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[GDS] July 2011 "Europoly" - Comments and Questions

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sedjtroll
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Use this thread for any comments, questions, requests for clarity, etc., regarding the July 2011 Challenge in the Game Design Showdown, entitled "Europoly".

-Seth

joni
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components, and a question

I am no frequent Monopoly player, but did you not miss out the hotels and houses from your component list?

This list I found when searching for Monopoly rules on google:
The equipment consists of a board, 2 dice, tokens, 32 houses and 12 Hotels. There are 16 Chance and 16 Community Chest cards, 28 Title Deed card (one for each property), and play money.

And a question to the people who have played Monopoly: what really is the feel or Monopoly we should keep?

questccg
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bankruptcy

joni wrote:
And a question to the people who have played Monopoly: what really is the feel or Monopoly we should keep?

The goal of Monopoly is to bankrupt all the other players, hence the name Monopoly... With that being said, I have never played the game that *long* to figure out who is the winner. Most of the time people play long enough to buy out all of the properties...

questccg
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Question

Quote:
this month's challenge requires you to replace 1 or more of these mechanisms with common/popular Eurogame mechanisms from this list...

I was wondering if someone could explain these "Eurogame mechanisms":

-Role Selection
-Worker Placement
-Area Majority
-Dice Drafting
-Deck Building

Thanks.

ilta
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mechanics

I've thought of examples based on my personal game collection, but there may be other, better examples to check out -- feel free to chime in, other gamers. For each one you can google "[game title] BGG" to find an exhaustive overview of the game on BoardGameGeek.com.

Role Selection: Players have a number of different "roles" that are available to them on some competitive, or alternately a rotating, basis. Generally these are unique jobs (trader, builder, mayor) that allow access to specific game functions, but they might be superpowers, or perks, or stat buffs. Often players will select these in some specific order (player in last place picks first, player with X role picks first next round, player who bids highest picks first, clockwise from this round's starting player, which itself moves clockwise). Often players bid on the right to pick first, or purchase roles outright. Sometimes players can "follow" another player's role, allowing them access to a lesser version of the role's powers. Different roles are helpful for different strategies and at different moments during the game.

Example games: Puerto Rico (amazingly, I don't own this one), Pandemic, Opera, Eminent Domain (ish).

Worker Placement: Players have a limited number of tokens (often, "meeples") to represent underlings doing their bidding. They place them on game-specific spots to earn the benefits of that spot (victory points, money, access to certain powers, control over a region). Sometimes the number of workers that can be placed in a given location is limited, other times it's as many as you are willing to place; sometimes only one player may place a worker on a location, other times anyone can.

Example games: Pillars of the Earth, Bootleggers, Carcassonne.

Area Majority: Related to Worker Placement, this is a mechanic whereby the player with the most tokens (armies, influence, cash invested) in a given location reaps a reward. It could be said to be a "bidding" mechanic, where players are bidding for control with their tokens as units of currency.

Example games: El Grande (which I don't own but is considered the prime Area Majority game out there), Dynasties, Bootleggers, Twilight Struggle, China (also don't own, but have played)

Dice Drafting: I'm actually not sure how to pin this one down but it's about rolling dice, then choosing from among them in some way. For instance, you might roll your own dice and then decide "the 9 will be how much money I make, the 5 will be how many spaces to move, the 3 will be my bid for turn order, and the 8 will be my combat value, etc". Alternately, a common pool of dice is rolled and players bid to select which die they "purchase" this round, or even for the rest of the game.

Example games: Kingsburg (which I don't own), Airships, Yahtzee

Deck Building: If you've ever played any collectible card game such as Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, or Yugiyo, imagine that this is a game about you preparing to play a tournament and setting up your deck. Players construct a deck over the course of the game, using the deck itself to power their game, starting out with crappy cards, using those cards to buy better cards, and finally using those better cards to rack up points. Often, cards will offer special powers, such as allowing you to draw more cards, giving you extra actions or more purchasing power, removing useless "dead weight" cards from your deck, or simply granting victory points outright (these cards are usually otherwise dead weight, clogging up the deck and a player's hand when an "action" card would actually be useful during the game itself). At any given moment players will have access to only a limited portion of their deck (their hand), so balancing your plays between buying actions and accumulating those deck-clogging victory point cards is essential.

