Sunday, March 1, 2015

Resurrecting the Analogue Goblin-Tribe Simulator (It's ALIVE!!!)

It's been a while since I talked about the Analogue Goblin-Tribe Simulator (single player edition) and I left some things undone. Things I need to leave undone for this post. But I had been way ahead in my development of the single-player board game So many ideas, in fact, that I'll be able to give at least a somewhat comprehensive overview about how this game will work.

I'd like to point out that y'all wouldn't read this right now if it wasn't for +The Gorgonmilk (of the rather fantastic blog of The Same Name) who was kind enough to be still interested close to six months later. It's not often that I get a request like this and it made me happy.

To be or not to be ... well, the Goblin-Tribe Simulator is to be, I'd say.
And the rather fitting illustration was made by Steve Cox [source]

Remembering ...

So what was this about again? The Analogue Goblin-Tribe Simulator (single player edition) was an idea of mine to build a board game around the evolution (or decline) of a goblin-tribe somewhere in Fantasy Land (TM) based on some of the design principles known from the early editions of D&D.

Those goblins would breed, build and explore their hostile surroundings to gather food and equipment and breed some more. If they manage to reach a population of 100 (winning conditions) the tribe dissolves to create many new tribes in the area (they are a pest, after all).

In the single player edition, the dice do all the talking beyond the decisions the player is making. But I already mentioned a 2 player version, where one player would play the environment and the other the goblin-tribe opposing it, which I imagine a bit to be like playing battleship. Both players would have an open chronic for their moves, but the developments would be secret until they are discovered by exploration. A version with a DM and a group is a distinct possibility, but as of now not further developed.

The single and the 2 player version of the game should produce (as a side effect, so to say) compatible gaming data for most D&D games (and friends). So it's a game AND preparation for The Game.

The sheet I had in the works for this looked like this:

Some of you might remember it ... this is where the magic happens.
When I stopped following this idea any further, I had already established a way to create not only a tribe of goblins and the general lay of their lair, but also some ideas how the game might work (please follow the first link above for further enlightenment or just read this one as an introduction). This post will give another impression of how the A.G.S. (s.p.e.) will work.

So how is this supposed to work
(Phases, Turns and Cycles)

One phase is the smallest unit of time in the game, three phases constitute a turn and five turns are a cycle. Phases are where the tribe comes to live and the player decides what they do and the risks they take to get there. In the 3 phases that make a turn, the player has to make three decisions:
  • Phase 1: Will the tribe Steal something (high risk, but also high rewards and xp) OR will he Explore his environment (dangerous, but lots of intel, new options and xp) OR will he have a Low Opposition instead (opposition rating increases slowly).
  • Phase 2: Will the tribe go Hunting (less dangerous, but food and xp) OR  will he Build something (also less dangerous, but achievements) OR will he have Middle Opposition (as in, a middle increase of the opposition rating):
  • Phase 3: Will the tribe go Gathering (not really dangerous, less food and no xp) OR will he Procrastinate (nothing much and lots of fornication) OR will there be a High Opposition (you get it, the opposition rating increases more than with the other options).

Opposition has to be chosen at least once, the rest is up to the player and the dice decide about success, partial success or failing (so if a player wants to steal and build something, he'll have to take the high opposition, too). This sort of risk/reward managing is what will let a tribe strive or die. All those actions will influence the development of certain aspects of a tribe. With time some actions might become necessary (like stealing and hunting) to ensure the survival of the tribe. Hard choices will makes the goblins angry, though, which in turn might make it necessary to allow some fornication procrastination and give more food to the population.

If done right, the tribe will strive, get his own heroes and stories to tell and collects achievements (like traps, tools, tamed wolves or cold storage) to be better and better protected against the bad world out there.

Some achievements and breeding will take more time. Those things will take turns of time and will most likely be completed within a circle. Cycles will be the measurement how successful a tribe is or if they are dying of hunger (if a deficit is not solved at the end of a cycle, the weak a tribe has gathered will die, etc.).

If they are aggressive, they'll kill each other, if they are too hungry they'll eat each other. All this will be part of A.G.S. (s.p.e.). And then there is the action ...

This is where the action is
(triggering the opposition)

So the opposition is rising every turn, but it's also checked on every turn. The opposition is a number between 1 and 20 and starts with either a 1 (low opposition, see above), a 2 (middle opposition, see above) or a 3 (high opposition, see above). After declaring what will be done in phases 1, 2 and 3, the player rolls a d20 to see if the opposition is triggered. If the result is above the opposition rating, nothing happens and the player resolves the rest of his declared actions.

If there is an opposition, it's a reckoning for what the goblins where doing that turn. If they where hunting, the prey turned against them, if they where stealing, they might get caught, if the explore stuff, they might find something unpleasant. But the worst case scenario will be a group of adventurers entering those caves the tribe calls his home.

If the trigger is resolved, the tribe cuts his losses (also gets xp) and moves on (if they are not destroyed ...).

So yeah, the goblins are still going somewhere

I'll keep working on this and writing about it. Those tables need to be written, the mechanics need to be tested, but I'm on it. I hope this managed to rekindle some interest and give those already convinced that this might be a good idea some more food for thought.

This is not dead, it's still happening!

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