I've been toying with an idea for a game based on each player owning a town along Route 66. Each player will have a mat depicting his town with area on both sides of the highway available for building new businesses. Businesses will be used to attract tourists to stop in your town and spend money.
Part 1: Building Businesses.
These businesses will be acquired through a bidding mechanism and I was wanting to get input from the folks here on a few ideas. Each player will have the option of choosing a business to bid on or take another action (this would put them out of the bidding process altogether).
1) The first option is a normal bidding mechanism where bidding continues around until all players pass and there is a winner.
2) Second is a blind bid option where everyone selects their bid and all are revealed at the same time. This is done for each business before selecting the next business for auction. If there is a tie for high bid, the business is discarded. If everyone bids zero, the business is discarded.
3) Third is that everyone selects the business they wish to bid on, all businesses are displayed and high bid gets first choice of one of the businesses (again a blind bid). Second place gets next choice & so on. If a player doesn't want a currently available business, they can discard one of the ones that were left. This would introduce a large 'screw your neighbor' factor, but you have to pay to do it.
Why are we discarding businesses? There are several different types of businesses but the larger businesses and the option to upgrade current businesses doesn't come in to play until one type of business has been exhausted.
I'm looking for input on the three options. Which do you prefer and why? I'm leaning towards the second option because I feel that it moves faster and with the possibility of there being a bidding round per player, things need to move at a good clip.
The third option is even faster (maybe) and it would limit purchasing to one business per player. The other options allow a player to make multiple purchases (which may or may not be a good thing).
Hit me with questions & suggestions. I'll be posting more about the other phases of the game and looking for input on those as well.
- Last edited Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:40 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:40 pm
Edit: I misunderstood your third one, not realizing that everyone selects a business to add to the bid pile, but thinking instead that a set is pulled randomly.
I like the third one, especially if you make it not be a blind bid. I'll admit I don't play a lot of bidding games, but that seems like a fun, novel idea -- there's a set of businesses available, and you're not bidding for a specific one, but for the opportunity to choose first. I think that adds a level of tension to the bidding -- Do I raise the bid because I think the current winner wants the same one I do? Or do I hold off and hope he's going for a different one, saving myself a few bucks?
If you like the first two better, there's no reason you can't limit them to one business per person. Power Grid and Coliseum, for example, use the following bidding rules: Once a player does not raise on an item, he cannot bid on that item again, and once a player has won an item, he cannot bid on another for the rest of the round.
I really like your theme, by the way. I'd be interested to hear what else you have planned for it.
- Last edited Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:02 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:59 pm
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Hit me with questions & suggestions.
I like the Route 66 theme. Classic Americana.
However, instead of yet another bidding/building game why not try this:
An economic survival game based on the decline ot Route 66... think of places like the little town in the Cars movie.
Every town starts off in the money but as the game moves forward traffic declines and only the strong survive.
Good Luck with your prototype!
pete belli wrote:
An economic survival game based on the decline ot Route 66
I disagree. That could be interesting, but I'd personally be much more inclined to play a game based on the boom growth of Route 66. Just happier, I guess. :shrug:
I think the worst thing about being a crime boss would be having to write performance reviews for all of those career criminals.
I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.
What if, instead of bidding on individual businesses, players instead bid on different towns along Route 66? Perhaps each town has a different resource the traffic/tourists along the highway need, and as time goes by, certain resources increase in value while others decline, taking the towns with them -- somewhat like Small World. Each player has to decide how long to hang onto the town before letting it become a ghost town and trying his/her luck with a different one.
As far as bidding systems go, I would lean toward option #3. I like the tension that comes from balancing your spending: Do I shell out big up front in hopes of a big return, or do I keep my bid low, take what’s left, and use the cash to improve the business I end up with?
We see our role as essentially defensive in nature.
2 is faster than 1, yes.
in case of #3, how are ties decided? i like the screw-over possibility.
of these, #3 seems the most "gamey" -- or, i should say, the mechanic that is -- by itself -- the most intense.
but i think this is all putting the cart before the horse. what else is going on? is it important to have fast auctions? depends on how many there could be. no one wants a slow (#1-style) auction if you have to do it 24 times. but if you're only doing it 4 times, it's ok. the screw-over factor works -- but only if the resources are very scarce.
sounds like cool possibilities. what else will happen? perhaps some attractions will interact (e.g., the ice cream palor and drive-in theater together are worth more than they are separately), while others are sort of "core" (e.g., w/out a motel, nothing is worth much at all).
don't forget the bad stuff, from drunk bullies to windstorms. how will that happen? the flip side of tiles that are auctioned off? a card system?
Some of you asked for some more info, so here we go.
Throwing another wrench into the bidding:
I mentioned that a player could choose another action that would take them out of the bidding. As a first phase all players will simultaneously determine if they are going to:
A) Pick a business to bid on
B) Improve a current business/buy advertising (neon signs/billboards)
Players who choose B or C cannot pick a business or bid. All the players who bid will pay half of their cost to the bank, the other half goes to the 'kitty' (Chamber of Commerce). The players who pass (option C) equally divide the kitty with any remainder staying in for the next round.
I feel that this will add some extra tension to the bidding (am I willing to possibly give money to other players? should I bid or grab the cash in the kitty?) I'm trying to decide if the kitty is emptied prior to the bidding for buildings or after.
Part 2: Traffic Flow.
After players get their businesses placed in their towns they have to get ready for the incoming traffic.
