GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!
7,675 Supporters
$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
22 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
52 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

51st State» Forums » Rules

Subject: Examples of game system, part 4 [Hey! Interact with me!] rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ignacy Trzewiczek
Poland
Gliwice
Slask
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There was that moment when 51 run smooth and I was able to show it to people from outside our office. I brought the game to my friend, we played. “It’s ok”, he said. “But this lack of interaction…”

“You can’t have interaction here. It is a civ building game. Not war game.” I started to explain.

“Yes, I know, but still. You know, it is a Neuroshima card game. You should bring interaction.”, he was unsatisfied.

Game run smooth, but with strong solitiare feeling. “Greg, look at your State. You have this 4 Locations in here, that work together as a sweet combo. If we have interaction, I destroy you this one card, and your whole combo you were creating for 15 minutes is dead. I remove one card and your civilisation will stop grow.”

“You right. Every card works with other card, you destroy one, and whole mechanism is dead” he finally managed to see it. I run another test games with my friends. Every single player was saying the same. It is an interesting game, but this the lack of interaction…

Every time I was explaining why I can not let players attack each other, and every time my players agreed with me. But still, I knew that I can not print 4000 copies of the game and talk to all these 4000 players that play 51 and convince them that 51 can not have negative interaction.

I walked into the office and said: “No more convincing people that lack of interaction in 51 is good. I need to find some solution.”

The first idea was very easy. You just look at the shelf with best civ game ever design and you take the idea from it. In Through the Ages there is a draft, and this is a subtle way of bringing interaction into the game. So I brought draft to 51 and it worked very well.

Players had more choices because they draw the card they need. Players looked carefully which cards opponents take. Players tried to throw a wrench in the works each other. They stole cards that other player needed. Finally we had a slight feeling of interaction.

“It’s better now”, I heard from my testers. “But it is not enough. Make it stronger. Bring more interaction.”

I sat down with a sheet of paper. I noted down 7 different mechanisms of interaction I could bring into 51. All of them broke the game.

I’ll show you an example. You probably know Dominion, right? In the base game there is a Witch that puts Curse card in your deck. Curse give you -1Vp and slows your deck. If there is a Witch on the display, every player take her and every player puts Curse each other.

Great! So all you have done can be described in one sentence: “You make your game take 30 minutes longer and frustrating.” Curse brings nothing more. It just make game longer. You could play Dominion in 30 minutes. You will play it 45 minutes, because everybody is giving Curse. This card bring nothing interesting into the game. It brings no twist, no interesting idea, no mechanism. It just slows the game. Woow!

I saw such a problem with interaction in 51. Every single mechanism from these 7 I noted down on sheet of paper was slowing down the game. It broke the game. It make the game frustrating. If one player builds his civ and other player interact with him and destroys him something, it will slow the game. And it will be frustrating. That is bad game design.

I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to bring interaction into the game, I didn’t want players to destroy each others Locations.

But players was asking for that. They wanted interaction.

Finally, I set up a meeting with Mst. He is the most experienced player in my town. He has more than 400 games in his collection. He wins every time he sits to play (ok, I am a bit exaggerate). I showed him my list of 7 mechanisms of interaction. I told him about “Dominion problem” I was scared of – I didn’t want to simply slow the game by destroying combos built by players.

We talked. We talked about interaction in Agricola. We talked about interaction in Le Havre, we talked a lot. And finally we made it.

My very first idea when designing 51 few months earlier was – when you build Location, other player can visit it.

During the process of designing, I refused to bring it to the game – there were so many cards on the table that no one could see and use all possibilities. After discussion with Mst I decided to look at this rules again. It is not negative interaction, it will not destroy combos, it will not bring frustration, it will not slow down the game. What is more, if you can use others player Location, you have more possibilities. It will speed up the game. I liked it.

Finally I had a solution.

So how does it work now? Some cards have “Open” icon, which means it is open and other players can visit it. Not every card is open but some of them are.



You see the human icon in the upper part of the artwork? In the Fuel tank there is a human icon, which means that opposite players can visit this Location and get one Fuel. This location is Open. Different situation with Convoy – human icon is canceled, which means this card is Closed. Not Open. Opposite players can not go there. Other player can not use your Convoy. The guys from Convoy works only for you.

So one Locations are Open, other Closed, and finally I had interaction, players look at each others tables, they think which opponents Location can be useful. But I always want to give more choices in my games. So there is a choice. If you want to use other players Open Location, you need to give that player one of your Workers. This is a choice. Not loosing Worker (as you all the time loose workers by sending them to bring you resources) is a choice. Giving Worker to opposite player is the choice! You don’t want him to have more Workers, do you? But you need to use his Location! You make the choice. You don’t use Location and you try to play without its skill. Or you use his Location and you give him additional (yours!) Worker. The choice.

