Jordan Sorenson
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My design features gameplay for all players while the main player is taking their turn. Obviously the stuff happening around the table is all independent from one another.

I'm calling this mechanic simultaneous off-turn gameplay, though is there another pre-existing name for this mechanic titled something else?

Also, what sounds better: synchronous off-turn gameplay, or simultaneous offturn gameplay?

I'm heavily leveraging this mechanic from a marketing standpoint, so I need to get the semantics right or refer to the correct mechanic name if it already exists.

Thanks for your input!

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What sounds better? Simultaneous off-turn gameplay or synchronous off-turn gameplay?
Simultaneous off-turn gameplay
Synchronous off-turn gameplay
      15 answers
Poll created by jss05a
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maf man
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It's just called simultaneous play.
Obviously yours is a different spin but it would still fall under the "Simultaneous Action Selection" mechanic.
Rather than calling it your turn or not I think common practice is calling out the "lead player"
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Jordan Sorenson
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Thanks for the reply! I don't believe my game fits under SAS, just because everyone isn't selecting their actions and then revealing all at once (which is typical for SAS games). Think of it more as a real-time mechanic like age of empires but in a board game capacity where you are managing different parts of your empire that doesn't involve what the lead player is doing. So would I need to place this mechanic more under the real-time umbrella?
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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This sounds a little like Space Cadets.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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The term "synchronous gameplay" makes me think that the players have to proceed in lock-step (i.e. that their actions are synchronized). If players actually can do as much or as little as they want without waiting for responses from the other players, then I would avoid that term.

"Simultaneous" is what you want--all players act at the same time, rather than waiting passively during another player's turn.

"Real-time" is also appropriate if you lose the opportunity to act when the current player finishes their turn (as opposed to the next player being forced to wait until you are done).

However, if the actions you take are truly "independent" of the actions the other players are taking (i.e. your off-turn actions cannot affect what the other players are doing until your own turn) then I don't really see how this is different from "planning what you're going to do on your next turn".
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Jordan Sorenson
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Antistone wrote:


However, if the actions you take are truly "independent" of the actions the other players are taking (i.e. your off-turn actions cannot affect what the other players are doing until your own turn) then I don't really see how this is different from "planning what you're going to do on your next turn".


Imagine that in this game while you are the lead player you can battle other players who have active fleets on the board.

Now if the other players don't have active fleets on the board that means that the lead player can't battle them, so that leaves these off-turn players to battle among themselves in a practice battle with minor outcome rewards (battles take place with virtual army battle decks, so you don't need fleets on the board to fight during the off-turn).

So it's not planning your turn at all in this game when you're not the lead player. You're actually playing mini-games that are an extension of main turn game mechanics or a complete unique feature that only exists in the off-turn.
 
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Gene Haas
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I agree that synchronized sounds like all the other players are working together, coordinating.

Broadsides and Boarding Partiesas well as other games allows the two players to plan their future moves simultaneously with cards. The cards lock in the future moves and can't be changed. Then the cards are turned over simultaneously and the ships moved simultaneously. I don't know what this mechanic is called but there are several games that lock in future moves like this. Several airplane dog fighting games use this mechanic.
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Jordan Sorenson
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leifericson wrote:
I agree that synchronized sounds like all the other players are working together, coordinating.

Broadsides and Boarding Partiesas well as other games allows the two players to plan their future moves simultaneously with cards. The cards lock in the future moves and can't be changed. Then the cards are turned over simultaneously and the ships moved simultaneously. I don't know what this mechanic is called but there are several games that lock in future moves like this. Several airplane dog fighting games use this mechanic.


I believe this mechanic is strongly in the camp of simultaneous action selection :)
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Jeremy Lennert
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jss05a wrote:
Now if the other players don't have active fleets on the board that means that the lead player can't battle them, so that leaves these off-turn players to battle among themselves in a practice battle with minor outcome rewards (battles take place with virtual army battle decks, so you don't need fleets on the board to fight during the off-turn).

So it's basically a way to trickle in bonus resources in such a way that you get more bonus resources the faster you play (and the slower your opponents play)?

That's definitely a real-time mechanic.

I generally dislike that sort of mechanic because I feel it encourages players to disregard strategy and make careless rules mistakes all for the sake of speed, and if someone does make a rules mistake it makes it difficult to notice and probably impossible to ever fix in any fair way.

