Friday, November 06, 2015

YANGI (yet another new game idea) - in need of theme: draft/play/run your row!

For a while now I've had some thoughts about a dynamic - I'll see if I can describe it here:

So you're drafting cards into your hand, then you're playing cards from your hand onto the table. Like Thurn & Taxis, you want to (or have to) keep extending your row of cards in play until you can't, then you get rid of those cards and start a new row. So while you're building your row in front of you, you're building your NEXT row in your hand.

I've had this idea for some time, but as yet I haven't really seen a good way to put it together. Last week I was in Seattle at Sasquatch, and I caught a glimpse of Mombasa, which had an interesting mechanism that looked cool - you build a path out of some book tiles, then you advance up the path for rewards. Well, this morning, while lying in my bed evading sleep, these ideas returned to mind and merged, with an important new detail...

Imagine you draft a card into your hand from a supply (like Ticket to Ride), and then you play a card from your hand onto the table in front of you, let's call that your "row." The cards give you resources when you play them. Then after you play a card, if you have the right resources, you may "run" your row, paying the required cost for each card to discard the row and score for accomplishing that goal. Then next turn you'll begin a new row.

This is sort of the opposite of Thurn & Taxis, where you want the row to grow as much as possible before you need to reset it. In the case of my new game idea, you'd want to pay for and reset your row (and score) as often as possible, so you'd want to draft the right cards to earn the resources you need, or draft cards that cost the resources you already have (or can already make).

So for example, maybe a card gives you a red and a blue resource, but costs a yellow resource to clear. Maybe another card doesn't give you any resources, but instead gives you an action (steal a resource from an opponent, draft an additional card into hand, trade some of your resources out for other ones from the supply).

As I type this, I think perhaps each card could have 2 sides, one with say 2 cubes (worth 1 point) and the other with maybe 3 cubes (worth 2 points). When you play the card, you choose which side to take resources from, and which side you will pay to get points... so the more resources you collect, the worse you will score and vice versa.

I think as a mechanism that would work, and I might make a prototype and try it out, but I do not have a theme for this - what does it sound like to you? Leave a comment below and let me know where you would go with this idea thematically, and whether it sounds like a game in and of itself, or the driving mechanism for a larger game (what game would that be?)


Peter Dast said...

Sounds like missile tests leading to a moonshot. You're trying to assemble the right crew & engineers, test fuels, designs, facilities - some work better together, some not so much, some scientists chain, some fuels chain, get fuel A to acquire engineer A more cheaply or no need for 'funding' card; start with small missiles which might require 1 engineer, 1 fuel (and work better with 2); run a successful test, get an advantage on the next test, or cheaper hires, or use the 'advanced' part of a card. Dice or card flip to determine success? Or the 'better' the completed chain, the more money you get to buy more cards.

-B- said...

They way it is written, it looks like more resources are worth more points. I think I'd need to see it in action to see that more shorter runs are better than fewer longer runs.

As far as theme, maybe building a contraption of sorts.

Seth Jaffee said...

-B- said: "They way it is written, it looks like more resources are worth more points. I think I'd need to see it in action to see that more shorter runs are better than fewer longer runs."

I might not have been clear enough... the VP only applies on the side you PAY for, not the side you collect. So for example, this card:

1 resource/0 vp on one side
4 resources/3 vp on the other

Would EITHER provide 1 resource, cost 4, and earn you 3 points OR provide 4 resources, cost 1, and earn you 0 points.

tony boydell said...

The idea of weighing up 'lots of little' vs 'a handful of big' runs reminds me of Lewis & Clark so there's definitely a race element to the theme. I love Peter's 'moon shot' concept...but why not completely retro it to 1940s/1950s and go for the graphical style of Clear For Take Off (

Or take it even further back and go for a Jules Verne theme: Journey to the centre of the Earth? First Men in the Moon? Around the World in 80 days?

Seth Jaffee said...

A year and a half later...

Great comments Peter and Tony, thanks!

I came back to this post tonight just to make note of an idea I just had:
Some of the actions on the cards should probably be to swap cubes, like "Swap A/B for C/D" or "Swap A for B/C/D".

By way of update, I did make a prototype of this game and played it a few times. There were some good points and bad points, and I made some tweaks. Hopefully I wrote down the rules somewhere...

I added bonus scoring cards for players who finished a row of size X, and they decreased in value as people scored them (so likes the first player to score a row of size 3 would score more than the 2nd player to do so). I think I had a good balance of trying for a longer row vs a shorter row. Longer rows were inherently (potentially) worth more because they had more cards in them which are worth points.

I had a hand of like 3 cards, but thinking about it, maybe a hand of just 1 card (or none) would be less brain burn-y.

I forget offhand what I settled on for when you were forced to run, or of it took up your turn, or happened at the beginning of your turn, or the end.

I guess since you can always add cards to your row, it was probably like:
1. Score if you want/can
2. Draft a card
3. Play a card
Or else run, then play, then draft.
I suppose play, then run, then draft could also work...