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Subject: Dynamic Setup mechanic rss

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Stefano Castelli
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Is it possible to add a game mechanic for games which implement dynamic/random setup?

Thinking about Dominion, Quarriors and so on.

A modular board is not necessarily part of a dynamic setup and lots of games are using this mechanic, in some cases to add variety to the game experience.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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This is a pretty interesting idea.

It would also make sense pertaining to the starting race selection in Small World.

But how do you differentiate it from a hand of cards being dealt, in which case, Poker has a dynamic setup?
 
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Russ Williams
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Geosphere wrote:
It would also make sense pertaining to the starting race selection in Small World.

But how do you differentiate it from a hand of cards being dealt, in which case, Poker has a dynamic setup?

Exactly. It seems to me that "dynamic setup" is not some clear-cut binary thing, but a continuous spectrum. 504 is far out in one direction, standard Chess is far at the other end. Most games are somewhere in between... and different people are going to disagree over what "counts" as "real" dynamic/variable setup. E.g. OP says a modular board doesn't count, but why not? To me it is a different setup, which often has a huge effect on the game.

E.g. what to make of a wargame system like Combat Commander: Europe? It has various scenarios, each typically with a special rule. Or Neuroshima Hex! 3.0, where each player will choose to play with one of several possible armies. Or a modular map like Settlers of Catan? Or Go, where you could decide to play on a smaller 13x13 or 9x9 board instead of the full 19x19 board, or to play with handicap stones?
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Stefano Castelli
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It is just something like "Games in which the setup phase allows for modifications which alters the rules from game to game".

In Poker you have the very same setup. No choices to be made, no random setup. You place a deck on the table, from that one you deal cards.

In Dominion BEFORE you even touch the cards from playing you select different decks from a set. That's a huge difference.

Then, I know, these topic are difficult because someone will ALWAYS popup saying things like "Then also the positions of players around the table are dynamic!" and so on, yet I'd like to focus on the specific elements of dynamic possibilities (random or not) during the SETUP phase of a game.
 
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Russ Williams
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Castef wrote:
It is just something like "Games in which the setup phase allows for modifications which alters the rules from game to game".


So (to clarify from my examples) you would include all of:

* Combat Commander (as the choice of scenario influences what scenario-specific rules might be in play, and the specific map in play influences which terrain modifiers have relevance, and the specific units in play influence which special unit rules have relevance, etc) (and many similar wargames like Squad Leader, Conflict of Heroes, Band of Brothers, etc with various scenarios/maps/units/etc)

* Neuroshima Hex (as the choice of armies being used influences which army-specific rules are in play) (and likewise you'd include Cosmic Encounter and other "faction games" with faction-specific rules)

* Go (as there is the choice whether the weaker player places handicap stones - a small but very significant rule change from playing an even game)

* Kingdom Builder

They all seem to meet your description, but I imagine people disagreeing about whether or not they are all "Games in which the setup phase allows for modifications which alters the rules from game to game".

I suspect it's a pretty fuzzy line between "altering the rules from game to game" and "certain rules are relevant in some games and irrelevant in other games".
 
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Simon Lundström
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I wouldn't exactly include variant and handicap rules (like in Go) into the term "dynamic setup". I also wouldn't consider a shuffled deck a "dynamic setup" – the information should be visible, understandable and not hidden. Also, I'm hesitant towards a mere "choose starting location" for players (like in Dungeonquest).

The dynamic setup is something that's determined before the game start, is visible and understandable before the game starts, and that also affects the game for as long as the game goes on, and hence isn't exctly changeable during the game's running.
 
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Russ Williams
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Zimeon wrote:
I wouldn't exactly include variant and handicap rules (like in Go) into the term "dynamic setup". I also wouldn't consider a shuffled deck a "dynamic setup" – the information should be visible, understandable and not hidden. Also, I'm hesitant towards a mere "choose starting location" for players (like in Dungeonquest).

The dynamic setup is something that's determined before the game start, is visible and understandable before the game starts, and that also affects the game for as long as the game goes on, and hence isn't exctly changeable during the game's running.

I agree that it should be determined before the game start and be visible/understandable to all.

(I'm not sure why it should necessarily have to affect the game for as long as the game goes on. Can there not be e.g. a variable setup rule which alters play only during phase 1 of a 2-phase game? Are Kingdom Builder's action tokens disqualified because in principle all the tokens of a given type can leave the game and thus no longer affect the game? Or all the Curse cards in Dominion could become destroyed and no longer affect the game. Etc.)

FWIW the setup decision of whether or not to play Go with handicap stones seems to meet your conditions, unless I'm missing something.
 
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W. Eric Martin
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russ wrote:
Zimeon wrote:
I wouldn't exactly include variant and handicap rules (like in Go) into the term "dynamic setup". I also wouldn't consider a shuffled deck a "dynamic setup" – the information should be visible, understandable and not hidden. Also, I'm hesitant towards a mere "choose starting location" for players (like in Dungeonquest).

The dynamic setup is something that's determined before the game start, is visible and understandable before the game starts, and that also affects the game for as long as the game goes on, and hence isn't exctly changeable during the game's running.

I agree that it should be determined before the game start and be visible/understandable to all.