But I imagine I'm not your target audience.
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Jordan Sorenson
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Antistone wrote:
jss05a wrote:
Now if the other players don't have active fleets on the board that means that the lead player can't battle them, so that leaves these off-turn players to battle among themselves in a practice battle with minor outcome rewards (battles take place with virtual army battle decks, so you don't need fleets on the board to fight during the off-turn).

So it's basically a way to trickle in bonus resources in such a way that you get more bonus resources the faster you play (and the slower your opponents play)?

That's definitely a real-time mechanic.

I generally dislike that sort of mechanic because I feel it encourages players to disregard strategy and make careless rules mistakes all for the sake of speed, and if someone does make a rules mistake it makes it difficult to notice and probably impossible to ever fix in any fair way.

But I imagine I'm not your target audience.


Nope :) This game has no time crunch elements at all. I don't believe I indicated that speed was a factor at all in this game, and apologize for not being more explicit. Perhaps real-time has that connotation too deeply embedded in its definition to refer my game to that mechanic. Hence why I'm thinking my mechanic might need its own name.

Think of the off-turn as an opportunity to explore additional game mechanics that are tightly constrained by the choices you made during your main turn. If you're not finished with your off-turn stuff, other players will wait until you're finished before proceeding to the next lead player (Of course off-turn gameplay is designed not to take too much time compared to the lead player's turn). The mechanic is designed to eliminate downtime, reduce the load on your main turn, and spread out meaningful game play all throughout the round.
 
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maf man
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How does SAS with variable phase order sound?

edit add-on: I'm just not getting how your mechanic would be different from Race for the Galaxy other than tweaks like active player or not rather than the SAS part.
 
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Ron Parker
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leifericson wrote:
I agree that synchronized sounds like all the other players are working together, coordinating.

Broadsides and Boarding Partiesas well as other games allows the two players to plan their future moves simultaneously with cards. The cards lock in the future moves and can't be changed. Then the cards are turned over simultaneously and the ships moved simultaneously. I don't know what this mechanic is called but there are several games that lock in future moves like this. Several airplane dog fighting games use this mechanic.


That would be Action / Movement Programming.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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jss05a wrote:
Nope This game has no time crunch elements at all. I don't believe I indicated that speed was a factor at all in this game, and apologize for not being more explicit.

Well, you were starting to throw around the term "real-time", so I guess my thoughts were straying in that direction.

If there's no time crunch element, that implies that (a) you are still allowed to do all of your "off-turn" stuff even if you don't get it done before the other players complete their "on-turn" stuff, and (b) getting your "off-turn" stuff done sooner or later can't affect the other players' turns.

In that case, another way to look at your "off-turn" actions is that it's simply a part of your regular turn that the other players don't have to wait for. Lots of games have small things that work like that; for example, in Dominion, you have to draw 5 cards at the end of your turn, and if your draw pile runs out during that you have to reshuffle your deck; typically, the other players will continue taking their turns while you reshuffle (sometimes even getting back to your own turn before you finish). I'm not aware of any games that have specifically marketed that as a feature, though.
 
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Adam Vajcovec
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I would probably call it something like Continuous Gameplay. As in "Continuous Gameplay means when you're not Attacking or Defending in a Major Battle, fight skirmishes or go on training missions to better prepare yourself for your next engagement!"
 
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Stephen Williams
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This sounds like a series of mini-games used to keep the other players busy while the lead player fights "real" battles against one other person. I'm imagining a variant of Titan where the other players can do "sparring matches" on their own while they wait for the current player to finish his battle map mini-game with whomever he was fighting "for real."

Simultaneous Off-Turn Mini-Game mechanic?

Personally, the battle map mini-game is the one thing I really dislike about Titan - a 2 player mini-game embedded in a larger main game that theoretically supports up to 6 players, leaving the other 1-4 players to twiddle their thumbs while the 2 involved duke it out.

Assuming this comparison is anywhere near the mark for your game, adding off-turn mini-games seems like a really klunky way to resolve the downtime issues created by the primary player. The lead player might end up in a downtime state waiting for two of the off-turn players to finish (particularly if one of them is "up next.") Starting his own "off-turn" early only perpetuates the problem that somebody is supposed to be taking a real turn in here somewhere.

