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ON the creation of node maps

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ruy343
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Joined: 07/03/2013

Howdy!

It's been a while, but I've commented here and there. I've finally got time to get back into actually designing on occasion!

I'm working on a game that's a combination of three elements: a node map where players place control cubes (inverse pandemic, sorta?), a personal rondel which determines actions you take and the strength of those actions (and how well you can follow on the actions others take a la Eminent Domain), and a sliding scale stock system (like Acquire).

The theme that I'm playing with now is that each player represents a hacking collective, and brings on specialist "teammates" to help them accomplish corporate objectives for pay. Helping companies als increases the stock price of those companies and hurts the opponents they've sabotaged, so hackers can also buy up stock in the companies they're helping to boost their end-game score (at the cost of available cash). Players interfere with each other and "read the market" (how the game is going) to try to buy up valuable stocks as they sabotage the stocks of companies they haven't bought into. Players will be encouraged to support different companies by starting with a handful of stocks in one company, but selling and buying up other stocks will make it possible to switch sides.

My question is: how on earth does one design a node map? I have aphantasia, so I can't visualize things in my head. I can't for the life of me grok how to design a map (like Pandemic's map) without a real-world reference. Do any of you have experience designing such a map? It would need the following:

-locations for data to start
-nodes that are more secure than others
-multiple routes between different areas
-possibility to add or remove companies depending on # players?

Let me know what suggestions you have for me below. Thanks!

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Network Diagram

ruy343 wrote:
...Do any of you have experience designing such a map? It would need the following:

-locations for data to start
-nodes that are more secure than others
-multiple routes between different areas
-possibility to add or remove companies depending on # players?

Let me know what suggestions you have for me below. Thanks!

I don't have "experience" designing such a map, but from your description, I can imagine a board filled with 3D Cubes which are connected to each other via lines and having like "Red Brick Walls" (Like a Firewall) on the connecting lines just before reaching the 3D Cube in question.

The "Companies" could be Wooden Cubes in various colors which represent each "Owning Player's" companies... So they can be ADDED (Friendly non-competing companies), TAKEN-OVER (Hostile takeover) and even REMOVED (Bankruptcy).

I'll work on a sketch... That will allow you to visualize what I mean.

I will upload it later (maybe around 9:00-9:30 PM EST).

No worries, I need a distraction and something like this is cool!

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Something like this

The BLUE cube (Ignore the cloud icon... it could be something to represent the TYPE of company — Environmental = Tree, Pharmaceutics = Pill, etc.) and the ROUND point afterward are a node where you can PLACE various CUBES for the companies each player can control. In this case, 2 Blue and 1 Yellow.

The RED cube is protection (Firewall) and the number of RED cubes shows how much protection is available to this NODE.

The BLACK diamond is an ACCESS POINT which can connect one or more other access points in the map.

I know it's a bit CRUDE... But it's an EXAMPLE only.

Accessing the companies (Blue or Yellow) require a Player to VOLUNTARILY allow another color access (Like Green or Purple) which means that they can ADD a company to the NODE (and then have access). If a company is taken over (Hostile Take-Over), the cube changes colors... Players trying to break-thru the firewall (because they don't have access), need to do so based on the LEVEL of SECURITY (in this case Level 2).

Things like that... Cheers!

Note #1: You MOVE from "diamond-to-diamond" and can ENTER whenever there is a company of you color (in the circle). Otherwise you need to Break-In (Level 2 security in the sample)... I don't know everything about your game. So this is something I "pieced together".

Note #2: You also mentioned "Pandemic", so I took that in terms of the design, to use "cubes" with different colors representing players and protection from outsiders, etc. This is only ONE (1) ACCESS POINT. You would of course have a bunch of these to form your MAP!

questccg
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How many PLAYERS are you planning to support?

Is this like a 5-6 Player game??? If so, you could have 3 to 4 Company HUBS depending on the company TYPE. What I mean is say you have 3 HUBS for Pharmaceutic companies, when other players are part of the HUB, they SHARE patents and innovation. But there could be COMPETING HUBS around the board.

As I said if there are 3 Pharmaceutical HUBS, it means that players engaged in that activity may compete against each other. Being all in the SAME HUB means sharing of Intellectual Property (IP) and market share, etc.

Something that I HAD NOT explored was the "COMPANY ICONS". I said it could be icons representing the companies BUT the COLOR had nothing to do with anything... In the SAMPLE the color = BLUE. You can ESTABLISH three (3) colors: Red, Green and Blue.

Red = 2 to 3 Players
Green = 4 Players
Blue = 5 to 6 Players

What this does is LIMIT the amount of NODES to allow different HUBS that are appropriate for the NUMBER OF PLAYERS. The key point here is IF there are MORE players, then you use ALL COLORS (Red, Green, Blue). If there are 4 Players (Red and Green) and if there are only 3 or less (Red only).

This could make the "board" more useful and EVOLVING when there are more or less players playing the game.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Backdoor (no security)

In this case there are MULTIPLE "Access Points" and one of them is UNPROTECTED... This could be like a "Insecure Path" or maybe a "Backdoor"...

Just showing you how you can modify the connections to make up your own MAP about how the "Access Points" connect.

Cheers!

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
More about the "Access Points" (Diamonds)

As with anything, the "Access Points" (Diamonds) can be CONNECTED via lines.

Those lines can represent "sub-regions" of the NETWORK. You can break things up into ANOTHER "sub-categorization". Right now, I am not sufficiently familiar with your game... But if it's Cyberpunk-ish, well then the NETWORKS could be divided into "Faction" NETWORKS.

They could have a SINGLE "entry point" and while in the ENEMY network, you have to be careful of not tipping off a "tripwire". Sentries can be sniffing the network for intruders. Those could be "Black" Cubes in the network and they can be moved around by the players.

Something like this can be the BOARD (of course you'll need to TWEAK it), this is just a SAMPLE... But this DIAGRAM can serve as INSPIRATION and VISUALIZATION of what you can hope to achieve...

But it NEEDS to be SIMPLER too!

It's a circuit diagram (Hehehe back to the old Mechanical Engineering days)... Never thought I would be looking at electrical circuit diagrams for INSPIRATION for a "Network Diagram" with nodes, firewalls, etc...

ruy343
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Joined: 07/03/2013
Thanks, Quest

You're heading down the right path - I hadn't considered that kind of representation for firewalls, but I like the concept. If I might ask: how do you get the slick metallic look for the icon's you've got? Are those art bits that you've just made for yourself over time that you're re-purposing?

My question remains to others who have made similar designs before: how do I go about designing an interesting node map? How can I expand it/modify it for variable player counts (like Power Grid)? How do I go about making it easy to read and visualize for players (unlike the second-most-recent power grid revision).

Thanks!

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