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TOPIC: Co-Opportunistic Game Questions

Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 09:02 #257525

I’m working on a game about managing a planet via a council of 2-5 (players). There’s 7 tracks such as industry, energy, civil unrest etc and some tech advances.

Each player chooses a role for their turn and can adjust:
- tax rate
- education spending
- placing populace
- building factories
- purchasing tech advances

The idea is that if your role’s action resulted in a net positive (using a simple and intuitive formula to determine that), the player gains votes of confidence (which act as VP) from the affected populace. If what they did wasn’t positive, and didn’t advance the society, they get no votes.

The kicker is that the individual goal is to gain the most votes to become the executive (win) but the shared goal is to have the planet survive. If one of specific track markers drop off the track, the planet effectively dies and nobody wins.

How do people feel about games where everyone has to play nice, sort of, so that SOMEONE can win, while being very self-serving and sometimes fucking over someone else to ensure that YOU win? An example would be taking the role of the Health Minister and removing a population from a hex with a factory there so that the Industry track drops a space, denying the Industry Minister votes and the Civil Unrest track dropping a space so the Interior Minister doesn’t get votes...despite the fact that Industry and Civil Unrest are two of the tracks that can cause a shared loss if either drops past zero.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 09:12 #257527

I'm ok with the overall concept, and I think it's fertile ground for gaming with people that aren't douchebags (and frankly most aren't.)

I'm catching a whiff of communism from your basic description though. A question -- do you build factories, or do you take actions that make the building of factories more likely to happen? Do dice come into play in the actions, or are they the playing of a card that produces a dependable result? The game sounds interesting but I'd prefer some chatter in the machinery.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 09:15 #257530

I think this kind of thing is cool, but the challenge comes in with people who can't bear to lose; you hear about this a lot in regards to Dead of Winter. People who know they will not win will deliberately tank the game so that no one wins.

It's quite likely that there will be no workable solution for that specific problem, other than not playing with such people.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 09:21 #257531

hotseatgames wrote:
It's quite likely that there will be no workable solution for that specific problem, other than not playing with such people.

Or not providing any single player with enough power to tank the game on their own.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 09:39 #257533

Will it be called Unterraforming Earth?
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 10:14 #257535

I love that in games, too.
Nostra City does something along these lines. Every player gives a secret amount towards the common goal, but only the actual sum after some rounds is revealed, so you never know who fucked up the game for everyone. Also, the interaction between the players is so vile that it's easy to forget how important the common goal part is.
This works so well here because the two things are set apart. On your turn, you do something for yourself and/or against another player. After this everyone pays into the secret bank.
This adresses what Sag mentioned. In the middle of the game, the secret stash is revealed and everyone gets a hint towards the overall state.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 10:15 #257536

LMAO.

There’s no Communism but it could be considered a “command economy” of sorts. Basically the game map has hexes on the planet, divided into 5 city confines. Some hexes have icons of a factory and factories can be placed there, provided population is there to run them (automation happens later, you can upgrade to automated factories but it hurts Civil Unrest. When a factory is built the industry track jumps up by one. If population dies there or is moved, the factory is lost.

Basically, there’s no market mechanics or anything other than “Tax rate x Industry = Income”. Tax rate always hurts Industry and Civil Unrest as it rises, and when you have a negative tax rate Industry takes a huge hit but Civil Unrest gets lowered. So, it’s capitalist in the abstract and command driven as a whole.

The dice come into play only some rounds. There’s 3 dice that are rolled and lined up low to high. Then, you look at a table of 56 options which happen based on the die roll.

146 is a Famine, 345 is a good year for crops, etc.

You’re “buying” factories as a government, which I saw as a block grant or tax relief or something, not really a Minister directly purchasing one. Factories can’t exist without first having population there, and then without having an energy supply >= the industry rate. Most times building factories is + happiness and - environment (unless cleaner energy has been invented).

The scoring of votes is a hard thing to create though....that’s the issue that is slowing the design down.

I want this to be a game of political maneuvering while also a game about managing the various pressures on a macro society on a planetary scale.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 11:28 #257544

I'd be more interested if a block grant action would result in a roll of the dice to see if anyone takes you up on it. But that would complicate things more than a bit and create a different game from wha you're envisioning.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 11:34 #257545

Could you elaborate?
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 12:33 #257550

Just an example idea -- say for instance you have an Industrial Development Track on the board with a pawn on it. Runs from 2 to 12. The pawn starts at 10. At the end of each turn you roll industrial development dice, 2d6, and if you exceed the number the pawn is on a factory hex is built.

Each player has the option to play a Block Grant card and when they do, the pawn moves down one space. So no single Block Grant card guarantees anything. But playing one increases the likelihood of industrial development. Eventually the dice roll exceeds the pawn, the hex is built, and the pawn either moves back to its starting point or moves somewhere based on its current location. Maybe up two numbers. Maybe not -- maybe it stays there until the Industrial Development Track number is changed by some other card.

The thing about a block grant in real life is that it decreases tax revenues. So playing the Block Grant card may move the Industrial Development Track AND the Tax Revenue Track simultaneously, effectively binding the two mechanics together, creating friction between the two (and likely you and another player in your scenario . . . a lovely bonus!) That's where things get interesting, where you have to decide between robbing Peter and paying Paul, or vice versa.

Other mechanics may bind in other fashions, creating a net of cause and effect that is more challenging to manage, especially since a set of bad die rolls may mean killing your tax base and not getting your hoped-for industrial development in return. Your controls become less dependable, which adds a narrative to the play and forces you to make tougher, less defined decisions. Makes it more of an economy play than a Chess board, (and removes the Communism you're clearly so fond of you Pinko. Who knew? I expect such kinds of talk from Gary Sax, not you.)
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 12:58 #257552

ROFL

I would make a free market game but it would only sell to 40+ aged players.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 13:39 #257559

Yeah, it's more wargamish or grand-euroish. Maria uses the same cards that you use for combat to work a couple of political tracks, so you have to decide where you want to dedicate your resources. It breeds scarcity, and scarcity is fundamentally what gives bigger games their edge. It appears you aren't looking to go in this sort of direction or this sort of scale.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 14:30 #257567

hotseatgames wrote:
I think this kind of thing is cool, but the challenge comes in with people who can't bear to lose; you hear about this a lot in regards to Dead of Winter. People who know they will not win will deliberately tank the game so that no one wins.

It's quite likely that there will be no workable solution for that specific problem, other than not playing with such people.

I had a game design with this exact problem. The game wasn't co-opportunistic like Pete's design, but was competitive with a potential tragedy of the commons problem. In most of the playtest games, at least one player would realize that he couldn't win and tried hard to tank the game for everyone.

What might work for Pete's game is if there is a way to leave it unclear until the end of the game who is winning and by how much. For example, nearly every time I play Sons of Anarchy, most of the players feel that they are either winning or at least 2nd place, and have no way to know until the end. If most players think they are still in the running, that reduces the chance that somebody will deliberately tank the game.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 14:35 #257568

It’s a very difficult thing to design in a balanced way that stops people from doing the “burn it all down” gambit while maintaining some level of shared values.

I don’t know that there is anything that can balance individual power to cause a group loss against maneuvering so one player ultimately wins. Dungeon Run did it really well but people hated it because they thought it was a co/op. Maybe that’s a marketing failure...I don’t know.
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Co-Opportunistic Game Questions 13 Nov 2017 15:17 #257571

I wonder if controlling pacing well might mitigate some of the issue. If you give someone the ability to hasten the end of the game instead of hastening the demise of it they might select that instead.
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Last Edit: 13 Nov 2017 15:19 by Sagrilarus.
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