INFLUENCES: My first influence is the board game Settlers of Catan, a game of economic development, markets, and diplomacy. It involves road-building and expansion. My second influence was this water & sponge relay race game I’ve played at camp. Teams play head-to-head. A player from each team dunks a sponge in a bucket of water, runs across the field, squeezes the water out of the sponge into his/her team’s empty bucket, runs back, and gives it to a teammate who repeats this process until one team’s destination bucket if full of water.
CONCEPT: My initial idea was a road-building game that would require players to move back and forth across the board as delivery trucks; the first player to deliver X amount of resources to the destination would win. Road/truck upgrades are included. The thing that makes the game unique is that players are grouped on three levels: by lane (affects individual), by supplier (affects a pair of 2), and by weather (affects all 4). You can play cards to impact another player or yourself on an individual basis, on a pair basis, or on a communal basis. These impacts can be positive or negative (i.e. give a boost, or slow down). They’d probably be action cards. Examples:
1. “No cops in sight. Drive faster, move 1 space forward.”
2. “New tires from supplier. Boost yourself and your partner 1 space forward”
3. “Thunderstorm. Everyone goes half the usual distance next turn.”
These three levels represent individualism, teamwork, and communalism.
AUDIENCE: This game is for people who enjoy dynamic games. It’s for people that enjoy manipulation, diplomacy, a balance of luck and strategy, upgrades, and the tangibility of board games.
INTENDED RESEARCH: I’ll have to research how complicated the game should be. Is the 3-level card play enough, or should it only be a part of a larger road-building game? I’ll have to find out how much meaning the 3-level system brings to players. By itself, it could be very interesting or very boring. I’ll have to make a mock-up stack of cards and have my buddies try it out, see what their reactions are. It should also give me an idea of how long it takes to play the game, and how many spaces to put between start and finish.
1. Play as fate: who do you blame for victory or loss? How much was the victory a result of your own actions, your partners’, the community’s, the board’s? From Sutton-Smith: “…destiny is the sole artisan of victory,…that the winner has been more favored by fortune than the loser” (65).
2. Salen & Zimmerman in Games as the Play of Simulation: “…with any complex system, meaning emerges from the interaction of the parts” (440). I’ll have to figure out how to balance the following element pairs: luck with strategy, economic conflict with territorial conflict.
3. Play as identity. Sutton-Smith writes, “play is a metaphoric sphere that can conjoin what is otherwise apart and divide what is otherwise together…to create a sense of belonging” (93). Tied to the play as fate comment, a pair of players comes together when a pair card is played, and all players come together against the board when a communal card is played. I haven’t decided if the players can somehow combat the communal effect by working together, but that’s a possibility.