Print and Play: Adventure Town, Pt 4

Woof, this took a while. I had a post about Adventure Town’s tools and that got caught up because I realised I was hitting a wall for Adventure Town’s scope. So let’s talk about some math.

In Adventure Town, you are all trying to invest in the buildings around your town, building them up to make this town more appealing and generate more money when adventurers pass through. Each turn, there’s a phase of dice rolling, representing economic activity and your own plans as a member of the area’s ruling groups. Then, adventurers pass through the town.

I’m not sure if adventurers pass through the town every turn, or if that’s triggered by dice events, too – and while your town is small, only one adventurer passes per round, growing as your town grows. The adventurers have wants or needs, and that means businesses that relate to those needs get more income, and that income benefits most the people who own those businesses.

Now the question from here is how much of anything does this need?

There are three basic values that will give all the rest of the math in this game shape. How many buildings are there? How many adventurer cards need to be, at minimum? How many types of trigger should there be?

We’re going to assume symmetrical distribution of each, by the way. Unequal distribution is good for games with fewer random elements, as they make the rarer incidents feel more wild; in this case, the dice are going to present a randomness for all players, and we don’t want people to be able to bank on long shots that then fail because the dice didn’t come up from them. I want choices to matter, and in this case that means trying to keep people from getting too far ahead with either lucky long-shots or unlucky crap-outs.

When you’re doing this kind of design, there really is no right or wrong place to start. I want the towns to be printable on an A4 sheet, which gives me a boundary to work within. I drew a few designs for the town as a 3×3 group of buildings, then a 4×4, then a 5×5, and a 6×6. 6×6 got a little small for my tastes as an A4 page, so a 5×5 it is. The central square is the town hall, which nobody owns, meaning we have 24 potential buildings.

With 24 buildings, what do we have that can divide into that equally? Well, one option is 24 adventurers that trigger each building uniquely. That’s a bit dull though – it means that once an adventurer triggers a building, you have to wait until that adventurer loops back around. You can’t have any ‘really good days’ when a building gets triggered once or twice in a turn. Also, do we want adventurers to only have one trigger symbol?

Working on the idea that all adventurers need one or two symbols, that we have 24 buildings, I went to this Combinatorics calculator, and jammed numbers in it for a while. If there are 6 symbols, which can be repeated and where the order doesn’t matter, and you pick 2, there are 21 combinations. 21 is a good number for a deck of cards – it’s not too small to shuffle nor is it too big to handle quickly, and it’s small enough I can add some cards to it if I want to.

That is how it’s done, by the way – how I do it, at least. I jam numbers into things to see how long it takes to work.

This has an additional possible application. If there are 6 symbols, and there are 6 faces on a die, it might be that people can spend a dice to trigger a symbol that corresponds to it. I don’t know if I’ll use that, but it’s an option!

Next time, we’ll talk about tools.

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