amorphism amorphism
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Hey everyone, reading a lot of interesting stuff in this forum recently and I'm really admiring how people of all nations, even those who aren't native English speakers (like myself) come to the forum and present their raw ideas to the world. So I thought "why shouldn't I do the same?" - I have some ideas boiling in my head for eternity it seems and almost no one to share them with. I do have a play group but they're not the designing and experimenting type. In fact it's pretty hard to make them play new games (each and every game they play was practically pushed to their hands by me). In contrast, I always like to learn about new games and have a strong desire to create.

So, I've managed to flash out parts of one of those boiling ideas that deal with something I love and studied at one point in my life - Biology! And specifically Biotechnology. Although, honestly, I haven't worked in "the field" of Biotech for even a day I did manage to finish Biotech Engineering in college and enjoyed learning it - especially Virology, Microbiology and Genetic engineering. The micro world is fascinating to me and also somewhat terrifying - there are so many ways to die, some are very elaborate in contrast to the simple nuclear bomb most people are afraid of.

What I want to build is a game that deals with Bio-Warfare -
Two (or more) futuristic all powerful Nations that engage in deadly mass destruction Bio-weapons like Engineered Viruses, Fungi and Bacterias and their ways of transmission. The game will rely heavily on real-world science and technology like PCR machines, genetic engineering like plasmids that add resistance to germs (for example - ability(1) to withstand heat), abilities that enables a Virus to combine with other micro-organisms and so on. It's a very broad subject and I will have to dig into dusty papers to remember most terms. But I'm sure there are ways to make it easy to understand and interesting. And for all of that, and to stick with the science, I think I could use the help of someone who has Biology background.

A little schematics
Note: this is an early draft.
In the original design BioWar (temporary name) was a card game but I've decided to changed it to a boardgame (which is still mostly cards) - there's a board called Population Zone which is divided into Sectors (currently 6) and these are the targets for your enemy and will determine the winner eventually. Sector has 4 possible states - the default Clean, an attacked sector is Infected
from Infected there are two more states - Quarantined or Outbreak.

Game will end when:
- all 6 sectors have reached infected
- or 5 sectors are quarantined (the more favorable state after infection has occurred)
- or 4 sectors are in outbreak state

I'm a fan of different routes of winning as you can see. I like it when a player has been focused on one route just to be countered by some tactical wisdom of his enemy and now must seek out a different way.
So currently those are the 3 routes to win I've established but it can be more.

There are 2, non-shared, decks - Development and Destruction.

Development deck
is comprised of Laboratories and Equipments (like the mentioned PCR machine, spectrophotometer and maybe some original futuristic techy stuff). A nice addition I've recently came up with is Personnel – Scientists and Military. There's a hidden tension between the Military which aim to assault and demolish with everything they got and sometimes quarantine a sector for military purposes and the more slow, calculated and defensive Scientists that inoculate/disinfect/etc' suffering populations.
Lab cards have a finite amount of Lab equipment that can be attached to them. Those will improve their ability to research (will be explained later..).

Destruction deck
is comprised of Viruses, Fungi, Bacteria, Mutation (similar to Equipments) and (possibly) Transmission cards.
Mutation is just a nice name for genetic engineering.
As with Labs – the different bio-agent weapons (virus, fungi, bacteria) have a finite amount of Mutations that can be placed upon them.
Labs and equipments are bought using some sort of currency (haven't decided yet) which all players get a default amount of in the beginning of their turn, which in my understanding is a Point Allowence mechanic. While Destruction cards are researched by using R&D (Research and Development) tokens that only Labs can generate.

This is the gist of it. There's much more but I want to see if there's any interest in my ideas and this theme. So, what do you think? Do I have something here? And also, if anyone reading this and see potential
and has Biology background I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading,
Sagiv
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Rich Uncle Pennybags
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While I cannot offer any form of help, I encourage you to continue with your project, it sounds like it could turn out to be very special (as was my visit to your country). JWA
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Rich Uncle Pennybags
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Thought you should see this!!!

