Sunday, January 20, 2008

More thoughts on Hot and Fresh

I was going over my recent ideas on Hot & Fresh with a friend of mine, and looking at the board a lot. The good news is that the last time I fiddled with the board, it appears I did lay out spaces between locations. I have no idea if it's a good layout, but it's a layout - and that's a start!

The bad news is, while we talked about it, it occurred to me that the interaction and flow of the game would likely be much better if each delivery had a specific origin (not the same for all pickups) and a specific destination. So basically, instead of delivery drivers picking up pizzas from the shop, maybe taxis picking up fares from various locations and driving them around town to other locations.

This is bad news because thematically I love the idea of a young delivery driver taking shortcuts and speeding to deliver pizza on time, while the idea of a taxi driver driving around town is less exciting to me. On the other hand, the mechanics seem to fit the taxi theme much better.

The basic structure of the "Crazy Taxi" version of the game would be similar - there would be a face up display of people who've called your dispatch office for a ride. Your dispatch office has, of course, radioed this to all the drivers, and the first driver to the location gets the pickup. The display of Fare cards would be N cards (maybe 3? Maybe relative to the number of players?) face up, each card having an Origin, a Destination, and a Tip (and maybe also a Fare value). When you pick up a fare, you take the card from the display and place a number of tip counters onto it as indicated by the Tip value on the card. At the end of each "cycle" (which is a couple of turns), each Fare card loses one Tip counter. When upon arriving at a destination, you score the remaining Tip counters and discard the Fare (or keep them in a score pile perhaps).

Each player has 3 slots in their cab, so they can carry up to three people. Some fares however take up 2 slots (a guy with a bunch of luggage) or all 3 (a family of 3). The Tip value would be adjusted appropriately.

The traffic laws would work the same way, whenever you break a rule, you draw a card (or or maybe increase a track). At the end of a cycle, you roll 2d6, and if your roll is less than the number of cards you've drawn (or the value of the track), then you get a ticket. Maybe if you have a Fare in your cab, they get mad and jump out (without paying), so you lose your fare - this might make it even more dangerous to speed or break rules while you have a fare, compared to when you're on your way to pick one up. Tickets would probably be worth negative points at the game end: -1 for the first, -2 for the second, -3 for the third, etc. There could also be a Courthouse on the board, where a player could stop and pay off a ticket at the cost of 2vp or something, which would be worth doing if you have 3 or more tickets (or if you plan to by the end of the game).

It's possible the cards you draw for breaking the rules might have effect on them as well, that was the original intent. However for the first draft of the game I think I'll leave that out. There could also be event cards, introducing such things as construction or a traffic jam in certain sections of the board. I'll leave that out for now too, but it seems like a fit for a game with an emphasis on route planning.

The other thing that seems like a fit for route planning is the traffic cop pawn, which exists in the pizza game, sort of. In the taxi version though I don't think it would be player controlled, mostly because I can't think of a good mechanic for it that would fit. However I think there could be a few cops, which randomly are assigned to certain blocks (main roads between intersections), and their effect would be that you simply aren't allowed to break any traffic laws on that block.

The only player interaction in this version would be racing for the pickups. I don't know if that would be enough, but frankly it sounds like more interaction than the pizza idea!


Mohan said...

Here's an idea that's halfway between pizza delivery and taxi fares:

How about a "lunch delivery" service that gets lunch orders from businesses in the area, picks up the orders from various restaurants, and then delivers them to the appropriate offices?

Seth Jaffee said...

Funny - that's exactly what I was talking about with my friend - a sort of all purpose pickup service. :)

I think the taxi theme is stronger though, so I steered in that direction.

Anonymous said...

You could almost turn it into an urban bike messenger game--somewhat realistic as many messengers work on commission for deliveries vs. getting paid by the hour.