The city tokens will be made out of a diamond. On figure A, you can see how it would be placed on a hex that contains 3 resources per hex. As you can see, the resources (represented by circles) inactive are partially hidden and the active resource is completely open.

The flaw of that design is that if the token slides a bit, it will uncover 2 resources making harder to identify which resource was hidden. Else it's a very good idea if you want to show 2 out of 3 resource.

On figure B, the same technique can be used on a 2 resource hex. In this case, the inactive resource is completely hidden.

As you can see on figure C, the diamonds can be easily tiled together and they requires the same amount of cut than a sheet of square tokens.

Finally, I was thinking about placing some stuff on the corner of the hex (like settlements in settlers of catan). With a diamond shape, the corners of the city token prevent placing anything in the corner. A solution I have found (illustrated on figure D) is to make an interior hex into the hex and make the city token fit in the interior hex so that there could be enough space in the corner to add something else.

What do you think?

innuendo
Offline
Joined: 05/25/2010
The problem here is that it

The problem here is that it almost makes sense if the resources you can use are the ones your "city" is on, not the ones it isn't. I understand it's a minor difference, but it doesn't make sense to make that you would put your city 'on' the resources you don't want. I can't think of a game where you build on what you don't want. It's just not intuitive to my eyes.

Now of course, we're looking at a snapshot of the game, so it may make sense in context and that's up to you, just chiming in.

In regards to the corner pieces, you do realize how poorly the third image you linked would mesh together? There would be little channels next to each hex large enough for another token to be placed in them. This board is gonna be cluttered in a hurry. Not to mention the main advantage of hexes is how compactly you can place so many game spaces. To keep the same amount of game space and use the "hex in a hex" approach you would have to greatly increase the size of your board. Not necessarily bad, but something to really watch

hulken
Offline
Joined: 04/18/2009
*cough, cough*

Looks just like one of my two ideas I posted to you last time you asked... *cough, cough*

DogBoy
Offline
Joined: 12/15/2009
I think I'd find it confusing

I think I'd find it confusing that resources partially covered by a city are non-usable. My preference would be for a shape which covers pretty much the entire hex apart from the available resource - like two of your diamonds stuck together.

The diamond shape makes me want to use it in a different way: putting more than one on a single hex. That's kind of interesting if every city placed covers up a resource, giving a diminishing returns dynamic to placing cities.

larienna
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:Looks just like one of

Quote:
Looks just like one of my two ideas I posted to you last time you asked... *cough, cough*

Oh really!, if that is the case I am terribly sorry. I had really no memory of it. I just token a pen last morning, started drawing and realized the shape would fit well.

Quote:
but it doesn't make sense to make that you would put your city 'on' the resources you don't want.

Totally agree with you, but you know, human beings does not have X-ray vision yet, so they cannot easily see through token unless they are translucent. By hiding stuff, it reduce the number of elements to see on the board making it clearer.

Quote:
The diamond shape makes me want to use it in a different way: putting more than one on a single hex.

Well first I thought of using a shape composed of 2 diamonds together. But it's a pain to cut easily. But I could allow players to place 2 tokens on each hex. I was also scared that there would be too much token and a simple bad maneuver would move other tokens on the board.

I think up to now, a square city with 2 resources per hex is the best solution so far.

ilta
Offline
Joined: 12/05/2008
I find it completely

I find it completely intuitive, if the resources are things that you couldn't have in a city anyway -- ie natural resources. It would make sense that you'd want your city NEAR, but not ON TOP OF, such resources, and I think with proper iconography (especially a good sense of the dividing lines between hexes) it would be entirely clear which city controls which resource(s).

I'd avoid placing resources so that they can be half-covered though. That's going to get messy. Put them only solidly in the "pie slices" so that they are definitely inside or outside the city walls.

I like the idea of double-cities, too. They should provide big bonuses in exchange for cutting off resources -- VP? triple production? access to better improvements/options/decks of cards? it's hard to say without knowing more about your game.

Relexx
Offline
Joined: 05/31/2010
Taking what ilta said. If

Taking what ilta said. If you consider placing a city must hide one resource, then a hex that has 3 resources could be more sought after as the city will collect two resources. This may add an extra dimension to the game.

