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Subject: Randomized Board issues rss

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Scott Arnone
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So, for the design I am currently tinkering with, I wanted a modular board that could be randomized so that the city in which the game takes place would be different every time.

However, I'm running into some issues with it.

Since it is a cityscape that I'm dealing with, there are a lot of aspects that would need to be on the tiles. The little things are easy enough to get right, but things like the buildings actually end up being kind of difficult.

You essentially have to make every building you have contained within a single tile, because there's no guarantee you're going to get a piece on the next draw that looks decent.

So, what I'm wondering is, what are some other options to keep a fairly large board interesting if randomization maybe isn't an option?

This is a design where, I think, that memorizing the paths through the city would really subtract from the game. The changing landscape would be a big draw as it would allow for there to always be something new.

My one thought is doing something like Mr. Jack in New York, where the board is mostly empty and then the pieces are placed by the players. So that the general size and shape of the city would be constant, but rather than full on tiles being drawn and laid out, the player's would simply be placing the features.

Any other options out there that I likely haven't encountered?

 
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Stephen Sauer
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What about smaller panels of the game board that each contain preset tile positions. Then you can arrange the (eg. 4-8) panels differently each game, so there is some randomness to the setup but areas of the city are still set?
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Scott Arnone
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nikky_hack wrote:
What about smaller panels of the game board that each contain preset tile positions. Then you can arrange the (eg. 4-8) panels differently each game, so there is some randomness to the setup but areas of the city are still set?


I had thought about that--doing something like "neighborhoods" or "blocks" essentially, and having you mix and match those. I had just thought that having large areas of the board not be random might be just as bad as the whole thing, as a large part of the game is figuring out how to move through your environment and get from point A to point B.

But that is still definitely something I'm considering.
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elementary
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What if you had far more tiles available than are required to make the city map?

So for example, if you had a Carcassone big box set of tiles, you could pass the bag around and make a 5x5 "map", tossing aside any tile that didn't fit.

Would a similar approach work for your design?
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Scott Arnone
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elementary wrote:
What if you had far more tiles available than are required to make the city map?

So for example, if you had a Carcassone big box set of tiles, you could pass the bag around and make a 5x5 "map", tossing aside any tile that didn't fit.

Would a similar approach work for your design?


It could. And again I had considered it. But I wasn't sure how well that approach would be received. Having to dig through numerous tiles to find one that will fit might not be considered fun.

But that is another approach that I'm definitely thinking about. At least in part.
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Eurojuegos Buenos Aires
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How about randomizing larger areas instead of single buildings?

Have large neighborhood tiles (4-8 blocks/buildings)
Have tiles of different sizes
Have non-active tiles (river, lake, hills, forest) to separate active tiles even more
Make the tiles flippable (¿?) printed in both sides
Have more tiles to choose than there will be actually used

Remember Carc! make room for expansions!

Keep thinking!
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Christopher Todesco
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I as well had the thought of larger tiles containing blocks/neighborhoods instead of one-building-per-tile... Take a look at the new Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game-- aside from the horrible aesthetics, they have 16 squares per tile, rather than one-to-one. This makes each tile "familiar" like a traditional single-board, but they assemble in different ways to create new paths and combinations.

I also like the suggestion of games like Mr. Jack and Monsterpocalypse, where a single board is "set" but you change the position of the buildings. This ensures that the high value targets, what really matters, aren't in the same place every time.
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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When I hear "city" I think uniform street running at regular intervals. So you have big tiles that contain a whole city block with several buildings on each side. The interior of each block varies depending on how many alleys there are between buildings. But the edge of the tiles should just be half of a street with some illegally parked cars on some of the tiles. Cars move on the edges between tiles. You can even declare every other street in the "horizontal" direction are interleaved one way streets. (Horizontal is oriented off a city hall square or something.)

Depending on how big the tiles are, there may be a passable alley or two that may or may not meet up with a passable alley on the next tile.

So you won't end up with weird diagonal streets or annoying circles. Do you need them?
 
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Andrew Chirgwin
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I'm seeing a setup phase where you have quasi-Carcassonne.

A bag of "City Blocks" with streets. You play the "City Hall" (or some other Starter Tile) then each player draws a City Block Tile, plays it and so on around the circle.

AFTER People get to populate the streets and blocks with a separate set of cards/tiles.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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jmucchiello wrote:
When I hear "city" I think uniform street running at regular intervals. So you have big tiles that contain a whole city block with several buildings on each side. The interior of each block varies depending on how many alleys there are between buildings. But the edge of the tiles should just be half of a street with some illegally parked cars on some of the tiles. Cars move on the edges between tiles. You can even declare every other street in the "horizontal" direction are interleaved one way streets. (Horizontal is oriented off a city hall square or something.)

Depending on how big the tiles are, there may be a passable alley or two that may or may not meet up with a passable alley on the next tile.

So you won't end up with weird diagonal streets or annoying circles. Do you need them?


This actually sounds cool. There is a lot we can do with it if we are assuming travel by car.

It wouldn't be necessary to designate certain streets as one-way. Just use the obstructions printed on the tiles. Since the streets are the tile edges, each lane will be printed on one tile. If both lanes are blocked, you can't use the street. If only one lane is blocked, it only prevents travel in one direction.

Pre-printed one ways could still be utilized for minor roads cutting across the tiles.

We can include "traffic" tokens as well that are more dynamic and block a lane, but will move around throughout the game, making the pathing more dynamic.

Since the tile "corners" will be intersections, we can also print features on these tiles that modify the "cost" of pathing but don't block it. For instance, when you come to a corner with a stop sign, you have to spend an extra unit of time (waiting for the traffic to clear).

