Monday, July 26, 2010

Winds of Fate: Want to revive!

I would like to get back to Odysseus: Winds of Fate- as I always want to, and as I've mentioned many times before. I updated my prototype after getting some good feedback from a blind test at Spielbany a year and a half ago(!) but I haven't tried it since then.

The mechanism I've always used to resolve adventures in that game has been a variation on the card play from Reiner Knizia's Beowulf: the Legend or Taj Mahal. I am pretty much stuck on this mechanism, because I think it works alright - though I'm pretty sure there is another mechanism that would also work, maybe even be better. But I am completely blind to any other mechanism! Help!

Maybe the current mechanism is fine, but I have a nagging feeling that it's not good enough, or not fun enough, or that something is wrong with it. Here's an attempt to modify the mechanism off the top of my head...

Maybe instead of rounds and rounds of card play, each player could simultaneously play just 1 card during an adventure. Having drawn more cards means your choices would be better in general, so it could still be worth getting more cards. Also, if cards are worth something at the end of the game, that could make it worthwhile to get them as a reward - maybe they are worth something, but not as valuable as some other rewards (because they give you flexibility during the game). This would have at least the benefit of moving more quickly, though it may not easily order the players for purposes of selecting rewards.

Perhaps players could have a set group of cards, like the bidding tiles in Ra, such that there can never be a tie. Then players 'bid' each round, with one of their unique numbers (and maybe another card indicating whether they're bidding for Success or Failure) and whoever played the highest valued card gets the bonus for the round, and the total of Successes/Failures determines Odysseus' fate.

I'm really beginning to like that last thought - Ra style bidding tiles. I'll think about that some more and see what comes to mind.

Does anyone else have a recommendation or other idea for how to resolve adventures in Winds of Fate?


Jeff said...

I don't know if the adventure resolution mechanic is the most important thing to fix in the game at the moment. I think you need to focus more on providing players more motivation for caring about which way the ship goes, and ideally I think you want different players wanting the ship to go in different directions.

That said, if you did want the game to be built exclusively around some players wanting the quest to succeed and others wanting it to fail, I'm sure there's a way to do it. We just played a fun little game called "The Resistance" that you should check out, if that's the direction you want to go in. But I fear you'd be heading down a "guess the traitor" path, which I don't think is as original or interesting.

Seth Jaffee said...

I completely agree, Jeff - the adventure resolution is not the most important thing to 'fix.' After your Speilbany comments there are several other things I've modified (but not yet tried!) in order to try and provide motivation for players to want a particular adventure to succeed or fail (one aspect of that is which direction the ship moves, another is the rewards involved).

The adventure resolution mechanism is a side discussion that's been bothering me pretty much the whole time. ASSUMING I can fix the game up such that players do have interesting motivations, what options are there for mechanisms to promote those motivations?

Jeff said...

Ok, I see your point. I don't remember the details of our session well enough to know if we had a strong opinion about the card play. But I do think I'd be careful about going to "play one card". I disagree with this statement: "Having drawn more cards means your choices would be better in general, so it could still be worth getting more cards. " If you're only playing one card, this could just result in hand stagnation, where the bad cards serve no useful purpose -- in which case, why are they in the game at all? Maybe there's something else players need the cards for, though.

Seth Jaffee said...

Well, I'm not sure what the cards would look like in that case, but for example, cards could be worth 1vp apiece (or something), so collecting them and having extras wouldn't be entirely useless, and drawing more of them would also give you better options for the card play portion. Another option is to have the cards be useful some other way as you suggest. Even if not though, maybe having some bad cards and some good cards lends value to getting additional card draws as rewards.

Since this blog post, I've thought a little more about the 'Ra-style bidding' and thought maybe it would work better without card draws, and instead with a specific 3 or 4 bid cards. Maybe once they're used up you pass your set of bid cards to the left and continue to play.

This is all just brainstorming at this point. I'm not sure trading Beowulf card play for Ra bidding is really a good answer either. Maybe there's some original mechanism that would work better.