ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
11-18-2015, 06:37 AM (This post was last modified: 11-27-2015 01:29 PM by Palamedes.)
Post: #1
ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Final Pharmasy
By Palamedes

3
backers

A little
pledged of nebulous, non monetary goal

Many
days to go

The year is 43. Thomas Nook, the Pharmacist, has reigned as de facto ruler of our shattered city. Using lost knowledge from before the Great War, Nook created a regime founded on the medicine and other pharmaceuticals only he could make, and the people were forced to accept him as their ruler in order to live with at least some small measure of health and safety. However, at least there has been peace, as none desire to once again live in a world before he arrived. Even our greedy neighbours, the Federation of Westmen and the Easton Bloc, ever looking to expand and defeat the other, have had to leave us be in order to receive and make Nook's goods, lest he close up shop for good.

You and few others served Nook at the highest level, learning the secrets of his trade and helping his empire expand. As your knowledge of pharmaceuticals increased however, so did your lust for power and jealousy of your tyrannical master. It was only a matter of time before one of you would try to knock him off - and Nook was a very old man.

The year is now 0. Thomas Nook has died, be it by the hand of one of his apprentices or the ever marching progress of time. The Westmen and Bloc are likely preparing to invade in Nook's absence and your rivals scramble for his throne. Do you have what it takes to conquer this city and become the Final Pharmacist?

About this project

In this 2-6 player board game, players control a power hungry drug lord (pharmacist) in the post-apocalyptic city of Townstead. In order to expand their influence and oust their competitors, they will need to scavenge the city for what useful recipes and resources might remain and produce an ever-growing supply of drugs for the needy masses. However, a successful player will need to keep tabs on their rivals as well as outside forces looking to take the city for their own.

Gameplay will be handled primarily through your Pharmacist and Minions - individuals who have come to work for you for some reason or another and can serve as your hands throughout the board - be it in searching ruins and fighting enemies and monsters, the production and trading of your pharmaceuticals, or expanding your facilities. It is a tactical game based around resource management and organization.

Past that though, the game is a complete blank slate. By that I mean that this whole Kickstarter gimmick is a joke to draw you guys in for a rousing discussion on design. Literally nothing said thus far is actually set in stone outside of the basic concept, the whole thing can and will be influenced by you!

I've been kicking around the idea of designing a game as a gift for a friend who's always joked about this idea thanks to their time spent working in a disgusting and extremely shady pharmacy. I realized however, that not only am I a single person and woefully inept to design a proper game on my own, but our forums are also set to handle such discussions even though we have unfortunately underused them. So why not kill two birds with one stone?

Anyways, in the spirit of this Kickstarter parody, why don't we look at some Pledge Levels?

- Pledge one non-fluff post to this thread.
2 backers
Poster: You have gone and helped out someone with their incredibly ridiculous ideas, and are thus officially pretty cool. I will immediately transfer an air high-five to you.

- Pledge ten non-fluff posts to this thread.
1 backer
Contributor: There's a pretty solid chance this wouldn't have gotten off the ground without your help, and for that you will get a special mention should this game ever actually get through design here. You are also now A Good Person. You may exhaust this credit any one time should someone question that to make their criticism invalid. Includes all other applicable goals.

- Pledge fifty non-fluff posts to this thread.
0 backers
Postmaster King: How do you post so much? Why do you post so much? I think it goes without saying that you must be the ruler of all posts and an intrinsic part of this operation, so you will get a super special mention should this game ever actually get through design here. You will also work with the OP to design one post he has to make on any non-dead thread (as long as it follows forum rules). Includes all other applicable goals.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

- Pledge an idea that successfully makes it into the game.
2 backers
Creator: You have intrinsically and completely shaped the city through your actions, and your work can be found somewhere within it even now. You will work with the OP to create one item. I will also offer a prayer for you to three deities of your choosing. Includes all other applicable goals.

-Pledge three ideas that successfully make it into the game.
0 backers
Shaper: You are a force in this world that all must bend to. You will work with the OP to create one greater item (such as a facility or event). I will assume full responsibility for your next breakup or major fight (your choice). Includes all other applicable goals.

- Pledge six ideas that successfully make it into the game.
0 backers
Survivor: You have mastered this dangerous world, and none would question your ability to survive it. You will work with the OP to create one Minion. You will also be honoured by a masterful impersonation of you at a Starbucks. Includes all other applicable goals.

- Pledge ten ideas that successfully make it into the game.
0 backers Limited (6 left of 6)
Pharmacist: You ARE the city, the plebs below know that nobody knows it or stands a better chance of taking control of it than you. You will work the the OP to create on of the Pharmacists vying for control over the city. You will be immortalized on the 'special instructions' of a takeout or delivery order. Includes all other applicable goals.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

-Pledge one asset.
0 backers
Holy Shit Really: These were meant to be jokes that got out of hand but you've gone and made it all beautiful and real. Your level on the other pledge tiers is upgraded by one. To honour your artistic talent, I myself will do art for you, creating one fine work of pretentious modern art just for you. Includes all other applicable goals.

- Pledge three assets.
0 backers
You're Pulling My Leg Right: I mean you can't be that invested in this whole ludicrous schtik, can you? I can't really do much to make up for this, but I will offer a commission of one free whatever for your efforts (no guarantee of talent in said whatever). In addition to this, I will also mail you one random thing I find in my pocket. Includes all other applicable goals.

