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Subject: Board/deck layout opinions? rss

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I. J. Thompson
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Hello, folks!

I wanted to pick your brains not only as designers, but as gamers as well. On the game I'm making, I'm working spaces for the two card decks involved into the graphic of the game board itself. Here's a basic graphic of the idea, just to illustrate the placement of the decks ('A' = deck A, and 'A (d)' = its discard pile. Same for 'B'):


[***NOTE: This is not the actual board!***]


Now the thing is, deck 'A', and its discard pile, get used a lot. Like, not only on all of your own turns, but on most other players' turns, as well. In contrast, deck 'B', and its discard pile, are hardly ever used.

So from an ergonomic perspective, the Red and Yellow players are going to be happily drawing and discarding cards from/to 'A' deck, while Blue and Green are constantly going to have to be reaching across the table to access it.

So I thought, Why not have both draw decks (A & B) on one side of the board, and both discard decks (A(d) & B(d)) on the other? That way, the game would be 'equal opportunity' about who has to reach across the board, and when. And then I answered myself:

Because it might be confusing and unintuitive, that's why.

So I ask you: would you be able to assimilate/deal with the idea of a deck's discard pile being on the other side of the board? Or would you prefer that a deck and its discard pile remain together on one side... even if it meant you had to constantly reach across the board?

Any and all opinions will be very welcome!
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One Armed Bandit
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In my experience, and all the people I've gamed with...

Having a designated on-board space for decks and discards WILL be ignored, and the decks will be put anywhere that's convenient for the players.

This is doubly true if they have an unusual table size, shape or layout.

If there is no compelling, IN GAME MECHANICAL reason to have those decks EXACTLY where you put them, then don't bother.
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I. J. Thompson
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Well, I'll be doing a VASSAL version of the game also, wherein the decks will be wherever I place them - and I'd like both versions of the game to match, visually. So, the question remains!
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Brook Gentlestream
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palmerkun wrote:
If there is no compelling, IN GAME MECHANICAL reason to have those decks EXACTLY where you put them, then don't bother.

I disagree. I find visualizing the layout to be very important, and find it annoying when it seems like games haven't put adequate thought about how and where cards should be placed on the table.


To the OP: If we are going to be throwing our cards across the table to discard them, then i suggest there be more space or some kind of separator between the piles. Perhaps having the decks closer to the corners would be better?
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Philip Migas
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Why do you need a board for this?
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Brook Gentlestream
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It didn't occur to me we were talking about an actual board. I thought by "board", you were simply referring to the play area.

I agree that it doesn't seem to need a board.
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I. J. Thompson
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Oh no, it definitely does. That whole central circular area is full of graphics depicting locations and such, but the details weren't relevant to the question.

That graphic is just a bare-bones depiction of the layout, to illustrate the kind of space I'm dealing with - the actual board, graphically, looks nothing like it.
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Harvey Wasserman
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Why not put the 2 decks, and their corresponding discard place, in the middle of the board? Then redesign the game board to accommodate the new deck locations.
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I. J. Thompson
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It's a good idea, but it wouldn't really work in my case. The centre is where the pawns move, and it's a pretty tight squeeze already. It wouldn't be good to have the pawns moving in and around four stacks of cards.

So from the two options outlined in the OP, does anybody have a preference?
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David Sant
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+1 for removing the cards from the board.

Put the card stacks next to the board in your rules diagram, discards next to their own decks. Then have your Vassal module match that layout.

Then players can put the decks wherever they are convenient for everybody's reach.
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Nate K
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ijthompson wrote:
Oh no, it definitely does. That whole central circular area is full of graphics depicting locations and such, but the details weren't relevant to the question.



Ah, tricky. So the game requires a board, but it also has stacks of cards that different players will need regularly? Then yes, I would have designated locations for the different stacks. Even if players don't use them (although many will, in my experience), I really enjoy it when game publishers actually consider how the game is going to be played from a logistical standpoint.
 
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One Armed Bandit
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ijthompson wrote:
So I ask you: would you be able to assimilate/deal with the idea of a deck's discard pile being on the other side of the board?


On this very specific issue? Absolutely not.

Discard piles go next to the matching draw decks. Period.

Otherwise confusion reigns.
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Dee Wongsa
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I have a cop-out solution, which is that one person can be designated the Dealer and is in charge of managing the draws and discards of the A deck. Works for Monopoly...
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Eric S.
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Can you put an A and B deck/discard on both sides?
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Don Mitchell
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SmedleyX wrote:
Can you put an A and B deck/discard on both sides?


I was thinking the same thing, but you beat me to it. Seems like a great approach based on the info we have!
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Filip W.
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When players shuffle the decks, have them divide the decks into two and place them on opposite ends of the board. So that both sides have an A deck&discard AND a B deck&discard. If a deck on one side runs out before the other have the players on the other side give a bunch of cards away.

EDIT: Doh, late
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David Hayter
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I was gonna suggest splitting the decks also, so half of each deck is on a side. I would then place discard pile A at the top of the board and discard pile B at the bottom. If one of the half decks of A runs out, I would reshuffle both decks together and split them again. That way not every card is used every game and people can't guess the bottom of the deck.
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David Sant
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frankly, if you want/need them on the board, just put them on one side. I've played Lords of Waterdeep a bunch of times and Intrigue cards are on one side, quests on the other and if people can't reach, they just ask someone to hand them one. Never been an issue.
 
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Patrick Robles
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Do you have rounds in the game, or some other way to mark a transition in play? If so you could swap the location whenever this occurs, that is to say place deck A where B was previously.

If you don't you could use the need to shuffle the deck as the cue to swap locations.
 
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