S K
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Georgia
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Hi! I'm looking for some ideas/concepts for a game idea I had. It's a game about trying to keep a population happy, while vying for control in the government. Hence the name Panem et Circenses (Bread and Circuses).

My initial concept was meeples/resources on a map (of the Roman Empire). Where the players would have to compete for the happiness (and loyalty) of the population by gaining and giving them luxuries, food, and games. This accrued loyalty would either be totaled at the end of a set amount of turns, or a player would win once reaching a certain amount (like Catan).

There may also be a set of event cards as well, with vaguely historical things that might cause unrest or bonus/lack of resources.

I was hoping to get a few recommendations of other games/mechanics to check out, any suggestions would be welcome!

Thanks for reading!
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Bryan Kline
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Winter Park
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It might help if you had a core mechanic in mind. Seeing the 'meeples on a map' description, the two ideas that jump out at me are worker placement (I like Lords of Waterdeep and Stone Age), or board movement (either Istanbul or Concordia play style could work). What do you imagine players doing on their turns?
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Rob Harper
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A few questions that may help you clarify what you are trying to achieve...

Who are the players?

What is the setting of the game (a city? some other scale?)

Are the players directly competing for the affection of the same people?

Will the players be able to "attack" each other? Or is the game basically a simple race to the finish? Or is their competition for resources?

What are the specific things a player can do to make the population happy?

Do the population's demands vary?

How do the players get the resources they use to take their actions?

How long do you think the game should take to play?

Who is the target audience for the game? (Is it, for example, people who like heavy Euros, people who like fast and funny games, or what?)

Good luck.
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S K
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Georgia
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Who are the players?
~The players are low-level politicians/affluent-types trying to win the favor of the population to get elected

What is the setting of the game (a city? some other scale?)
~The setting I had in mind was Rome at its height

Are the players directly competing for the affection of the same people?
~Yes

Will the players be able to "attack" each other? Or is the game basically a simple race to the finish? Or is their competition for resources?
~There would be was to foil your opponents, possibly by using cards to simulate "raiding a caravan" or "crashing the games". Resources would be gained by gathering them from loyal territories, and the players would compete for the loyalty of those territories.

What are the specific things a player can do to make the population happy?
~Things like having a circus, doling out grain, selling luxuries, etc

Do the population's demands vary?
~Often, yes. Regions want what they don't have, and might have a preferred luxury, though grain is always wanted. Their wants might be changed through a deck of event cards, like, "surplus grain! no loyalty from grain gifts this round" or "Rome demands Incense! double loyalty from Incense to Rome this round".

How do the players get the resources they use to take their actions?
~Through the regions that are loyal to them, drawing their respective resources each turn.

How long do you think the game should take to play?
~1.5-2.5 hours I think

Who is the target audience for the game?
~A middle-weight game. Not too terribly hard to learn, but complex enough to be interesting

The mental image I had was of a map of the roman empire, divided into regions/cities with different values (population, gold, different luxury resources), and winning the loyalty of those regions would let the player access more of the resources of that region.

For example, the region of Rome(city) would have a high population and gold value, but not luxuries. The high population in that region would make it harder to gain its loyalty, but would give a bigger score at the end.

While a region like Libya might have low population and gold but a lot of luxuries. It would be easier to gain its loyalty, but it would not give many points.

Loyalty would be gained by gathering resources from loyal territories and spending them on the populations of the various regions.

Loyalty could also be flipped between players, though again, it would be harder to re-flip a high-pop region than a low-pop one.

There might also be special cards (gained through spending gold or loyalty possibly) that could mess with your opponent or help you, like "caravan raid! have an opponent discard a luxury" or "surplus production! gain two luxuries from one of your regions this turn"

I realized while writing this I probably should've opened this thread with all of the ideas I had, but this is my first time really trying to put together a game

Thanks for the help
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S K
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Yeah, "meeples on a map" was more of a concept I had to represent the population of a region, it would be better just to have that info on the board itself.

On a typical turn, I imagine it something like

1. player would play any cards in their hand they wanted to play (and do their effects)

2. player would spend resources (grain, various luxuries) to gain loyalty (differing amounts depending on what the population wants) of the population of a region on the map

3. player would gain any resources from previously held regions

4. player would spend resources to draw any new cards

Before the first turn of a round, an Event card would be drawn, and it would have an affect on every player's turn thereafter till the next round starts
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Quentin N.
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If you need historical references to dress up your game (for example, such behavior is reffered to as evergetism), and contextual ideas, feel free to ask.