Example games: Dominion, Dominion, Dominion. Did I mention Dominion? Eminent Domain. Ascension (which I don't own). This is a relatively new mechanic but very popular.

sedjtroll
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joni wrote:I am no frequent

joni wrote:
I am no frequent Monopoly player, but did you not miss out the hotels and houses from your component list?

This list I found when searching for Monopoly rules on google:
The equipment consists of a board, 2 dice, tokens, 32 houses and 12 Hotels. There are 16 Chance and 16 Community Chest cards, 28 Title Deed card (one for each property), and play money.

And a question to the people who have played Monopoly: what really is the feel or Monopoly we should keep?


Yes, I forgot to mention Houses and Hotels, but of course, you can use them.

The feel of Monopoly is, I believe, that of buying land, charging rent, collecting a complete set of properties to jack up the rent prices, and driving everyone else into bankruptcy.

Yamahako
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This is fun, I've actually

This is fun, I've actually been working on one of these :-)

Can the board be changed?

taltosvt
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Mechanics Clarification

If I'm understanding the mechanics correctly, doesn't Monopoly already have Worker Placement and Area Majority mechanics? The workers are houses and hotels instead of meeples, but it seems the concept is the same. Collecting all or most of the properties of a given color seems like Area Majority. For example, owning three out of the four railroads gives you an advantage over the player who owns the fourth.

sedjtroll
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taltosvt wrote:If I'm

taltosvt wrote:
If I'm understanding the mechanics correctly, doesn't Monopoly already have Worker Placement and Area Majority mechanics? The workers are houses and hotels instead of meeples, but it seems the concept is the same. Collecting all or most of the properties of a given color seems like Area Majority. For example, owning three out of the four railroads gives you an advantage over the player who owns the fourth.

Maybe so, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't think those things could be implemented better!

Also, I think it's a real stretch of the definition of Worker Placement to include the houses and hotels. They are 1 time placements, you pay for them, they are not limited in number, and the spaces you place them on are not available to other players (in most worker placement games that's the main interaction). I also think that's kind of a stretch of the definition of Area Majority. Saying that someone has an advantage over another player if they own the majority of 10% of the board isn't particularly useful in my opinion, and if that's the only instance of area majority then I would not call that an 'area majority game' by any means.

Yamahako
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sedjtroll wrote:taltosvt

sedjtroll wrote:
taltosvt wrote:
If I'm understanding the mechanics correctly, doesn't Monopoly already have Worker Placement and Area Majority mechanics? The workers are houses and hotels instead of meeples, but it seems the concept is the same. Collecting all or most of the properties of a given color seems like Area Majority. For example, owning three out of the four railroads gives you an advantage over the player who owns the fourth.

Maybe so, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't think those things could be implemented better!

Also, I think it's a real stretch of the definition of Worker Placement to include the houses and hotels. They are 1 time placements, you pay for them, they are not limited in number, and the spaces you place them on are not available to other players (in most worker placement games that's the main interaction). I also think that's kind of a stretch of the definition of Area Majority. Saying that someone has an advantage over another player if they own the majority of 10% of the board isn't particularly useful in my opinion, and if that's the only instance of area majority then I would not call that an 'area majority game' by any means.

There ARE a limited number of houses and hotels. Though its a global limit as opposed to an individual limit.

Empires
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Question about component limit

The Component Limit was Monopoly bits, correct? Well if I wanted to add a deck-building mechanic or worker placement board, or even role placards, I would not be able to do that because I can only use the Monopoly bits right? How are we supposed to do those if we cannot use the proper components?

Also, how is deck-building a Euro mechanic? I thought Euros had little to no randomness and deck-building has a ton of randomness to me.

