Tuesday, July 24

Mario Party 8: Koopa's Tycoon Town

Mario Party is a fun series. There are plenty of people who would disagree, in particular gaming journalists. But I know that at least I've had a lot of fun over the last nine years playing these games. The eighth edition was released a couple of months ago for Wii. Like the last couple of Mario Party games, each board features a different goal. The standard version is to get as many stars as possible by navigating the board, getting lucky, and buying as many stars as you can get your hands on. One of the alternative boards in Mario Party 8 is Koopa's Tycoon Town. This plays similarly to the Windmill level in Mario Party 7, and more familiarly, like Monopoly.
That there is a one-star hotel.

Koopa's Tycoon Town tasks players with running around a city and investing in seven hotels interspersed throughout the board. Once again the goal is to have the most stars when the final turn comes, but in this board players earn stars by strategically investing in hotels with their precious earned coins. What makes this board interesting is the investment system itself. At first it seems pretty simple. Walk up to a hotel and the koopa hop will ask you if and how much you would like to invest. Invest any amount and the hotel is yours, complete with street side logo and a free star. Things get more complex once players start stealing hotels from one another through out-investment. This is how it works. Essentially, the highest bidder is the owner. While you may be the first or even second owner of a hotel, you are not necessarily the last, and the last is all that really matters.

You have to be careful not to help out your opponents. The reason is that stars have three levels of quality. All hotels (with an exception I'll get to shortly) start out as one star. As players invest in a hotel, the coins accumulate for an acquired total coin investment in that hotel. Once the total investment reaches 20 coins, the hotel upgrades to a two-star. 50 coins bear a three-star hotel. The level of a hotel is determined by the accumulated coin investment from all players, two players can each put 10 coins into a hotel and it will become a two-star building. Regardless of star rank, the hotel will belong to whomever has invested the most coins.
Luigi upgrades to a two-star hotel.

A hotel will only ever give three stars to players as it is upgraded. When one players out-bets an opponent, all stars previously awarded are transfered to the new highest bidder. This means that if a player had 26 coins invested into a hotel, and a second player personally invests 27 total coins, then the hotel now belongs to player two. The original owner is stripped of his or her two previously bequeathed stars, and two new stars are awarded to the newest owner. If the second player invested 50 total coins or more, then the previous owner loses all of his or her coins, and the new player is given three stars as the hotel becomes a three-star itself. A hotel will not take more than 100 coins in total investment. What this means is that if a player invests more then any other player into a hotel, and caps the total at 100, the player will be given all three stars and will never lose them. Something else interesting is that if a player invests a certain amount of coins so as to upgrade a hotel, but does not invest so many coins as to surpass the current owner, then the star from the new upgrade will be given to the current owner, not to the most recent investor. The last trick is that there are two special hotels, reached by a special board space, that are already set at three stars. Any coin investment will award that player with all three stars. But if another player comes by and invests more than the owner, then all three stars are transfered to the new investor.
This here car takes you straight to a special three-star hotel. Except in English.

I was pretty intrigued by this system. What seems complex at first becomes much simpler as you learn the mechanics. However, there is also a certain strategy required on part of the player to get the most out of each hotel. Players must balance where and how they will spend their coins, and when. Furthermore, coins are far more important on this board than with the standard rule set. What this board eventually boils down to is earning lots of coins. And that means being good at and winning mini-games. So in a sense this board requires more skill from the player as well. I enjoyed the board. If you've player Mario Party 8, let me know what you think of the game or this board or any other interesting design mechanics that may be present in other boards as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment