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Subject: Starting a new game. Does one like this already exist? rss

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Samuel Muscat
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So it's a fairly complex (but hopefully quite intuitive and elegant) economic game, and rather than 'Trading In The Mediterranean', it's 'Trading In The Baltic Sea'. It is more thematic than a standard euro.

Each player is a business-person in the Hansa, a medieval maritime trading league in Northern Europe. They will each be based in a different town on the coastline of Northern Europe.

What makes the game more interesting than a standard trading game is the way production works, and also the way that 'time' plays a part in the game.

The players are trying to develop their towns. Buildings in a town produce either primary or secondary resources. Each player starts being able to produce 1 unique primary resource and 1 unique secondary resource. Primary resources are used to produce secondary resources at the correct building. Secondary resources are used for building more buildings, and other special actions.

Example:
Primary production building - Clay pit, produces clay
Secondary production building - Kiln, requires clay, produces bricks

However, what if I have a kiln but no clay pit? Well, I'll have to negotiate with a player who does have a clay pit and import the resource. Perhaps I offer to give him half the bricks I produce, maybe I offer him coins.

However, to make the game more thematic, things will take more than 1 turn to do. For instance, trading with another player will literally involve moving a little wooden ship across the sea to visit the town of that player (taking more than 1 turn). Producing a secondary good takes more than 1 turn. Building a new building takes more than 1 turn. Players can also play 'investment' cards, which are expensive to play, but will give a return a few turns time.

How will I stop that being a boring waiting game? Well, if I get it right, the player will have at least 1 action being completed each turn, and be starting at least 1 other action. The player will still be making interesting decisions every turn, but forward planning is important because nothing is instant. Players will keep track how long until something is complete using simple visual cues. For instance, building a house - when played to the board, the house is on its side. Next turn, the player can stand the house upright to show its completion.

What I basically want to know is while there are games with a 'pick up and deliver' mechanic and trading mechanics, have they been combined in this way (coupled with the 2 tiered production system).

This game sounds complicated to describe. However, I've thought of intuitive, visual ways to keep track of the game's elements.

Also, there will be pirates.
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Zé Mário
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Sounds great!
Comparable games? Maybe Serenissima (first edition) or Merchant of Venus, but not much.
 
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Pete Belli
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Interesting.

Perhaps you can take a peek at...

Hansa



...or this game...

Die Hanse





...for inspiration.




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Samuel Muscat
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Thanks for the tips. Might have to try those games out.

Balancing this one is going to be a bitch; there's a lot of variables.
 
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Sam Mercer
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Samuel:

I am in it and well up for helping you out for the Pirates and because your name is awesome.

Ace,

Samuel
 
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Henrik Lewinsky
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One important question:

How do you win? You mention developing towns so I am assuming that victory has something to do with having the best developed town.

Remember that all mechanics and interesting features are secondary to the primary goal. If I am collecting wealth, then all I am really interested in is how much "gold" the buildings can potentially produce for me. Am I building fancy palaces, then I am interested in the potential for building materials and there will be a very important point in the game where I shift focus from building for future production into building for victory points.
 
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Donald Walsh
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Maybe sounds a little like Space Dealer, only without the non-calibrated sand timers. (I've never played it).

Also, maybe a little like Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean?
 
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Paul DeStefano
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There are hundreds of wargames about the Civil War. Hundreds about zombies. Hundreds of worker placement games.

It really doesn't matter if there already a game like yours as long as you can carve a different enough beast that it stands on its own merit.
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Zé Mário
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Geosphere wrote:
There are hundreds of wargames about the Civil War. Hundreds about zombies. Hundreds of worker placement games.


Not many about the big zombie civil war, though.
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Agent J
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The the ones that are about the zombie civil war don't have worker placement so that's a niche right there.
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David Sevier
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Not a board game, but you may want to check out the Patrician series of computer games. They're very similar to what you're trying to do (although more complicated, of course). Might be some good inspiration in there.
 
