# How to limit the number of turns per round?

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Epistemologist
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Joined: 12/05/2020

My game consists of four 'years', each of which goes through a Political Season, Campaigning Season, and Harvest Season.

During the Political and Campaigning Seasons, players take turns to perform certain actions. The turn order in the Campaining Season is determined by the order in which players passed during the last Political Season and vice versa.

Now, during these seasons there must be a limited number of turns players can take. They shouldn't be able to just keep the season going indefinitely. My question is: How do I limit the number of turns players can take before they are forced to pass?

I've playtested or thought about several potential solutions:

1. Every action costs something and when players run out of resources they have no choice but the pass. However, this doesn't really work with my game because some actions are (and should remain) free.

2. A timetrack where the player who is furthest back on the track get to play their turn. This doesn't work either, because it will create a situation in which players could get two or more turns in a row, which doesn't fit my game.

3. Players have a number of cards or command tokens, and each action costs one card or token (or more).

4. My current solution is a circular timetrack (with parallel tracks - one for each player) in which after every turn your pawn simply moves one step further. The timetrack tells you when the Political Season ends and the Campaigning Season begins. The circular nature of the track very nicely fits the idea that each round is a "year", with one year naturally being followed by the next. It also allows for varying turn orders each season, because if you're the first player to pass, your pawn is moved to the inner lane of the circular timeline, and the inner lane always moves first.

The one shortcoming with this system is that players always have to move their pawn at the end of their turn. This is constantly forgotten. It's usually easy to correct this, but it's annoying to keep reminding players to move their pawn on the timetrack...

What other ways are there to limit the number of turns per round, while also preserving a variable turn order from round to round?

Thanks!

let-off studios
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Joined: 02/07/2011
Limited Quantity of Actions

Sounds like you've already run through a number of different options for player actions and turns.

Have you tried creating a limited supply of each action? Not sure what the actions are in the game and if this makes thematic sense, but the general idea is that you have a certain number of times all players can choose Action A, Action B, and Action C. When a player chooses that action, they take a token or move its marker on a track, and when all tokens are removed from the supply or that track is at 0, that action can no longer be chosen.

You might also be able to build in earned tokens for players, so that they can act independently of the public supply pool/public tracker. Players can opt to exhaust the public pool before their own personal supply, leading to some additional tension between players.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
I guess I don't understand what you are trying to say...?

If you want SOME "Actions" to be FREE... Then doesn't that mean that the action in question can occur an unlimited amount of times??? Breaking even your own rule that a turn needs to have a specific amount of actions...!

Like I get your track ... And how "clever" it may be... But IMHO a certain number of APs is a quicker more direct way of enforcing a limited amount of Actions per turn.

Let's say you have 10 APs. Something that can occur ONCE per turn is 6+ AP. Your "FREE" Actions could cost only 1 AP. Looking at it from THIS perspective ... You can see that it is easily possible to limit actions just by specifying a HIGHER or LOWER AP count.

If you give a player 10 APs... They will probably start to STRATEGIZE about HOW they can maximize the use of those points for their current turn. I think this method yields better game depth than a "circular track"...

Again this is only MY opinion ... Feel free to use/disregard/improve upon this method of controlling the number of actions per turn. Sincerely.

Epistemologist
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Joined: 12/05/2020
Thanks

Thanks for the feedback, Let-off studios and Quest.

let-off studios wrote:
Have you tried creating a limited supply of each action?

There are some actions that can only be taken once (by one player) each round. Much like the power actions in Terra Mystica. Specifically, during the Political Season, only one player can play the Trade Caravan, while in the Campaigning Season only one player can hire the Mercenaries. The (un)availability of these actions is shown by a marker.

This does not apply, however, to more generic actions such as marching or sailing with your armies or besieging cities. These can be performed as often as you like - until the Campaigning Season comes to an end, that is.

questccg wrote:
If you want SOME "Actions" to be FREE... Then doesn't that mean that the action in question can occur an unlimited amount of times??? Breaking even your own rule that a turn needs to have a specific amount of actions...!

These actions are free in the sense that they don't cost resources, but they still take "time", and that's the limiting factor. To answer your question thematically: The Campaigning Season in the Ancient Near East lasted all summer. During summer you can march your armies around as much as you want, but inevitably, eventually it will be September and your troops wanna go home for the harvest.

questccg wrote:
Let's say you have 10 APs.

