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Subject: Unit Abilities and How to Display them rss

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Timothy Yordy
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I'm currently working on a game that involves a Player's game pieces being able to pickup abilities from various places on the board.

Each game piece (person) starts the game out the same as each other.

I had been been working on the concept of having them land on a token or tile of some kind and then placing that tile in a corresponding area near the edge of the gameboard and each game piece would have a unique number so you knew which ones had that ability...wow it sounds really complicated spelled out like that.

Then I was thinking of game pieces that have a dial at the bottom and that might be really effective and leave the board looking cleaner. But is it very easy to obtain custom dials?

I a little fresh to game design and I would really love some assistance on this.

Thanks in advance.
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Robert Seater
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substandardtim wrote:
each game piece would have a unique number so you knew which ones had that ability...wow it sounds really complicated spelled out like that

You probably want each tile to have some keywords to serve as a prompt to player memory. It's ok if the full rules are written out separately, but the tile itself should have some info to remind you of the details. E.g. very terse notes can go a long way: "Quick", "+2/Mtn", "blue bonus".

E.g. This is the problem that Stratego Legends got into, which make it really hard to play unless you had memorized a bunch of unique pieces. However, many of the powers were the same on different pieces (and even key-worded on the rule defs), and it would have helped a lot of have those keywords also on the pieces.

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Michal Dziewonski
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Hi Tim,

+1 to Robert's insight - easy-to-grasp visual aids are very important if there's a lot of various information to remember.

1. How many pieces will a player control? How many pieces will there be on the board/in the game at the busiest of times?

This can make or break the game (in terms of visual clarity) - if there's too many pieces with too many variants on the table, the game slows down (people want to check things frequently, etc.). Whether that's a desired effect depends on your overall design goal.

2. How many abilities can a piece have, maximum?

If it's 2-4, maybe your pieces can serve as carriers for the board tokens? (a very simple version of this is something I first saw in Warhammer: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ts1HdLGjywM/Sg35B-YC8HI/AAAAAAAAF7... - each unit consists of a lot of minis, but all are moved around on the same base - something more handy could maybe work for your pieces?)

Otherwise, maybe cards (bigger than tokens) can serve better to make it easy for players to memorize what's going on outside of the board.

3. Should the abilities be visible to everyone at the table or just the piece's owner?

From your description, it sounds like everyone can see them, so I assume that technical challenge is out of the way ;-)
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Timothy Yordy
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Robert - your idea of keywords and quick text are exactly what I was thinking, however I'm still trying to find a place to put them. The idea of having the game piece carry the tile with them is an interesting one. I don't know if it would be feasible for this game though as the game pieces are soldiers.

Michal - A player will only control up to 12 units at a time with only 4 - 6 of them having a special ability.

The abilities are meant to be seen by the opposite player. I had just been thinking about using card stands and instead of a player picking up abilities randomly on the board, the player would be given random abilities as the beginning of the game. Those could be on mini cards and inserted into card stands but I think there are two problems with that method: 1. In order for it to be random the cards would have to be one sided and if that was the case the abilities would be hidden and I fear the game would seem too much like Stratego. 2. I imagine the cards would get beat up pretty quick with constantly putting them on and off.

Are there stands available that are meant to hold a tile or token as opposed to a card? That would still have the problem of hidden abilities though...

This is the board I'm working with so far which I'm not happy with.


I really do appreciate all the help.
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Martin R Maly
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Did you think about LEGO as playing pice ? You can move those and add colored LEGO on top of the pices easily. If the added colors are defined next to the board it is simple to follow what happens. For portotyping it should be sufficient.

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