(archeologist)
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Pete McPherson
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orangeleader wrote:
On a typical turn, I imagine it something like

1. player would play any cards in their hand they wanted to play (and do their effects)

2. player would spend resources (grain, various luxuries) to gain loyalty (differing amounts depending on what the population wants) of the population of a region on the map

3. player would gain any resources from previously held regions

4. player would spend resources to draw any new cards

Before the first turn of a round, an Event card would be drawn, and it would have an affect on every player's turn thereafter till the next round starts

Are players just drawing cards randomly? Would there be any mechanic for discarding and redrawing, like in Roll for the Galaxy? This combined with the event deck sounds like a lot of stuff out of the players' control for a potentially 2.5 hour game.
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S K
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Currently, there are three types of cards

The resource cards, which come from the territories they control

The political cards, which are purchased by the players (like the development cards in Catan)

and the event deck, which has a round-lasting effect (similar to Merchants and Marauders)

And you're right, that's probably too much stuff for 2.5 hours , although I'd rather sacrifice some quickness and have a longer, more complex game

I really appreciate the responses
 
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Yannick Bugeaud
Canada
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I’ve read, took a step back and took my time to answer since i wanted to document myself first.
Step I: Analyze the subject. Going to the public library (with my 4 yo daughter), I burrow a few books on the subject to take my time to document the subject (and reduce my screen time… am I the only one who still love the feeling of a book?). I narrow my research on the empire and how the commerce was. After, I look into how Rome itself worked and how provinces were ruled. Interesting… I will come back on that later.

Step II : I look at what have been done on the subject. My old friend, the bgg database is here for me .
1.Rome : City of Marble https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/182385/rome-rise-pow...
You are a patrician building Rome… not that much like you proposed, but interesting.

2.Rome : Rise to power https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/182385/rome-rise-pow...
Really near to what you propose.

3. Roma https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/16496/roma
I’ve not look about this one, but I will dig it soon

4. Ave Roma https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/184459/ave-roma
A kickstarter I’ve seen and fellowed (without backing, I was not sure at 100%). The theme is really near to what you’ve proposed and the game itself propose some interesting mechanics.

Conclusion : The subject is well covered by many games and need a good attack angle to not fall in the “just another one” category.

Step III : brainstorming phase. These days I train A LOT (2h cardio training) and have a lot of time to listen podcast, tv shows or organize my thought. I keep track of ideas that pop up and if 90% is usually not good sometime some glimpse of hope begin to shine. Here is 2 idead/considerations I ve come up with.

Idea 1).When a province is invaded and annexed to Rome, the empire (or republic) sends a few trusted families to “organize” the economy of the region. What if the players represent these families and must compete to earn the title of Governor of the region. Each family controls a part of the province and must try to pay his debt to Rome, satisfy the population (or reprimand them) and ultimately compete to have the favor of Rome. The major difference with your idea is that the game would happen in only one province instead of the empire overall (more micro than macro  ).

Idea 2). As a noble family, you focus only on the wellness of Rome, as different calamity seems to plague the city. The biggest challenge for me about this one is providing different ways to win to not make this a plain race on the same strategy. I think Scythe is a good exemple about that or even Caverna…

Ps: I am primary French speaking so be indulgent about the text quality.
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Ben Smith
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To me it sounds like an Area Control / Area Influence kinda of game, not a worker placement game. You may want to scan through other games in that category to see how they do it.

Two games that come to mind with interesting mechanics are El Grande and Revolution!. El Grande uses a variety of clever mechanics to shuffle influence around on a board, and ultimately players capture different provinces or segments of the map.
In Revolution! players bribe, blackmail, or bludgeon their way to influence of different key players in a city. It's a much lighter game, pretty whimsical.
If I recall correctly, both offer different bonuses for different areas "captured" (and by captured I just mean the person with the most influence there). Reminds me of the electoral college system in the USA.

So for your game, you could have players add their influence to regions with their actions, or remove the influence of other players, to vie for popularity. BUT you could also do random events or a maintenance phase each round such that happiness lowers in all regions if not maintained, and if happiness runs out then all influence in a region is lost (or all players lose, or whatever).

Maybe once you hit a certain popularity cap in a certain number of regions, you win?

Dominant Species is another game that comes to mind, though it's kinda heavy to wrap your head around if you've never played. It's about adapting your species to survive in changing climates and biomes, spreading out and taking over as the most successful kind of animal. But that could metaphorically be adapted to represent politicians who must adapt who they claim to be in order to survive in changing political climates. (This game uses worker placement mechanics to claim roles/adaptations, in addition to the area control mechanics used to spread across the ever-changing map.)

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S K
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Georgia
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Those games have some really interesting mechanics, I'll look into them! Thank you!
 
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