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Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Kingmaker, 8.26.09

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Kingmaking is typically associated with a player that has little chance of winning arbitrarily helping a player in contention for the lead win.  Lets expand that definition a bit today.  What if kingmaker were a situation where an advantage must be given to an opponent in some form?  This could open up possibilities like these…

-I Knight Thee.  A player must choose an opponent to give a special ability to.  This could create fun tensions where players must weigh whom to favor benefits with.  Should I give this combat bonus to the player running a commerce strategy?  Then his transports will have better defense if I raid them.  Certainly not to the military player; she already has major firepower… GAAH!  While more suited for a game with a large variety of things going on such as Twilight Imperium 3 (and TI3 does have small bits of this particular mechanic), it could easily be adapted to more Euro-stylings.  Perhaps the benefit is free resources when mining.  Or reduced cost in building widgets.  The list goes on…  and so does your players’ pain (which is the reason to include something like this).

-One For You, One For Me.  Resources gathered are split between two (or more) players of the gathering player’s choice.  The split need not be even, either.  Take a Mafia-style game where players can extort money from businesses with ‘Protection Insurance’.  When doing so, the collecting player must ‘pay tribute’ to another player’s Don as a show of respect.  Which player should you give it to?  The player lagging behind?  Every other player doing this will bring said lagging player back into the lead…  A player you’re neck in neck with?  Mmmm…. Cognitive suffering.  For a spin on this, a player collecting the Insurance money could only choose from players to give to who have goons patrolling the area.  Sure, you could knock over the bank, but if the only player patrolling the area is the leader, that may not be the best choice…

-Free Rides.  An action taken applies to the player that takes it and at least one other player.  This would be more for games of worker placement or simultaneous action.  Race For The Galaxy actually implements a form of this in its action selection.  While other players may not get the bonus you do for choosing to Settle, they do still get to play Planets whether they chose to Settle or not.  Or spin it a bit.  Each turn, a player takes multiple actions and chooses one player to perform one action.  This could simulate real time in a neat way.  Take a multiplayer military game.  On each player’s turn, she does her maneuvers, attacks and so forth.  She must also choose someone else who gets to do one of those things during her turn.

Thas all I has fer ya today.  I dub thee, Lord (or Lady) Designsalot.

Keep on designing, yo!

Phil

Written by krinklechip

August 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Trade, 8.25.09

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Trading is typically resource for resource… ore for wheat, ore for energy, ore for rowing power and so forth.  Lets have a look at what kind of play trading other things as well may have…

-Board Position.  Players exchange positions on the game board.  This kind of trade would need a game where board position importance changes for each player as the game progresses.  Perhaps it’s a fast food chain game where players exchange positions of their restaurants to maximize the desire for their type of food in different areas of town at different points in the game.  Or you could offer board position in addition to resources.  A claimjumping game where deeds to different gold mines are constantly changing hands could create some interesting play…

-Turn Order.  Players may exchange when their turn takes place.  In a game where going before another player is important later in the game, this could create some heated trades.  In a stock market game, perhaps the order in which shares are bought and sold over the course of a round.  You’d want to go earlier if you saw the price for what you want to buy is low, or later to give it a chance to go up.  Bear in mind this would be combined with standard resource trading; you need to give ’em reason to trade their turn order away…

I traded my time with the computer for this article.  Fair traid, I’d say…

Keep on designing, yo!

Phil

Written by krinklechip

August 25, 2009 at 5:27 am

Economies, 9.15.08

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To-day is a look at economies; specifically whether it is open (Monopoly), closed (Nefertiti), etc. Most commonly, an economy is open; i.e. there is a limitless source of money in the ‘bank’ that players can access if they manage to get a good economy. There are other types that can make for interesting and …angry… play.

-Closed Ecomony. The game begins with ‘X’ money in play and never changes; money instead passes between players. There are a few benefits to Closed Economy. One, it cuts on production costs, as you don’t need some nebulous amount of ‘large bills’. Another aspect it lends to a game is the agony of knowing you are helping another
player by spending your money… but how can you advance in the game *without* spending your money? Augh! As an example, take an olde-tyme-y explorers’ club game. Each player has ‘Prestige Points’ from being in the club and each player has services to offer the other players in exchange for Prestige, with the services changing price as
play progresses. Whose action do you pay for? The player who has a fat stack of Prestige already with a good action, or that player in last place with an ‘eh’ action?

