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Line of Succession

Three Ideas:

  1. Alchemy/Chimeras + Deck-Building/Refinement: Essentially, you begin with your starting deck of elements and then try to purchase more advanced forms by making combinations in your hand (like a normal deck-building game).  Unlike a normal deck building game, when you spend cards to get the more advanced forms, you remove those cards from your deck - as you get more advanced cards your deck shrinks and it becomes harder to combine cards into rarer forms.  For example, you might combine "human" + "bone" (discarding both cards) to get a "skeleton" card, but then it becomes harder to find cards to match with skeleton, etc.  I tried something like it before, but the number of cards grows exponentially with each base element added and any special effects become really hard to remember if they change by combination.
  2. Fantasy + Drafting: When I first signed up for this class, I thought of a game similar to drafting with Magic the Gathering cards, except unlike drafting with Magic cards (which involves drafting a pool of cards, build a deck with those cards, then play with that deck) you would use each ability as you draft it.  It would involve creating random packs of cards with set rarities (common, uncommon, and rare) each with a different number of copies to simulate the feeling of drafting with actual booster packs.  With all of the talk about drafting in the class videos, I kind of want to move away from that mechanic for now (plus balancing all of the cards would take a lot of work).
  3. Spaceship combat + Pseudo-Drafting: I thought of an interesting mechanic recently that would work well with large scale fleet or army combat.  There would be 5 cards in play acting as the "tide of battle" - each would have a value and an effect.  Each turn you would take a card and use its effect (usually an attack), but most effects would rely on the total value of the remaining cards.  So a player would have to choose between taking a low-value / weak effect card and have a small success or take the high-value / strong effect card and possibly have the attack fail (but at least it isn't available for someone else); it promotes careful planning and foresight, such as a commander would need.

Line of Succession

I think I want to choose for this class' project a game a little simpler than the ones above (they would all require a great deal of effect balancing).  I still want to use the mechanic I thought up for the space battle game though, so I modified it.

In Line of Succession, you are trying to convince a majority of political figures (lords, etc.) to support your accension to kingship, but you must earn their support two different ways:

  1. Pay for it by playing specific cards from your hand.  For example, one lord might require 2 Peasants and 2 Rogues while another might require 2 Soldiers and 2 Merchants.
  2. Each lord may only be purchased on your turn if the purchaseable cards in play fit their range of values.  So a lord might only be buyable if the total is 15 or above, another when it is 5 to 12, etc.

There would be 5 Resource cards face-up in play and the remaining ones in a deck.  On each player's turn, they choose one of the 5 Resource cards to add to their hand and then draws a new one from the deck to replace it.  It would be these 5 Resource cards that determine the total value for acquiring lords (from #2).  Therefore, when picking your Resource card, you would have to consider if you need it to buy a lord, to change the range of vlaues on the Resources or to stop an opponent's plan.

I am currently planning on having a 60 card Resource Deck and 12 different Lords (only 3 to 5 lords available at one time perhaps).  The Resources would be as follows:

  • 10 Peasants (Values 0 to 1, five of each)
  • 10 Rogues (Values (1 to 2)
  • 10 Foreigners (Values 2 to 3)
  • 10 Soldiers (Values 3 to 4)
  • 10 Merchants (Values 4 to 5)
  • 10 Priests (Values 5 to 6)

Each player would begin the game with 3-5 random Resource cards for their hand.  The first player to get the most Lords backing them wins.  Play should be fairly quick as the lord costs should be made low.

Special Abilities

I am also considering having each card type have a special ability that you can use instead of buying a lord on their turn.  Discard 3 cards of the exact same type to get the following effect (subject to change):

  • 3 Peasants: Revolt - Discard all of the in-play Resources
  • 3 Rogues: Assassinate - Discard a lord an opponent purchased
  • 3 Foreigners: Emmisary - Ignore the Value requirement when buying your next lord
  • 3 Soldiers: Coup - Discard all face-up lords not bought by players
  • 3 Merchants: Wealth - Put all face-up Resources of one type from play into your hand
  • 3 Priests: Blessing - You count as having 1 additional Lord

Statistics

2-4 Players

Components: 60 Resource Cards + 12 Lord Cards

WIn Condition: Have the most lords possible (7+) or when the Resource Deck runs out.

Structure: Each player takes turns taking a Resource, replacing it with one from the deck, then either purchasing one of the face-up lords, using a special ability from cards in your hand, or passing.

UPDATE 1: Testing Part 1

I made a basic deck out of notecards and wrote down some possible lord designs (just 2 copies of 2 different types: 2 peasants and 2 nobles, for example).  The lords required either a Low, Mid, or High value in play (0-10, 10-20, or 20+) based on which cards they required - lower value cards meant a Low total was needed.  I included the special abilities for the Resources as detailed above.

The game used 3 players and worked fairly well.  The Lords were fairly difficult to acquire (as was intended) because of the shifting total in play, but the 2+2 requirement for them seemed fairly steep; using 3 cards to get an effect meant that those Resources weren't available to buy lords, which was a little troubling.  Also, 3 Priests for 1 Point was much easier to get than a lord, so everyone went for that more often.  In moving forward, I think Lords will require 3 cards made up of any combination of the 2 Resource types (so 1 Peasant / 2 Merchants, 2 Merchants / 1 Peasant, 3 Merchants, or 3 Peasants), and the 3 Priests ability will count as less for tie-breakers (so the player with 2 lords will beat the player with 1 lord and 3 Priests).

Also, the main problem with the abilities was that for many of them, the cost wasn't worth the ability.  Some of this was situational (a player not wanting to lose 3 soldiers to remove the lords as they didn't care which lords were available), but the Foreigner ability didn't seem as strong as the others.  This may be partly because the Foreigners were needed to buy a lord that was not available because the total was too high - further testing is needed, but that ability might be changed.

Finally, only 3 lords were available at one time for the tests, but the lords kept overlapping on their Resource requirements (all of them needed peasant or foreigners or BOTH), making everyone wanting them and thus no one was gaining enough fast enough.  To promote more variety, the next ests will have 5 purchaseable lords (but this will make the Soldier effect much more dangerous).

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