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Subject: Horse Breaking Mechanic rss

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Sam Barton
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In my wild west exploration game, on some tiles you reveal there will be horses that you can break, allowing you to use it as your mount. Upon trying to break a horse, you will reveal a card showing its stats, (speed, carry amount, sale value and any special skills etc). The difficulty of breaking the horse should correlate to its skills.

What I've yet to decide on is a mechanic that breaks the horse. Something that represents a struggle and shifiting balances. Is anyone able to help with a mechanic that can convey this?

PLayer resources are money, water (spent improving the chances of performing tasks succesfully), and actions which are spent to move and start tasks.

Any help greatly appreciated.
 
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Mary F
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I can't think of a mechanic, but I do know horses. Generally the slower you go, the better the results.
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Ian S
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If struggling to find a good mechanism, then an alternative is to simply take the horse to the expert to sell or do the breaking in for your character (for a fee)
 
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KB Shimmyo
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whodo wrote:
I can't think of a mechanic, but I do know horses. Generally the slower you go, the better the results.


This makes me think that the simplest approach is to use time as the cost for breaking a horse. You can just declare "I'm breaking this horse over x turns", and the horse card (?) will become available x turns from now, and it will have different stats associated with different values of x. So you have the tradeoff between immediate availability of a bad horse, or later availability of a good horse.

Ok, what's to stop you from discovering two horses and breaking them both - one for "now" and one for optimal-time-later? Badly broken horses cost more resources (spoil more of their feed, destroy stables, cause expensive injuries)?

An alternative - having a per-turn cost associated with the horse that's in the process of being broken - just encourages breaking a horse quickly. But if the stats/special abilities of a well (i.e. slowly) broken horse are so dramatically better, that could offset it.

Disclaimer: I know very little about horses.

Edit: this basically amounts to Ian's approach of not having a thematic mechanism.
 
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Corsaire
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You may be trying too hard for simulation rather than thinking about complementary mechanics to others in your game. Similar to like your hunting as I recall, why not spend water to represent the amount of time spent. Then maybe similar to your treasure, you draw horse tokens or cards based on the number of water and pick the one you like most.
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Douglas Walker
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Breaking a horse requires time and effort, which may be more or less difficult depending on the horse’s temperament. So a quick bad thought might be investing a number of your actions (assuming a turn has multiple action points) plus a die roll and subtract horses temperment. Nominally, spend 2 actions + D6 roll of 2 = 4 and this would be enough to tame a horse of temperment 4 or lower.

Or alternatively do as poster above and spend money for someone else to do it.
 
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Andrew H
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I've wanted to use dice as an endurance mechanic, and it might work for you, if you can use dice in the game. For my use, the endurance number indicates how many dice you roll. If any two dice can add up to seven, no endurance is lost. However, if any two can't add up to seven, one die is removed for the next endurance test. It usually lasts 5-15 turns with a starting amount of 5 dice, but 4 dice seem to drop the number of successful rounds to 3-6.

For your situation, the number of dice could be a difficulty to break rating (this horse is rated a 5, very hard to break). The resources could be used to cancel certain rolls (I'm going to use a water resource which cancels all 1s this roll).
 
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David Jose
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Corsaire wrote:
You may be trying too hard for simulation rather than thinking about complementary mechanics to others in your game.


I agree with this. At least by my current philosophy of design, less is definitely more. I think you might be better off figuring out exactly what you want this game to do, and then spend your time finding the middle ground between those systems instead of having a different kind of mini game for each.
 
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James Arias
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Why not re-use your hunting mechanic, where the animal action is "throws you, take a wound" or "flies off, better luck next time", vs. other die results let you break it in (based on roll vs. a "to Break" stat you put on its card). Spending extra time/resources increases chance of success.

Do other players get to rustle your horse after you get it?
Can you also get draft horses for a covered wagon?
 
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badger Boards
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Maybe have some kind of volatility rating that compares the characters personality to the horses? Depends how indepth you wish to go.

Maybe take the horse to a trainer ... the better the trainer the higher the cost. Cheap trainers produce negative traits and/or injury/stat reduction - don’t meet full potential.

