Friday, September 19, 2014

More Deck Learning?

I've mentioned before that I've wanted to explore more uses of the Deck Learning mechanism from Eminent Domain, and I've had a couple of general ideas as to what kinds of game I'd like to try with it...

The other day I started putting some real thought into how a Railroad Tycoon style network building/pickup-deliver game driven by a deck learning mechanism might work. I ended up with some interesting, maybe clever ideas as to how to do cities, connection costs, and deliveries in a certain way, and on the airplane yesterday I fleshed those ideas out pretty well, but I did run into an issue. More like a question, really...

Does the Deck Learning mechanism necessarily require Role Selection? Or is it enough to use the stacks and card drafting outside of a Role Selection game?

I'm not sure I know the answer to that yet, but my first thought was that the Role Selection provided almost all of the interaction in EmDo, so the only way I could use the deck learning in a non-RS game would would be to use some other form of interaction.

So with the ideas I have right now about this rail game (what should I call it? Manifest Destiny... ha ha... Or how about Eminent Do-Train? EmTro? EmTrak? Man, I amuse myself!), my first thought was to use the Role Selection, and each player would build up their own little mini-map. But my current thought is to have a common board where players compete to build cities onto the map and deliver cubes from city to city, and try it without Role Selection.

As a player, would you expect a deck learning game to work more like Eminent Domain (using Role Selection)? Or no?


AlexC said...

I wouldn't think a "deck learning" game needs to have role selection.

By "deck learning" you're meaning a tweak on deckbuilding games where... the cards in your deck change as a side-effect of the other actions you're taking? And you can always choose to take one of several actions regardless of what cards you've drawn, but the cards in your hand contribute to the effect of your turn, and/or do something on other players' turns? If that's the definition you're going by, nothing in that is specific to role selection.

You probably do want some way for the cards in your hand to be able to do something for you on other players' turns, and role selection certainly provides that nicely and cleanly. But I'm sure there are many other ways it could be done.

Seth Jaffee said...

I think you're right, and as I said in the post, my current thought is:

"the only way I could use the deck learning in a non-RS game would would be to use some other form of interaction."

I'm going to try that in this rail game, for which I need a clever or snazzy title... :)

Erik R. said...

Railroad games have often flirted with economy/stock sharing simulations to drive the player interaction. I don't mean to suggest sticking to convention, but I see some possible parallels there to the system in Eminent Domain, as the card stacks are also limited in supply.

One idea could be that the card stacks are the resources being pushed around and activating abilities in the game. Rather than performing roles, taking a card could have the intrinsic effect of affecting the value of that card type for everyone.

Another idea that I find inspiring about deck-learning/building/cycling is that it can model the cyclical nature of a transportation/trade network. The Railroad Tycoon family of games have you move cubes around from city to city, but it's not very representative of how this movement and trade is on-going and cycles around, like blood flowing through veins.

Seth Jaffee said...

Thanks for the replies! I have made some progress on this game (creating city tiles, upgrades, and etc), but to test it out I need to make the actual cards...

Hopefully that will happen soon.