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Subject: Need some feedback on a game I have been working on rss

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Alex Johns
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Hey, I'm Alex, new-ish to BGG and definitely new to the Game Design hobby. I know it's much more than a hobby to many here, but I only have so much time after work, family and game nights with freinds to work on my game ideas. Those ideas, however, just don't go away, so I thought, as any good home-schooling parent would I assume, to put those ideas into action and actually make one of these thoughts that are tumble drying in my brain into a reality.
First a little backstory. If you don't want to read this, just skip down to the bolded section below, and that is where the actual game idea starts. I've been playing board games for about 3-4 years. It started out with about 5-6 guys who all met from a local dads forum called Carolina Area Dads (since becoming mostly defunct due to facebook) getting together and playing some of the latest PS3 games out there. we started with things like Street Fighter and Call of Duty, and then moved on to more party games ,like Rockband. It was fun, but there would be times when some guys would be just watching, so after a while, one guy brought in Carcassonne to play with those who would be bored while the others played. Slowly, less and less people would be playing the video game, and more would want to try whatever new board game there was, from Settlers of Catan to Ticket To Ride and all the expansions of Carcassonne there were. after a while, those not really interested in board games stopped coming, as we would be playing ONLY board games once Rockband ran its course.
So, now it is just a core group of 4 players, with some extras that come in as alternates or if we want to try a game with 5 or more players. I've always been one of the more casual players, never really working too hard on the strategy and just trying to have fun at the game instead of laser-focus on winning. so, after a couple years playing different games, I have come to like certain games more than others. I love Stone Age, Puerto Rico, Tigris and Euphrates and other resource management games of this ilk, and stray away from the more heavy ones, like that time we played Eclipse. I also like the Ameritrash stuff too, like King of Tokyo and Zombie Dice, too. so, I think, an all around casual euro-ameritrash gamer.
Moving on. One of our group, who we shall call Tom, as that is his name, started coming up with his own idea for a game. not sure where he is at with it yet, but after sitting down and listening to him explain it with some of the prototype cars he created, I got to thinking, why not make the game ideas I have been thinking about. maybe we'll get to play them at our game night. Maybe, just MAYBE, I could bring it to a convention and pitch it to a big publisher and they'd buy it and run with it while I sit back and rake in the big bucks (I know, never gonna happen, but you gotta give a man his dreams, you know. what are we without them?). Also, I am a father to two school aged children that my wife homeschools, and wanted to show them that they should follow through on their ideas and not quit. that i huge in our family, that we never quit at something just becasue it is hard. mostly becasue I did a lot of that growing up, is why I am so big on it now. My oldest, the 9 yr old, likes to play games with me and the wife, so I wanted to not only make one of my games a reality, but also make it so I can play it against my family, who are not as avid a gamer as I. So, to make a long story short, I am developing a game idea I have.

Here it is. I call it "Victoria!", as that is Latin for "Victory" and it sounded nice. secondary idea for the game name would be "Victoria Aut Mors" or "Victory or Death". In "Victoria", you are a startup Lanistae, an owner of a school of gladiators (yes, gladiators. I know. You're thinking about Spartacus, right? Didn't know anything about it OR this site when I started, so this is still my idea, even if they might share some similarities.) and are trying to use what you have, some money and 2 slaves to gather the necessary supplies and sponsors to build your school and get ready for the ultimate goal, the opening of The Colosseum. The money is tight, the resources are there, but not easy to acquire at first, and along the way you will test your Gladiator's mettle at sponsored events to help earn money to get you to the end game event, and ultimatley victory over the other schools gladiators.

