Episode 143: Boob Cats and Smithereens

BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

Back in the “Studio”

Whatcha Been Playing?

Stuff at UNPUB 5.

Feature of the Week:

Trading because Rob wanted to talk about it.

Practicing the Pitch:

Rob Pitches Smithereens.


Episode 143: Boob Cats and Smithereens — 1 Comment

  1. Great episode again! I had some thoughts on it that I wanted to share with you. I really tried making this short but I kinda failed. (Sorry for potential mistakes here too – english isn’t my first language.)

    I really liked Jason’s concept of a trading game, where everybody just has one resource and have to trade with each other.
    First thought I though was that if one player would want to, he totally could block one resource – even if he would not get other resources then. In other words, he could block the game.
    On the one hand he is punishing himself with that – so in terms of the game balance everything is fine. Though, the other players probably would feel a little powerless in that situation.

    So what if:
    You have a game with a lot of different resources.
    At the start of the game, each player gets a different, random one, that he can produce each turn.
    As there are more resources than players, not all resources are avaible in the beginning.
    Players can use any (!) resources to develop ways of produce other resources.
    So, if a player doesn’t want to trade his wood with someone, he doesn’t have to, but the other players probably would develop ways of producing wood on their own then, meaning that his main resource becomes less important trading goods.
    Therefore you are encouraged to make good offers so that other players may not feel like they have to develop this resource – which means that you keep the monopol on that resource for a long time.

    As for smithereens:
    I like it! My first impression was the same thing you mentioned yourself, that it’s maybe a bad feeling to become weaker instead of stronger in the course of the game.
    On the other hand maybe it’s interesting because that’s different to other games.
    I first thought you would pitch a deck building game here, where you start with a big random deck of cards and than reducing that pile to the most important ones bit by bit. (Sure would be interesting to draw into a random deck you don’t know.)
    Anyway – personally I think the game could work even without the draft in the beginning, and dealing a random ship to all players. You mentioned that it might feel a little unfair playing with something you had no control over. While I agree, I also see an advantage in that. I once read an documentary of the german congress of game authors where it said „a good game makes the loser believe he lost because of bad luck, and the winner he won because of good strategy“.
    I think there is a lot of truth in that. Even in situations that are complete random, the winners tend to think they did something right that the others did wrong.
    So, while it could be frustrating, it could also be a kind of relief to some players („It’s not my fault, the ship was scrap“). In the end, it’s probably a question of what type of player you want to adress. And of course you’re right saying that it makes no sense having a enginge building game where you don’t build the engine. So maybe all above does not matter for this particulare game – but it made me think of this topic. 😉

    Apart from that, I thought of ways of making the loss of ship parts being more fun. I think we can agree that in general it’t not fun, to give cards away when they do something positive to you.
    But you know what’s fun? Throwing stuff out of a (ship’s) window and watching them burst on the ground … or the opponent. So maybe it would be worth thinking of having the „cargo mechanism“ for every part you drop, because that mechanism sounded like awesome fun! Throw your crew members on your opponent and hope they hit his captain! 😀