As discussed in my previous blog, I have a profound interest in ‘Risk: The Game of Global Domination’. The games conflicting nature, and capacity for dynamic strategies has provided constant entertainment for me and my friends since a young age. With my years of experience playing Risk, I have decided to use its design as a base for the creation of my own board game. As discussed in the DIGC310 week three seminar, I will be conducting a process of modding, in which I will use core mechanics of Risk as a starting point in my creation of a new play experience.
Modding is the act of modifying the software or hardware of a game. This can mean fixing a bug, changing a setting, adding content, or completely altering the experience for a player. Modding usually occurs after a games publication and can mean the extended lifespan and long term popularity of the game (Moore, C 2017). This can be seen with Risk, through the numerous expansions of the game being released over the years. Much like previous modifications of the game, I look to use various aspects and mechanics of Risk that I feel are pivotal to the games success; whilst also modifying areas to suit and shape the game experience I am looking for.
In my initial brainstorm of modifications to Risk, Chris made a great suggestion of utilising hexagon tiles to make up the map in which the game is played. He recommended I investigated the Japanese board game ‘Takenoko’. The game itself is depicted on a number of hexagon tiles that are strategically positioned by players to aid in their gardening of bamboo. The use of these tiles ensures that the game is different each time the game is played depending on play types of participants. I aim to incorporate this board type in my design, as I believe it will create different strategic possibilities each time playing the game, ensuring that the game will retain novelty after numerous plays.
Another modification I have made is the incorporation of 6 General cards that are individually allocated to players upon the beginning of the game. The General cards have no use in game, however, they each offer a unique bonus to the player (e.g. General Phillips: +2 troops trained every 2nd turn). I believe the use of Generals help distinguish and personalise the different armies, allowing for players to assume the roles of the General they receive.
Further innovation of the game has lead me to incorporate ‘fortification tokens’ that each player will receive and place on the territory of there choice at the beginning of the game. These fortification tokens are used as a home base for the player, that receive an additional dice to roll when their base is being defended from an attack.
In the original Risk, the games inability to finish in a reasonable time was an issue. The game could go from anywhere between 2 hours – 1 week. With this frustration, I decided to incorporate ‘star cards’. These star cards are awarded to players who achieve objectives throughout the game (e.g. Conquer 2 opponents bases). Any player who first receives 3 star cards wins the game.
As mentioned before, players can receive star cards through the completion of objectives. Players will take an objective card if they conquer a territory on their turn; and collect up to 6 objective cards at any onetime. Players can choose to either fulfil their objectives in order to gain a star card; or they can trade their cards in (3 cards or more), to gain troops equal to the value of the objective cards.
For this last segment of my blog, I will be briefly discussing two of the core components to the creation of my game:
- Primary Game ‘Loop’ – The core mechanic of the game experience?
- Definitions of game states – Beginning (how do you start), Middle (what happens during play), End (how do you win/lose)
Primary Game ‘Loop’
In thinking about mechanics, we can come to the understanding that a games mechanics are constructs of rules or methods designed for interaction with the game itself (Cook, D 2006). Therefore, the core mechanics of the game experience is the action of play that the player performs over and over until games end; more commonly known as the ‘primary game loop’.
I will be using the core mechanic of Risk as my primary game loop; this being ‘territory conquest’ through attacking, defending and reinforcing. Each players turn will consists of three phases;
- Receive and Place Reinforcements
- Fortify Position
Definition of Game States
The game states makes up the lifecycle of a game; defining the beginning, middle and end of a game. I will be using game states of Risk to help with the innovation of my own play experience. In order to better understand the game states, I will list off the components of the board game:
- 42 hexagon tiles (make up the game board)
- 6 grey tiles (free territories)
- 36 General coloured tiles
- 6 General cards (each associated with a colour) – red, blue, yellow, pink, black, green
- 6 dice
- Coloured Army Tokens (Foot Soldiers, Light Artillery, Heavy Artillery)
- 18 Star Cards
- 30 Objective Cards
- 6 Fortification Tokens (each associated with a colour)
- General cards will be shuffled and placed individually faced down on the table. Players will roll a dice each to determine who picks a card first (this will also determine the order of placing tiles as well as order for turns to start the game). Highest roll goes first, followed by players in a clockwise rotation. Once all generals have been selected, players will collect all the tiles, army tokens and fortification associated with their General’s colour. (If playing with less than 6 players, the tiles associated with un-used Generals become free territories).
- Players will place the free territory tiles in the centre of the table in any formation. This is followed by players in a clockwise rotation positioning 1 territory at a time till all tiles are played out. Players will then position their fortification token on a territory of their choice.
- Next players will tactically place out a certain number of troops (dependant on how many players) on the board. Each territory must have at least 1 troop on it.
- Once done, the player with the initial highest roll will conduct his first turn.
- Players will loop the main core mechanic of the game; attacking, defending, reinforcing.
- Turn is split into 3 phases:
- Receive and Position Reinforcements
- Fortify Position
- Game has reached its end once a player has either:
- Gained 3 star cards
- Conquered all territories
Post Pitch Notes
- Need to rethink the dice rolling mechanic. Too many issues with the risk of the dice.
- Theme: Great suggestion for cyberwar theme.
- Need to play test and prototype immediately