Friday, August 3, 2012

Scarborough Fair

So I started thinking about a game that I had put on the back burner a long time ago.  I you read back far enough in the blog, you'll remember that I had an idea a while back for a game called Scarborough Fair that I bastardized and turned into a game called ATL for a Game Crafter contest.  It didn't win so I unpublished it to hide it's shame from the world. 

Ok, really, I just didn't like the airline theme and I started thinking about taking it back to it's original theme.  But when I started thinking about it recently, it changed a bit and I got more excited about it.  So I'll explain what I'm thinking now.

It's an economic game, so you win by having the most gold at the end of the game.  There are 4 resources: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.  Part of the board allows each player to set a price that wish to sell each resource at...  the game starts with everyone selling everything for 3 gold each.  The rest of the board shows the actual fair. 

The fair has a few elements that I should explain:  There are 7 attraction areas with paths that connect each one to other attraction areas.  Schematically there's one attraction area in the center with the other six connected to it and their two closest neighbors.  However, I plan on drawing it much less regular than that.  Along the paths are tents where the players will have a chance to sell their goods.  There are varying numbers of tents on the paths.  Right now I'm thinking that 2 paths will have 1 tent, 2 paths will have 2 tents and so on up to 6 tents (there are 12 paths in total). 

There are 6 attraction tokens.  Each one has a different attraction on either side.  There are 3 types of attractions: Food, Music and Juggling. One side of each token has a food icon and on the other side, 4 of the tokens have music and the other two have a juggler.  The game starts with 3 food, 2 music and 1 juggler showing randomly placed on 6 of the 7 attraction areas.  On the left over attraction area in a pawn that represents a customer (similar to the passenger from a game call on the underground; the game that inspired this one not to mention Of Power & Glory).

There's a deck of cards.  Each card describes the desires of the customer.  It lists an amount and a resource (this is how much of what resource the customer wants to buy) and an attraction.  One card is used to control the customer each turn, but I'm thinking you actually get to see a few cards so you can see what he'll do next turn.

On your turn, you take one of three types of actions then the customer moves (likely resulting in goods being sold).  But first, the actions:

Changing the market:  you can modify each of the 4 prices that you charge for Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme by moving a marker up or down by 1 or leaving it where it is.

Buying resources:  You can buy as much of any one resource type you can afford and is available.  Each one costs 2 gold.

Hiring / Moving a worker:  You can place one new (or move one exiting) worker to any unoccupied tent.

Then the customer moves.  Here's how that works:
The customer will move from his current location to the closest attraction area with the type of attraction on his card.  If there's a tie (and there often will be), the player decides which one to go to.  You must always take one of the shortest paths possible (in terms of number of paths).  Note that you can get from any attraction area to any other in no more than two steps. 

Along the way, the customer will try to buy goods considering any player that has manned a tent on his path (or paths).  He will always buy the cheapest goods available.  However, if a player doesn't have enough to fulfill his order, he will get the remainder from other players if possible.  Ties on price are broken by choosing the tent that he encounters first along his way. 

Once he reaches the attraction area, the token from that area is removed and moved to the area that was just vacated by the customer.  And, the token will (usually) be flipped over to reveal that other attraction.  The only time you don't flip the attraction token is when by doing so you remove the last of a particular type of attraction.  E.g. if you you just went to the only juggler on the board, you place it on the vacant spot with the juggler still showing.

That's pretty much it.  A lot simpler than most of my games.  I do have one concern (a fairly big one)...  I'm worried about a run away leader issue.  After a good play test or two, I'll see if it's an issue and if so I may to add something to control that.  I've tried to think of something, but so far I haven't come up with anything I like.

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