So I was thinking about the scrabble modifications I outlined and some of the ideas sortof collided in my head with the auction game I designed (that didn’t really work) and I came up with the following game design. I do not yet know if it works. I suspect it to be overcomplicated.
- The same hexagonal tiles as before.
- Currency tokens.
- A tie-breaker token.
- Some means of scoring – either a pad or victory point tokens
- A collection of temporary marker tokens
Assign the tie breaker token to someone.
Put all the hexagonal tokens in a bag or face down somewhere from which they can be randomly drawn.
Draw one hex tile at random and put it face up. This is the beginnings of the game board.
Give everyone N currency tokens. I don’t know what the right value of N is but it should probably be somewhere in the 5-10 region.
Place one currency token in the middle. This is the beginning of the auction pool.
Note that currency tokens will never enter or leave the game. The currency tokens given out now are the entire economic pool for the game.
Play proceeds through a sequence of turns. A turn consists as follows:
One tile per player is drawn and placed face up.
Each player submits a sealed bid (they put a number of currency tokens in their hand and hold it out).
They reveal their bids and use them to determine play order. Play order is determined as follows:
- Higher bids go before lower bids
- Given two identical bids, the person clockwise closest to the tie breaker token goes first
So if we have players in order A, B, C, D, E with A being the tie breaker and we have bids A=2,B=3,C=1,D=2,E=2 then the play order is B (highest bid), A (tie breaker), D (closer to tie breaker than E), E, C (lowest bid).
In play order they each draw a hex and put it into their hand (a collection of hexes face up in front of them).
Now in reverse play order they may choose to play runs. A run consists of putting a set of hexes down on the game board as follows:
- The first hex may be placed so that it touches any existing hex on the board
- Each hex must be placed so it touches the previous hex laid. It is allowed to touch other hexes laid this turn as long as it also touches the last hex laid.
- As many hexes as you have in your hand may be laid down as long as you obey these rules, but you are not required to lay all of them down
Put temporary marker tokens on played hexes so you can keep track of which they are.
The run is then scored by counting up the number of edges each hex laid down has that are the same colour as the hex they adjoin. Note that this means if that hex is also one you’ve just laid down you score double (so if you play two hexes which share a red edge, they each gain you a point. If you lay down a hex which shares a red edge with one already on the board then you gain a point for the hex you played but not the one that was already there). These are added to your total.
At the end of the turn you now do two things:
- The tie breaker marker passes clockwise to the next player
- All bids made this turn are placed in the central pot. The pot is then divided equally between all players. If it does not divide evenly then the remainder is left in the pot for next turn.
Ending the game
There are seven special hexes. They each have 6 distinct colours and a black dot in the center. Once three of these tiles are on the game board the game is over. The current turn is completed (and the money and tie breaker tokens are distributed as normal), then victory conditions are calculated as follows:
- The person with the most points wins
- If there is a tie, the person in that tie who has the most currency wins
- If there is still a tie, the person clockwise closest to the tie breaker token wins
It feels like there are some annoying special cases in this. They were all added for good reasons, but I’m not sure that’s enough. I may attempt to play test this soon and see how it plays out in practice.