Jul 24, 2007

Evolution of a Design

Over the next couple of posts, I will describe how Conglomerate has changed since its first incarnation, which was tested just over a year ago. You might also want to check out the audio recording of one of the playtests of the second version or check out my post on the other playtest of it.

Above is the board for the first version, and below are the production cards.

I may not remember how this game played perfectly, but let me try. Before each turn was taken, the People track up top and the Consume track down below would each increase by one. On a player's turn, they had one action out of many choices. Usually the action would immediately score them points. Play would then proceed to the next player, after the People and Consume tracks were again incremented. Those choices were:
  • Build a house, scoring whatever number the People track was currently marked at, and putting the People track down to zero. The house track would increase by one to record this construction.
  • Build a road, scoring the number of existing businesses on the business track minus the number of existing roads, and increasing the road track to record this.
  • Build a business, scoring the number of existing houses on the house track minus the number of existing businesses, and increasing the business track to record this.
  • Build a production building, taking the appropriate card and paying victory points equal to the number indicated next to the clock (if any). The numbers on the cards increases, so someone would have to build the 12-cost concrete plant before someone built the 13-cost one. However, the number on the card would be reduced by one for every existing production building of that type owned by that person already.
  • Use all of a single type of production building, paying any victory points listed as "Uses", and scoring according to the good produced. (More on this below)
  • Consume, scoring the current number on the Consume track, moving it down to zero, and removing the appropriate number of each good (cars, SUVs, oil, corn, butter, meat) as indicated by the Consume chart and the current season, indicated in the four corners of the board. Then, move to the next season.
When producing a good, you make as many of that good as you have production buildings for it, but you can only use one type of production building per turn. To determine how much you score for that good, for each unit you produce (you can produce multiple units if you have multiple copies of that production building), look at the formula below that good's track. "VP " means the number on the first unfilled box in the corn track, and the track fills up highest number first. "# " means the number of roads that currently exist on the road track.

For example: If there existed four each of meat and corn on their respective tracks, and I had three farms and chose to use them to make butter this turn (while they can make three types of goods, each turn I am only allowed to produce as many as I can of a single type), scoring would be as follows. For my first butter, the VP of butter is 6, because none exist yet. The number of corn is 4, so the total is currently 10. However, I have to subtract the VP of meat, which is currently 7, because that is the number is the first unfilled box on the meat track. So my first butter would score 3 points, and I'd fill the first space on the butter track. My second butter would score 2 points, because the VP of butter has reduced from 6 to 5 and everything else has stayed the same. Filling in the second spot on that track, I now score my third butter, which also is worth 2 points (because butter's VP is still 5), and fill in that third track spot with a cube.

The value of everything keeps going down as more is produced. However, when a player elects to use his turn to Consume, some of each good is taken off the track, starting with the lowest valued ones, so values will rise again.

I may have forgotten some things. If you have questions about this version, post a comment and I'll try to dig into my memory to answer them.

If this game sounds complicated, it is and it isn't. It's extremely hard to teach this game but the strategy is simple once you start playing. This is the worst possible combination. You want your games to be easy to learn but have relatively complex strategy buried within the mechanics.

I can't remember exactly how the end of the game was triggered. I do remember that this first version was awful. It didn't survive very long. Click the first link at the top of this post to read my reaction to that playtest.

My next post will look at the second version of this game.

No comments:

Post a Comment