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Subject: making resources valuable without using scarcity rss

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Daniel Howard
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Hello there,

I'm looking for some new ideas as to how I can make resources more 'valuable' without relying on them being scarcer.

So say I have a game with 3 resources, all of which are equally obtainable by the players. How do I go about making particular resources differ in their value.

I don't mean in terms of direct value, (for example on resource being comparably worth more points) as that would make the choice between resources redundant for the player as they would always choose the more directly valuable resource over others.

Maybe limit the uses of each resource, towards particular strategies?

Any tips/ideas?

Thanks in advance!

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A triangular scoring mechanism on sets, perhaps? See AH's Civilization for an example.
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Derry Salewski
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What's a real life example of resources that are more valuable having nothing to do with scarcity?
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Alan Pengelly
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Some suggestions, based on a 3 resource model:

Make the more valuable resources more difficult to obtain through direct cost, e.g. least valuable resource costs 1 coin, card, action etc, scaling up to 2 & 3 or 3 & 5 for the second and third resource.

Use pre-requisites, so can only obtain the more valuable resources if you achieve the necessary pre-requisites. E.g. least valuable resource available to all with no pre-requisite, the other more valuable resources require pre-requisite A and pre-requisite B. With pre-requisites you also get the option to link the pre-requisites together, i.e. have the prerequisite for the most valuable resource as a follow on from the requisite for the middle, or have independent pre-rquisites, so can choose to skip the middle resource and go directly to the more valuable resource.
Can always collectcoffee
Need bluetaj: to collect: tobacco
Need bluetaj: + browntaj: to collect:indigo
or need browntaj: to collect:indigo

Depending on what the resources are used for, if for example the requirement is for combinations of different resources to achieve a desired goal, as opposed to simply trading the resources in for their value, could impose restrictions by limiting the total resources held at a given time point, e.g. can hold no more than 12 points of resources, then assuming an equivalence value for the resources of 1, 2 & 4. d10-1, d10-2, d10-4
The combination of value assigned to the resource and the limit chosen will fix the number of any particular resource you can hold. With the example here it would be possible to hold a maximum of 12 of the first resource (nominal value = d10-1), 6 of the second resource (nominal value = d10-2) and 3 of the third resource, (nominal value = d10-4).

So if you need as an example 3 of each of the first two resources to achieve a particular action, (3 x d10-1 + 3 x d10-2 = 9) until this was done and the resources returned you could not pick up any of the third resource, etc.

Another method would be to impose limits on the resources that can be collected at any time based on the value, (equivalent or actual), of the resources, for example, can only pick up the second level resources to the same value as currently held in the lower resource, and can only pick up the most valuable resource to the same value as the combined value of the two lower valued resources. Thus using the values given above if currently holding 4 of the lowest value resources could pick up 2 of the next level, or 1 of the higher value resources. d10-1d10-1d10-1d10-1 allows d10-2d10-2 or d10-4

This could also be coupled with an absolute limit, e.g 8. Thus in one turn if already holding 8 in nomimal value of the lowest valued resources could pick up either 8 more of the lower valued resources, or a maximum of 4 of the second valued resource or 2 of the most valuable, or any combination to achieve 8.
But if only holding 4 in value of the lower valued resources, although can pick up to 8 in value would be restricted to picking up a maximum of 2 of the middle value and 1 of the most valuable resources.
e.g. Currently have d10-1d10-1d10-1d10-1

Can collect to 8 in value each turn:
d10-2d10-2 + d10-4
Or d10-2 + d10-4 + d10-1d10-1
or d10-2d10-2d10-2 + d10-1d10-1
or d10-4 + d10-1d10-1d10-1d10-1
or d10-1d10-1d10-1d10-1d10-1d10-1d10-1d10-1

This can also be combined with restrictions on how many different types of resources can be collected.
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Daniel Howard
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Wow! Thanks Alan for such a detailed answer to my question! Some really good ideas there for me to think about. I especially like the resource 'limit' allowing for making resources particularly valuable. Thank you very much.

Equally, the catan example, such as how the resources are used in the context of the game is a good idea.

I'll have to investigate AH's civilization as well.

