Author Topic: 4X card game design  (Read 277 times)

bayonetbrant

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on: March 06, 2019, 10:53:42 AM
Again....  migrating some of my own design content

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Brainstorming something here...


Your civilization is represented by a handful of cards in front of you
--  towns
--  key people
--  trade routes / partners
Each of those is a horizontal card in front of you with a particular ability on it.  Different players may choose to mix and match them differently (lots of people, 1 town or lots of towns and trade, but no special people)

Each of these cards has modifiers that go with it, represented by other cards that are tucked under them vertically
--  towns get buildings:  market, library, walls, etc
--  people get other people (military leaders get units, thinkers get followers, etc)
--  trade routes (or partners, can't decide which yet) get goods or other modifiers (tolls, trade guilds, etc)

each of these modifier cards is 2-headed, meaning there's 2 effects on each card.  Maybe it's a military unit one way, and rotated 180° it's "wool" as a trade good.  Part of your choices each turn is how to play these cards, b/c you can only play each one in one direction, and once it's played, you can't un-play it to play the other effect.

So I've got a decent idea of what I want the town buildings to look like
I've got an idea of how to handle the military leaders / units
I've got an idea of how to handle the "thinkers" - scientists, philosophers, etc - and their followers / modifiers
I've got the basic idea for how to handle the trade routes / partners and the modifier cards for that

What I need
--  one more category of 'key people' to go with the leaders (political/military) and thinkers (scientific/philosophical) and I'd rather not fall back on "artists" if I can help it, so I need a better idea
--  refinement of the trade route idea; I'm thinking the card would be labeled "trade route to Bugtussle" and your mod cards add something like "wool" and "barges" and between them they boost your trade outcomes
--  ideas on how to run a "market" for the cards, especially the 'base' cards, that allow players to add a town, or personality, or trade route
--  ideas for how to acquire / distribute the 'modifier' cards
--  better names for the 2 decks of cards


aaaaaand...  GO


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bayonetbrant

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Reply #1 on: March 06, 2019, 10:54:10 AM
Quote from: Capn Darwin
To build on Swatters idea you could go Merchants (sell and boost trade) and Craftsmen (use resources to make goods).

not a bad idea...  if I go with some sort of Master Craftsman, what are modifiers that we put on it?  Look back to towns being mod'ed with buildings and leaders being mod'ed with some sort of military unit or follower.

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Reply #2 on: March 06, 2019, 10:55:33 AM
Quote from: Staggerwing
What is the timescale of the game? Is it a medieval country builder or a Civ-type Neolithic to Space-age game?
More realm-builder; definitely not running across multiple eras, but may have some classical-to-medieval-to-renaissance overlap.

Quote from: Staggerwing
(think Hanseatic League, Standard Oil, East India Co.)
I like this idea and I might run with it a bit.  I'm going to play with some graphics ideas and post a little later tonight

Quote from: Capn Darwin
1. What is the time period or setting of this game?
Medieval / Renaissance...  pre-colonial, but let's us get all manner of knights, archers, pikemen, etc, and include the occasional matchlock musketmen

Quote from: Capn Darwin
2. How do you win this game?
Variable victory conditions - I want to have a victory deck that mixes a few different victory criteria that you deal out at the start of the game and keep secret, so only you know what you need to do to win, but would include some kind of conquest, big cities, hoarding gold, maybe something else.

Quote from: Capn Darwin
3. How do you attack/weaken an opponent?
There will be some form of orders either as cards in the deck, or triggered actions of leaders that let you attack your neighbors - I want to start with the baseline 'combat' effect from 7 Wonders and expand a little from there w/ variable units and voluntary combat

Quote from: Capn Darwin
4. Are there a finite number of cities(countries?) to influence or acquire as you expand?
There's a finite number of lands in the game just b/c of what's in the deck, but every add'l land you play just spreads your other cards thinner.


this is still very rough and I've not thought thru everything, so there's going to be questions whose answers are honestly "ummmm..."

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bayonetbrant

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Reply #3 on: March 06, 2019, 10:55:41 AM
OK - I'm mocking up some more cards for towns & people, and will get to orgs/guilds next.

