Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cards as Dice That Don't Forget, and Game Idea: The Plan

Mahalo.  So I've been thinking about one of the longer-standing (and longer-winded) issues between "Euro" and "Ameritrash" games - that of (perceived) Skill vs. Luck.  The argument runs that the less luck has to do with the game, the more it reflects skill.  Chess vs. Snakes and Ladders.
A thought I had to mitigate the perceived influence of Luck: Replace dice with discreet stacks of cards, to which cards do not return upon being drawn.
Now, I'll bet this concept has been suggested before.  But as I'm new to all this, I'm puzzling a lot of things out myself.  I feel that it's worth musing upon.
So let's compare a die to a stack: We'll have d6 (die) and d6 (stack).
A d6 (die), when rolled, always has a 1-in-6 chance of rolling each of its results.
Now, a d6 (stack), when drawn from, removes that result from future draws.  You can count your cards (easier with a d6 than with higher denominations) and plan accordingly, especially if you can manipulate your stack - say, a mechanic where you can burn a draw to re-stock your stack, when you know that only bad draws remain.  There's luck, but you control the odds, to an extent.
It's a thought.

Also, a game idea I had: The Plan.  Inspired by reading the Design Diary for Canterbury, which in turn drew a lot of inspiration from Caylus, I thought that there'd be room for a cool Civic Planning game based around the iconic era of Chicago's Development, The Plan of Chicago.  In particular what inspired me was Andrew Parks talking about how players had to share the City's gold, as opposed to amassing it themselves.
Some ideas for The Plan: Money is a valuable resource, but not one that directly adds to the player's score or ability.  As a department head or civic planner, you're not really in it to get personally rich - that's a sucker's game - you're cultivating Influence, and getting money for your department's and your project's budgets is just your means of getting there.
I think that the game should have a few phases - Board, Department, Commission.  Set time markers dividing up the game in accordance with scale; you start out small, eventually take over one of the extant Departments, and finally wield your full political power as a member of a Commission.
It'll involve auctions, blocking your opponents, and if a scenario where if everyone blocks one another, you miss a deadline and everyone suffers.  Should encourage some co-op.  Via voting?
Hm.  More on this later.

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