And final question, are we supposed to completely replace the Monopoly mechanics with Euro mechanics, or just add Euro ones in? Thank you.

ilta
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taltosvt wrote:If I'm

taltosvt wrote:
If I'm understanding the mechanics correctly, doesn't Monopoly already have Worker Placement and Area Majority mechanics? The workers are houses and hotels instead of meeples, but it seems the concept is the same. Collecting all or most of the properties of a given color seems like Area Majority. For example, owning three out of the four railroads gives you an advantage over the player who owns the fourth.

Taltosvt,

I'd say that the "Area Majority" aspects of Monopoly are better described as Set Collection. The swing between owning individual properties (low rent) and owning ALL the properties of a given color (double rent, plus the ability to place houses and hotels) is where the meat of the game lies. Owning two properties when someone else owns one (majority!) isn't significantly better than owning one property each, except that your overall property is twice as likely to be landed on in a given round.

Something I (foolishly) left out in my description of Worker Placement and Area Majority is that generally these are fluid, and that the key to a game that uses them is figuring out when to heavily invest in X at the expense of Y. In Monopoly the properties, once purchased, generally don't move around too much except in extreme circumstances (ie to avoid bankruptcy). Not to give you too much in the way of ideas, but if you incorporated WP and AM into Monopoly on a property level, you might have players trying to wrest control of properties from one another by placing meeples or something. That's really the key difference.

As to the other poster who talked about randomness, saying Euros don't have it, that is false. Most Euro games have plenty of randomness. The difference is that in Euro games the randomness is limited, and controlled. For instance, Settlers of Catan (the quintessential gateway Euro Game) has a 2-die roll every turn which determines resource output. So you know, when you place a settlement, the odds of a given number coming up (6s and 8s are much more common than, say, 11s), and therefore the odds that the settlement will give you a resource. Over the course of the game, or many games, the output will approach predictability (a bell curve). But on a given round the dice are of course random. The number of development cards is small and there are only five types, of which one (the knight) is much more common than the others. So while you purchase them blindly (random!) you have a pretty good sense of what you're likely to get, and what the other players are likely to have in their pile of dev cards.

Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, Settlers is at its heart a trading game. Trading is, of course, not random. Each turn there is a random element (the die roll) but the player has many choices about what to do, and can even, with skillful knight-use, alter that landscape to his advantage before the roll even takes place.

In Monopoly, and other games who are, at their heart, roll-and-move games, the randomness is what I would call "unmanaged." A player's path around the board is more or less completely unpredictable, because each die roll starts from the location of the previous roll. So there is no clear advantage to owning X property instead of Y property, in terms of their likelihood of being landed upon. The chance and community chest cards are shuffled and drawn one-by-one, with wildly swinging results from each, and in any case there is no choosing -- if you land on the location, and only if you land there, you take the appropriate card, which takes effect more or less immediately (unless it's a get-out-of-jail-free card, which you hold until the one circumstance under which it is useful).

sedjtroll
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Empires wrote:The Component

Empires wrote:
The Component Limit was Monopoly bits, correct? Well if I wanted to add a deck-building mechanic or worker placement board, or even role placards, I would not be able to do that because I can only use the Monopoly bits right? How are we supposed to do those if we cannot use the proper components?

Also, how is deck-building a Euro mechanic? I thought Euros had little to no randomness and deck-building has a ton of randomness to me.

And final question, are we supposed to completely replace the Monopoly mechanics with Euro mechanics, or just add Euro ones in? Thank you.


Here's what I put in the component restriction:
Quote:
Monopoly has a board, dice, property cards/tiles, Chance and Community Chest cards, player pawns, and paper money. [b]You may use the same components, but you can change up the sizes, shapes, number, and purpose of each.[/b]

So I'd say that you can add more cards, for example.

rcjames14
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Imperatives

sedjtroll wrote:
You may use the same components, but you can change up the sizes, shapes, number, and purpose of each.

My own confusion comes from the term "may" in the context of this sentence. Contextually, you would expect the term "must". But you use the term may. As a result, it sounds like all these criteria are optional and I can use components from El Grande, Axis & Allies and Magic the Gathering if I want to.

