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Subject: CLASH of CULTURES: A teaser rss

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Christian Marcussen
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Hi...

I was about to add my newest design Clash of Cultures (working title) to the database. Unfortunatly the "add a game" feature is temporarily disabled.

[EDIT] It has now been added as the above link testaments.

Instead I figured I would make a make a thread and let you in on what I have been up to. This is my attempt at one of the holy grails of boardgame design - the Civilization game. Fans of Sid Meier's Civilization should feel right at home.

The game has no publisher yet. This thread is a small first step in that direction. So if you would like to try a game like this then by all means keep the thread alive! - comment and ask questions all you like

Here are some of the features I would like to highlight:

Advances
The absolute hardest part of the design! The game features about 48 distinct advances. The whole "tech-tree" is very flexible with no dead ends, yet still intuitive, sensible and "realistic". Additionally you have a great overview of what advances other cultures have - no need to ask - just look.

Modular Board
Players start with a civilization in it's infancy. Move settlers to unchartered regions and reveal the terrain and it's rescources. Several mechanisms have been implemented to assure that an unlucky placement of region-tiles won't be a decider.

Playing Time
The game covers a time span similar to AH Civilization - that is to pre-gunpowder. This is the biggest departure from the computer game. However on the positive side the game is playable in about an hour per player, and is designed to be playable from 2-4 players. This is a pretty good playing time for a game that covers so much ground as this game will.

City management
Players expand their cities through the game. But not just to the generic larger city. Players instead choose a building type which represents the growth of the city. For instance you can expand a city with a port, fort, temple and academy - all with different benefits! Additionally cities can be "angry", "neutral" and "happy". Everything integrated in an intuitive and elegant fasion.

Multiple paths to victory
Earn points for the amount of cities you have, and their sizes. Earn points for your culture level, and the happiness of your people. Additionally the players have 2 Objectives (one civic and one military) which they can pursue through the game.




--------------------------------

And here are some images. I apologize for the quality (cell-phone).



Start of Play
The red, blue and green player only have their starting region revealed and have a city and a settler.


End of second turn
All players have revealed a few adjacent regions and have founded a few new cities.


Mid- to end game
The whole board is revealed now. All the players have multiple cities, and several advances.


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Christian Marcussen
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Here is an image of the player board. Note of course that all this is prototype art:


Player Board
12 Advance categories, each with 4 different advances. The last three black ones are governement types. This player has founded a Democracy.
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Mika R.
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Looks interesting. I can see smilies, dice, variable game board, fortifications, cultural development trees, wooden pieces.. Starts to look like Euro/AT hybrid to me.

There seems to be three main ideological paths you can take: Democracy, Despotism and Theocracy. Why only Democracy shows any smilies?
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Daniel Persson
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This looks really interesting! Good work! presumed at least I sure hope you can find a publisher for it. It looks just like the kind of game I'd like to play!
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Matthew Kloth
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I like what I see so far (not that I can see much).

The tech leading into government is nice. The track looks like an intuitive way of tracking that stuff. It looks like you can jump around anywhere on the tech tree (the red text is a pre-requisite?).

The modular map looks good. The bigger chunks probably make it more manageable. I have no idea what the four decks of cards are. The yellow pieces are probably improvement pieces (like irrigation and mining).

Is there only one resource?
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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eikka wrote:
...Democracy, Despotism and Theocracy. Why only Democracy shows any smilies?


Have you ever seen a Theocrat smile?

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Daniel Persson
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Well, have you ever made a theocrate cry?
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Mika R.
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oneilljgf wrote:
eikka wrote:
...Democracy, Despotism and Theocracy. Why only Democracy shows any smilies?


Have you ever seen a Theocrat smile?



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Christian Marcussen
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eikka wrote:
Looks interesting. I can see smilies, dice, variable game board, fortifications, cultural development trees, wooden pieces.. Starts to look like Euro/AT hybrid to me.


Yeah. Well the wooden peices could be exchanged with plastic easily and vice versa. The materials used are simply the ones that make prototyping easiest.

Quote:
There seems to be three main ideological paths you can take: Democracy, Despotism and Theocracy. Why only Democracy shows any smilies?


I guess I'm far from a cultural relativist In all seriousness I doubt that theocracy and despotism can be coducive for human happiness. Note however that these governement types do not reduce happiness either.

The happiness symbol is awarded advances which inheriently give happier people - such as sanitation, public education or civil rights.

