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Subject: Sequential resource thoughts rss

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Steven Tu
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Hi guys

I'm working on a game that has a shared deck of cards from which everyone draws, then from there you need to play card type A before card type B, C and D are effective. Now that feels like the magic resource system problem, but magic gives players the chance to tweak the balance of it themselves and if their mana curve sucks they have themselves to blame.

My question: how have other boardgames with a similar mechanic mitigated this possible chance screw? Do you know other boardgames with this kind of mechanic and was good despite it? I'm drawing a blank in my head :/

Deck builders avoid the issue by goi through your cards fast to see most of them quickly. But drawing one or two a turn types can't work like that.

Thanks in advance you smart peeps
 
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Nate Bivins

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If you absolutely MUST have sequential resources like this, a good way to keep players from being frustrated is to give them ways to mitigate the luck of drawing and being able to play Card type A.

Some examples:
- Make some powers that let players draw X cards and discard X-1 cards.
- Include a drafting mechanic. Too many Card Type A cards are just as bad as Card type B.
- Include more card draw than card play: draw 2, play 1.
- Include deck-building where the deck composition changes from mostly type A to more of B, C, D as the game goes on.
- Make the penalty more minor, for example if you have no A cards, skip turn but draw A, or gain some other resource of a minor type. Some small consolation prize can do wonders to alleviate bad luck.
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Chris Hawkins
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In Lost Cities, you don't have to play the 2 of a color before you play the 3. However, once you've played the 3, you can't play anything lower. So it's not a hard limit, but if you decide to skip some numbers, those numbers will be useless to you if you draw them later.
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Rob Harper
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A trick I like is to allow cards of one type to be used as a (probably inferior) version of another type. So, for example, you might need to play a card of type A in order to power card type B, but two of type C could be used instead of one type A.

As you have been talking about Magic, here's an example of this sort of thing... Instead of being restricted precisely by the colours of mana coming from your land, you could allow land to produce mana of other colours with diminishing effect as you go round the colour wheel. So one swamp can produce one black mana, two mountains or islands can produce one black mana, or three forests or plains can produce one black mana.

Something like that, anyway.
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Steven Tu
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Thanks for your inputs guys

The basic premise for the thing I'm working on is:

The goal is the attract people into your city.

You first gotta build houses so there are places to live, then you build things to attract people into your city. If you first build things to attract people, they have nowhere to live.

So without houses first (resource A), playing things to attract people (resource B and C) are not so useful.

We can:

1)let people "stick around" in the city until you can house them, or they would leave if you didn't house them and someone else could, or

2)we could make it easier to cycle through cards so that you're much more likely to get each type of resource readily...

Would need to test, but I'm leaning towards 1) over 2) as it seems to give more interesting choics?
 
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Rob Harper
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Given that theme, I would say that you could have people in your city without sufficient housing, but maybe the population would be limited, or perhaps people who don't have adequate housing suffer poor morale and aren't as productive. You could certainly have at least *some* people without accommodation, but the attractiveness to others would be limited.

I've recently come to the realisation that thinking about theme often suggests how to solve mechanical problems in a game.
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Rob Harper
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Just had another thought: if the people you got early were builders (or similar), maybe they could dig through the deck looking for housing that they could erect.
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Hank Grablewski
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A simple solution could be that every player starts with basic housing. They can only hold so many people. Cards from A could represent more of the same basic housing or even slightly upgraded housing.

Much like deck building games, all players start with the same basic cards/resources and customize afterwards.

What city wouldn't have basic housing?
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Jon Moffat
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I rather like Rob's idea of allowing cards to still be played, albeit with inferior effects.

A city will certainly have hotels and motels. Even without housing SOME people can make use of your amazing art gallery/food court/Colossus of Rhodes.

In a similar vein, you could have cards that can 'mimic' and A, B, C tier but are bad at it.

Running with the cheap hotel idea: this could act as housing (poor housing), as jobs (albeit none with amazing incomes) or as a restaurant (albeit one that serves only microwave meals) etc.
 
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Steven Tu
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Heyyy thanks guys

I've had the idea of a starter card with basic housing, that also came from deck builder games, and also the idea of industrial buildings that "produced" more cards for you, it's good to see that our ideas echo in some way!

Thematic and mechanic amalgamation is super important to me, so I really like looking that way too

The cards that aren't housing could always be played, and will help attract people to your city, they just won't have housing. I'm leaning towards letting them sit without housing until you could house them, so thematically they're temporarily holed up in hotels, without needing a specific hotel card. Of course housed people are more permanent, unhoused people can have... Things happen to them
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Tuism wrote:
Thanks for your inputs guys

The basic premise for the thing I'm working on is:

The goal is the attract people into your city.

You first gotta build houses so there are places to live, then you build things to attract people into your city. If you first build things to attract people, they have nowhere to live.

So without houses first (resource A), playing things to attract people (resource B and C) are not so useful.

We can:

1)let people "stick around" in the city until you can house them, or they would leave if you didn't house them and someone else could, or

2)we could make it easier to cycle through cards so that you're much more likely to get each type of resource readily...

