I’m working on a game I came up with on a trip to Iceland (it’s getting to the point that I can’t even leave Boulder without coming up with some kind of game concept. If you need some ideas, hmu), after visiting the Þingvellir — a valley between the two moving continental plates — where Vikings conducted trade, enacted laws, and settled scores among each other.
I love games with a strong economic component; Wealth of Nations and its flexible markets were one of the first things that drew me into the tabletop hobby in adulthood, so I’ve always wanted to work a mechanism like that into a design, and I’ve had a note about doing so in my Catch Sheet for a while. I’d also just come off of a stop at Geekway to the West, where I played a game of Sidereal Confluence, where open trading among players figures prominently, so that was fresh in my head. Scribbling some notes in my notebook, on a fresh page I titled “All thing / Between the plates” and wrote out a list of possible resources that might be interesting, along with a central “market” like the one I’d fallen in love with in WoN, with the intent that it could be a good ‘release valve’ in case a player got stymied and couldn’t trade with anyone.
When I got home, I analyzed the markets from Wealth of Nations, because it seemed important to understand how those worked, since they always “felt” right during that game, so I entered each of the buy/sell/trade values from the markets into a spreadsheet. (Here’s an example if you’re not familiar) I plotted the supply/demand curves, and compared the gap in the discrimination between buy and sell price. All this would later turn out to be irrelevant, but I needed to know this data to proceed.Continue reading