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Subject: Idea for a game involving time travel rss

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Chris Deliz
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In the last 15 minutes or so I had an idea about a game where players were competing for dominance of some sort, playing cards to develop themselves while at the same time being able to go "back in time" and play cards in previous turns. The purpose of this would be to foil the plans of other players, or cause some small change that winds up putting you ahead. I'm thinking that developing countries competing for glory would be a logical concept. You're trying to be the best, be it through economics, warfare, etc. and at some point, people discover a way to travel back in time, at the cost of a special energy source. Countries now start wrecking havoc on the past to benefit themselves in the future, like sending future technology back to the past so that the country becomes more developed in the present than it would normally be, or killing an important leader of another country when he was just a baby so that he could never go on to lead the country to victory in war against you. These are my brainstorms from the last 10 minutes:

Time travel around a circle of 12 slots in time.

The board is designed like a clock, a circle with 12 divisions.

Each period of time is comprised of 12 turns.

At each turn, one can play cards in the present building off of the past events. (ie. Dominant Nation cards, etc.)

You can also pay time crystals to play a card in a time period X turns before (ie. If on turn 6 you want to play onto turn 3, it will cost you 3 time crystals).

Critical Events will change relations between players (Countries, Gods, whathaveyou)

There is a limit to how far back in time things can be played (because no one wants to figure out the ramifications of changing a minute detail that happened 60 turns ago).


This is all I have thus far. Where should I take this concept? Any advice or references?
 
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Chris Deliz
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Some other ideas that I've had:

Each nation has stats to determine its power. So far I have Leadership, Technology, Economy, and Military. Each one determines what you can do and how you stack up against the other countries. You must also use these stats as a basis for waging war and similar things. Time travel would allow you to play cards in the past that change these stats. Going back to the technology being brought back to the past example, this would raise your technology score significantly in the past, which would increase your technology level for the next turn, and the next turn, and so on, until it got to the current turn. Through this one card, you have manipulated time to make your technology level soar above the rest of the players. Very effective stuff.
 
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Chris Fell
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You have some cool ideas. Have you played Chrononauts?
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Scott Nelson
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yep, Chrononauts does most fo that. Also Khronos by Matagot does some of the mechanisms but in a visual way.
 
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Domenic
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That is interesting.

You seem to be thinking of the time travel mechanic as a small part of a much larger game, but I think you could really make it the focus of your design. If you have twelve time periods and each holds one card for each player, you're going to need to dedicate quite a bit of space to the time-clock, which won't leave a lot of room for the rest of your game.

The devil is in the details, of course. So let's try to bring it down to one specific implementation to start.

I'm imagining an economic engine-building game, where you invest resources in things that give you more resources, until you have enough resources to win.

To take a simple example, say I just have one resource: $. To win, I must play the "You Win" card, which costs $50. I start the game with $25. Each turn, I collect the interest (20%) on my prior investments, or else I cash them out by removing them from the board. Separately, I collect one time crystal each turn, which allows me to alter an event one step in the past.

No time travel:
Turn 1, I place my $25 on the board.
Turn 2, I collect $5, and place it on the board.
Turn 3, I collect $6 and place it.
Turn 4, I collect $7 and place it.
Turn 5, I collect $8 and place it.
Turn 6, I cash out all my investments for $50 and win.

With time travel, we make a rule that when you place an investment in the past, you immediately collect the simple interest for all of the elapsed time.

Turn 1, I place my $25 on the board.
Turn 2, I collect $5 and place it on the board.
Turn 3, I collect $6 and place it on the board.
Turn 4, I cash out my $36 in investments and spend my 3 time travel crystals to put $36 down on Turn 1. I immediately receive $7 for each of Turns 2-4, so I get $21 in cash.
Turn 5, I cash out my $36 investment and win, with $7 left over.
 
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Chris Deliz
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isearch wrote:
You have some cool ideas. Have you played Chrononauts?


I'd never heard of Chrononauts until a friend mentioned it to me a few minutes ago as I was talking to him about this idea. The concepts behind it interest me, but I'm looking at a less filler, more strategic entry into the theme. I'm also not planning on making this based in real history, as that might alienate those unfamiliar with the history being presented, or cause other problems. Not to say that Chrononauts doesn't look like a ton of fun.

ropearoni4 wrote:
yep, Chrononauts does most fo that. Also Khronos by Matagot does some of the mechanisms but in a visual way.


I'll look into Khronos. It sounds like it might help me out.
 
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Chris Deliz
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dommer2029 wrote:
That is interesting.

You seem to be thinking of the time travel mechanic as a small part of a much larger game, but I think you could really make it the focus of your design. If you have twelve time periods and each holds one card for each player, you're going to need to dedicate quite a bit of space to the time-clock, which won't leave a lot of room for the rest of your game.

The devil is in the details, of course. So let's try to bring it down to one specific implementation to start.

