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Subject: Looking for a way to quickly flood a map. rss

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Tom Stessens
Belgium
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Hello, i'm looking for some advice on what kind of mechanic to use.

I'm in the (very early) process of developing a game and i'm looking for a way to quickly 'flood' a map filled with provinces. Basically either the entire map or up to 80-90% of it will have to become flooded during the course of the game. And for the game to go smoothly, the majority of this should probably happen in the first few turns.

Now, my initial idea was to make a deck of cards. There are at this moment 33 provinces on my map, i would have given each province 3 to 5 cards and once all cards have been flipped your province is flooded. There are other ways to flood those provinces, so each of those cards had a disaster on the bottom of the card, if the province was already flooded, that card goes to the disaster area and works as a kind of quest where you can score points.
There are however several problems with this idea. First, i'm really dreading having to design somewhere between 100 and 150 cards just to start testing decently. It's been holding me back for months actually. Second, this is a really random way of flooding the map and players aren't really making any decisions. They're just flipping cards, LOTS of cards. Third, initial playtesting (playing against myself) had me not only flooding provinces, but also flooding the disaster area with cards. This was very early, so i would have limited that area or found another solution, but it still didn't flow smoothly.

So i'm looking for a better mechanic.
Problem is, i'm stuck finding one. Best i can think of at this moment is giving each province about 2-3 markers (different colored pieces of cardboard). Then give the players ways of collecting those markers. once all markers are removed from a province, it's flooded.
Maybe make different kinds of markers and add some sort of set collection? Give the markers some other effect on the map? Not sure on those yet.
Problems i'm having with this is that there's still a lot of markers to take away. 66 to 99 of them. I could obviously go for fewer provinces, but i've already came down from about 50 and i hope i don't have to go lower. There's a minimum amount of provinces needed for other mechanics (see below). Fewer markers is a solution as well, but that would instanty flood an entire province at once and i'd need to do some testing to see if that's fun. But i can't test anymore because i don't have a flooding mechanic! I've gotten myself stuck there….

I'm also not sure if this removing markers mechanic would be interesting combined with the rest of the game wich is basically a worker placement with several actions available. And meeples moving over routes on the map wich the players have to collect with their workers, having to make the choice between the actions available or collecting the meeples (these score points). There's also 1 limited resource available at the start and 4 other resources available throughout the game, the limited resource floods the map when used, speeding up the process a bit.
I'm also dabbling in player powers shifting throughout the game and some other things, but these aren't central to the design and are all still candidates for the chopping block, so not really important at the time.

So, where do i go now? Should i go back to the cards? Because the more i think about this, the less i like the cards. Are the markers a decent idea? They seem decent, but i'm not really excited about them.
Does anybody have a better idea on how i could solve this one? I'd really love some input.

Oh, and i know that my explanation of the game may not be all that clear. Deciding to remove the cards has actually set me back quite a bit, so it's not the only thing i had to cut out. And because of that my list of mechanics has become quite a bit shorter. Also, i'm not great at explaining rules, wich is going to be great fun once i have to start writing a rulebook.

Feel free to ask any questions or clarifications, i'll be happy with all the help i can get.
Thanks in advance!
 
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Maybe cut down the number of provinces some?

You could do a mechanism where you use cards but the deck is set up so the edges flood first, then it moves inwards.

Or maybe split the provinces into regions and each region has a deck if cards. You roll a die to see which region gets hit and then draw some number of cards from that region.
 
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maf man
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I don't think you explained the game enough. Specifically how much time is spent on this flooding.
for example if on my turn I do the actions I want and that takes 20 seconds and my turn end by flipping a card and dealing with what that does, that doesnt seem so bad; but if I am flipping 33 cards per turn thats too much.
So its a question of ratio rather than just saying 150 cards is too much.

I've also found that cards are best used when you need more info on what they do. If all it is is just trying to randomly decide if an event happens it might be easier to do a draw bag or do a dice roll. IE the first turn flooding happens if you roll a 1, on the second turn flooding happens if you roll a 1 or a 2 and so on.

some other games that has flooding*:
The Downfall of Pompeii - randomly drawn tiles, partial player choice
Assyria - designated time for flooding a specific zone
Catan: Cities & Knights - barbarian attack track, plenty more games use this track idea then just mess with what moves it foreword
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Laura Creighton
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I think you need to explain why you cannot start the game with the place already flooded. Just as a thing to think about, not as a serious suggestion for improvement. Whatever it is that the players need to be doing or thinking, that they wouldn't be able to do in a pre-flooded start map is relevant to how you should design a flooding mechanism.
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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lacreighton wrote:
I think you need to explain why you cannot start the game with the place already flooded. Just as a thing to think about, not as a serious suggestion for improvement. Whatever it is that the players need to be doing or thinking, that they wouldn't be able to do in a pre-flooded start map is relevant to how you should design a flooding mechanism.

Yeah, you could start with 100% flooded, then randomize those few areas that are NOT flooded to start the game. And remove "flood" indicators from those.
 
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Domenic
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Steckie wrote:
First, i'm really dreading having to design somewhere between 100 and 150 cards just to start testing decently. It's been holding me back for months actually.
I'm not sure this is that big of a problem. Can't you lift cards from somewhere else? For example, if you had 3-5 decks of standard playing cards, you could pick out 33 from each deck to make your 99-165 card deck. Each territory corresponds to a card (e.g., Ace of Spades).

I'm not too keen on the idea of having 33 piles of cards spread around, trying to see when the last card is drawn so that we could indicate the territory as being flooded, though.

What if you used a deck with one copy of each territory card and just went through the deck multiple times? You could include a reshuffle card, so that you don't go all the way through the deck every time.

Also, consider reversing the sense of the proposed markers: Start with an empty board for quick setup, then flip some cards and add markers on the board as needed. When a region receives its 3rd (or 5th) marker, it's flooded and the small markers are removed and replaced with a single, larger flood marker.
 
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Tom Stessens
Belgium
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lacreighton wrote:
I think you need to explain why you cannot start the game with the place already flooded. Just as a thing to think about, not as a serious suggestion for improvement. Whatever it is that the players need to be doing or thinking, that they wouldn't be able to do in a pre-flooded start map is relevant to how you should design a flooding mechanism.
mafman6 wrote:
I don't think you explained the game enough. Specifically how much time is spent on this flooding.

You're both right, and if you would just sign an NDA i'll tell you all about it. (kidding, obviously )

The basic premise is that the players are in the role of a corporation that recently aquired land rights to the Antarctic, Greenland and other permafrost areas.
The annoying thing is that these lands are all covered in ice, so the only logical option is to melt all the icecaps in the world. The downside to this is that melting the icecaps will make sea levels rise and cause millions to die. Just think of the horrible consequences, with millions dead it will be very difficult to find skilled workers to man all those factories you're planning to build.
So you're going to have to gather up all those displaced climate refugees roaming the earth and offer them terrible onesided contracts and make them come work on your newly melted land.

That's why the map doesn't come pre-flooded, it's the engine that makes the game do it's thing.
And it did sort of work while using cards, but it wasn't much fun constantly flipping them and watching the world sink. Wich is why i either need to change my engine (another mechanic) or switch to electric (keep the cards, but in another way).

dommer2029 wrote:
Also, consider reversing the sense of the proposed markers: Start with an empty board for quick setup, then flip some cards and add markers on the board as needed. When a region receives its 3rd (or 5th) marker, it's flooded and the small markers are removed and replaced with a single, larger flood marker.
I as thinking of maybe making different kinds of markers. Flooding, dessertification, plagues,....and add them to the board during setup. Then make players perhaps collect different sets. Or add to their player board to unlock other options.
But my way may indeed lead to an overly complicated setup and it may in fact be better to do this your way. I'll think about this some more.

I'll try to answer any questions you have in a more clear way than i've managed to do my explanation.
Anyway, thank you all for the comments so far!
 
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robert lausevic
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Is there only 2 states? Flooded and not flooded? Or will there also be partially-flooded?

If the map could have contour (depth) lines and defaults to the flooded state, you could have a custom-shaped cardboard overlays in the shape of those contours that sits on top and shows you the land areas. That would also add a nice slightly 3D effect to your map.

 
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Why not place markers instead of collecting them? This could spare you the vast amount of markers being placed at the start of the game.

