And today’s card is…
Today’s card is…
Today’s card is…
And today’s card is…
Mechanic: Route/Network Building
Route/Network Building games feature network(s) (interconnected lines with nodes) using owned, partially owned or neutral pieces, with an emphasis on building the longest chain and/or connecting to new areas. Although arguably a separate group, Connection games, in which players connect fixed points on the board, are also included among Route/Network Building games.
There are a lot of games to take inspiration from including popular favorites like Ticket To Ride. We could go one of two ways with this mechanic, either a pre-printed board like the aforementioned Ticket To Ride, or we could go modular where we build the board as we go. I’m more enticed by the modular aspect, and since the piece on our card is a hex, let’s start there, with hex-shaped tiles. Another caveat to these types of games is that they tend to incorporate some form of resource pick up and delivery. In my first Game Design Blitz I stated that I would try to stick with ideas I hadn’t previously thought about, but this is one of those occasions where this mechanic fits an idea I had previously (like last week sometime, and all I did was write down an idea paragraph.
I am a traffic engineer by day, and occasionally I get inspired by my job, and this is one of those times. The idea is for a Transportation themed game where we are attempting to get customers from some origin to some destination. There will be various modes of transportation ranging from driving a personal vehicle to riding a bus, light rail or even heavy rail. I’m going to take back the modular aspect of the game and start with a pre-printed board. For the sake of convenience let’s say it will be a map of the Pacific Northwest where I live. There would be a central area that represents downtown Seattle, broken out into its various neighborhoods, then suburbs surrounding that, and further out destinations like Vancouver Canada to the north, Couer D’Alene Idaho to the east, the ocean to the west and Portland to the south. Each region will have attributes that customers are attempting to get to, i.e. downtown Seattle will be good for shopping and working while Couer D’Alene is good for vacation. I’ll still utilize a modular aspect and give players the ability to update and modify the various routes that start out the game (yes, with hex tiles). Customer cards will be flipped up indicating an origin and an attribute the customer is trying to achieve. For example, they start in a suburb and want to get to work. It will also indicate a preferred method of travel. Players will spend turns investing in various modes of transport, attempting to provide the cheapest option to try and collect the customers. Customers will also retain memory of which player they traveled with in the past which will influence whether they choose you again or not.
I’m nearing my destination (starting in a suburb and heading for work – I use light rail) so I need to wrap up. On to “The Pitch”!
In Commute players are investors attempting to corner the Transportation market in the Pacific Northwest. Vying for control of the various modes of transportation; car, bus, light rail and heavy rail, each player attempts to provide the best and cheapest experience for their customers. Customers are represented by cards which indicate an origin and a purpose (I.e. suburb and work, or Downtown and vacation). The players entice those customers by providing the fastest and cheapest mode of travel to get to a destination that meets the customers’ needs. Players may also spend resources to upgrade and improve their infrastructure, lending a modular aspect to the game that results in a different play experience every time. The winner is the player with the most points at the end.
And today’s card is…
Mechanic: Variable Player Power
Variable Player Powers is a mechanic that grants different abilities and/or paths to victory to the players.
Here we go with another wide-open mechanic. Variable player powers are something that can be utilized with just about any game. The problem is that player powers that are uniform are hard enough to balance in a game. Now give every player a different power and it becomes exponentially more difficult.
Additionally, the word “powers” is really just a placeholder for anything in a game that could be different for different players. In Vast: the Crystal Caverns each player plays a different entity or group and each entity has different mechanics and different win conditions.
The first thing that comes to my mind, especially to help balance the powers is to allow those to rotate. Then that really just becomes a worker placement game or more akin to Puerto Rico in that each turn you choose a different action. So, what if each player starts as a character with a specific power, kind of like Small World. You choose a character and an ability or action type is randomly chosen. Then, throughout the game players can manipulate the abilities to steal them, shift the whole table, etc… This seems like a very chaotic type of game where it would be very hard to plan for the future or build any kind of engine. The goal, however would be that for maximum efficiency each player should end up using each power roughly the same amount of the time.
Forgive me, as I’ve been watching a lot of Marvel movies lately, and the primary thing that comes to mind is the “hero” scene where the camera moves from hero to hero watching each do their own thing to take down the bad guys. We all know my feelings on coop games, so let’s not go there, and I think the hero thing has been done quite a lot. I’m even working on a super-power game already, so let’s not go there either.
