Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Game Concept

At Jr. High youth group in April, we will be using a Super Hero theme, as we talk about Jesus as part of the Lent curriculum.  For the first week I wanted to play a game where they got to be superheroes, and I thought a board game would be a good way to do this.  Unfortunately, there are only a few Super hero board games.  However, all of these games had to be ruled out because of price, availability, or accessibility.

I came up with my own idea for a super hero game.  I will not be able to make it for the beginning of April, so at youth group we will play a video game (Marvel vs. Capcom 3).  However, I think that this game has a lot of potential.  I am going to try and explain what I am thinking, so  let me know what you think?

The idea of the game is that each player will control a hero that they created.  The winner of the game is the one who reaches a certain level of hero points.  Hero points are the both the victory points of the game but also the currency, to make heroes stronger, re-roll dice, etc.  Hero points are earned by fighting crime and defeating super villains. 

At the beginning of the game, an evil plot will be selected.  Each plot will have a super villain associated with them.  The easiest way to get hero points is to defeat the super villain.  However, doing so will not be easy as other conditions will have to be met.  Each evil plot has sub missions, as the Super villain tries to gather the pieces needed to fulfill their evil plot.  Some of these sub-missions might be to defeat a lesser super villain in a certain area of the board, or to make a certain skill roll in a certain area, with-in a time frame.  Completing these sub-missions will make it easier to complete the plot.

While, the best way to get a lot of hero points is to defeat the super villain, it is possible  to get hero points through other methods.  Each time a player moves to a space they can encounter it, and fight crime.  Some spaces have pre-set encounters while others require drawing from a card deck. 

Instead of moving and completing missions/encounters, heroes may also use their turn to train or draw Heroic cards.  These heroic cards can be used at various points for bonuses or character specific missions, that help make the story of each hero unique. 

That is an overview of the game.  The game play is attribute and dice based.  There are three attributes:  Strength, Agility, and Intelligence.   Each hero will have a rating, that the player will pick using a character creation system.  For example, each player may have 12 points that will divide up among the attributes.  When encountering spaces, players will have to make attribute checks.  For example, to defeat a minor villain may require a strength test of 9.  For each point a player has in that attribute they get to roll a six sided die, and the goal is to beat the number in the test.  Hero points can be spent to up the number or even add an extra die, and in certain circumstance super powers that heroes have picked in creating their character can be used as well. 

This gets to the last part of the game with the character creation process.  To prevent players from always creating the same type of hero and playing the same type of game, Super heroes will be get super powers using a draft system.  So each player will get dealt four super powers, they will keep one and pass the rest.  The final card  is discarded so that each player has three super powers available.  Each super power has a point cost, that players will have to allocate from their available super power point pool.  Plus, super powers have attribute requirements, so that the super powers players get will determine the direction their heroes go.  It is also possible, to spend super power points at a 2 to 1 ratio as attribute points, so that a hero could have super human attributes. 

That is the basic idea of the game.  I think it could be very thematic and really capture the comic book feel in a fairly accessible game that still has some strategy and tactics to it.  In most games like this, the characters are pre-created so being able to create an unique super hero each game would be very original and unlike any other game out there. 

Hopefully that was not to hard to follow.  So what do you think, does that sound like a fun game? 

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

IndyCon 2011

This past weekend was a great weekend.  It hosted IndyCon, which is a weekend long local convention that is all about board games.  Basically, a hotel meeting room has shelves with over 400 board games, and then tables set up.  It is 50ish hours of straight gaming goodness.

I have gone the past two years, but this was the first year that I went all three days.  It was also the first year that Abigail came with me.  Connor spent the weekend with his grandparents, and it was the longest he has ever been away from both of us.  With the exception of getting sick, he did really well.

Abigail and I had a blast over the weekend.  When all was done, I had played 29 different games and 32 plays in total.   Since list are always fun, here are the top 10 games/experiences from this weekend

10. Crokinole
PhotobucketFor the most part IndyCon was open gaming, but they did have a couple of organized events.  One was Crokinole.  Crokinole is a "flicking game"  The goal is to flick wooden discs into the center hole or as close as possible.  The scoring is similar to cornhole.  I got destroyed in the tournament but played against Abigail a couple of times.  The game is fun, but a good Crokinole board is not easy to store AND cost well over $100.

9.  Kingsburg
On Sunday morning we got to play this well known game.  Kingsburg is an action selection game, where players select actions for resources, and then us the resources for special abilities and points.  The really clever part of this game is that to determine which action a player can use are dependent upon what numbers they roll on their dice.  Abigail really liked the game, and we are going to try trading for it in the future. 

