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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Design Queries and Problems

Subject: Mechanic Issue: Need Alternative/Tweek rss

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Daniel Knott
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Hello BoardGameGeek's!

I currently have a game mechanic that during Play Testing has caused a lot of confusion.

My Mechanic(Currently):
Everyone is assigned a number. (If 5 players; Number 1-5)
Everyone has a stack of 5 cards with the numbers 1-5 on the back. Also, on the back is a second smaller number 1-5.
These stacks are shuffled so the order of the cards are random except for their own number.
(Example: Player 1 will have Card #1 on top with numbers 2-5 randomly shuffled)
Once Players are done with the first phase of the game they will flip their pile and the random numbers will be shown.
Once the cards are flipped and the numbers on the back revealed the person assigned to the number will take the stack next.
The smaller numbers are used for ties, since everyone will have to have 1 stack each turn.
(Example: Two players flip the same number #2 the player actually assigned #2 will take the stack with the lower smaller number)

Here is the Issue:
Technically four players cam all flip their stacks a reveal the same number. This leads to a mess as far as tie breaking and deciding where the stacks should go.

The Goal:
The ultimate goal is to make sure everyone receives everyone else's stacks of papers once, randomly, and everyone having only 1 stack at a time(no ties).


Its a super confusing mechanic even describing it. I need to simplify it, but I can't just have them pass the stack to the right.

Any questions or suggestions? Awesome, post below!
Thanks for reading!


 
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Darrell Adkins
United States
Hamilton
Ohio
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Try something like this

Assign each play a number and each set of cards a color. You have a separate set of 5 cards that show the assignment of color to play for each round.

Card 1 - Player 1:Red Player 2:Green Player 3:Blue Player 4:Yellow Player 5:Black
Card 2 - Player 1:Green Player 2:Blue Player 3:Yellow Player 4:Black Player 5:Red
Card 3 - Player 1:Blue Player 2:Yellow Player 3:Black Player 4:Red Player 5:Green
Card 4 - Player 1:Yellow Player 2:Black Player 3:Red Player 4:Green Player 5:Blue
Card 5 - Player 1:Black Player 2:Red Player 3:Green Player 4:Blue Player 5:Yellow


Shuffle this deck and each round reveal which color deck is assigned to each player.
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Daniel Knott
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karst wrote:
Try something like this

Assign each play a number and each set of cards a color. You have a separate set of 5 cards that show the assignment of color to play for each round.

Card 1 - Player 1:Red Player 2:Green Player 3:Blue Player 4:Yellow Player 5:Black
Card 2 - Player 1:Green Player 2:Blue Player 3:Yellow Player 4:Black Player 5:Red
Card 3 - Player 1:Blue Player 2:Yellow Player 3:Black Player 4:Red Player 5:Green
Card 4 - Player 1:Yellow Player 2:Black Player 3:Red Player 4:Green Player 5:Blue
Card 5 - Player 1:Black Player 2:Red Player 3:Green Player 4:Blue Player 5:Yellow


Shuffle this deck and each round reveal which color deck is assigned to each player.

This could actually work! The great part is its not a huge change. A change of color on the backs and an addition of 5 cards that gives us the randomization we need.

Thank you I'll be sure to try this tonight!

The only immediate issue I can think of is it limits you to having to have to have 5 players.
 
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George Shafer

Columbia
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There's no need to tweak the mechanic at all, if you just tweak the small numbers.

If the small numbers are just for tie-breakers, there's no reason that they also have to be the same number range as the big numbers, as long as each player gets a distinct deck.

