Monday, November 14, 2011

Idea borrowing...

I tend to build things on the fly in a way that seems logical t me.  This often leads to my mechanics being a bit clunky until I play them a few times and start ripping out the parts that don't feel good.  My problem is that after I have ripped something apart a few times I start loosing my interest in wanting to rebuild it again, and then the project gets abandoned.

I have rebuilt my Merchant/City Cargo mechanic twice now.  Rather than continuing to try and build something from scratch, and risk loosing interest, I opened up my friends copy of Merchants and Marauders.  I have played this game once before and had a blast.  Its basically a board game version of Sid Myer's Pirates, a game I love and would not be suprised if it has its roots in the original Taipan.
I could not remember how they handled their cargo/merchant mechanic so I took a quick look to get some direction.  What they do is very simple with some interesting mechanics.  All Cargo is work the same, 3 coins.  Each city has a "Demand" token that represents the thing everyone wants and will pay extra for it.  When you pull into a port and want to buy goods, you draw 5 cards from the cargo deck (various things will let you draw more cards).  If you draw any of the Cargo that is in Demand, they are discarded, this city wants that cargo so its hard to find.
Next you look at the remaining cards.  Each card will cost 3 to buy, but if you happen to draw two of a kind, then they are only 2 each.  If you draw three of a kind then it only cost 1 each to buy.  If you wanted to sell the "In Demand" cargo you would get double for it, 6 coins.  So cargo is only worth buying at regular price if there is a place that has it "In Demand" or you find it for very cheap.

Its all very simple and makes sense.  I will not be doing this, but I will be looking to streamline the cargo mechanic down to something this simple and elegant.  Looking at this idea has got me thinking about some things I can do to simplify my game, speed up gameplay, and make it a better game.

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