Traffic is split (unevenly) between westbound (Chicago to LA) and eastbound (LA to Chicago). Each player will draw a card. Each card will indicate a number of cars heading west and a number of cars heading east, as well as containing an option that, if played could positively or negatively impact that round (more on that later). If the player chooses to take advantage of the option, the traffic from that card will not come into play.
Traffic is split into several colors: Yellow, Red, Green, Blue (for now), and the traffic on the card for one direction will be of one color only (5 Yellow westbound/ 2 Red eastbound).
The players will have some idea of the possible traffic flow but not know everything. Players will reveal the traffic flow and everyone will get that amount of traffic west & east bound. Traffic MUST line up in order from the starting player.
Player 1: 3 Red Westbound/ 2 Yellow Eastbound
Player 2: 7 Red Westbound/ 3 Blue Eastbound
Player 3: 4 Green Westbound/ 0 Eastbound
Player 4: 3 Blue Westbound/ 2 Yellow Eastbound
Each player would then have Westbound
10 red, 4 Green, 3 Blue
2 Yellow, 3 Blue, 2 Yellow
This is important because:
* Different businesses have different colors; Motels = Yellow, Gas stations = Red, Cafes = Blue, Attractions = Green.
* Cars of a particular color will only stop in a business of that color or of no color (some businesses will appear later that have no color, they attract everybody) on their side of the highway! Westbound traffic will not make a left turn across traffic to stop at a business.
* Each business can only has a certain number of parking spaces. If all the spaces of a color are full, yet there is still traffic of that color, that traffic will pass on to the next town!
* The only exception to the two above rules is that if a business on the opposite side of the road has a neon sign, it will attract one car to stop.
Player 1 has only 4 red parking spaces westbound and has 3 parking spaces eastbound in a business with a neon sign. He would place 4 red cars in the westbound business, 1 in the eastbound business (w/neon sign) and pass 5 red cars on to Player 2 (to his left). Once westbound traffic is resolved, eastbound is resolved with extra traffic having the option of pulling in to westbound business with neon and the extra passing to the player on the right.
Any cars that would pass on through the second town are discarded from play.
Once the traffic is resolved, players will score money based how many people stopped, what level the business is at (has it been upgraded), various combos (cafe next to a station will score more for both, like Patrick noted), as well as the possible impact from the traffic cards.
After that, all traffic is returned to a common pile and the next day (round) of play will start.
Points you have mentioned:
Pete mentioned the possibility of gearing the game towards the decline of Route 66. That is somewhat factored in since I plan on the game representing a year in (or possibly the life) Route 66. The traffic deck will be split into three parts; Early, Middle, Decline. The early part of the deck will have more traffic west than east (generally there was more tourist traffic initially heading west, so the start of the season would reflect this), the middle part of the deck will have west/east in a fairly balanced amount, and the last part of the deck will have more eastbound traffic than westbound (representing folks returning home in the east at the end of the season). This will present a small version of the growth/boom/decline as the traffic builds, peaks, and then tapers off. The endgame comes in the third deck with the Interstate card (representing the opening of the Interstate highway system and the decline of Route 66). That is randomly shuffled in to the last half of the third deck. When it is drawn it is immediately revealed and any cards to the left of it are invalid. The last round is played with only the traffic cards to the right of the Interstate card. If the fourth player draws the Interstate card, the round if played only using the traffic cards drawn by the first, second & third players. The card drawn by the fifth player is ignored including the optional action. If the first player draws the Interstate card, the game is immediately over with no further play of any kind taking place.
Claymore mentioned the possibility of building different towns. I'll explain the towns and businesses. Each town is 10 squares wide with two squares north of the road and three squares south of the road (see the Historical Considerations below). Each business will be a different Tetris type shape and each TYPE of business will be a particular color but will span all of the shapes. This means that when players are bidding on a business they may need it for the color or for the shape (hopefully for both) but they will need to balance both in order to best fill their town and still be able to attract all types of tourists. I had envisioned each town to graphically represent one of the states on Route 66 (Illinois, Missouri/Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas/New Mexico, Arizona, California: not sure if it will play up to six or not).
Also the buildings will be sorted by shape, with only the top of each stack available for selection for bidding. Once a stack has been exhausted (either by all business of that shape purchased or discarded) a few things will happen. The stack of discarded business will be flipped over, showing their improved side and they will be placed back in for auction; all other businesses already in play can now be improved; and the BIG ATTRACTIONS will become available for bid.
The Big Attractions will cover a large amount of space in town, attract all types of tourists, and handle several cars. Big Attractions are: Canyon, Caverns, Presidential Home, & Forest. However, the Big Attractions are difficult to place because they are shaped like a Tetris W.
As I said above, there was generally more initial tourist traffic westbound than eastbound. Because of this, property on the north side of the road sold for a higher price than property on the south side. The thought was that folks heading west, on the start of their vacation would have more money and be willing to spend more time. Also popular was the notion that drivers didn't want to wait to turn across traffic to stop and then pull out again across traffic. Therefore, a businessman would pay more for land on the north side of Route 66 than on the south side. Also, a business on the south side would spend more on neon in order to entice the westbound drivers to stop.
To reflect this in the game, there is less room on the north side of the road than on the south side. I didn't want to factor cost of land into the building, but this causes more restrictions on the building where the land is prime. Also, traffic heading one direction is more likely to continue on to the next town (to make good time) rather than risking pulling across traffic twice.
I really appreciate your input. Writing it out in this manner is helping me formulate the structure of the rules and allowing me to articulate various aspects of the game I found hard to verbalize.
Coming up: The options on the Traffic Cards, Advertising, and more ideas (do these go into the base game or as expansions?)
edited to clarify historical info.
- Last edited Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:32 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:59 am