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What would you look for in a time travel game?
https://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=19967
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Author:  Rush_Clasic [ Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:13 am ]
Post subject:  What would you look for in a time travel game?

Given that this is a table-top game we're speaking of, what features and themes would you expect and want to see in a time travel game? Be as general or specific as you like.

Author:  LilyStorm [ Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

Depends completley on the nature of the game. Is it a board game, card game, rpg thing, resource game? Is time travel a story mechanic or a game mechanic, or both.

Author:  Black Barney [ Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

I would want it to take me back to just before I read this thread. I would have done something else.

Author:  Rush_Clasic [ Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

LilyStorm wrote:
Depends completley on the nature of the game. Is it a board game, card game, rpg thing, resource game? Is time travel a story mechanic or a game mechanic, or both.

Whatever comes to mind. Of course it depends on the type of game, but whatever instinctively comes to mind is the right answer. So...

"A mechanic that lets me redo actions."
"Historic figures."
"Dice that move you either forward or backward in time."

All are fine answers.

Author:  Mown [ Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

idk about "would look for", since these are very high-level concepts.

The butterfly effect, where changing things in the past has a chain reaction on what happens in the present.
Timeline limited interaction, where your zone of influence are limited to those in your present.
Multiple timelines where going back in time expands the game (woo, natural evolution of complexity as game continues!)

also this is just a random idea I had, but imagine a mafia like game where you want to kill people in the present, but to do that you have to meet them in the past, except you are limited to who you can visit during which points in time based on where you were at that point, and other people can defend against it by correctly guessing when you try to kill them and going to the same timeline. You don't even have to deal with the player elimination problem, because they can still play their character as long as they are in the past before they died. genius

Author:  Tevish Szat [ Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

The ability to change established events. I've been fascinated by Last Seven Days thanks to its concept and the rules, but sadly it's solitaire and basically doesn't seem to exist -- the idea of looping (with a push your luck mechanic to maintain tension) is really appealing. When I think about time travel stories I've enjoyed, most of them have been more about crossing or redoing your own timeline not going into history, because while being an outsider in a historical has its own appeal, the time loop/time leap mechanism cuts to the core of time travel itself.

Author:  Rush_Clasic [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

Mown wrote:
The butterfly effect, where changing things in the past has a chain reaction on what happens in the present.

I've thought about this in a bunch of different game designs. Never really found something that captured the idea perfectly. Nor have I seen one. I'd really love to see one.

Mown wrote:
Timeline limited interaction, where your zone of influence are limited to those in your present.

Care to expand? Sounds interesting.

Mown wrote:
Multiple timelines where going back in time expands the game (woo, natural evolution of complexity as game continues!)

Ya, I like this concept, too. I think it's easy to design for as well.

Mown wrote:
also this is just a random idea I had, but imagine a mafia like game where you want to kill people in the present, but to do that you have to meet them in the past, except you are limited to who you can visit during which points in time based on where you were at that point, and other people can defend against it by correctly guessing when you try to kill them and going to the same timeline. You don't even have to deal with the player elimination problem, because they can still play their character as long as they are in the past before they died. genius

I will totally play this game.

The ability to change established events. I've been fascinated by Last Seven Days thanks to its concept and the rules, but sadly it's solitaire and basically doesn't seem to exist -- the idea of looping (with a push your luck mechanic to maintain tension) is really appealing. When I think about time travel stories I've enjoyed, most of them have been more about crossing or redoing your own timeline not going into history, because while being an outsider in a historical has its own appeal, the time loop/time leap mechanism cuts to the core of time travel itself.

I'm gonna give that game a go. Sounds neat. How do you go about establishing a timeline for yourself to begin with? Does the game play out in a linear fashion and then allow time looping at some point? I've never thought about a Primer style of time-travel for a game. Bill and Ted just always seemed like a more grokkable way to do the idea. But it sounds fascinating.

