[Hoard] Help me make this bit not-dull

So, in Hoard, you play a dragon, on an island chain.

Actual play, as well as a few threads of "What would you want" has made it really damn clear that one of the things people want to do as their dragons is take over an island and remake it in their desired image.

Okay, so. Here's the bones of a base mechanism - a 'board game' that slots in to manage the island.

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The basic system bits:

Every island has a population, broken into two parts - the controlled part and the uncontrolled part. These are dice, which are rolled each go-round (year, season, whatever). Players assign the controlled population to tasks; the guide assigns the rest. There's a little ticky-box for "the uncontrolled population is aware of / actively resisting you". Each die represents more than one person (probably a household, or the like), and an average 'starter' island will have a fairly decent total pool - let's say twenty dice in all, for the moment.

There's a list of regions on the island, and each has a number for "how difficult it is to work", as well as a list of "what tasks can be done here". So, you can send ten population (dice) over to the reefs (location; required roll 4+), to bring in food (their task). You roll the dice, count successes, get food tokens. Regions would include mountain slopes, hills, the reefs... and whatever else comes to make sense *handwave*.

Tasks would incude a lot of different stuff - from generating food to making improvements to your island (and thus lowering difficulties of rolls), to creating new regions (we found a town!), to generating filthy lucre (for your hoard, my good Dragon) and mystical hoobedoo, to building defenses against dragon hunters and military assault... You get the idea.

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So, that's basically a boardgame that sits in the background. Now, notably, since the possible improvements to territories are concrete things... You can skip the building and go steal them (an adventure!) - or you can trade treasure for stuff, or the reserve (allowing for bargaining scenes and merchants, etc).

Which means that the boardgame can frame and generate some good stuff for play. And that's cool; I like that. I want to push that part of it, so it happens automatically - so that this boardgame-thing is a device for generating scenes and adventures and everything.

Any ideas on how to go that direction?

(And, yes, I'm wiling to scrap the whole draft and use a whole other machine, so long as it fulfills the functions of (1) making the world feel solid, and (2) driving characters into interesting action.)

Comments

  • Am I supposed to be interested in generating food tokens? That sounds really tedious. A detailed resource management subgame will appeal to some people - are these the people who are also saying "I get to play a dragon, yum!" ? I'd rather be given resources based on the people I've enslaved to do cool things with. You can still introduce fun variables to that, like famine and dragon hunters, and that randomness can be systemetized if you want.

    If a "starter island" requires 20 dice, that isn't going to scale very well, unless the scale itself changes. Maybe an island is always 20 dice, and what each die represents changes.
  • If it works like a boardgame, present it like one. Rules presentation benefits immensely from the boardgame approach of "here is this visual status indicator, and this is what it does."

  • I'd like to hear more about "driving characters to interesting action". What does this mean in your game? Is this is a sort of rol-playing game with an island management bit added on? If so, make sure the island management part plays directly into the role-playing part. Make sure the board-gamey part doesn't distract from the role-playing part, but supplements it.
  • edited August 2009
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarAm I supposed to be interested in generating food tokens?
    Not specifically, no.

    However, the hum in the room when talking about "How I'd run my island" has people mentioning physical improvements and the like, so they can develop a cultured society, all the time.

    In a few discussions, there were people positing things like tracking metal reserves and brickyards and... way too much. So I chopped it down to "you track food tokens, and the successes you've built up towards other projects. Resources outside food are assumed to be tracked as part of the successes thing."

    So, uhm, food tokens are the last remaining grindy-bit of something meant, at least in part, to supply buildy-fun. If that makes sense.

    (And, no, I'm not certain they need to be there. I'm just noting why they got put in the draft at all.)
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarIf a "starter island" requires 20 dice
    Well, not all at once.

    If I send five families out fishing, another six families to mine for gold, set up two families as horizon-watch, and have seven families working on terracing the hills to make farming easy... That's four dice pools, totalling twenty dice. But I'm only rolling seven at any given time.

    But I do end up throwing a lot of dice, even so. So, fair point. I'll have to think on that one...
  • Posted By: tony dowlerIf so, make sure the island management part plays directly into the role-playing part.
    Right. Exactly.

    That's what I'm most interested in discussing here.

    How would you do that?
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