This is an idea for a game I had running through my head the last couple of days and would appreciate thoughts on if you think the idea has merit and which aspects do you think work/don't work? It is somewhat inspired by the film Zootopia and I borrowed some mechanics from the game Splendor, but I think the game is fairly original. If it sounds like a game already out there let me know.
50 Animal cards
50 Habitat cards
30 Influence cards
Below is a mock up of a potential card layout where the top left corner is the strength of the animal, the top right is the habitat required to support that animal, and the bottom text is the influence points for that animal. At the moment I don't have anything about whether the animal is a carnivore, herbivore or omnivore, but that information is vital to the game so I'll have to get that onto the card at some point as well. Hopefully that will all make more sense after reading the rules below.
You are in charge of keeping your citizens and expanding your realm through persuasion and conquest. Here’s the catch. You’re realm is made up entirely of animals. Each animal has different preferences, strengths, and abilities that you must balance if you want to have a diverse and thriving kingdom. And Diversity is the key. The player with the most animal species in their land at the end of the game wins.
Deal each player 8 animal cards, 4 habitat cards and 4 Influence cards. All remaining animal cards are set aside for the remainder of the game.
You must discard any animal cards you cannot support. You can only support a species if you have the habitat card that animal requires. Some animals will require 2 or 3 habitat cards in order to keep that species in your hand so you may only get to keep 2-3 animal cards at the start of the game.
For example, the Polar Bear might require 2 Tundra cards whereas a Deer only requires 1 Forest card.
Play all your habitat cards in a row in front of you. Then play your animal cards in the habitat column that matches with that animal.
All discarded animal cards are shuffled and placed face down in the center of the play area. This becomes the animal deck that will be used through the remainder of the game. Now take 8 of those cards and flip them face up in the center of the play area.
On your turn you have 4 possible actions.
1. Draw 3 Habitat cards and keep 1.
2. Draw an Influence card
3. Attack Opponent
4. Draw an Animal card
DRAW HABITAT CARDS
Look at 3 cards from the top of the Habitat deck and keep one of them. The card you choose is played in front of you in the column of cards for that habitat. If you don’t yet have any cards of that Habitat start a new column in front of you.
DRAW AN INFLUENCE CARD
Draw 1 card from the Influence deck and put in your hand. Unlike the animal and habitat cards, influence cards are not revealed to other players until you play them.
ATTACK AN OPPONENT
To attack an opponent simply choose one of your habitats and add up the accumulative strength of all the animals in that habitat. If your combined strength is greater than an opponent’s accumulative strength in the same habitat you can remove their weakest card in that habitat. That card is then removed from the game.
TAKE AN ANIMAL CARD
As long as you have enough habitat cards of the animal’s habitat type, you can choose any of the 8 revealed cards in the center of the play area.
Any other player that can also support the animal can challenge you by playing one or more influence cards down in the center of the table.
If there are no challengers you simply take the animal card and flip over the next animal card (if there is one) so that if possible there are always 8 cards available for players to choose.
If there are one or more challengers the player with the most influence points takes the card. Below is how influence points are calculated.
lose 1 influence point for every carnivore you have in the habitat that animal would live.
Add 1 influence point for every herbivore you have in the habitat that animal would live.
Omnivore – lose 1 influence point for every species in the habitat that animal would live.
Points from influence cards
Influence bonus from the animal card
ANIMAL INFLUENCE POINTS
At the bottom of every card is something unique that animal species is looking for in a home. Add this to your total influence score.
Example: On the deer card the influence bonus might be "+1 influence for each forest habitat card in your kingdom.""
Players may also choose to play as many Influence cards at this time to improve their score. The player with the most points wins that species card.
Examples of an influence card
Take by Force: +1 influence for every 2 carnivore in kingdom
Lush Fields: +3 influence when trying to convince an herbivore
The game ends once the animal deck (the animal cards players discarded at the start of the game) has been drawn by someone.
The winner is the player with the most animals in their kingdom. If it is a tie the player with the most strength wins the game. (Strength is determined by adding the individual strength values of every animal in the kingdom.)
- Last edited Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:10 am (Total Number of Edits: 6)
- Posted Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:11 pm
Re: Appreciate thoughts on an Animal deck building game
My biggest concern here would be that the setup could vary wildly and heavily favor a single player from the start. Need some way to ensure all players have a similar starting point.
FYI this sounds more like a "tableau building" game (Splendor) than it does "deck building" (Dominion).
Re: Appreciate thoughts on an Animal deck building game
Thanks for the feedback.
Yeah, since it is all in the theory stage I'm sure there's some balance issues that would need to be worked out. My thought is that if everyone starts out with 8 cards and will only keep 2-4 of them at the start, most likely everyone will have the opportunity to have at least a decent starting situation.
Yeah, you're right. I'll change it to "Tableau Building" in the title.
- Last edited Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:34 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:28 pm
And I'll form the Head!
It sounds like combat might to heavily penalize the loser. From my understanding if somebody loses they just get weaker and make it more likely they will lose later combat rounds. Seems like somebody could quickly get put in a position where it would be hard to make a comeback.
Possibly. I tried to consider this by having omnivores gravitate toward the player that has less species, and the herbivores tend to go to the player with the least amount of carnivores. Hopefully the fact that aside from the carnivores you are penalized for having more cards, the runaway winner issue is addressed.
And then the issue with having more carnivores is that it is harder to attract more herbivores so you would have that working against you.
Also, for every turn someone is picking off one of your cards, they are not getting to do anything. While it would be a good strategy to attack in a 2 player game, with more players it becomes less advantageous.
Does that make sense?
- Last edited Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:19 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:07 am
This weekend I reworked the game a bit and simplified it. Thoughts?
There are 2 decks. The animal deck and the habitat enhancement deck.
At the start of the game flip over 3 rows of habitat enhancement cards with the number of cards in each row being the number of players in the game. Also flip over 3 rows of animal cards with the (number of players – 1) cards in each row.
Each round every player takes turns choosing 1 habitat enhancement card from any of the cards available. When a card is taken, a new habitat enhancement card is flip over to replace it.
Once everyone has drawn a card the contest for getting animals to your habitat begins. The first round only the top row of animal cards is considered. The animals in that row go to the player who has the most appealing habitat. (Appeal is determined by the enhancements as well as the other types of animals you have in that habitat). Since there is one less animal than player in each row, at least one player will not get an animal in that round. Any animals that are taken from a row are immediately replaced with new animals.
Only the players that do NOT get animals get to draw a habitat enhancement card the next round.
At the end of the next round the next row of animal cards are considered. So the second round the competition is for the second row of animal cards, the third round the third row, and the fourth round you loop back up to the 1st row.
The game ends once either the animal deck or the habitat enhancement deck is gone. The winner is the player with the most animal cards.
- Last edited Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:15 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:01 pm