Author Topic: "Questing for the Perfect Game"  (Read 1451 times)

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Offline TheCommandTent

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"Questing for the Perfect Game"
« on: February 06, 2014, 07:39:31 PM »
So some dude named Brant wrote an interesting guest post over at Mark Walker's blog Over da edge::)  Although, I found it slightly creepy how he was able to put into words many of the things I've thought about while playing some of these games.  In fact if he goes and does create this mythical game I can see myself paying money for it.  I love the "build the game board as you play" part of Carcassonne as well as some of the other game mechanics he discussed.  I think the hardest part would be fitting in all the things we love into a new game but keeping it playable within a decent amount of time with rules that you don't need a degree to figure out.

Quote
So I have a confession.  I am a war gamer, through and through, but my favorite games are the city and realm-building games like Civilization.  The challenge, of course, is that while there are a ton of great light board games whose themes trend in that direction, there’s not one good tabletop game that plays in under two hours, mixes and matches the best of Carcassonne (build the map as you go), Seven Wonders (quick gameplay and development along many lines), Dominion (shared pool of assets to build from), and Eight Minute Empire (amazingly fast gameplay).  To top it all off, I want all of that, and a halfway decent combat system that recognizes that terrain, technology, speed, and command actually matter.

Yes, I want it all.  And I want it now!
Carcassonne

Here’s the thing, each one of these games brings something to the table that I really enjoy, but in the process of trying to find the perfect game, you end up with the never-ending headache of trying to balance granularity in the facets of the game that matter to you, with streamlined gameplay for those who less interested in that level of minutia.

I love how Carcassonne builds the map as the game progresses.  There’s a beautiful sort of randomness in the unfolding of a new field of play with every game.  I’ve played almost every set of tiles they make (Hunters & Gatherers, Discover, New World, The Castle) and they all fascinate me with their differentiation and challenge.  I’ve long thought that Carcassonne would be greatly improved with three small tweaks.  First, some tiles trigger events, like immediate scoring or removal of certain pieces.  This mechanic could be tied to seasonal changes, or some other mechanism to show the passing of time.  Second, I think players should have a hand of 2-3 pieces to increase the choices available to them and allow for better planning of long-term strategy.  And finally, I think each player should have a stable of 2-3 unique pieces that no one else has access to, an idea actually pioneered with an expansion to Hunters & Gatherers.  These simple steps would bring that game closer to the idea of building a kingdom, and not just fighting over the pieces on a puzzle board.

The building of the map within Carcassonne ties into changes I would love to see in Dominion and 7 Wonders--a map!  Dominion allows you to collect duchies and provinces, but to what end? Shouldn’t ownership of all that real estate grant you some sort of in-game effect?  In fact, most of the scoring cards needed to win at Dominion have the opposite effect--they are not only useless during the game, but downright counterproductive!  Why not collect them and build them into your kingdom on the tableau in front of you as you play?  Dominion’s ability to collect assets and then randomize their appearance in your hand as they game progresses allows you a degree of control of your tools, but only a limited degree, which is not wholly unrealistic as the ruler of a sprawling realm.

Dominion’s hand management does offer a greater degree of control than 7 Wonders, however, where the cards you don’t play are immediately handed to your opponent for them to inflict on you.  What’s great about 7 Wonders is the uniqueness of the cards.  Although there are some duplicates once you get into 6 and 7-player games, by and large, each card you see (and perhaps pass on) is only coming around one time.  If you don’t grab the Scriptorum this turn, you won’t see it again.  The other element of 7 Wonders that I enjoy so much is the ability to develop your city along a variety of different lines--commercial, civic, military, and scientific development paths are all available to you.  At the end of the game, everyone has very different cities, but uniquely plausible ones, as they’ve developed over the course of the game.  This is a big contrast to Dominion, where there are essentially no unique cards for players to build off of.

So how do you reconcile the two?  Maybe instead of Dominions supplies of multiple copies of 10 different cards, you create fewer piles of ‘types’ of cards, with more variety in them?  How do you work that into a map-building mechanic like Carcassonne?  And how do you make go as fast as Eight Minute Empire?

The truth is, it’s pretty damned complicated.  There’s a fine balance between “plays quick” and “robust array of assets”.  It’s a thin line between managing a multi-faceted culture and overwhelming the player with a muddle of details.  And honestly, even a computer game like Civilization, that handles all the math behind the scenes for you, can bog down in the mid-game when it’s really all about resource-gathering before your final push to the end.
 
Will I ever find the one game to rule them all?  I have no idea.  But if I can’t, maybe I’ll just design it myself instead.

http://overdaedge.blogspot.com/2014/02/questing-for-theperfect-game-guest-post.html


“No wants, no needs, we weren't meant for that, none of us.  Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is.”


Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 04:23:37 AM »
Yeah, and Mark is keeping up the grand tradition of Connections in mangling my last name.  Odd, given that he's never been (to my knowledge).
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

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Offline TheCommandTent

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 04:31:29 AM »
The question I forgot to ask in the OP was are you serious about trying to design this type of game or was it more of one of those "if money and time were no object ...." type of dreams?
“No wants, no needs, we weren't meant for that, none of us.  Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is.”

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 04:42:46 AM »
^^
when did you become a comedian?


or... you could come to Origins and find out for yourself ;)
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline TheCommandTent

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2014, 01:54:53 PM »
^^
when did you become a comedian?


or... you could come to Origins and find out for yourself ;)

Don't tease me like that.  :P
“No wants, no needs, we weren't meant for that, none of us.  Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is.”

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 02:55:54 PM »
how would you prefer that we tease you?  ;)
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline Arctic Blast

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 04:56:29 PM »
how would you prefer that we tease you?  ;)

Whoa! Don't ask questions like that without getting the money first.

Amateurs.


Offline undercovergeek

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2014, 04:57:59 PM »
^^
when did you become a comedian?


or... you could come to Origins and find out for yourself ;)

bearing in mind i wont be able to make it to Origins

you can tell me, go on, did you make it yourself?

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2014, 06:06:32 PM »
just to tease you

playtest graphics only
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 06:10:36 PM »
hell - I made a freebie for y'all before that was a city-builder and fit on one freakin' page.  The only guy to give it a whirl was Barth  :-\

all I was asking for then was some playtesting  ???

http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=452.0
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: "Questing for the Perfect Game"
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2017, 09:57:24 AM »
Believe it or not, I'm actually mocking up my first cut at how I think such a game might come together.

I'm starting with a Carc-style tile-laying base mechanic and expanding from there with a first round of tweaks:

-- multiple tiles in hand to allow for greater player choice

-- some tiles are actions instead of terrain, so they cause global effects instead of being played on the table

-- some terrain improvements that are placed upon certain conditions

-- different kinds of meeples (tho Carc did eventually get around to this)
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers