Antra C
Latvia
Riga
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So I'm currently developing a board game for the museum I work with based on our theme, being the history of migration of our country. I've gone through many different types of prototypes, many different styles, and I'm still not sure if I've got the right mechanics going for it. It is important for it to be an educational game (that is, people learn a bit about the wheres and whys of migration), but also a game with high replay value.

It also needs to be accessible to all levels of players, from hardcore gamers to casual gamers of all ages (well, all ages above 10 or so). This makes things a bit tricky, because these are widely differing target audiences.

I'm not sure if I'm trying to accomplish too many different things in the game, or not enough, or what. So some guidance would be helpful!

My current prototype works as follows...if we're talking about popular games that are out there, the game mechanics bear the closest resemblance to Lords of Waterdeep crossed with Stone Age, but with quite a few significant differences.

The main goal of the game is to complete quests and score victory points. There are four historical eras in the game - each one has different quests that correspond to different historical events, as well as different locations for emigration during that era (with differing emigration costs, corresponding to how difficult it was to emigrate in that time period).

To complete quests, it is necessary to collect resources (there are six different types of resources). There are three ways to collect resources - emigrate to a location, where you collect a set amount of certain types of resources, or use a building. Buildings are built by players, but anyone can use any building (if someone uses your building, you also get a bonus resource), but only one person at a time. The third way to get resources is by using professions - if you have a profession card, you can use it as a one-time card to get the specific resources. OR, if you have built the appropriate building, you can put the profession card in the building and you will collect that amount every turn (as well as VP for having a matched building and profession).

So on your turn, you have a certain number of people to play. You can place them on turn order, buildings, emigration locations, quest completion (quests are categorized into five categories - Cultural, Militaristic, Religious, Political, Revolutionary), or new card purchases (quests, buildings, professions). Only one person can be on each building/location/etc. at a time.

Then there's the last mechanic to consider - at the beginning of the game, everyone is given an "Ideology" card. This card will provide a specific goal for that player that is secret from the other players, such as extra points for certain types of quests, number of buildings, number of emigration locations visited, etc.).

So.... suggestions? More information necessary? Or any idea on how to simplify it all?

Thanks!
 
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Antra C
Latvia
Riga
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Nope, not a US map. No map at all, actually. I used to have a map, but it proved distracting to the gameplay since there weren't any practical purposes for it.

The design you've come up with does sound awesome for a US migration game though

Ideology is important though, since it is often what fueled different migrations, so I don't want to lose that. This is the way I've been able to integrate it with minimal otherwise distraction.

I've tried the idea of different players having different starting resources and powers, in the vein of Terra Mystica, but that is something that proved too complicated for casual players. And I've considered removing the historical events, but since they are so influential on the migration itself, it is impossible to separate them.
 
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Gary Boyd
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valodniece wrote:
So I'm currently developing a board game for the museum I work with based on our theme, being the history of migration of our country. I've gone through many different types of prototypes, many different styles, and I'm still not sure if I've got the right mechanics going for it. It is important for it to be an educational game (that is, people learn a bit about the wheres and whys of migration), but also a game with high replay value.

It also needs to be accessible to all levels of players, from hardcore gamers to casual gamers of all ages (well, all ages above 10 or so). This makes things a bit tricky, because these are widely differing target audiences.

I'm not sure if I'm trying to accomplish too many different things in the game, or not enough, or what. So some guidance would be helpful!

My current prototype works as follows...if we're talking about popular games that are out there, the game mechanics bear the closest resemblance to Lords of Waterdeep crossed with Stone Age, but with quite a few significant differences.

The main goal of the game is to complete quests and score victory points. There are four historical eras in the game - each one has different quests that correspond to different historical events, as well as different locations for emigration during that era (with differing emigration costs, corresponding to how difficult it was to emigrate in that time period).