I get your solution, but I guess I didn't explain the problem well enough, so you misunderstood it.

The challenge is not to limit the number of actions players can take during a single turn. The challenge is to limit the number of turns during the round (Season).

During the Campaiging Season, for instance, players take turns and perform one action per turn. But I don't want the Campagining Season to last forever, so the number of actions/turns must be limited somehow.

Your proposed solution is something that I thought about: players get a certain number of Command Tokens (CTs) and each action carries a certain cost in CTs. But thematically I want to have each action take the same amount of "time", so that each action would cost 1 CT. But then you might as well keep track of the available CTs on a track, which would be equivalent to my timetrack.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011

Epistemologist wrote:
...The challenge is not to limit the number of actions players can take during a single turn. The challenge is to limit the number of turns during the round (Season)...

Now I get it... So instead of 10 AP per turn, you want 10 Turns per ROUND right?! I'm using 10 because it's easy to understand.

Epistemologist wrote:
During the Campaigning Season, for instance, players take turns and perform one action per turn. But I don't want the Campaigning Season to last forever, so the number of actions/turns must be limited somehow.

Well then your Track idea is good. Each player moves 1 space in the track per turn. This business about "forgetting" to move your 1 space per turn is pure BS. Put it in the rules and if you forget you can be penalized in some shape or form (like forego your NEXT turn if you did not update your Track Marker).

And if you want everything to take ONE (1) TURN. Well then your Track idea (it doesn't have to be circular) and there could be different Tracks for different PHASES of your game too. So if Phase #1 has 5 turns, you have a track with 5 markers. And if Phase #2 has 8 turns, you have a 2nd track with 8 markers...

It seems like you've kind of solved it yourself... I don't see what is wrong with this. If you have a PLAYER's BOARD, you can add the tracks to each player's board and use a wooden or acrylic cube to keep track of things... If it is PER PLAYER, I think most people won't forget to update their OWN "personal" Tracks...

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
What I can picture is this...

Depending on the size of you Player Boards (If you have any)... You could put ONE (1) Track with different "Seasons" (as you call them) and each of the "Seasons" has their own specific amount of pre-determined TURNS. When you complete a "Season" you naturally move into the NEXT one. And at the END of the "Track", your new YEAR can begin by "re-setting" to the first position in the Track.

I think a LINEAR track may take less "room" on a Player's Board for example. And in the rules, after each turn, you move your "Marker" one space to the Right. If you enter a new "Season", the rules for this phase apply and the actions you can take are different.

Something like that sounds reasonable to me. Cheers!

Fri
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Joined: 09/06/2017
One move per army per season

I know that you said you wanted unlimited moves per season. IMO, one move per army per season would simplify game play a lot. Thematically, armies really don t have unlimited moves per season, and if they moved a lot they would be to tired to fight. If this restricts the movement too much, perhaps you could further subdivide the campaign season and have one movement per subdivision or just add more rounds.

Feel free to disregard use or improve upon.

terzamossa
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Joined: 09/24/2020

Hello,
your solution of the time tracker seems already good enough and players shouldn't forget (I mean, if they forget this they will most likely forget using APs or any other method)
My question would be: Why do they forget?
Maybe 1) there is too much going on during their turns AND/OR 2) the time tracker feels like an external add on to the game.

1) if players process complex actions requiring multiple steps, they will most likely forget an housekeeping detail which they would have remembered easily otherwise.
On this, I agree with Fri, simplifying individual actions usually works well with theme and gameflow and may solve your problem.

2) If the tracker is an appendix attached to a self sufficient game, just to limit player moves, it makes sense players forget. How can you tie the mechanics together? Is there a strategical advantage to advancing in a certain way in the external or internal tracker? You said there is, but maybe players do not perceive this. Could there be different bonuses in different directions? Branching resources? Maybe you may want a tech tree instead of a linear tracker?

Or, even simpler: why don't players move on the tracker before their turn to activate the action, instead of doing it at the end when they already feel accomplished?

Hope any of this helps! Good luck,
Antonio

treeves3
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Joined: 04/18/2018
One possibility

One possibility is to to make certain spaces along each time track trigger something - an event, an extra resource, etc. You could also offer each player branching paths, such that when they move in a season, they must choose between A, B, C, etc. That way, the time track itself becomes more strategic and integral to the gameplay.

Just a thought.

-Tom