Monday, November 09, 2015

Idea for a series of games that make up a 4X game (which I need not worry about anymore!)

I had this idea I thought was novel, based largely on the new ideas brought about by games like 504 and Risk/Pandemic Legacy, and I guess Time Stories and 7th Continent (with their saving the game state). I liked the idea, though maybe ambitious for me, and I thought it was novel... turns out that the "Father of Legacy," Rob Daviau (title bestowed!), is already working on this exact idea (only likely better). Which is good news in some respects, it means I don't have to think about this anymore - I can just wait and play his game when it comes out :)

For posterity, here's the idea:

So... 4X games (Explore, Exploit, Expand, Exterminate). It's a genre that I, like many people I suspect, like in theory but never works in practice - at least not as well as I'd like it to. Either it turns out to be too complicated, or more likely too long. Or some players are turned off by the warfaring aspect. There's always something.

But suppose each of those X's were a standalone game, whose scope was on par with Ticket to Ride... and if you wanted to you could play some of them back to back, where your starting position in Exploit (for example) is based on your end position of Explore. So you could play a nice, 45 min game of Explore, or a 1-1.5 hour game of Explore+Exploit.

Explore is probably a tile laying game where you look for the "best" spots, like a land grab.

Exploit is probably an engine building game where you produce resources based on the land you control.

Expand is probably a resource management game where you use the resources you produced to grow your presence.

And Exploit is probably like Nexus Ops.

Ideally, each game could be played as a standalone, with the setup rules doling out starting positions that ought to be somewhat fair. As an alternative, players could use the end position of a previous game as their starting position, which may or may not be as fair, based on the outcome of the previous game. If you like resource management and engine building games, maybe you'd skip Explore and Exterminate, and just play Exploit+Expand. If you just like fighting, maybe you skip straight to Exterminate. If you like a little engine building in your war games but don't want to invest a ton of time into them, maybe play Expand+Exterminate.

While each game itself would be on the light end of the spectrum, combining them would make a longer, more involved, and hopefully deeper experience. On the down side, when combining these games you'd have to play them in the correct order, and you'd have to play them back to back (no Exterminate +Exploit or Explore+Exterminate) if they're to really feed into each other correctly - at least the way I'm currently envisioning it.

But like I said, it sounds like Dirk Knemeyer and Rob Daviau are already well into making a probably cooler version of this idea, so the down side of my version is hardly relevant :)

1 comment:

Sean McCarthy said...

IMO the legacy/campaign game design space is currently vastly underexplored. I'm sure you could make a game or game series like that and have it be super different from what Rob and Dirk are working on, and be great!