Challenge: Make a game about growing things.
Arborescence is such a beautiful word. I stumbled across it when Wahrk and I were working on Yggdrasil and I was looking up explanatory figures for DAGs (directed acyclic graphs). If you had trouble visualising some of the concepts in Yggdrasil, you should totally read more about DAGs, graph trees, and arborescences. Twigs are equivalent to a series of edges edges and vertexes are moments where they split.
Anyway, I was looking over some info about arborescences for the game. They are such interesting structures and they remind one almost instantly of trees (hence the name). I was thinking that the positional elements of the game could crib a lot from the way arborescences are constructed. It would allow the play structure to mimic that of a plant, always building on what came before.
This also allows the players decisions to shape the plant for other players. As new forks in the plant are introduced, players can block off or open up new growing routes with their placement of the plant structures. This is where the constructive interactivity that I mentioned yesterday comes in.
What are we building with? Really simply, plants need sunlight, water, air, and soil to survive. These are going to be our basic "resources" in the game, although they will not behave as your typical resource. Each one will have a small deck associated with it. How you grow the plant will determine what and how much of each deck you have available to you each round. Each deck will have different components available for the plant.
I still don't know if the players will be able to trade resources/cards yet. I feel like trading could detract from the main flow of the game, but people like to trade stuff. It could also add an interesting layer of strategy. I just don't know.
I didn't have time today to make a prototype or finish a hard draft of the rules today. The game is still pretty loose in my mind. I'm going to give the rules another day to really gel and then I will make a prototype and play-test on Friday. Until then, arborescence...