Monday, February 25, 2008

"Broad market" Brit

At PrezCon this weekend I heard about a "broad market" version of a famous gateway game. That gateway game is quite simple, but this version is MUCH simpler, to appeal to a broader market--people who don't normally play boardgames at all (I think), and who might buy them in places like Target of Macy's.

Just for the heck of it, I'm trying to develop a "broad market" version of Brit (the kind of thing that would sell with Risk and similar games). History may be too serious for a broad market, especially medieval British history, but it's an interesting exercise. I already have "Brit Lite" version, and that can be played by casual gamers and video gamers, but I'm aiming at the sort of folks who might play Risk and Monopoly and checkers or chess, but not much else.

The game would have to have many fewer units than Brit, and many fewer areas (my first cut has 14 instead of 37 land areas). Six turns perhaps, 8 nations. I'm afraid that with the limits required, the Roman conquest must be left out. Non-gamers might not care for the one-sidedness of it, but more important, it will tend to go the same every time, so let's not bother.

Obviously, there should be plastic figures for pieces.

Leader pieces? No, I think the way to introduce historical flavor (and some variation) is with cards. Those cards can include leader cards that the player will always get on certain turns.

Possible timeline:
400-525 A-Saxons, Scots come w/Fergus
525-650 Badon etc. stops A-S, then win by A-S (577 especially)
650-800 A-S clean up, Heptarchy
800-925 Vikings. Kenneth McAlpin
925-1025 Viking renewal, Cnut
1025-1100 Four Kings

My first cut with nations was 12:

But that's too many, so I tried for 8

Britons less Welsh (R-Bs and "Brigs")
Norse including Dubs & Norwegians
Scots & Picts & Irish

Four players:
Saxons--Scots Irish Picts
Britons--Norse Dubs Norweg etc.
So the British get Vikings to play with. Angles (who get stomped) get the eventual historical winners (Normans)

I have a system for possible double occupancy of areas that works very well in Frankia (and Brit Lite), but it's a little complex. So I'm waffling between having more areas than the 14 I came up with, or 14 and double occupancy, or more areas--but that might mean empty areas, and might require more pieces. Dunno until I try something.

Or maybe more areas to avoid double occupancy? But then areas might be empty, that's the problem.

The Brit combat system has far too much variation to be used at this scale. But dice rolling is fine for this market. Right now I'm thinking roll one die for each army, higher total kills one army of other side and pushes them back. Cards might modify this (e.g. leaders add one to each die roll). (Variation: one die plus one per army, helps the defense a lot.)

That's all for now. I have many other things to work on as a result of PrezCon contacts, I'm glad to say.

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