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Subject: Just getting started rss

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Andrew Tinnin
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Posting mainly to keep myself motivated/ record my progress on a game I’m attempting to bring to life. Any feedback, impressions or questions are welcome and even desired.

I’ve been in my sketchbook for about 2 weeks with this concept and while the game has mutated quite a bit since my original concept the core of the game remains in tact. I have not named the game as of yet, just a generic working title of doomsday preparation.

My biggest fear is that I have included to many game mechanics which could cause the design to become a heavier game than I initially intended. If that is the case my desire for this game to be a comedy take on doomsday prepping might be in jeopardy.

As it stands now I have two distinct game phases:

(Phase 1) played over 12 rounds the players build their bunkers and acquire resources and population.

At the game start tiles are divided into 12 random stacks of 12 tiles each. The 12 rounds are depicted by a clock counting down the upcoming doomsday event. The tiles consist of walls with varied degrees of strength, resource storage tiles (4 types food, water, ammunition and beds), as well as set amounts of resources both positive and negative.


A number of cargo trucks equal to the number of players are set in the middle of the table and a random meeple from a bag is drawn for each cargo truck.


Now the players place 1 tile each moving clockwise around the table until all tiles have been placed and the cargo trucks are full. A player may place a tiles on any open space on any of the trucks. Truck capacity is 3.


After all tiles have been placed the players bid until each player has won a truck. When a player wins a bid he takes the tiles and meeple associated with that cargo truck. On subsequent turns meeples will produce 1 resource of its corresponding type. There are 4 meeple types- they produce water, food, ammunition and money. Money is only used for bidding with the other players and becomes useless in phase 2.

Tiles are placed by each player on his player mat. Placement is final. Resources provided by tiles are collected by the player in the sum printed on the tile, this tile is set aside.

Round 2 begins: players collect meeple produced resources and repeat the steps above until all 12 rounds have been played.... the end is nigh...

(Phase 2) Death and destruction. With the preparations complete- or at least as complete as they are going to get (there simply isn't enough walls or resources to go around) the players now face an encounter deck. This part still needs a lot of work but the general gist is a base set of cards with generic events which is shuffled together with a thematic deck. There will be a number of these thematic decks ranging from zombies to grey goo to WW III. These cards will pull at the players resources, destroy their meeple populations and demolish the bunkers they have built.

This is just a basic outline and does not include all rules and mechanics however just some eye test feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Play testing needed to determine victory points, leaning towards surviving meeples as VP.

***All my numbers are with a four player game in mind***
 
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Pepijn van Loon
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Seems like it could be interesting.
In phase 1, do you know which thematic encounter deck will be used, so you can adjust the way you prepare your base to withstand specific dangers? For instance, if you know you're going to be facing zombies, you might focus on defenses that work well against zombies.

Is the second phase passive (you just flip over encounter cards and see if your defenses are strong enough), or can you still take actions to influence the outcome?

It's great that it already evolved since the original concept. Good luck tweaking it more!
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Andrew Tinnin
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My plan now is for the thematic deck to be unknown during phase 1. I plan for the thematic decks to be mostly thematic by flavor but each deck will pull harder on one or two particular resources than the others. Initially I wanted phase 2 to be passive but as I’ve thought through how the events will work some choices made by the players in phase 2 when resolving events will be necessary. I am also toying with the idea of having some basic non-themed events happen during phase 1, most likely triggered by specific round number or perhaps by a tile.
 
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Adrian Pillai
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Hi Andrew,

You have what promises to be a very interesting game. I like how you utilized the doomsday clock layout for phase 1 - and if you do keep the theme it would be something I hope you keep.

Are there too many mechanisms? It's hard to say. I think phases make it easier to keep track of what mechanisms are in play, so that's good. I think 'rule exceptions' are more of a problem than numerous mechanisms - so while I think 5 or 6 different mechanisms might be a pain to introduce in a rule book, rules exceptions are the ones which makes games unnecessarily complex.

Bidding:
Instead of trucks, would it be okay to be shipping containers or train cars? Trucks + apocalypse just makes me think of Wasteland Express Delivery Service. Anyway that's neither here or there, since it's just cosmetic.