The term used by some people is Turn 0, as in "things have effectively happened in the game before your first turn and you had best take those things into consideration should you want to have a shot at winning this game".

Seems like a modular set-up to me, a more generalized case of a modular board.
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Simon Lundström
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russ wrote:
(I'm not sure why it should necessarily have to affect the game for as long as the game goes on.

Not me either, but I wanted to avoid that stuff that only affects the very first round (such as "place your pawn in any location") didn't count as a modular setup.

For example, the initial starting locations for the robots in Ricochet Robots isn't what _I_ would consider as part of the modular setup. That you choose boards, though, is.
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Russ Williams
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Zimeon wrote:
russ wrote:
(I'm not sure why it should necessarily have to affect the game for as long as the game goes on.

Not me either, but I wanted to avoid that stuff that only affects the very first round (such as "place your pawn in any location") didn't count as a modular setup.

For example, the initial starting locations for the robots in Ricochet Robots isn't what _I_ would consider as part of the modular setup. That you choose boards, though, is.

Choosing boards in Ricochet Robots seems an excellent example of the gray area where people will disagree about whether it's a "dynamic setup" (or whatever one wants to call this 504/Dominion kind of thing).

(Well, some people in some 504 thread have already disagreed about whether Dominion itself has it, for that matter...)
 
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Simon Lundström
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russ wrote:
Choosing boards in Ricochet Robots seems an excellent example of the gray area where people will disagree about whether it's a "dynamic setup" (or whatever one wants to call this 504/Dominion kind of thing).


Interesting. Why would the boards in Ricochet Robots, or the card selection in Dominion not be "dynamic setup"? It determines the rest of the game.
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Russ Williams
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Zimeon wrote:
russ wrote:
Choosing boards in Ricochet Robots seems an excellent example of the gray area where people will disagree about whether it's a "dynamic setup" (or whatever one wants to call this 504/Dominion kind of thing).


Interesting. Why would the boards in Ricochet Robots, or the card selection in Dominion not be "dynamic setup"? It determines the rest of the game.

Because for some people, it needs to be a more radical thing, e.g. the completely different types of rules which might be in play for 504.

A modular board (e.g. Ricochet Robots, Settlers of Catan, etc) arranged during setup is stated in this thread's OP as not being "dynamic setup".
 
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Simon Lundström
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russ wrote:
A modular board (e.g. Ricochet Robots, Settlers of Catan, etc) arranged during setup is stated in this thread's OP as not being "dynamic setup".


If Catan isn't a dynamic setup, then I don't know what is or what sense there would be in defining such a word that doesn't include Datan.

Also, I don't see this thread's OP claiming that Catan isn't a dynamic setup. I don't see it any less dynamic than the setup in Dominion.
 
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Jonathan Franklin
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In talking about these games with a friend, he calls them Turn Zero games.

Do you need to assess the game state before making any choices?
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Russ Williams
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Zimeon wrote:
Also, I don't see this thread's OP claiming that Catan isn't a dynamic setup. I don't see it any less dynamic than the setup in Dominion.

I understood the following part of the OP to imply that Catan isn't a "dynamic setup", or at least is not necessarily one:
OP wrote:
A modular board is not necessarily part of a dynamic setup and lots of games are using this mechanic

Do you understand it differently?

Perhaps Stefano will clarify for us what he meant.
 
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Simon Lundström
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russ wrote:
I understood the following part of the OP to imply that Catan isn't a "dynamic setup", or at least is not necessarily one:
OP wrote:
A modular board is not necessarily part of a dynamic setup and lots of games are using this mechanic

Do you understand it differently?


Um, I guess I read it as a "it doesn't have to be a modular board in order to be a dynamic setup", but now that I re-read it, maybe I read it wrong.

In that case (if "dynamic setup" wouldn't include Catan), all I can say then is that I don't have a single clue as to what is wished for. I thought the wish was to extend "modular board" to include other dynamic setups than just the boards. If that wasn't the intention, then I suggest to use another word than "dynamic setup", because I would intuitively think that means exactly stuff like Catan.
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Stefano Castelli
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It could actually include both kinds.

A Modular board could be something like Carcassonne, nothing related to the game setup, yet something which develops over the game.

A Dynamic setup, still, could include a modular board.
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Simon Lundström
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Castef wrote:
It could actually include both kinds.

A Modular board could be something like Carcassonne, nothing related to the game setup, yet something which develops over the game.

A Dynamic setup, still, could include a modular board.


Wait what?

Is Carcassonne a modular board? You're kidding me. Then Agricola is a modular board (you build the farm as you go). La Città is a modular board, then. Everything where you dish out something that changes the gameplay would fit the description. Is that really it?

I thought "modular board" meant that the board could vary for each setup.
 
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Stefano Castelli
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Zimeon wrote:
Is Carcassonne a modular board?


Err... i guess it is the epitome of modular boards.
 
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Simon Lundström
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OK.

Then I cannot but conclude that I have no idea what people actually mean with "modular board" versus other mechanisms (such as tile-laying). (I don't even consider Carc having a "board".)

So then Tantrix a modular board? Metro? Dungeoneer? Drakon?

Seems a bit far-fetched to lump them together with the modular board in, say, Catan.
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