So, color-code (or otherwise distinguish between) the decks and have the small numbers go from 1-n^2 where n is the maximum number of players you'll even have in the game and have the small numbers spread out evenly as in Go First Dice
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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karst wrote:
Card 1 - Player 1:Red Player 2:Green Player 3:Blue Player 4:Yellow Player 5:Black
Card 2 - Player 1:Green Player 2:Blue Player 3:Yellow Player 4:Black Player 5:Red
Card 3 - Player 1:Blue Player 2:Yellow Player 3:Black Player 4:Red Player 5:Green
Card 4 - Player 1:Yellow Player 2:Black Player 3:Red Player 4:Green Player 5:Blue
Card 5 - Player 1:Black Player 2:Red Player 3:Green Player 4:Blue Player 5:Yellow


Shuffle this deck and each round reveal which color deck is assigned to each player.

All of your example cards list the colors in the same order, just with different starting points. That's equivalent to saying "everyone pass your deck ____ spaces to the left".

There are actually 5! = 120 possible ways to distribute 5 colors among 5 players.

Of course, perhaps the OP doesn't need every conceivable assignment to be possible. But he said that he can't just have everyone pass to the right. It's not clear exactly how much variation is needed.

playswithfire wrote:
So, color-code (or otherwise distinguish between) the decks and have the small numbers go from 1-n^2 where n is the maximum number of players you'll even have in the game and have the small numbers spread out evenly as in Go First Dice

You are solving the wrong problem. Even with the small numbers only going from 1-5, you should never have both the big and small numbers be tied.

The issue, I presume, is that after revealing 5 cards where one of them has a big 3 and the other 4 all have big 2's, you give the big 3 to player 3 and the big 2 with the lowest small number to player 2, but now you need to divide the remaining stacks between players 1, 4, and 5, and there isn't an obvious way to do that.

Plus, tie-breakers make things more complex, and therefore slower and more error-prone.



However, using the same concepts as the "Go First Dice", here's what you could do...

Instead of having 5 stacks of cards that are all numbered from 1-5, give every card in the game a unique number (1-25). When you reveal a new set of cards, player 1 takes the lowest available number, player 2 takes the next lowest number, and so on. Since no two cards have the same number, there will never be ties, so this always uniquely determines which player gets which deck.

Now, obviously, if you put the numbers 1-5 all in the first stack, the numbers 6-10 in the second stack, and so forth, then every player would get the same stack every time. But if you mix them up, you should be able to spread things out so that different players get different decks at different times.

Exactly how you should spread them out--and whether this solution works for you at all--depends heavily on requirements you haven't specified.

Do you need every player to have a priori equal chance of getting any given deck on any round?

Do you need every player to have an equal chance of getting any given deck even considering which cards have already been revealed and discarded?

Do you need to ensure that each player gets each deck exactly once at some point during the game?

Do you need to somehow "fairly" distribute the things that are printed on the opposite side of the cards from the numbers?

There's many different ways of slicing this pie. You said you can't use the trivial solution (everyone just passes 1 slot in the same direction every round), but your current solution doesn't actually enforce any of the above possibilities I listed (or any other obvious requirements I can think of), so I'm really not sure what you're aiming for.
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Michael Cofer
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Just out of curiosity, does player choice or strategy fit into this mechanic in any way? It seems like this is just a long way of essentially rolling dice.

Or maybe I'm just not grasping the core concept...?
 
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Danny Whipp
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NRW
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Hi, I don't know if it is still helpful or too late, but I stumbled upon this thread and two things came to my mind, which could be possible solutions. Well, one has already been said:

Antistone wrote:

You are solving the wrong problem. Even with the small numbers only going from 1-5, you should never have both the big and small numbers be tied.


You find an example of that in this old Asterix card game.

My other option would be to use something like the intransitive dice principle, in a card implementation. That means that each value is completely unique, and if implemented correctly, each player's deck has the same chance of beating the other players' decks. I'll stop explainig because I'm not good at it. You'll understand.

If the cards are flipped randomly, there'll be no confusion about weird high values; just let the player with the highest go first.
But probably all of this is "breaking a butterfly on a wheel", if that makes sense to you english-natives... You just wanted a random player order, didn't you?
 
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