Manuel Drews
Germany
Frankfurt am Main
Hessen
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Hi!

I'am currentyl designing a "Hollywood Film Producer" - Game. You and the other players play producers of a Hollywood Movie. Your Goal is to produce films of different Genres (Action, Comedy, Scifi or Love). In order to do well you can concentrate on different aspects of your film to improve.

One could enhance the abilities of your actors (Stage School, Personal Coach, etc.), the Quality of your Film (Post Production: Music, Synchro, etc.), the Quality of your Scenes (different Stages per Scene with increasing requirements: Costumes, CGI, Special effetcs, etc.) or the Quality of your Plot (different Plot-Points per Scene from 1 to 4).

You can also influence the viewers in the cinema by doing marketing (also a hex function). The players in general compete for the different functions of the board. The game is played on hex-Tiles - each tile delivers a gameplayfunction (Costume Designer, Casting Office, Writers Room, Crew Office, CGI Office, Studio Boss, etc.) Currently there are 36 Hextiles in my prototype.

Ultimately there will be the Oscars annualy where the films get rated by the viewers.

The game shall be playable by 2-4 players. The game itself has some automatic functions - like a moving studio boss which triggers functions on the hexboard - but this is not yet defined by me.

The players use 6-8 Crew-Tokens to bid on different tiles of the game - in order to use the function of the tile. Additionally the players own 1-2 Actors which move over the Board. They can be improves by several coaches or schools and they have to be on the set in order to lens a scene.

Until now the different parts of the game fit "ok" together, i think. For example: You want to lens a Scene? Then bid on the tile in order to have a "lens permission" for this round there and move your actor to the set. Dont forget to equip him with a weapon (Requisite) for the coming action scene in the "Requisite Room" (again a Hex). Next Step? Make some marketing (Hex) so more viewers are interested in Action Movies this year. Next Step? Maybe improve him in Fitness (Fitness Hex). So on and so on... i think you got a rough picture

Now my current problem! I hope you have some ideas how i am able to improve on this topic:

In which way can i induce some (time) tension in the game!?

My first idea is to restrict the time in which you have to produce the film (this would also be close to the theme i want to cover). There could be some varying "Production Day" - Defaults from the Studioboss. But i have no idea how much "Rounds", "Days", "Seasons" or whatever make sense for this type of game. Generally i think it will take some time for the players to lens some scenes. Per my definition 1-2 scenes are Short Movies, 3-4 Scenes Full Movies, and 5 Scenes Movies with extendes length. For every Scene you have to get Equipment and you can improve your Actor and satisfy his / her needs. This will require many rounds!

But where will be the point at which the time counts down?

Do the players have impact on the time left? Or shall the studio boss reign over the time? Can players impose time restrictions on others - maybe by bribing the studioboss by whatever?

What do you think could be exciting and thrilling for a game with this theme? How would you implement restrictions in order to create tension? Where is the end of the game?

Thank you for "brainstorming" a little bit with me on this topic meeple

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Daniel Howard
United Kingdom
Gateshead
Tyne and Wear
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A bit of a glib response but I find that games are most 'tense' when the perception of failure for some goal of objective is much higher than success.

However you don't want something to be unachievable, as impossible is just as boring as inevitable.

There is always a sweet spot, usually revealed by playtesting.

So in your example, an external time limit to each production, (leading players to try to do as much as possible in a short time frame) would likely create more tension, than time frames set by the players themselves.

Say, every player had to get their film ready for 'cannes' for example. When it comes around, the player who managed to take the best decisions and not try to do too much is gonna be more successful than the player who was too ambitious.
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Derek H
South Africa
Johannesburg
Gauteng
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ChowYunBrent wrote:
A bit of a glib response but I find that games are most 'tense' when the perception of failure for some goal of objective is much higher than success.

Agreed - you haven't defined how players might fail at the things they set out to do. For example, shooting for a longer period could give you more scenes but a higher risk of sets being damaged; locations becoming unavailable; price increases etc. Similarly you could cut costs by hiring cheaper act-people, but run the risk they will leave, go in drug-rehab half-way (LL?!) etc.

If you want to impose a time constraint, look at the neat mechanism in Thebes for handling this. I would think that the "weeks" concept would also work for shooting movies... but maybe your activities (scouting, hiring, shooting, post-production) could have variable times, unlike the nicely fixed one in Thebes (just to reflect the uncertainties of Hollywood!).

If you do make this game, I'd be keen to try it!
 
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Sébastien Boissonneault
Canada
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One way of doing things would be to have a movie and then deciding to add value to it each turn. Adding value would add potential benefits, but would make the budget of it go up. And adding a risk/reward system so that added value is rolled to see how much more it brings. So if a player would release is movie fast with minimal value it would cost less but brings a little money, but putting lots of value could bring a loss or a box office hit.

 
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Dave
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Delaware
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manueld wrote:

My first idea is to restrict the time in which you have to produce the film (this would also be close to the theme i want to cover).

Rather than a hard restriction on time to make a movie, one could have movies in development cost resources (money, for example). Movies could have fixed costs per turn and/or costs that rise with things that improve their quality, i.e, the Personal Coach costs money per turn in addition to the base cost of keeping the movie in development.

Not only does this fit the way movies are actually made, it allows players to adjust the risk/return of the movies they're working on. As movies become more "expensive", tension rises automatically: they now need to do really well after "release" to be worth their costs. Hollywood is littered with the corpses of expensive flops, and movie studios' vaults are filled with the wreckage of projects that got too risky and needed to be written off...
 
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Pete Goch
United States
San Francisco
California
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One good way to create tension in a game is to have a player controlled game ending mechanism like Race for the Galaxy's 12 cards in a tableau. Instead of having a game ending condition you could have round ending conditions or give bonus points to the player who completes certain goals first. That way the tension becomes part of the game: do you rush your plan to make certain you end the round/score the bonus points or do you pace yourself hoping to maximize your score beyond what the bonus would give you...

That sort of thing.
 
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