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Episode 103: Porta Nigra, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Emergent Gameplay and Balancing Roleplay and Mechanics in RPGs

The founders are fired up and ready to talk gaming in episode 2013! Today we take a look at Porta Nigra from Stronghold games and look back at The Castles of Mad Kind Ludwig. Then they followup a forum post with a discussion on Emergent Gameplay. And finally with they present part 4 of the Character Creation series, Balancing Roleplay and Mechanics.

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Porta Nigra

The largest Roman city north of the Alps in the late Roman Empire was Augusta Treverorum. Founded in the times of Caesar Augustus and built up by generations of Roman architects, this was the Emperor's residence and a world city during this period. The remains of these most impressive structures can still be visited today. Foremost of these great achievements in the city is the massive "Porta Nigra", a large Roman city gate located in Trier, Germany that dates to the 2nd century. The game Porta Nigra (which translates as "black gate") is set in that place and time with the players taking on the roles of Roman architects working on the city gate of Porta Nigra. Each player commands a master builder, who moves around a circular track on the game board, enabling you to buy or build only where this master builder is located. Moving the master builder to farther locations along the track is expensive, so players must plan their movements and builds carefully. The number and type of actions that may be performed on your turn comes from cards in your personal draw deck. Buildings are erected physically at the various locations around the city using 3D building pieces.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria...one room at a time. You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he's commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever — subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims. Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he's building while also selling his services to other players. In the game, each player starts with a simple foyer. One player takes on the role of the Master Builder, and that player sets prices for a set of rooms that can be purchased by the other players, with him getting to pick from the leftovers after the other players have paid him for their rooms. When a room is added to a castle, the player who built it gains castle points based on the size and type of room constructed, as well as bonus points based on the location of the room. When a room is completed, with all entranceways leading to other rooms in the castle, the player receives one of seven special rewards. After each purchasing round, a new player becomes the Master Builder who sets prices for a new set of rooms. After several rounds, the game ends, then additional points are awarded for achieving bonus goals, having the most popular rooms, and being the most responsive to the King's demands, which change each game. Whoever ends up with the most castle points wins.

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