Sunday, June 07, 2015

Deities & Demigods - Map board and cities (some ideas)

Something occurred to me about the difference between "Permanent Devotion" and "Spent Devotion" ... PD lends itself to story arc - a change in scope from the early game to the late game. This is the kind of thing I think can give a game an epic feel. SD is more cyclical and therefore tactical - once you spend your devotion, you're back to the beginning, and in the late game you're doing the same kind of things you were doing in the early game.

Of course, there are other ways to inject story arc into a game, and things like permanent/reusable artifacts can create that change in scope as well. But that might be why I'm interested in a more PD type of dynamic.
That said, at the end of my last blog post it occurred to me that maybe the game could have both... for a low cost you could up your devotion, then later spend it back down, and for a higher cost maybe you could up your minimum devotion for a more permanent effect (that comes with a higher investment).

On that note, this morning I started thinking about how the board might look. I'm assuming Deus style board pieces, with a healthy number of water hexes, for a variable board. Boats exist and move on hexes that show water, land units ("dudes" for lack of a better term) exist and move on hexes that show land. Some hexes might show both (coast, or river), and so both types of units could go there.

Thus, Poseidon could let you add boats to the board and move them around, and Ares could do the same for dudes. I envision a lot of water (great seas with islands) such that you might concentrate on land units (devotion to Ares) or sea (devotion to Poseidon), or potentially try to do both - at the cost of one, the other, or some other deity. This sounds analogous to Warfare vs Colonization in a way.

There could be "city" type spaces indicated on the board, where you would want to move your units. Maybe these cities are worth points to the player with the most units at them (at the end of the game for example), so part of the game is "fighting" over cities via area control (and perhaps there are ways to remove pieces from the board - actual fighting). I think I'd want the actual directly interactive fighting to be minimal/secondary in this game, because I generally don't like those types of games.
I envision the cities having "slots" or spaces for Buildings or Monuments (or hybrid spaces which can hold either). In fact, each city could offer a different combination of:
* Spaces for units (so max capacity for area control, maybe overstuffing a city is how you "fight")
* Spaces for Buildings
* Spaces for Monuments
* Spaces for Building/Monuments (either/or)
* Victory points (and maybe Buildings/Monuments increase the VP value of a city)

I also envision generic pieces, not player specific, for Buildings and Monuments. When you build a Building, you actually put a card into play in front of you - maybe from a hand of cards, or maybe from a supply pool - and you place a generic Building piece (maybe a cube, though ideally a little molded Greek building would be awesome) into a city where you have a unit. Maybe this increases the value of the city as well.

Monuments would be a different shape (a disc? Molded Greek statues would be awesome in production) but also generic, and when you place one of those, maybe you get to permanently increase your Devotion to a particular god, or how you add a card for that god to the deck (or both). That way you wouldn't need any other way to remember which god it was, or who built the monument. And again, maybe monuments increase the value of the city. Though I guess it would be cool if, ignoring the effect for the player building it, Buildings and Monuments meant different things to the city. That might make hybrid spaces more interesting.
It's possible that each thing in the game (boats, dudes, buildings, and maybe even monuments) could have 2 different sizes, and if your devotion is high enough, then you get the bigger one (which counts as 2). For buildings that could relate to the power level of the building you get as well. Each building could have a level (I or II) and you need at least X devotion to get a level II building... or maybe better, each building has a level I side and a Level II side, and if your devotion is high enough then you get the better version of the building.

That gives us reasons for the following deities so far:
Zeus - turn order
Hermes - gold
Poseidon - boats
Ares - dudes
Hephaestus - buildings

and maybe:
Athena - monuments
Hades - killing units? Culling the deck?

Would it be good to get some semblance of Agriculture in there as well? Another aspect cities could have (wheat icons), which could relate to... number of units you can have? Number of units that fit in the city (maybe devotion to Demeter can increase that)? Amount of food you harvest (and then feed to your units)?
I guess that could act as a limiter of how many dudes you can have in play, kinda like the feeding mechanism in Agricola. But if area majority is the only way to score, then might that just be some necessary evil? How do you get by on low food and still win majorities? Maybe this whole idea is not necessary.

As always, I welcome your thoughts on this!

1 comment:

Seth Jaffee said...

I kinda think it might be cool if the way you "control" a city is by having dudes/ships at the majority of corners of that city (there are of course 6 corners of each city hex - unless some cities are bigger an take up 2 or 3 hexes).

That way there's a dichotomy between grouping your guys together (more defensible), and spreading them out (controlling more corners).

It might help to explain that I see potentially simple combat in this game as follows: When you move an Army or Fleet into a space with another player's Army or Fleet, each Army/Fleet loses nits 1-for-1 until only 1 remains. So if you have 3 units in a space, and I come in with 4 units, in the end we'll each lose 3 units and I'll end up with a single unit left.

Units that die in this manner go to the Underworld, and Hades actions would allow you to bring units back from the Underworld into a space where you already have a unit.

I still intend for players to be Demigods, with unique player powers, and some of those powers could be a sort of "first strike" ability such that when attacked, before you lose units 1-for-1, the attacker must sacrifice 1 unit. This would make it harder to attack your Armies and Fleets.

So maybe Jason (Captain of the Argonaughts) has that ability, but only for Fleets (or spaces with at least 1 boat present?). Another Demigod, maybe Perseus, has that ability but only for Dudes.

I think Achilles should have some ability like that for both boats and dudes, UNLESS some certain criterion is met, then maybe he LOSES 1 until first instead.

And I still think it would be cool to have Hercules be very strong (maybe he has this ability all the time), but he cannot win unless he completes a certain number of specific (somewhat trivial) tasks that distract the player from otherwise competing in the game. Either that or maybe he's got lousy upgrade tracks, but an alternate win condition by completing certain (less trivial) tasks