Let’s Design a Game #5 The Main Mechanic

I think by this point, if you are following from the start of the series, you have a rough idea of where this game is going. The way I work, at this point in the process is to start developing the main mechanic so that I know it works. If it doesn’t I will make the changes required to make it work while maintaining the feeling I want in the game. In this game I am really interested in the tension that comes along with when a mission is being attempted and there are two people at the table interested in the outcome, but one person really can’t identify themselves if it their contract being worked on. Google Doc for this Project

So without further ado, here is how the main mechanic of the game works

Players will start with a hand of contract offers. Each player will have one contract card from each district. The contract cards have the district name and a number. Each district has eight cards and each player will have one card from each district in their had at the start of the contract offering process.

Starting Hand

Starting Hand

Players will give a mission card to the collector remembering what their unique mission card says. The picture below represents all the contract cards collected.

2015-06-01 17.18.13

The collector will shuffle the contract cards and display the contracts face up in the middle of the board. The picture on the left are the four cards collected, shuffled and laid out. Our contract is the Jewelry 1 contract. The picture on the right shows each contract being laid out to a contract slot on the board. Each player would secretly identify their contract, and use their personal set of ID cards to identify their contract. In this example, we would take the 4 ID card and place that face down on our player board. (Player Board not Pictured)

2015-06-01 17.20.522015-06-01 17.41.06

Once the contracts have been displayed, players will start to take actions. Actions include playing Accept/Deny cards, play Agent cards, Block Agent cards and Recruit Agents. For this post, all I want you to worry about are playing agents and playing Accept /Deny cards. In the first picture, Players are playing various agents to the right of the open contracts. In the second picture, you can see players adding their Accept/Deny cards to the open contracts. Players are allowed to play their Deny cards on any contract (including their own) and can play their accept card on contract that belong only to them. (Players have 3 deny and one accept card in their hands) When a contract has collected a fourth Accept/Deny card;the cards are taken off the board, shuffled in secret and displayed. In this example, our contract has collected four A/D cards and we will now find out if the job has been accepted. (Of course, we know it has one because we added our accept card to the pile)

6/4/15 UPDATE: Is there any reason you would deny your own contract? Yes. What I have yet to cover is the idea that agents will need to be paid for their work. The players who control agents will earn dollars, while the player with the contract gets loot. This could change when I get to working on the agent/reward side of the mechanic, but for now, just know that agents cost money to us. If the cost of the agents is too high, you can deny the job. The agents will need to pass skill checks, if you don’t think the agents available can pass the checks, you can deny the contract.

Contract Board

Contract Board

Contract Board

Contract Board

If there is an accept card in the pile, the job is attempted by the agents currently available. I will cover the mechanics of attempting a job in another post. In the case where all the cards are deny cards, I think the contract would remain on the board so players could continue to bid

2015-06-01 17.59.56

When a job is completed(or failed), players will draw a new contract card from a district to replace the contract card used. Players will always have one contract card from each district unless they have a contract on the board.

There is the main mechanic of the game. Let me know what you think. If anything jumps out as problematic or if you would like some more explanation please leave a comment or shoot me an email. Below you can see the To Do list I have running for this project, specifically the building of this proto. At this point in the process I think this proto is almost ready for it’s first play through with Aidan and me. During the upcoming weekend, I will get the last of the proto done and playable.

To Do

To Do

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If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at c.renshall.tgik.games@gmail.com

If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Design a Game #5 The Main Mechanic

    • Yes, what I have yet to cover, mostly because I have not settled on an answer, is that agents need to be paid. If the cost of the agents is too high for your liking, you can reject your own contract. Also, another contract could be attempted in the same region before yours is accepted and the rewards will change. If you don’t like the rewards, you can reject your contract. If the agents offered to the contract are not strong enough to beat the skill checks , you can reject the contract. Really good question though, I will update the post to include a reason why you would reject your own contract.

  1. Pingback: Let’s Design a Game #9 The Main Mechanic, Revisited | TGIK Games Blog

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