Also its entirely possible to have "happy" cities. This happiness just stems from other sources than the form of governement.

Quote:
The tech leading into government is nice. The track looks like an intuitive way of tracking that stuff. It looks like you can jump around anywhere on the tech tree (the red text is a pre-requisite?).


Almost, but not quite. You are right except that the first advance you buy within a category must be the top one. That one can be regarded as a prerequisit for all the others.

Quote:
The modular map looks good. The bigger chunks probably make it more manageable. I have no idea what the four decks of cards are. The yellow pieces are probably improvement pieces (like irrigation and mining).


Making things managable has been the largest deisgn challenge. So it's something I have spent the largest aount of time one. As for the yellow peices they are Barbarian settlements.

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Is there only one resource?

No, five! You can see them on the top of the PLayer Board. There are three natural recources which are harvested - food, ore and wood. Then there are two special resources - Ideas and Gold. These come via advances. For instance if you have the "Writing" advance you can expand your city with an academy. Then whenever that city is activated you get an Idea resource!
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Christian Marcussen
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eikka wrote:
oneilljgf wrote:
eikka wrote:
...Democracy, Despotism and Theocracy. Why only Democracy shows any smilies?


Have you ever seen a Theocrat smile?







Oh wait... he was elected
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Christian Marcussen
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Just got my digital camera back today. So during next week I'll be playing again and I'll take some shots that are easier to make out. Hopefully I'll be able to add the game to the database as well.

Any comments or questions, just fire away
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Mika R.
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marqzen wrote:

Quote:
Is there only one resource?

No, five! You can see them on the top of the PLayer Board. There are three natural recources which are harvested - food, ore and wood. Then there are two special resources - Ideas and Gold. These come via advances. For instance if you have the "Writing" advance you can expand your city with an academy. Then whenever that city is activated you get an Idea resource!


So, could you elaborate the use of Idea resources? Can you place them into any Governmental ideology track to obtain a "super power" for your culture? Could you for example have Code of Law and Militarism to create a militaristic culture with a set of commonly accepted laws?
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Christian Marcussen
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eikka wrote:
marqzen wrote:

Quote:
Is there only one resource?

No, five! You can see them on the top of the PLayer Board. There are three natural recources which are harvested - food, ore and wood. Then there are two special resources - Ideas and Gold. These come via advances. For instance if you have the "Writing" advance you can expand your city with an academy. Then whenever that city is activated you get an Idea resource!


So, could you elaborate the use of Idea resources? Can you place them into any Governmental ideology track to obtain a "super power" for your culture? Could you for example have Code of Law and Militarism to create a militaristic culture with a set of commonly accepted laws?


New advances cost two Food. The Idea rescource however can be used instead of Food for that purpose. While this makes Idea recources limited in their use, you get them for free whenever you activate a city with an Academy. This allows you to spend your Food on other things such as units, while spending Idea resources for advances

As for the Government types. No, they cannot be mixed. If you select Code of Law (the top Advance in the Democracy category) you are a "democracy". You could then select another government type later, but it would make you lose your Democracy advances.

Democracy advances include Civil Liberties and Universal Sufffrage - so obviously if you choose to become a dictatorship, those precious ideals go out the window
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J. Green
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I'm curious about how you get stuff in the game. There are several possibilities:

-Fixed number of actions per turn, including: get money, get resources, discovery, build something expand city

-Actions per turn determined by resources, growing over the game: i.e. you get an amount of resources depending on influence, and that makes certain actions available, and as your cities and influence grow you get more actions throughout the game turns

-Fixed amount of resources available per turn based on factors like number of cities, size of cities

-Lump sum chunk of money available at the beginning of the game, but very few ways to spend it, decreasing over the course of the game, in which there are more ways to spend it but less and less money (or time, or some other resource)

It seems like all of these are viable ways to provide players with means to get stuff and do stuff. Which one of them most resembles your system?
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Mika R.
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marqzen wrote:

As for the Government types. No, they cannot be mixed. If you select Code of Law (the top Advance in the Democracy category) you are a "democracy". You could then select another government type later, but it would make you lose your Democracy advances.

