That moment when a player reaches for their phone...
We have all been there. During the beginning to middle rounds of a board game you make a mistake or get some really bad rolls. You can see the end of the game, and it does not include you winning it all. You keep playing the game because you are with friends and family, but the fun is gone. You start checking stuff on your phone while you wait for your turn....
How can this scenario be avoided? Well, you could vow to never play another board game again! You could buy off your friends with piles of chocolate! But these are not a real solutions. A well designed board game has already considered this problem and avoids or mitigates it. If you play video games then you are very familiar with this from Mario Kart in the notorious Blue Shell [of death].
You need the player to feel like they are always making forward progress (however small) with every action.
Recent catch up mechanic iterations:
- If you roll a 1 on the die you immediately get a free card! This is simple to remember. Suddenly, rolling a 1 is actually a good thing! Now 2 is the new "bad roll".
- If you fail any roll (after modifiers) you immediately get a free card. This helped make sure that there were no "bad rolls" as you always got something.
- A track with four bonus positions on it. Every time you fail a roll in the month (round) you move up in the track. At the end of the round you get the reward that you have earned up to.
This track is more rewarding as you move up it. It culminates with a free Grey State Delegate which is basically the most valuable thing in the game. However, you must fail all four attempts to earn it!
A small victory on the new Graphic:
This seems like a small thing, but it is a big win for me. I have been trying for weeks to duplicate the raised edge chiseled look on the outline around the shape. Seriously, I have spent over 4+ hours (on and off) messing with sliders in Photoshop trying to re-create this effect. Praise the Lord a break-through in a comment from a graphic designer: separate the shape from the line and then apply the effect!
Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment if you have an idea for a great catch up mechanic in another game!