Player-Controlled Resource Values [In The Lab]

Um, yay?
I'm noodling a little mechanic in my head and I'm not sure how well it works in actual play yet. And of course I don't have the time to really experiment with it at the moment. I'm posting it here so you can give it a shot. Like some of my previous thought-experiments, let's use a stock market theme for the time being.

Each player begins the game with ten chips, a personal "Portfolio" board and a pair of dice. The players share a "Market" board and a general supply of chips from the bank.

Both the Portfolio and Market boards show dice results 1-6. These represent six different stocks. The Portfolio board is where you keep track of how many shares you own in those stocks. The Market board keeps track of the value of each share in that stock.

The Market board
An example of a Portfolio board, with three shares in [1], one share in [3], one share in [5], and two shares in [6].

On the first turn, roll the dice first. The two results show stocks available for manipulation this turn. You may buy, sell or pass either of the results.
  • Buy: Check the value of your chosen stock on the Market board. Pay that many chips for one share. At the end of your turn, the value of that stock rises by one increment.
  • Sell: Check the value of your chosen stock on the Market board. Get that many chips per share you wish to sell. At the end of your turn, the value of that stock lowers by one increment.
  • Pass: You do not buy or sell this stock.
If you roll a double, you may buy then sell, buy then pass, or sell then pass. You may also buy twice or sell twice. If you buy twice, the value of that stock doubles. If you sell twice, the value halves, rounded down.

At the end of your turn, roll the dice again. For the rest of the game, all the players roll their dice at the end of their turn. These will be the stocks you can manipulate on your next turn. These are public so everyone can see what you might be planning later in the game.

The game ends when one player collects at least one share in each stock. The player with the highest value portfolio wins.

I'm sure mathy folks can figure out how well this system works, but I am very fascinated by the idea of players affecting resource values throughout the game.


  1. Have you played Power Grid or Buy Low Sell High? Because both games incorporate a similar mechanic....

  2. Ooh. I haven't, please elaborate?

  3. Okay, I'll give it a go....

    Check out this image of the Power Grid board:

    (I know, it's big.)

    At the bottom, there's a track with different resources on it. That's the resource market. You buy coal, oil, and such to fuel your power plants, which then send electricity to cities where you have contracts, in order to make money, that you then invest in your grid. That's the basic cycle of the game.

    Resources are placed in those boxes (, and the cost of those resources is equal to the number on the box. So, as resources are bought, the cost of that resource naturally increases. At the end of each turn, some resources are replaced, but supply and demand will set the cost level of each resource as the game progresses.

    Check out this review for some more details and pictures:

    Buy Low Sell High works in a similar manner, except that you're playing cards to influence the values of three different types of stocks (, but the supply and demand mechanic is in play here as well.

    Wealth of Nations implements a resource market system similar to Power Grid, but I hates that game, yes, precious, hates it. Therefore, I won't talk about it. :-)

    Did that answer your question?

  4. "The game ends when one player collects at least one share in each stock."

    If a non-winning player never buys that last stock, the game will never end.

  5. Oh yeah, true. Definitely needs another endgame condition.

  6. Excellent! Yes, thanks so much. :D

  7. Modern Art has a similar mechanic as well, but the game centers around collecting paintings. "Suits" are artists, and the base value changes based on how many paintings by that artist have come up for auction before. There's also a bidding mechanic and a random element in hidden "value add" cards attached to each painting which get scored at endgame.

    I haven't played in years, and that's off the top of my head, but it's the first thing I thought.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Graphic Design and Typography Tips for your Card Game

Belle of the Ball Guest Name Generator

One Thing to Avoid in Game Design