Democracy advances include Civil Liberties and Universal Sufffrage - so obviously if you choose to become a dictatorship, those precious ideals go out the window


Hmm.. that I feel is a bit binary division of powers, don't you think? There are cases where civil liberties and codes of law have not been in direct conflict with despotism. I mean the cases of enlightened despotism that existed in some absolute monarchies at least in later middle ages and after. Weren't there good and bad kings/emperors/rulers in the middle ages that had either positive or negative effect on people's lives and their culture?

Could there be for example some connector lines between conflicting advances where a player can choose only one of the connected group? This would give the opportunity to mix and match at least some of the advances in different groups.
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Steve Wagner
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The games looks awesome! How long does a game seem to take?
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Christian Marcussen
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Quote:
I'm curious about how you get stuff in the game. There are several possibilities:

-Fixed number of actions per turn, including: get money, get resources, discovery, build something expand city

-Actions per turn determined by resources, growing over the game: i.e. you get an amount of resources depending on influence, and that makes certain actions available, and as your cities and influence grow you get more actions throughout the game turns

-Fixed amount of resources available per turn based on factors like number of cities, size of cities

-Lump sum chunk of money available at the beginning of the game, but very few ways to spend it, decreasing over the course of the game, in which there are more ways to spend it but less and less money (or time, or some other resource)

It seems like all of these are viable ways to provide players with means to get stuff and do stuff. Which one of them most resembles your system?


I guess the first thing you mention comes the closest. Players have three actions per round, and five action to choose from. Players can choose:

- Advance (once per round)
- Move Units (Activate a space and move the units within it, one space.
- Activate City
• Build Units
• Collect Resources
• Expand City
- Civic Improvement (Spend happiness tokens on cities to alter their mood)
- Cultural Influence (spend Cultural Tokens on taking over foreign cities through non-militaristic means)

So a player needs to get his head around which orders to choose, in what order, and on which cities/units. An interesting mechanic is that you can activate a city multiple times during a round although not without consequences. For instance you could collect resources and then spend them on producing units in the same city. This kind of stressing of the cities population would mean that their mood decreased, making them less productive until you start making ‘Civic Improvements’ to the city.

Quote:
Hmm.. that I feel is a bit binary division of powers, don't you think? There are cases where civil liberties and codes of law have not been in direct conflict with despotism. I mean the cases of enlightened despotism that existed in some absolute monarchies at least in later middle ages and after. Weren't there good and bad kings/emperors/rulers in the middle ages that had either positive or negative effect on people's lives and their culture?


Yeah, it is kind of binary – however you can easily have good king/bad king syndrome in the game as it is now. It’s entirely possible to run a dictatorship and have a nation full of happy people. This happiness does not come as a consequence of your form of government, but due to other advances such as “Sanitation” or “Irrigation”. All this can change though once you start to wield your despotic powers such as “Forced Labor” or “Oppression”.

Quote:
Could there be for example some connector lines between conflicting advances where a player can choose only one of the connected group? This would give the opportunity to mix and match at least some of the advances in different groups.


I guess that is a possibility. If it’s worth the extra complexity I don’t know. I have tried keep things as streamlined as the scope of the game allows.

Quote:
The games looks awesome! How long does a game seem to take?


Hi Steve – thanks. A game takes about an hour per player
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Timothy Pride
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This game looks interesting! Barbarian included is a nice touch! It seems to me the technological advances are like those in Master of Orion?

I'm interested in how cities works. Is it like Through the Ages, where if you build port or market, every cities will have it, or each city has its own building list?
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Christian Marcussen
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Darkmot wrote:
This game looks interesting! Barbarian included is a nice touch! It seems to me the technological advances are like those in Master of Orion?

I'm interested in how cities works. Is it like Through the Ages, where if you build port or market, every cities will have it, or each city has its own building list?


Great question. First, in regards to Master of Orion, I have not tried it. I guess advances in civ-like games tend to be similar. But if a publisher want's to re-theme it to a sci-fi game I'm confident that could be done no prob

As for your question about cities. Let me start by saying that one of the (many) things I disliked about Eagle Games Civilization was that cities were equal in the sense that your advances and buildings were simply moved elsewhere if you lost a city. Not so in Clash of Cultures.


Rather cities grow, which you represent by a building type. So each city differs. Some you might have built an academy for, others may have a fort or temple etc etc. That is not to say that all cities don't have these things, but rather that the cities in the game that have it are the ones with the really marvolous temples, or ports.

So cities will differ in importance, and losing one city over another matters. You will find some more important than others due to their placement, the threat level around them, and the buildings you have added to it.

