Re: [piecepack] Tariffs

  This is one that I was working on, and hoping to enter into a competition at 
  one point, but hit a couple of snags with playtesting, and I liked the idea 
  enough that I wanted to get it out in the open. The primary problem that we 
  found during playtesting was the amount of braindrain, time consuming, doing 
  the math, that can occur on anyone's turn.

  Yah, I can see how that might happen. I assume you mean that there is a lot of time put into calculating all cost differences of the various potential routes each move. As you probably have noticed, my brother Steve and I like to use dominoes is games; they are available, the same length as a tile, have two numbers on the front (with an end-to-end difference), and have hidden and open faces. These properties make them a very versatile component group. One slight problem they do have though is that pip patterns are not quite as convenient to read at a glance as numerals are. This probably contributes a bit to the potential problem you mention in Tariffs. 

  It occurs to me that analysing routes in Tariffs would be less daunting if there were not so many different tariff values. For example, if link tariffs were always either 0, 1, or 2, or were always 0, 1, or 5, then it would be possible to see the relative costs of routes almost at a glance. I can think of two ways to do this. One is to say that blank domino halves are zeros, 1,2, or 3 pips means a tariff of 1, and 4,5,or 6 pips means a high tariff (I would say that either 1 or 5 would be a good "high" tariff, just because they make route costs easy to determine quickly). Another possibility is to use wooden matches for links; the match head mean a tariff of 5 and the other end means a tariff of 1. With only two values of tariffs, route cost calculations should be much easier and hopefully the depth of the game will still be very good.

  If this game can be dialed in optimally and a purpose-made version put together with suitable graphics, it seems to me that it could have commercial potential. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the game reads like a cousin of Transamerica that should have significantly improved depth.