This isn't something I'm making... yet. It's just an idea that keeps coming back to me from time to time. So I thought I would throw it out here to see what others thought. It's obviously inspired by Judd's work on Cities of Adventure.
The basic premise is the same as CoA - to have cards that provide minor events outside of the board's settlements. But I want to be mindful of generally acknowledged concerns with play time... turn time. The events in question would be just a little spice for the game, with the possibility of something major once in a while that might lead to accessing Adventure cards outside of landing on a gem.
The biggest problem with most non-gem encounters in the game is triggering them not too often... and avoiding a time consuming trigger like having to roll a "story" dice every turn. CoA has a built in buffer for that, since its events only trigger when you enter a settlement (city/town/etc.) In such a case, rolling one "story" die doesn't impact game time significantly, because most turns happen outside of a settlement. "In the wild" encounters are another issue, since as the game proceeds, the number of turns spent in landing on a non-gem space becomes more significant as gems become more scarce. Rolling a story die for each of those turns and referencing it might be too much for most players wanting speed of play.
Two options came to mind... use the movement roll itself in some way, with its terrain symbols... or use the terrain landed on.
Interpreting the movement roll eliminates an extra roll for a "story" die, but interpretation itself would still be time consuming and possibly confusing. With multiple dice rolled, and sometimes different counts of them or none at all (just move 1 space). The trigger itself produces additional variations and/or probabilities. In the case of not rolling any dice and moving 1 space, the trigger vanishes entirely. That might actually be acceptable, but...
The other option is to have an "in the wild" card drawn each time you land on a non-gem space. That's a lot of draws overall, but the method of trigger (the terrain type landed on) might mitigate it... maybe. The trigger is constant, simply determine if there's a gem in the space you landed on. If not, then draw a card. So ... what to do about the interpretation?
I had thought that unlike Judd's CoA, there might be only 1, 2, or 3 events on each card. Each event would be linked to a terrain type. If the hero is on a space matching one of those terrains, that is the event that is triggered. If the terrain space is not on the card, nothing happens, and the turn ends. Cards could be turned over and quickly seen. Overall, it would average at about a 20% chance of something happening, and that could be further mitigated by the types of terrains on the cards and how often each type is represented.
Generally speaking, I could imagine the rarer terrains (Mountains / Swamps) having a slightly higher occurrence in the deck and some of the slightly tougher events. More common terrains might be less represented and have the easier and more beneficial events. This way, event occurrences would also be less frequent, until you get into remote places where it's reasonable that things might get tough.
I'll leave it at that and see what others think. Again, it's just a notion and nothing is in the works just yet.
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other option is to have an "in the wild" card drawn each time you land on a non-gem space. That's a lot of draws overall, but the method of trigger (the terrain type landed on) might mitigate it... maybe. The trigger is constant, simply determine if there's a gem in the space you landed on. If not, then draw a card. So ... what to do about the interpretation?
Personally I'm of the opinion that these sorts of events are basically exactly what the challenge cards are meant to represent, and the fact that there aren't gems on every space is the built in mechanic for preventing gameplay from bogging down (such as it is.) In my experience with the game, there are very few situations where a hero can't reach at least one gem after rolling his dice, so players CAN have an encounter almost every turn if they want. The only reason they wouldn't is if they rolled particularly poorly, if difficult terrain is slowing them down, or if they don't want an encounter because they have some other plan.
If you want to introduce something additional, that's fine, but whatever you do, don't make it happen on EVERY space. Even if the task is as simple as drawing a card and scanning it for your terrain type, that will add up while playing the game. A better way to do it (I think) would be to have one or more approriate terrain images printed on the back of each event card. If you END your turn in one of the terrain types pictured on the top card's back and have no gem in your space, draw that card and resolve it. This might mean several turns go by without people landing in the right terrain, but on the bright side that just means you need less cards to make a deck that will span a whole game. You could also add a rule about auto-cycling the top card to the bottom if it goes an entire turn around the table without it being drawn, that way the effects don't stop completely forever because there's a swamp card on top.