Jason Keeping (JK777) wrote:

Not since the heady days of Operation has a boardgame about sickness ever become quite so popular. However, unlike Operation, which was all about dexterity and the precise execution of movements mimicing the skills possessed by world class surgeons, Pandemic is much more about disease control on a global scale. Gone is the patient with a red LED for a nose and an annoying habit of buzzing loudly just when you think that you have successfully extracted the bucket that contains his "water on the knee" and in comes a map of the world and some interesting coloured blocks which stack on the map to indicate the severity of the disease in a city.

Pandemic has several intelligent mechanics which include the ability to scale the challenge offered to the team. Because this is a cooperative game where the enemy is the game itself. Pandemic can be tough when an Epidemic is drawn and the discard pile gets shuffled and placed back on top of the draw pile to increase the chance of selecting the same city over and over again. Boy, Pandemic can be tough; but unlike that buzzing fly sound that mocks your failure to complete a simple surgical technique on a comedy plastic patient, Pandemic is never annoying.

The team has a limited resource of player cards, you can work through the deck collecting cities in an attempt to cure the diseases or you can squander the cards flying round the globe trying to deal with disease outbreaks. Epidemics drawn from the player deck lead to more card draws from the infection deck and this in turn leads to more disease outbreaks which can create a chain reaction of outbreaks across the globe.

There is only one way to beat Pandemic: cure the diseases, but there are numerous ways to lose. Run out of player cards, hit the outbreak limit or run out of blocks to place on the board. You don't so much try to control the outcome of this game as desperately attempt to clear up after it in a medical hazmat suit or medical scrubs. The game doesn't so much ebb and flow as career headlong between "I think we are about to win this" and certain doom. With the exception of the order of the cards nothing is left to chance in Pandemic strict rules dictate each situation and all team members get the same number of actions each turn.

Team members do have different abilities which can be leveraged to give you the edge and if I am being picky here then I would say that the composition of the team whilst not determining success or failure does change the difficulty level as certain roles are inherently stronger than others.

Theme? Let's talk about theme, this game has it in bucket loads. It practically begs you to install taps(faucets) in your bathroom sink that you can shut off with your elbows, pull on your surgical mask, hat and gloves, and shine one of those ridiculously bright lamps at the board. This is your chance to save the world. Take it!
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Jake Arno wrote:
...
Jason Keeping (JK777) wrote:
.. Pandemic ...


link : Pandemic

(although I actually enjoy Infection Express more
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amorphism amorphism
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Thanks Jake for reading and your kind words! I really hope I can make this a special game. I love fantasy as much as the next guy but I don't see a lot of sci-fi, and much less bio-warfare in that setting, and even a complete lack of real science.

I've actually read about and seen reviews of Pandemic, and it was something I've promised to myself I'll buy someday. It made a good impression. But I must say that besides the Infection/Sickness theme this is a co-op game and BioWar is PVP, in Pandemic you eliminate viruses and here you research and develop them (*evil laughter*). And it doesn't really rely on science. No global map or pawn placements etc'.
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Samantha RD
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Sounds like a fascinating game.

Have you given any thought to how different pathogens could spread? The speed and method of infection for different pathogens could be an interesting game mechanic in its own right.

 
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amorphism amorphism
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Sica wrote:

Sounds like a fascinating game.

Have you given any thought to how different pathogens could spread? The speed and method of infection for different pathogens could be an interesting game mechanic in its own right.



Yes! I've considered spreading methods that Transmission cards would express. This can range from Airborne* to food or water contamination* and more.

I thought about incorporating this aspect in a form of a Transmission hidden card, placed upon the virus card, face down, and must be researched before the player reveal it and find out its mechanism of spreading, with this new knowledge it's easier to stop it.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foodborne_illness
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterborne_diseases
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_disease

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Matt Green
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Zentrophy wrote:
Yes! I've considered spreading methods that Transmission cards would express. This can range from Airborne* to food or water contamination* and more.


I'm probably the wrong kind of biologist for this, but I will suggest that insect vector borne pathogens should be included and maybe human vector borne pathogens too.

