This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, March 13 2019 9:48 PM UTC +00:00.
Co-Operative Island: You have been elected the leader or your island village and have promised to make the lives of your friends and neighbors better by improving their standard of living.
You will travel around the island to discover natural resources to provide your villagers with food, shelter, transportation, and even the education necessary to start their own business. You will pass through the lands of other players and do business with them while there, and trade with the island market, as you explore all the treasures your island has to offer. Through building, trading, and cooperation you will bring happiness to your villagers and try to win a second term as leader of your village.
And if you do well enough to win, you will tend to help your fellow players do well also, increasing the chances that there will be more than one winner. Contrast this to most games: In most games, for me to win, you must lose. That means ANY way I can make something bad happen to you, that will increase my chances of winning. And even if it hurts me too, as long as it hurts you *more* than it hurts me, it will help me win! So most games condition us to feel like we benefit from hurting others and others benefit from hurting us. Even team-based games depend on us hurting the other team for us to win. And even most co-operative games only unite the players around killing a common enemy. Unfortunately, those common "zero-sum" style of games condition us to take joy at the expense of others! And they develop our destructive creative thinking abilities instead of our constructive creative thinking abilities. Plus, they are usually a poisonous social experience:
Co-Operative Island is the opposite of that-- players get the sense that they are cheering for each other, because they usually benefit from their fellow players doing well. And most player interactions are win-win. While most actions in this game are motivated to benefit yourself, they will also usually benefit all of the other players as well, indirectly. This draws people together instead of wedging them apart.
At your next gathering, instead of a bitter win-lose game, wouldn’t you rather be chilling on an imaginary tropical island together, each of you the mayor of your own little village, always happy to see your trading partners?
Other co-operative board games are also great, but a rare feature of this co-operative game is that there is no enemy to destroy.
Another way Co-Operative Island is unique from other co-operative games is that this is not a team game. Even though players tend to win or lose together most of the time, it is still very possible for some players to win while others players lose, which means this might be the first board game ever to live up to the quote: "In a positive-sum game, a rational, self-interested actor may benefit the other guy with the same choice that benefits himself or herself." (Steven Pinker)
So no matter how selfish a player is, when playing this game they will co-operate at least a little bit if they want to win!
Finding trades that benefit both sides is the path to victory. This win-win dynamic fosters a positive social experience.
When you trade territories to group together 2 (or more) of the same type, they start to produce resources:
You can use those resources, or trade them:
One example of a win-win action in this game is when you use 3 "graduates" to build a business...
...that business does not hurt the other players, instead it helps them! So they will be happy to see you building a business. Because any time they land on your business, they have the option to pay you one gold to roll again, which helps both of you quite a lot.
And when you have too much of some resources you produce, you can often trade your extra resources to another player in exchange for some of their unique resources, helping both sides gain better odds of victory.
Often, different resources function especially well when used in conjunction with each other, so it helps both sides exponentially when they are able to get ahold of the other player's unique resource to use at the same time.
All players who get around the island 10 times win the game, and gaining access to a variety of resources really helps at that goal.
So players get the sense that they are generally cheering for each other, because they usually benefit from their fellow players doing well, same as a real economy. And most player interactions are win-win.
Real life has many win-win situations, so when the design of our games is pure win-lose, they condition us with an unrealistic and unnatural win-lose perception of life. Co-Operative Island is more realistically balanced by comparison, involving a combination of both win-win and win-lose dynamics.
Many people would rather play a game that makes them want to cheer FOR their friends or family, instead of against them. So I think there will be a market for this game.
And a romantic couple could play this game to escape together to a tropical island, only this island does NOT pit them against each other, "Survivor" style; instead it brings them together, "Gilligan's Island" style!
Another factor that will help this game have a wide audience is that I have worked to polish the mechanics and the writing of this game to be politically inclusive, so that Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Socialists may all be able to say this game largely supports their political ideology, and can help illustrate their political worldview.
My closing sales pitch is that, the more we are conditioned to think constructively for the good of all, instead of destructively to hurt our opponents, the less we will fight each other to death. So in my opinion, donating to this Kickstarter page would slightly increase human civilization’s odds of surviving!
* Ages 8 to adult
* 1-2 hour play time, depending on number of players
* 2-6 players
* Contains a free expansion for advanced players, and for 5 or 6 player games! This expansion includes hazard territories, additional treasure cards, and 2 territory types, "Hospital" and "Power Plant".
Many of the rules are printed on the game itself! The rules have been game-tested and adjusted for over 6 years, and if funded, the game will include a set of fully-illustrated set of rules-- I will include a prototype of most of that below:
Quick start guide:
1) Set up the board. 1 dock per person, 9 territories between each dock. (Or 8 territories each for 3 players, or 7 territories each for 4+ players.)
2) Deal out 6 treasure cards for each player. Draw one treasure card at the end of each turn-- when the last treasure card is drawn, the game ends immediately.
3) Roll the die to move around the board. If you get around the board 10 times, you win. (Add a villager around your campfire every time you pass your home dock, and if you fill up all 10 spaces, you win. If you accomplish that, any future die rolls unlock a co-operative bonus from a chart, instead of moving you forward.)
4) Some territories you land on, you can buy for 3 gold. Take that territory and attach it to your dock. (Your player token will remain there in limbo until you roll again.)
5) When you collect 2 of a territory type, it starts producing resources.
6) Trade your territories or resources with other players. Or sell your resources to the market at any time for 1 gold each. (IF there are any resources in the market, you can buy them for 1 gold each, during your turn.)
7) The back of each resource gives a limit for its use. Usually the limit is once per roll. (Which means you can use another of that same resource type as many times as you want, even in that same turn, as long as you have rolled the die since you used it last.)
8) Tip: You will probably only win if you are constantly looking for ways to trade un-grouped territories to your fellow players to group them up. You will also want to figure out how to benefit from using different types of resources simultaneously. For example, houses are even more valuable when their bonus is doubled with oil. And businesses get a lot more use when people have the metal needed to get to them.
Q: Can I see a video of this game being played?
A: Sure, I just took one of me playing the game, I haven't even watched all of it, but it should give you an idea how the game goes. We will try taping another one tomorrow!
Q: What do the different businesses do?
A: In this game, all businesses do the same thing. (Allows the owner to roll again when they land on it, or visitors can pay one gold to roll again.)
Risks and challenges
* If I get funded I should actually pay the amazing graphic designer.
* Even though this is already the best looking board game ever, there will be various graphical improvements if this kickstarter is funded.
* For the real game, the properties will probably interlock like puzzle pieces when you buy them.
* I wonder if I could get a sleep study done to see if this game gives people good dreams.
* I will likely continue to develop and change the rules in response to play testing. I want playing this game to be like lifting weights for the co-operation muscles, but fun enough to make us want to keep doing it. I want players to enjoy the process of balancing the fate of their village with the long-term good of all.
“Cause they know and so do I, the high road is hard to find…”