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Variations on a rondel mechanic

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Simon Nightingale
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Joined: 03/24/2018

Hi all, I'm new here so please bear with me.... So, I've been tinkering around with a game about growing giant vegetables in a communal allotment which takes place over 12 rounds (each round representing a month of the year, and these months being divided into the 4 seasons). It seems to me that a rondel mechanic would fit nicely into the theme (cyclicity of gardening) and wanted to take the opportunity to brainstorm a few possible ways of twisting that mechanic.

One of things I'd like to try is to have the rondel change and/or constructed during the game so that the resources and/or actions available to the players differ. Ideally, I'd like this to be player led, perhaps through manipulating what sort of buildings can be made/used on teh allotment (tool shed, glass house, compost heap, etc...). I'm not sure how to go about this, nor if anything like this exists already. If anyone has any ideas, I'd be very grateful to hear them.

Daggaz
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As always, the more details

As always, the more details you provide, the better answers you will get.

Just physical mechanics speaking, you could have wedge shaped cards that you insert into the rondel. They might overlap the older cards (which could have multiple copies so that complexity could increase), but two problems are: A) how to you keep them from flying out of the rondel when it spins and B) how do you make it so many seasons can all stack (or do you really want players picking the cards back out)?

One note regarding actions... keep in mind that in general, its probably better to have the rondel affect player actions, rather than dictate them. Obviously its your game and you maybe have some cool mechanism that works in this manner, but rule of thumb is to leave the decisions to the players, and work to make those decisions more interesting.

Corsaire
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Your time scale may be in

Your time scale may be in conflict with the mechanic. It's only cyclic year over year. Because you are doing one year, action sets available would seem to be highly restricted based on the time in the growing season. Improvements or experiments, etc. would seem like the type of thing you'd learn one year and apply the next.

let-off studios
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Prototype Components, etc.

Generally speaking, if the rondel is spun or has a spinner spun upon it, you'll likely have a very random situation. Depending on the style of game you develop, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Since you're addressing the cycle of growth for plants, maybe it's a bit more orderly than a rondel would initially indicate.

Meanwhile, during development it may be useful to experiment with some components to effectively communicate your idea. I found two examples that may be useful.

First, Hand2Mind has plastic fraction pieces that can be combined in different ratios to create a whole:

http://www.hand2mind.com/item/plastic-rainbow-fraction-circles-set-of-51...

Second, EAI Education has a tabletop game/activity that includes stackable versions of the above pieces:

http://www.eaieducation.com/Product/502770/Fraction_Fortress%e2%84%a2.aspx

Personally, I think a game could be developed that allowed for someone to plan out their gardening/farming year using pieces like these, and each plot of land could be filled to capacity with different plants that had different harvest cycles.

The rondels themselves wouldn't be so random. Rather, other things could add randomness and wrinkles to an otherwise orderly garden plan (which is also how it typically works in real life). Dice or cards can stand in for random events, either positive or negative. Weather, pests, blights or diseases, etc. can all be incorporated to add randomness and unpredictability to the scenario. The random events could add or remove tiles from someone's already-planned rondel, affecting their seasonal/annual output.

Jay103
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Joined: 01/23/2018
Wait, is this a spinner?

Wait, is this a spinner? That's not what I think of when I hear "rondel"

The card wedges are a good idea, or I think more likely cardboard tokens shaped that way.. if they fit into a plastic doodad (to keep them stable), they could be updated during the game.

If players have differing goals, then they could shift the rondel elements to favor the things they want to do, as long as there was enough of a cost to making each change so that it was strategically interesting.

Daggaz
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No I guess not all rondels

No I guess not all rondels necessarily spin, which simplifies things greatly.

I do like the idea of players controlling the construction of the rondel, but again, if this is in the form of actions rather than action modifiers, OP may quickly run into trouble. Game balance is now more exposed to player choices, and this could conceivably lead to broken decision trees. Very careful design constraints would be needed to preserve game flow and function. And as always.. Is this producing interesting decisions for the players?

