P. Biensan
France
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Hello.

I'm working on a game of political-themed area control set in Austria-Hungary. The game has three factions (progressives, conservatives and nationalists). So far I'm using cubes to represent the "influence" that each of the faction can place on the different provinces that make up the territory to control and/or that the players collect in front of them (the players aren't affected to a particular faction, the goal is to have the most influence of the victorious faction at the end of the game).

The "influence" is fairly abstracted, it represents "political ressources" in general, being men, money, media control, and so on.

Do you have suggestions for a more thematic alternative to cubes in this case? — knowing that the amount of cubes used in the game is fairly important (so far I'm using 30 of each color + bigger wooden squares representing 10 cubes if needed) and that those are small, 8mm-side cubes.

Thanks in advance.
 
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B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
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Cubes is easiest and accepted in the hobby.

If you want more thematic, print up the 30 people that are most influential in each party and, well... they become the political capital upon which the game is based.

You'd be horse trading specific people. Doing so would allow you to have certain people be specialized or generalized or even split their influence across two parties.

But that's all also a lot more complicated than what you've got now.
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Josef Estabrooks
Canada
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Is there a logo like symbol that would be appropriate for each faction?

Flat plastic stars, circles, flowers, hammers, or whatever might give a nice visual effect without evoking too much of one aspect of economy or military or whatever.
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James Clarke
United Kingdom
Caithness
Scotland
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No. Use cubes.
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Ken Bush
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West Linn
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a visual cue to the amount of influence can be achieved in a few different ways:
1) # of markers, whoever has the most markers has the most influence.
2) height, whoever is the tallest, so stackable items or just taller single items,
3) area, larger footprint means more influence. Increasing sizes of disks for example.
4) weight, this one doesn’t seem to work for gaming.
5) power icon, ie missle > tank > rifle

A combination is also possible but may lead to player confusion. But I was thinking that you could use cubes, and stack as a pyramid, to show different levels of influence. A 3x3 base shows a ground swell/grassroots level, a 2x2 on top of that could show an organized (business or political party) level of influence, and a single cube on top could show a government level of influence. Each of the 2x2 level could be 10 times more than 1 of the bottom level, and the top 50 times more.

Wow, got really absorbed in that, so maybe off base for you.
 
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Corsaire
United States
North Carolina
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If there aren't too many territories, you could use a separate track. Then you could place a counter on the board to represent the current leader. Similarly you could use a track for each faction and place a counter for each territory on those tracks.

In general I find cubes to be less fun if they can go past five and I need to understand the exact counts to play successfully. Some games use stackable chips of different denominations under a single representative of the faction.

Lots of choices depend on the pace/play/feel of the game. If you just want a sense of material alternatives, check out the parts at The Game Crafter
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Derek H
South Africa
Johannesburg
Gauteng
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Corsaire wrote:
In general I find cubes to be less fun if they can go past five and I need to understand the exact counts to play successfully. Some games use stackable chips of different denominations under a single representative of the faction.

Or, if we go back to our roots... Risk would have the equivalent of a "large" cube to substitute when the group in an area got bigger than 10 (or could be 5).
 
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JT Schiavo
United States
Frederick
MD
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Cubes sound fine to me, but my first alternative would be stackable tokens or poker chips. The ability to stack can make evaluation at a glance much quicker. Look at Small World.
 
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P. Biensan
France
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Thank you everyone for the feedback. I guess I'll stick with cubes for now and see how the design evolves.
 
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Mason Camren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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I like the stacking idea someone mention. Use pieces that comfortably stack in place, like Legos but not as difficult.

This way, you can tell who has more influence quicker than counting.
 
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