-Diminishing Returns. The board’s stock of money/resources replenishes itself, but with fewer resources each time. As players aquire and expend the resources garnered from the board, the board will replenish itself a few times with less efficiency each time. This mechanic can make the endgame quite ugly, depending on how it is used (and why shouldn’t it be? That’s the point of Diminishing Returns…). Take a mining game where the mountain being mined gets
progressively smaller as the game continues, reducing the available resources to take each phase of the game. Combine this with said resources being either money or VP (but not both) as chosen by the mining player, and you have a mad dash all game. Everybody now… Mmmm… Cognitive Suffering…

-Diminishing Economy. The game starts with ‘X’ money in play and never gets more; whatever is spent is gone for good. A combination of Closed Economy and Diminishing Returns, Diminishing Economy makes the player value every last dollar. When combined with a set turn number, you can create hard decisions. Should I spend now for that
shiny toy, or should I wait and see if something better comes along and possibly not get anything? Take an Amusement Park game where players are children given $25 for the entire day to spend as they see fit. Do they spend it on food and snacks for extra actions, or do they blow it all on that ride that costs extra for major points?

Keep on designing, yo!

Phil

Written by krinklechip

August 18, 2009 at 2:00 am

Money, 9.7.08

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Money… It’s a hit. Don’t give me that do-goody-good bullsh-  Ooh. Caught that lyric just in time. But money is awesome. That’s why it’s also used in so many games. You may not have much capital yourself, but in a game, you can be RICH! Wealthy, even! Today we’re looking at different ways to use filthy lucre, from generating it to applications of said greenbacks.

-Allowance. Players all get the same amount of money each turn/for the entire game. This is more for games where the money itself doesn’t do as much or is fairly Monty Hall. Either way, it can make decisions interesting by restricting what is available to buy amongst all the players. In a sport team management game, each player could
be given the same amount of money for a season to do with as they see fit, be it upgrade equipment, sign free agents or just hoard it away for next season.

-Spend It To Make It. Players start with a modest income, and may invest to increase it. Common in business simulators, it follows the old adage: you need to spend money to make money. The same is true in board games: invest wisely, and you’ll have more money than you really know what to do with in no time. In a soda company game, you could choose to spend your money on your established brands via advertising and such, or branch out into new areas for a potentially larger client base. It involves risk, but the reward either way should pay off in some way.

-Stocks. Players hold stocks that pay dividends based on the company’s performance. A modified form of Spend It To Make It, this is a more passive version. The companies themselves may be controlled by multiple players, making the ‘Spend Money’ part more chrome-y where it wouldn’t have necessarily fit. It may not even need to be stock. It could be *live*stock. In a farming game, each critter owned during harvest/state fair/etc could produce money via
fur/wool/milk/calves while still performing other functions for the player, like helping plow fields.

-Replenish The Stores. Players spend money to replace spent resources/units. More for ameritrash or ‘Store’ games, money is more of a means than an end more here than in other cases. Sure, you conquer new places to get more money, but only for the purpose of putting more pain on the table; be they a swarm of groundpounders or
that reeeeaaally shiny tank that takes three turns of saving to buy. On the euro side, this is also a variant of Spend Money To Make Money. In a store operation game, you spend money to place merchandice on shelves and open new store fronts to place more merchandice in. Once it sells, you take the money and continue to do the same thing on increasingly larger scales.

Keep on designing, yo!

Phil

Written by krinklechip

August 18, 2009 at 1:41 am

Resource Generation, 8.18.08

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Oio, meeples. Today’s look at mechanic is about resource generation.  Here’s a few for you to mull over.

-Generation related to action. This is not to say, ‘I mine for gold.’ Say in a market crafting game where players turn resources into things to sell, selling a gold item creates more gold from the board; the demand rises, and so does production. You just add the specified resource to play from the general supply.

-Random generation with diminishing return. That sure is a long title for ‘custom dice to indicate when a mine runs out’. Each turn, you roll a set number of dice for each mined resource. Lets say, 3 at the start of the game. Each time the dice are rolled, whenever a special symbol is rolled, you move the ‘mine countdown timer’ forward. As the timer reaches certain thresholds, the number of dice rolled is diminished until ‘the mine is dry’, or there are no dice
left. Otherwise, place the amount rolled on the dice into play from the general supply.

-Draft what is generated. Players choose what is generated, and in what amounts. This is not to say that a player will *get* what he chooses to generate, it merely lets players dictate what is produced by the board. Resource trading, anyone?

-‘Loot and Burn’. In a combat-styled game, the resources could be taken by force, with the amount gained specified on say, a village you conquer. But insodoing, you destroy the village that was producing resources for the board to give to everyone. Short term gain and screw everyone, or leave the poor, weak, pathetic villagers be?

Keep on designing, yo!

Phil

Written by krinklechip

August 17, 2009 at 9:36 pm