Paul Liolio
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Hey guys (ramblings ahead)

I'm still new to playing board games as an adult (like many I thought there were exactly 5 board games, including Monopoly, and then somewhere at an extreme, Dungeons and Dragons). I started getting a craving to play board games again, and discovered ESCAPE the Curse of the Temple, and how much fun that is, and how sad my life must have been before that day of discovering a new world of board games.

I say this, because while I haven't played a lot of board games, I'm excited about designing one, though I haven't much experience in modern mechanics.


Right now, my game is sheerly conceptual, but one thing I do know, is that it needs to be fast paced, high energy, little down time.

In video games, like Mario Party, or Dokapon Kingdom, where players move about a game board, I've always thought, "this would be so much better if all players rolled their dice and moved at the same time.." The waiting game kills the fun (though no thanks in part to poorly chosen, mandatory, unskippable animations and text that occur after each turn and during events).

Long story short, I want all players to move about a grid based game board, probably without rolling a die, at the same time, in a player movement phase. The problem is, since it's mainly a competitive experience where players will want to initiate an attack on one another , sometimes by landing on another player's current spot, I feel like every one would need to commit to a movement decision and all move at once.. So how does one do that?

I'm still open to other quick movement systems.. Perhaps players take turns moving (results of the move will happen in the next phase after everyone has moved), and for the next movement turn, the player to move first is the next person around the table... OR, player movement order is, each time, swiftly determined by a quick die roll..


But anyway, let's assume I'm dead set on Simultaneous player movement.
How does one achieve this? So far, I'm imagining each player making a decision to themselves, then all presenting their decision to the group, openly, at the same time, via some method.. Because the game board is a grid, each player could present something like 'B8' or 'H12' to commit to that space on the board. This could be done with pencil/paper, some abacus sort of tool each player might have, or something like ABC or 123 blocks the player can quickly set and show the group simultaneously. My issues here are it's adding extra steps to making movement happen, and the game board may be customizable or random in it's creation and definitions like 'A5' may not be possible.

So I've thought.. hm.. well maybe since movement isn't done by rolling dice, and generally, everyone is moving the same distance each turn, maybe they can just show a symbol indicating the direction of their movement instead.

That's about as far as my thoughts have gone on the matter.


Have any games done this before, and how have they done it?
Or, does anyone have any constructive ideas about achieving simultaenous player movement?

I'm not 100% committed to simultaneous movement if it's going to cause more trouble than it's worth, but it's certainly something I want to try to work in.


Thanks for reading!
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Boaty McBoatface
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Lets give you one issue.

John is at position 1, George is at position 2 Paul is at position three and Ognir is at position 4. To move his piece George had to lean over Johns piece, so one has to wait for the other to move. This gives the "polite" player a slight edge.

Roborally uses a card system (which has symbols) which you choose at the start of your move.
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I want to present some information on some playtests I did with a game using simultaneous action selection as some food for thought. The game was split into two phases: planning and execution (See: RoboRally, Hoity Toity and Kings of Air and Steam). Oh yeah, just remembered another game I tried with this mechanism: Mariokarten (WIP) - Rules & Art Added.

1.) Since most of the decisions were stacked in the Planning phase, a lot of the execution phase felt like "bookkeeping" and was not as exciting as I had hoped. The execution phase must be kept short.

2.) Some people take considerably longer to make even simple decisions than others, so even though it seems like everyone should be engaged during the Planning phase, I would lose the faster player's attention when there was someone slow. Instead of just the slow player's turn being slow, EVERY turn was slow. The planning phase must be kept short.

So... Both phases must be kept short. Unfortunately, this generally means you have to keep the game light. I like heavier games, so unfortunately I have abandoned working with the mechanism for now.
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Paul Liolio
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Thanks for your reply.

In what I'm envisioning, no action will take place until all players are moved to their new positions.. Even if not all the players have physically moved their pieces, so George's new position, which may appear to interact with John's old position, won't have any effect on John, unless he had openly committed to remaining stationary for that turn.

Could you tell me more about how RoboRally's card system?
 
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In general, players will first fill all of their robot's "registers" with facedown movement cards. This happens simultaneously and there is a time element involved. If you don't act fast enough you are forced to place cards randomly to fill the rest. Then, starting with the first register, everyone reveals their card. The card with the highest number moves first. After everyone resolves their movement they reveal the next card and so on. Examples of movement cards may be to turn 90 degrees left or right, move forward 2 spaces, or move backward 1 space though there are a bigger variety than that. You can plan a perfect route, but if another robot runs into you it can push you off course. This can be disastrous since you can't reprogram any cards to fix it!