To boil it down, as I realize I am running out of time after that long narative above (Sorry, I like to write, and I tend to do it a lot on forums), here's is the basic game. 3 phases of three rounds. two resource gathering rounds (a la stone age) followed by one combat round (dice rolling with modifyers gathered in game), rinse and repeat twice. you start out with three meeples and 5 silver (money exchange rate is as follows: 1 gold = 5 silver = 10 bronze), and you place out your meeples to gather what you need to help build your school. you may place your meeple in the slave auction to get more slaves to put out for more resources (or maybe train into a gladiator), you can also sell a slave there if you really need the $. you can send them to the market where they will gather the weapons, armor and sheilds needed to arm the gladiators for battle, you can recruit freed gladiators that wish to fight, but they are expensive. You can place your slaves in the proving grounds to see if they can cut it as a gladiator instead of hiring one outright. Lastly, you can try to gather sponsors for your school. here you can either get money, get special training for your gladiators (dice modifyers for combat) or both. one of the meeples is you, and that rests on the turn order portion of the board, and only THAT meeple can go for sponsors, and the last to go there goes first next round. so, you then reconcile the board, replace the turn order meeples (last there first, third goes second and so forth. any that stay on hte turn order section move to the end of the line), and start again.

of the three rounds of combat, the first allows only one gladiator, second two, and the last, the opening of The Colosseum (Or Flavian Amphitheater as it was so called I have read) will allow up to 4 gladiators to fight. fighting is by die roll (all D6) based on weapon, armor and sheilds bought throughout the resource management phases. One Gladiator =two white dice, one weapon = one white die, second weapon =one red die. the white die hit on 1-3, the red die hits on 1-4. sheild = one black die (two classes of sheild, one that hits on 1-3, one 1-4) and armor =1 grey die (same as sheild in classes. If you go into combat with two weapons, you can't have a sheild, and if you go with heavy sheild, you cannot also have heavy armor. a sheild can double as a strike, but only if it's a regular sheild that blocks on 1-3. modifyers gathered in game allow you to change die roll to help you or further hurt your opponent. simple "bracket" (March Madness, I guess is what I can relate it to if you don't know what I'm talking about) fighting where the two winners fight each other for the ultimate victor. cards cannot be reused within one fight, but your other gladiators will use the same cards, unless the card specifically states it must be discarded.

schools that have gladiators to fight will get one silver for allowing their gladiator to fight. first bracket victor gets one bronze along with it. second will get one silver for victory and in the final fight, since there can be a total of 16 gladiators if you do it right, the third and forth get gold.

At end of game, the player with the most gold wins. in game, after each combat round, I am thinking of allowing those with gold to turn ONE into silver and bronze to allow for more moeny in game, but otherwise, gold you get cannot be used in game, it is the same as VP. Other options have been tried, but I still like this idea. if a tie, the most silver and then bronze is the winner.

SO, I am now out of time. Sorry for the long read, but I would like some thoughts, ideas, whatever you can think of the help make this game better, playable, whatever. If I didn't do a good job of explaining it, I apologize, I will be happy to answer any questions. as I am not a huge gamer, I don't even know if this game is already out there under some other name or theme, so let me know if I have just wasted about 2-3 dozen lunch hours and countless hours at night working with my kids to recreate the wheel so to speak. My objective was to make the kind of game I like to play with my own twist. I also want it to be something my family would like to play, so I made the resource gathering and combat as simplistic as I can, while not making it TOO easy and luck based, I hope. so, tear it down, rip it apart, let me know what you think. all feedback is appreciated.

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Alexander Awesome
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Sounds like a splendid idea, Im a big fanof worker placement games and I got a great deal of meat from your explanation, especially how eachplayer can place their workers on the same spot but depending on your turn you get to choose before everyone else.

The trick here is, i belive, is that each "area" on the map where you place workers on has a set deck of cards. You take, for example in a 3 player game, the top three cards from each different decks corresponding to each area and have a starting layout. Then players choose where to place their workers. The first player to place a worker in a specific area gets to choose the card he wants first, whereas the second takes one of the two remaining choices and third player gets whatever is left.

Then you reset each area with new cards, the first player to place a worker is shifted and continue withanother round.

This way you will have a interesting valuation. One of the areas can be a resource gathering place (you talked about different currency of money, this would be the ideal spot for it) and the resources you have (money) also limits how muchgoodies you can buy throughout the rounds. Perhaps two different kinds of resources needs to be introduced in the game (for example - money to buy goods from merchans can be one and knowledge that can be spent at tutors to gain tactical advantages for your gladiators) to not end up with the obligatory worker placement on one spot that the first player HAVE to do or loose out.