- Pledge five assets.
0 backers
I Actually Love You: Sweetheart, you are the love of my life. Seriously though, you've got way too much talent and you're directing it here of all places. You're like some sort of Creative Director and that might as well be on the game itself. I'll also write a private love letter just for me and you, baby. Includes all other applicable goals.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

- Pledge hitting six other pledge levels
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
General of the Western Front: You are the commander of a great legion, held back only by pledge levels and the need for quality drugs. You will work with the OP to design one of the two invading factions, including related cards, minions, and/or events. This tier comes with an imaginary stalker to always keep you company, even though you'll never see them. Includes all other applicable goals.

- Pledge hitting six other pledge levels
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
The Eastern Menace: There are none who can match the might of your armies in open battle, and now that you've hit the highest possible pledge level your power only increases. You will work with the OP to design one of the two invading factions, including related cards, minions, and/or events. You will additionally receive the true name of a dead demon, so that you'll be able to control it if it ever returns to life. Includes all other applicable goals.

- Pledge hitting six other pledge levels
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
The Final Pharmacist: You are the undisputed master of what makes this thread this thread, and despite possibly lacking the sheer pledge power of others at this level, you control things they can have no hand in until you are done. You will work with the OP to design the Final Pharmacist themselves and the city they reigned over. I will also stop stealing every other sock from the dryer. Includes all other applicable goals.

Other pledge goals might show up based on interest and things that might come to be.

So without further ado or horsing around, shall we get started? I've already compiled a bunch of ideas of my own and will keep this thread going on my own if need be, but I'd rather not fall back on that because collaboration is just a lot more fun.

To kick things off though, here's a summary of what I think is a good starting base and threw in some concepts that I'd like to work with if possible.

Game can be played by 2-6 players on a changeable board. Players start with a small base and following in the city/surrounding area as well as a few pharmaceutical recipes (kind of minor stuff you'd pick up at a pharmacy). Turns involve sending people out to scavenge for supplies and different/better recipes, sell drugs, expand. Game ends when one player is ahead enough over the others or time runs out, and neighbouring (relative) superpowers invade.

For the board itself, I've been growing attached to it being changeable. That is to say, letting it be player-built. This would mean that games could vary wildly - players could be fighting over a bustling ex-metropolis one time, but a large town surrounded by rural wasteland the next - and of course that would also affect the availability of resources and threats (ideally more the more urbanized a place is, and less otherwise).

Thoughts/comments/ideas?
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11-18-2015, 06:56 AM
Post: #2
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Post for future developments.
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11-18-2015, 01:04 PM (This post was last modified: 11-18-2015 01:04 PM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #3
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Oh hey i think this is a cool idea. Im always cool with lending my thoughts on game design anytime i actually have anything relevant to add to the topic at hand.

Before i actually begin talking about any of that though, let me get this entirely straight: are we talking about a legit board game that is intended to actually exist if we one day ever actually get that far (and we probably want but knowing that is kind of important to the design of the thing), or are we talking something more like our conventional forum games but with a little more thought put into it, so that it could be replayable or something?
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11-18-2015, 02:34 PM (This post was last modified: 11-18-2015 02:39 PM by Palamedes.)
Post: #4
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I mean this to be an actual board game, as in me being able to print out rules and pieces and the board and even maybe a box for all of it. That said, a fairly large part of me has been subconsciously designing what I have so far with the idea that it could be run in a forum setting fairly easily (and, I hope, interestingly).

It probably goes without saying but I'll be releasing everything, if it gets finished, to download for anyone who's interested.
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11-19-2015, 12:20 AM
Post: #5
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Cool, thanks for clarifying. Im afraid i have more questions for you though!

Now, all games are inherently about interesting choice. You've hinted a little at what the overall gameplay could look like, but there is little actual detail there. I assume you will have various cards capable of providing different benefits when you need them, like munchkin or something along those lines, but beyond that how will the gameplay look? I take it you'll send your minions out either into the city or into the wasteland, and that there will then be different challenges and rewards associated, but how will that look like from a players perspective and what about it provides this interesting choice, if you have given any thought to that?
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11-19-2015, 04:35 AM
Post: #6
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I wanted to be as vague about details as I could while keeping the basic spirit of what I want to put together (though even a lot of that could change with input) for the sake of trying to make this a group-made thing, so I'm a little hesitant about going into every single thing I've thought of while brainstorming on my own over the past month or so.

That said, I'll try right this second to make a tl;dr version. I figured a decent part of interest and choice would come from the balance between expansion and upkeep. You wouldn't be able to bring on a dozen minions and further (possible) lesser underlings without a foundation to support them - these assholes won't work for free after all. There'd also be some variance between minions, so hopefully no two would be completely the same (each maybe having a special ability or something - Dead of Winter comes to mind if you've played/heard of it). Some would be best for scavenging, some for fighting, some for trading, what have you. In addition, I did think of having other DoW inspired gameplay, like buildings giving different types of items or whatever, but I think it would make the whole thing too complex. It could work to have rural, semi-urban, and urban areas give different things on top of offering a different level of resources (with rural having less to scavenge but also being safer and easier to expand, and urban having a ton to find but being much more risky and expensive).

I tinkered around with an idea of planning ahead a la RoboRally, as in your teams would go out and do what you assigned them and then have to come back for further orders - meaning if something went wrong you've have wasted a lot of time. However, that sounded a bit too complex considering it wouldn't be the primary game mechanic and thus I wasn't 100% sure I could find a way to make it fun instead of frustrating.