Robots fire lasers and factory elements resolve after each movement and robots may become damaged. If they take enough damage certain movement cards become fixed and can no longer be changed. If they take more they may be destroyed entirely. The first robot to claim all the goals in the correct order wins, though some may award points and play tournament style.
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If you want to consider another attempted solution to this design idea (that does not involve programming moves during a planning phase), see Tom Jolly's Camelot.

From the BGG description:

On the surface, the game appears to be a very simple wargame, combat being quickly resolved without any dice as characters fight each other. The key to the game, however, is that two players are always taking turns at the same time, the turns being regulated by "turn tokens" that pass around the board. When one player finishes his or her turn, the turn-token is passed to the next player who does not already have one. If one player is a slowpoke taking his turn, then the other turn-token passes around the table, allowing other players to take turns. This forces players to take very fast turns, usually about 5 seconds each, allowing the game to move along with the intensity of a video game. Games usually take 20 to 30 minutes to play, even with three to six players.

Special rules resolve potential conflicts that could occur when two players try to perform actions simultaneously where priority is in question, resolving quickly and simply.


The game was not, perhaps needless to say, a commercial success.

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Paul Liolio
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Vanish wrote:
I want to present some information on some playtests I did with a game using simultaneous action selection as some food for thought. The game was split into two phases: planning and execution (See: RoboRally, Hoity Toity and Kings of Air and Steam). Oh yeah, just remembered another game I tried with this mechanism: Mariokarten (WIP) - Rules & Art Added.

1.) Since most of the decisions were stacked in the Planning phase, a lot of the execution phase felt like "bookkeeping" and was not as exciting as I had hoped. The execution phase must be kept short.

2.) Some people take considerably longer to make even simple decisions than others, so even though it seems like everyone should be engaged during the Planning phase, I would lose the faster player's attention when there was someone slow. Instead of just the slow player's turn being slow, EVERY turn was slow. The planning phase must be kept short.

So... Both phases must be kept short. Unfortunately, this generally means you have to keep the game light. I like heavier games, so unfortunately I have abandoned working with the mechanism for now.


Thanks for your insight!

I have a question though, regarding keeping phases short as some will take longer than others, .. wouldn't this issue just be compounded further if the players were to take turns rather than simultaneous?
Or would the other players still be considering their turns and be engaged while the slow player was taking his.. and in simultaneous decision, you're saying everyone else is already committed and waiting with nothing to think about, while the other player is taking his time during the "simultaneous" movement?

Hmm.

Did your Mario Kart idea ever work out? I love Mario Kart!
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Polioliolio wrote:
Thanks for your reply.

In what I'm envisioning, no action will take place until all players are moved to their new positions.. Even if not all the players have physically moved their pieces, so George's new position, which may appear to interact with John's old position, won't have any effect on John, unless he had openly committed to remaining stationary for that turn.
Unless you do not have facing (for example) or cover it van male a huge difference.
Quote:


Could you tell me more about how RoboRally's card system?
You pick a series of cards for your move (they are randomly drawn) and this determines which square you move into, and or your facing.

A better way may be wings of war, you have a set of cards, and you pick your moves (three a turn). You measure from you base to an arrow on teh card that determines where you end up (and your facing). It's similar to Roborally, but removes the random draw aspect.
 
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Graham Muller
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I would suggest movement tokens with an arrow placed in secret behind a shield.
Place the tokens (equal to your movement ability) in the direction of your movement and then execute them.
To simplify the movement you could place tokens only where you change movement.
You could also place the token face down indicating no movement.
 
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gmuller wrote:
I would suggest movement tokens with an arrow placed in secret behind a shield.
Place the tokens (equal to your movement ability) in the direction of your movement and then execute them.
To simplify the movement you could place tokens only where you change movement.
You could also place the token face down indicating no movement.
Problom with this.

"yes I know I placed my arrow pointing to the left, and I have, see I have moved 1 degree to the left".
 
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Paul Liolio
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slatersteven wrote:
You pick a series of cards for your move (they are randomly drawn) and this determines which square you move into, and or your facing.

A better way may be wings of war, you have a set of cards, and you pick your moves (three a turn). You measure from you base to an arrow on teh card that determines where you end up (and your facing). It's similar to Roborally, but removes the random draw aspect.



Vanish wrote:
In general, players will first fill all of their robot's "registers" with facedown movement cards. This happens simultaneously and there is a time element involved. If you don't act fast enough you are forced to place cards randomly to fill the rest. Then, starting with the first register, everyone reveals their card. The card with the highest number moves first. After everyone resolves their movement they reveal the next card and so on. Examples of movement cards may be to turn 90 degrees left or right, move forward 2 spaces, or move backward 1 space though there are a bigger variety than that. You can plan a perfect route, but if another robot runs into you it can push you off course. This can be disastrous since you can't reprogram any cards to fix it!

Robots fire lasers and factory elements resolve after each movement and robots may become damaged. If they take enough damage certain movement cards become fixed and can no longer be changed. If they take more they may be destroyed entirely. The first robot to claim all the goals in the correct order wins, though some may award points and play tournament style.


On RoboRally,
I like the idea of playing cards for movement, but it sounds like the meat and potatoes of the game, and like quite a lot of planning goes into it.

Wings of War also looks quite complex in its movement system.

Movement is a big focus on these games.

What I'm really trying to capture is just the simple video game sense of pressing up on a Dpad and quickly moving where your instincts tell you, for a brief turn of movement.


chibigouazou wrote:
If you want to consider another attempted solution to this design idea (that does not involve programming moves during a planning phase), see Tom Jolly's Camelot.

...

The game was not, perhaps needless to say, a commercial success.



I can see how that could be unfun. The timer element might be okay in a video game, but if it's other players forcing control out of your hand, it could get pretty frustrating.


The problem with breaking movement into turns, [in my game] I think, is that now movement and battles have to occur within the same phase of the game.

I can't have Steve move his piece during his movement turn, land on Bob to attack him, and then let that influence Bob's turn and he just flees...

Maybe... Maybe, players take turns moving, and any player caught in an attack (Steve's turn, and he rushes Bob), their movement turn is simply negated, and with movement phase at an end (sorry Bob), the next phase is the action phase, in this case, Steve pulled Bob into a battle so a battle commences.

Perhaps during the movement phase, when Steve rushed Bob, Bob could have used a card, energy token, or a random die roll, to flee from the attack, and continue with his turn... Hmm.. yes...

Also, let's say the movement order is Steve > Bob > Mark .. Steve rushed Bob, and Bob wasn't able to flee from the attack, so he's pulled into a Battle.. now we know there's a Battle in the next phase... but since Mark can still move, and he's looking for trouble, he dives into the fray, creating a 3 man battle in the next phase.

Yes.. I think this could work.. Simultaneous movement is out, but movement phase and action/battle phase are still exclusive.. Hmmmmyyyeesss...



edit: Gmuller, thanks for the idea.

That's the best idea yet (for fitting my game, as I envision it) with simple simultaneous movement in mind. I was also worried about direction and the character pieces getting mixed up, but if the character pieces have a square base, it would be easy to keep them aligned with the grid and their movement directions.

It could still work, but with everyone's input here, I'm not afraid of
turn taking, so much.
I'm more interested in keeping movement, battle, and say, card drawing phases, separate from each other, so that all phases aren't pulled into a single player's turn.


Also, Vanish, I read your Mariokarten rules and have been looking at the game board and roll table and such. Great looking stuff. Is this something I can print and play then?
 
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Polioliolio wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
You pick a series of cards for your move (they are randomly drawn) and this determines which square you move into, and or your facing.

A better way may be wings of war, you have a set of cards, and you pick your moves (three a turn). You measure from you base to an arrow on teh card that determines where you end up (and your facing). It's similar to Roborally, but removes the random draw aspect.



Vanish wrote:
In general, players will first fill all of their robot's "registers" with facedown movement cards. This happens simultaneously and there is a time element involved. If you don't act fast enough you are forced to place cards randomly to fill the rest. Then, starting with the first register, everyone reveals their card. The card with the highest number moves first. After everyone resolves their movement they reveal the next card and so on. Examples of movement cards may be to turn 90 degrees left or right, move forward 2 spaces, or move backward 1 space though there are a bigger variety than that. You can plan a perfect route, but if another robot runs into you it can push you off course. This can be disastrous since you can't reprogram any cards to fix it!

Robots fire lasers and factory elements resolve after each movement and robots may become damaged. If they take enough damage certain movement cards become fixed and can no longer be changed. If they take more they may be destroyed entirely. The first robot to claim all the goals in the correct order wins, though some may award points and play tournament style.


On RoboRally,
I like the idea of playing cards for movement, but it sounds like the meat and potatoes of the game, and like quite a lot of planning goes into it.

Wings of War also looks quite complex in its movement system.

Movement is a big focus on these games.

What I'm really trying to capture is just the simple video game sense of pressing up on a Dpad and quickly moving where your instincts tell you, for a brief turn of movement.