It also means you'd be required to play with an even number of people, unless one player is allowed to spar with himself somehow. The only game I've known to support 2, 4 and 6 but not 3 and 5 was World of Warcraft: The Boardgame, which ended up getting traded away because we could never get it to the table. It seems to me that this sort of partitioned player count is also a bad idea, if it exists in your game (and it might not.)

Of course, I may be way off base here with what I'm imagining. Obviously, not a lot of solid details about your game have been provided as yet. Please don't be offended, I'm only expressing my honest opinion based on what little I know.
 
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BaseTwelve wrote:
I would probably call it something like Continuous Gameplay. As in "Continuous Gameplay means when you're not Attacking or Defending in a Major Battle, fight skirmishes or go on training missions to better prepare yourself for your next engagement!"


That's pretty much the idea Adam! Except there will economic functions and other empire building mechanics also being done during this time.
 
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Stewi wrote:
This sounds like a series of mini-games used to keep the other players busy while the lead player fights "real" battles against one other person. I'm imagining a variant of Titan where the other players can do "sparring matches" on their own while they wait for the current player to finish his battle map mini-game with whomever he was fighting "for real."

Simultaneous Off-Turn Mini-Game mechanic?

Personally, the battle map mini-game is the one thing I really dislike about Titan - a 2 player mini-game embedded in a larger main game that theoretically supports up to 6 players, leaving the other 1-4 players to twiddle their thumbs while the 2 involved duke it out.

Assuming this comparison is anywhere near the mark for your game, adding off-turn mini-games seems like a really klunky way to resolve the downtime issues created by the primary player. The lead player might end up in a downtime state waiting for two of the off-turn players to finish (particularly if one of them is "up next.") Starting his own "off-turn" early only perpetuates the problem that somebody is supposed to be taking a real turn in here somewhere.

It also means you'd be required to play with an even number of people, unless one player is allowed to spar with himself somehow. The only game I've known to support 2, 4 and 6 but not 3 and 5 was World of Warcraft: The Boardgame, which ended up getting traded away because we could never get it to the table. It seems to me that this sort of partitioned player count is also a bad idea, if it exists in your game (and it might not.)

Of course, I may be way off base here with what I'm imagining. Obviously, not a lot of solid details about your game have been provided as yet. Please don't be offended, I'm only expressing my honest opinion based on what little I know.


First off thanks for taking the time to reply Stephen. To better depict what this system is used for, think of my game as first and foremost a Civ builder. If you add all the intricacies of a good computer based civ game into a board game version, you often encounter clunky mechanics and over excessive game length. Modern board game designers have made this work beautifully at the sacrifice of usually one or the other. Games like "Through the Ages" gives you a wonderfully meaty experience, but game-time can be too much for some. Consider any other civ-lite game out there and you inversely sacrifice the meat for speed and ease of play.

My goal was to have the best of both worlds, so my solution is to have off-turn gameplay to share the load of mechanics I wanted in the game that were independent of the lead player's actions.

The game is 3-6 players and this is the basic structure of the round:

Primary Turn (lead player) -- Secondary Turn (the player who was lead player before the current one) -- Tertiary Turn -- Off Phase (all other players who aren't taking their primary, secondary, or tertiary).

As an example, in the primary turn a player chooses the Warfare focus (think role selection mechanic here). During his secondary turn, he would then draw 2 Warfare Cards.

During the secondary and tertiary turns, players are mainly drawing cards, discarding down to hand size limits, and selling/buying their cards on the group market. There is meaningful decisions to be made with what cards you wanna keep, sell, and buy, and I decided I wanted that decision time to be allocated to someone's secondary and tertiary turns rather than their main turns to keep the action flowing.

To make this system work, nothing the primary player can do will influence what the these secondary and tertiary players are doing.

Does this mechanic now make a little more sense? Please, I would love to hear your thoughts and further inquiries.
 
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Andrew Baker
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I like this idea, and it gave me a thought for a Settlers of Catan variant. I've posted it here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1318908/player-trading
 
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Your game sounds like a strategic one. My concerns with what you described would be that this parallel play might lead to not heeding the actions of other players. In strategy games it is often most crucial to know what your opponents did and do and might be doing in the future. If you are occupied by playing your own round it might be hard to take your opponents' actions into account.

Now, I know next to nothing about your game so I cannot tell whether or to which degree this is the case in your design. However, I can maybe give advice to avoid such design flaw: Play a couple of rounds of Eminent Domain.