Players place flood cubes on a section whenever they do an action that can cause a flood.
Each section can have a limit of how many flood cubes it can take before being considered flooded.

If you like randomness, each section could have a modifier like "-2" instead and after placing a flood cube, you roll a d6. If the rolled value is lower than the sum of the modifier and the number of flood cubes, the section is flooded and the cubes are removed.

If you want different desasters in the game (flooding, desertification, plague), each can have its own cube color. If the sum of all desaster cubes exceeds the limit, the section is uninhabitable.
Depending on the distribution of the colors, different effects are in place. Maybe a flooded plague section can spread the plague to neigboring sections. Or a desert can still be habitable until a neigboring section is flooded at which point the water floods the desert as well.
 
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Sporktopia Games
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You could have players choose what floods when they take their action. So action happens, add cubes/chits/whatever to the space of your choice. If you need the added disasters, then if the added flooding to the area is over a certain number draw a disaster card. You could further add some rules that you can't flood a region more than a neighboring region closer to the ocean to encourage the sea level rise to happen more along the coasts first and have some higher ground.
 
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Corsaire
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thatrobert wrote:

Is there only 2 states? Flooded and not flooded? Or will there also be partially-flooded?

If the map could have contour (depth) lines and defaults to the flooded state, you could have a custom-shaped cardboard overlays in the shape of those contours that sits on top and shows you the land areas. That would also add a nice slightly 3D effect to your map.


Extending this, a contour map is a much more realistic approach which well help intuitively teach. If each contour has a color/hatching of say 5 levels, you track the ocean depth separately and use whatever trigger to raise it one level. Then all matching regions of that color/hatching are flooded. It gives a clock, a plannable outcome, and avoids interacting with 33+ regions for bookkeeping.
 
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John Breckenridge
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Drop a handful of water markers from some distance above the map - where they land, it floods.
 
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Flagaster Montefiore
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jbrecken wrote:
Drop a handful of water markers from some distance above the map - where they land, it floods.

This is beginning to look like a problem that can be solved with a catapult.
 
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Graham Muller
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You can group the provinces into regions, have a card per region.
Player draws a card and a province in the region gets flooded.
This can be decided:
- randomly with dice roll
- by active player
- by player controlling fewest provinces in the region
- by player controlling most provinces in the region
- by bidding
 
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Laura Creighton
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Right now it sounds like your mechanism has the provinces being flooded randomly. The players don't have agency here. This is likely to be perceived as 'not fun'. A certain amount of 'due to things beyond our control ....' may add tension and spice to the game but players tend to want to be able to control things more than this ... protect valuable provinces, or flood my neighbour -- not me!, or something with agency at any rate.
 
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Tom Stessens
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thatrobert wrote:

Is there only 2 states? Flooded and not flooded? Or will there also be partially-flooded?

If the map could have contour (depth) lines and defaults to the flooded state, you could have a custom-shaped cardboard overlays in the shape of those contours that sits on top and shows you the land areas. That would also add a nice slightly 3D effect to your map.
Sounds both awesome and ridiculously expensive

At this point there is kind of a state of partially-flooded.
Each province will have a production value, and every time a disaster hits production will go down. When a province is flooded, it doesn't produce anymore.
Players have to increase production in the areas that have recently melted their icecaps in order to keep on producing resources.

Cervantez wrote:
Why not place markers instead of collecting them? This could spare you the vast amount of markers being placed at the start of the game.

Players place flood cubes on a section whenever they do an action that can cause a flood.
Each section can have a limit of how many flood cubes it can take before being considered flooded.

If you like randomness, each section could have a modifier like "-2" instead and after placing a flood cube, you roll a d6. If the rolled value is lower than the sum of the modifier and the number of flood cubes, the section is flooded and the cubes are removed.