There's more, of course, but I hope that sort of answered your question?
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11-19-2015, 06:48 AM
Post: #7
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I think i understand what you mean, though im not familiar with either of those games. As long as the minions themselves are designed with choice in mind, rather than each one of them having only one task they are good at, which everyone is always going to want to assign them to without even thinking about it. Which isnt to say that there shouldnt be characters like that - for instance, maybe you get a minion that is very good at say, scavenging, but your pharmacist usually isnt interested in scavenging very much but since you have this minion thats so good at it, you could consider assigning several minions to scavenging, thus incorporating whatever bonus scavenging would usually give into a strategy that normally makes little use of it. Speaking of which, I take it you were planning each pharmacist to have a unique advantage - my suggestion would be to keep those advantages purely tactical, rather than just giving them better numbers or something. Stat variations tend to not be all that interesting in my opinion.

Oh, and how about randomness? Since you're talking about cards i assume you want some form of randomness in the game, but what about elsewhere in the game? I think it would be cool if sending minions to monster-infested caves or whatever outside the city was high-risk, high-reward. You'd probably lose some minions in the attempt, but it would be the most efficient way of obtaining resources in the shortest time possible. Of course, if you got greedy and stayed too long, rng might kill off all the minions you sent, forcing you to send another squad just to retrieve the loot and setting you back a turn or two.
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11-19-2015, 07:44 AM
Post: #8
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
That was the idea as far as high risk/reward, yeah!

As for the pharmacists themselves, I wouldn't be too averse to planning unique bonuses for them, but since they're not randomly assigned like minions (or available to gain later) I was a little hesitant since they'd need to be more or less perfectly balanced, and even more critically avoid too much 'if you are playing as this one you have to play with this specific strategy'. I eventually thought that a better (or at least easier) way to give players unique starting advantages was to do it through their starting 'recipes' - aka the drugs that they are actually able to make (as opposed to scavenging for). That keeps the whole randomness element to it to avoid repetitive strategy but gives players long term advantages and disadvantages over others. Drugs, of course, would have certain things about them that make them better or worse than others and confer semi-unique powers. Things like painkillers being able to keep your minions healthy and active, or antibiotics selling for more, or addictive medications allowing you to pay cheaper upkeep. Better drugs could be harder to get and more effective than lesser versions (such as morphine being more effective than advil). Also, it could allow for interesting play like raiding a rival's pharmacy to steal their recipes.

Another concept that I've been liking is a little bit stolen from Demonsul's Shards game here (well I mean I had the idea before but it really clicked as a thing once I saw the game). Namely, Minions are just the cream of the crop as far as people working for you go - they're more expensive and harder to find, but act as leaders. You'd be able to hire nameless workers to help scavenge, trade/deliver, and produce drugs cheaply and easily, but they'd be far more vulnerable and inept. Minions leading groups of workers in any of those things would be a far more effective strategy (especially for scavenging), but it would leave players more open to still being able to do things if your minions are more useful in other roles. On a similar vein, I've toyed around with the idea of being able to send your actual pharmacist out on missions. They'd be very effective at multiple things (as opposed to minions who would generally specialize in only one), but would have the obvious downfalls of the lack of safety and inefficiencies back at home base.
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11-19-2015, 11:34 AM
Post: #9
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I think that for the pharmacists, having each of them just know slightly different recipes isnt different or defining enough. Instead, you could have one or two guys with unique (and powerful) recipes, a guy who is slightly better at more or less everything he does, but doesnt have a specific unique bonus to fall back on in case things go badly, maybe a thief-focused pharmacist who is going to especially want to steal those special drugs made by the guys with the recipes, and finally a guy who gets one huge, defining bonus, yet to be determined. Lots of other potential stuff, aswell. But yea, what you definitely dont want is designing these guys to only be able to play one way. Its cool to make an important choice at the start of the game that will define how you approach the rest of the game, but its not cool if doing so means that your entire strategy is set for the rest of the game. If designing things to be engaging was easy, it wouldnt need to be a damn job position. Still, i'd advise keeping each bonus as diverse as possible. You dont want a potential player thinking of one of these guys as "that guy with those other recipes" - try to break the mold.

That said, i wouldnt worry about balance too much, especially not this early on. If something proves too powerful, hey just add a bunch of cards that are designed to make life just a tad harder for that particular overpowered pharmacist. Or just straight up nerf him or give him a unique weakness or something. There are TONS of ways to balance stuff, right now getting the right concepts is what matters.
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11-19-2015, 12:03 PM
Post: #10
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Makes sense. To be clear though, I wasn't saying that the recipes would be unique. They'd be randomly drawn at the start of the game (but balanced so everyone more or less gets the same value out of it), and otherwise the pharmacists would be entirely the same outside of flavour/appearance/that sort of thing. Recipes more or less, as they exist now, couldn't not be random because half of the intention is that you'll more likely than not want to expand your repertoire as the game goes on. tl;dr, I figured that the way the pharmacists and powers would work would be more like, say, risk and territory allotment (aka randomized but more or less balanced).

Probably the major reason I wanted to rely on randomized starting recipes though was because it would be easy to balance the 5th and 6th player (who will start with more vulnerable positions, not being in the corners) by simply giving them more without any concerns for how that might unbalance special powers.

Having said all that, really diverse but balanced (and non-strategy locking) powers could be neat though - especially if they can take that last point into account. Might be interesting to have them almost be more specific and limited though (since even some of your suggestions would force a player to make certain plays).
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11-19-2015, 12:23 PM (This post was last modified: 11-19-2015 12:23 PM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #11
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Agreed, coming up with something that actually works like so would be a challenge. Having only differences in fluff could certainly also work, but having unique bonuses would go a long way to making this game engaging and replayable. If you think we should not offer unique bonuses inherent to each character, we'll just need to spend all the more effort on the rest of the game to make sure it is as good as can be, yea? Still, it wouldnt be wrong to lock certain characters out of certain strategies (at least in terms of efficiency, they could certainly still try). More choice is NOT always good - making one big choice between only two strategies is better than making a choice between 10 strategies, unless you can actually design each of those ten choices to be just as individually meaningful, which is really goddamn hard.

