Marco Polo II: Design Diary part 3

When creating an Automa, the player often has to make choices from a list of options. To decide which choice to make, a priority list must be given. I always try to reduce the tiebreaker checks as much as possible, because they steal time and mental effort from the player. Marco Polo II has a very complex network of roads and cities, during the development of the Automa I had to solve the problem of how the Automa chooses the city in which to place the dice. I therefore designed a system in which the game itself suggesting to the player where the Automa will place its die. How does it work? During the set-up a slide is randomly selected, which is placed under the Smart Mat. Such slide contains the itinerary that the Automa will do. In this way the player does not know exactly where the Automa will go. Futhermore, this slide is shifted each time the Automa’s figure is moved and the Smart Mat's display automatically assigns a number to all the cities hosting an action card. When the Automa performs a city action, it rolls the die and places it in the city corresponding to that number. I think this technique is very elegant and makes the gameplay extremely enjoyable.