I'd also recommend that you not award XP for any such encounters (and be stingy with the gold) otherwise you begin to remove the incentive of having actual challenge card encounters. I mean, a variant that entirely replaces the challenge decks with something else, non-gem dependent, is fine and all that, but it doesn't sound like that's what you had in mind. It also sounds like frankly a lot of work. =P
MP3 killed the radio star
Okay... here's hoping my split quotes don't foul up another thread...
Personally I'm of the opinion that these sorts of events are basically exactly what the challenge cards are meant to represent...
Very true. Some others and I were just kicking around the idea of something a little more unpredictable. Adventure cards are to me and mine the more ultimate challlenges of knowing where "something" is out there. This "story" like events would be more on the minor scale. For example, if landed on a road and draw a card with a road event, maybe you run into a traveling merchant selling Items, a highwayman trying to rob you, or a caravan offering guard payment if you move at least three road spaces next turn.
If you look at the CoA events, most of them are like this. Not so much Challenges but smaller opportunities and mishaps with a very occasional non-gem access to the Adventure decks.
We tend to think inside the game environment for the characters but are still concerned about the outside for players. That we haven't gone ahead with anything yet means we weren't really satisfied with any option so far.
If you want to introduce something additional... don't make it happen on EVERY space. Even if the task is as simple as drawing a card and scanning it for your terrain type, that will add up while playing the game.
True again. But using the SoAK story die as an example, it gets too predictable. The story die in SoAK is fine, but again too predictable. You either draw a Legendary quest, and if you can't, you roll a die. We weren't sure if simply turning over a card would be any less or more intrusive, since the story die still has to be referenced. Sure, there are so few results types that you soon memorize them, and they are rigged more for environment events and not real "story" elements in the exploits of any one characters.
Cards provide opportunity for more variety, but as you've inferred, without a trigger they can be intrusive in just checking to see what happens. Yet still, there were times the story die rolls have the same problem without variety... the results too limited and predictable. And there are some serious issues with that sandstorm.
ASIDE: in our first game with SoAK, which we like (aside from the horribly written manual) the sandstorm initiated on the third turn, and then kept activating. The design of sandstorm component was cumbersome and severely intrusive. Picking up gems, placing/moving the storm and putting the gems back on it for reference was eating up game time. By the fifth time, it was getting on our nerves. We came up with a solution, a different sandstorm token, and that helped... more on that another time soon.
A better way to do it (I think) would be to have one or more approriate terrain images printed on the back of each event card. If you END your turn in one of the terrain types pictured on the top card's back and have no gem in your space, draw that card and resolve it.
This notion also came up in my group after I made the initial post. The counterpoint raised was that there was too much "prescience" involved in seeing which terrains one should avoid. The counter-counterpoint raised was that you didn't know if it was something good or bad. So that notion from you and others is now still on the table. And further comments on this idea... anyone?
You could also add a rule about auto-cycling the top card to the bottom if it goes an entire turn around the table without it being drawn, that way the effects don't stop completely forever because there's a swamp card on top.
Good idea! It requires the first or last player to always do some upkeep, but might be worth it within this concept.
I'd also recommend that you not award XP for any such encounters (and be stingy with the gold) otherwise you begin to remove the incentive of having actual challenge card encounters.
MOST CERTAINLY!!! These would be time moments of hazard and opportunity, to help or hinder in the great task of the game's core scenario conditions. Probably similar to Judd's CoA tables, but with more variety AND less impact on average. Thanks for the feedback.
Frak! Split quotes used to work on this forum system... but I guess not any more. At least it didn't mess up the forum's layout this time.
Yeah, it's finnicky that way. Personally I liked the old forum software where the tag was just [quote="username"]
Easy to modify on the fly for splitting quotes or pulling stuff from rulebooks, etc.
MP3 killed the radio star
Agree! But even then I ocassionally mess up real bad. It would be nice if the forum simply recognized the simple quote and unquote ... and then stick in a serverside regular expression filter in the ASP to catch any instances when someone leaves off a trailing "]" on either.
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