I've listed the game ideas in the order in which they came to me. They are, all three pretty different from each other but all have a central development theme.
The first is a fairly straight forward resource management building game with a mechanism by which your expansion causes resources to become more scarce. The second combines worker placement and a card game wherein cards players play become buildings everyone can send workers to. And the final one is a more abstract tile placement game with tree different ways to score.
In this article I'm going to talk about idea number 3. I know, it's weird to start with the last one, but it's the most fleshed out. So here goes.
Kings of Unnamed:
This was the latest idea of the three, but probably the most developed. This game is mostly an abstract strategy game in disguise as the theme is thinner that in the previous two ideas. That being said I still think the thematic elements should help support the game play and help players keep the rules straight.
The game is played on a 9x8 grid of 72 hexagonal spaces. On the board are four roads radiating from the center and four more along the outer edges of the board. Spread throughout the board are ruins as well. These features will factor into scoring. Around the board is a numbered track used for scoring and to one side is a second track known as the Culture Track. To the bottom is a spot to place three, face down, scoring chips to determine how the game is scored each round. Each player has 12 chips depicting a city and three stats: Culture, Military and Trade. These stats are each rated from 0 to 3.
Game play is very simple. The game is played in three rounds during which players take turns starting with the player with the least points up to the player with the most points. At the start of each round all players shuffle their remaining chips face down and pick four without looking at them. Players then take turns picking from these four chips, looking at the chip and placing it face down on the board next to another chip (or the starting space). Once all players have played their four chips the round ends.
Once the round ends, all face down chips on the board are turned face up. If the chip has a Culture rating of more than 0 that player's culture marker is moved up the Culture Track by the amount shown on the chip. If the chip is also on a ruin space, then its culture rating is doubled. Once the Culture Track has been adjusted, flip over the next face down scoring chip. Each scoring chip will have two icons on it corresponding to two of the three stats found on the city chips. These icons determine which stats will score this round. Each stat is scored differently, as seen below:
- Culture: Compare each player's rating on the culture track. The top player(s) gets the most points, the next player(s) gets some points, the following player(s) get no points and the last player(s) loses some points. All positions on the track are then adjusted by dividing each player's culture score by two thus not changing the order but tightening the spread.
- Military: Players check each chip on the board (including those from previous rounds) and compare the chip's military stat to those of adjacent enemy chips. For each enemy neighbor the chip beats, the owner gets 2 points. For each enemy the chip loses to the owner loses one point.
- Trade: Each road, or "Trade Route" on the board is score separately. The player with the highest trade score on the road gets points.
Players mark their scores in reverse turn order by moving score markers around the board. These markers start staggered and can never occupy the same space on the score track. If a player's marker should land on that of another player, it is moved to the next available spot instead, meaning the last player to count (trailing player) may have more opportunities to leapfrog over other players. After the round has been scored, players start a new round by picking four more chips. Play continues until all three scoring chips have been revealed so each stat has been scored twice.
Although 10 of the chips represent the ten ways in which 3 points can be distributed between the three stats each player has two special chips, a capital and a graveyard. The capital raises the stats of all adjacent friendly cities by 1 point and the graveyard lowers the stats of all adjacent enemy cities by 1 point.
A couple of variations that would introduce more strategy but more analyses paralysis are:
- Allow players to look at their hand of four chips and play them in the order they want.
- Play chips face up onto the board so players can see what their opponents have played.