DogBoy
Offline
Joined: 12/15/2009
This is tangential to your

This is tangential to your requirements, but I think it could be interesting to have a multi-player game where there are 3 resources per hex and you cover 1 resource every time you build a city. You get one exposed resource each turn for each city in that hex. After a while, space competition between players would start crowding out the resources...

rcjames14
Offline
Joined: 09/17/2010
I Agree

It also adds a strategic consideration of exactly what resource you choose to cover up. If only one of the two resources is really important to your neighbor, but you can use either, then it opens up the possibility for some really nice passive aggressive maneuvers. Of course, in a multiplayer environment, it is unlikely to occur until all hexes are filled once over. And, it seems difficult to imagine why it would ever be advantageous to cover up the third. But, if it is always advantageous to build, then it may just continue until the whole board is full.

In fact, if you added a fourth (uncoverable) resource, then you could imagine a situation where the game ends once all spots are covered over, players have different 'levels' of city they can place (one that doubles, or triples, collection) and those different levels are somehow tied into the range of resources you have access to. Or, you could keep it at three and allow players to 'kick out' the lowest 'level' city if they play a larger one in the last unoccupied space.

I like the concept. There are a lot of different directions to go with it. Now, to find some way to put this resource system to use...

sedjtroll
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Like DogBoy said

I think this is what DogBoy was getting at. I think it would be realy neat if more than 1 player could place a city in a hex, and say you cannot 1/2 cover the circles...

So if you place a city in a 2-resource hex, you cover one of them completely, the city now makes the other resource, and you get it. and maybe it doesn't make sense for anyone else to go there - or, they can, covering the other resource, meaning neither of you get any resources from that hex. if cities are worth points, then this could be a good blocking type move.

A hex showing 3 resources means that the first player to place a city there would have access to both of 2 resources (covering the third). This could either mean you actually GET 1 of each resource, OR it could mean that you get 1 resource per city, and you just get to choose between those 2 each time. Then, if a second player builds a city in that hex, they cover a second resource, and the two players only get that one last resource showing. Again, maybe a 3rd city could be built, making that hex no longer give resources.

I don't know what you plan to put between the hexes, but the circles in your diagram could also house resources (different ones) and placing a city touching that means you get access to that resource too. That could be pretty interesting, and it could give a reason to cover up the last circle in a hex (you block other people's resources, and you gain access to whatever's in the adjacent circle).

The space between hexes (between the circles) could be used to place Road bits (like in Settlers), which might be necessary to get the resources from the circles, or might have some other meaning. Maybe you can only build a city next to a road (your road, any road) for example.

I don't know anything about your game, but that sounds like an interesting start!

rcjames14
Offline
Joined: 09/17/2010
One or Two Steps Further

What if the cities themselves became resources to facilitate an alternative mechanic?

At the beginning, one might want to plant a small village on a location that earns a return off of the uncovered resources of the underlying land (either both or select one)... but what if that village then became a legitimate source for resource collection for a larger town placed in the same location? Let's say, for example, it generates revenue for the larger town?

In that situation, it would be worth placing a town in the final spot. And, it's precise value might depend upon the number of colors/types of villages in location. Of course, the owners of the villages would be totally screwed by that... but that might be the nature of the game. Or, you might say (quite plausibly) that because there is a town/market there, each of the villages may choose to generate any resource.

I foresee a number of different directions that this could go...
1. Hexes could contain more than just 3 resources (though I don't think this is a good move to make unless necessary)
2. There could be a positional aspect to each of the resources on the hex so that certain traits (like the market towns) might depend upon an alternative (inter-hex) definition of local neighborhood. This could have the effect of adding more strategy to placement besides simply what resources are available.
3. There could be a third, fourth or fifth kind of piece... so now, we're not just talking about uniform cities, we're talking about farms, markets, churches, forts, etc... enough to make up a whole medieval countryside. The pieces would all have some type of interrelationship to each other, produce different resources and each require some different combination of those resources to build. In the end, perhaps one type in particular grants victory points... and the game ends when all the spaces are occupied.
4. If all spaces being occupied is indeed the closing condition, then the initial villages/farms will either need some way to scale or to be replaced. I mentioned the 'chose any good' approach, but that particular power may better be left to a specific piece devoted to that task. So, some other mechanism would be nice... perhaps the land itself has a uniform underlying good it produces which is marked by its color and is the only one you can choose if everything else is closed up. In this case, the villages/farms would still get the shaft over time, but at least it would be mitigated.
5. There could be a way of either removing pieces or taking control of them, adding a defensive aspect to the positioning of everything.

