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Pax Mongolica

February 3, 2016

For last semester’s game development course, the Dancing Lobsters team and I developed a 4 player horde management board game called Pax Mongolica, where players fight to collect all the loot all the while managing their horde and using tactics cards to hamper their foes. You play as the leader of a Mongol horde striving to be the Khan of Khans.

It’s fun to play, and there is a great deal of strategy that players can discover. The game is intimidating, as players are confronted with a great deal of playstyle choices. The rewards for playing aggressive or defensive often come too late for new players to happily decide on a strategy, and several playthroughs are necessary to get a grip on the tactics. Games take 30 minutes to play.

One frustrating aspect of development was player elimination. Players who lose all their troops are eliminated from the game, and their collected loot becomes up for grabs. We proposed and worked with many different solutions to keep “eliminated” players in the game, such as eliminated players joining the player that defeated them.

We also grappled with players content to sit on their pile of loot and play defensively. This led to game standstills. To counteract this, we developed a Mongol atrophy or laziness mechanic, where Mongols with nothing to do were worth half a Mongol in combat. Players could move, attack, loot, or hunt to prevent atrophy. Only so many Mongols could hunt were area so you could not maintain a large defensive or offensive force in an area with little action.

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