Simon Nightingale
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Joined: 03/24/2018
I didn't think of that, so

I didn't think of that, so thanks for your observation. On reflection, though, I'd say that the game is more like of photograph of one year where the players are assumed to be active gardeners year in, year out. If we look at it like that, an given improvement in say, Pruning, could be assumed to have been learned previous to the actual year being represented by the game. Still, I do take your point. One way to address that, of course, would be to have a game round consist of a year. I'll certainly have to think more about that.

Simon Nightingale
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Daggaz wrote:As always, the

Daggaz wrote:
As always, the more details you provide, the better answers you will get.

Yes. You're right, so apologies on that score. At this point the game is very much at the idea stage, and I'm using it to get a handle on all sort f mechanics with a view to understanding them better. At this stage, I've tried uniting a dice drafting type mechanic with the rondel. We've had no play testing as yet, but the idea is this: Each player has a number of Skill Cubes which they place on the various buildings connected to the allotment - Compost Heap; Tool Shed; Greenhouse (or glasshouse); Garden Centre; Pub. The amount of cubes you place on each building determines the amount of dice you can roll. More of that in a second. This placement of cubes last for a season (3 months) and determines the number of dice you can roll. You cannpot place more than 3 cubes on any one location and no more than 6 cubes in total can be present on one location. You will have between 5 and 7 cubes to use each season depending on how you invested in seeds (we can leave that out here for our purpose). Having placed your cubes, you then roll a number of dice equal to the number of cubes placed for each location. Each players dice are in a different colour. If you placed 2 on the compost heap, 2 on the tool shed and 1 on the pub, you'd roll 2 dice twice and i dice once. The dice, pips face up, are then placed on the locations as marked on the game board. Now, this is where the rondel comes in. Where you placed you cubes & dice determines what cards you can take. For example, placing cubes on the greenhouse allows you to draw from that deck (all cards are face up for the season in play). In order to draw cards, though, you have to move your pawn through the rondel. Moving one segment costs nothing, but each additional segment costs 1 pip from any of your dice. Simply turn the face of the dice to keep track of this. Once on your desired location you can spend the pips on the dice which you placed on that location to buy cards. The cards have different costs and different game effects.

What I was thinking of toying with was the possibility of changing or in some way altering the layout and/or the contents of the rondel, principally to allow those with poor dice rolls or those lower in the turn order some additional leverage but also just to see what effects this would have in general game play.

I hope this makes sense....

Just physical mechanics speaking, you could have wedge shaped cards that you insert into the rondel. They might overlap the older cards (which could have multiple copies so that complexity could increase), but two problems are: A) how to you keep them from flying out of the rondel when it spins and B) how do you make it so many seasons can all stack (or do you really want players picking the cards back out)?

I'd thought about wedges as well, but as a straight swap rather than an overlay. The new wedges available would be tied to the season. Maybe I've misunderstood rondels, but the way I've done it is that it doesn't spin or move (as in Ora et Labora).

One note regarding actions... keep in mind that in general, its probably better to have the rondel affect player actions, rather than dictate them. Obviously its your game and you maybe have some cool mechanism that works in this manner, but rule of thumb is to leave the decisions to the players, and work to make those decisions more interesting.

I've been worrying about this. As things stand, the only player choice is which locations to visit and which cards to choose. There is at the moment a little bit too much luck, and I'm aware of that.

Simon Nightingale
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Joined: 03/24/2018
let-off studios I seem to be

let-off studios

I seem to be having problems formatting my replies... please be patient with me....

Thanks for the links! And even more so for your ideas regarding "wrinkles" in the garden plan. I've been thinking about having event cards which simulate disease, weather, pests, etc., but didn't really know how to incorporate them well. The idea of using them to change the tiles of the rondel seems obvious now, but in retrospect good ideas often do! I did envisage a communal rondel, but the idea of each player having there own is great, as it gives them a more participatory control over how it is constructed while the events always threaten to spoil that and all this on a player-for-player basis, rather than a single event affecting everyone on a shared rondel. Thanks a lot!

Simon Nightingale
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Joined: 03/24/2018
Thanks everyone for your

Thanks everyone for your replies; it's greatly appreciated.

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