My game (which does not yet have a name) is a science fiction themed game which uses the concept of AI surveillance. These sorts of forums suggest that science fiction themed games are well loved, part of the reason I have selected this category of game. Within my game, players will not only compete against each other to collect resources but will also compete against HAIL – the AI surveillance system which rules over the city. From round two onwards HAIL will receive a turn, drawing from his own deck of cards designed to disrupt play by forcing players to get rid of cards, skip goes and other inconveniences. In this way the mechanic of introducing HAIL as a player helps to support my theme of a dystopian future where AI surveillance rules and for every move we make there is a reaction from HAIL.
Players will receive mission cards at the start of the game which dictate what resources (and how many of each resource) they need to defeat HAIL. These resources are available in a common pool where players take turns drawing the resources they need.
My game is all about testing players ability to create a strategy in how they choose resource cards – they must ensure they have the correct resources to defeat HAIL and enough to discard once attacked by HAIL. My audience for this reason are people who enjoy playing science fiction based games. To ensure these people enjoy my game I will be working specific themes taken from popular science fiction films into my player resource cards. For example one resource card is a daisy, a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey. This will hopefully enrich player experience and help the player make connections between the future I’m representing in my game and the future which has been represented in these films.
My game is also based on comparative performance, its not about competing directly with your opponent, but by ‘racing’ them to try and finish your tasks first. This helps my game fall into the category of eurogames which Stuart Woods defines as being characterised by ‘accessible themes, simple rules, constrained playing times and a strong emphasis on comparative performance through non-confrontational interaction.’
This is my rough idea for a production timeline which will ensure I complete all elements of designing a board game on time. I should note that some tasks may be started prior to their predicted week, but the timeline is designed to dictate when the tasks will be finished.
One of the most basic mechanics of taking a turn is implemented in my game in the traditional sense. Players take one turn at a time where they can choose from a limited set of actions. Once the game enters level two this mechanic grows to include HAIL where he also gets to take a turn. This has been done to play with the idea that AI surveillance would have some degree of autonomy and be able to have an active participation in our day to day lives. Feel free to watch my BCM325 pitch where I talk about the future of AI surveillance.
Cards are an essential mechanic within my game, there are three levels of cards for players and two decks of cards (level one and level two) for HAIL. The player resource cards are set out in unique arrangements like in 7 Wonders Duel (link) which helps create unpredictability which Ernest Adams and Joris Dormans outline as being essential for gameplay.
These cards help to randomise the game but also help change the difficulty as it progresses through each level – resources become increasingly scarce and the introduction of HAIL puts some of your own resources at risk. The layout proposed is addressed in this review where it is said to add another layer to your decision making. This is important as a game can not only be unpredictable, it must also allow for strategic play. Ernest Adams and Joris Dormans outline that players become frustrated when they feel their game playing skills and decisions do not matter. The card layout structure helps avoid this frustration since it involves a high degree of decision making skills.
My game is a drafting game in which players pick from a selection of common resources, competing with their opponent to gather the resources they need as dictated by their mission card. This is the point of competition in the game and is enhanced by the unique card layout structure. This drafting structure seems to be popular with players with this review stating “I really like the creativeness of it and welcome a fresh take on a fun mechanism.” Using a mechanic from another popular game will help ensure my game is successful and will elicit joy from players.
Thanks for reading!
Side note: Suggestions for game titles are much appreciated!