Some rough ideas for the next round of stuff to nail down

Combat -
I want something more robust than 7 Wonders, less chancy than Risk, and not so overwhelming that you can't win without having to kill everything (i.e., you should be able to win some games just playing defense)

Here's what I'm thinking
rock, paper, scissors style resolution with swords, shields, arrows or something
The "start" of that circle is determined by the commander of the attacking side, so if the commander is rated in "swords" then you determine
1. swords over arrows, then
2. remaining arrows over shields, then
3. remaining shields over swords
TBD - how many rounds of combat (just one round, or until death do us fight?)

Special abilities of commanders might include adding bonuses to certain types of weapons, or mitigating casualties.
Special abilities of some troop units might include variable attack strength (you never know what you get when you call out the militia) or "first strike" attacks that hit before anything else, like artillery or cavalry.
It may be that 'tactics' cards are part of the card mix, so you have to decide if you're going to burn that 'feint' card to get you out of an attack but at the cost of the monastery you were about to build next turn.

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bayonetbrant

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Reply #4 on: March 06, 2019, 10:55:53 AM
Working on the cities / towns

A few ideas

Some of them allow you to play a (____) card for free - a military unit, a supporter for a non-mil leader, etc
Some of them give you a bonus to gold/trade you can collect each turn
Some give defensive bonuses against being attacked

So...  looking for ideas of what you could do with cities, other than 'build a free building' - b/c the 'build a free building' perk is going to belong to people/orgs, not cities

keep in mind, the full mechanics are NOT figured out, so if youv'e got an idea for something that'll need specific rules put in place, that's OK

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Reply #5 on: March 06, 2019, 10:56:06 AM
Conceptual updates

There's a handful of 'resources' for you to manage, but I'm trying to be a little different with them
Goods - general term for goods/services that can be moved around but not necessarily raw materials
Gold - cash. cold hard cash
Glory - general intangible VPs for being famous and admired.  How much every woman wants you and every man wants to be you



Here's the rough terminology I'm using for the settlements

Size   Bldg Capacity
Village       3
Outpost       3
Colony        3
Town          4
Settlement    4
City          5


Types of effects of cities (waaaay incomplete)

Descriptors      Bonus/Effect
Walled             Defense
Market             Gold
Harbor             Goods  <-- I'm fine w/ cahnging this name but it works for now
Garrison           Free Unit
Court              Die Roll Mods
                   Orgs
                   Leaders


So a "Walled Settlement" gives you a defensive bonus and has a 4 building max
A Garrison outpost has a 3-bldg capacity, and let's you play 1 free unit at some point in the game (you'd put a token on the card when played, and remove it when used)
A Court Town would have several tokens on it that you could exchange for die roll bonuses

There will be some differences between village / outpost / colony and town / settlement (though "settlement" may change)

I need descriptors for those places that would grant bonuses / freebies for the trade orgs and for the leaders

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Reply #6 on: March 06, 2019, 10:57:07 AM
Quote from: BanzaiCat
If you're looking for medieval location names...the ones above are pretty spot-on. However, I get your point about making the names more 'medieval' - you're going to need some wordsmithing to make it have more of a medieval feel. (And if that's exactly what you're saying, I'm good at pointing out the obvious, obviously).

But, you're going to need to balance that out with obviousness. I mean, you can't use Old English names for locales, because I think people will spend more time being confused and looking up the names in the rule book. It certainly would give the right feel, using Old English place names, but there's a big disconnect there. However, there might be a few you can use that people could get behind (at least, me, since I'm generally familiar with some terms):

Barracks/Military - Yeomanry
Market - Faire/Guild
Cloth/Textiles - Mercers
Fish - Fishmonger
Metalworks - Founders/Ironmonger
Archer weapons - Boywers
Fur traders - Skinners



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Reply #7 on: March 06, 2019, 10:58:23 AM
So a "Lords Outpost" or a "Guild Village"?

the only issue with using "guild" there is that I was planning on using it in the names of several of the actual organizations (like Stags suggested above) that are primarily merchant/trade/exploration-based

I can reuse it, at least for now, and see what comes up later Not sold on "Lords" but willing to deal with it for now just to get labels on things

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Reply #8 on: March 06, 2019, 10:59:03 AM
After some games this past weekend, I have a few ideas that I want to come back around to here.