If you want different desasters in the game (flooding, desertification, plague), each can have its own cube color. If the sum of all desaster cubes exceeds the limit, the section is uninhabitable.
Depending on the distribution of the colors, different effects are in place. Maybe a flooded plague section can spread the plague to neigboring sections. Or a desert can still be habitable until a neigboring section is flooded at which point the water floods the desert as well.
I think i'm indeed going to use this approach, it's a lot more elegant than what i had in mind. Including the different colors for the markers.
I'm pretty sure there's i'm not going to use dice in this game though.

sporkage wrote:
You could have players choose what floods when they take their action. So action happens, add cubes/chits/whatever to the space of your choice. If you need the added disasters, then if the added flooding to the area is over a certain number draw a disaster card. You could further add some rules that you can't flood a region more than a neighboring region closer to the ocean to encourage the sea level rise to happen more along the coasts first and have some higher ground.
This is already somewhat present in the game, i just forgot to mention it.
Basically, one of the resources available at game start is a limited amount of oil, only available in regions that currently produce oil.
Players can collect these (and will probably start with at least 1) and whenever they use their oil they get to add 1 flooding marker to a province.
Additionally, oil can be interchanged with all oter resources, but not the other way around. Players can turn their oil into cash, but can't turn their cash into oil. Players can turn their oil into goods (basically creating plastics), but can't turn their goods into oil, etcetera.
I've put this into the game to speed up the flooding a bit and it realy fits thematically.

lacreighton wrote:
Right now it sounds like your mechanism has the provinces being flooded randomly. The players don't have agency here. This is likely to be perceived as 'not fun'. A certain amount of 'due to things beyond our control ....' may add tension and spice to the game but players tend to want to be able to control things more than this ... protect valuable provinces, or flood my neighbour -- not me!, or something with agency at any rate.
Yes, it is too random. One more reason why i was trying to move away from the deck of cards.

gmuller wrote:
You can group the provinces into regions, have a card per region.
Player draws a card and a province in the region gets flooded.
This can be decided:
- randomly with dice roll
- by active player
- by player controlling fewest provinces in the region
- by player controlling most provinces in the region
- by bidding
Hmmmm…….I do already have 6 regions. And i am intrigued by the idea, but i'm afraid it might still be too random.
And at this point there is no controlling of provinces in the old world, but each player has 1 area they control in the land under the melted icecaps.
But would area control fit with the game? Can i do a decent area control game and does this game need that or would it be useless baggage? I'll think this over, thanks.



------------

I'm already getting some really good ideas out of this thread, so thanks a lot for all the replies, also the ones i didn't quote.
I've got some good stuff that i'm going to try testing and all of you managed to make me doubt a lot of stuff going on in my game. Which is a really good thing, i should question every thing i'm putting in there.

So thanks, and all other thoughts or ideas are more than welcome.
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robert lausevic
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Steckie wrote:
thatrobert wrote:

Is there only 2 states? Flooded and not flooded? Or will there also be partially-flooded?

If the map could have contour (depth) lines and defaults to the flooded state, you could have a custom-shaped cardboard overlays in the shape of those contours that sits on top and shows you the land areas. That would also add a nice slightly 3D effect to your map.
Sounds both awesome and ridiculously expensive

At this point there is kind of a state of partially-flooded.
Each province will have a production value, and every time a disaster hits production will go down. When a province is flooded, it doesn't produce anymore.
Players have to increase production in the areas that have recently melted their icecaps in order to keep on producing resources.

Actually not very expensive. The custom shaped "board" doesn't have to be a game board, it could just be punch out sheets.

 
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Charles Ward
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thatrobert wrote:

Steckie wrote:
thatrobert wrote:

Is there only 2 states? Flooded and not flooded? Or will there also be partially-flooded?

If the map could have contour (depth) lines and defaults to the flooded state, you could have a custom-shaped cardboard overlays in the shape of those contours that sits on top and shows you the land areas. That would also add a nice slightly 3D effect to your map.
Sounds both awesome and ridiculously expensive

At this point there is kind of a state of partially-flooded.
Each province will have a production value, and every time a disaster hits production will go down. When a province is flooded, it doesn't produce anymore.
Players have to increase production in the areas that have recently melted their icecaps in order to keep on producing resources.

Actually not very expensive. The custom shaped "board" doesn't have to be a game board, it could just be punch out sheets.


I was trying to visualize this and thought that it would be cool if you had the board as flooded and the states as tiles, covering the board. Remove the tile when flooded. The board could have information as to which state should flood next, etc. Its a shame that that is predetermined and not modular. If the states are modular, they could have the information on the back of them. I will stop now before I make this more complicated than it needs to be.
 
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