Today’s mechanic is inspired by the scoring condition from the upcoming Lords of Xidit, itself a reimplementation of an older game Himalaya. In the game, players are gaining influence in various areas, and at the end of the game, their relative positions in these areas will determine the victor. The catch is that the areas are reckoned in a random order, determined at the beginning of the game, and when an area is reckoned, the player with the least influence in that area is eliminated. So excelling at a few aspects of the game might not help you if the first category scored is the one you are doing poorly at!
I was interested to see whether this idea could work in a very small card game, possibly fitting into the 18 card microgame genre.
Day 16: Xidit Trick Taking Game
There are 18 cards in the game, and each card has a value in each of four attributes – lets call them Fire, Water, Air and Earth. For example, a card might have a value of 3 for both Fire and Water, and be worth 1 for Earth and Air. Each card also has an order of the four elements defined on the bottom of the card, which varies from card to card.
At the beginning of the game, deal out 4 cards to each player (only considering a 4 player game for now), set one card face down in the middle of the table, and one card face up. The face up card determines the order in which the elements will be reckoned, for example, Fire might be reckoned first, then Water, Air and finally Earth.
Before play begins, in turn order players bid a number from 1 to 4, which is final position they think they will occupy (1 means they are the last player standing, 2 means the last player eliminated, and so on). Players can bid any number, except that the last player cannot bid so that each number is taken only once by a player (so that you cannot have a set of bids of 1, 2, 3 and 4). Then play begins, starting with the first player who bid.
In each round, players will play one card from their hand in turn order, and then compare the value of the element that is being reckoned in that round. Whichever player has the lowest value in that element is eliminated from the game, and if it is a tie, whoever had the lowest combined value of all the elements is eliminated. As an added incentive, whoever wins the round gets to add the face down card into their hand, and place another card face down into the centre of the table (ties again are broken by the combined value on the cards). An exception is that in the first round, no player is eliminated.
Play continues, with the winner of the previous round leading in the next one, until 4 rounds have been played, and one player is the eventual winner. That player scores 2 points. Additionally, if a player was correct in their bid of what position they would come in the round, they score 1 point. Then a new round is begun, with the new starting player being the player with the most points. The first to some agreed total (say 10 points) is the winner.
Its a bit hard to tell whether this idea would work or not, and I don’t really know what the distribution of values on the cards should be. Should the cards all be roughly balanced, with high values in some elements, and low values in others, or should some cards simply be better than other ones? In any case, seems like an easy enough idea to try out!