Lots to think about here.
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David Debien
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CapNClassic wrote:
mr_lunch wrote:
A triangular scoring mechanism on sets, perhaps? See AH's Civilization for an example.
While I haven't played the game, my guess is that Triangular Scoring has to deal with triangular numbers (1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, ...)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangular_number

Many games use this kind of scoring mechanism. (Fist Full of Penguins [Squirrels], and D-Day Dice [Tools] (Edit: actually, the tools are not triangular. They just start off that way), etc. I am sure there are more. This sort of scoring mechanism wouldn't make one good more valuable than the rest, but would make owning/trading more of the same good worth more.

(of course, I could have AH's Civilization triangular scoring completely wrong)


Minor quible but, the formula for set value in AH Civ is: set value = card value times number of cards in set squared.

Not quite triangular.
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David Sevier
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Some more thoughts on the matter:

Resources are 'valuable' in a game if they help you win, either directly or indirectly.

How valuable a resource is depends on how easy it is to get, how much you need to use compared to how fast you can get it, and how useful whatever it's being used for is for winning the game.

Scarcity can come about in two ways: How easily you can get the resource (scarcity by source) and how fast you use it up (scarcity in supply).

Here's a made up example:

Let's say we have a military sci-fi game where conquest = victory. We'll go with Metal, Money, and Crystals as resources. You can get all three equally easily and in the same amounts. We'll go with 2 of each every turn for our example.

If you need the following for units:
Infantry = 1 Money
Armor = 1 Metal 1 Money
Fighters = 1 Metal 1 Money 1 Crystal
Cruisers = 2 Metal 1 Money 2 Crystal
Battleships = 3 Metal 2 Money 2 Crystal

Infantry and Armor are needed to take over planets, and the various ships to beat up enemy fleets.

Here, you can see that Money is the most valuable resource, Metal next, and Crystal least.

Money is used for literally everything in that list, making your decision of how to spend that money vitally important. Without money it doesn't matter how much of the other two resources you have lying around.

Metal is used for almost everything, making it the second most valuable resource. You'll need to be careful when using it, especially since the larger ships use quite a bit. But even without Metal you can still build Infantry, so it's not quite as important as Money.

Despite the fact that Crystal is needed for all of the space ships, it's also going to be the least used overall so you'll have more of it stockpiled. Therefore it'll generally be the least valuable resource since you should generally have enough on hand for whatever you need. You're much more likely to run out of Money or Metal first.


The scarcity comes about not from a lack of getting the resource, but from how quickly it gets used up.

To balance this set-up I'd probably have some mechanism for converting 1 resoruce into another. Probably a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio.

But this works as an example for resources that are indirectly tied to winning.
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Daniel Howard
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Another fantastic answer thank you very much David! This seems like a nice elegant solution, potentially tied in to existing game mechanics and also (potentially) to the theme of a game. Pretty simple to understand for players as well.

Still trying to get my head round triangular scoring.
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kSwingrÜber
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scifiantihero wrote:
What's a real life example of resources that are more valuable having nothing to do with scarcity?

Diamonds!

expensive for the same reason as Magic cards... hype and monopoly
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K Septyn
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scifiantihero wrote:
What's a real life example of resources that are more valuable having nothing to do with scarcity?


MP3 of Popular Song of the Week vs MP3 of Popular Song of Last Week.
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lotus dweller
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scifiantihero wrote:
What's a real life example of resources that are more valuable having nothing to do with scarcity?
There is artificially created scarcity - so marijuana, opium, fertilizers that can be made into explosives and Cuban cigars where they are illegal.

Attractiveness based value might include things like; organically grown grain, non-GMO food, ethically sourced coffee, Cuban cigars in countries where they are legal, French Champagne over local sparkling white.

This second category, it could be argued, are not actually the "same resource" and so the comparison is not valid. It initially appeared to me that if all properties that make a difference to price are disallowed then it will be no surprise that no non-scarcity added value exists.

And then I thought of the real world in which higher prices are paid for a wide variety of (non-scarcity) reasons stretching from maintaining a relationship with a reliable supplier, through to desire to gain or assure access to more lucrative trades, on out to fear of physical harm to buyer if a higher price is not paid.

 
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Robert Seater
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Bermuda Crisis: Discovery Dawning had an interesting way of making this happen. There are two decks called "rare" and "common". As the end of your turn, you draw a fixed total number of cards (I think 4) in any distribution between the two decks. However, the costs on stuff in the game favors common resources. Thus, players tend to mostly draw commons and occasionally draw (or trade for) rares. Even though rares are just as easy to get as commons, they are in scarcer supply and often valued a bit higher in trades. It's a neat emergent property that I'd love to see in more games.
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