Author:  Mown [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

Care to expand? Sounds interesting.

Just pretend you have a game where you can interact with opponents that are in the same area as you, and expand that area to be in terms of time periods. Maybe there's a bidding mechanic, and only people in say the Renaissance can bid on Mona Lisa (but simultaneously, game-wise, you have other pawns in the depression era, and can bid on other things there.) Alternatively, like I mentioned with the Spy game, you can only kill people who are in your present, so you can hide by being elsewhen.

I will totally play this game.

I will totally not make it, because I don't know how to make it mechanically interesting.

Author:  TPmanW [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

I imagine the butterfly effect being realized by rows of cards/playing pieces/whatever. Pieces/whatever are somehow supported by the ones in the rows before them. Maybe you need the right cards to play certain other cards, or maybe cards have their properties affected by what came before them. Row 1 is the furthest in the past and you build from there. You can mess up other people's plans by undermining their history.
Perhaps you're trying to get enough high value cards in one time period at once to achieve singularity? Or maybe that's the last "row", and playing things there is the only way to win/score points.
Or you could be working backwards through history. Playing things further in the past gives the effect more time to propagate into the present, but it takes more energy to send things back further. Maybe you could do this with cards laid out in rows, with certain cards generating tokens that they pass onto the next row every turn to accumulate/multiply/turn into new resources.

Instead of rows you could stack things vertically like the games Gloom or Hecatomb.

Author:  deadpoet [ Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

i'd play Chrononauts from loony labs.....

Author:  Tevish Szat [ Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

Not a real answer to the main prompt, but thinking about this I had a slight idea. A deck is shuffled at the start of the game to randomize (or semi-randomize, if its one of those decks with multiple stages that are shuffled separately and then stacked) stuff that's going to happen, but during play, while you will go through the deck multiple times, it is NOT reshuffled when it's exhausted and you 'loop' -- the order of cards has to be actively manipulated by players in order for anything to change.

Author:  Lord LunaEquie is me [ Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

Not a real answer to the main prompt, but thinking about this I had a slight idea. A deck is shuffled at the start of the game to randomize (or semi-randomize, if its one of those decks with multiple stages that are shuffled separately and then stacked) stuff that's going to happen, but during play, while you will go through the deck multiple times, it is NOT reshuffled when it's exhausted and you 'loop' -- the order of cards has to be actively manipulated by players in order for anything to change.

1. That kind of reminds me of Dork Souls, wherein the bosses have a preset pattern of attacks that only changes when they reach "heat up" mode, usually at half health.
2. That's still brilliant and I would love to see that implemented in an actual board game.

Author:  Tevish Szat [ Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

I've never thought about a Primer style of time-travel for a game. Bill and Ted just always seemed like a more grokkable way to do the idea. But it sounds fascinating.

I wanted to respond to this with my thought process. When I first looked at the question, I tried to think of what my touchstone works were for Time Travel, and I came up with four pieces of media that really stood out: Back to the Future, Doctor Who, Steins;Gate, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

As a warning for anyone who wants to watch any of those, ESPECIALLY the latter two, this discussion is going to get into spoilers.

Two of those options featured bodily time travel where you don't really cross your own time stream. Heck, in Back to the Future the struggle is to AVOID changing time, rather than attempting to change it. The Doctor, for his part, is usually an observer, at least when it comes to established historical events. By contrast, Steins;Gate and Madoka both feature protagonists that are making an active attempt to change something, usually in a fairly immediate sense and about their own experiences.

Now how would any of that time-travel relate to gameplay?