I like Pandemic, and it can be a brutally hard game, but there is a lot of known information available to the player that wouldn't be there in a more realistic simulation. If, for example, you had the four diseases in Pandemic but instead of representing them as coloured cubes they were double-sided tokens you could hide exactly what disease was breaking until someone went to look at it. That would be interesting. The disease would propagate as normal but you wouldn't know what it was or how to cure it until someone was sent there to find out.

I think that keeping information about the disease a secret from the players by means of face down cards or similar would make an interesting twist on this sort of game.
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Samantha RD
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mgreen02 wrote:

I'm probably the wrong kind of biologist for this, but I will suggest that insect vector borne pathogens should be included


This is a cool idea, as it adds the possibility for randomised 'potential vector' insect tokens which would also need to be tested to determine whether or not they are in fact the agents distributing the pathogen. Vector control = disease control.



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amorphism amorphism
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Sorry for the delayed response! More game content ahead!

mgreen02 wrote:
Zentrophy wrote:
Yes! I've considered spreading methods that Transmission cards would express. This can range from Airborne* to food or water contamination* and more.


I'm probably the wrong kind of biologist for this, but I will suggest that insect vector borne pathogens should be included and maybe human vector borne pathogens too.
Every kind of biologist is the right kind in my book
mgreen02 wrote:

If, for example, you had the four diseases in Pandemic but instead of representing them as coloured cubes they were double-sided tokens you could hide exactly what disease was breaking until someone went to look at it. That would be interesting. The disease would propagate as normal but you wouldn't know what it was or how to cure it until someone was sent there to find out.

I think that keeping information about the disease a secret from the players by means of face down cards or similar would make an interesting twist on this sort of game.


This can be an awesome addition. I would like to integrate hidden mechanism.
Let's say I attacked 1 of the 6 enemy sectors on my turn. Opponent on his turn, see that 1 sector is infected and start inoculating (will be explained later) to eradicate the disease. But o-oh! On my turn using "Airborne" Transmission card on that almost eradicated virus, it's now back on with vigor and starts spreading violently.
Question is: How can I make a card/token/marker/whatever show its added properties without revealing its identity?

I've considered adding Insects to the fray, but only as disease carrier - i.e Transmission cards - but not as Pathogen.

I want to expand on the game a little further:

There are 2 Decks as I've explained -
Destruction (Pathogens, Mutations and Transmission type)
Development (Labs, equipments, Personnel)

-Focus-

In the beginning of each turn the active player draws 2 cards in any combination from the Dev/Destr decks. This is called the Focus phase and it determines what are the expected actions from that player on that turn. Taking 2 Destruction cards shifts the turn to "Aggressive". Taking 2 Development cards shifts the focus to "Research" and 1 of each is "Balanced".
note: I added this phase so the game can punish a player who focuses on one aspect but can't really maintain it.

-Funding-

Active player receives 1000 credits - default amount which can be raised or decreased by in-game cards.
Credits can be used for the following:
- Utilize a lab - purchase 1 or more Labs and put it on the playfield
- Upgrade a lab - purchase Equipment for existing labs
- Hire a personnel - Scientists/Military officers that influence player aggression/research capabilities.

-Operation-

-Operate a lab - generate R&D tokens in the amount stated on the lab
there are 2 types of tokens - Red and Blue.
Red tokens: These are used to attack a sector with pathogens, attach Mutations and Transmission cards to existing pathogens and Quarantine an infected sector.
Blue tokens: These are used to create/obtain the pathogen, create new ways to improve it (highly resistive, increased mutation rate etc'), inoculate infected sector, reveal hidden attributes of a pathogen in order to Eradicate it.
(i.e: removing it completely from the game).


Graphic Example of a Virus with Recombinant attribute (forgive my uninspired graphics capabilities. I should really start looking for artists for those..):



--
I would love to hear more ideas for cards, mechanics, storyline (currently there's none). I welcome any artist with a sickly passion for the disease that wants to join the project - PM here or email me at sagivm80@gmail.com
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