Game Design Blitz #18

And today’s card is…

The Card

Color: Magenta

Number: 9

Piece: Meeple

Mechanic: Accumulation

The Definition

The acquisition or gradual gathering of something.

The Idea

I’m seeing a trend in that the cards in this deck do not align as well as I had hoped with the mechanics as classified on Board Game Geek. Thankfully, the word “accumulation” is easy to define. Once again though, this is wide open in the world of board games. Whether you are accumulating resources for a resource management game or accumulating territories for an area control game, I think that most games are likely to fall into the “accumulation” category. Once again, we can look at the rest of the card to get some inspiration.

The shape on the card is the meeple, the number on the card is 9 and the color of the card is magenta. What if the meeples were mechs… ok, ok I know that Meeple War uses this concept, but I’m going to focus on the construction of the mechs as opposed to the use of the mechs. To construct the mech you need to accumulate various components; legs, arms, torso and head. This can be done with cards or tokens, and there can be various colors of each component. Some of those components are more rare than others, so while it may be easy to construct the yellow mech, the all magenta mech would be more powerful. It doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to build these mechs and then do nothing with them… so what if we pit them against each other in an arena? Each player is collecting the various pieces of their mechs, and as soon as all players have at least one mech in the arena, the battle commences. Players can have up to three mechs “in construction” at any time, but only one mech can be completed in a given turn. And while you may want to work on building up that magenta mech, the pieces are rare, so it could be possible for the opponent to build up two or three mechs before you finish the first one. Magenta might be the most powerful, but three yellow mechs could surely take one out.

Another aspect we could look at is the ability to mis-match pieces, so that maybe the base mech you are building is yellow, but it has one magenta or cyan arm. That one component would be stronger than the same component on your yellow mech.

How do we accumulate these cards or tokens that we are using to build our mechs? I’m thinking that this is a temporary deck-builder style game. The center of the board has a market and a junk pile. All destroyed mechs go to the junk pile. A mech is considered junk if three of it’s five pieces are destroyed. The market has cards that are the various components, flipped face up randomly from the junk pile. I suppose this could be real-time flipping and deciding whether to buy a-la Galaxy Trucker. A player must spend money to buy the parts which will have a cost printed on the card… or maybe tile? And then it should also cost money to dig through the junk pile to find these parts. It doesn’t necessarily have to be real-time though. It could just go around the table with each player flipping over one tile and then deciding whether to buy, pay to flip another tile, or pass, but I also like the idea of a race, and if it is turn-based, then you can always see when each player will finish each mech that they are working on. That may or may not be a bad thing, but each of these options are worthy of play-testing.

To get the money you have to win fights against the opponents, or potentially sell previously collected mech parts. So, players real-time (or turn based) draft components to build mechs. As soon as all players have at least one completed mech, all completed mech enter the arena for combat. At this point it is a simple comparison of parts. For the sake of brainstorming lets say that there are four colors; yellow, cyan, black and magenta. Yellow is 1 point, cyan is 2 points, black is 3 points and magenta is 4 points. So pitting a magenta head against anything else is likely to win, but if a player has more than one mech, those mech are additive. In addition a mech that is homogeneous with all of its components being the same color gets a bonus. So if a player has two complete yellow mechs, then the head score for that player is 4. If the magenta head is on an all-magenta mech, then that player’s head score is 5 (4 for magenta +1 for the homogeneous bonus), and the magenta player is the winner. The yellow player loses both heads from it’s mech. They are placed in the junk pile. Each destroyed piece gives the player who destroyed those pieces some amount of cash which they can use in future rounds. However, the player who lost also gets some amount of cash because they are selling their junk.

At the end of combat any mech that is more than half-destroyed is moved to the junk pile. Any mech that is less than half-destroyed stays in the arena, and the player may work during the next draft round to repair those mech, but for the purpose of determining the end of the draft round, those players already have mech in the arena, so once again, as soon as all players have a mech in the arena, the battle commences.

If a player is able to keep one mech in the arena for three rounds, then that player is the winner!

The Pitch

M.E.C.H. – Meeple Enhanced Combat Harness is a game of MECH combat in which players accumulate various components in real-time to assemble the most powerful team of mechs to claim victory in The Arena! Play is focused on balancing time, money and mech power. Spend more time to build a stronger mech, or assemble multiple weaker mechs to overpower the opponents. Once each player has at least one completed mech, the battle begins… if your mech can last through multiple rounds, then you are the M.E.C.H. Champion!


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