Would need to test, but I'm leaning towards 1) over 2) as it seems to give more interesting choics?


funny enough, I think Sim City: The Card Game has this EXACT problem.

might be good to visit the forums for sim city and see if variants or strategies exist to solve it.


but what i would do:

given:
20 Type A cards
30 Type B cards
30 Type C cards
20 Type D cards

process:

-- take 15 random type C cards, and shuffle that with the 20 type D cards. Set aside as the "bottom" of the deck.

-- Take 15 random type B cards, and shuffle with the remaining 15 type C cards. Set aside on top of the C&D mix.

-- Take 10 random type A cards, and shuffle with the remaining 15 type B cards. Set aside on top of the B&C mix.

-- take the remaining 10 type A cards, shuffle, and set on top of the A&B mix.


so now your deck would have...
-- 10 Type A cards at top, followed by
-- 25 of either Type A or Type B cards, followed by
-- 30 of either Type B or Type C cards, followed by
-- 35 of either Type C or Type D cards

(and that's usually how I set-up a Sim City deck ... way way back when)

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Steven Tu
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Stormtower wrote:
Tuism wrote:
Thanks for your inputs guys

The basic premise for the thing I'm working on is:

The goal is the attract people into your city.

You first gotta build houses so there are places to live, then you build things to attract people into your city. If you first build things to attract people, they have nowhere to live.

So without houses first (resource A), playing things to attract people (resource B and C) are not so useful.

We can:

1)let people "stick around" in the city until you can house them, or they would leave if you didn't house them and someone else could, or

2)we could make it easier to cycle through cards so that you're much more likely to get each type of resource readily...

Would need to test, but I'm leaning towards 1) over 2) as it seems to give more interesting choics?


funny enough, I think Sim City: The Card Game has this EXACT problem.

might be good to visit the forums for sim city and see if variants or strategies exist to solve it.


but what i would do:

given:
20 Type A cards
30 Type B cards
30 Type C cards
20 Type D cards

process:

-- take 15 random type C cards, and shuffle that with the 20 type D cards. Set aside as the "bottom" of the deck.

-- Take 15 random type B cards, and shuffle with the remaining 15 type C cards. Set aside on top of the C&D mix.

-- Take 10 random type A cards, and shuffle with the remaining 15 type B cards. Set aside on top of the B&C mix.

-- take the remaining 10 type A cards, shuffle, and set on top of the A&B mix.


so now your deck would have...
-- 10 Type A cards at top, followed by
-- 25 of either Type A or Type B cards, followed by
-- 30 of either Type B or Type C cards, followed by
-- 35 of either Type C or Type D cards

(and that's usually how I set-up a Sim City deck ... way way back when)



Eh, there's a simcity the card game? Oh WOW. I'll go look it up... I had been thinking about my game as simcity the card game without actually 1) calling it that or 2) researching for that

Omg it's hideous. Kill it with fire XD

OK had a quick gander at reviews, it looks... Too complicated. My game is looking to scratch the city-building itch competitively with some light fun, so it's not really stepping on those toes as far as I can tell.

--------------------

Back to the thought exercise - As much as a stacked distribution could be cool (I thought about that borrowing from Thunderstone and the Stonebearer), I don't like the fiddly nature of stacking like that.

I was thinking of making multiple stacks with weighted distribution so that players could draw from different stacks, simulating different "policies" that they could take that would attract more residential developments vs industrial/commercial developments. Maybe a special stack for when you achieve certain level of prosperity or something.

Kind of like how Dead of Winter does their different locations and search cards I guess
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Tuism wrote:

Omg it's hideous. Kill it with fire XD


Yes. Many people tried to copy M:tG's success. This is one of the many, many, many failures

Tuism wrote:

I was thinking of making multiple stacks with weighted distribution so that players could draw from different stacks, simulating different "policies" that they could take that would attract more residential developments vs industrial/commercial developments. Maybe a special stack for when you achieve certain level of prosperity or something.


Interesting idea!

Still, the questions are:
-- how many cards do you draw each turn?
-- if you can draw more than one card, can you draw from more than 1 pile each turn?


And now, to throw a tangential idea: What if you borrowed Puerto Rico's mechanisms? Each player chooses one of several roles; and as in PR, once a role is picked, that role is unavailable to the other players. Then, depending on the role you picked, you draw a card from the corresponding deck.
 
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Steven Tu
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Right now I'm trying to minimise the number of components in the game as well as to speed the game along so I was hoping to go for minimal draws (as in one by default and maybe more if bonuses)in design, once the mechanics are known to be sound I can develop them and add weight in numbers, perhaps.

If you draw more than one you shouldn't draw from more than one pile. Another idea is to have all discards go into the same pile, so that after mid-game (depending on the size of the deck) the discard pile becomes the new draw pile as policies becoming one messed up mess because... Let's blame it on the depression XD

------------

I loved the roles game - Citadels had them, I never played Puerto Rico but I did play San Juan which had the same mechanic, and I can't think of others that does that... But I would LOVE to do the roles mechanic, except, isn't it a bit too specific and therefore derivative and therefore rip-offy?

One way of applying this roles game is that there are multiple draw piles and instead of selecting roles, each player each turn must draw from a pile that another player hasn't yet. This is less flexible though but one way to employ the roles mechanic without being strictly derivitive
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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It's not really that unique, it's just a form of drafting.

In your case, the players are drafting for which stack they'll draw a card.

 
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