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Norman Barrows

ideas for stone-age mini-games

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the game: Caveman 3.0  - a Paleo-world simulation.


one of the last gameplay features on the todo list is mini-games you can play.


so far all i have is some references to games played in the Americas before Columbus:

1. a dodge ball type game supposedly played by the Aztecs(?)

2. throw javelin at hurled stone

3. throw stick like a javelin at a hoop target on the ground - sort of like lawn darts.


i made up a rock toss game: knock a small stone off a larger stone with a large pebble from about 20 feet away. sort of like horse shoes or thowing baseballs at milk bottles (just one very heavy milk bottle with a very small baseball). i thikn it was 1 point if you hit it, and two if you knocked it off, each player takes three throws, like horseshoes. this was a while ago, i tried it in real life with my neighbor. worked out pretty well. sort of like playing darts. Caveman's game engine already uses realistic physics for missiles - including throwing rocks. so it wouldn't be too hard to add a target that a projectile could collide with.


the game has NPCs with specialties, such as trader, storyteller, warrior, etc. one of the specialties is gambler, which lets you play a spin the wheel type of gambling mini-game. but i'd really like to have some sort of simple gambling game that you could play with any NPC at any time. but nothing come to mind offhand. pitching pennies? there's no curbs or pennies in the stone age! <g>.


please excuse any typos, brain is warp 10 and fingers are sub-light speed only! <g>.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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Some simple board games that can be played with pebbles like mancala, 9 men's morris, and go?  Also, fishing and special types of hunting such as hunting with nets or bolas.  Oh, and drumming or dancing rhythm games.

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Also, fishing


already have 9+ types of fishing tools in the game (3 gores, 3 hooks, and 3 or 4 spears), plus fish by hand.   also just recently added funnel and woodstake fishtraps as craftable objects.   : )


and special types of hunting such as hunting with nets or bolas.


got you covered! throwable nets and throwable bolas as projectile weapons. with chance of entanglement and immobilization, and chance of breaking free over time to rejoin the battle, etc. only downside is they're rather large / heavy so its not really practical to carry a lot of these things. and you still really need a spear or something to finish them off.


but fishing, nets, and bolas are all simply normal game interactions with the environment or combat features, not actual mini-games, like the spin-the-wheel game you can play with gamblers.


Oh, and drumming or dancing rhythm games.


hmm...  play drums (and flute, and musical bow), and dance (and sing) are general actions you can do anywhere at any time, not actual mini-games. so they are actions like in the sims "have lunch - mac and cheese".   but its not a mini-game where you assemble mac and cheese <g>.    or like playing rockstar, or the dancing game from sid meyer's pirates!.


it can be difficult to come up with a context where the mini-game is appropriate, such as the lockpick mini-game in skyrim. this can be especially true if the mini-game is not optional. its can also be hard to justify both basic gameplay mechanics and mini games that are essentially the same type of activity. maybe that - along with the fact that we just don't know what they played back then - is why i'm having a hard time coming up with appropriate mini-games.

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For musical instruments, you can have the drum or flute equivalents of "dueling banjos".

Lahal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slahal). In general, games of bluff and misdirection are worth thinking about, since they don't require much physical technology.

There are some Amazonian cultures whose "big game" was a sort of race where you drag logs behind you.

but nothing come to mind offhand. pitching pennies? there's no curbs or pennies in the stone age! <g>.

Cowrie shells are your best bet there. We know paleolithic humans collected them, and they're straightforward to gamble with.

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Skipping stones competitively?


requires water. need something two player, anytime, anywhere. IE something that can be triggered by a dialog option.  what was that game in new vegas? Caravan! but you couldn't play with everyone.  but caravan is WAY to complex , i never even learned it, like magic the gathering or something. just too steep a learning curve at 2am! <g>.


Knocking squirrels out of trees with small rocks? (Competitive and productive! )


no squirrels!   : (


desert hare is about the smallest critter.     could throw rocks at pheasants and such, all the mechanics are in there, throwing rocks, pheasants, kill and butcher, all of it - just need to add scoring. but that would require a pheasant random encounter.   : (


Getting chased by a large animal through a canyon?


could be interesting as a high level thing, like arena combat. but again, its something that requires some stageing - you can't just whip an animal and canyon out of your pocket and say "come on! lets play!".  <g>.


i'm thinking something more on the level of a shell game.


hmm....   3 coconuts! and a small stone!


ok, but how do you confuse them so they can't track it? you can't cheat. yeah, making it hard here....  can it be done without cheating? just move them fast?   how's it done in real life?  cheating?

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