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Desiree Greverud
Sweden
Stockholm
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Just started work on what I hoped would be a simple tableau building card game called Magic Manatees. It will involve players using cards to adjust the stats of their individual harbors to make them appealing to the available manatees in need of homes.

My design issue is this:

How do players acquire the adjustment cards? drafting? random draw? a communal market or pool? a combined hand and market?

Is there a resource somewhere that describes the various benefits and drawbacks of each type?

My initial thought was drafting (a la 7 Wonders) but that seems to put a hard limit on the number of turns which I don't want. I was trying to think of some type of draft/draw hybrid where there is an inital draft and then afterwards, players can draw cards, but must then pass some number of cards to the next player, but that just increases the cards in hand as the play progresses around the table. Action could be simultaneous, but since everyone is competing for the same manatees there suddenly becomes a dexterity component as to who can grab the card first if more than one person completes a viable harbor....

OK, anyway, enough of my rambling... can anyone point me to any discussions on this topic? much appreciated. thanks
 
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BT Carpenter
United States
Reston
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It sounds like whatever you decide upon will become the main 'interaction' mechanic between players.

Getting "the right cards" into your harbor is a goal.

How to get "the right cards" is where your interesting decisions will be.

 
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Robyn Dawson-Ruiz
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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DragonsDream wrote:


My initial thought was drafting (a la 7 Wonders) but that seems to put a hard limit on the number of turns which I don't want. I was trying to think of some type of draft/draw hybrid where there is an inital draft and then afterwards, players can draw cards, but must then pass some number of cards to the next player, but that just increases the cards in hand as the play progresses around the table. Action could be simultaneous, but since everyone is competing for the same manatees there suddenly becomes a dexterity component as to who can grab the card first if more than one person completes a viable harbor....

OK, anyway, enough of my rambling... can anyone point me to any discussions on this topic? much appreciated. thanks


I'm new and don't know about previous discussions, but one suggestion I have is a face up communal draft pile. On their turn players can draft any face up card, then replace it with a card from the deck. You could add in a mechanic where players can pay a resource to add extra cards to the draft pile on their turn, or one where you can blindly draft the top card of the deck.

I agree with BT Carpenter. Whatever you decide here will be a core mechanic of the game. You will want to use a method that is fun and gives interesting choices.
 
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Chris Williams

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DragonsDream wrote:
How do players acquire the adjustment cards? drafting? random draw? a communal market or pool? a combined hand and market?

Is there a resource somewhere that describes the various benefits and drawbacks of each type?

No idea, but so far as I can see/envision, it might be something like this:

= Drafting =
Pros:
- Some people will buy a game just because it includes drafting. It's a popular mechanism.
- Gives players some information about what's in the game and maybe some insight as to what the other players will choose.
- Speeds up play, after that point, because everyone's already got all their cards for the game.
- Everyone reads their cards at the same time, rather than sitting there and watching others read.
- Based on the initial hand of cards, will encourage players to try out different strategies.
- Gives some latitude to cohesive strategy.
- Easy to set up and clean up. Everything goes into one deck.

Cons:
- Creates a single, set hand of cards. If the hand is depleted, either everyone will have to go through the same process, or you'll need to introduce a further mechanism (at added complexity/rules).
- Can unbalance the game, giving advantage to an experienced player sitting next to an unexperienced one.
- Gives an advantage to card counters.
- Doesn't give full latitude to create a cohesive strategy. There is still some luck of the draw.
- No real self-balancing mechanism.
- New gamers will be unfamiliar with the mechanism.

= Random Card Draw =
Pros:
- Fairly traditional. New gamers will be familiar with the mechanism.
- Somewhat self-balancing in, at least, cards are randomly distributed.
- Adds a slight "push your luck" feeling to the game, in that you may know that you need X and when you go to draw, you'll build up some anticipation of getting X. This could be upped by allowing players to keep drawing until they hit a bad card, at which point they bust.
- Easy to set up and clean up, since everything's one deck.

Cons:
- Disallows personal strategies (unless each player has been able to create a preconstructed deck).
- Not self-balancing in the sense that if some cards are better than others, strings of poor/lucky draws are possible.
- Favors those with an intimate knowledge of the cards in the game and the probabilities of getting them.

= Open Market - Everything's Free! =
Pros:
- Decent to complete ability to create ones own strategy (depending on what percentage of the deck is on the market.
- Limits runaway winner potential versus a paid market.
- Doesn't require money bits in the game.
- Easy to understand.

Cons:
- Could be AP inducing, depending on how many options are available.
- Probably needs something more to make it an interesting mechanism. (E.g., La Citta, which treats them more like "actions" rather than cards, and has static ones and cycling ones.)
- Can exacerbate a runaway leader problem since they have free reign to grab whatever they want. A paid market allows catchup mechanisms to boost a losing player's purchasing potential.
- Can take a lot of table space.
- Can be a hassle to set up and clean up, depending on whether it's all one deck or several micro-decks that have to be set up individually.

= Open Market - Static Costs =
Pros:
- Relative power of cards can be balanced by cost.
- Adds an invisible optimization mechanism, between the integer cost and the real value of the card.
- Adds an easy way to insert catchup mechanisms.
- Could help to limit player's selections (reducing AP) by focusing them on items of a particular selection.
- Gives players general to complete control of their personal strategy.

Cons:
- Designer needs to have a way to price cards (more effort designing) and will get slammed if he does a poor job.
- Can take a lot of table space.
- Can be a hassle to set up and clean up, depending on whether it's all one deck or several micro-decks that have to be set up individually.

= Open Market - Growing/Shrinking Costs =
E.g. take a card and put a dollar chit on the remaining cards, reducing their cost.

Pros:
- Players self-balance the values of the cards, based on the actual value of the cards and their personal strategies.
- Gives players general to complete control of their personal strategy.
- Generally easy to set up and tear down, since everything is one deck.
- Is a fairly interesting mechanism.

Cons:
- Generally going to have more rules.
- Generally going to be more fiddly - upkeep, etc.
- Market starts unbalanced unless paired with priced cards, or some other mechanism is included to solve that problem.
- Going to require chits of some form, usually.


Overall, I'd say that you need to decide what sort of audience you want to target. Is this a light game, a heavy game, a streamlined game, or a fiddly game? And, of course, it doesn't hurt to see if you can think of a new mechanism. That alone could help to sell the game.
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Billy Pitiot
Finland
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I always look at existing games to understand what are the effects of a specific mechanic.
I would advise you here to have a look at Seasons.
It is also a tableau building game with drafting.
It has a draft in the beginning of the game where everyone gets 9 cards but they have to sort them into 3 piles that they will unlock as the game advances.
There are also ways to get cards during the game but not so often.
 
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Desiree Greverud
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Stockholm
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AnalyzerOfGames wrote:
DragonsDream wrote:
How do players acquire the adjustment cards? drafting? random draw? a communal market or pool? a combined hand and market?

Is there a resource somewhere that describes the various benefits and drawbacks of each type?

No idea, but so far as I can see/envision, it might be something like this:

:::lots of really good info:::

Overall, I'd say that you need to decide what sort of audience you want to target. Is this a light game, a heavy game, a streamlined game, or a fiddly game? And, of course, it doesn't hurt to see if you can think of a new mechanism. That alone could help to sell the game.


thank you so much. this is exactly the kind of info I am looking for.
 
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