.
I would say wings of war is not complex. However if you have one card you get to play a turn, and you have to "follow" that card exactly (such as have to line up a mark on the card with a mark in the base) not sure that is complex at all.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Each player has a deck of movement cards, he plays 1 a turn#

Fast move, 3 squares forward
normal move 2 squares forward
slow move 1 square forward
Fast side slip 2 squares forward, 1 square to the side (1 each for left and right)
Fast side slip 1 square forward, 1 square to the side (1 each for left and right)
Side step 1 square to the side (1 each for left and right)
 
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I just played Colt Express, which reminds me a lot of Robo Rally, although movement is not simultaniously.

The fun thing is, that you plan your move a little but not completely, in the resolve phase you do the rest. E.g. if you choose to shoot you wil pick your target later, if you choose to move you will pick your the direction later and so on.

So maybe a simultaneous movement can work this way as well...
 
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Polioliolio wrote:
... and in simultaneous decision, you're saying everyone else is already committed and waiting with nothing to think about, while the other player is taking his time during the "simultaneous" movement?

Hmm.

Did your Mario Kart idea ever work out? I love Mario Kart!


That. In a turn based game, you can at least watch what the other players are doing when it isn't your turn. In a "simultaneous" selection game, once you've made your decision(s), there's nothing to do until everyone else is finished.

This is not a problem when 1.) everyone is of similar speed or 2.) The decisions space is small. With a recent game of Kings of Air and Steam for example, Most of us could plan in less than a minute, while one player consistently took closer to 5 minutes. Prodding just produced bad vibes. That's 60% of the entire planning phase spent simply waiting with nothing game related possible to do.

Its not always one player that causes the issue either. If any one player has a particularly difficult decision space on any given turn, it will result in all players having nothing to do for awhile.
 
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David Monteforte
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Lords of Xidit has a great simultaneous movement function. Perhaps you may not want it going 5 turns ahead, but the concept is still quite solid.
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Take a look at a game such as Wings of Glory, where each player makes a decision to move the airplane before actions (such as firing) are made. I think the reason why it works in such a game is that (1) the decision regarding movement is hidden from the other player (2) several movements are determined before being revealed (3 in this case).

You can find the rulebook here:
http://www.aresgames.eu/7090
 
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I would definitely purchase/find and play any simultaneous action selection games you can.

The X-Wing Miniatures game is another game that you should have a look at.

I would say you need to play as many games as you can in general since you are just now starting into the hobby. It's hard to know what people in the hobby are going to want if you have very little experience playing in the hobby.
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Nicholas DeLateur
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Can't believe no one has mentioned Diplomacy, the simultaneous and deterministic movement game that solved this problem over 50 years ago.
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Thanks for the tips guys, and the game references.

I'm definitely looking to expand my game library, in fact I've ordered a trio of games I should be receiving in a couple of weeks, though they aren't simultaneous action games.. I need to find a group or something though, I don't have a lot of people to play with.

Could you guys tell me more about the turn mechanics in Lords of Xidit, the X Wing miniatures games, and Diplomacy?

Some of the games brought up so far, from what I can tell checking out how they're played, seem to focus on movement as an important feature of the game, or in the case of something like Wings of War, or Mariokarten, the movement seems to befitting to something like moving vehicles (or maybe troops who may not see eachother directly?), likewise for Roborally. It makes a lot of sense for vehicles or continuously moving objects, for sure, though I'm not so sure it'd be fitting for my individual characters, where movement is less of the main focus, and simply a way to get around, grab energy tokens or something, and make contact with each other to initiate a fight.

Setting up 3 or 5 movements ahead of time sounds interesting, but I can't quite imagine it. I'll need to watch some youtube videos to get the gist of such a thing.


So far, I can see the 'choose a direction (and perhaps amount of spaces to move), hide it, then all reveal at once' seems like a decent formula to get started with.


debiant wrote:

I would say you need to play as many games as you can in general since you are just now starting into the hobby. It's hard to know what people in the hobby are going to want if you have very little experience playing in the hobby.


I definitely want to be playing more! I'm sad to say I don't have a lot of people to play with.. considering asking some cousins and brothers if they would consider doing a board game day once a month or something.. Ah dunno. Playing with my girlfriend and her friend just isn't cutting it!

I will say though, I'm not really looking to make a game other people are going to want to play so much as the game I'm interested in playing Sure hope other people will dig it as much as I will though.
 
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Polioliolio wrote:
I definitely want to be playing more! I'm sad to say I don't have a lot of people to play with..


