Introducing Game: Starved?

How it came to be

These last holidays I read a bit about the Schelling Point and I thought it would be nice to make a quick game to explore the idea interactively. Of course, no way it was going to be quick.

I made a some tests and a quick iterations on the subject resulting in an abstract game that offered an entertaining, yet shallow experience.

Here is that intermediate iteration, there is simply a max amount of players that can opt for a resource, marked above on the front of each card.

So next step was to go from abstract to concrete and give it some context. The Schelling point which initially sparked my curiosity, kind of suggested competition for resources, so it seemed intuitive to try to place it within the context of a hunter-gatherer society.

I simplified the amount of magnitudes that each color (resource type) could appear with. Now there were 3 colors and 3 magnitudes, which was utterly elegant. But it deemed the player strategy too balanced and simple it was boring.

The context of a tribe would bring some context that helped me structuring the game, for instance, in seasons and also helped materializing a long-term progression device with the villages.

Initially I conceived all the buildings in the village identical and baring no special property, which felt very disappointing. So I started to think on specializations for the different buildings, yet the over-simplicity with which I ended up having on the resource cards was not allowing for any significative way to specialize.

I also kept one large board for everything for quick testing, but obviously, it would not work with 6 players nor could I print it.

The giant board, you could almost go harvest yourself in person with it.

I always had a taste for Game Theory, even though I am not very savvy at the matter. But since the initial inspiration came from a Game Theory case I thought it would be nice to overlap different archetypical coordination games for each type of resource. And I think it worked, it feels fun and it makes sense within the world context (not a lot, I know, but still).

“Hunting” is based on the Stag Hunt
“Fishing” is base on El Farol Bar Problem
Luck is not much of a coordination game, but mostly a 50/50 bet
“Gathering” is a surprise 🙂

I kept the Schelling Point scenario for the Winter Solstice Festival turn (Yule) more like a homage to the original inspiration. I would probably remove it if I would ever mean to publish the game, but I find it funny for it to be there.

The core of the game is quite simple, but I’m experimenting with adding more complexity and see what happens. For instance with the Druids and the covenant mode or with the different functions of the different members that you can bring to your tribe.

Next thing I’d like to try is to add some year/season event cards and some modifiers onto the 4 locations in the center, but we’ll see.

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