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Subject: Help with a movement mechanic: speed vs size for a caravan/snake/parade rss

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Rocco Privetera
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So imagine you are controlling a snake of cubes, moving on a grid map like a street map. I'm calling it a parade in my game, but it could be a caravan in the desert.

Every turn you draw cards/roll dice that give you power of some kind to move the snake. My thinking is the more power, the further you move. But my thinking also is the bigger the snake, the slower it goes since it needs more power. So for example if your snake is 5 cubes long and you get 5 power from your turn (card draw, dice rolls, whatever) you can move the whole snake 5 spaces. But if your snake is 10 cubes, maybe 5 power only moves it 2 spaces.

For a caravan imagine it's food: 5 food spread out over 5 people vs 5 food spread out over 10 people.

I'm trying to come up with a simple way to manage this. I can't say "move as many spaces as you have power" since that fails for larger snakes. I could have a chart on the board but I hate charts. I could say "move 1 space for every power equal to cubes you have" but that's way too linear for my tastes and makes it harder to balance.

Any ideas? How do you express the rule in a few sentences? It doesn't have to scale perfectly, I just have to play with balancing, and something that is a 1 to 1 solution makes that difficult.
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Rocco Privetera
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Maybe something like this. "You move your caravan spaces equal to the power spent and the size of the caravan in cubes: move 1 space if you have half the caravan size in power; move 2 spaces if you have power over hald the size; move 3 if you have power over the size; move 4 if you have over 150% in size..."

I don't like it.... but it's closer.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Distance = power - size.
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Jeff Warrender
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I don't think this solution is as flexible as what you're looking for, but it might work to start with a triangular series, 1/3/6/10

The rule is that for any snake length consisting of N cubes (N<=10), paying N power cubes always lets you move N spaces. If you pay less than N power cubes, you move the next lower number on the series.

So, if you have N=5, paying 5 power cubes lets you move 5 spaces, paying 3 or 4 lets you move 3, paying 1 or 2 lets you move 1.

If N=8, paying 8 power cubes lets you move 8 spaces, paying 6 or 7 lets you move 6, paying 3-5 lets you move 3, and paying 1 or 2 lets you move 1.

It's a little more coarse-grained than what you wanted but it's also reasonably easy to implement (and not too bad to explain).
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Rocco Privetera
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jwarrend wrote:
I don't think this solution is as flexible as what you're looking for, but it might work to start with a triangular series, 1/3/6/10

The rule is that for any snake length consisting of N cubes (N<=10), paying N power cubes always lets you move N spaces. If you pay less than N power cubes, you move the next lower number on the series.

So, if you have N=5, paying 5 power cubes lets you move 5 spaces, paying 3 or 4 lets you move 3, paying 1 or 2 lets you move 1.

If N=8, paying 8 power cubes lets you move 8 spaces, paying 6 or 7 lets you move 6, paying 3-5 lets you move 3, and paying 1 or 2 lets you move 1.

It's a little more coarse-grained than what you wanted but it's also reasonably easy to implement (and not too bad to explain).


Hmm... I think this is getting there. I don't like the 8 size + 8 Power = Move 8. Maybe if I make a basic move distance of something, like 4, then I can adjust from there. Something like:

Your base movement is 4 when you pay your size in power. Adjust movement down if you pay less: 3 move for 1-2 less, 2 move for 3-4 less, and 1 move for 5 or more less. Adjust movement up if you pay more: 5 move for 1-2 more, 6 move for 3-4 more.... etc.

Still a little clunky tho...
 
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Bastiaan Reinink
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Pay 1 power per 1 cube to move 1 step forward. Pay less and it doesn't move.

4 length, pay 4: move 1. 5 length, pay 10: move 2.

Simple yet effective?
 
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Rocco Privetera
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BastiaanSquared wrote:
Pay 1 power per 1 cube to move 1 step forward. Pay less and it doesn't move.

4 length, pay 4: move 1. 5 length, pay 10: move 2.

Simple yet effective?


My concern with this idea is scaling, which I guess I need to playtest for. I'm assuming the average size of the snake starts at 4-5 and goes up to... 10? 15? During the game. So Alpha. Don't know yet. But that means With a starting length of say 5 I need 5 move resources to show up on an average start draw (or roll) - and that's only moving once. I sort of wanted the snakes to have a general move of 4ish, and if you underpower the parade it moves somewhat less and if you overpower it somewhat more, but more like a bell curve and less a straight one to one.
 