You have tickled my mind withthis idea, will think some more about it. The core idea is aesome!

Edit: sorry about the typos in my message, stupid ipad keyboard
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Nate K
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Welcome to the Geek!

The idea is intriguing, and it seems like you have a lot of the concepts in development, which is good. My challenge to you is this: Explain the game in 25 words or less.

A good "elevator pitch" does several things for us amateur designers: First, and most obviously, it'll help you when your shopping for playtesters or looking for a publisher. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it'll help focus your design. If you can boil down your game to its core, it will be easier to weed out the unnecessary or uninteresting parts of the game and develop the parts you actually want your players to do/enjoy.
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Alex Johns
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kurthl33t wrote:
Welcome to the Geek!

The idea is intriguing, and it seems like you have a lot of the concepts in development, which is good. My challenge to you is this: Explain the game in 25 words or less.

A good "elevator pitch" does several things for us amateur designers: First, and most obviously, it'll help you when your shopping for playtesters or looking for a publisher. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it'll help focus your design. If you can boil down your game to its core, it will be easier to weed out the unnecessary or uninteresting parts of the game and develop the parts you actually want your players to do/enjoy.


That's great, man, thanks for the advice. If I had to sum it up in 25 words or less, I would say, "It's a worker placement meets dice roll combat board game. Think Stone Age Meets King of Tokyo".

Now, if that is interesting to anyone, I don't know. We tried it last week with my core gaming group, and they were pretty "Meh" to it. But, they're more hard core Euro gamers, and not too much into dice based combat, unles we're playing a filler like King of Tokyo or Roll Through The Ages. This I want to be something that brings what I like about board games into one game, that I could play with my mostly non-gamer family. Take Eclipse. that is not a game everyone would buy and take home expecting their wife and children could play. maybe one guy buys it, or a gaming group goes in on it together and play the heck out of it. I'm not talking down about Eclipse, it was fun the one time I played it, just not something that would sit at all with my family. In my mind, as a budding designer that one day would like to see my game ideas in a box with beautiful art work, really does limit the audience and market for the game. I want a game that all gamers would buy and take home to play as a filler at game night for an hour or so, and maybe be one of the go-to games for their families when you can actually get them to the table.

I appreciate the info. Keep it coming y'all.
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Alex Johns
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Alex Awesome wrote:
Sounds like a splendid idea, Im a big fanof worker placement games and I got a great deal of meat from your explanation, especially how eachplayer can place their workers on the same spot but depending on your turn you get to choose before everyone else.

The trick here is, i belive, is that each "area" on the map where you place workers on has a set deck of cards. You take, for example in a 3 player game, the top three cards from each different decks corresponding to each area and have a starting layout. Then players choose where to place their workers. The first player to place a worker in a specific area gets to choose the card he wants first, whereas the second takes one of the two remaining choices and third player gets whatever is left.

Then you reset each area with new cards, the first player to place a worker is shifted and continue withanother round.

This way you will have a interesting valuation. One of the areas can be a resource gathering place (you talked about different currency of money, this would be the ideal spot for it) and the resources you have (money) also limits how muchgoodies you can buy throughout the rounds. Perhaps two different kinds of resources needs to be introduced in the game (for example - money to buy goods from merchans can be one and knowledge that can be spent at tutors to gain tactical advantages for your gladiators) to not end up with the obligatory worker placement on one spot that the first player HAVE to do or loose out.

You have tickled my mind withthis idea, will think some more about it. The core idea is aesome!

Edit: sorry about the typos in my message, stupid ipad keyboard


OK, first off, awesome name. "Alex Awesome" is just awesome, and not just bacause my name is Alex as well.

So, for the resource management portion of the game, think of Stone Age, my favorite worker placement game. take out the card section and the tile section of the game, and replace that with the combat phases of my game, and there you get the gist of the game I am trying to create.

There are 6 areas to put followers:

A: Turn Order: One for each player, chosen randomly at the beginning of the game, are placed here. This is You. there is only one place this Meeple can go, and they can go there at any point during the worker placement phases, and that is to the Sponsor section of the board, but more on that later.

