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Subject: Game Idea: Walsingham rss

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Last night, in the middle of my insomnia, an idea struck me.

Walsingham

HIGH CONCEPT
- The late 1500s. Spying in Elizabethian times. The instability brought about the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, as well as the Ottoman threat. This was a time of intrigue and international espionage on a grand scale. A game of indirect confrontation.


THE PLAYERS
- The game is meant for 2-5 powers: England, Spain, France, Holy Roman Empire, and the Ottomans. Some of these could be nominally allied at start to mimic the existing political climate of the day (the Hapsburgs of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, and France and the Ottomans).
- [One could throw Russia into the mix, although that would not be historically accurate.] -


THE BOARD
- Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, all broken into "provinces" or areas. Similar to Diplomacy.

- Each "province" has advantages to certain players, marked by its religious affiliations: Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Moslem.

- These religious affiliations have an initial "strength" of 1-4 and an overall initial total as high as 6. So a part of England could be rated 3 Protestant, 2 Catholic. That makes it tentatively in the Protestant camp, though playing a Catholic marker in it would turn the area into one not yet in any camp.

- Islands (England, Ireland, Sicily, Crete, etc.) would have connection lines to the continent for the purposes of scoring.


GAME MECHANICS
- Area Control. Each province would be competed for based on its religious affiliation. These would be represented by wooden cubes, each in a color representing a faith (blue Catholic; red Protestant; yellow Orthodox; green Moslem).

- Meta-Area Control. At the end of each turn a player would determine his realm's religious affiliation based on the majority in the province containing his Capital. He would then score all contigous provinces that share that Faith at 1 point per.

- Simultaneous Action Selection. Similar to "A Game of Thrones". Each player gets a set of action cards (Espionage Cards) to use each turn, which can be used to increase or decrease faith, as well as lobby for influence with certain power centers (eg, the Vatican, the Hanse). Perhaps as many as 4 actions per turn. These would be put within a "sealed envelope" -- I see this as looking like one of those brown envelopes with a wax seal image. Players reveal their actions, which are resolved in clockwise order from the starting player.

- [The Actions could be determined by meta-areas: like Britain, the Iberian Peninsula, France, Germany, Italy, the Low Countries, the Balkans, North Africa, Turkey. Each player would then have so many actions each turn, and have envelopes for each meta-area.]

- Most Actions would either add a cube or remove it.


STARTING POSITIONS
London: 4 Protestant, 2 Catholic. (Will England remain Protestant, or will it take up the banner of Catholicism?)
Madrid: 6 Catholic. (Will Madrid keep it's Faith? Is the Pope Catholic?)
Paris: 3 Protestant, 3 Catholic. (Will Paris ally with Madrid and try for gaining Italy, or will it extend a branch to London and try to for Germany?)
Vienna: 3 Protestant, 2 Catholic, 1 Orthodox. (Will Vienna join the Catholic League, extend her Protestant connections, or unexpectedly turn south and east to the Orthodox lands?)
Istanbul: 5 Moslem, 1 Orthodox. (Will Istanbul remain a Moslem power and extend that Faith, or will it try for the greater Orthodox arena? Well, that's nobody's business but the Turks.)
(Moscow): 6 Orthodox.
All the others would have distributions to make them more or less equal.


GAME PLAY
- The game would consist of 10 turns, each representing a 5 year period starting in 1550.

1. Players would select their actions in secret.
2. Actions would be resolved.
3. Points would be scored after the actions of all players were resolved.
4. Players would return their action cards to their hands.
5. The starting player piece would shift.


NOTES
- I see this as a game of shifting tides of power.

- There are several strategies to pursue: increase your own power; weaken someone else's; aid another; lobby for aid.

- It is possible that some nations could have agenda cards. For instance, England and Spain may get bonuses for controlling parts of the Low Countries (an additional point each?). France could gain bonuses for control of Italy. The Ottomans for Sicily. And so on.

- There could also be event cards, again similar to "A Game of Thrones." At the start of each turn an Event card would be turned over that could alter some of the make-up of the game. For instance, Protestant Fervor sweeps the land; remove one non-Protestant piece in all provinces where Protestants have a majority of 2. The Inquisition; remove one non-Catholic piece in any province where Catholics have as many pieces as any other faith. There could be 20 of these, and only 10 would randomly occur each game.


- This is one I would dearly love to see developed, as it is a theme that is not highly explored. Rennaisance espionage. The tides of Faith.
- I would be more than willing to put a lot of effort into this project, but would need a partner to do. (Where is that design contest now that I have an idea that I desire to pursue?).
- Let me know what you think.
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Brett Myers
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Sounds a lot like Twilight Struggle with a large dose of Game of Thrones. You might take a look at Here I Stand as well.