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Rocco Privetera
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What if do some kind of speed/acceleration method instead? So like a starting parade has a "Speed" of 3. You put in 1 power per cube to maintain that speed. Putting in less drops the speed by 1, putting in more increases by 1. Or if that isn't fine enough, the speedometer can have half speed slots that fire on alternate turns or maybe are just there for tracking - so a parade with a speed of 2.5 has a gameboard speed of 2, but one bump of acceleration brings it to a real speed of 3, and another one brings it to 3.5 (3 gameboard speed).

My first feeling is not liking to have to track speed that way, but it's easy to implement.
 
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Jeff Warrender
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That's a very little bit like how my Downhill game works -- there are dice involved so it's not a perfect comparison, but you have a track that monitors your speed, and you can either "be aggressive" and try to speed up or "play it safe" and try to slow down; crucially, there's no way to maintain your current speed, which is kind of neat. Anyway, it works well enough, so I think tracking speed, and adjustments to speed, as you've proposed here, should work fine.

A totally different idea: make this interactive/competitive with a bidding system. Maybe you're bidding for position on a "movement track". There are different regions of the track (maybe 3-4 spaces each) that correspond to different numbers of "movement cards" that you receive. If you win the bid, you get the number of movement cards associated with the region you're in. If you don't win but are in the same region as the winner, you get one less card for each position behind the winner you are. If you don't win and are in a different region from the winner, you get bupkis.

The cards themselves say something like "move 3 cubes 1 space". So if you have a snake of length 6 and two cards you move forward 1; four cards, you move forward 2; one card, you don't move (but you presumably save the card for the future).

(This is a bit like High Society and, is also a bit like an auction mechanism Gil Hova came up with for the game that eventually became The Networks, although Gil's system had an "ante" mechanism that made it really painful and a bit more like a dollar auction)
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Taylor Martin
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I think a chart of some sort is mostly unavoidable if you want to be inclusive to people who aren't mathy.


If your snakes are composed of differently colored cubes, or some of the cubes have some sort of special quality (like a sticker), that could play into the movement mechanic.
 
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Herc du Preez
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Geosphere wrote:
Distance = power - size.


This.

Size of 4? Use 5 power to move 1, 6 to move 2, 7 to move 3.

How about caravan splitting if you don't have enough resources for the entire caravan?

Spend X resources and count from the front of the caravan back X cubes. Spend a resource to move the cube you are at to be the front of the caravan. You may continue spending resources to move the back most cube in this caravan to be the new front of the caravan.

This rule covers moving the entire caravan or just parts of it, effectively dropping the tail. And if so inclined you can also limit the amount of forward movement to be equal to the length of you caravan I.e. You must stop moving cubes to the front when you reach the original front cube of the caravan.

Just a thought.
 
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Rocco Privetera
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Avianfoo wrote:


This.

Size of 4? Use 5 power to move 1, 6 to move 2, 7 to move 3.


Again my only issue is scaling considerations. Comparing a size 4 vs a size 7 parade. I just don't know game-wise if a 5 Move moving size 4 one space and not moving a size 7 at all works. And a really big parade, like 12-15 cubes, needing 12-15 power just to move 1... I get the math, I just was trying to come up with something a big more bellcurvy? But obviously I need to test some of these options to see.

Quote:
How about caravan splitting if you don't have enough resources for the entire caravan?

Just a thought.


In my case, each player is guiding a parade through the crowded Big Easy - having to deal with multiple parades is going to make this overly complicated since I'm managing a bunch of other mechanics too.

 
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S Hilliard
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For scaling, you could use different color cubes for the caravan, and have the movement cost be tied to the number of cubes of a specific color, or the most common color. The sequencing could be predetermined, or somehow chosen by the players. You could scale the distance = power-size rule a little better this way.
Say the chain is RYBRYBR, and you have 5 power, then you can move 2.

Edit: Essentially, this is just making the rule "distance = power-size/3" but in a user-friendly way.
 
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Nathaniel Grisham

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Rocconteur wrote:

Again my only issue is scaling considerations. Comparing a size 4 vs a size 7 parade. I just don't know game-wise if a 5 Move moving size 4 one space and not moving a size 7 at all works. And a really big parade, like 12-15 cubes, needing 12-15 power just to move 1... I get the math, I just was trying to come up with something a big more bellcurvy? But obviously I need to test some of these options to see.


