Board Game Designer’s Routine - Variable Player Powers

- Dec 01, 2018-

Board game designer’s routine - Variable Player Powers


Variable player power is a seed mechanism in board game, that is players are set have unique abilities and resources at the beginning of the game, and there are obvious differences among players. American board games and cooperative theme board games such mechanisms use frequently and for longer. But German board game emphasize balance, player started with compensations on resources, a little else. Players need a long time to build their own lines and advantages before they go out of their unique strategies.


The Voyages of Marco Polo game came out of nowhere, the player world is in an uproar. While lamenting its gameplay, most players are troubled by the skills of the IMJBA generals. They are not only easy to operate, but also easy to win. On the other hand, other military commanders, such as Diandi Ge, Kublai Khan, are all going to complete the destination route, and need to carry our precise calculations on the game resources, not only the card resources, the income is poor, and most of the time the efforts is not good. But that’s also the fun of game- unbalance, but reasonable and fun.


Lorenzo il Magnifico, the basic of game version is classic German rule, there is no different between players. BUt in the expansion, the designer couldn’t stand is and added ‘variable player ability.’ Not only will the number of players be extended to five, it will add a sufficient number of cards, and each player will be equipped with a family ability.


Although the "soul of the German system" has been lost, from the perspective of expanded sales and reputation, this design is undoubtedly a great success.


Clans of Caledonia is a farm game. In the ‘Clans of Caledonis’, the family’s ability was very different, and almost all of them were related to the game’s main engine, the equivalent of money. In the KS, which is racing against time, it is difficult to improve one by one.


Terra Mystica it can be said that this board game is the most re-opened and the most difficult to master a German-style board game. The differences between the races of this game is huge, and each race has a lot of attention to the timing of the upgrade and the timing of the wasteland.

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