I fear that the bidding process is going to be very time consuming, as most bidding phases are. For it to go 12 rounds... uhhh...

I agree with @Oloring that it would be strategically more preferable if players had at least an inkling of the doomsday they were going to face. It makes the rush to outbid for specific resources / tiles more important and more active. It helps speed up the bidding process.

If money is not used except for bidding, maybe get rid of it. Use other resources instead (like I'm guessing there's food and water and etc.) It might open up a phase of bribing other players to not bid for a certain car, and players have to manage their own bids without going overboard.

Finally, it might be nice if players had an option to... restock / repair their bunker during phase 2. Say they draw a card that says calm - then players can choose to send people out to try and get stuff or repair stuff, the more you send, the more you get. However, if the very next card drawn is another apocalypse attack - then all the people still outside are instantly killed and removed.

just a suggestion. Keep on it, I think you have an interesting idea.
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Andrew Tinnin
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Yes the cargo trucks are completely cosmetic and I’m not 100% sold on it. I really like the idea of sending scavengers triggered by an event card. I also agree that bidding can become time consuming- that needs play testing for sure. I’ve considered a blind bid for first pick if time becomes an issue. Thank you so much for the insight.
 
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Luke Curry
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I like the idea, however it would be more fun just to have the survival element, rather than the subsequent war.

Anyway 12 is a little too much. Can't you try to compound actions in order to cut some steps?
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Andrew Tinnin
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Wacchuwari wrote:
I like the idea, however it would be more fun just to have the survival element, rather than the subsequent war.

Anyway 12 is a little too much. Can't you try to compound actions in order to cut some steps?


All of the conflict is one stage. Basically:
Stage 1- Build and gather resources
Stage 2- Survival vs the encounter deck

I have been playing with the idea of combining the two but I really like the “build something and then watch it burn” idea.

Time is definitely one factor I will be weighing as I play test however at this time 12 rounds is the format. It’s how resource generation works, it generates the amount of tiles need to build your base, it also provides the population at a set rate and mathematically works for 2,3 and 4 player. It’s also fits thematically with the clock board.
 
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Adrian Pillai
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How many pieces are there to fill a bunker? I can't see from your picture but it looks like 25?

If each truck has 3 tiles each time, and you get 1 truck each time, that's 8 rounds.
P
I think you could reduce that by half and have 4 tense rounds of building.

Another way to speed up bidding can be simultaneous bids and a limited bid system, e.g. you can only place 2 (resource) as a bid per bidding round. You can place 2 (resource) on 1 truck or 1 (resource) on 2 trucks. Only if there's a tie, you up your bid on that truck, if you want. If there is no tie, the truck is won. Once a truck is taken, no more bids on that truck or by that player. The (resources) in any non-winning bid is returned. But you can force someone to seriously overpay.

Resources of winning bids are placed in central pool / clock. This can be where you send scavengers to get resources if you choose to restock your bunker in phase 2. The event cards can also be played here, 1 to a number. You survive 12 events (or 11 since 1st one is always a bad thing) and then see who survived best / can rebuild society best. Books and art have high winning value, but not much survival value.

Man, this post went on for a lot longer than I expected.
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Andrew Tinnin
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I have to digest that lol. The grid is 5x6 30 total with each player taking (as I have it now) 36 total tiles. A portion of the tiles are +\- a lump sum of a specific resource and not used for building.

I’m not 100% decided on a specific bidding mechanic- I actually don’t play a lot of bidding games.

I am loving all the input on this particular aspect of the game.
 
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Andrew Tinnin
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So here is an open question-

I want to get a set number of evenly divided tiles into each players hands over a set number of rounds.

Leaving aside the number of tiles and number of rounds what is a mechanic that inspires competition between the players and isn’t massively time consuming?
 
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Nick Strudwick
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Just wanted to say that this idea sounds very engaging! I quite like Galaxy Trucker, which has that two-stage "build something / watch it go up in flames" feel. The placing items on the truck and then picking them seems similar to zooloretto: the dice game, which works well as a mechanic. I quite like the idea of not knowing what terrible doomsday scenario you are facing until it strikes...

Can't help immediately with the tile distribution question, but I'll have a think!
 
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