I'm imagining an economic engine-building game, where you invest resources in things that give you more resources, until you have enough resources to win.

To take a simple example, say I just have one resource: $. To win, I must play the "You Win" card, which costs $50. I start the game with $25. Each turn, I collect the interest (20%) on my prior investments, or else I cash them out by removing them from the board. Separately, I collect one time crystal each turn, which allows me to alter an event one step in the past.

No time travel:
Turn 1, I place my $25 on the board.
Turn 2, I collect $5, and place it on the board.
Turn 3, I collect $6 and place it.
Turn 4, I collect $7 and place it.
Turn 5, I collect $8 and place it.
Turn 6, I cash out all my investments for $50 and win.

With time travel, we make a rule that when you place an investment in the past, you immediately collect the simple interest for all of the elapsed time.

Turn 1, I place my $25 on the board.
Turn 2, I collect $5 and place it on the board.
Turn 3, I collect $6 and place it on the board.
Turn 4, I cash out my $36 in investments and spend my 3 time travel crystals to put $36 down on Turn 1. I immediately receive $7 for each of Turns 2-4, so I get $21 in cash.
Turn 5, I cash out my $36 investment and win, with $7 left over.


Yes, this is largely what I was going for in this game. I almost feel as if I was starting to veer off-course of the time manipulation theme, so thanks for reminding me of what really matters here!

Now, on that note, time travel would still be the crucial element of the game. All the things like war and such would just be very simplified, almost to the level of gambling in Red Dragon Inn. They would be done largely through the stats of the countries involved, and time travel would be used to change those stats before-hand, changing the results of an event. Say you wage war against a country with far superior military. You can't get anyone to come help you for some reason, so you lose. The winner decides the victory conditions, but before he can do that, you use time crystals to play a card in the past that removes his technology-reliant card that he used to develop his military in the first place. By doing so, he's now the losing side, and you can make demands for victory.

On that note, perhaps you only get one action per turn, and time travel replaces the action that you took during whatever turn you travel to. This might keep things from being too confusing, or prevent abuse of time travel. What say you, fellow geeks?

EDIT: added a link to The Red Dragon Inn just to be safe.
 
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Craig Somerton
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Interesting concept.

Just off the top of my head as a really simplified concept, I can also envision a Dominion style of empire building game, where you have staged civilisational developments.

You can play cards to advance your technology in different streams of development OR you can jump back in time and affect someone else's development, which then has a flow-on effect into the future, i.e put this development back on the draw pile. It could get very nasty.

Perhaps a defined number of cards and once exhausted, the game is over. Total the developments to find a winner.

Oooohhh... I can see something in that that could be worth exploring.
 
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B C Z
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Look at Time Agent for a massively crunchy war-game type game.
 
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Chris Deliz
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anomander64 wrote:
Interesting concept.

Just off the top of my head as a really simplified concept, I can also envision a Dominion style of empire building game, where you have staged civilisational developments.

You can play cards to advance your technology in different streams of development OR you can jump back in time and affect someone else's development, which then has a flow-on effect into the future, i.e put this development back on the draw pile. It could get very nasty.

Perhaps a defined number of cards and once exhausted, the game is over. Total the developments to find a winner.

Oooohhh... I can see something in that that could be worth exploring.


I kind of like this idea, but on the condition that after a round ends (ie. 12 turns pass), everything that's been played during that round is set in stone, and can't be changed afterwards. I also think that time travel will be disallowed for the first round or so, allowing people to get a bearing for how the game works before the time travel element makes an entrance.

Let's think of it this way. There's the big clock-shaped field in the center, and at the edges of the board are individual player spaces. The clock area is where cards are played during a round. At this stage, anyone can use time travel or other effects to change these cards. After the 12th turn, the round is over. All cards which are active (face-up) and all time-related chit quantities on the board (Investments, etc.) are sent back to their respective players. De-activated events (face-down cards) are removed and sent to either a central deck, or a player deck, or however this will be organized. The cards that you have stored at the bottom are what determine your stats for the next round. They would also determine the scoring, which would either be done based on the value of each card, or by achieving the most advanced status in some facet of any of the players (greatest military, largest population, etc.)

Right now, the biggest issue is keeping a focus on using time travel to dramatically change events. Because of the scope of the problem, I agree with Domenic that the mechanics should be taken one at a time for each facet of the game. The major stats that I'm considering now are Population, Economy, Technology, and Military. I'm also considering a fifth based on keeping a united populace, which would be a necessary support for mobilizing support for a war, or similar things. In the end, it may not be necessary.

Population seems a logical first step. My thinking is that your Population is almost your hit points in a way. A nation more or less cannot exist without a Population (though this does not mean that players can be eliminated from the game!). Population is a required resource for almost any action in the game, making having a population very important. A population will grow by some small amount each turn, which could be increased or decreased by various cards played by you or your opponents.

Another idea is that Population determines how many actions you can take each turn, as in, you can only do as much as you have people with which to do it.
 
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