Summer greetings to all of you gamers out there :)
On this very day I'm going to talk about money flow and economy in board games.
As usual I'll stick to the point - keeping it short and simple!
As a board game developer one of the big problems you'll face - is the money/economy aspect of the game you're developing.
This goes for computer games as well, the obvious difference being that computer games have the computer's mathematical abilities to work for them, but on the other hand their economics are not necessarily being reset after each games.
Considerations before implementing economy?
There are some things you want to think about before choosing to implement economy. Economy is not a necessity - but a game mechanic choice that you make - so maybe asking yourself a few questions could easy the decision making.
How will you implement the economy?
So... if you decide to go with an economical system of some sort in your game. You have to look into some more practical details about the game.
How will this economy be represented in the best possible way - weighted again flexibility in rule changes, practical issues like the shape, color and variations of the cash itself, and in the end production cost.
There are many options to chose from, like...
Control of money flow
Like Blizzard have had problems with WoW money flow, so will you if you don't consider the whole aspect of a game economy (maybe not on the exact same scale ;-)
Simplifying the cash system
Sometimes you might find yourself in a whirlwind of units, abilities and upgrades that all need cash to get into play. This will always make things a bit cumbersome, since the pay has to be written somewhere, the players are likely to forget the cost, and the balancing is heavily depending on the right implementation.
In essence, you need to through every aspect of the economy in order to make sure it's as simple as possible, even if you're going for a heavy economy game. Making sure that things are smooth and simple, makes it easier to put on additional layers and rules.
Do you use the lowest possible numbers?
If you have 4 units, each with a cost of 4, 8, 20 and 40... then it would make the most sense to decrease the cost to 1, 2, 5 and 10. This will of course be affected by how your income is structured.
Do you let everything gain income?
Letting all your fields, planets or action add to the income might bug down the game, because players will have to adjust and add numbers together during every phase of the game. This might not benefit the flow of the game itself. So looking into how some factors could affect the game might be a way to limit the many numbers and make the game more "colorful".
Are people winning by having the most money or loosing by having the least?
Well, it's not exactly the same thing. Winning by having the most, may require you to have a time limit on the game, since gaining doesn't necessarily stop by itself, while loosing money will have an end to the unfortunate player.
I hope you got some inputs for your next game!
And remember to leave a comment, if you have any questions or general critique - I'm always listening to feedback :)
Until next time - may you have a great board gaming season!
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