"Boom and Bust" Set Collection Mechanism



In Nine Lives, one of the central scoring mechanisms is "scratches." You're trying to rescue stray cats without getting scratched too much. Whoever is scratched the least scores 1 point per scratch they've collected. So there is a really strong incentive to undercut other players in that set collection mechanism.


The Basic Idea
I'd like to explore this even further by tying it to player-controlled valuations and rarity. Here's the idea... Let's assume we have a game about rare metals and gems. Call them Gold, Silver, Diamonds, and Rubies. Each 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 of each resource will be converted to 1 point depending on how rare that resource is in a player's collection. So for example...

  • Player with least Gold scores 1 point per Gold
  • Player with second-least Gold scores 1 point per two Gold.
  • Player with third-least Gold scores 1 point per three Gold.

And so on, with the same structure for all other resources. So Bob might really value Gold while Sue is facing a glut of the worthless stuff. Okay, sounds simple enough. Now I want to take this one step further.


One Step Further
What if collecting the resources in a game-round didn't just score your points for that round, but also adjusted the value of those very same resources in the next round. And the next round after that. And on and on... For example:

  • Player with least Gold will score 1 pt per Gold in the next round.
  • Player with second-least Gold will score 1 pt per two Gold in the next round.
  • Player with third-least Gold will score 1 pt per three Gold in the next round.

So the first round of set-collection doesn't even earn you points, it just sets your values for the next round. In the image at the top of this post, Bob gets the best rate of return on books and leather. Meg gets the best rate from wood. Sam gets the best rate from gold.


Boom and Bust
Going into the next round, Bob will want to get as many books and leather as he can while the price is good. But then books and leather are going to be worth far, far less for him in the next round. Everyone goes like this, in boom and bust cycles.

I'm incorporating this into Monsoon Market as an elegant method of valuing and revaluing various sets.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.