8.  Founding Fathers
On the early afternoon of Friday before Abigail arrived, I got to play this game, and that is great because this is a game I was very interested in.  Founding Fathers has a very unique theme.  The game is all about the writing of the constitution.  The game is card driven, as all cards can be used for three actions (voting, debating, or their printed action).  The game was fun and the mechanics worked well with the theme, I would really like to play this one again in the future.
7.Hammer of the Scots
On Saturday night, I stayed up late.  Someone asked if I wanted to play War of the Ring.  This is a 2 player Lord of the Rings war game that is epic in scope.  Sadly, neither of us knew how to play and it would take a while to get through the rules.  Since it was also a two player war game and one I know, I offered to teach this one instead.  In this game, one person plays the English and the other plays the Scots.  One might consider this the Braveheart board game.  I played the English, and things went well for me.  The Scottish player did a couple of puzzling things like abandon the strategically important Fife territory.  With that territory undefended, my  path to Northern Scotland was not blocked.  I was able to have the king lead a huge army and take all of Northern Scotland.  The other player had William Wallace in the south, and I thought he might successfully capture those territories, but he had a string of awful dice rolls.  This led to me winning on the third turn.
6.  Survive
This is a fairly new game that I got to play on Saturday.  Survive is a really good looking game with nice looking components.  The game is all about the sinking of Atlantis.  Each player is assigned a color, and the goal is to get the most points worth of people off the island to safety.  Sadly for the meeples, there are sharks and sea serpents trying to eat them.  This is a light game that allows for a lot of opportunities to be mean to other players.  It was a lot of fun!  
5. Raffle
One of the neat things about IndyCon is how many games they give away.  Each person gets a number of raffle tickets based on how many days they are going to be present.  Since Abigail and I were there for all three days, we got a combined total of 10 tickets.  We used them to great effect:
We ended up winning four games.  The game I really wanted to win was Campaign Manager 2008.  I have been trying to trade for this game for some time.  They had multiple copies to give away, so I put three of my tickets down to win one of them and it worked!  Abigail and I also each put a ticket into Nuns on the Run (a hide and seek board game), and they drew my name as well.  Abigail put one ticket into Loch Ness because it was Scotland related and won that.  We kind of wonder if she was the only person to put a ticket in for that game.  They also did several second chance drawings, where they took all of the unselected tickets and drew from them.  Out of that mix, Abigail was drawn and she won Globalization- a game we know nothing about!  

4. Race for the Galaxy Draft
Last year I listed Race for the Galaxy as my favorite game.  There is a version of this game where players actually select the cards they will play with and make a personal deck instead of using a big common deck.  Because playing the draft variant requires people who really know the game well, it does not happen that often.  On Saturday Abigail and I sat down with two other people who play the game a lot and ran a draft.  It was fun, but we both did really bad at it.  

3.  Homesteaders 
Homesteaders is a game that we have, but we have not played very much.  It is an auction game, where players bid for the right to build stuff.  There are multiple buildings and multiple paths to victory.  This is a game that we will need to play more because it is a lot of fun.  Over the weekend, Abigail won a lot of games but this is the game she did the best in, she absolutely crushed everyone.  Either on purpose or accident, she stumbled upon a sound strategy and was able stick with it and maximize the strategy for a lot of points.   

2. Glen More
Glen More is one of the games that Abigail gave me for my birthday,  and I was really happy the two of us got to play it in a full five player game.  The game is a tile laying game, that has a lot of very unique mechanics.  I really like this game because it is a very tactical game.  There is no winning strategy to use form the beginning.  Each turn a player needs to evaluate their best move.  I also like that there are multiple paths to victory.  There are ways to score points at intervals though the game and there are ways to earn points through tile abilities.  I focused on two of the three special scoring categories and Abigail earned points through her tiles.  This made for a close game, with Abigail beating my by one point.    
1.  Cyclades

I love Cyclades.  I think it is an amazing game, and I even briefly owned it.  However, Abigail could not stand the game so we traded it.  I was really happy to play a four player game on Sunday.  In Cyclades the goal is to get two metropolises.  This can be done in three ways:  build four types of buildings, collect four philosophers, or take over a metropolis that someone else already built.  The neat thing about this game, is that there is an auction mechanic that determines what actions a player can take on their turn.  This was a really good game.  One player built a metropolis, and then promptly had it taken over.    The person who took it over was in position to win two different ways.  It took a coordinated effort to prevent that from happening.  While that was going on, I managed to also get a metropolis, putting two on the board.  I maneuvered so that I was able to make a play for the other metropolis.  I attacked with even strength, which means it came down to a series of dice rolls which I came out of on top, and won the game.