Three Hundred :: Mechanic #142 Sites:     Webcomics   |   Three Hundred Mechanics   |   Three Hundred Prototypes
 Three Hundred
   - Index Page
   - About...
   - By Year

   - Comp-Grid
   - Procedural
   - Tactics
   - Tiny Crawl
   - Misc

PreviousMechanic #142Next

  Mechanic #142 - Linear Card World 2 - Timelines
Posted: 01/24/12

Play a battle between kingdoms over three generations, at the same time. Change the past and the future will follow.

  Experiment 2/5




I'm doing a little experiment over the next few entries. I'm going to take a single structural mechanic and I'm going to build five different game concepts around it. For this experiment, the mechanic I have chosen is: A world map based on a series of cards laid end to end in a linear manner. Each card represents a room, which can contain pawns, chits, or markers representing game objects. There is no y-axis, at least in the typical concept of two-dimensional maps, making this a more restrictive mechanic than something like [#124 - Card Metroidvania].




Fig 142.1 - xxx.


The basic premise of this idea is that you have a battle taking place on the same field, but in three different timelines. It's three linear lines of cards for each field, with the lines further down representing older timelines. You play the game simultaneously, where actions in older timelines can affect and even change things that happen in future timelines. The goal of the game is to win in the current timeline (the top one) by manipulating the world through history to better your odds.



Fig 142.2 - Taking a barracks affects the current timeline.


Before I begin my description, it should be pointed out that there are two different ways in which time works. The first is within the current timeline. If you should, for example, capture a barracks, you would be able to create warriors as long as you occupy it. Should you lose that barracks to an enemy, you could not create more warriors until you recapture it - however, you would not lose the warriors you have already created.



Fig 142.3 - Destroying a barracks affects future timelines.


The second way time works is between timelines. A change in a previous timeline can cause the current timeline to change. For example, if the barracks was razed in a previous generation, it would disappear from the current one. Not only would this prevent you from creating further warriors, all warriors you had created but that are still on the board would transform into a more basic enemy type (peasants?). Should you manage to rebuild the barracks in that previous timeline, it would appear in the current one and all you warriors who became peasants would become warriors again.

Since there are three timelines total, it is possible for changes to be made at two different places. For instance, the barracks can be razed in the first timeline, but rebuild in the second. In the final timeline, a barracks would stand. Similarly, if there are barracks in all three timelines, but the first barracks is destroyed, it would disappear from the two above it.



Fig 142.4 - The ripple effect.


Finally, you have the option of building or destroying a particular feature. If it already exists, then building makes it a superior version. In the barracks example, this means that you can create more powerful warriors. If you build up the barracks in all three timelines, then the future warriors would be most powerful. However, after building up, if the previous timeline destroys the barracks, then it is simply dropped a level rather than removed completely. A level 2 barracks becomes a level 1 barracks, and in the timeline above that a level 3 drops to a 2.

  Resource Management

There are three resources in the game: wood, stone, and food. These come in the form of forests, quarries, and farms. These structures can not be built, nor torn down. Only occupied. In order to build any structure or hire any unit, you must occupy the resource cards required. For instance, to build a destroyed barracks may require occupying a forest and a quarry.

Occupying a card is as simple as having more of your units on the card than your opponent. You can occupy a card with a single unit, if unopposed. If you leave the card, or if your opponent moves more units into it, he captures the card and it becomes his.

Since resources are never created or destroyed, only occupied, there are no paradoxes involving them. You can't, for example, cut down a forest and every building that ever required wood suddenly disappears. It is assumed the the forests are too large to cut down, or that it at least grows back between the generations.

Farms work similar to the other resources, but they put an upper limit on the number of units you can hire in that timeline. If you have six units, but your farm resources only allow you to have 5, nothing bad happens to that extra unit. You just cannot hire another unit until you have an empty slot or capture another town.

There may be more than one of each resource type, such that some structures or upgrades may require owning two forests and three quarries to build. Since the world is a linear line, resources closer to each player's end are easier to defend, while the resources more to the middle will end up being more heavily contested.

  Winning the War For the Past

Though the goal of the game is to win in the future most timeline, it is possible to win the war in previous timelines. At the end of each row of cards is a castle, and within it, a king. And right behind that, a jail. Should one player make it to their opponent's castle and capture the king, they have won the battle. The defeated king is moved to the other castle's jail, and that player may no longer create new units on that timeline. The losing player's remaining units may attempt to rescue the king from prison, restoring him to the throne.

There is no direct result from winning a past war, but with the enemy considerably weakened, it gives the winning player a significant advantage over the play field. He can raze structures to weaken his future enemy or build new ones to strengthen himself. The fact that a player can not create new units while their king is captured is also a huge advantage.


  Time Travel



Fig 142.5 - Portals of Power.


There is one structure which allows the players to send units backwards or forwards in time. It may be destroyed or rebuilt, but doing so only affects the current timeline and not the future ones. When a unit lands on the time portal, he may elect to send it to any other time portal still standing. Units from the future are not necessarily stronger than past units, but have the potential to be due to a higher structure upgrade capability.

Units that travel through time are immune to timeline changes. Destroying a barracks and erasing the warriors from timeline 2 will not affect a warrior that has travelled back to timeline 1. They are considered from an alternate future, and thus their class, abilities, and whatever they are carrying remain even though it would be considered a paradox.

If a kingdom has defeated another in the past, it is possible to send a warrior from the future back in time to rescue the captured king - assuming the victor leaves that timeline's portal active.



Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.