Many of these things were raised by Might-be-Flynn (a pseudonym to hide his/her real identity), and then either improved, implemented as-they-are, or dumbed down by me. Everything is still very much open for discussion, so throw yourself into the fire and comment!
“Currency” issues and so on
A great shortcoming of the original outline is that it is a pretty dull game as presented there. Between travelling in time, nothing actually happens. Players walk around aimlessly until they have got the persona they want for the next era, and then make for the time hole. Who would want to play that more than once, if that?
– Two new concepts are introduced: “Gold” and “Thought”.
– Gold is used to buy equipment (see below), increase movement, and is needed to open time holes. Gold must be earned in class-specific ways, which typically include performing a task and then visit a specific hexagon to receive a reward (see below).
– Thought is used to find time holes (see below), open them (together with Gold), and to generate Gold for Scientists, Philosophers and Politicians. It is generated with a set amount every turn (for instance, 3 for Philosopher and Scientist, 2 for Artist and Politician, and 1 for Officer and Merchant). Actions (see below) can be spent to “think hard”, and thus double this amount for that turn.
– Neither Gold, Thought or Equipment can be brought along when time travelling. This is because you are not physically travelling through time, you are merely skipping forward to land inside someone else’s body at a future date. Thought (which should be measured by a scale) is reset, and Gold and Equipment is trashed. However, Gold can be stashed and retrieved at a later point in the game. – I am starting to think that stashes should be non-specific, that is, you don’t stash things in a specific hexagon. Instead, there should be a special square on your “character sheet”, divided into one region per era, where you put money in the stash. You can then take it out in a subsequent era, or leave it for later. Possibly the amount of gold you amass is somehow related to your victory points.
Suggestions for getting Gold:
– A Merchant has to visit a randomly drawn hexagon and then return to the Market Square to obtain an amount of Gold (simulating travelling somewhere, obtaining goods, and then selling it at the Market Square). Possibly, this amount is related to the distance travelled (or, rather, shortest distance between the two hexagons, perhaps multiplied with something to give the Merchant an advantage), or it is a set amount. I also think the Merchant could get a small set sum every turn that simulates rents, returns on investments and so on.
– An Officer has to visit an undeveloped hexagon, spend one action point (see below) to “keep the peace” then return to the Barracks to lift her salary. They would probably not be able to do this in the same round, especially in later eras when the distance from the Barracks to the undeveloped hexagons may be quite long, and thus the salary should be medium-sized, but increase in later eras.
– Artists would simply spend action points in producing art, and then sell it at some specific hexagon (perhaps the Hofburg?). The amount of Gold they’d receive should be proportionate to the amount of action points spent, and it ought to be possible to continue on the same piece of art over multiple turns, for a very substantial reward.
– Philosophers and Scientists would have the same venue for getting Gold: publishing their works as books. In essence, this translates to producing large amounts of Thought, then visiting a specific hexagon (Printing Office) and get Gold. The amount of Gold should be proportional to the amount of Thought.
– Politicians have many ways to get small amount of money. They can Embezzle small amount in a specific hexagon, take bribes at another hexagon, or receive royal favour in the Hofburg. They can’t do the same thing two round in a row, though. the amount of Gold should be small.
Suggestions for getting Thought:
– Thought should be generated automatically for each player with a set value per turn.
– Philosophers and Scientists would get 3 Thought per turn.
– Politicians and Artists would get 2 Thought per turn.
– Merchants and Officers would get 1 Thought per turn.
– For every action point a player spends of “thinking hard”, they should get another amount of Thought, possibly the same as the standard amount, or a set amount of 1 Thought per action point, or so. I prefer some version of the former, as that would mean Scientists and Philosophers have a way to get Gold…
All players should get a certain amount of action points per turn. These may vary depending on Persona class. Action points can be spent, with varying costs, on:
– Hiding or retrieving a stash.
– Getting money or fulfilling requirements for getting Gold as per above.
– “Thinking hard”
– Locating the time hole location.
– Opening a time hole.
– Buying equipment.
– Drawing a Persona card.
– Other things.
I no longer think that what Equipment you get (if any) ought to be random. Rather, with the introduction of Gold, you should be able to buy Equipment.
– Either certain hexagons sell certain things, or you can just buy anything you want in any developed hexagon (simulating many small shops). Either the choice is entirely up to you (everything can be bought at all times), or what is available is randomly drawn (with a selection of, say, six cards) from a pile. I like the latter better, but can’t motivate why.
– Equipment is general, that is, you don’t buy a sword or a blunderbuss, but a weapon. This enables us to use the same pile of cards for all eras. Potentially, objects have different qualities in different eras. If, for instance, it is a good idea to be armed when going into undeveloped areas, being armed with a gladius in Roman era is obviously not as efficient as being armed with a pistol in the Congress era. Similarly, wagon design will have improved over time, making later-era wagons more efficient than earlier-era ones (which may be fortunate as the developed areas expand every era, and being able to move one step extra may be good in Roman era, but of little value in Congress era).
– Equipment would deteriorate over time, and can thus not be stashed in the same way as gold. I still think that it would be fun to be able to give Equipment to other players who are in the same hexagon but in a later era, but I find it hard to motivate that within the game.
Time travel aspects
It would make more sense perhaps that it is not possible to time-travel back and forth as you please. This will drag out the game endlessly, and create all sorts of meta-problems and in-game problems that can so easily be avoided by simply changing this. However, I don’t want to expressly forbid it, just make it much harder to travel through time, and perhaps even penalize it a bit.
There is also the suggestion that the players should have to do something more substantial than just walk to the place where the time hole is to be able to get to the next era. Forcing them to co-operate is, I think, a good idea still, but it does leave us with a serious problem. If two players are co-operating to open a time hole, but only one can pass through, then that will eventually lead to one player being stuck in each era, without being able to get any further.
– No one knows where the time hole is at the beginning of the game. Only one person can go through each time hole at the same time, and once that has happened, the time hole closes and moves elsewhere (that is, the location card is discarded and the new top card in the deck is the hidden location of the time hole).
– Before being able to time travel, you need to locate the time hole. This is done by accumulating Thought to a certain level (say, 20). When a player reaches the level, she is allowed to peek at the top card in the hexagon deck. She is allowed to reveal the card if she wants, but does not have to. If she doesn’t, then the next player who reaches the Thought level performs the some thing over again. This simulates figuring out what the most likely position of the time hole is, based on the position of the stars or something. However, locating the time hole consumes 20 (or whatever the limit is) Thought.
– Another amount of Thought is needed to actually open the time hole. In addition, an amount of Gold is needed (to simulate some sort of equipment).
– Opening the time hole does no longer require two people. It should be possible to share the costs if two players want to (perhaps because the person who is opening it has problems amassing the gold), but it is possible to pay the whole cost yourself and go through the time hole. I guess it is a question of how much you trust your co-players to return the favour in the next era.
Give me your thoughts!