Inflatable Jewels? A Modular Method for Indexing Inflation in the Mansa Musa Game
Here's my current experiment with adjustable values for goods that get progressively inflated or deflated as Mansa Musa passes through. (Reminder: Mansa Musa was the richest human in history. On his pilgrimage from Mali to Mecca, he spent so much gold that he caused a wave of hyper-inflation across North Africa. His procession was basically a Medieval Singularity of post-scarcity.)
I'm considering using a set of cards to create a winding connected path representing Mali to Mecca. I think this linear path can serve two purposes: It's a pacing mechanic for the game a whole with Musa inexorably traveling east, then back west. It's also a sliding dial to note relative inflation.
Basically, the Musa meeple acts as a progress bar and wherever you are to the east or west of that progress bar indicates the relative value of your goods. After all, checking an inflation line chart isn't exactly a fun time for most people.
I wanted to index the value of goods to Mansa Musa's progression across the track. Every so often, there is a demarcation space in the track that is used as the increment of inflation. In the final game, these might represent cities.
The base value of goods are as follows:
If you're to the WEST of Musa, the value of the first three goods is increased while the other three are decreased. When determining the value of ARCHITECTURE, MATH, and ART, add the number of hexes between you and Musa to their base value. For SPICES, STONE and JEWELS, subtract the hexes.
In the example above, the blue player is two hexes west of Musa, so the value of goods would be:
If you're to the EAST of Musa, the value of the first three goods is decreased while the other three are increased. When determining the value of ARCHITECTURE, MATH, and ART, subtract the number of hexes between you and Musa to their base value. For SPICES, STONE and JEWELS, add the hexes.
In the example above, the orange player is one hex east of Musa, so the value of goods would be:
For now, goods cannot be worth less than zero, though I am amused by the idea that if you're far west of Musa, people would actually pay you to take away their jewels. It's an idea worth considering if it's not too mentally burdensome in actual play.
For replay value, the map cards could be shuffled or flipped for alternate layouts. More cards could be added for more players, too.