The other thing you can do is go to the BGG page of one of the games mentioned in this thread and scroll down to "videos." Often, someone (possibly many ones) will have posted a video of the game that teaches the rules and evaluates the design. Watch lots and lots and lots of videos. Not as good as playing the games, but it will expose you to many different design ideas. And to many different reviewers, who you might want to follow.

I watch a LOT of videos. Lol. Too many probably. Often for games that I'd never want to play, just to get a sense of their design.

One person who stopped making videos but would still be worth looking up is Scott Nicholson. He is a professor of library science at Syracuse and his videos are well made for new players. His video "Board Games 101" is still one of the best to introduce new players to the scope of the games out there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPi_uNWUJy0

The most recent set of videos I got into was Tabletop Deathmatch by Cards Against Humanity. Sort of like "America's Got Talent" for board game designers. The show wasn't super helpful in terms of showing off the designs of particular games. But it was AWESOME in terms of giving you a sense of what industry professionals think about when they are assessing a game for publication. I watch these vids for the questions the judges ask, and ask myself: how would I answer those questions for my designs? And the discussion of the judges after the contestants leave the room is a great peek into the kinds of thinking that go on at a game publisher. Check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG7bVM8Rvwo&list=PLnK8FBj6VA...


Quote:
considering asking some cousins and brothers if they would consider doing a board game day once a month or something.. Ah dunno.


DO IT! Game night is the BEST! And if you can cultivate a regular playgroup, you might be able to rope them into playtesting your stuff every now and then.

Even better is to find/start a regular group for tabletop game designers in your area. Get together once a month specifically for the purpose of playtesting each other's games. We have a group like that here in Madison, WI, and it has been a huge motivator for me.

Here's Scott Nicholson on starting the Game Designer's Guild in Syracuse, which is a community game design group:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4ctEIq8s-k
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Fantastic!

Thank you. I'll be watching these and'll see about pulling some strays together for a board game night, haha.
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As I understand it, every game of simultaneous movement that isn't based on physical skill works like this:

* every player writes down their orders.
* everyone reveals their orders.
* every move is made.
* there are rules to resolve conflicts eg if piece A attacks piece B, which attacks piece C.
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Nobody mentioned A Game of Thrones: The Board Game.
It is also as described:
- each player plan their move
- each player reveal their choice at the same time
- each action is resolved in the order based on some side track

The side track order is changed regularly during the game and it depends on the results of a bidding.
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I have own,play and enjoy Diplomacy, Game of Thrones and Roborally.

All involve a planning phase and a resolution phase. Unless you put a time limit ( like in Roborally), none of these games has the feel of the speed of a video game.

The planning phase is fun but not fast. The resolution phase is always tedious and long. None of these games is faster than if they had been turn based games. In other words none of these games speeds up the game by making the play simultaneous.

Take for example Diplomacy. Let's assume you play it with no diplomatic talks between players. Since you don't know what the other players have done, planning out your move can easily take 2 or 3 (or more if you have analysis paralysis)times longer than a regular turn. Then you have to actually write your orders on paper (which is really boring). Then each player's orders are read out and the moves are made. Therefore instead of just moving, you still have to move but in addition boring time has been added to write and read the orders for the unit.

With diplomacy you get 2 to 4 turns done per hour. Without diplomacy maybe 10 to 14 turns per hour. This will not give you a video game feel.

Roborally got rid of the writing by reducing the choices to 7 choices (move1,move2, move3, back up, Uturn, turn left, turn right.) This is the trick to simultaneous movement games...few choices. The planning phase is reduced to about 2 minutes for 5 turns. Then comes the resolution phase for these 5 turns which can take 5 minutes or more. This feels unsatisfactory since the resolution takes longer than the planning. Therefore work to get the resolution phase as fast as possible (I think this is the key)

Game of thrones is a hybrid. You plan part of your turn simultaneously, then there are more decisions to make in the resolution phase. The planning phase is simultaneous. You place upside down tokens on the map. During the resolution phase there are decision as to exactly which direction each unit is actually moving. This slows down the resolution phase but makes it a lot more interesting than the resolution phase in Diplomacy or Roborally.

Another simultaneous action game to look into is Space Alert. It uses the roborally method of playing cards to to the simultaneous planning. What is different is that this is a cooperative game. There is a 10 minute time limit to play 12 moves. Again there is a dull resolution phase.

Conclusions:
1. Keep the choices in the planning phase simple and not too numerous.
2. Maybe put a time limit.
3. The main problem of all these games is a dull,slow resolution phase.
4. Find a way to make the resolution phase fast and simultaneous then you will have success.
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