It may be worth considering experience of horse. Once it has been used for X period of time (or for X tasks) then it reaches potential.

All this is quite fiddly so not sure if it’s of use.
 
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Sam Barton
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I think this is what I will do. More water spent, more chance of success. Will have to thing of a symbol for the 'success' faces. Before it was a target, but don't want people to think they are shooting the horse!

Edit: I think your horse will be a 'stealable' item for sure.
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Sam Barton
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Corsaire wrote:
You may be trying too hard for simulation rather than thinking about complementary mechanics to others in your game. Similar to like your hunting as I recall, why not spend water to represent the amount of time spent. Then maybe similar to your treasure, you draw horse tokens or cards based on the number of water and pick the one you like most.


Would you have the 'stats' on the animals then all printed on a single sheet? Not sure they would all fit on a token.

I do think you are right though, maybe I will have the horse taming match the hunting mechanic, for simplicity.
 
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Dave Neale
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Yes, simple is good. Some of the main mistakes made by novice designers:

1. They try to put too many things in one game. Complexity does not equal good - normally, in fact, the opposite is true (depending on how much you are aiming for a simulation versus a game).

2. Waiting too long to playtest. Playtest as soon as you can, with as diverse groups as you can, and as much as you can.

3. Thinking a game needs to have something really original to be successful. No, it just needs to deliver a particular experience, and deliver it well. Truly original ideas can involve risk, and have a chance of being huge failures as much as huge successes.
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Sam Barton
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whitescar wrote:
Yes, simple is good. Some of the main mistakes made by novice designers:

1. They try to put too many things in one game. Complexity does not equal good - normally, in fact, the opposite is true (depending on how much you are aiming for a simulation versus a game).

2. Waiting too long to playtest. Playtest as soon as you can, with as diverse groups as you can, and as much as you can.

3. Thinking a game needs to have something really original to be successful. No, it just needs to deliver a particular experience, and deliver it well. Truly original ideas can involve risk, and have a chance of being huge failures as much as huge successes.


Thanks for these tips, I'll bear them in mind. I do try and playtest as I got, but will be sure to play test the game as a whole now before adding or modifying it any further.

Appreciate the help.
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Sam Barton
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If you incorporate different game mechanic for a bazillion 'modules' you want to have in your game, your rulebook will be the size of 'War and Peace'.


Starting to realise that now, not doing any more till I've playtesting as a whole, then I imagine it's going to need simplifying. Thanks for the advice.
 
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Jeff Warrender
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I'm afraid this will sound harsh, but it seems to me that you're trying to crowd-source a lot of systems for your game, and I'm not sure it really works to design a game that way; the resultant game may feel like a hodgepodge of systems that don't hang together with any particular internal logic.

It's one thing to be stuck on one aspect and need a nudge to get out of the rut you're in, but if you're trying to find fundamental solutions for how the core systems of the game will work, I think you as the designer ultimately need to be the one to create those. That doesn't mean everything has to be original, of course; some of the best games amalgamate mechanics from other games. But if you're finding it hard to realize your theme in tabletop form, it may be an indication that this design should go on the back burner for a while so that you can work on a simpler design to get started. With more experience, the ideas will flow more smoothly.
 
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Sam Barton
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Appreciate the feedback and think that's a fair point, I definitely don't want it to feel that way. I agree, perhaps being new to this I've asked for help a little too often, and haven't made it clear many of the core elements are already in place.

Before moving any further I am going to play test the game as a whole, and learn and go from there.
 
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Ian S
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WildFrontierGames wrote:
Appreciate the feedback and think that's a fair point, I definitely don't want it to feel that way. I agree, perhaps being new to this I've asked for help a little too often, and haven't made it clear many of the core elements are already in place.

Before moving any further I am going to play test the game as a whole, and learn and go from there.


Hi Sam
Don't think that you've in any way 'overstepped the mark' cool. I've enjoyed bouncing ideas your way, and appreciate that you're a good listener / take them in good spirit.

Yes, it does make sense to playtest and tighten the game asap, but any ideas left off the table can always make the expansion

Regards
Ian
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Sam Barton
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Cheers Ian,

Was worried a bit then, so very kind of you to say.

Thanks a lot.

Sam
 
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