I owe cookiemonger a lot for acquainting me with the Assassin’s Creed series, not just because I’ve been having a ball with AC2 but also because it’s given me a context in which to explore concepts related to movement (in the vein of Parkour), but also non-linear storytelling, exploration, and side quest progression.

One point I enjoy is collecting Viewpoints. Though the climbing puzzles are tedious by the time you’ve collected the first few Viewpoints, it’s nice to see the map expand every time you pick one up. I’m trying to think of another way to reward the player for collecting Viewpoints, since they’re cool but not quite enough.

Climbing every corner of the city to uncover the map mirrors an idea I tried to explore with a game I was developing in RPG Maker some years ago. Then, the idea was taken from ‘Til The End of Time, and was about making exploration less tedious. *shifty glance* Instead of walking everywhere, you picked up map fragments.

In a way, I wanted it to mirror Link to the Past, collecting various pieces of the map as a sort of cartography sidequest (also mirroring Guild Wars, but again making it a bit less tedious), and then trying to find ways to apportion the various map fragments and effectively reward the player for the effort they put into the quest.

Solving a climbing puzzle works in Assassin’s Creed 2, even if they do become tedious and are a bit time-consuming. It’s still better than hugging the boundaries of the map for an extra zero-point-one percentage of map completion. *sigh*

Anyway, I was trying to think how I might combine the two concepts without creating too much overlap, allowing players with an explorer’s and / or completionist bent to get their achievements and a suitable reward, while also not dragging down players who just want to hit up the main areas of the map and move on. A hybrid approach.

Let’s say each map has a couple major landmarks for the player to see. You get to play tourist, pick up an according map fragment, and then just move on, creating a “rough outline” of location as you go. If you hit up each corner of the location (figure there are no more than three to five), you get the “full” map, with perks.

Let’s use Assassin’s Creed 2 as an example. There are feathers scattered throughout the cities and outlying regions. If you visit each one of the major landmarks, it unlocks your basic map, gives you shop and ally locations, and so forth. But if you hit up all the Viewpoints, it shows you where the feathers are. Similar to buying treasure maps.

If you have the landmarks reveal the map instead of Viewpoints, the player has a clear reason to scour every landmark for the “conspiracy” puzzles, and then a separate bonus for climbing every high point on the map (making those darned feathers easier to find). Each puzzle reinforces another aspect of gameplay.

Now, how to work it into a tabletop game?