So, you want to have some kind of formula that makes it more challenging to move a larger caravan, but it can't punish large caravans too harshly, because a specific caravan shouldn't become immobile, just because it is bigger.

I'm not sure whether a bell-curve is exactly what you are going for, but I think I know what you mean? If the curve is one way, small trains will be very fast, mid-sized trains will be slower, and large trains will be fast again. The other way, small trains are slow, mid-sized trains are faster, and large trains are slow again. Maybe this is what you want, but I'm guessing that you meant some sort of parabolic function, or possibly exponential decay. Maybe we can get away with a linear function that has a shallow slope, though (sorry, I don't think there is any way that you can get what you want without some math).

I'll give you examples of linear functions, since those are going to be the simplest. I'm going to make some abbreviations also, I'm going with Distance (d) the distance that a train can move, Power (p) the power available to a train, and Size (s), the size of the train. Let's start with the basic one from above:

d = p - s

I know that you said that you don't like this, but part of you alpha testing will be testing and tweaking, so you can play with this to adjust how steep the tradeoff is:

d = p - s/2

Now, instead of a cost of 6 power to move a size 5 train one space, it only costs 4 (or three, depending on which way you round). If you want to make it shallower? change the 2 to a 3, or a 4, etc. Or maybe you want to use 3/4 of the size, instead of half. We'll call whatever multiplier you use m.

Maybe you want every train to be able to move a minimum number (n) of spaces, no matter how much power you have:

d = n + p - s*m

You could also use another multiplier for p. Pick whatever values you want to test (I would suggest changing only one at a time) and them plug and chug to see the results.

If you want a different sort of curve, then we can find a different base function for you.


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Scott McKay
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You say you don't like charts but with the way this thread is going, that might be a better option than a complicated equation. Easier for seeing the power/movement relationship too.
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Nathaniel Grisham

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Darth Gamer wrote:
You say you don't like charts but with the way this thread is going, that might be a better option than a complicated equation. Easier for seeing the power/movement relationship too.


This is true, but an equation can be helpful for setting the chart up.
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Scott McKay
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Good point.
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Eric Smith
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Can you tell a bit more about why "move as many spaces as you have power" fails for larger snakes? Do you simply not want a larger snake to be able to get by with the same power as smaller snakes?

Have you considered other means of getting rid of power? Maybe there is upkeep on a longer snake that keeps them from being able to spend all their power for movement? Upkeep after movement means the player gets to think about the risks of losing some of their snake if they can't maintain it. Upkeep before is simply a stopper on keeping large amounts of power for movement.

Or what about co-incidental costs of movement instead of directly relating it to length of snake. Maybe each bend in a snake is what costs 1 additional power? So short snakes by default have fewer bends and cost less than snakes that bend around multiple corners.

Or maybe go back to everything costs the same, but longer snakes go last as they take more time to get themselves together... (if turn order matters).

I'm mostly just thinking around the problem instead of solving it I guess.


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Rocco Privetera
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Well by no charts what I mean is I'd love it if the rule generated behavior exactly how I wanted with a simple one line rule and no math required and no charts etc etc etc. Which is obviously a best csase scenario of any designer and probably not possible So, we do our best to look for a compromise.

My idea was: players start with a small parade (4-5 cubes of their own color, with a larger cube in the front to show the head). Thematically this is a 1890's New Orleans funeral parade heading home through the haunted French Quarter. Players have a small deckbuilder deck that provides a little music (power)on an average draw. Players use a sort-of deckbuilder mechanism to get more cards(people) to join the parade which adds to the length of the parade as well as adding more music, noise, powers, etc. The goal is to get the parade home from the cemetery so it's a race, but the second goal is to get rid of the ghosts in your parade, so you do various things like play music, make noise, and take a twisty route to lose the ghosts. This is all historically accurate too, and fascinating, so I figured a game.

I guess reading above that "bell-curve" isn't that accurate, apologies. What I was thinking was I don't want small parades to go too fast and I don't want large parades to be impossible to move.

I haven't massively-crunched the numbers yet, but I'd be concerned that if on a 1st turn draw you get 5 music (one per card for five cards maybe) to move a parade of 5 cubes some standard amount (3 spaces?), if on a 10th turn draw you get 15 music and have a parade 15 cubes long, should it scale perfectly - that is a power/weight of 1/1 is the same speed regardless of size? Should the player simply have to manage having more power in the deck? I just think moving a big parade one space per turn is too boring.

