Home > board game design, playtesting > Metropolis XVIII !@#$%^&* :-)

Metropolis XVIII !@#$%^&* :-)

I’ve been feeling a bit better about my ability to get things done in time for Protospiel, so I started working (again) on a game whose working title is “Metropolis.” This game dates back even further than Western Mancala, since I’ve probably been working on it for 20 years. The original idea was to cross Monopoly with Acquire, but it has evolved considerably over the years.

When I started typing it up today, I retitled the game “Metropolis XVIII !@#$%^&* :-)” in honor of the many hours I’ve spent working on this game.

The basic idea is that players are attempting to create hotel chains by purchasing properties that are connected orthogonally. Always in the past there was an odd dynamic where players either got money if one of their chains was “hit” or power (in the form of an action card) if someone else’s chain was hit. It worked fine, and the game was eminently playable, it just felt kind of strange. I couldn’t come up with a theme for it that made any sense.

Just last night, however, I figured out a way to dramatically simplify the rules while making everything much more intuitive, tricky, and interesting. Now it’s simple: players bid on properties, sometimes building new, sometimes building up, and sometimes taking over properties belonging to their opponents. The biggest chain at the end of the game wins.

What was the key? Decoupling a player’s income from how well they were doing in the game. That’s what was making the game very non-linear, and in fact that’s what had caused me to go for that whole money-versus-power thing in the first place. Take the “economic engine” aspect out, simplify as much as possible (but not more so), and voilà! A better game.

So that’s what I’ve done with my free time today….

  1. June 26, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I’m glad you figured it out! Sounds like an interesting game.

  2. June 26, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I tried decoupling it once before, but something about my previous approach didn’t work (it’s been a while, so I forget what it was). Anyway, I have high hopes for this new version. :-)

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