Digaea, Magic: the Gathering, Risk: Godstorm, Settlers of Catan, the Decipher Star Wars CCG, 4e D&D, Ogre Battle, and Final Fantasy Tactics.

Besides me, what do these games have in common?

Each game features resource accumulation and conversion. Many also include character recruitment, customization, equipment, and development as core elements of gameplay. As an aside, most of them also include combat.

Right, I forgot to include Lords of Waterdeep in my last post, which has been a pretty significant influence lately. It combines gold, character recruitment, land management, building construction — and also questing.

What would happen if we mashed all these games together?

And I don’t mean Frankenstein-ing game mechanics into a convoluted mess. I mean like, … just a cool game with familiar mechanics and enormous scope.

Let’s do it.

We’re going to start with D&D.

You can reduce everything to a Gold cost. Get XP by spending Gold to train your skills or whatever. You can spend Gold on yourself or an NPC you’ve hired.

– Get Gold and/or (magic?) treasure by questing.
– Spend Gold to train XP/levels.
– Spend Gold to create magic items.
– Spend Gold to buy/perform rituals.

Let’s look at what Disgaea does differently.

Disgaea gives us “Mana,” which could probably be reduced to Favor given flexibility — many of its uses can be traced simply to the Dark Assembly.

– Get Favor (and also Gold! and items!) by questing.
– Spend Favor to recruit followers.
– Spend Favor to change laws… (more later!)

Anything leftover — like gaining XP from training instead of murder combat — can be converted to simple Gold costs like in D&D.

Let’s look at what makes Ogre Battle unique.

Liberate towns and they pay you tribute. In addition, you receive powerful ‘boons’ (spells?) as cards. You then raise and wield an army from the spoils.

– Get Gold and Recruits and Favor/Magic by questing!
– Spend Gold to recruit followers! (build an army!)
– Use Favor/Magic/Boons to powerful effect!

Running your army in Ogre Battle actually feels an awful lot like fielding multiple adventuring parties simultaneously, especially in how skirmishes play out.

Now, on to Risk: Godstorm.

Godstorm has some incredibly powerful effects. One Miracle sinks Atlantis. You gather faith by conquering territories and raising both armies and temples. Arguably Land, Favor, and Magic all play important roles in this game.

– Get Land by questing GOING TO WAR!
– Get Favor and Magic (and Recruits!) by … waiting around?
– Spend Favor/Magic to build temples!
– Spend Favor/Magic to summon gods!
– Spend Magic to alter the landscape. (Among other things.)

I think it’s worth touching on Settlers of Catan as an important middle step because of what we established with Godstorm.

Most of Settlers can be reduced to a cost in Goods. There’s an unfortunate implication carried over from Godstorm that the game is based on waiting.

– Get Goods by … waiting around? And getting lucky?
– Spend Goods to recruit knights!
– Spend Goods to build roads! (To raise settlements…)
– Spend Goods to raise settlements! (To get Goods…)
– Spend Goods to upgrade cities!
– Spend Goods to buy/use Favors! (Cards…)

There’s a process of converting Goods into Land happening behind the scenes. Goods become roads, and then more Goods become settlements.

With Godstorm and Settlers on the table, let’s talk Lords of Waterdeep.

Perhaps surprisingly, Lords of Waterdeep cares primarily about the city. Note however that Gold, Labor, Favor, and Land play a crucial role.

– Get Gold or Labor or Favor or quests from… Land.
– Spend Gold to get Labor… or Favor.
– Spend Gold to complete quests!
– Spend Gold to raise buildings!
– Spend Labor to complete quests!
– Spend Favor to get Gold… or Labor.
– Spend Favor (and maybe some Gold) to… manipulate things.

It’s also worth noting the scale at which Lords of Waterdeep operates. What is “victory?” Perhaps “raising an army” could be considered an effect of winning? With an army, you could attack a neighboring territory.

Alternatively, you could mobilize some laborers to clear the woods for a road — maybe organize colonists to establish a new settlement along a trade route?

Finally, let’s look at Magic: the Gathering.

In Magic, you draw power from the lands with which you’ve established a connection. But Magic’s Mana is incredibly powerful (a renewable resource!). What if we conflated Risk territories with Magic Lands?

– Get Magic from Labor (Creatures) or Land.
– Spend Magic on Labor (Creatures, duh).
– Spend Magic on Goods (let’s say Artifacts).
– Spend Magic on… Magic (Instants, Sorceries, Enchantments…).
– Spend Magic on… Land. (Rampant Growth, anyone?)

Magic is pretty much the top-level game in this case. The scope of Magic games tends to be pretty epic, regardless of how individual duels may play out.

So. Adventuring party quests to get Gold, Labor, Goods, Favor, Magic, and maybe even Land. Oh, training would be good too — it helps with questing.

Then the adventuring party uses Labor to get Gold, Goods, Favor, and Magic.

With Goods, the party may get Gold, Labor, Favor, Magic, … and acquiring Land becomes a lot more probable.

Using Favor, the adventurers can get Gold, Labor, Goods, Magic, and almost certainly some Land. That’s really the point when you start to worry about a bunch of “heroes” overthrowing your kingdom.

With Magic, the sky’s the limit. Gold, Labor, Goods, Favor, Land.

Then with just a little patch of Land, well now you’ve done it. An adventuring party can start making their own — Gold, Labor, Goods, Favor, and Magic.