Monday, January 13, 2014

Random thought - communal farming vs personal farming (my ideas for a Keyflower expansion)

A few months ago I was chatting with my friend Sebastian Bleasedale, who's had a pretty good run recently of having his games published!

One of which was Keyflower with Richard Breese, an expansion to which just came out. I remember talking to him about a possible expansion idea I had for that game, which I thought could be a thematic fit, but he didn't think it worked with the game...

But the idea had an interesting mechanism in it, so I thought I'd jot it down here where I could find it, just in case I want to use it in some future endeavor:

So Keyflower is supposed to be about people coming over o the new world on the Mayflower, right? Maybe something about Native Americans, and Thanksgiving?
The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621.[2] This feast lasted three days, and was attended by about 53 Pilgrims and 90 American Indians.[3] The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating "thanksgivings"—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought
I'm surprised Wikipedia says "American Indians" rather than "Native Americans"
Americans commonly trace the Thanksgiving holiday to a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season
So like at the end of the year you have the harvest Feast, which is like a special additional scoring maybe?
Squanto, a Patuxent Native American who resided with the Wampanoag tribe, taught the Pilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn and served as an interpreter for them (Squanto had learned English during travels in England). Additionally the Wampanoag leader Massasoit had donated food stores to the fledgling colony during the first winter when supplies brought from England were insufficient.
So you can get additional animals (fish, corn - different from grain in the first expansion), but not unless you interact with the Native Americans. These would help you with stuff, maybe including the Harvest Feast scoring.
The Pilgrims held another Thanksgiving celebration in 1623, after a switch from communal farming to privatized farming
Ooh... Switching from Communal farming to Privatized farming (!) the game could start with communal farming, and players could work toward making their own little farms (which is better for them). So like you have a harvest scoring phase at the end of each year, maybe it's sort of a set collection type of thing - there are various things you can bring to the celebration, and the more variety you bring, the better (?)... there's communal farming, which switches to private farming over the course of the game. As players switch over, they contribute less to the communal farm, therefore players still relying on the communal farm get less stuff from it.
You can get more stuff (fish/corn) from your farm if you go out of your way to interact with the Native Americans, which will help you score more at the harvest, but which of course has a cost involved.
I kinda really like the idea of a communal farm transfering to private farms. I imagine a Communal Farm board, with each type of thing you can farm on it, and a player piece from each player on each of them. When you get stuff, you get as much stuff as there are player pieces by that thing. When you plant your own stuff, you take your player piece off of that thing, and now you get your stuff (because you've planted it), and everyone who hasn't gets less stuff (because you're player piece isn't on the communal board anymore).
So like you get a tile that has, I don't know, a Carrot farming space. You now grow your own carrots, and when it's time to get carrots you get like 5 carrots. And because you grow your own carrots, you no longer contribute to the communal carrot making, therefore everyone who does not make their own carrots gets 1 fewer carrot per time they get carrots. Eventually the last 2 people to make their own carrots will only get 2 carrots each, while everyone else gets like 5.
So give a cost to planting (a cost involving existing resources), and give each player a set of player tokens with the different things you can plant on them (for the side board). When you plant something, you take your token off the side board and put it on your own tile.

And because you don't want a ton of currencies, maybe make these things that aren't spent, just scored, in a way that having more different things is good, and maybe having multiple sets of things is good (like a set is any number of different items, and each set you have scores with triangular (or something) scoring).
That's about it, copied, pasted, cleaned up, and edited from chat transcript. As usual, thoughts are welcome in the comments below!

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