The second game I hope to publish in the Verdant Grove universe, is a tile placement game, where players explore the Grove, collect resources (food, lumber, vines (to be used as rope), etc), and then use what they collect to procure the Naiads, the creatures that live in Verdant Grove. Originally I was thinking of using the resources to build a trap and bait it, in order to catch the Naiads, but that seems a bit harsh for a family game. Instead it is going to be more about luring them out with food and coaxing them back to your home. It should be more of wildlife reserve feel than caged in a zoo or circus.
In visualising the game, it seemed natural to convert the cards from Scenic into more of a Map of the grove. I wanted to keep roughly the same layout, with each tile connecting to 4 others, endlessly looping in every direction, with some unused negative space between them. Hex tiles seemed to be the way to go.
I’ve used the same image stock image, to give a clear idea of how it would work, with the ‘portrait’ cards of Scenic being represented by the continuous row of hex tiles, and the ‘landscape’ cards being the alternating row. The motivation to keep a similar layout, is that I think the negative spaces are where our players look for the Naiads.
Only 9 Tiles
The endless looping of the tiles makes me think there should only one copy of each of the 9 individual tiles in play. They link together endlessly, so when you’re moving around the Grove, it’s the equivalent of going off one side of the map and entering in on the other. But rather than a static board where exit left/enter right was a rule you could follow, you pick up the tiles and move them as needed. It makes the board a moving and changing thing. It allows you to group the tiles together to make different sets. You could arrange the tile layout so the three Races were grouped together.
And then you could move some of your men, forcing you to move the tiles, so it was laid out with the three elements grouped together.
Control the Tile Placement
I think this could be a good competitive mechanic, with you changing the layout on your turn, to do the things you wanted, but also as a way of thwarting other players plans. For example, if you know a player wanted to get all 3 water tiles together, to harvest some water lilies (the preferred food of the particularly Naiad they are looking for) then it is in your interest to split those tiles up during your turn. Or if you needed to surround one of the Negative spaces to try and lure out a Naiad, your opponent could move their players, and adjust the tile layout, so that you were no longer surrounding that space.
Maybe there is a throw back to the set collecting mechanic of Scenic. Perhaps you collect resources for all the element tiles that have one of your tokens on them, but you get a bonus if you have players on all 3 tiles and they are grouped together in a set. So how can you affect another players plans? Maybe each player takes turn moving their men during a turn? Or … maybe you don’t collect resources directly after your turn, but after other players have been able to mess with your tile placement. Maybe you count what resources you’ve earned after the next player has had their turn?
And then there is the end goal of the game, which would be getting the Naiad back to your camp, once you’ve coaxed it out into the open. This seems like you need to make sure you have collected enough food to keep it interested for the whole trip back. If you run out before you get home (or if your opponents delay you to the point that you don’t have enough) then it wanders off. So perhaps the other resources you collect initially are about making containers to carry the supplies. You need the lumber and vines to make crates that can carry the water lilies, for example. Hmm …
This sounds like enough of an idea to begin to work with. I’ll start making a list of some specific components and rules and guess some numbers that might make this playable and fun.
Continues in Walk through the Grove