To complete quests, it is necessary to collect resources (there are six different types of resources). There are three ways to collect resources - emigrate to a location, where you collect a set amount of certain types of resources, or use a building. Buildings are built by players, but anyone can use any building (if someone uses your building, you also get a bonus resource), but only one person at a time. The third way to get resources is by using professions - if you have a profession card, you can use it as a one-time card to get the specific resources. OR, if you have built the appropriate building, you can put the profession card in the building and you will collect that amount every turn (as well as VP for having a matched building and profession).

So on your turn, you have a certain number of people to play. You can place them on turn order, buildings, emigration locations, quest completion (quests are categorized into five categories - Cultural, Militaristic, Religious, Political, Revolutionary), or new card purchases (quests, buildings, professions). Only one person can be on each building/location/etc. at a time.

Then there's the last mechanic to consider - at the beginning of the game, everyone is given an "Ideology" card. This card will provide a specific goal for that player that is secret from the other players, such as extra points for certain types of quests, number of buildings, number of emigration locations visited, etc.).

So.... suggestions? More information necessary? Or any idea on how to simplify it all?

Thanks!


So the main experience you are going for is to experience the migration of your countries people. I think a broad overview of the eras you are speaking of would help, as many of us are not necessarily up on Latvian migration patterns.

I checked out one document which spoke of the initial serfdom of Latvians. That seems like an interesting starting point.

I'm not sure worker placement would be the best mechanic for such a varied audience. I would think set collection, trick taking, area control, roll and move, and various other mechanics people of all walks are familiar with.

Roll and move may actually fit very well here since this is a game about movement. It doesn't have to be the bad: you roll and that's how much you move. You could allow players to move a certain amount based on their rolls and the era.

For instance during the serfdom era it would be very difficult to move away because the people were basically slaves. So getting out from under serfdom would require a great deal of movement.

If each player controls a certain number of Latvian people and the era determines how much movement each one requires to emigrate then I think that could be interesting.

If each player rolls 2 dice and you need 6 movement during the serfdom era just move to southern Russia than that may help accurately depict the level of migration during that time period.

Maybe the number of dice a player has is determined by the era and so as the game progresses players are more capable of migration until the Soviet Union.

Cards with historic moments in that era could be part of the game play. It would be up to you, with your knowledge of those time periods in your countries history, to separate the game into logical eras but I can see a map where each location gains players a certain number of points depending on the era and each era determining the movement of a roll and move being a very good game.

 
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Antra C
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Riga
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I've tried a set collection variant, and it didn't really work out. I've got a new prototype in the works now, that moves away from the regular worker placement mechanic into the the worker placement/dice rolling hybrid mechanic used in Kingsburg. Simplifying resources, eliminating buildings.

Events happen to everybody, be they positive or negative, unless the player who reveals the event is able to purchase it with resources (thus getting them VP), and if that happens, then a positive event will be applicable only to them, while a negative event will be applicable only to the other players.

The mechanic I'm not certain on now is when end of era/end of game is triggered - should it be after X number of events have been bought, or once all events have been played (but playing through all events every game reduces replayability I think), or something different I haven't thought of...?

We'll see how it works out! I'll report back when I've given it a go at playtesting.
 
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The game that this immediately reminds me of is Dreaming Spires. Primarily because it plays out in 4 eras with events.

In Dreaming Spires there are things which persist between eras - buildings and reputation earned in different areas - which are represented by tiles and cubes on a tracking/scoring board.

There are then things which only exist/apply to a single era - scholars and events. These are represented by cards in separate decks (events are also a larger card size than scholars), with different coloured backs to define which belong in which era.

Scholars may be acquired by having the right attributes, or then played for an effect. At the end of each era all the scholars are removed and a new pool of scholars (from the next era) dealt out.

Events happen once per round (in this game events are usually some form of auction for a benefit for the winning player(s)), with two events defining an era - there are several event cards for each era thus achieving replayability. Some scholars may trigger additional events which are then drawn from the undealt events for that era.

Thus each era consists of a fixed number of turns with a fixed number of game/turn-driven events plus possible additional player-triggered events. It may be worth looking at the rulebook to see whether this helps with ideas.
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