Monday, August 31, 2009

[The King Is Dead] Cash per year, Who becomes king?, Armies

Working title: "The King is Dead". Sometime during the game the king will die, and whoever is crowned will win fully 25% of the cash. This is the bomb. No one may play the king. In fact he's descended into dementia. Maybe once a year he'll do something to change the balance of power? Dunno. Can I avoid Kingmaking? Is it desirable to avoid? A possibility is that the king decision comes solely from agendas, so that choosing how to draw the border does not decide it, since border drawing leads to fiction rather than drawing from it.

There are 5 years. Each year should inject a set % into the game, perhaps 15%? So all that matters per money is getting those cities/places of power? If it's less then the other 5k% needs to be given out somewhere. I'll say 15% for now, it gives me more flexibility about cities with multiple %s too.

Turn order during redrawing probably matters a lot. What's the right strategy? If everyone gets a single turn, then whoever's last can grab any Powers in reach without fear of reprisal that year. Whoever's first can't hope to keep much unless it's really hard to take it. I can make it balanced with an initial chit bid, which is a cop-out but for custom maps might be necessary. First player strategy: push up close to as many Powers as possible without taking them? Second player strategy: same thing, maybe take one or two of 1st's Powers... presumably hard. What if three or four borders are near a Power? Ah we assign some things that are only useful for blunting chit use. Armies. Plunk down a couple of those and it takes an extra chit per to enclose them. They come back in winter. So first-mover is somewhat nice, take a Power, fill it with Armies, let the others squabble. Give different numbers of Armies and chit generation and there we go.

Note: it's really easy to retake a Power which you surround in a largish circle if someone just extends an arm into your territory.

In general I'm going to assume everyone brings $20 cash to the table. Should work fine with quarters also ($5 per), but dimes or less might not be good enough... maybe it would, dunno.

So who becomes king then? It must happen or else the 25% is gone. It can't just be an agenda 'cause what if it doesn't happen? It could be a known decision tree of agendas. Or maybe some agendas (3-4 votes) give Votes for king. Actually "Influence" is better than Votes. Whoever has the most at the end gets to be King. Each player has... 25 chances to get an Agenda through. Plenty. Ties are broken by which side wins at rpsls. A 5-way tie splits the $25 pot.

Okay so the currencies available are:

  • $$$: The terminal value. Gained by becoming King and by controlling valuable Powers and by ending up on the Star going to whoever picks it or just getting it if no one picks it. This has no explicit in-fiction analogue.
  • Influence: Feeds into becoming King. Gained by controlling influential Powers and achieving Agenda results. This is the analogue of in-fiction Parliament (or similar) influence.
  • Presence: Feeds into $$$ and Influence. Gained by achieving Agenda results and innate generation. This is the analogue of in-fiction tribute, tax, etc. from areas you definitely control.
  • Armies: Feeds into Presence. Gained by achieving Agenda results, innate generation, and possibly controlling Powers?. This is the analogue of in-fiction armies.

What goes on the Star? Right now it's completely divorced from the fiction and only gets $$$. When the $$$ don't go to a player. So Agendas should add to the Star sometimes. Should Powers generate more? They could easily generate quite a lot. Influence, Presence, Armies, $$$. Sure. So anything that changes hands will go onto the Star instead of to a player that year. But not all at once. First $$$, then Influence, then Presence, then Armies. Is there a 5th thing? Hm now we need at least 3 of a resource to let anyone but the side owner gain from choosing a side. Instead it will need to be "take 1 of any currencies present, then split the remainder evenly among all who chose that side, winner taking the extras". Plus gain 1 Presence of course. Why not just put everything on your side? Any time a side wins, add something to it afterward. Better, after each conflict add something to every side. 1 Armies to the chosen sides, 1 Presence to each other side.

Armies become much worse as the game progresses. Agenda result: gain the ability to turn Armies into Presence.

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