What about a factory where each player is the foreman of a particular area. Each area produces a different parts of various machines, and so each foreman has a particular ability tied to that part. But, the goal is to build the machines, not the parts. As such you have to gather the other parts as well. You can do it, but it will be much more efficient if you take over the foreman position for that part. You can’t just take over a position though, you have to prove that the current foreman is less efficient. So, if you produce more parts than an opponent, you can then swap positions with that player. The problem with being more efficient than the other players is that you produce surplus parts, thus making it easier for the other players to obtain those parts.
The game will go over several rounds and the player to gain the most points by fulfilling the most machine orders will be the winner.
The Factory is a set collection game where each player uses their own position in the factory, and thus their own unique action to create components for numerous machines. But really you need to be making all of the components for these machines, so you watch for your opening. When your opponent is less efficient than you, you can report them and swap positions! Being the more efficient player means that you have created a surplus of parts, allowing the other players to collect them that much easier. After a full day on the factory floor, the player who produced the most machines is determined to be the winner!
And today’s card is…
Mechanic: Press Your Luck
Games where you repeat an action (or part of an action) until you decide to stop due to increased (or not) risk of losing points or your turn.
The press your luck mechanic is quite an open subject and can be interpreted in many ways, and that’s good for coming up with ideas, but it isn’t great for a timed exercise like this, so let’s look at the card a bit more to draw inspiration. The card is blue out of four possible colors also including magenta, yellow and black. It shows both dice and a card, and has dice with the numbers 2 and 6 to determine the number 8 on the card.A very common approach to press your luck is to continue flipping over cards until you either get the combination of cards you are looking for, or you hit a card that is bad and ends your turn. What if we use cards and dice, where the cards give us the goal that we are trying to reach with our dice? At the basest level we can have a deck of cards running from one to thirteen. Two cards are flipped over and each player starts with two 6-sided dice which they begin to roll. Players may re-roll as much as they want and may lock a die at any time, however, if a 1 is rolled it must be locked. Whenever a die is locked the player may take another die from a pool of available dice. These may or may not be various special dice ranging in numbers. This is optional, and a player may lock all their dice if they choose. The first player that locks all of their dice takes the cards, then scores points equal to the combined total of their dice minus the difference between the total on the cards. Aces can be used as either 1 or 11. The closer you get to the total of the cards, the better score you get, but you risk someone else ending the round if you take too long. If you go over the total on the cards then you are busted and are out of the round.Each player puts back their extra dice and new cards are drawn to begin the next round. Play continues until one player collects all thirteen different numbered cards (I.e. Ace through King). The player with the highest score is the winner.
High Roller is a real-time dice and card game where players race to collect and lock dice in which the total of all the dice matches the total on the cards for the round. Don’t take too long because any player can lock all of their dice at any time and take the cards out from under you! The first player to collect all thirteen cards ends the game at which point the player with the most points is the winner!
And today’s card is…
Right off the bat I knew I was in trouble. This is what I get for not posting yesterday… sorry, it couldn’t be helped, I didn’t take the train to work, thus no time to write. Then I pull this card, Hex-and-Counter. I had an idea, but had to look up what was expected of this mechanic. Here’s what BGG has to say:
Classic wargame mechanic, played with ‘Counters’ on a map with an Hexagonal grid allowing to move the counters in more directions (6) as opposed to a square grid with only four directions.
Counters are commonly thick cardboard chit, with printed attributes and identification.
Traditionally the hex-and-counter mechanic is utilized in war games since it gives the clearest approach towards maximum movement options of moving troops around a map. I’m not a huge fan of war games, so I’ll keep part of that; hexes, counters, and moving one around the other, but I’ll try and come up with a good theme.
I’ve been struggling, but I’m going to go with what I know, and that’s traffic. A board would be made up of a connected ring of hexes (twelve), then the center is filled in with hexes (seven) as well as an outer ring (seventeen). On these hexes will be a network of roads, freeways and light rail. The initial ring is set, but players will alternate adding pieces to fill in the rest of the board as they play. Like components will have to connect (I.e. road to road, freeway to freeway, rail to rail). That covers the hexes.
Now for the counters, and that’s simple. The counters will represent vehicles and will include small and large personal vehicles as well as rail and roadway mass transit (trains and buses). On the board will be trip origins and destinations, and it will be the players’ job to modify the infrastructure and shift the traffic around to provide efficient paths from the origin to the destination. If a trip is attempted and fails for some reason, that vehicle is stranded on the board and now adds to the traffic congestion. I’ll probably also add a cube component to represent passengers, so you can have a cube start in the suburbs, use a car to get to the park and ride or rail station, then hop onto the bus or train for the rest of the ride.
Gridlocked is a game of Transportation management. Players must improve the transportation infrastructure in their city in order to efficiently move passengers between their origin and destination.