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Re-Theming a Game

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mcobb83
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So I have a little project I am working on. The Theme is byzantine nobles all vying for power in the empire.

I'm looking for options on the theme. I'm not sold on this, and I want to brainstorm alternate ideas that aren't generic fantasy. Let me explain gameplay.

All players share a common resource pool, which are things like military, economy, food, health of the population, and culture. Each resource is rated on a scale of 0 to 10. If any one of those resources reaches 0 the game is lost. The players all have a hidden win condition.

Each turn they players draft cards, which they then play using the communal resources to pay the cost. The effect of these cards will be to increase one or more of the resources or provide a player with bonuses or resolve a Crisis.

Crisis are events that are played every turn and represent events like a plague, famine, invasion, revolt, etc. These crises will reduce the resource pool each turn until resolved. Some crises can be resolved by playing cards face down (like Dead of Winter), others by effects of cards normally.

So basically I'm looking for theme ideas. The resources can be changed to represent anything. In the example above they represent the health of an empire. What do you think? Do you like the theme as is, or do you think something else would be more engaging?

questccg
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How about an Egyptian Empire

You could call it "Pharoahs" where you strive to build the Great Pyramid of Egypt. It could easily be a "co-petive" or "co-operative" game.

Am I understanding correctly that IF a resource reaches "0" ALL players lose??? If so that's perfectly acceptable outcome.

Managing your resources and building the Great Pyramid is quite the task...

Like you said, you have to manage your "economy" and contribute to the building of the Great Wonder. You said players each have an alternate/hidden win condition. If you are making a co-operative game... I would stick to ONE (1) common goal.

Just some ideas... I like Egyptian "lore" and there isn't too many games about it either. Nothing that I know sparks as being a GREAT game...

That's my $0.05 ...!

X3M
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Something from history perhaps?

If an era is what you are looking for. You could simply hit the history books. Also location of the empire will do. You can search systematically on this.

Jay103
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It's not a cooperative game?

It's not a cooperative game? But it has a shared resource pool?

I would obviously try not to play with jerks, but a rule where a jerk player could torpedo the whole game seems like it might be a problem.

mcobb83
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I've got a history degree.

I've got a history degree. Problem is I have designs on a lot of historical games. Obviously haven't published them, but problem is that makes the whole history genre seem a little over used to me. I'm looking for ideas to expand my horizons.

The thing with having a shared resource pool and the game ending when 1 of the resources is empty means that it is possible to have 1 player try to use all of a particular resource, but by drawing cards by draft it is possible for the other players to replenish the resources or plan turns around more available resources. I haven't moved this into prototype yet, but I will be after Fallcon this weekend, so we will see how it works then, I guess.

Jay103
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I'm still stuck on the "game

I'm still stuck on the "game over, man!" condition. What's the purpose of it? If a resource runs out, but all resources get replenished by one thing or another, why not just have it be empty?

Regardless, a piece of a game's design that says that people can be playing for an hour or two and then suddenly have the game END with no winner is going to be frustrating, and nobody would play the game again if that happened to them. That could make sense in a cooperative game, but not a competitive one.

mcobb83
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I think I see what you are

I think I see what you are talking about. Took me a bit because I don't play with people like that. But say a player is losing and is a poor sport, they may intentionally end the game so that nobody can win. It would be the equivalent of a table flip supported by the rules.

*makes note*

Will either have to add a secondary win condition applied at game end to allow someone to still win, or change the shared loss condition to something less sinkable.

chris_mancini
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Vampire lords vying to become

Vampire lords vying to become the most powerful while remaining undiscovered as vampires by the empire so their food pool remains intact/prevent a revolt? You could root the theme in any era, but bring some fantasy flavor with added historical mythos.

Jay103
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mcobb83 wrote:I think I see

mcobb83 wrote:
I think I see what you are talking about. Took me a bit because I don't play with people like that. But say a player is losing and is a poor sport, they may intentionally end the game so that nobody can win. It would be the equivalent of a table flip supported by the rules.

But it can happen without being on purpose, right? Doesn't need a jerk.

At the very least, one person would then play "chicken" with the resources, pushing them to 1, so nobody else could get one without causing the loss condition. So at that point, why would you not just allow a "0" resource that can't be taken any more by players?

Because, as I said, a game rule that wipes away THE ENTIRE GAME YOU JUST PLAYED is not a good rule, period.

Suff
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Resource thought / Themes

mcobb83 wrote:
Will either have to add a secondary win condition applied at game end to allow someone to still win, or change the shared loss condition to something less sinkable.

Can the resources just be finite? Does the game have to end if the resource is gone? With that too, the resource could come back via cards or crisis (If i'm understanding it right)

This would limit all players and potentially create a "catch-up" mechanic too.

What was your idea behind the recourse depletion ending that game?

More on topic. Themes:
- Building a space station with different intentions in mind for each leader lobbying for their interests.

- Witches and Warlocks creating potions, spells, and hexes to complete their evil plan. Resources could be like frogs breath and such

- Going off of the Pyramid idea, but make it cultists building a monument to their evil deity.

- Creating a city again after a apocalyptic event. Leaders have yet to take their place in the new society and each have their own intentions on its future. Resources are scarce, so be cautious of what is used and by whom.

Just some thoughts.

mcobb83
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The resources being a game

The resources being a game end condition stems from the concept that they aren't like iron or wood, but instead reflect the strength of aspects of a political entity. For example, if one of the resources is military and you have 0 military, your empire is defenseless and falls to invasion or revolt.

I suppose a way to incorporate something similar is to have resource depletion trigger a crisis that would force players to use their drafted cards to avert catastrophe

questccg
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Sounds much better

mcobb83 wrote:
...I suppose a way to incorporate something similar is to have resource depletion trigger a crisis that would force players to use their drafted cards to avert catastrophe

I think this is much more reasonable idea. Makes it more interesting that "0" of a specific resource "triggers a special crisis" that need players to react in order to prevent the "for example" invasion of their territory...

Something like that... But generally speaking, this is a much more reasonable solution (or at least idea...)

Note: Create a card for EACH "specific" crisis that will occur when each resource reaches "0". They're the same not random (but different for each resource). But if Player #1 reaches "0" Military and then Player #3 reaches "0" Military, the Crisis are IDENTICAL for both players... (I hope you understand what I mean...)

Jay103
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That all makes sense to me,

That all makes sense to me, for a cooperative game. Or a competitive game with separate resources. But I can't wrap my head around a competitive game that has a shared resource pool that has to be used cooperatively..

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