This game has a great mechanic of keeping players invested all game long while still having an eye on what the active player does: The active player has to do a sort of action called role. If he is done with his role, every player may decide to follow this role (by playing cards themselves and taking a weaker degree of the same action) or to pass and draw an additional card. In general, you should perhaps try to link what the off-players are doing to what the active player does. However, I do not know if you can realize such a mechanic in your game, but it might be worth a try.

Sincerely,

Josh 'Dagar'
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Dagar wrote:
Your game sounds like a strategic one. My concerns with what you described would be that this parallel play might lead to not heeding the actions of other players. In strategy games it is often most crucial to know what your opponents did and do and might be doing in the future. If you are occupied by playing your own round it might be hard to take your opponents' actions into account.

Now, I know next to nothing about your game so I cannot tell whether or to which degree this is the case in your design. However, I can maybe give advice to avoid such design flaw: Play a couple of rounds of Eminent Domain.

This game has a great mechanic of keeping players invested all game long while still having an eye on what the active player does: The active player has to do a sort of action called role. If he is done with his role, every player may decide to follow this role (by playing cards themselves and taking a weaker degree of the same action) or to pass and draw an additional card. In general, you should perhaps try to link what the off-players are doing to what the active player does. However, I do not know if you can realize such a mechanic in your game, but it might be worth a try.

Sincerely,

Josh 'Dagar'


The deckbuilding game Nightfall introducing the concept of "chaining". Each card has a color/symbol to indicate what kind of card can link off it. So when you play a card, you can "chain" another card onto it of the indicated type, so they get resolved together. What's truly inmpressive though is that when you are done with your chain, other players have the opportunity to link onto your chain if they have the appropriate cards. And because its a deck-building game, much of the strategy is in acquiring the cards that let you form long chains, getting cards that opponents can't link off of, and watching what your opponents buy so you can get the cards that link off those.

 
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Dagar wrote:
Your game sounds like a strategic one. My concerns with what you described would be that this parallel play might lead to not heeding the actions of other players. In strategy games it is often most crucial to know what your opponents did and do and might be doing in the future. If you are occupied by playing your own round it might be hard to take your opponents' actions into account.

Now, I know next to nothing about your game so I cannot tell whether or to which degree this is the case in your design. However, I can maybe give advice to avoid such design flaw: Play a couple of rounds of Eminent Domain.

This game has a great mechanic of keeping players invested all game long while still having an eye on what the active player does: The active player has to do a sort of action called role. If he is done with his role, every player may decide to follow this role (by playing cards themselves and taking a weaker degree of the same action) or to pass and draw an additional card. In general, you should perhaps try to link what the off-players are doing to what the active player does. However, I do not know if you can realize such a mechanic in your game, but it might be worth a try.

Sincerely,

Josh 'Dagar'


Thanks for the insight and warning to the dangers of parallel play. The game is indeed strategic, and I very much needed to be wary that content in the off-phase was not too demanding that it diminishes a player's ability to watch the lead player if they so wish.

In fact, this very worry led me to actually completely disconnect the primary player from affecting other off-turn players at all. (Exactly the opposite of Eminent Domain, I know).

The off-turn players are interacting with each other at all times, while the primary player is typically off in their own little empire-building world except for when they decide to initiate space battles with the off-turn players.

So in general, off-turn players have no care of the primary player and in order to achieve simultaneous off-turn play, I believe the disconnect should probably be absolute.

Thank you again though for drawing a parallel to Eminent Domain and suggesting a possible fix to a potentially troublesome mechanic! This concept is not too prevalent I'm finding, so I'm expecting and hoping for more people like yourself to offer their concerns on the implementation.
 
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Stephen Williams
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jss05a wrote:

To make this system work, nothing the primary player can do will influence what the these secondary and tertiary players are doing.

Does this mechanic now make a little more sense? Please, I would love to hear your thoughts and further inquiries.


It does make more sense, yes. I can see how a mechanic like this could work quite well, in comparison to what I had imagined before.

The only real flaw I can see is that all players must be independently familiar with the game in order to do their own thing simultaneously, without error or questions. If everybody is doing something at all times, it would slow down significantly for newbies still learning the game.

I can see the game doing well in private gaming circles, where everyone has had a chance to play before. Maybe not so well in public gaming meetings, where there's a greater probability of continually having at least one newbie. But, of course, this is an issue that afflicts most games to a certain degree.
 
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