Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eminent Domain - more ideas

I have not tried it yet, but the more I think about it, the more happy I am with my plan for the Tech decks in Eminent Domain, which is as follows:

Instead of drawing X cards and keeping 1, I would prefer that players pick up the entire Tech deck, and 'purchase' any card they want - using the Research icons they played. So if you choose the Research role and add 4 symbols to it, you can take a tech costing up to 5. Your opponent who Followed the action with only 3 symbols can take a tech costing up to 3. In addition, I think I'll make 2 copies of each card, and you get to take both of them.

The decks could be structured as such:
5 3-cost cards with 2 symbols and a decent ability
4 5-cost cards with 2 symbols and a good ability and worth 2vp each
3 6(?)-cost cards with 3 symbols and a good ability and worth 3vp each.

And again, 2 copies of each card. Or maybe 3 copies of the 3-costs, 2 copies of the 5-costs, and 1 copy each of the 6-costs. When you purchase, you get all copies of that tech card and shuffle them into your deck (not into discard, that way you'll draw them soon).

In other news...

I have a friend named Sebastian who is a great game designer. He lives in London, and works on games with the famous and prolific Reiner Knizia, and he's also published one of his own games, On the Underground (which I rate very highly, and not just because I know the author!). I really enjoy chatting with Seb about game designs, he often gives me an idea which helps me look at a game in a whole new light, or which helps me fix a problem I have with a game. For example he made a comment about All For One which led to the current version of the story tracks I'm using in that game. Today I was bouncing Eminent Domain ideas off of him and he made some great comments which, coincidentally, were akin to the thoughts I was having - only 1 step further. The funny part was that I had not yet mentioned the thoughts I was having on the subject!

Seb's suggestion was this: regarding the planet card display, instead of a row of cards like I was talking about, try a 2D array of cards which players move a Ship pawn around on.

The upshot of this is that the Survey action could move your ship, and the Colonize and Warfare actions could simply grab up the planet your ship is on. This adds a geographical element to the game, which I like. It also gives the opportunity for interaction (you could move over and colonize my planet before I get a chance). It also allows me to separate the costs for colonization vs warfare - the Colonize cost could be based on position on the board (just paid at once, no more hiding colonize cards under planets), while the warfare cost (generally higher) could be printed on the card.

And incidentally, I could turn the cards into tiles. I'm thinking they'd be laid out face down with only the type showing, and when you land on a planet, you turn it face up and learn it's ability and Warfare cost (Colonize cost is known already because it's based on position in the array). Thus, the ACTION on the Survey cards could be "peek at a face down tile."

I think I will try this next - now to update my prototype!

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