On another note, would you care to talk more about the world this stuff is set in, if you've given that further thought? Solid world building isnt necessarily important in a board game but i dont want to suggest something entirely out of line, like magic or something along those lines, but hey if there are monsters this probably isnt striving for real world realism.

Sorry if i ask too many questions, but you are essentially the lead designer. Its your vision, im just here to talk about game design since apparently i have nothing better to do.
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11-20-2015, 02:52 AM (This post was last modified: 11-20-2015 02:53 AM by Palamedes.)
Post: #12
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Questions are never bad! The more there are the better.

Setting wise, it's a bit of a mess. Through various jokes it was decided that a better setting would be a standard post-apocalyptic thing, where the world's had enough of a chance to change and all that so it's only vaguely familiar anymore. The whole idea of monsters still exists not because of any obvious Fallout inspiration, but because the initial concept was for it to be a silly RPG (hence the Final Fantasy pun). Plus I think it would create an interesting risk/reward deal that isn't just 'you run into bandits or whatever'.

I worked on expanding the world from there, anyways. Part of the issue is that I thought it would be fun to leave that up to you guys here, so I tried to stay away from thinking of specifics until later on. Fortunately the base is easy - some Bad Thing destroyed society, and now maybe a century or two down the line people have more or less gotten used to the apocalypse while trying to reform some semblance of order and struggle out of the dark ages. Part of the reason the pharmacists would have power would be in the fact that they're almost a modern medical expert working in a world where, nobody else can do much more than (poorly) fix a broken limb. It makes them out to be the salvation of the area, since they can cure and fix things nobody else can, and of course it gets to their head so instead of travelling the wastes helping people and teaching others their secrets they take over a single city and rule like a king.

I came up with the two more powerful warring factions as a way to introduce endgame so that the whole thing doesn't devolve into a tedious back and forth until five someones lose a battle of attrition or make a mistake. They'd obviously want to get in on a prominent city situated right between them as well as gaining the secrets of pre-Armageddon medicine - figuring that since there's no longer a central power there they could force the pharmacists to submit and work for them. I didn't actually come up with many lore concepts for them, as is probably obvious based on the OP.

As an aside, magic probably doesn't exist but I wouldn't object to ridiculous technology, since there's no reason that the world had to end today as opposed to years down the line.
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11-22-2015, 04:05 PM
Post: #13
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Alright, so in hopes of drumming up interest I'll continue working on things and posting the concepts/ideas I'm working on for critique and suggestions.

Today I began basically plotting out the setup and endgame.

Setup:

The game begins with board construction. First player will be chosen via some arbitrary means, and will be responsible for placing the city centre. That tile must be placed somewhere in the middle of the board.

The board will be, for now, an eight by six tile board, meaning that the city centre tile must be placed between spaces 3-3 and 6-4. Following clockwise, players will be able to place any tile anywhere on the board, with only one exception to be explained now. For physical appearances sake, tiles will be designed to have two, diagonal halves, which will appear as follows:

U/U
U/S
U/R
S/S
S/R
R/R

Where U=Urban, S=Semi-urban, and R=Rural.

Edges must, at all times, match. Thus, a U/U tile could not be connected to a S/R tile.

When it comes to a point where there is no longer an actual choice for tile placement (such as the remaining free spaces only being able to be a single choice) this part of setup ends. Remaining spaces are filled by the necessary tiles.

At this point, the first player may now choose their pharmacist and any potential starting bonuses. Once this is done, the last player will choose their starting location; a two by two tile area along the borders of the map. Note that no two starting areas will touch, so there is one vertical line of spaces and two horizontal lines of spaces between potential starting areas.

From here, each pharmacist will begin with two random minions, ten workers, a set amount of other possible resources, and six points worth of recipes. Recipes come in three levels, with level one being the weakest and three being the strongest. It is a choice between being able to have a couple of strong recipes but lacking diversity or a more diverse number of lesser ones. In a 5-6 player game, players may through no fault of their own be in a disadvantageous position, flanked by more players than the rest. For five player games, players who border two other players get one extra recipe point and players who border three get two. For six player games, the two central players get two extra points worth of recipes.

Endgame:

There are three conditions for the game to end:

1) One player is producing a majority of the drugs throughout the city at the end of the turn. This player takes control of the city and wins.
2) One player has direct control of a third of the map, including one rival's pharmacy. This player takes control of the city and wins.
3) Twenty turns pass. The city is invaded by two hostile powers, and all players lose.

More win conditions might be added by new rules or card effects.
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11-23-2015, 11:06 AM
Post: #14
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I'll have to reread this thread a few times to get everything, but I have some question/ideas.

Is it possible to trade with the two superpowers? Also are the recipes going to be like, draw two things from the ingredient pile, and they will combine into a recipe like "walrus tusk mushroom powder" ?

It is time time
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11-24-2015, 02:03 AM
Post: #15
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
While that hasn't come up yet, I do think trading would be a good idea, both with the superpowers and other players. Especially so because flavourwise it would make sense. City centre is being designed for trading/selling from the getgo (as I implied a little in my last post), but having the variety could be interesting especially if there were different advantages and disadvantages to the various trade partners.

I'm probably going to make a post about resources later today or tomorrow which would answer your second question, but I can still tackle it now. One of the important things you can scavenge from the city is 'ingredients' (name pending). These represent various chemical/natural compounds that can be made into drugs via your recipes. While I liked the idea of needing different things (or being able to produce multiple drug resources) it just seemed like too much going on.
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11-24-2015, 02:06 AM
Post: #16
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I like the idea of having several different types of tiles. Instead of building the board before the game starts, though, have you thought of building it procedurally as the game progresses and players move about the board? Betrayal at the House on the Hill does this to great effect, and it would probably be a more interesting process than placing everything prior to the beginning of the game. It'd take some choice out of choosing your starting location since they would all be more or less identical, but it would make the game more procedurally interesting. Having urban, suburban and rural areas is even rather similar to Betrayal's use of upper, ground and basement tiles, with some tiles being placeable on any floor and others being others exclusive to the basement. In this game's case, it would be as simple as noting that a tile can only be placed next to another tile if they share atleast one tag. That way, if you move onto a new urban tile you would reveal three new tiles, each of which would have to also be urban, although theres nothing stopping some of them from counting as both urban and suburban.

Also, how about a card or recipe that would allow you to create a shortcut between two adjacent tiles that would otherwise not be connected? This could allow for some interesting surprise attacks or other unusual play, and an experienced player would know to watch out for the possibility that their opponent might be able to pull something like that, and would play accordingly, positioning minions to defend against what would seem like an obvious attempt at a backdoor strategy. Except it would then turn out that they didnt have the necessary card after all and were only sending their minions past what would be an obvious spot to make such a move from. Except they were only lulling their target into a false sense of security and later broke that wall down when it was left unguarded, thus plundering their target's pharmacy completely uncontested.
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11-24-2015, 07:21 AM
Post: #17
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
This is a city though, where the characters have lived for a while, so it wouldn't really make sense to not reveal the map at the start. However, adding areas like the Forbidden Outskirts and random Danger Zones in the city that await exploration could work...

It is time time
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11-24-2015, 08:24 AM
Post: #18
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I think gamelogic and general enjoyment trumps actual logic in this context. Provided that would actually be a fun thing, anyway.
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11-24-2015, 09:12 AM
Post: #19
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I had never thought of Betrayal's exploration mechanic past there being a semi-random element, partially because of PL's reason and partially because I pretty quickly cut out the concept of having different 'classes' of explorable cards (ex: gun loot if you find a police station, or drug loot if you find a hospital) for the ridiculous number of decks that would be required to be in play. Instead, I figured that rural, suburban, and urban looting would draw from different decks.

My one remaining issue with an explorable city is that by the current way things work, a player could be thrown into a situation they don't at all want to be in, like being stuck in urban areas before they're potentially ready or rural and they can't keep up with others. With the setup I had, now players get to have more control over where they're stuck at the beginning. As a side note, it might also cause problems with regards to the city centre, which as the game is now is an important location in the game and I think there's a reasonable chance the map could break in an unsolveable way if, say, only mismatching tiles were flipped surrounding it.

Lorewise, I could totally see having the city needing to be re-explored due to the chaos that came up after the Pharmacist's death, aka nobody knows what could be out there anymore. It would also allow for fun things like having something that needs to be dealt with before exploring a new area (bandit camp, rubble, etc.), but I'm sure we could find a way to do that regardless.

tl;dr I'm totally fine going either way so long as the exploration mechanic could account for the issues I brought up.
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11-24-2015, 10:40 AM
Post: #20
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Thats a fair point. One could perhaps start by placing a number of tiles surrounding/connecting to the city centre. Still, its all only just ideas at the moment anyway, and i think maybe there should be significantly fewer tiles with only two ways to move (or none, for that matter) in any case, since its a mostly-open city and not an enclosed murder-house. But I do think that drawing new tiles, being excited about a particularly beneficial one being drawn and getting to choose how a new tile fits into the rest of the city would be enjoyable. For instance, if you knew an adjacent player was weak, you could finally get a tille that would connect you to his part of the city thus enabling an advantageous attack. Meanwhile, that guy would have an 'oh shit' moment because he'd know the other guy would be coming for him and he'd have to try and prepare before they got there. Thats a cool moment for both players which would otherwise not happen because youd know the entire layout of the city before play has even begun.

Ofcourse, if other cool things like that could be incorporated into the other method id totally also support that.
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11-24-2015, 11:42 AM
Post: #21
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
So, out of curiosity, are you suggesting that the city be laid out in a more mazelike fashion (like in Betrayal), as opposed to adjacent tiles just being adjacent?
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11-24-2015, 12:20 PM (This post was last modified: 11-24-2015 12:45 PM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #22
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
A little of that would be cool i think, yeah, but mostly you should probably be able to pass whichever way you want. More so than in Betrayal anyway. Since you're already doing tiles, why not? Like i described when i was talking about backdoor strategies a few posts ago, its something that would add new ways to think about the gameboard.

Most tiles should still be 4-way or 3-way, with only the rare few 2-way tiles. Could have a few tiles with only one exit, but only if they provide something worthwhile.
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11-24-2015, 12:54 PM (This post was last modified: 11-24-2015 12:54 PM by Palamedes.)
Post: #23
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Hm. A neat design for that, visually, could be that all of the tiles look like they had four ways to go, but some have one-two of them blown up or caved in or something in the chaos. A boring way to make things workable right now that way (since I can't really think of others right this moment) would to be having the outer tiles all be rural, second layer suburban, and the rest urban.

PL, other people, what are your thoughts on the matter?
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11-24-2015, 05:21 PM
Post: #24
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
As long as there is a thing that prevents the maze from being accidentaly intraversable, having less than 4 exits to some tiles can work. But I would rather make the tiles have edges that are just harder to traverse, instead of completely blocked off.

It is time time
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11-25-2015, 07:35 AM
Post: #25
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
That sounds like a better version of it, nothing ever being completely impassable (even without having a special card or something). Could the ideas be combined, so there is both the element of choice and randomness in it, or would having one completely defeat the purpose of the other?
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11-25-2015, 07:43 AM (This post was last modified: 11-25-2015 07:46 AM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #26
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Well, certain minions might be able to move freely, or one of the pharmacists could provide that ability for all of their minions, or something along those lines. As long as it is exclusive enough to still be a powerful boon, anything works, really.

Maybe theres also a (limited) way to blockade tiles, making it a strategic choice to block off a certain direction? Just a thought.
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11-25-2015, 09:10 AM
Post: #27
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
That would certainly fit with the whole idea of blocking movement but not completely - barricades, rubble, traps, and other possible things blocking movement could be cleared away through time or sheer brute force (or abilities) before moving through. That seems like a good compromise between both suggestions, since it does outright prevent movement but can be gotten out of the way if it's too inconvenient or you have a tactical plan that involves bursting through.

It would also prevent possibly impassible areas from potentially forming and breaking the game, like PL mentioned.
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11-25-2015, 11:28 AM
Post: #28
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Hm yea, if you had to devote one or more turns' worth of time to break down stuff blocking your path, that would leave you wanting to explore in other directions or choose different paths to the enemy unless going through a blocked path would be faster or more tactically sound. For instance, if you could put down a minefield or erect a bunker (or something of similar flavor whose effect is to give a bonus to allied minions on that tile) that would add further strategical choice to the map - you could mine up the 'long path', then break down a wall and set up a bunker on your side, before sending your minions through to attack the enemy. If things go badly, you retreat to the bunker, forcing your enemy into unfavorable terrain. At the same time, they couldnt easily take the long route around your army to get at your base because of those mines - sure, they could send in a few mooks to 'disarm' the mines, but that would take time, which they dont have if you are coming for them.
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11-26-2015, 02:18 AM
Post: #29
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Other thing that is possible, that some of the barricades simply just take more movement points (if there is such system) to traverse, or have a Bad Effect, such as an overturned Toxic Truck wouldn't block the street, but people passing though would be a bit sick for a bit.

It is time time
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11-27-2015, 09:58 AM (This post was last modified: 11-27-2015 09:59 AM by ICan'tGiveCredit.)
Post: #30
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I think there should be a Black Market card. Trade in all your recipes (minimum 1) or lose a portion of the map to the mafia syndicate.

Edited for Readability and Preservation of Sanity - The Revolution - OP - Chapter 1/2 - Chapter 2/2 (missing maps) - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 (Ongoing) - Chat
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11-27-2015, 01:22 PM (This post was last modified: 11-27-2015 01:27 PM by Palamedes.)
Post: #31
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
@Credit: I uh, think that not only does that not really make sense (a black market isn't a mafia extortion scheme) but it would probably be horribly unfair to whichever player that happened to. Do you have any suggestions for balancing something like that?

@chim, PL: I think I'm going to go with both of your ideas as they've combined together now guys. I'm still going to try and figure out if the board building can be combined with the board exploration (so people can still determine whether they get to start off with heavy rural/suburban/urban or a more equal mix) but still not know how things are going to affect them.

If there's not a lot more to say on that, I think we can move onto a new part of the game in the next couple of days. Are there any particular areas people are interested in or have ideas for?
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11-27-2015, 02:38 PM (This post was last modified: 11-28-2015 02:06 AM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #32
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Well, since we have a vague idea of how things work, I would be interested in designing the various pharmacists and whatever mechanics make them stand out from each other - or, if theyre all going to be identical, whatever similar feature we wind up with. Knowing the differences in play early on is pretty important, I think.
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11-27-2015, 07:39 PM
Post: #33
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Lets look at Resources I think, and how they are used to make things.

It is time time
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11-28-2015, 04:07 PM (This post was last modified: 11-28-2015 04:07 PM by ICan'tGiveCredit.)
Post: #34
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
The black market is where the recipes will be going, that is, customers who want the drugs in greater supply. I suppose giving the pharmacist a luxury resource would balance it out. Maybe a Favor card that can be used to:

A) Block passage of an area for a certain amount of time (maybe in such a way that it diverts one pharmacy's customers to you?)

or

B) Take a card your opponent just received.

Edited for Readability and Preservation of Sanity - The Revolution - OP - Chapter 1/2 - Chapter 2/2 (missing maps) - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 (Ongoing) - Chat
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12-01-2015, 06:32 AM
Post: #35
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
@Credit: I think the whole 'take everything you can do and force you to start from worse than scratch' is too big a negative? Considering how, as is, recipes aren't designed to ever be lost normally (the stealing mechanic would only steal a copy so both players would have it), so that seems a bit much. Flavourwise, there currently aren't any other major factions in the Pharmacist's city - they'd all have had to come into existence after his death. I like the idea of a major tradeoff though - maybe by sacrificing a recipe (or the ability to make anything off of it) could negatively affect other players as well as giving you a boon (cut of the profits or something). Still would need it to fit with the game's lore as established thus far. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Moving onto the next steps, let's talk resources. It's probably a good place to start before going into the pharmacists and the opening game, since any outcomes here could affect that (but I could type up a quick thing with my ideas so far if that'd still help).

My current setup is that there are probably five generic resources:
1) Ingredients - used to produce drugs from recipes. Different recipes would probably cost more or less ingredients and give you more drugs.
2) Drugs - the actual amount of drugs you have to use/sell. The reason I have these as a separate thing is that looting could give you already complete drugs that you may not already have (for variety and strategic interest), and I am possibly considering players having a sheet that can track what types of drug they have (ie: more generically, like painkillers, antibiotics, vitamins, and the like each which could confer benefits if used instead of sold).
3) Manpower - used primarily to bring on more goons for production or scavenging, and possibly for events where throwing disposable people at it is a solution.
4) Construction - used primarily to expand and upgrade the pharmacies, as well as put up outposts, defences, or other things that could benefit or hinder players in the city.
5) Goods - basically money, used primarily for trading and events.

Advanced resources would be item cards and drug recipes, and unlike generic resources would need to be marked by individual cards instead of tokens or sliders or something like that. Item cards could be anything that confers some sort of benefit, such as equipment or upgrades - I'm not fully involved in that part of the design yet. Recipes would be sorted into probably 4-5 different categories (at most) with different levels, though I'm not entirely sure what those should be yet, I've come up with some possible ideas:

Painkillers - from Advil to morphine, things used to help people deal with pain and injuries. Valuable for trade, and can probably be used to help keep your minions and scavengers in good health.

Antibiotics - anything that helps you with infections or sickness. Very valuable for trade, and could possibly be used to help deal with sicknesses or injuries that painkillers just weren't enough for. (Extended idea - painkillers prevent injury, antibiotics heal injury that has already happened/painkillers can only prevent first point of damage/first goon killed [since unlike minions who would probably be able to take a couple of hits they die whenever something so much as looks at them the wrong way).

Vitamins - stimulants, steroids, anything that makes you harder, better, faster, stronger. Not super valuable but can be used to get bonuses and for dealing with less savoury types.

Psychoactives - drugs that affect the mental state to make one more or less hinged. Not particularly valuable but could be used to keep minions/goons in check and for events.

As you can see I need a lot of ideas here, especially for possible names and differences between categories and the drugs within them. One quick note though - To keep in the spirit of things I'd prefer the vast majority of these drugs be the kind of shit you'd actually go to a pharmacy to get, instead of this turning into a sim about post apocalyptic heroin dealers or something.
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12-01-2015, 08:10 AM
Post: #36
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I like the idea of manpower being a resource in and of itself - plenty of ways to integrate that into the designs of both cards and pharmacists. But i think maybe that construction and goods being their own, non-interchangeable resources isnt so good. When you start the game, you'll probably have some idea of 'well i want to focus on fortifying up my area and having a hella sweet production' or whatever other bonus an upgraded pharmacy would net you. If construction is its own resource, you'll just sort of slowly go advancing your plan, and very few situations would have you change up in which order you are going to put up buildings. I'd rather see construction being shared with some other resource so that you can choose whether or not to upgrade production or fortify your territory with bunkers, or if you would rather spend it on something else. Or even have a change in strategy after having secured a lot of territory after having spent of that resource to fuel your army, then changing that up by switching into a defensive playstyle with bunkers at the far borders of your newly gained territory, trying to hold more ground than the others at greater risk.

As for the drugs themselves... Are you sure you want tallies and costs of each individual type of drug? An alternative design could be that you can, for a cost, get a +1 bonus on more or less anything, usuable on anything up to say, three times a turn. Something small that you can do a lot, but will inevitably deplete your stores if you use it routinely.
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12-01-2015, 09:33 AM
Post: #37
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I don't think I want tallies, no - I just brought it up because it was a side thought and I'd rather include everything. I'm thinking it would be better to just say that any drugs you have you can use the 'abilities' of, and as for cost the simple solution would be to have a level three drug give out three times as much as a level one.

I more had different drugs conferring different benefits because it would allow the recipes to actually matter outside of their value scores. It would also allow for different specialization, so a player who was heavy on my current idea for the antibiotic tree would focus on riskier scavenging and trading, while one who got vitamins could be sending out beefy combat teams, and one who had a good psychoactive drug might be able to drive forward with superior manpower. I thought it might also lead to some more interesting issues like players trading amongst themselves or forming alliances based on who has a monopoly on what.

Basically the reason I thought recipes was a good stand-in for pharmacists having abilities is that the different drug categories act as the different specialties, especially in the early game - thus making play varied and impactful but without locking anyone into any one style of play for an entire game.

Do sort of like the idea of having cash and construction being the same thing - maybe building could cost goods and manpower (seeing as the latter is more a measure of how many people are willing to do work for you versus how many currently are)?
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12-01-2015, 10:09 AM
Post: #38
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Yeah, cash and construction being the same thing is a good idea. In the post apocalyptic future, bartering for resources seems likely. Also you can claim that your medicine is worth an entire house.

Also, there are already many recipes types, but idea: use construction to give a boost to a medicine of your choice, to produce medical aids like syringes (which go into blowguns), patches (have a delayed effect, maybe next turn you can decide to use this medicine instead of mixing up something) and child resistant packaging (prevents theft of this specific medicine).

It is time time
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12-01-2015, 10:36 AM
Post: #39
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I like that, but it seems like it might be too much? Wouldn't be good if people had to consult a long list of things they could be doing with a single resource - especially if everything else is notably simpler.

A lot of those ideas could work as item cards or something though? Basically something you can scavenge besides resources that can be used to benefit minions, the pharmacy, or even recipes (like you're suggesting).

Oh right, and in case I wasn't clear if you have better ideas for recipes and the like just speak up about it! I'm not entirely happy with the four I have so if you can come up with more inclusive or balanced categories please do.
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12-01-2015, 12:34 PM
Post: #40
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
My primary concern with the drugs you are describing is that the effects you mention seem like really minor buffs - nice to have, and good in a pinch, but hardly the great focus of the game that they are supposed to be? On the other hand it would seem really weird to have a mere painkiller turn your dudes into nigh-invincible juggernauts, however briefly.

Then again, game logic and super-advanced future drugs could explain that away, i guess.

Another thing to consider is how often you'll be apply to use a drug. When scavenging or braving monster dens or whatever, you'll generally want to abstain from using them so that you'll have a larger supply when the time comes to fight the other players. Thats perfectly reasonable in terms of planning, but might be a problem when it comes to carrying out that fighting depending on the specific mechanics involved. On one hand, if one can use as many different drugs as they have resources/plans for, it'll be all about staging everything on one big fight where you hope to take the enemy out. Alternatively, if drug-usage is limited to say, one type per round, both players will just use the drug that gives the greatest immediate combat benefit (provided that they both have access to it), which is hardly interesting.

Unless, ofcourse, one pharmacist had an ultra combat drug, making that guy the most powerful up-front fighter and thus forcing the other players to take him on through a different approach.

I dont know.
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12-01-2015, 01:00 PM
Post: #41
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I think you could limit it to one use per recipe per round, but you could use the drug on an entire team at once to buff/heal the lot of them. It is a problem though that I've been trying to deal with - making them important and powerful enough to make a difference without making the whole thing about who can throw out the best drug.

Part of the idea of having them be your only real way to reliably make money was that you could blow them all on fighting and buffing, but then the other players would just be able to avoid you, make you waste all your resources, and then overwhelm you with all of the stuff they could get/upgrade with the money they made selling their drugs instead of using them. Thus it would all be about balancing.
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12-01-2015, 09:33 PM
Post: #42
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Oh yeah, i hadnt thought much of being able to sell them. I like that solution, they'd just need to be balanced around the structures or economy you can purchase with that money, or vice versa.
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12-02-2015, 05:36 AM
Post: #43
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
One small other thing that I forgot to bring up and I think is applicable: I sort of want to design straight up war to be extremely costly - like you could create an army and march around the board attacking other pharmacists but you're better off doing the occasional surgical strike or surprise attack unless it's near endgame and you need to make a huge move to win. Thoughts on that?
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12-02-2015, 06:38 AM
Post: #44
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
I guess i agree that that is cooler and more in-line with the in-universe situation. I'd suggest some sort of upkeep, i guess, thus making massive armies rather unattractive but plausible in case you need to quickly defend yourself. As a game mechanic that everyone would need to keep track of every single damn turn, though, that is really unappealing.
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12-02-2015, 07:27 AM
Post: #45
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
One would think that the counter to that would be "Everybody gangs up against you", but that is neither fair or balanceable, so yeah, armies should cost a lot. Perhaps, a ramp up in cost? Each additional unit costs a bit more?

It is time time
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12-02-2015, 08:12 AM
Post: #46
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
That also has its own problem, though; it'll get really annoying trying to calculate what each new minion will cost. Unless theres some sort of treshold, like if you have over 10 units any further purchases will be slightly more expensive. But that also has the problem of requiring the player to count exactly what they have in play every time they want to employ more stuff. Might be more manageable than the alternatives though, depending on how much stuff you are likely to have in play at any one time.
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12-02-2015, 09:41 AM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2015 09:43 AM by ICan'tGiveCredit.)
Post: #47
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Should cigarettes be a premium resource? Like a rare drop from an event? They're definitely sold in pharmacies... maybe in-game they're just a reflection of the unsavoury side of pharmacy ie. abuse of drugs rather than use of illegal drugs.

Edited for Readability and Preservation of Sanity - The Revolution - OP - Chapter 1/2 - Chapter 2/2 (missing maps) - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 (Ongoing) - Chat
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12-02-2015, 09:58 AM
Post: #48
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Depends. Do you have a gameplay idea in mind?
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12-02-2015, 01:18 PM
Post: #49
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Anyone with paper and some leaves can make a cigarette, only a master can take a handful of disgusting powders and/or liquids and turn them into glorious medication.

(Real answer: I could see something like that being a special drop from scavenging/events that confer a bonus of some sort. Other ideas could be things like candy coating, which gives you a bonus to sales, or some of the things PL suggested at one point.)

Credit, do you have any ideas for other things discussed so far ie: resources, setup, spending, etc?
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12-10-2015, 06:04 AM
Post: #50
RE: ChocStarter: Final Pharmasy
Holy crap I let this sit for a while.

So while we're talking resources - what would be a good starting number for each? Should amounts change based on the pharmacist's abilities or should they difference between them simply be in which recipes/minions they start out with? How difficult should each resource be to acquire and are there any which should have multiple ways to get your hands on?

Personally, I feel like ingredients and drugs should be things you can only acquire through scavenging and trading with other players - and they could probably even be the same resources, if we tooled recipes to be limited use per turn (how many you can 'produce' of a single kind or something). Manpower should probably mostly be bought and only occasionally found while scavenging, while resources (aka building stuff and cash) could be found about equally either way. This is, of course, outside events or special scavenging items, where there's a lot more freedom (and those would also be the only ways to find new recipes).
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