The game is almost over. It’s your turn and this time you have a chance of winning. You draw a card and – oh no! Not that card. That’s not the one you need. Your opponent takes the victory. Again.
We’ve all been there.
Every designer has its own process, but the starting point seems to be a big point of contention. Do you start with the theme (setting) or with mechanics (how the game plays)?
For Multiuniversum, it started with a question:
“What if there were no bad cards?”
Every action card has all the possible actions in the game, shuffled around. You can find them on the left half of the action cards. Each action is in a slot with a color and a number, which corresponds to the computer stations on the center of the table.
The computer where your character is defines the slots you can use.
For example, in the above image you’re at Computer #1, so you can do any of the actions on the first slot of the cards.
If you use the “Move” action on the leftmost card, you can walk your scientist over to any other computer. If you move to Computer #3, you’ll be able to use the actions on the third slot of your remaining cards.
This is the core of the game. That action you really need? You’re holding it in your hand. The challenge is to figure out how to chain the actions to make the most of what you’re dealt.
With three actions per turn, this creates a tree of possible choices for the players to explore while they wait for the next turn. It gives the players the feeling that they’re in control, and the solution can be found somewhere in their hand.
There’s no joy like seeing a silent, focused player unleash a mighty “Eureka”!