I don't want to get too hung up on complicated mechanics for calculating this since the player has to deal with other stuff: driving the parade, avoid obstacles, other parades, corrupt cops, and vampires (maybe). I want players to have an experience of building - does this parade have a lot of music so it goes fast but can't defend itself against other attacks? Maybe the parade is slow, but has a lot of voodoo to repel new haunts and Garou from slowing it down.

I have to be careful with color because the parades might collide or rub against each other and I need a way to see which is which.

I do think one simpler idea floated here isn't bad - use two different sized cubes, you put down one for every third (or fraction) cube, and that's the power required to move it once.

Another option I got was that instead of spending points to move it, every parade has a "speed" and you use so many points to maintain, accelerate, or decelerate the parade.

 
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Nathaniel Grisham

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If music is your main driving force, then it isn't really directly competing with the size of the caravan, but with the other noise that it's making, right?

So, if each part of the caravan that isn't making music is making some other noise, then having more of those is what slows you down. Maybe some members add a lot of noise, maybe some are silent altogether, so they won't speed you up or slow you down. But adding more musicians can help you speed up again. Does that sound right?

You'll still have to come up with at least some simple formula, but you don't have to describe it that way. You can say that a caravan can move up to the number of musicians (+ whatever music you draw?) minus the amount of noise in your caravan. If that is too much, then you can still tweak it so that maybe you need one music, or maybe twice as much music, as noise for each space you move.

So, to summarize, it sounds like you want to be able to make even a larger caravan able to speed itself up, so the size itself shouldn't directly slow it down. Some members of the caravan might not affect the speed, some will slow it down, others can speed it up.

Is this closer to what you are looking for?
 
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Aaron Yoder
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Each musician costs 1 power to move a number of spaces, and can push/pull a number of cubes in front of him and/or behind him. This means for small groups, just 1 musician works. For larger groups, more musicians are needed.

And what if the front of the parade needs a direction (via a musician leading them) or else the parade just moves straight? This reduces the size your first Musician can pull, (generating a curve) but can also be a viable tactical decision if the player just wants to move straight.

Or, your musicians create more noise by being close together? For example, each Musician creates music equal to the number of musicians that are adjacent? Thus, 1 musician gets 1 music (or whatever), 2 musicians each get 2 music each (totaling 4), 3 musicians get 3 music each (totaling 9). Then you'd get a bell curve that the player would have to balance with having the essential, point-generating non-musicians in the parade.
 
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Aaron Yoder
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What if there's a crowd density in the space, beyond just 1 cube/space?

Bigger groups of people move slower, but are still pushed forward by a musician. So the musicians generate movement in an area around them, and the distance traveled by the cubes in a space is determined by the number of cubes in the space?

So we say the Musician can move cubes within 2 spaces for 1 power. Each affected space has its cubes move 3 spaces if it has 1 cube in the space, or 2 spaces if it has 2 cubes, or 1 space if it has 3 cubes. Cubes can't move at all if not affected by a musician (and thus able to be picked up by other parades).

So your parade can be short and slow and dense, or long with a lot of musicians and people dancing in the (relatively) empty streets, or somewhere in between. This also generates interesting spacial concerns because then you can create spaces that can only be entered by 1 or 2 other spaces, creating bottlenecks. How does the player do things then?
 
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Marc Missildine
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going back to formulas, i think your best bet would be:

d= 2 * sqrt(p - s - 4)

This gives a graph as seen below, which means:
1. if Power - Size is 0, move 4 spaces.
2. if Power is GREATER than size, you move 5 spaces at 2 greater, then 6 spaces at 5 greater, then 7 spaces at 8 greater than size.
3. if power is LESS than size, move 3 spaces at 2 less, move 2 spaces at 3 less, and move 0 spaces at 4 less

I think this gives you what you want: diminishing returns for pumping a small float with a ton of power, instead of just linearly moving additional spaces per power spent. As well as diminishing returns for larger floats, you have to spend at least your float size - 3 to move at all.




 
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Benjamin Ng
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Speed = power^2/size, rounded down, +2.
 
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Marc Missildine
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jmissild123 wrote:

d= 2 * sqrt(p - s - 4)


or in table form:

Power-Size | SpacesMoved
-4 | 0
-3 | 1
-2 | 2
-1 | 3
+0 | 4
+2 | 5
+5 | 6
+8 | 7
+12 | 8
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