And there is another level of making choices. I will show you an example.



As you can see, if you put Fuel tank as a Deal (blue space) you will receive one Fuel token. If you put Fuel tank as a Location (grey space) you will receive one Fuel token. What is a difference?

You already know that, right?

If you sign a Deal you have Fuel token and no one else will have it. If you put it as a Location you get one Fuel token AND other players can get one as well.. And if they take this Fuel token, you will receive one Worker. This is your choice. You play nice and you invite others to your Locations or you play egoistic, you don’t need other players Workers. You sign a deal and you have Fuel only for you.

Choices. I love them.

So that is how this long story ended. Finally, I have interaction in 51. Finally it is a very important part of the game – you probably will not win if you don’t interact with other players Locations, because you need them! And what is most important for me, it doesn’t slow down the game. It doesn’t frustrate players.

Hej! Interact with me! Let be friends! Positive interaction.
54 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Filip Miłuński
Poland
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Witches in Dominion makes lot more than only slowing game down! If someone goes for them you decide: go for them too or maybe try something else - make a slim deck and chapel curses out, or give them to other players with some cards. It is not so simple Trzewik. Play more Dominion and check that out.

I played 51Stan for the first time last weekend. I really liked the game but I have to say it still lacks the interaction for me. Draft and using other players buildings is still to low interaction. There is no blocking (like in Le Havre) so there's no tension about it. Everybody can visit my building, I can visit it also, I can do it later so I don't care - I think about my other cards.

You are right that direct negative interaction will probably ruin the engine building aspect but I can think about some other ways of bringing direct interaction to the game. Maybe some of the resources could be limited? Or some of the action cards (everyone has three of them) should be public and first player can occupy it and block. Or maybe you can acquire some extra VP if you are first to do something, like establishing three trade rotes or building three buildings, or changing the leader. These are just first thoughts but I will be happy If you will try adding much more interaction to your very, very promising game (for me, after first play 51stan seems to be your best design so far!).

I know it is to late now but I am waiting for first expansion with real interaction to make this very good game really great!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ignacy Trzewiczek
Poland
Gliwice
Slask
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It is not as easy as you say - that Sunday I won 51st State game because I blocked two other players. You block them, when you pass. So it is neaty way of showing your "offer"and then doing your turn and make pass, so you block your buildings.

As I say, I just won the game two days ago with such a move.

It is one of many details of mechanism of 51 so I didn't cover it in this article. For example you can (and players use it very often) redevelop your location to block others - it is a strong tactics.

It is the way I write - I cover the fundamental mechanism, I don't show all small details of rules.

But dont you worry, you play more, you will see all nasty tricks in 51. There are plenty of them.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Filip Miłuński
Poland
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Passing is definitely a blocking mechanism but when I use it my turn ends so cost is huge.

I'll be happy to play more and find all of this dirty tricks you talk aboutdevil

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
flag msg tools
"Blow up the damned ship, Jean-Luc!"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you for not going with the negative interaction. Destroying the other player's city that he worked so hard to create is no way to rebuild civilization.

Seriously, it's only fun for the destroyer; the target of that destruction is having a lot less fun and can't wait for the game to end! Been there, suffered through it.
6 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian McCormick
United States
Lansing
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Tasteless Brute
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the update! I've been following this game and it looks great. Can't wait to purchase it when you find a distributor. thumbsup
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Ruzzo
United States
Manchester
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't know how drawing works in this game, but what about interaction in the following manor:

At the end of your turn, you must discard a card from your hand. When you do, it goes into a discard pile, the top card of which is always available to be drawn instead a random card from the draw pile. If this is too powerful assign a cost with it (costs 2 draws to draw 1 from the discard pile or something).

This allows you to make a choice of giving an opponent the exact card they need to complete their combo or have it stuff up your hand and lower your own choices. Or maybe it will get barried under the next players card and someone will have to make the choice of drawing a "garbage card" (one that won't work for their specific strategy) in order to get that perfect card they really wanted which is hiding underneath.


If there are other ways to discard cards you might not even have to force people to discard each turn.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great article! This view on interaction in a combo-building game is fascinating from a game design perspective.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tamás Szõnyi
Hungary
Budapest
Pest
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
I didn’t want players to destroy each others Locations


This is why I decided to buy the game. I am very happy that the interaction is solved in other ways. Sometimes, in some games I like where You can go forward with destroying, but my most played playing partner (my wife) really hates it..and so others in my group.

So .
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.