Woohoo! We made it to a week! Only 51 to go. A particular thanks to David Mortimer, whose kind words have definitely given me a boost and made me feel that this blog is actually useful for someone! I am writing this after yet another 3am night at the Diamond Light Source in the UK where I am doing an experiment for my PhD, so please forgive the poor editing (and possibly poorer writing!).
This idea was inspired in part by Kevin Nunn’s excellent article on his blog concerning different area majority scoring mechanisms. I do love me an area majority game as much as the next person, and I’m certainly interested in exploring some new ways to implement this mechanism. Sometimes to get new ideas I simply try to completely reverse the aim of a mechanism or aim, as is the case here.
Day 7: Reverse Area Majority
Area majority games usually function by asking players to try and control regions in the game through having the most strength in those regions (whether it is by having agents actually there, or some other mechanism). As such, they evolve into a struggle for influence, with more rewards going to those in the lead, with points optionally also being doled out to those in lesser positions.
What if you had a game where the goal was to have the fewest people in an area, so that at the end of the game, for example, the player with the most pieces in a particular region scored the largest amount of negative points? Of course, we would also probably have to reverse the starting condition for the game, with players starting with some even distribution of agents already on the board.
The game could then revolve around players trying to redistribute their agents in such a way as to not be in first position anywhere. If the points were done correctly, with an exponentially increasing penalty (for example, -10 VP for 1st, -5 VP for 2nd, -2 VP for 3rd) then a player could win as long as they were not too dominant in any one particular region. Just moving pieces around the board is probably not so interesting by itself, so what else could we add to the game?
What if there were also other ways players could earn points in the game by taking positive actions, but the side effect of taking these actions were that you had to add a certain number of your pieces to an area on the game board? You could imagine each region had one or more functions associated with it that you could access for the a ‘cost’ of placing your agents there.
Even more, you could have various mechanisms to remove your agents from the board altogether, lessening your risk, or have ways to add neutral pieces to areas. If there was a particular action that you were specialising in, you could aim to place many of these neutral pieces in the area connected with that action, in the hope of not having to suffer the penalty by having the most pieces in the area at the end of the game.
Alternatively, you could also have times throughout the game where the regions were reckoned, with some minor negative points given to the leaders in each section in return for some bonus action or reward. Could make for an interesting risk/reward scenario for the players.
As for theme, something that comes to mind is illegal activity, or a mafia-style game, where players are attempting to gain money in various ways by breaking the law. However when they do this, they raise their profile in the various neighbourhoods of the city, and at the end of the game, the gangs with the most visibility in each district are investigated and fined by the police. Or perhaps you could try a slightly different illegal theme, such as cyber crime, attacking websites just like Netrunner.
As always, I really welcome the input and thoughts of you, the reader! Is this idea rubbish? Has it already been done? How could it be improved? Post a comment here or on Twitter, and lets continue the discussion!