As I outlined in my earlier post, I think that the concept of some kind of strategy game that involves both cooperation and competition is fairly promising. The main demographic that matters to me is the one that I am a part of. I mostly want my game to appeal to an older demographic, aged 16+. I think that financial markets have the potential to allow for a lot of strategy, depth, and complexity in game play that may be lost in younger players. The kinds of people that typically play these kinds of games are usually aged 18-30, although people outside this demographic certainly play these games too. The main two feelings that I want my game to impart are a sense of suspense in the relationships between players, and a feeling of excitement at the coalescence of a plan.
Currently, I’ve been having some issues coming up with a theme. So far, I’ve come up with two ideas. One possibility is a variation on the “grand strategy” type of board game, in which players control some kind of colony or civilization and trade resources with each other, with the end goal of becoming the most powerful entity. I also have been considering the idea of a “killer robot” construction game. In this game, players would be building a robot to compete in a free-for-all fight with the other players’ robots at the end of the game. Players would be able to trade spare parts or blueprints for new robot parts. Blueprints could be kept secret from other players, so that no one knows what parts the other players need. Maybe they could get a certain amount of parts and/or money per turn, and use those resources to “research” random new blueprints? Something like having a deck of blueprints and a deck of parts for players to randomly draw from? With either theme, the core mechanic will be the ability to trade with other players, which should (almost) always be beneficial to both parties.
One popular game that heavily involves trade is Settlers of Catan. In this game, each player attempts to grow their colony to be the greatest one. They do this by building settlements on different areas of land, all of which grant different resources. Some key takeaways from this resource-gaining mechanic are that A) Players have some agency over what resources they will be naturally gaining over the course of the game, and B) All players know how much of each “resource generator” that the other players control. Also, creating structures has a specific resource costs, which all players know. This means that it can become obvious what kinds of structures players are aiming for based on what kinds of resources they are asking for in trades. All of these subtle game mechanics are things to consider for a trade-based game. They are not inherently good or bad, but they should be consciously incorporated or discarded.