It may sound complex and like micro managing, but I assure you that its all very straightforward in a good way.
 
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Rowan Lawrence
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Sounds great!

Keep up the good work.

-R
 
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Sounds great, lets hope this one gets picked up (and published!) quickly...
 
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Christian Marcussen
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BrenoK wrote:
Sounds great, lets hope this one gets picked up (and published!) quickly...


Thanks - indeed. I'm pretty confident in it's potential. But we will see.


___________________________________-

New Images from test game Feb 16







Think hard!
Stephan and Christian (not me) are contemplating on their moves. Christian ended up winning, focusing pretty narrowly on advances. In fact geographically his culture was rather small, but his cultural advances will be praised millenias later and tought in every history class

It was a great game, although I found a broken mechanic. But it's a quick fix... I guess that in a few months the game will be ready for publisher presentation!
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Byron Grimes
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This looks great! Keep us updated.
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marqzen wrote:

Great question. First, in regards to Master of Orion, I have not tried it. I guess advances in civ-like games tend to be similar. But if a publisher want's to re-theme it to a sci-fi game I'm confident that could be done no prob


What I mean in Master of Orion is the mechanics, not theme. When researching technology in MOO, you don't choose individual tech (pottery, mysticism, bronze working, etc), but rather a field of knowledge (art, craft, military, etc). People get semi-random tech on that field based on their previous tech. So players could pursue same field of knowledge, but get different tech, based on their previous tech and race ability.

Upon a closer look, that might be just me jumping in conclusions blush

marqzen wrote:

As for your question about cities. Let me start by saying that one of the (many) things I disliked about Eagle Games Civilization was that cities were equal in the sense that your advances and buildings were simply moved elsewhere if you lost a city. Not so in Clash of Cultures.


Rather cities grow, which you represent by a building type. So each city differs. Some you might have built an academy for, others may have a fort or temple etc etc. That is not to say that all cities don't have these things, but rather that the cities in the game that have it are the ones with the really marvolous temples, or ports.

So cities will differ in importance, and losing one city over another matters. You will find some more important than others due to their placement, the threat level around them, and the buildings you have added to it.

It may sound complex and like micro managing, but I assure you that its all very straightforward in a good way.


I won't mind complex mechanism, as long as it gives meaningful decision options. Oversimplified mechanic would be too abstract for my taste, while overcomplex mechanic without different decision options is just a chore.

Also, if it's too simple, it wouldn't be epic right?


So, trying to dig further information...devil

Which one is your city model?

I. One big City
Like in TTA, where technically you don't have cities, just one big civilization and when you build improvements, it will affect all of your civilization.

II. Each city for each own
Like in Sid Meier's Civ (PC Game), where each city would have its own improvements that just affect that city (barrack in city A would have no effect in city B, etc), except for wonders.

III. Each city each wonder
Or maybe in one city is just one wonder (improvements that affect to all your civilization), so like in city A is for barracks, city B for library, and so on. So if you lost city B, your tech advancement would be hindered or something like that.

From your explanation, I'm guessing the IIIrd model. But I might be way off mark here, so, if it's not those three, could you explain more?


Nice pics btw! I can't wait to read the rules.
 
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Christian Marcussen
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Darkmot wrote:

So, trying to dig further information...devil

Which one is your city model?

I. One big City
Like in TTA, where technically you don't have cities, just one big civilization and when you build improvements, it will affect all of your civilization.

II. Each city for each own
Like in Sid Meier's Civ (PC Game), where each city would have its own improvements that just affect that city (barrack in city A would have no effect in city B, etc), except for wonders.

III. Each city each wonder
Or maybe in one city is just one wonder (improvements that affect to all your civilization), so like in city A is for barracks, city B for library, and so on. So if you lost city B, your tech advancement would be hindered or something like that.


hehe.. dig away!

I take door number II. Here is how it works. There are 5 building pieces. The basic city (the flat squares on the pictures) have no abilities. Your city can then grow and expand with different building types - Temples, Forts, Ports and Academies. When your city grows you select a building peice to represnet this growth (provided you have the needed Advance). Therfore through the game you will see your cities expand with different building types, making them different from each other.

For the prototype I am using different wooden peices and it looks fine. But if they were plastic city representations that could be put together it would be awesome!

Anyway, all this is all pretty managable since one of the game enders is if a player has 8 cities.

Ask away
 
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