Skip to Content

Mapless Movement

9 replies [Last post]
FrankM
Offline
Joined: 01/27/2017

I have the kernel of an idea for an adventure-ish game set in a prehistoric period, well before maps would have been invented.

To capture the essence of only the vaguest knowledge of the outside world, I was thinking of generating the world randomly during play. I think this would "work" but I'm not sure if it'd be "fun."

So suppose there are a few terrain types (Mountains, Hills, Plains, Islands), a few vegetation levels (Barren, Scrub, Forest), and a few climate types (Hot, Temperate, Cold). Nothing's set in stone, but that'd be 4*3*3=36 combinations.

The heroes would be standing in some combination of terrain features... for example Plains/Scrub/Temperate. The players have some clue that the next quest doodad is in a Barren Hills area.

The idea is that the heroes can move around inside the current terrain type or seek an adjacent type. Could look for Hill/Scrub/Temperate or Plains/Barren/Temperate. One a good roll, the party can be in that adjacent type next turn, on an okay roll they spotted it in the distance but need to keep moving through the current terrain for now, and on a bad roll they haven't spotted it but can look next turn.

Note that the players are NOT laying down map tiles as they go. There is no trail of breadcrumbs to get back without additional rolls. It seems reasonable that the terrain they just left would be "in the distance" for a turn, but that's it.

So far, does this sound familiar to anyone? Any existing game I could look at to avoid reinventing the wheel? Of course, this game is set before the invention of the wheel... ;-)

The problem I foresee is the following scenario:

Heroes are in Plains/Scrub/Temperate. They seek out Hills/Scrub/Temperate and find it in the distance. They trudge through Plains/Scrub/Temperate for another turn, and decide now they want to switch to seeking Plains/Barren/Temperate. Maybe they found another clue, maybe someone got poisoned and the antidote is in the desert, maybe a player is really indecisive, or whatever.

Seeking out Plains/Barren/Temperate locates it in the distance. They have the option of trudging in the direction of Hills/Scrub/Temperate, or trudging in the direction of Plains/Barren/Temperate. If they choose the one option, should they completely lose track of the other? Seems reasonable for pre-literate people with no map or compass, but I'm not sure if players used to GPS would think it unfair.

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
So If I understand correctly,

So If I understand correctly, you have manipulating 3 different variables. And once those variables are aligned with some quest on the board they could perform that quest.

It is pretty doable. In fact you could add a form of cost to switch certain variables, making it easier at some point of the game to move to the cold area, but some other events could change the cost making it more expansive later.

The cost could be a form of distance. Maybe players could change another variable before moving to the now expansive cold area, in order to make the cold area less expansive to move to.

Which could create a sort of long term planning, less move to the plain to do task A and it will be easier later to move to the cold area to do task B.

One issue I can see is quarterbacking if all players are in the same area as a group.

pelle
pelle's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/11/2008
Have you played Up Front? It

Have you played Up Front? It is probably very different from your game in many ways, but it does have groups moving from one terrain card to another, and no way of finding their way back. Normally how it works is that a group removes their terrain card to show that they are now moving, and then on a later turn a new terrain card is played on that group to show that they have arrived in some new type of terrain. But it has some interesting complications with barbed wire and other bad types of terrain that cards must be played on to leave to move on to some better destination.

FrankM
Offline
Joined: 01/27/2017
Thanks both of you

Thanks both of you. I'll see if I can check out Up Front, but it does look to be a completely different game concept.

And although I did use the word "players" up there, it's entirely possible this might turn into a solo game with that one player controlling a small handful of characters.

A head-to-head version might work where each player drafts characters, and they hope to avoid each other until they've gathered up some loot.

chainivory
chainivory's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/05/2019
Wow this post is old

I am trying hard not to give away any secrets about my game, but your post makes me think you might enjoy looking at it once published after the February KS. Board games going side scrollers is a fun Idea to try and make in the showdown. LOL, if any one reads this you should make it a suggestion. I am too new.

NomadArtisan
Offline
Joined: 12/12/2011
I've never played it, but you

I've never played it, but you might want to check out quest for the faysylwood.
From the bgg page:
"The object of the game is to be the first player to complete their quest by clearing five terrain cards."

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/4163/quest-faysylwood

FrankM
Offline
Joined: 01/27/2017
Thanks for the heads-up

NomadArtisan wrote:
I've never played it, but you might want to check out quest for the faysylwood.
From the bgg page:
"The object of the game is to be the first player to complete their quest by clearing five terrain cards."

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/4163/quest-faysylwood

Thanks for the heads-up. Looks like a different take on the concept that I’d like to look at, but it appears to be impossible to get a copy or even a PDF of the rules.

Jay103
Jay103's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/23/2018
chainivory wrote:I am trying

chainivory wrote:
I am trying hard not to give away any secrets about my game, but your post makes me think you might enjoy looking at it once published after the February KS. Board games going side scrollers is a fun Idea to try and make in the showdown. LOL, if any one reads this you should make it a suggestion. I am too new.

There's really no reason to keep a game secret. It's not like one of us, without any ideas of our own, will leap up and Kickstart it in January.

Generally, successful games do just the opposite, in fact. You want to be telling everyone you can all about your game to drum up interest BEFORE the Kickstarter.

(Also, I got some good advice here about my KS page before I launched, and I think I've given some decent advice since then as well.. coming here and NOT talking about your stuff seems silly)

bottercot
bottercot's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/06/2018
I find that maps are often

I find that maps are often helpful visually for player interaction. I did, however, have an idea that might be interesting.
Everyone has played memory games. They are some of the simplest and easiest games to play.
What if you set up the board with a grid of stacks of cards, all face down?
Each stack of cards would have a "temperature", "vegetation" and "terrain" card. Each stack represents a location.
When you're in a location, seeking another, you choose any of the 4 adjacent stacks of cards to search. If successful, the stack would be turned over, and you would be able to see the attributes of the location.
The main mechanic, however, to keep the game feeling primitive would be that the only locations that stay revealed are those that are adjacent to you. When you move to an adjacent location, the one you just left remains visible, but all of the ones next to it are flipped over.
It then becomes a case of remembering where things are, just as it probably was in prehistoric times. There would, of course, be no writing down of locations or marking them in any way; it would be purely memory based.

NomadArtisan
Offline
Joined: 12/12/2011
That's a cool idea. You could

That's a cool idea.
You could have a way to train a cartographer who allows you to leave all cards face up.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut