Last time we were talking about the different phases and general structure of the game we are trying to build. And now we continue with the third phase.
Let´s do this.
The Status Phase serves several purposes. First, it let´s us do some general checks that allow us to check major parts of the game that may have changed since the last turn or due to player actions, as well as increase or decrease the pressure and thus make it an important part of the difficulty curve for the game.
It itself is divided into several parts, the visitors, happiness, treasury and the event card after-effect.
It begins by adding visitor token to the game map equal to card value. This is important for several reasons. First, it means, that the general idea for the game is that people are coming (If you have it, they will come) and want to visit this place. It also increases the pressure on the players because they need to coordinate possibly constantly growing numbers of visitors as room able to fit all these people in grows short. Players can try to mitigate the impact of the growing number of visitors by placing them at different locations on the game map, though only one token may be placed per area on the game map.
At the same time we increase the treasury value for the players by the card value of the event card used. This serves to illustrate the way the growing number of visitors increase the wealth of the convention which in turn is part of a victory condition, but I am not completely convinced this should by itself be shown in this way, as my experiences point in a different direction, but we aren´t yet at that part of the deliberations about the mechanics ;)
Next, players can move a number of visitor tokens equal to the event card value in the direction of the movement arrows on the game map, with one move from space to space per token chosen. This is not yet completely set in stone either, but it combines with the way players can try to mitigate the difficulty by choosing the visitor token that suit them the most instead, even if the direction the tokens take is a given. This can also lead to very strange movement on the game map, but I will assume that is part of the mechanical neccessity.
After the visitor token, we get to Unhappiness. You add 1 point of Unhappiness in every area that exceeds its space. Basically everywhere, where you have too many people hanging around, people will get unhappy because people like to have space.
Now add 1 point to the treasury for every visitor token in a treasury area. What are those areas? I have an inkling, but I am not completely sure, most likely they will be special areas on the game map we will have to create as we go further in. What does this represent? The attempt at monetisation schemes pulled by the organizers and commercial interests pursued.
Finally we go into the Event Card After Effect. This one only happens, when the current active player decided to play the Event Card for the event instead of the points and is a free one-area move for the player characters on the game map. This is both to further mitigate difficulty but also to add a different kind of challenge as it also means that the player tokens HAVE to move, representing people moving about during different times.
With the Second Event Card Phase we get into the phase for those events that are both unforeseen and not avoidable but add the rush of excitement that provides for replayability. To do this the Current Active Player first decides if the event card already drawn during this turn is the one-value or ten-value for the Unforeseen Event Table. Afterwards he draws a second event card and uses that Event Card Value for the other number, ignoring everything else about that card. Then we look up the number we got, which would work akin to rolling a d66, which is usually 2d6 rolled for the ones and tens value giving us 36 different outcomes, and resolve the event that happens. The idea behind it currently is, that the Unforeseen Events are always negative but at the same time we kind of allow the player to use the rope provided to make a knot for himself instead of sealing his fate just like that. It also gives players the ability to choose the range of events that might affect them. But at the same time, it might also be too much, depending on how hard we go into the event scale.
Finally, you discard both cards used in such a way.
Now you give the Active Player Token to the next player in the clockwise order, or give it to a player by player choice, most likely resulting from a simple majority vote, if it´s turn 8 to allow the players to try to control parts of the events that happen in turn 9, or end the game if it´s turn 9, to allow for end game calculations.
How this is done, what it means, and what we are to make of the different parts of the game we spoke about in this article, will be explained next time in Building a Game.