Monday, August 22, 2011

Game mechanic for a hunt

Sitting at lunch today I had a random thought, about Seal Team 5 and their capture/killing of a terrorist. I heard someone say that Disney had bought the rights to "Seal Team 5" - as if to make a movie about it (maybe they're waiting for that not to be in extremely poor taste?)

Anyway, that thought led to game mechanics for searching for a hidden target. Imagine that each player represents a different intelligence agency, and they're all out to find (capture?) a hidden target, maybe a terrorist or maybe just a particular item or piece of information (the Holy Grail, like the Da Vinci Code?)

Suppose that there are first of all several Macro-locatins where the target could be located. Maybe these are countries for example. Players would go about getting information, trying to figure out which macro-location they should dispatch their Ops team to. When they think they have this information, they may dispatch their team, but so as not to tip off other players they would not reveal which location the team has been sent to. They would however have to lock that choice in.

While everybody else is still trying to figure out which location to send their team to, you can go about your business trying to learn more specific information - like where within that macro-location the target is hiding, or how to go about getting it. Meanwhile, since you have dispatched your team, you can (must?) spend some of your limited actions 'advancing' them... say you have an "Ops Team Progress track" for example, and you advance a marker on that track to indicate that your team is making physical progress.

Eventually there would be some trigger which would cause the correct Macro-location to be known to all players. Maybe at this time a specific board for that location is brought into play. Any player who has dispatched their team must reveal where they dispatched them to. If they were incorrect, then all the "progress" they made is wasted - they won't find the target. However, assuming they were right, then they have already effectively taken X moves on the new map (where X is the number of advances on the Ops Team progress track have been made). Thus, they have ahead start in the race to find the target.

I don't know how interesting this would turn out to be, or how fun, or exactly how the game would work - but it sounded like a neat way to implement a race for hidden information. I think this could jive well with the type of thing that Indiana Jones' Lost Adventures was doing with the game system knowing information that the players do not.


Chris said...

Tabago's clue playing mechanic is *close* but the information is probably too open for what you are looking for.

Jeff said...

There was never much information released about it, but Knizia's unfortunately-defunct "Adventurer's League" may have had an ingredient of this -- I know it had an area-majority mechanic, where you placed your operatives on various locales, and maybe it was (or could have been) the case that this represents your level of investment in that locale being important to the overall "solution" (although I'm also unsure whether that game had a "solution").

I've been kicking around some new ideas for Lost Adventures lately, and one of the craziest ( is for the temple exploration phase to be real-time, with all players acting simultaneously! Such a scheme would work well with an idea of commitment or investment; maybe the more invested you are in the correct location, the more of a head-start you get during the exploration phase.