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Subject: Choosing a Game Direction rss

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Kevin Jeffrey
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I have a game I'm working which started with a theme and a pickup-and-deliver mechanism game to mind right away. However, I was reading Luke Laurie's (LL Games) post on League of Gamemakers about designing worker placement games.

This article, of course, sparked a different direction for my WIP that suited the theme I had devised. I wrote down all my worker placement ideas, but now I have a dilemma. I don't know which direction would be best? Both are equally as interesting to design, but using both mechanisms doesn't seem to work in the game.

How do you choose the mechanism direction to go when there are several viable options?
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The Chaz
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What's the theme?

How well will each "direction" integrate the theme?

How are the decisions that players will make different from one "direction" to the next?
 
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Kevin Jeffrey
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The theme of my WIP is thieves during the bubonic plague. The thieves are trying to rob goods from the sick and dead to complete contracts for merchants that fled the city; while avoiding arrest by the King's constables, and avoid being infected.

The pickup-and-deliver mechanism idea involves players controlling 1 thief with a limited number of actions per turn, including movement, robbing, dropping goods off at a safe house to complete contracts. Constables (NPC) also move around the board blocking of areas from being robbed or making arrests. Merchant contracts are open information, meaning each player could be going for the same contract, with the first player to get all the requirements back to the safe house completing that contract for points. This is a simplified version of my concept, but you get an idea.

The worker placement idea starts players off with 1 thief but they can get up to 4 thieves, depending on the spaces thieves are placed on each turn. The player's thieves can be placed in different areas of the city to rob the sick and dead for goods, get new contracts, complete contracts, and break colleagues out of jail. The more thieves, the more spaces you can play to. Once again a simplified telling of my concept.

I think the theme is applied similarity with both methods, how I deal with the plague aspect would not change with either mechanism design choice. The difference with the decisions for a player is moving and using limited actions to complete your goals; or placing your characters in limited spaces other players are trying to play to as well.
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1 Lucky Texan
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well, from a thematic standpoint, it seems unlikey a single thief could supply multiple merchants - that kind of demand under the circumstances would probably attract many thieves so - I guess I vote worker placement.

If the components would be similar, maybe rules for both? call one version a variant - or maybe one version works better for 3-4 players, the other for 2 ?
 
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Nat Levan
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Hast ye seen the White Whale?
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Maybe you can combine the two, use the worker placement to control the pick up and deliver mechanics?
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1 Lucky Texan
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Sivilized wrote:
Maybe you can combine the two, use the worker placement to control the pick up and deliver mechanics?


yeah, something like, you begin with one thief, then you 'earn' or hire a lookout, then an 'insider', then, hire a bank embezzler and use all of them as worker placement? One thief that 'travels', the other produce information or a small steady stream of money???
 
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Chris Hawkins
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The original design sounds more interesting to me. I am sure that either could be a great game, but I think that worker placement games tend to lose a lot of narrative detail. For example, playing one character lends itself to more differentiation: name, portrait, background story, variable powers, gaining equipment, leveling up. In worker placement games, the workers are faceless, nameless pawns. In a WP game like Caverna or Belfort, there can be some worker differentiation, but not much.
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Kevin Jeffrey
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions and opinions. Maybe I should write up rough rules for two versions of the game: one for P&D, the other for WP. Then place the rules up here and see what people think.
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