apologies if this idea is nothing new In the hit game Bio Shock, one could take the action of 'hacking' the various devices like drones and vending machines and safes in the underwater city of Rapture. This process was represented through a slightly more abstract puzzle game the player had to solve within a short time. Here is a video of this wonderful bit of BioShock:
I was considering using some sort of more abstract sub game like this in a similar manner for a certain action. I thought that one could even incorporate this mechanic in between player turns to both give you something to do with your down time and incentive other players to reduce their own down time (the player doing this at the end of their turn would have until the start of their next to complete the puzzle/game). Resulting in a total war on down time.
But I have no idea what sort of varying abstract puzzle or solitaire sort of game like this I would use. (I guess one could always do something that mimics bioshock through the use of upside down cards but that seems... unoriginal/uninspired)
I reckon it would need to be 1 - able to be completed rather quickly but not so fast one is not pressed for time in a strategy game turn sequence, 2 - sufficiently different to solve each time, 3 - time/difficulty variable to factor in variable numbers of players or perhaps conditions that affect your ability to complete the task, 4 - nothing electronic/mechanical (though a simple mechanical thing would not be so horrible, certainly better than electronic to me)
You need something that someone cannot easily cheat at while the other players' attentions are elsewhere.
Also, there needs to be a definitive completion so that the player can shout "done" just in time before the previous player ends there turn. Actually, you'll also need some action or shout that all players have to do to mark the end of their turn so there isn't a grey area between player turns.
You will need some time of control gadget, and some type of way to make the advance over the board. These two gadgets are very complex and I can’t conceive them without electronics or a huge mechanic one.
Other approach is having counters. This is my idea (number may differ, since no play testing has been made)
1 st you chose board size ( to start 6x6)
2 nd you randomly chose the start and end points, they must be at least 5 squares away on the best way.
3 rd you choose level of difficulty, number of no pipes, and number of bombs (to see)
4 th you shuffle the no pipes, the bombs and the normal tiles (number of normal tiles = total squares - bombs - no pipe) and place them on the board.
5 th take 6 (need play testing) time tokens and use them. With a time token you can, turn one tile to see the pipe and change two pipes you can see. Every time you spend the five tokens you move the flood token one space. The flood token start of the table, after the first 5 time token it goes to the start point and after another 5 time tokens it goes to the board if possible. Extra rules: you cannot have more than 4 tiles not connected to starting point open, if you have more than 4, you chose one to turn over again. If you open a bomb tile you have to pay 3 time tokens immediately to turn it over again ( if you don’t have enough tokens, the flood token advance and you get only the remaining time tokens, ex: you have two time tokens, spend one to turn a tile and get a bomb, so you spend the remaining time token, move the flood token, receive the remaining 3 time tokens). Any moment you can flush and the flood token goes free.
6 th ending the game: the flood token arrives to the ending point and you win, or, the flood token goes off and you lose.
I think I nail it, a little work and this may work... To Do: number of types of pipe tiles to have a decent odds.
While it seems good in theory, I've tried mini-games in board games before and they always sputter from two flaws:
1. Shifting Information. Even doing simple math/comprehension problems between player turns forces the player to focus on the mini-game's information rather than the in-game information. The player prioritizes the two incoming information streams and one will always be regarded as unimportant. Player tends to disregard that part of the game from then on.
2. Timing Problems. One or more players will have to assume the responsibility of syncing the mini-game plays with the in-game turns. Time/effort must be devoted to keeping the mini-game in-sync with the in-game, moving downtime from one place to another as a player must be "informed" of what other players did on their turn.
One thing of note: Mini-games are designed in video games largely to breakup in-game portions of play. A player becomes exhausted with the in-game and the mini-game serves as temporary environment for the player to recoup. Its hard to emulate the need as video games are played for longer sessions than traditional board games (if a player needs a break from your board game, then the board game is too long).