Nathan Hansen Games

I've been a bit enamored by rondels lately. There is something very elegant about the whole concept. So, of course, I've come up with a few ideas centered around them. Today, I'm going to discuss an idea I had for a dice placement variant. So, very loosely, the mechanism works as follows:
  1. Roll a number of dice (determined by number of rondels in the game)
  2. Assign those dice to the rondels (you may assign multiple dice to a single rondel or spread them out)
  3. Move your pawn/token on each rondel you assigned dice a number of spaces equal to the total of the dice assigned
  4. For the rondels which you assigned dice, carry out the actions on the rondels
  5. Collect and pass dice to the next player.

Using that mechanic as a starting point, I began brainstorming settings. I wanted this mechanism to be the core, but for it to affect an outcome elsewhere. What I ultimately came up with is a medieval business sim with 4 rondels which could be used to manipulate the rest of the board:
  • Harvest and Manufacturing
  • Trade and Transport
  • Personal Development
  • Malicious Acts

Ok, so what do these rondels affect? What is on the rest of the board? In this early stage, I see it as depicting a few neighboring towns. Each town would have a central market, and space around it for several businesses which the players could own. These would either be set up randomly at the beginning of the game or be left blank for the player to place as they acquire them later.
    Between the towns, there would be paths/travel boxes. I want the players to sometimes want to send their goods off to the neighboring towns to get a better price and that should take a little longer than going to the local market. Being in the travel boxes might even leave them open to a malicious act :0)

    Harvest and Manufacturing

    This rondel basically has options for gathering raw materials for your businesses and converting them to more valuable goods. And this would affect all of your businesses. So, if you gather raw materials, all of your businesses gather raw materials.

    Trade and Transport

    This rondel represents the logistics of your business empire. It is how you get your goods to market and make a profit. It could also be how you get some goods transferred between businesses for more complex enterprises. Maybe you need to buy some good that another player makes so that you can make something even more valuable. You can do that here by sending carts to the markets or other players businesses (or your own) and buy the materials you need. Then bring them back to your businesses to be affected by the Harvest and Manufacturing rondel before taking the new good out to sell at the market.

    Personal Development

    This rondel would be used for social aspects of the game, and for acquiring privilege. At the start of the game, you are limited. You may only have one business. Maybe you only have one dice, as opposed to the one per rondel idea I originally started with. Maybe a bit of politics... Or the ability to upgrade your existing businesses. I'm not one hundred percent sure where this one is going to go yet. But I like the idea that you basically start as a peasant with a basic business, and by greasing the right palms and impressing the right people you gain further prestige and privilege.

    Malicious Acts

    What can I say, not all business practices are wholesome. Maybe you want to rob another player while they are transporting their goods. Maybe you want to inflate the demand for your "health tonic" by poisoning the well? There are a lot of cool things I could do here. Of course, they should all be double edged swords to some extent. Maybe doing things on this rondel generate a kind of negative resource that other players can use against you. 

    Hopefully, that all made sense. I'll probably continue to work on this. Assuming something else doesn't distract me too much...

    Written by Nathan Hansen — April 30, 2016

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