Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dexterity / City Building

I saw an image on twitter of a city building game someone (someone named Steve Caires) is making, and it looked kinda like the cards had been thrown onto the table, in the same manner as Maximum Throwdown or the upcoming Monstrous.

When I asked if that was the case, the designer said no... but I thought it was funny and so joked that I should make a dexterity based city building game where you toss the cards into play. He joked back: "That would be about as much urban planning as a lot of older cities got..."

A day later I found myself thinking about tossing building cards into play, and the fact that Dice Hate Me Games has a Dexterity Challenge on right now - and wouldn't you know it, now I want to enter the contest... with a Rabbit eligible (I co-designed a 54-card game that was published as a result of Dice Hate Me's last design challenge) dexterity game based on the likes of Sim City, where you toss residential, commercial, industrial, and civic buildings into play, and gain points or card draws based on which buildings you have in play and their relative proximity to other types of buildings.

Keeping it to 54 cards is a low priority, and I already think each player should have a starting card that should maybe be oversized (though could still fit in the Rabbit sized box, I suppose). Here are my current thoughts on how the game could go. These are recent thoughts, only germinated since this morning, so I don't know if (a) I'll really pursue this as a contest entry, or (b) what will change by the end if I do.

* The game would need to be easy, not a hassle to play. As a result, I can't have players checking every card in play every turn in the manner Suburbia does.
* However, each card could have a "comes into play" type of effect (i.e. it's acceptable to have players always check the card they just played.)
* Cards could reference or score for other cards touching it, as well as maybe the first card in each direction, or in certain directions. This should include opponents' cards.
* Any sort of measurement should be relative, players shouldn't need any sort of equipment to figure out if a card is "within range" of another card. The only measurements I should require should be "touching" and "nearest."
* The game needs to deal with the interdependence and interactions between building types - such as the obvious "residential doesn't like to be near factories."
* Each player should probably have their own deck of cards, which reduces luck of the draw, and also helps identify which buildings belong to which player once in play.
* There could be (at most) 1 type of card which is checked every turn. Maybe this should just be the Starting card.
* There could be (at most) 1 type of card which is checked at game end for bonus scoring (such as "1vp per Residential building")
* Players must ALWAYS have a card to toss on their turn.
* Cards could have prerequisites, making them harder to play, and therefore be worth more.
* Cards should never be unplayable - every card should be playable no matter what.
* Cards could be double sided, potentially with a "harder to play" card (with prerequisites) on one side, and a basic (can always toss it) card on the other.
* Perhaps I could use the idea of Zoning to create legal places to play cards (if you miss the legal zone, the card is discarded?)
* I'd like there to be strategies based on concentrating on particular building types.
* I'd like there to also be cross-type synergies.

As I mentioned, I think there ought to be 4 suits or types of building: Residential, Commercial, Industrial, and Civic. Each of those should have something it's good at... 2 obvious things would be gaining cards, and gaining points. I think cards could represent population, and maybe points represent Approval. But what else could there be? I was going to have a 5th category for the endgame bonus points (Landmarks?) - probably just a "1vp per card of this type" for each type. I suppose I could make those the "Civic" buildings though.

I figure the better cards could have a 'cost' associated with playing them - a prerequisite number of specific types in play. For example, maybe a Landmark requires 2 buildings of each type in play before you can play it.

I like the sound of this stuff, and I've always wanted to do a Sim City style game... I think I'll give this some more thought.

What do you think about city building? What aspects do you feel are "must haves" for a city building game? What about for a dexterity game along the lines of Monstrous, Maximum Throwdown, or Flower Fall?

1 comment:

Irwando said...

Roads. You need roads. Maybe another type of card to layout roads before buildings? Or String or something?

That's one thing I love about Sim City and the like - planning the road grid and interconnectivity.