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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Design Theory

Subject: Idea for a board game... need some help fleshing it out rss

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Hello BGG!

Been marauding around for a while, and I didn't really find what I needed, so I thought i'd pipe in and ask you guys for a bit of help with a game I've been trying to solve.

The idea is that each player plays an alien race that is trying to get the humans to build some sort of doomsday machine on earth. In this universe, time travel is a thing, so I need some kinda mechanic where players can affect each other's homeworlds with catastrophes and boons in the past, and that affects their modern day technology. That and the players need to affect the earth's tech development in the past to alter the path that they take in the future.

I want to be able to say go back in time and replace say metal working with glassworking, so all future tech on that planet is then glass-based, which gives it +s and -s, depending on what i'm trying to go for. At the same time, another player might increase the gravity, which increases the amount of energy sources on the planet. All the while the players are playing in the current day, so their strategies and abilities change on the fly.

I'm looking for some sort of mechanic that would make that sort of thing work. But for the past couple of years, I haven't really been able to make that sort of thing work. Anyone have any ideas?
 
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Chris Wood
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Wheaton
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I think the mechanism you might be looking for is deck building. An opponent can make you take glass blowing and you would have to discard metal working. Catastrophes could also have long term effects as they get drawn. For example, it could be a tsunami, and you have to place it in your discard. When it gets drawn again, its action makes you have one action less or discard a card. Basically it represents a technological setback that endures for years to come. Something along those lines.
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Chris Wood
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Wheaton
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Also if you do go with the deck building option, I would use the kind found in concordia and lewis in clarke. With it, you draw your entire deck, then play one card per turn. One of the cards lets you draw back your cards from the discard pule. This was if you draw a ctastrophe, it stays in your hand until you make an effort to discard it. Also, i would make the cards be multifunctional. Like have it do a main action, or let them do a choice of multiple actions on a board. So if you have metalworking, you can play it to build something or switch out a card from your hand as its main action, or you can play it to build a robot or improve technology on the board as a board action. If you have quantum mechanics card, it may let you improve two technologies or let you build a robot in conjunction with another card. These are just examples, i have no idea what specifics are in your game.
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Marco F.
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You might have a technology development branching track (or tracks, for materials, technologies, etc) where opponents may modify earlier technological acquisition, with immediate results on the later ones.
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Chris Wood
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I really like the idea of a branching track. I haven't seen that before.
 
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BT Carpenter
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I recommend researching existing time travel games out there as well.

 
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Ringo Stalin
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I like the above suggestions - deck building would seem to be the most feasible.

The way I picture it, each player will have a Doomsday Machine template they will need to complete with various elements/resources, for example, a Base, a Barrel, an Interocitor, and a Flux Capacitor.

Joe has managed to build a Base and Barrel using Metal Resources, but Jane plays a Continental Drift on Joe which means he's now limited to Glass. He swaps out his Metal Base and Metal Barrel for a Glass Base and Glass Barrel, which have a different set of stats. His in-hand resources, which he's been amassing to build Metal components are mostly useless, but he's managed to hold onto some very useful Glass components, which will help him build an Interocitor.

You may want to look into Paradox - I haven't played it myself, but the game's main theme is ripples in time and the damage they can cause.
 
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Wow... brilliant! cheers!
i'm gonna have to heads down and work on it a bit.

paradox looks pretty cool actually.. not sure how much i can squeeze out of it, but i'll defo keep it in mind.

i'm liking the deck-building idea in terms of how itd mechanically fit, but the biggest problem is that i'm personally a bit sick and tired of deckbuilders. i have no idea why.. but this is so far the best idea going forwards for my game, so i'm gonna give it a go anyways!
 
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Ringo Stalin
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schweinefett wrote:
the biggest problem is that i'm personally a bit sick and tired of deckbuilders.


Could you re-jig the card idea into dice instead? Something similar to Roll for the Galaxy, maybe, where different coloured dice represent different types of elements/resources, and there's one type of dice you can amass to cause a temporal disruption?

Maybe you could have 3 (or 4 or 5) face-up cards in the centre of the play area representing the temporal disruptions available, with differing values and effects, similar to King of Tokyo, and players can use their amassed resources to buy these cards...
 
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Max Power
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I will second or third deckbuilding as the mechanic but....

Thematically can you only time travel once?

I ask because lets say I time travel back and drop glass into the fray giving myself a bunch of positive modifiers that I start playing with and making all sorts of progress etc on my Doomsday device. Then someone travels to a time before that and makes my tech metal.

Do I lose all the glass progress I made since they technically altered the time line and I thus never had glass?

It seems like that could make the game take forever, but to let them keep glass progress in the future seems like a thematic blunder.

A couple of ways around this (I'll just assume deck builder).

1) Each person may only time travel once to disrupt a planet's timeline

2) There are different kinds of non-overlapping disruptions (Technology, Biological, Environmental, Planetary, Religious, Political, etc...). And you may never repeat the same type of disruption on the same planet


I think number 2 is the better option personally since it will force people to looks for synergies and you should be able to do some pretty cool thematic and mechanical stuff with that.
 
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