If your game isn't about driving, this won't help much... but hopefully it gives some ideas.
 
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Scott Arnone
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Actually (and I guess I should have been more clear) it would be a fantasy/steam-punkish city, and the main mode of travel for the players would be on foot (though, the rooftops and all would need to be spaces as well).

However, what I'm running into as I test things is that it is really hard to find a balance of scale and speed. If I don't let the characters move enough, it doesn't capture the parkour feel I'm looking for. If they can move too much, then they can cross the board and get to the target in no time.

And if I make the spaces smaller, then I have to deal with having to pack art + information into smaller squares, and on top of that, if you make the city bigger, it can still end up feeling like they aren't moving fast enough.

It's kind of a tricky situation, I'm finding.
 
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Nathan Little
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If you are worried that the buildings themselves will be dull if uniform if you have a building to a tile, I propose having the tile being a quarter of a building. Have 2 marks for orientation in diagonally opposing corners:

___ ___
|0//|///|
|////|///|
|////|///|
|////|//x|

that way a large building can be made out of 4 tiles. When you lay down tiles, randomly, the tiles get oriented so their X's or O's touch or whatever you use.

--
Nathan
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monchi
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two games come to mind. Have you played Tobago? I find Tobago's board to be very interesting and it provides a number of different configurations. You have 3 game boards that are double sided and go together like a puzzle. The way it deals with buildings and so forth is that you have huts, tree, and statues that you randomly place on the board once it is set up. You can have restrictions as to placement that will ensure there is enough space between things on your board.

The other game, a little more obscure, is Feudo. Feudo uses 4 square game cards that you align with a space in the centre of the board. The cells on the board run off the edge of the board. Even though each cell is a different size and shape where they run off the board they have the same size opening so no matter how you align the boards they will form a connected board. Each panel has buildings or forest on them, so there are tons of different ways you can configure the board.

 
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Hunter E
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I'd recommend picking up a copy of Zombies!!! and taking a look at how they did it. Just, just don't do something stupid like trying to play it; you'll regret it.
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Andrew Chirgwin
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So basically we're looking at Steampunk-Parkour Malcolm X the boardgame (with a Random Map)?


Again, I'd suggest you have a bunch of equally-sized but internally different "City Block" tiles to help randomise the layout. Those tiles can be forced by the rule to make up a X by X City Block Grid. (Size of the City Block Grid would be dictated by the number of players/game speed).

Onto the City Blocks would be another pile of "Building Pieces". There would be some "Block-Sized" Buildings, some "1/2 Block Buildings" and some "1/4 Block Buildings". The players are forced to put the buildings onto the board in ways that can fit. Each player would get randomly assigned buildings of the 3 different sizes as a "hand". They play a building from their hand in order.

If they can't fit a Building onto any of the Blocks (because people have already part-occupied a 1/2-block building space with a 1/4-block building for example) the building is discarded and the next player chooses the next building.

This phase of the game ends when every player either a) has no buildings left to place or b) no legal placements for their buildings. This also means that there can be "empty lots" in your city.

Then players begin the Parkour-Malcolm X phase.
 
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Richard Smith
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Re: Randomized Board issues - not having lots of random tiles.
InkSplat wrote:
...
So, what I'm wondering is, what are some other options to keep a fairly large board interesting if randomization maybe isn't an option?

...
Any other options out there that I likely haven't encountered?


Some suggestions in no real order:

-- Large printed map with just a few places for tiles. These tiles tho, are key in changing the topology. So routes etc. will change significantly depending on where the tiles go. You only have a few tiles but these tiles are important, and significantly change the game. For example, a tile usually goes down at a 3 way intersection, but a tile changes it into a steam lift that takes you to the top of the buildings. The other two streets dead end, with clockwork monsters.

-- If you are only going to have a few tiles, they can have special rules associated with them. Thus the game will play differently depending on which are drawn. (Or at least which are drawn first if you can't afford to print plenty of extra tiles.)

-- Standard map, but each game you pick 1 to 3 cards from an environment deck. These cards might be things like a dense coal fog (limits line of sight), poring rain (lowers speed), lighting storm (free power), etc. The same map can have very different feel from play to play if the rules change between those plays.

-- Put down objects on standard street plan. On one standard street you place a sentient insect like clockwork crane which wants to dip you in the juice vat. Suddenly the standard route looks less appealing.

-- Have player take different characters each time they play where the characters have reasons to take different routes. The mad scientists prefer to take the sewers because of the corpses floating there, where as the wing men like the roof tops because they can jump small gaps.

-- Players get a bonus for assembling inventions but the parts they need are scattered about randomly each play. Do they rush thru or take side paths to build up their bonuses. If loaded down with junk, they move slower, which affects how the terrain feels.

On a more theoretical level, changing state variables from play to play can give each game a different feel using the same map. Ideally you would like 2 or 3 state variables changing each game so you have a combinatorial increase in variety. This sentence likely needs an example if you are weak on math:

STATE VARIABLE ONE: Random characters each game. 8 characters.
STATE VARIABLE TWO: Environmental effects. 6 types.
STATE VARIABLE THREE: Important objects. 25 typically 5 found per game.

So a given player will have 48 combinations of characters and environments. And they will experience 5 choose 25 combinations of objects = 53,130 combinations.

So you have 53,130 * 48 = 2,550,240 different games the players will experience. All with out picking random tiles. For a nice example of this, look at how the game "Space Alert" provides so much variety with only 8 sound tracks.

Warm regards, Rick.
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