Personally, I think that a requirement restriction that you must use the same set of components as monopoly, (property cards, six sided dice, house tokens, player tokens, community chest cards, money, a board, etc.) but you can alter the text on them, their frequency and/or their function is a clear set of requirements. That way, you are only talking about modifying the items in monopoly, not including other components from other games.

But even then, taken to extreme, it is still not very restrictive. Ie. If you add twenty more dice, each with different text on their face, print up five different boards and separate the community chest into 15 different draft piles, are you talking about monopoly bits anymore?

sedjtroll
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rcjames14 wrote:sedjtroll

rcjames14 wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
You may use the same components, but you can change up the sizes, shapes, number, and purpose of each.

My own confusion comes from the term "may" in the context of this sentence. Contextually, you would expect the term "must". But you use the term may. As a result, it sounds like all these criteria are optional and I can use components from El Grande, Axis & Allies and Magic the Gathering if I want to.

Personally, I think that a requirement restriction that you must use the same set of components as monopoly, (property cards, six sided dice, house tokens, player tokens, community chest cards, money, a board, etc.) but you can alter the text on them, their frequency and/or their function is a clear set of requirements. That way, you are only talking about modifying the items in monopoly, not including other components from other games.

But even then, taken to extreme, it is still not very restrictive. Ie. If you add twenty more dice, each with different text on their face, print up five different boards and separate the community chest into 15 different draft piles, are you talking about monopoly bits anymore?


The real restriction this month is that the game should be recognizable as Monopoly - as such the component restriction isn't the biggest part of it.

Yamahako
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How strict is the 800 word

How strict is the 800 word limit :-/

sedjtroll
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Yamahako wrote:How strict is

Yamahako wrote:
How strict is the 800 word limit :-/

I'll leave that up to participants to answer. I wouldn't think that people would actually count, but I believe some people do copy/paste the entries into word and check the word count... Obviously there's no disqualification on my end (I don't count them) - but the people voting might dock points for overage (especially if it's gross overage).

dobnarr
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Follow the rules

I will never give votes to any entry which doesn't follow the rules (<=800 words, <=3 images of no more than 400 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall). And yes, I've copied and pasted and counted. No matter how good a game it is. I put a lot of effort meeting the limitations myself, and I usually have to cut a lot of stuff (including fun backstory and jokes) to get under the 800-word limit. Why should I vote for somebody who hasn't?

The particular theme or mechanics restrictions each month are usually less definitively clear, but I also don't vote for entries that I don't think have followed them.

I would hope others uphold the rules too, but it doesn't always happen.

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Image Size

Ups! You are gonna hate my images. I thought there was a weight limit, nothing related to pixels :P Whatever,

I think the 800 word limit is a reference and it is there for practical purposes, especially if there are a lot of entries to read. My personal attention-span goes up to 500-600 words actually, beyond that, I might very well miss some important information and rate your game accordingly.

My advice (as always) keep it simple. These are concepts, not finished designs.

I very much like this month's challenge. Thanks Seth for hosting the contest. *thumbsup*

rcjames14
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Chasing After Unicorns

dobnarr wrote:
I will never give votes to any entry which doesn't follow the rules (<=800 words, <=3 images of no more than 400 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall). And yes, I've copied and pasted and counted. No matter how good a game it is.

About eight design challenges into things, I have discovered that there are three things that I want out of an entry:

Clarity
Brevity
Originality

But, you can only ever get two.

I have been punished by others for lack of brevity and for lack of clarity, but I refuse to compromise on originality. So... what would you have?

Yamahako
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I think a word limit is

I think a word limit is important, but it can be incredibly difficult to get your point across in 800 words. I still do it, but even this one where there's a common rules set to start from I could have done much with another 200 words

rcjames14 wrote:
dobnarr wrote:
I will never give votes to any entry which doesn't follow the rules (<=800 words, <=3 images of no more than 400 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall). And yes, I've copied and pasted and counted. No matter how good a game it is.

