A relic hunt by Jeff Warrender and Steve Sisk

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Achieving symmetry across the two phases

With respect to the concern I expressed in the last post that the turn mechanic will be different inside and outside the temple, of course one option could be to change the turn mechanic outside the temple so that it's more congruent with the mechanic inside the temple -- basically, to have you draw chips from a cup at turn's end. This wouldn't actually change the turn mechanic very much outside the temple: take actions, draw chips, done, which is not that different from take actions, done. However, I do think it will force a decision as to the role of the enemy operatives vis a vis the enemy cubes. Under the scheme as articulated in the last few posts, the enemy cubes represent the growing menace of the enemy outside the temple, and the operatives are a shadowy presence that lurks behind that menace for most of the game, until the temple phase, when the menace is unmasked and the operatives become its face. And I think that's compatible with the spirit of the movies. But under a different scheme, the cubes would disappear from the design, and the operatives would become the sum total of the enemy's presence in the game, chasing the players around the board and then around the temple, and acting as a constant threat that the players must deal with. And I think that's also compatible with the spirit of the movies! The trade-off is this; on the one hand, the latter approach could have more symmetry between the two phases of the game. For example, "noise" in the temple generates red chips and red chips, when drawn, move enemy operatives inside the temple. If some analogue of noise chips move operative pawns around on the board outside the temple, the whole thing may be easier to learn for the player. But on the other hand, the former approach will be easier to design and balance. An in-between approach, where there are enemy cubes AND operatives moving around, would probably feel cluttered. Which way to jump? In a game that's supposed to be richly themed, I think it's most important to get the feel right, and we've always found that the board filling up with enemy cubes over time has always given the feeling of a growing threat. And I like the way the enemy operative cards could amplify this: you know you're going to face these guys in the temple, but the enemy on the board are the more immediate problem to be dealt with.

So, that may be the best starting point: enemy cubes on the board outside the temple, enemy operative pawns on the "board" only after the action moves into the lost temple.

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