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J. Alex Kevern
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I like this idea a lot. I've been playing around with an idea of a variable market game, where players set their own prices for the resources they produce-- if you set the price too high, players may forgo doing business with you and just invest in producing it themselves, and you'll be out potential money. This type of mechanic might fit in well with this game.

Also, since things take multiple turns to complete in your game (to produce bricks, for example), I can imagine games taking quite some time. One thing to consider is to not have the time frame be turns, but actions. Players could get 3 actions per turn-- producing a small good only takes 1 action, but producing a large good takes all 3 actions. So, players could produce 3 small goods, 1 large good, or some combination of small goods and other things that take actions. Perhaps there can be buildings that give you more actions, so you can increase production and do more on your turn.

Let me know what you think... If you don't like these ideas I might pursue them myself!
 
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Samuel Muscat
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Chipawah wrote:
One important question:

How do you win? You mention developing towns so I am assuming that victory has something to do with having the best developed town.

Remember that all mechanics and interesting features are secondary to the primary goal. If I am collecting wealth, then all I am really interested in is how much "gold" the buildings can potentially produce for me. Am I building fancy palaces, then I am interested in the potential for building materials and there will be a very important point in the game where I shift focus from building for future production into building for victory points.


Well, I have a few possible victory conditions, but I think possibly it will be 'to be the first player to have built every production building'. It's sort of a build-your-own-machine thing - each production building will have different costs, and each good they produce will have different bonuses. By assessing the random buildings you start with, you have to work out the most efficient way to have eventually built all the other buildings.


Mephansteras wrote:
Not a board game, but you may want to check out the Patrician series of computer games. They're very similar to what you're trying to do (although more complicated, of course). Might be some good inspiration in there.


Yeah... I'm trying to not be an exact rip-off of Patrician XD. The game is essentially meant to be a simplified, streamlined, boardgamey version of Patrician. I played Patrician III for a couple of hours, found it kinda stressful in realtime and wished there were a simpler, turn-based version of the game and came up with this
 
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Samuel Muscat
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mistergnome wrote:
I like this idea a lot. I've been playing around with an idea of a variable market game, where players set their own prices for the resources they produce-- if you set the price too high, players may forgo doing business with you and just invest in producing it themselves, and you'll be out potential money. This type of mechanic might fit in well with this game.

Also, since things take multiple turns to complete in your game (to produce bricks, for example), I can imagine games taking quite some time. One thing to consider is to not have the time frame be turns, but actions. Players could get 3 actions per turn-- producing a small good only takes 1 action, but producing a large good takes all 3 actions. So, players could produce 3 small goods, 1 large good, or some combination of small goods and other things that take actions. Perhaps there can be buildings that give you more actions, so you can increase production and do more on your turn.

Let me know what you think... If you don't like these ideas I might pursue them myself!


Good points about the actions. I'm very keen on the turn-time thing, but playtesting will reveal whether or this makes the game last too long. The way I envisaged it, only the first couple of turns will feel like there is 'waiting'. Other turns should have previous actions being resolved and new actions being taken, so the flow of play should be maintained from then on. If it takes more than 3 hours, I'll consider action point allowance.

The variable market idea was the thing that first attracted me to the idea, actually. Avoiding degeneration of the game will involve ways of taking currency in and out of play, and also allowing a player with whom nobody wants to trade (perhaps they're winning, or their resources aren't in demand) to participate in the game, which is where the idea of piracy came from. Ideally, players will avoid any treachery until they're on the edge of winning and everyone has stopped trade with them, but I guess people could use the (simple) mechanic to be a dick. If they're a dick, other players could just embargo them, so their loss.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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I like your ideas, and no, I haven't seen anything that looks exactly what you've described.

Of the games I have in my collection, Puerto Rico is probably the closest thing to a thematic build-up-an economy turn-by-turn. But it doesn't have any trading involved. But now that I think of it ... Dominion may have some ideas you can use.