In Back to the Future, the time-travel is a singular event. Well, a two-of event if you count the fact that there's a return trip to worry about. Similarly, while Doctor Who may explore all of time and space (Especially alien worlds and distant futures), each 'story' largely stays contained in one setting. The TARDIS arrives, the meat of stuff happens, and then the TARDIS leaves. There are exceptions, but that's the majority pattern. In a game sense, you'd probably be playing out a particular story, or the 1955 core of Back to the Future. The players might be fish out of temporal water, but the time-traveling is done when the game is set up and packed back into the box. Or, to be charitable, it would happen at very specific points where the game changes 'phases', allowing you to take some stuff from one time period into another. Essentially, Time Travel would be the frame of the game, not the meat. In a way, you could say that Seven Wonders does that, since each round clearly represents a different period in the development of your ancient culture, except for the fact that the "time travel" is strictly forward in nature. And there's nothing wrong with that, I think you could, if you wanted, have a good time travel game built like that. But you'd have to work on it and ask yourself what makes it different from a game that was just set in the "meat" time period with no travel element?

But then look at Steins;Gate: this is a story that features three distinct kinds of time travel and practically countless time-travel events. Madoka is more contained, the bulk of the story taking place over a single timeline, but the time-travel element introduces itself with a similar multiplicity. It's actually very similar to the second act of Steins;Gate, except the character who is tied in to the time travel isn't the main character we're following. Translate either of those to a gaming experience, and time travel has to be a mechanic. I'd probably focus on the Time Loop/Time Leap side, since human players are temporal beings and will be experiencing the game without interruption by their future selves (As the looper/leaper has a consistent memory), at which point the key elements are repetition and iteration. Board Games are already pretty good at repeating and iterating behavior, since recurrent structures give them some consistent identity, you'd just need to define what elements reset, and what changes remain in place to let the players progress towards their 'endgame'. In that way, the Time Travel would be fairly integrated into the gameplay experience. The key notion would be learning and prediction, skills that, again, board games are already good at rewarding.

Author:  Lord LunaEquie is me [ Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

So I brought the topic up elsewhere and someone told me to check out Tragedy Looper if I'm interested in time travel in board games. I've literally never heard of it before, and the pictures make it look quite animé if that's not your thing, but I thought it worth mentioning.

Author:  altimis [ Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

For a Time travel game, I think you could make it similar to chess.
You win if you get your opponent stuck in a time loop.
You draw, if one or both of you create a paradox.
You lose if you get stuck in a time loop.

You could included elements to "reset" the game via alternate timelines or what not. But it would be very satisfying, to me, to have to get the opponent stuck in a time loop.

Author:  TPmanW [ Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

I like that idea. A lot of ways of executing it could require it to be a computer game. Unless the game board or equivalent is set up in an exacting manner, it might be hard to tell if you're repeating a long sequence of actions.

Author:  altimis [ Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

With a board game like this, I think it's important to have a more amorphous board design. Something akin to Risk/Settlers of Catan in comparison to Monopoly.

Or have the board be double-sided, oneside is amorphous, and the other side is linear.
As long as you minimize the number of pieces to just player pieces (in comparison to something like Life), having two sides shouldn't be an issue. One side can represent stability, the other side represents chaos. Whenever nothing major is happening, players follow a linear time line, even going back in time is easy with this, or this could represent a time loop as they keep going in circles. The way you win, would be getting a player stuck on this side of the board. Players would draw, if they got stuck on the other side of the board.

The other side is for when people are traveling more dynamically through time, thus the more open design, or if something starts going wrong and they don't know where they will end up, this would be the side to use.

Or you could take some design choices from Tsuro, minus the dragons (or not).

Just some thoughts.

Author:  TPmanW [ Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

I like Tsuro. I kind of want to work it into a D&D session too. Having the players make and move along pathways they create. Just say it's a puzzle room a wizard made. No further explanation required.

Author:  Brittingham [ Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

I'm really not sure how you would design a time traveling board game that makes sense. Maybe go in a completely opposite direction and make as wacky and odd as possible. Not sure how though.

Author:  Dudibus [ Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you look for in a time travel game?

But time travel doesn't actually ever change anything, because the reason your present is the way it is is because you time traveled.

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