I'm kicking around some different ideas to tweak the previous stuff above


Size   Bldg Capacity
Village       3
Outpost       3
Settlement    3
Town          4
Colony        4
City          5


Types of effects of cities (waaaay incomplete)

Descriptors      Bonus/Effect      Applies to
Walled             Defense         Village, Outpost, Settlement, Town, Colony, City
Market             Gold            Village, Outpost, Settlement, Town, Colony, City
Harbor             Goods           Village, Outpost, Settlement, Town, Colony, City
Garrison           Free Unit       Village, Outpost, Settlement, Town, City
Crossroads         Die Roll Mods   Village, Outpost
Guild              Orgs            Settlement, Town, City
Court              Leaders         Town, City


So a Walled Settlement has a building capacity of 3, and provides a bonus to defense
A Harbor Colony has a capacity of 4, and provides some form of goods bonus that could apply to trade


Right now there's going to be 4 different decks
-- "Urban deck" of towns, villages, etc  (need a better name than "urban" but maybe swap out the term "settlement" in the list above for something else and call it the "settlement" deck
          25-30 cards of 3-4 colors, where there will be some synergy / interaction between the colors
-- "Building deck" of the 2-headed cards that can be played for buildings or discarded for actions
          60-80 cards, where the bldgs will have a color that can interact with the Villages, Outposts, Settlements, Towns, Colonies, and Cities
-- "Population deck" of people & followers, including military units
          60-80 cards, where they have colors that can also interact
-- "Event deck" of things that can happen, like seasons, festivals, events, wars, pilgrimages, etc. 
          These will be global effects, and will determine the length of the game.  I'm thinking maybe 20-25 event cards, and you pick 15, and shuffle the "end game" card into the bottom 5, so no one knows exactly when the game is going to end, unless someone hits a victory condition before then

The idea behind starting at only 3-4 colors is that later expansions could add other colors.

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Reply #9 on: March 06, 2019, 11:00:10 AM
OK, I've been brainstorming on this for a bit - amazing how Origins will do that to you - and I've got a few ideas I'm going to scribble out in the next 2-3 days or so.
Not everything that was described up-thread will come to pass, but let's see what I come up with.


Going to reconfigure the decks a bit, though -
  • Kingdom Deck - has the 'container' cards, like the towns and leaders that other cards are attached to.  Will also include some 'big' event/action cards (urban deck from above, plus the leaders/guilds from population deck)
  • Follower Deck - has the population cards, buildings, town modifiers, and some lower-level event cards (combines building/pop decks from above)
  • Event Deck - Global effects and game tracking; not much change from above
Going to work up each of the 'sub systems' and start posting them here while we try to figure out how to make them all work together

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Reply #10 on: March 06, 2019, 11:00:24 AM
Combat subsystem:


Military leaders will have 3 different things
1.  Army size - how many military cards can they hold?
2.  Tactics - Which type of combat do they initiate when they are the attacker?  (see the rock/paper/scissors - arrows/shields/swords example from above)
3.  Special effect - not everyone has one, but if they do, it tells you what special effect they might have, such as any militia units get +1 to their die roll, or something


Military Units are rated on the following:
1.  Combat Strength - rated on swords/shields/arrows (rank all three, or only 1 and assume the others are null?)
2.  Combat limitations/effects - are there terrain or card color interactions that limit them?  Effects based on discarding?


So you'd play a leader first, around which you'd build your army

When you have a chance to build your army, you then add that unit card to the leader (tuck it in sideways - will mock up later)
(Any special rules about discarding when not in combat?  What about moving between armies?)

When it's time to fight, you commit your leader and all attached units to the fight.
Determine initiative - not sure how yet
Start the arrows/shields/swords cycle based on the commander w/ initiative, applying special effects as needed.
-----  some cards will have "one-shot" use in battle, so "discard this card to give yourself _____ in a battle"
At end of battle round, check for winner - dead units / leaders out of game
If no winner - how long does the round continue?