I've actually been toying around with ideas similar to yours ... but just in my head. So ... to share:

-- how about using cards instead of the "visual cue / mini house" ... might make for a cheaper game to prototype. The "house" card would be on it's side while it's being built ... and when it is built, you place it right-side-up.

-- resources would be represented by tokens or chits.

-- stacking tokens/chits on top of cards can then be used to give an indication of the build progress. So if the "house" card needed 2 brick and 2 wood, you can assign brick and wood tokens to it (or to other buildings).

-- how about a "randomized" production timetable? You may be the president of the company and give orders around, but you certainly have less control over what your workers do. So ... what if your production stack is literally a stack of cards that is shuffled up.

.... you can go Dominion-style and essentially have each card be a production building. In your example, you mentioned Clay Pits and Kilns; and you probably have something that just produces coins regularly. So say you start your "deck" with 2 Clay Pits, 2 Kilns, and 1 Coin-Producer.

.... still on the Dominion-style mechanic ... your "production/worker strength" is the number of cards you draw from that deck. Let's say you start with a worker strength of 5 -- so you get to draw all 5 of your starter cards.

.... still on the Dominion-style mechanic ... you "spend" the cards in your hand to do things -- and these things are cards from the common stack ("bank") and are either added to your deck, or they go to a construction spot in front of you first...

... so say, you want to build that house. Maybe you spend 1 coin-card to get the house blueprint card from the "bank". Then you spend your 2 clay pit cards to get 2 clay tokens. Then you spend 2 kiln cards to turn the 2 clay tokens to 2 brick tokens. Lastly, you put the 2 bricks onto the house blueprint card (which is now under construction).

... or maybe you want to trade one of those bricks away. So you spend your 1 coin-card to get a merchant ship card and a "trade arrives" card from the bank. You process your clay into bricks like before, but this time, you place one brick on the merchant ship card (as if it's under construction). Now you give the "trade arrives" card to the player you want to trade with, and that card will eventually come up in their deck.

........ wow ... now I gotta go try to build this Dominion-style game...

hmmm... "Dominions of Catan" ... sounds catchy.

edit: forgot to add ...

Increasing worker strength would be a key way of cycling through that deck quickly. I'm guessing that Houses should allow you to get +1 Worker Strength, but that's based on what I've described above.

edit2: ... piracy! Woot!

You could adopt the Dominion "lose 2 cards" idea ... or, since we've got resource tokens floating around, it could become "take 2 tokens" instead.
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Agent J
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Check out Container for pricing goods and supply-demand markets...
 
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Samuel Muscat
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Stormtower wrote:
I like your ideas, and no, I haven't seen anything that looks exactly what you've described.

Of the games I have in my collection, Puerto Rico is probably the closest thing to a thematic build-up-an economy turn-by-turn. But it doesn't have any trading involved. But now that I think of it ... Dominion may have some ideas you can use.

I've actually been toying around with ideas similar to yours ... but just in my head. So ... to share:

...


A lot of stuff here! I've not actually played Dominion yet (I know, I know). Sounds like your vision is very different to mine I like the idea of using cards for prototypes though.
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Agent J
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Whatever you end up with, I just hope there isn't any impressing of Kings involved.
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Matt Green
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You need to look at Kogge. Sounds like a similar concept with the same setting.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Sketel wrote:
Stormtower wrote:
..........
I've actually been toying around with ideas similar to yours ... but just in my head. So ... to share:

...


A lot of stuff here! I've not actually played Dominion yet (I know, I know). Sounds like your vision is very different to mine......


Ah, that's great! So I can go ahead and start designing something without worrying too much about it being too similar to yours! (You know .... this is actually why I started shying away from BGG ... I get inspired by ideas like this and spend a lot of time just daydreaming / puzzling over possible mechanics)
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Dave
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The game play sounds a bit like Roads & Boats which is generally good imo, but it definitely puts you over the 3 hour mark.

Maybe you could cut down on time and fiddliness by abstracting away the map a la Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization and focusing on the economic elements.
 
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