Either way, I see this randomly generated map exploding with lots of different colors and types of pieces, each generating some benefit in connection with their position on the map as well as in relationship to each other. And, as a result, the accounting may get crazy if the design is not carefully done.

As a iPad game, it would be easy to tally up your income each round from hundreds of spots, but as a tabletop game... I think that it would be a good idea to make the player choose which improvement generates resources. And, personally, I think it would be fascinating if when the player chose which improvement to mine, everyone with that improvement on the board mined it. Sort of like Catan's dice rolling, but selected instead. That way players can benefit from their investments even when it is not their turn.

Food for thought.

larienna
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
There are all great ideas in

There are all great ideas in there, but for my game, some will not be possible to implement.

First, I do not want players to share hex. There will also be army pawns on the hex.

Second, the map represent the whole world, so the abstraction level is very high. Which mean that placing individual buildings on the map is too much details for the size of the world.

Right now I am thinking of using 2 resource per hex and I think each resource will come from 2 different category:

A) Special resource: You only need to have access to 1 of these resource to unlock stuff. There might be 6 or 8 different resource in the game. One victory condition requires all of them. Controlling twice the same resource gives you no advantage except having a backup resource.

B) Strategic position: These will be stuff that gives bonus to your cities. Like a river could reduce the cost to grow your city. Or a defensive terrain could make your city more protected in battle, etc.

-----------------------------------------

Some corner of the hex will either have

A) Magic nodes: You would place one of your token if you control the node. Other player's with adjacent hex could try to control your nodes without attacking your cities. So to protect a node completely, you need to control all the hex surrounding it.

B) Monster lair: At the beginning of the game, important monster lairs will be placed on the hex corners. Heroes will be able to explore them to get reward and defeat the evil inside.

Each hex will have a climate instead of terrain since 1 hex cover much more space. You will have hot hex in the middle and cold hex at the top and bottom. Then each hex will have an icon/color indicating that there is a dry, medium or wet climate. WHich makes 6 climate configuration (2x3).

Each race will have a different cost for each climate. If the cost exceed their base level, they need to pay extra gold to make the colonization or city growth possible.

So It will create situations where lizardmens will stay in the hot areas and preferably in wet areas. So they will expand in the middle of the map.

Right now there is no marking of which city is of which race, so if lizard mens conquer a human city in a desert, they won't be able to make it grow while the humans can.

rcjames14
Offline
Joined: 09/17/2010
Questions

What do you envision the win condition of the game to be?
What meta-game goals do you have for the players (ie. to fantasize, to think strategically, to laugh/cry/pout/spite, to learn, etc...)?
What kind of audience do you foresee enjoying the game?
How long do you think the game will take to play?

All these questions to me always seem to fold back into the design and questions of complexity, range of options and board construction/presentation. So, I'm interested in seeing what you see the game becoming.

larienna
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:What do you envision

Quote:
What do you envision the win condition of the game to be?

There are multiple victory conditions, some are used with the basic rules some are optional/mod rules.

Military/diplomatic: have 2/3 of the influence on the map. Influence is acquired by controlling cities and power at the council.
Sorcery mastery: Research all spell and max your covenant and cast the spell of mastery polarize magic to be the only player which can use it
Cloud/City: If you have all the advance and resource you can build the cloud city. You attract so much people and glory that you win the game.

Optional victory if you play with the god

You can break the seal of magic and attempt destroying the gods to take their place.

There is a possibility that each of the stuff above could give victory points if you end up not being able to finish a game and want to know who wins.

Quote:
What kind of audience do you foresee enjoying the game?

Players who have a lot of gaming experience, who likes civ games, fantasy games, long games.

Quote:
How long do you think the game will take to play?

