I've posted a few blogs recently about ideas for new games. As usual, I have latched on to one of those ideas and focused most of my creative energy on that one for now. The other, I'm sure, will be picked up again later... maybe years later!
The idea that's caught my attention is the idea of a co-op Kingdom management game. I've even chosen a name "Cheshire's Kingdom." The name kind of ties it (loosely) into Of Power & Glory. Cheshire is one of the Kings from that game. Why Cheshire? It just kind of sounded good... and I like the prospect of using a lot of Celtic fonts and borders. The one thing that bugs me a little about it is that in the Of Power & Glory expansion, Cheshire is currently the King that starts in two locations, which is inconsistent. But oh well, I'm not terribly worried about consistency across those two games.
But on to the game as I see it right now:
The board is mostly a map of the kingdom (I don't think I'll make any attempt to make it a real place). The map has several locations on it that are connected by roads. Each location is where you go to manage some aspect of the Kingdom. Here are the locations I'm thinking about using now: A Farm, Workshop (where repairs and big projects are performed), a Hospital, Barracks, maybe the castle and three other kingdoms. There is probably also an open field where unassigned workers go (I'll explain that in a bit). The players of the game are the ministers of King Cheshire. There are role cards like in Pandemic that say some thing like "Minister of Defense" that gives that player an advantage when maintaining that aspect of the Kingdom.
While there are specific ways to manage the different aspects of the game, there are some common themes that I want to discuss.
Movement: Each player has a big pawn on the board that represents where they are. On your turn you have a limited ability to move... perhaps just to an adjacent location. And then you can perform the corresponding action there.
Workers: There are many workers in the game. I'm thinking these will be the peg pawns available from TGC that are stackable. The number of workers that you have access to is variable and basically represents population. Workers can be assigned to these various areas. When more than one worker is assigned to an area, the minister of that area has an ability that no one else has. He can choose to stack (or unstack) pawns. I need a more in theme term for this, but for now I'll just use the word "stack". Two pawns stacked on one another does the work of 5 pawns. Three pawns stacked on one another does the work of 10 pawns. You can't stack past 3, but you can have multiple stacks. There is, however, a down side to stacking pawns, When you're in a area, say the farm, you can add workers to the farm from any other area... but not if they are stacked. Stacking kind of represents a long term commitment to that task. And sense only the minister of that area can unstack those pawns, you have to wait until their turn to gain access to those pawns.
Turns: After each player takes a turn, the season changes. I think I want to have the seasons have meaning in the game (primarily in farming). I'm not sure, but perhaps each season, the player that goes first changes. Kind of like the turn order rules in Puerto Rico.
Events: I think there are two event decks; a good event deck and a bad event deck. The bad events are revealed at the end of each player's turn. While the good events are revealed at the end of each season. This is a balancing mechanism in an attempt to make the game equally difficult for few or many players. Better stated, it offsets the advantages of having more than one players in the game (because with more than one player, you can be in more than one location at a time).
Ok... on to the specific areas of the game board.
Farms: There are two ways to farm, raising animals or growing wheat. Animals are easier and more consistent, while wheat is more difficult, but pays off more. Animals produce food every season in direct proportion to the number of workers that are there (taking into account stacking multipliers). With wheat, you can only add workers in spring. You can remove them at any time. Wheat produces food every fall in direct proportion to the number of workers that are there in fall.
Workshop: The roads and buildings in the Kingdom can fall into disrepair (probably from a bad event card). Workers here fix these. Roads and buildings that are damaged (or perhaps severely enough damaged), do not work. There is another thing that I believe these workers do and that's big projects. I was thinking that you have big project that require many workers for one turn. These projects would produce something that has a long term benefit for the Kingdom.
Hospital: Workers in the hospital protect the Kingdom from plagues (from event cards). I feel like I need to add more here but this is all I have for now. If I was the minister of Health (or whatever you would call it), I would feel jipped because there's not enough to do.
Barracks: These worker are in the army. There are protection against the three enemies and also the key to winning the game. Your enemies will attack you at certain times in the game potentially leading to a loss of population (I have a clever mechanic thought up to drive this). The bigger you army is, the more you soften the blow or perhaps even stop it all together. Also, if your army is large enough, you can take over one of your enemies and be rid of them for the rest of the game... I'm thinking that taking over all three enemies might be the winning condition. I'll try to describe the mechanic that drives the attack of your enemies.
Each enemy has a collection of boxes, say 6 long. Events in the game will raise hostilities in one of the 3 enemies. When hostilities are raised, cubes are either added to or moved up in those boxes.
Some visuals would help... but since I don't have to time right now whip up some images, I'll use ascii art. a O is an empty box and an X is a box with a cube in it. Also, I'm thinking these will be vertical, but to save space, I'll show them horizontally.
OOOOOO - initial state
XOOOOO - After hostilities are raised once
OXOOOO - After hostilities are raised again
OOOOOX - After hostilities are raised 6 times - since it got the the top (right), the enemy attacks with a "power" of 1
XOOOOX - After hostilities are raised 7 times
OXOOOX - After hostilities are raised 8 times
OOOOXX - After hostilities are raised 11 times - enemy attacks again with a "power" of 2
OOOXXX - After hostilities are raised 15 times - enemy attacks again with a "power" of 3
OOXXXX - After hostilities are raised 18 times - enemy attacks again with a "power" of 4
OXXXXX - After hostilities are raised 20 times - enemy attacks again with a "power" of 5
XXXXXX - After hostilities are raised 21 times - enemy attacks again with a "power" of 6
After that, any hostilities would result in an attack. This mechanic makes the attacks increase in both frequency and intensity as the game progresses. I think I want to also have the concept of appeasement. Appeasement is a short term benefit with a long term cost. and I think it works like this. Suppose an enemies hostility tracker looks like this:
To appease them, you change it to this:
but he doesn't attack.
Normally, he would have attacked you on the next rise in hostilities, but now he will require 4 rises before the next attack, but it will be worse.