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Subject: Variable weather mechanic rss

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Michael Tan
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I'm trying to devise a streamlined game mechanic for implementing variable weather (specifically the weather changing from dry to mud during the autumn in the Eastern Front of World War II). I have three requirements but finding the elusive mechanic that satisfies all three has been a futile exercise thus far. The requirements are:

1) Suspenseful. All offensives basically grind to a halt the moment the weather turns. Not knowing when exactly the weather will change creates a sense of urgency when players are trying to accomplish objectives with a shrinking window of opportunity.
2) Entirely Random. Players should not be able to exert ANY influence on when the weather change from snow to mud. Nor should other game activities influence the weather change.
3) Streamlined. I don't want a mechanic just for variable weather such as a separate dice roll, chit pull, card draw etc... I'd like it entirely integrated with an existing mechanic. i.e. it happens entirely in the background while players are doing other things.

So now a bit of context:

- 3 player game.
- Card driven (a la Twilight Struggle). A player's turn consists of playing a card either for event or ops.
- 4-5 cards are played per turn in a fixed order for each turn for an average of about 13 card plays between the 3 players each turn.
- No dice. Combat is resolved by drawing 1 of 40 tokens from a draw bag.

I've come up with 3 potential solutions, but I'm not completely satisfied with any.

1) Draw a token from the draw bag after each card play - just for weather. Once you've drawn a total of 3 with a mud icon, the weather changes to mud. If about 30% of the tokens have a mud icon, the weather should change to mud about halfway through the turn, which is the desired effect. I can tweak the frequency and number of icons needed to get exactly the variability I want. I like the nice thematic effect that the players get a rough sense when the weather will change (weather reports, storm clouds) as your draw more icons. It obviously violates requirement #3 for being streamlined however.

2) Link to card play. Weather icons are printed on the cards. It is somewhat random as players draw a new hand at the start of the turn. It is streamlined because it is seamlessly integrated with card play. It is somewhat suspenseful as players only see their own cards initially. Where it really falls apart, is that it feels really "gamey" that players will intentionally play cards just to drive the weather change in the direction they want.

3) Link to tokens drawn during combat. Again mud icons on tokens. Seamless. Streamlined. Not totally random and kinda quirky. Why should the weather change be linked to the frequency of combat? In years that there are lots of battles, the weather changes quickly? In years there are no battles in autumn, the weather never changes?

My intuition tells me the solution is some trick involving multiple icons on the cards that make it in effect random for players OR some trick with method 3 that slows the weather change as the frequency of combat increases - thus keeping the overall rate constant. Ideas?
 
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Alison Mandible
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Draw a token from the bag after each play IF no combat resulted from that card.

The drawn tokens can go sit on a timer track until end of round, to underscore the "one gets drawn each turn even if there's no combat" rhythm.
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Michael Tan
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grasa_total wrote:
Draw a token from the bag after each play IF no combat resulted from that card.

The drawn tokens can go sit on a timer track until end of round, to underscore the "one gets drawn each turn even if there's no combat" rhythm.


It's an improved version of method 3 but it also changes the combat odds as you go deeper into the season. Especially once you've removed say 10 out of 40 possible tokens...
 
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Graham Muller
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Placing it on combat seems like it will influence play too much
It feels the change in weather should be time dependant, so that combat doesn't imply change in weather.

What is the effect on the weather in combat? If part of the effect is reduction in combat efficiency then one solution can be to draw a combat token at the start of each turn and if it is a hit place it on the mud track permanently. This means less chance of success as the weather turns.

Otherwise is there any mechanism which determines the start player for each turn? The change in weather could be linked to this.
 
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John
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How about having cards which only have a weather icon on which must be played when drawn, and you then draw a replacement (like creepers in Fluxx)? Based on your current turn flow this would lead to any weather events happing at the start of the player turn, but perhaps you tweak something to change this? My thought are either players draw a new card each time they play a card (might slow down the game too much as they consider the possibilities of the new card) or they don't play they weather card(s) immediately but have to play them at set points during their turn (e.g. after you play you 1st & 3rd cards play a weather card if you have one, if you have more than 2 weather cards discard the extras)
 
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Ollie Hunt
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zabdiel wrote:
How about having cards which only have a weather icon on which must be played when drawn, and you then draw a replacement (like creepers in Fluxx)? Based on your current turn flow this would lead to any weather events happing at the start of the player turn, but perhaps you tweak something to change this? My thought are either players draw a new card each time they play a card (might slow down the game too much as they consider the possibilities of the new card) or they don't play they weather card(s) immediately but have to play them at set points during their turn (e.g. after you play you 1st & 3rd cards play a weather card if you have one, if you have more than 2 weather cards discard the extras)


This. You could also seed the deck to get weather changes roughly at the right times. I would shuffle the deck, split it in 4 equal parts, add a season card to each, reshuffle each and add them on top of each other. That way, you get a spring weather change somewhere in the first quarter, summer somewhere in the second etc.
 
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Michael Tan
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gmuller wrote:
Placing it on combat seems like it will influence play too much
It feels the change in weather should be time dependant, so that combat doesn't imply change in weather.

What is the effect on the weather in combat? If part of the effect is reduction in combat efficiency then one solution can be to draw a combat token at the start of each turn and if it is a hit place it on the mud track permanently. This means less chance of success as the weather turns.

Otherwise is there any mechanism which determines the start player for each turn? The change in weather could be linked to this.


Your solution is creative but it doesn't work within the context of my rules. In mud the attacker's penalty increases. It's printed right on the map though.

Start player is an initiative round where all three players play a strategy card face down. Highest ops value chooses to go first, second, third etc. Exact same mechanic as Twilight Struggle but 3 player version.
 
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