Thursday, November 12, 2009


Next week is BGG.con - the biggest and probably most fun game convention I go to each year. This year Tasty Minstrel Games will be in attendance, and we'll even have a vendor booth. This is a new way for me to experience the convention, as in the past I've only gone as a gamer looking to meet people and play games.

I'll still be looking to meet people, hang out with friends from around the country, and play games... but this year there will be more to it. I'll spend a lot of time in the Tasty Minstrel booth teaching Terra Prime and Homesteaders, and playing prototypes of upcoming games (Belfort and Wizard's Tower) as well as submissions we're considering (Dice Factory) and other prototypes of mine and my friends' (All For One, Lost Adventures). Here's a list of TMG related things I'll be doing next week at the con:

* Teaching Terra Prime and Homesteaders in the booth
* Playing prototypes of Belfort, Wizard's Tower, Train of Thought and Dice Factory
* Running Tasty Minstrel's Winner Cleans Up events
* Selling Terra Prime and Homesteaders
* Selling plush Tasty Minstrel dragons

As for non-TMG related things, I also plan on doing the following:

* Helping Derk and Aldie set up on Wednesday
* Playing prototypes of friends' games in Proto Alley
* Puzzle Hunt
* Game Show (depending on the format)
* Late night Time's Up! and Werewolf

I'm really looking forward to the con again this year. If you're there, be sure to stop by the Tasty Minstrel booth and say hello - I'm looking forward to meeting and playing games with you!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Random Red Colony and Dynasty thoughts

I have been wanting to revisit some old designs, and in fact, I have put together another copy of All For One (sort of) since the copy I had got sent to Z-man, then on to Jackson Pope in England, and then to the co-designer David Brain - where I understand most of the bits have gone missing :(

Sadly, I had made changes by hand to the board and cards, and I'm not certain what all of them were. I guess I'll just have to rediscover them.

In addition, I have been putting more thought into Dynasty - probably my most ridiculously neglected game considering how simple it ought to be to try it! My friend Steve is living at my house for the time being, and I have decided that while I've got the chance I should really bounce ideas off of him and get some of these ideas progressed!

I briefly described Red Colony to Steve, and in doing so I thought of an idea which might be good. I'd always imagined things in Red Colony being built under a network of protective domes. So it follows that the early game building you do in the game is to build some domes connected by tubes. This could be a sort of land-grab in the early game where players build tubes and domes in order to reserve land for themselves in order to build buildings.

The domes and tubes would of course require some resources, which the players would obviously start the game collecting. At some point they will be done with those resources and will need to switch their income to some different type of resources in order to construct the buildings they want in their domes - Farms, Factories, Habitats, whatever.

So the crux of the new idea is that you begin with an area enclosure type of thing, and go from there. Admittedly I have not reviewed my posts on the game, and I don't necessarily remember exactly how I thought the game would work, so I don't know how this new idea would fit in exactly, but it sounded interesting.

In re-examining Dynasty I read some of my more recent posts, and in one of those I detailed an alternate method to deal with military aspects in that game. Since discussing it with Steve, I have done some more thinking about how the military part could work, and I think I have refined it further.

First of all, I think players should be able to purchase Leaders. I don't think there needs to be a distinction between Political and Military leaders either, just Leaders. The cost should be some set thing, and they would be purchased just like Discoveries are purchased - you'd have to have access to all the resources needed, or else trade with someone. Since I like the idea of Leaders really affecting the game after Cities exist, maybe the cost would include some special resource that you can only get from a City, so nobody can build a new leader until SOMEONE obtains a city.

The rule I currently think might be a winner for attacking is this... in order to conquer a Village, you have to have 2 more Leaders in the area than the defender. As long as that's true, you can remove 2 Leaders from the board and take the Village (maybe the Leaders set up shop in the Village and don't move around the board anymore). For a city, same thing, but it costs 3 Leaders to take a City. So if you have a city and a Leader in a territory, I would have to have 4 Leaders in the territory in order to Attack the city, in which case I would remove 3 of them and take over the city.

I chose 2 and 3 for the numbers so that there could be a Discovery (gunpowder?) which allows you to take a Village or City with 1 fewer Leader.

Steve and I talked about some other aspects of the game. I should probably list some of them here so I don't forget. In no particular order:

* I have always considered that there would be 8 different resources. Suppose instead there were 9, 3 of which are represented twice each on the board, 5 are represented once each, and 1 is not represented on the board at all. Now consider that each city tile has one of the 5 rarer resources on it. When upgrading a Village to a City, you gain access to the listed resource. Thus, in the early game, there would be 3 resources which are in abundance (easy to gain access to), and 5 which one player will own and others will have to trade for. Then, as cities come into play, the rare resources will become more common as cities pop up showing their symbol. In addition, the 6th city tile would bear that 9th resource, which is not represented on the board (Gold?). the only way to gain access to that one would be for someone to upgrade that city.

Steve suggested that when you place Village tiles, they must be face down, so you don't know which one has which resource on the back. That's an interesting idea, but I don't know if it's better than being able to decide which resource you want access to.

* I don't think I like the previous posted idea for founding Villages - starting with a leader in play, and moving them around to found Villages wherever you want. I think it would be cooler if you had to deal with the resources near your starting territory, and trade for the rest. So I think Founding a Village in a Territory adjacent to one of your other ones sounds better to me. Steve and I briefly discussed the possibility of only being able to found a Village in a territory adjacent to one containing ONLY your own Village/City... so you couldn't spread through another player's territory, just create a border. I don't think that idea is very good though.

* Steve mentioned that perhaps instead of trading for anything from anyone at any time, perhaps you could only trade for the resources that are available in Territories containing or adjacent to your own Villages. So if you need access to Wood, and you aren't at least adjacent to Wood, then you will have to found a Village first to get closer - even if 3 opponents all have access to wood. I don't know if I like that or not. I thin it would make some differentiations in who can get which Discovery, which might differentiate strategic paths (or "player postures")... but I expect that to sort of happen organically based on the scoring system. if you trade willy-nilly for resources to bu whatever Discovery you want, then you will be giving points away left and right. I hope that players will be judicious in how much trading they do, and attempt to be as self sufficient as possible, trading minimally when necessary. In other words, if your desired strategy requires a lot of blue and red resources, and some brown and gold as well, ten you should probably try and gain your own personal access to red and blue, and maybe 1 of brown or gold and only trade for the one you need, and of course for the odd orange or yellow resource as needed as well.

* Based on my idea above for removing leaders from the board to do things, I think the leaders would have to be fairly easy to replace. Maybe the standard action could be "get 1 leader for XXX cost, or 2 for XXXYY cost." There could be a discovery that gives you +1 Leader perhaps, or make it cheaper. If attacking removes leaders from the board, then upgrading a Village to a City should probably remove 1 Leader as well.