Expecting 3 to 6 hours according to the number of players. The game has 3 phase to avoid repetitiveness: Exploration/colonization, Exploit and attack, Race for victory conditions.

Quote:
All these questions to me always seem to fold back into the design and questions of complexity, range of options and board construction/presentation. So, I'm interested in seeing what you see the game becoming.

Don't worry, I have been thinking about this game for years. I am sure some people here are tired of me asking question about that game on this forum. The original objective was to create a board game out of the master of magic video game. It's a very complex process because I need to simplify the game to make sure it's playable as a board game, but I must keep as much details as possible because it's the combination of various details that makes Master of magic a good game.

I could say that I have done wonders so far in the mechanics to make sure it works and somewhat keep the original feeling of the video game. The problem so far is that there is a lot of elements in the game that I know approximately how it should work, but it's hard to put everything together and playtest because many things are still undefined and many elements are dependent on each other. I am trying to isolate stuff to be able to make some mini playtest and then eventually have a running core game that I could add stuff to it. Right now, I still does not have a running core game, I could only do mini test where I improvise some rules on the fly.

rcjames14
Offline
Joined: 09/17/2010
New Directions

That is a lot of time to invest in a game. And, also, at first glance, a lot of issues to keep track of it. With Master of Magic, each player can go at his own pace. But, in tabletop games, you will have to wait until other people are done. So, as far as I can tell, you might run into a situation where there is a lot of down time.

I'm not sure what you plan to do to ameliorate this, but have you considered going in a different direction with some of these mechanics than Master of Magic? Streamline the resource system, create one specific goal and reduce the scope. You might end up with a pretty interesting multiplayer game that you could actually publish without talking to Hasbro's lawyers.

larienna
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008

I have thought about the downtime. There will be 2 phase : the simultaneous action phase and the individual action phase.

Players first do it's individual action phase. Which mean one player after another player will be allowed to play certain type of actions like exploring, attacking, expanding, etc. It's generally actions that has an impact on other players. I am not sure yet if the battle will all be resolved at the same time.

Then there will be a simultaneous phase where player can use their left over actions to grow cities, build armies etc.

Just to give you an idea, the game has been so simplified that the only thing there is on the board is the map, city tokens which can be level 1,2 or 3, and army pawns that mark the location of large mobile army.

So it's really a challenge when, for example, you want to implement a combat system with a lot of unit variety. This is where I came with the hour glass design concept ( simplify something to complexify it later in certain situation). I also thought of using a duel system like age of mythology so that the player could actually see which unit is fighting which unit like if it was in a real tactical combat.

Enchantment also have been some challenge to implement. It now works as reactive enchantments. When you cast your enchantment, you place it in play. Some enchantment has a certain range of cities it will enchant. All the cities are enchanted and it cost no mana to maintain. But every time a city needs the benefit of your enchantment, you need to pay 1 mana. So it's a "pay on demand" enchantment. It prevent the need of tons of tokens to keep track of which city is enchanted.

rcjames14
Offline
Joined: 09/17/2010
Constant Challenges

It sounds like you have taken on a pretty big project and have made a lot of decisions so far to make it manageable. From what I can tell, you have captured a good amount of the MoM dynamic and extended it into a multiplayer environment. However, to go along with your hourglass metaphor, I would challenge you to think about how you might be able to squeeze that narrow channel even further.

From a design standpoint, the mechanics should be As Simple As Possible, so that you can teach the game quickly to new players and they do not feel overwhelmed by the rules or intimidated by experienced players. Of course, the real trick I have found in design is to figure out a simplicity that can lead to complexity when the player's play the game. You don't necessarily want to dictate the strategies they can pursue. Ideally, you want there to be a large range of option and for all the complexity to emerge from how they choose to exercise those options.

Of course, that is much easier said than done. I know all too well. Good luck. If you get a prototype together let me know.

larienna
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Thank you for the feedback.

Thank you for the feedback. Finally somebody who understand me.

Recently, the "Elemental" video game has been released. It's not a very good game so far. But there seem to be a modding team for reimplementing master of magic in elemental. It's possible that I join the team and use some material I designed in my board game to make the MOM mod.