Killed cards are out of the game.
Deserted units / discard after battle units are back in discard
Units that successfully retreated are kept in play

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Reply #11 on: March 06, 2019, 11:00:46 AM
This started as an idea tied in with the combat system above, so this is going to ramble a bit, but here goes...


I always liked the idea of the militia units being a bit of an 'unknown' in their fighting prowess, and therefore when militia units are committed to a battle, they are (1) more fragile than others - might not be easier to kill, but perhaps easier to chase away, and (2) of variable combat strength

So my original idea was a die roll for each militia unit as it got committed to combat, where, for instance 1-4 would be it's combat strength, and on a 5 or 6 it would run from the field, or maybe a 5 it would attack once and then run, or some similar mechanic.
I like the mechanic, but the details need tweaking


But that got me to thinking, what about mercenaries?
There's an inherent trade-off with mercenaries - better fighters, but a chance you get screwed.
So the advantages? 
A few options: higher combat numbers, perhaps can fight wither either of 2 different 'symbols' from above, maybe fight w/o a leader card
Disadvantages?
I like the idea of a die roll to see if they bail on you.  Roll d6, and on a 1 they bail.
Then I got to thinking about "what if they double-cross you?" and on a 1-2 they bail, but on a 1 they join your opponent
Why don't I like that?
I don't like the idea of them joining the opponent when the opponent takes no action to make it happen.

Enter - The "intrigue" card / ability
I think there can be an espionage-style mechanic as a part of this that if you have an ability to play an 'intrigue' card or ability, then the mercenaries become "on a roll of 1, they desert" and the opponent's intrigue card is "if the mercenaries desert, you can use them for this one battle" or something like that

So there needs to be some form of intrigue mechanism, and that needs to be spread through a couple of different places - card abilities, perhaps a building or two (like a 'spies guild' or something) that give you a larger intrigue ability
Possible effects?
-- steal the mercenaries
-- see opponents' army/hand before/during a battle
-- see opponents' hands outside of a combat round
-- other ideas?


like I said, this is about 30 minutes old, so it's not really well-developed yet...

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Reply #12 on: March 06, 2019, 11:01:14 AM
OK, so here's the next part of today's brainstorming...  the actions you get to take each turn, and how many


I think each player's got an action card with 3-5 base actions on it, and based on what you build, you get a certain number of action tokens to spend executing your actions each turn.   Some actions you could do more than once, like "build", so you could commit 2 action tokens to build 2 things, but you couldn't pick 2 fights no matter how many action tokens you have b/c there's only one space to put on "battle"

So the base card that everyone gets is
+++++++++++
BUILD   O O
BATTLE  O
TRADE   O
MOVE    O O
+++++++++++


But then, based on how you develop your realm, you gain actions of certain types
Maybe you add an extra "Recruit" action
or you bump up Battle from 1 to 2 or even 3 depending on what leaders you have, what bldg's you build

I'm wondering if we don't need a mechanism for some sort of 'civil development' not unlike the 'cultural policies' in Civ V, or if that's getting too complicated w/ another unnecessary sub-system.

I do like the idea of a limited number of actions and types of actions available early, and having to add options as you expand.  it also gives you more options for abilities to be granted by the Kingdom Deck, and could even incorporate cards that offer you a specific action (or set of actions) just for a particular turn.

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Reply #13 on: March 06, 2019, 11:01:44 AM
Final bit of wacky-idea-ness for today

Stealing a page from one of Ryan's Red Raven designs - The Ancient World - I'm wondering about the idea of a military unit being 'sacrificed' as a "cadre" unit where you remove it from your army, but the veterans from that unit build out another unit that then bumps up the base strength of that unit b/c it's not just a bunch of green troops anymore, but now a more seasoned unit b/c of veterans.

I like the concept - I liked it last summer in the other game - but I'm not sure how to implement it w/o it getting too clunky.

I'm willing to entertain ideas, though :)

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Reply #14 on: March 06, 2019, 11:02:06 AM
I just wonder if that's not getting to fidgety for something that's not *just* a combat game.  If we get that granular with the military, how do we put a similar level of granularity into the economic model, for instance?

That was something that always bugged me about the Civ games - there's a ton of military options in those games, but not near enough economic or political options that you can balance it all out.

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