Theme Park Board Game Design Blog – Week 3

This week, I’m focusing less on the mechanics and gameplay of the board game, and more on the motivations of players and what they’ll experience through the gameplay. I feel like this will allow me to plan out the game better as I move forwards.

What is a Good Theme Park?

Disney

Disney Parks around the world are known for their highly-detailed, elaborately-themed rides and attractions as well as for creating an atmosphere that invites stories to be formed by those visiting. Each land in these parks contains:

  • A variety of rides, with usually at least a C ticket and and E ticket per land
  • Everything is tied together with a theme
  • Transitions between themes
  • Some lands are kid-focused
  • Weenies in the back
  • Good variety in types of food
  • Each attraction/restaurant/shop tells a different part of the theme’s story

I want players to only have to build those parts of a theme park that further a theme’s story. Some of the stories found in the park today include:

Tomorrowland is the travel hub of the future, providing several types of transportation for curious guests wanting to explore the stars

Frontierland/Liberty Square showcases westward expansion over time with Haunted Mansion on the East in the late 1700s and California on the West in the late 1800s.

Roller Coaster Tycoon/Planet Coaster

In modern tycoon-style theme park games, parks are rated in a variety of categories. In Planet Coaster, for example, a park is rated with the following factors:

  • Ride Rating
    • Monetary cost of the ride, its prestige, and how “price effective” guests would find the rides to be, as well as the test results, mostly focused on excitement
  • Scenery Rating
    • How much scenery you have in the park
  • Park Balance Bonus
    • The ratio of scenery bonus to the ride bonus
  • Marketing Bonus
  • Guest Happiness
  • Park Rating

The tricky part comes from mixing the interesting parts from both sources. I want players to build what feels like a real theme park, while still having an enjoyable board game experience.

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