About eight design challenges into things, I have discovered that there are three things that I want out of an entry:

Clarity
Brevity
Originality

But, you can only ever get two.

I have been punished by others for lack of brevity and for lack of clarity, but I refuse to compromise on originality. So... what would you have?

dobnarr
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False choice?

I'm not sure clarity, brevity, and originality are all there is to it, but here's my answer to that:

1) Brevity is in the rules. 800 words. Clear as day.

People complain about that all the time, and I chafe at that limit every contest. My entries would always be better, clearer, funnier, with more words. But it's the rules. Can't break it. I wish entries with more than 800 words were summarily rejected, or at least flagged, but that's putting too much on the already-volunteer organizers. As it is, I won't vote for >800 word entries, because they're cheating.

2) Originality often wins these contests.

And it shouldn't necessarily do so. Because the games aren't actually able to be played by the judges, and because you often can't even see all the pieces or parts (hypothetical decks of cards are the worst for this), I think the true measure of a game is often impossible to gauge. As readers, we can spot an original concept pretty easily, but we have a harder time figuring out if the game would be fun to play, or a bore, or fatally flawed, so we often go with what seems most original.

3) Clarity is tricky.

What's there should be completely clear, but you can't write a clear set of rules for most games in 800 words, nor would you every try in a situation other than this contest. The key is in figuring out what you can gloss over or leave out and still get the sense of your game across, and answer potential questions. I've voted for ideas that weren't completely defined if they seemed neat, but I've also neglected ideas that sounded cool if the rules don't give me enough info to see how the game works or leave major rules or components questions unanswered.

So, for me at least, your three-part conundrum is easily reduced to two parts. Brevity is forced, so you only have clarity and originality left to worry about. Furthermore, these remaining two parts are not in opposition to each other (although both run counter to brevity), so there's no more conundrum.

rcjames14
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Low Hanging Fruit

dobnarr wrote:
Because you often can't even see all the pieces or parts (hypothetical decks of cards are the worst for this), I think the true measure of a game is often impossible to gauge.

If it is impossible to achieve originality and/or clarity when the game has cards without a spoiler list and the spoiler list would (inevitably) push the game over 800 words, then you are either willing to sacrifice originality and clarity for brevity or you are disqualifying an entire genre (and component) of tabletop gaming from ever receiving your vote. I'm not sure other people are as inflexible... but I do feel like the consequence of strict format requirements is that this game contest tends to reward the design of certain types of games over others.

dobnarr
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Not what I said

I said I wouldn't vote for games over the 800 word limit, not that I would never vote for games with cards, or games that aren't completely defined in the entry. I think it's nearly always impossible to define a game completely and fit within the restrictions, so you're always faced with a dilemma - violate the restrictions or sacrifice clarity/completeness. In my view, deciding to relax the restrictions for yourself while everybody else tries to obey them is cheating, and I don't vote for cheaters.

I've often voted for games where the idea sounded cool, the design original, and the parts workable, even if a lot of it is still hypothetical or undefined. That said, I'm less inclined to vote for games that invoke a deck of 150 unique cards and only give me 3-4 examples, or invoke a board that they don't show me or describe, because in that case, a huge part of the design is in the missing components and not in evidence.

I totally agree that the restrictions limit the kinds of games you can reasonably submit. To that, I'd say what I said above, which is if you don't like the restrictions, propose new ones.

rcjames14
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Here's An Idea

dobnarr wrote:
To that, I'd say what I said above, which is if you don't like the restrictions, propose new ones.

In lieu of submitting an image, you can include a table (of reasonable size) and the entries in the table do not count towards the 800 word limit.

I would also suggest that component lists (for a very similar reason) should not count towards the 800 word limit.

As long as you are feeding the entry through an (indiscriminant) word count program, then you are missing the purpose and elegance of a table. Tables present a vast amount of information in an aesthetically pleasing way. In my mind, they are more like diagrams and pictures than text. However, each entry is a word.

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