Where is the espionage in this game?
 
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disclamer wrote:
Sounds a lot like Twilight Struggle with a large dose of Game of Thrones. You might take a look at Here I Stand as well.

Where is the espionage in this game?


Well I am still working on that, but I think that the cards should have espionage type effects. Also, the use of courier envelopes would create the theme.

Whoa, just got a brainstorm. Thank you, disclaimer.


What if a player has four Diplomat/Spy Figures that can travel from province to province? Each has a number or a name, as well as a courier envelope associated with them. One of these can travel to any province within 2 provinces of the one he started in and can affect the province he lands on, as well as those that surround them. This figure's movement cannot be stopped by normal means. Although one of the Espionage Cards might have a "delayed by Customs" type of effect.
 
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marc lecours
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interesting period. Take a look at the "here I stand" game. When I read this post, I was looking forward to seeing how you treated the espionage/spying/dirty tricks aspect of the game. I couldn't quite see how you are going to include espionage as opposed to just influence. What I was hoping is secret influence and bribery and blackmail and not knowing who is doing what.

The problem is to devellop a mecanic to secretly control and influence various people in the game (i.e. ambassadors, government ministers, religious leaders).

Not easy !

 
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rubberchicken wrote:
interesting period. Take a look at the "here I stand" game. When I read this post, I was looking forward to seeing how you treated the espionage/spying/dirty tricks aspect of the game. I couldn't quite see how you are going to include espionage as opposed to just influence. What I was hoping is secret influence and bribery and blackmail and not knowing who is doing what.

The problem is to devellop a mecanic to secretly control and influence various people in the game (i.e. ambassadors, government ministers, religious leaders).

Not easy !



Great thought.

What about a seperate track/board with slots for a dozen cards that represent important people. These slots would be linked to the major cities in the game. Gaining favor with them would allow one to influence affairs within a nation/meta-region. They could also be killed / removed from the game.

For instance, controlling the current Pope gains bonuses over Italy and the Med Sea around it.

Or, controlling the Hansa gains an extra action or something like that.

Each figure would have benefits. Maybe one Pope is more friendly to the Protestants? Another a militant.

The players could spend actions by sending a Diplomat/Spy to one of these cities, then used the seal courier envelope to reveal what they have done and alter the situation in some way. Sort of like a reverse on MaharajaBNJ.


I will have to give this more thought. But I love this period and there is so much there to be explored. But the implementation of a spy theme would require another mind to collaborate with.
 
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Gary Simpson

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Areas of control could grant Action Points to spend on the Action cards to be played.

Majority in an Area grants 5 pt.
Minority in an Area grants 3 pt.
No presence in Area grants 0 pt.


Then Action cards can be broken down into four classes, each class defined by purpose and the level of expertise:

Influence Cost 1 Action Point
Allows the player to add a cube to an area by indirect influence.
Consider them as Basic Secret Actions.

Espionage Cost 2 Action Point
Allow the player to remove a cube from an area OR attempt an assasignation on a Persona card. Consider them as Advanced Secret Actions.

Counter-Espionage Cost 3 Action Point
Allows the player to cancel rival players' Espionage cards. Consider them Expert Secret Actions. Must have majority "strength" in area to play.

Persona Cost 3 Action Point (plus 1 per turn for Upkeep)
Allows the player to assert direct influence in an area granting bonuses. Consider them Expert Secret Actions. Must have majority "strength" in area to play.

During a turn, the player adds up his Action Points as a total and spends them on the Action cards to be placed in various area envelopes. As players add actions to an area envelope, the order of cards dictates which order the actions play out.

Example-
I put 3 cards in the England envelope facedown in this order:
1 Influence card
1 Counter-Espionage card
1 Influence card


When the cards are revealed they would play out as follows:
1. Add a cube
2. Cancel any Espionage attempts in that area
3. Add a cube


In the example, my Counter Espionage card would trigger if any rival player played an Espionage card in the England area in the second order. I would also gain 2 cubes of Influence to be placed that turn.

In addition, each rival power can be personalized by having varying amount of Influence, Espionage, Counter-Espionage, and Persona cards to start with. Perhaps England has more Persona cards while Holy Romans have more Counter-Espionage cards.


Just a few thoughts,

Simpson
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Awesome. When I am more awake I will process these better. But they sound great.
 
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I am getting what I have so far together and will present it to someone whose opinion I value and who may have some insight to add.

Any suggestions about: content; presentation?

Thanks.
 
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