B: Slave Auction: each player can place only one follower here. for a 4 player game, there are three slaves available here. if 1-3 players go here, then each player buys a slave of his color for 1 silver. if a 4th person goes here, it forces an auction for the three available slaves. You can use slaves won or bought here as more workers to use in later rounds, or send him to the Proving Grounds to "train" to become a Gladiator, but more on that later. You can also place a slave here to be sold to the game for 1 Silver.

C: Open Market/Armory (not sure what to go with name-wise): There are 7 stalls within the market, each with different goods: weapons, armor and sheilds. Each good has it's own cost associated listed on the chit that is set out each resource round. one follower can be placed on each stall. Of the Items that are bought, the chits are replaced with goods of a similar price range (currently marked as I and II for the cheaper and more expensive goods, respectively) from the stack just off the board nearby.

D: Hire Gladiators: This is where you go to hire a former gladiator or person willing to fight for the glory of victory, but they cost a lot (4 silver). there is only one available in the first phase, two in the second, and three in the third. the ones that come out in the second and third phases come with better weapons and armor or sheild than the one's in the first phase spot. this allows those who's gladiator died in battle to get one without having to miss out on battle the next time around, but they'll have to pay through the nose for it.

E: Proving Grounds: Each player can place one follower here. that follower can come from the slave auction previously mentioned, or it can be placed there from your available supply. this is a quick die roll against a phantom gladiator opponent, thre D6 for your slave fighter, three D6 for the gladiator. I use different colored dice to symbolize each fighter. A hit happens on a 1,2, or 3 roll, 4-6 are misses. This symbolizes the training that slaves had to go through, and how they had to prove themselves in combat against a sesoned gladiator using no armor, sheilds and just a wooden sword. three die against three, three hit points available for each of the player and the phantom gladiator. I have been using D4's to keep track of hit points for the Gladiators both in combat and here in the proving grounds. if you beat the gladiator in training, your follower turns into a gladiator and can no longer be used to place as a follower on the resource board.

F: Sponsors: Each Lanistae, or Meeple on the turn order section, can be used to go here. the first player to take his meeple off the turn order track and go here gets one silver and a card. second gets one silver, one copper and a card, third gets two silver and a card, and the fourth gets either three silver or two silver and a card. The cards are dice modifyers to be used during combat to better your roll for either weapons, sheilds or armor. they would symbolize the sponsor paying for specialized training for your gladiators. Now, the last player to go here would then be the first player on the turn order section, the third player in this section would then be second in turn order, the second here would then be third in turn order and the first player here would be last in turn order. This allows for more even distribution of money and cards, and keeps the turn order moving.

I hope this does better at explaining the game play. I have toyed with so many different ideas on how to make this game. most of them got scrapped, as it would make the game either too long, or make it too much for my target audience, the casual gamer and his/her family. For instance, I toyed with something along the lines of what you mentioned; of making what turned out to be the sponsorship section much more robust with different cards, different sponsors who would then also be the noblemen or politicians who would be holding the first two fighting events, and by receiving that sponsor's assistance during the game would get you advantages during combat. I also toyed with the idea of giving the players the ability to take raw materials to a smith to craft into a weapon for cheaper than buying one. there were so many ideas like these I wanted to incorporate, but it really did take away from what the game was intended to be, a quick, light worker placement game with RPG like combat. EVEN THAT got dialed down to a much more simplified version, to keep the non and casual gamers happy and stay within my target demographic.

My current problem is finding playtesters in my area, as this is not something I can easily make into a PnP, and I really want to work out any additional bugs in the game play that I might have overlooked that would only really come out in game play. as I might have mentioned before, while I do spend a lot of my limited free time on this game idea and the one or two others I have in their conception stages, my time is really limited. I would love to see this game polished and put in a box with my name on it and with fancy artwork, but I would be happy just to have it completed and playable wiht a finished prototype. Just to say I did it, and to show my daughter what stick-to-it-iveness is all about.

I appreciate your time, here Alex, and keep up the Awesomness.

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