Hello again! Here's the second installment of our Pitch Tag report. A long time ago, Fred Hicks of Evil Hat Productions and I decided to shake each other out of our game design ruts with a little creative exercise. One person "tags" the other with an absurd title, to which the recipient must reply with a sensible pitch for a game with that title, then tag back with a new absurd title. We do this until we stop. So far we haven't! Here's what we've pitched since our last update.
This is a game about art requests getting lost in translation between a series of middle managers. It's best played by email. Each player has an assigned "receiver," such that all players are effectively around a virtual table. Each player writes a 500-word description of a random image from Wikipedia. Each player emails the description to their receiver. Upon receipt of a description, a player must cut that description by half, down to 250 words, then pass that on to their reciever. Upon receipt of that description, a player must cut the description down to 125 words, and pass it on to their reciever. Upon receipt of a description below 125 words, each player must draw whatever is being described to the best of their ability and comprehension. Laughter ensues.
HOT BUTTERED ROLLS
HOT BUTTERED ROLLS
This is a set-building dice-rolling game where you can't use your hands around a theme of hungry eaters and slippery food.
Players must use an assortment of difficult tools -- slick plastic chopsticks, their elbows, a single spoon, chin-and-neck, etc, as randomly indicated by a spinner -- to roll your dice.
Game play starts with six dice in the middle of the table, rotated to show each of the six numbers.
You only get one attempt per turn; if you can't manage to pick up a die, it stays as you've found it. Collisions with other untouched dice and cause those dice to change facing is counted as a legitimate reroll of those other dice!
If the dice showing build a set of 3 or more (3 sixes, etc) you can move them -- carefully -- to your side of the board (your "plate") using something other than your hands to move them (somewhat easier since you don't pick them up, you just slide them).
If dice in one of your sets gets jostled by you or someone else's play and it breaks the set, any dice on your plate no longer making a legitimate set go back to the middle of the board (the "hot zone")! (This also applies to dice that tumble onto your plate and don't fit an existing set, or dice that land outside the hot zone but don't land on anyone's plate.)
Any time the hot zone has fewer than 6 dice in it, new dice are added in to bring it back up, but must be put down on a facing that doesn't automatically create a set.
First player to get (and keep) ten dice in legitimate sets on their plate, wins!
This is an old school silly kids game. Each player wears a skirt of velcro strips dangling around their waist, like a grass skirt. Each player is armed with a bucket full of colorful soft fuzzy balls. The goal of the game is to have as many of your balls stuck onto an opponent's skirt as possible before the clock runs out. Play may occur indoors or outdoors. Running, jumping and throwing are encouraged. You just can't intentionally remove a ball from your skirt. Once it's stuck, it's stuck.
WHERE'S MY MOUNTAIN?
WHERE'S MY MOUNTAIN?
Card game for at least 4 players. Players are old, near-sighted mountain hermits who came down from their mountains to forage, only to lose their way back. Each player has an identifiable, unique, "my mountain" card which they pass to the player across from them. There's a duplicate of this card which is put face up in front of the player so it's clear whose mountain is whose to everyone else.
Multiple rounds of card-passing take place before play formally begins. You can't ever pass someone their own mountain, so by the end of all the passing, nobody should actually know if their mountain is still with the player across from them -- could be with any of the other players.
Other cards in the game have abilities and point values on them. On your turn, you play a card for its ability. The ability is most commonly "take and reveal one card from the player to your [left or right]". Some cards have "telescopic" or "prescription glasses" cards that let you reach further out than to your immediate left or right to take a card. Others let you take and reveal two, or very rarely three cards.
The player who you target gets the card you played in his score pile. You get whatever card or cards you took and revealed. If you reveal someone else's mountain, you score no points for that, and it's put in the middle. If you reveal yours, you get a big point bonus.
If someone has no cards when you target them, you instead target the next person one space further around the table form you in that direction, and so on. That said, the original person you targeted is the one who gets the card you played.
A player with no cards in his hand, on his turn, may play one of the cards from his score pile instead, or pass.
When everyone's mountains are revealed, the game ends and points are scored.
DON'T THROW THAT NOODLE!
DON'T THROW THAT NOODLE
Emphasis on "THAT." This is a dexterity throwing game in which each player has a handful of rubber "noodles" of various lengths and colors. Each player on their turn will choose one noodle to throw into a central play area. If her noodle touches another noodle of the same color, she scores one point for each noodle in that contiguous group. Play until each player has only two noodles left in hand. Each player scores one bonus point for each shorter noodle in an opponent's hand. Thus, players may reasonably groan and say "Don't throw THAT noodle!"
(Capture, Hide, Advance, Infect, Run)
This is a two-player strategy game of zombie plague and uninfected survivors, utilizing a bit of the Battleship and Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space vibe. Everyone is on the same map, but not everyone has the same view of that map. One side plays the survivors, one side the zombies.
C H A I R is the phase order:
Capture: Zombies capture any revealed human in an adjacent space on the board.
Hide: Humans who did not run (see below) last turn may hide, making them undetectable by nearby zombies. A hidden human is signified by a flipped-over token. If a human is already hiding by the time this phase begins, flip them over; they must run this turn (see blow).
Advance: Zombies move. The zombie player announces the coordinates of each space that a zombie moves into. If that space or an adjacent space to the zombie contains a human who is not hidden, the human player must reveal one of those unhidden humans by announcing his location.
Infect: Captured humans are turned into zombies.
Run: Humans move. The human player may move any number of human tokens. If a human was hiding before they moved, they are no longer hiding. If a human token moves more than one space, the human player must announce one of the spaces his token moved through (he makes noise).
Play ends when over half the humans are infected (zombies win), or when over half of the humans make it to one of the exits on the far side of the board uninfected (humans win).
Humans move a little faster than the zombies and can hide and start out with more tokens than the zombies do. Zombies start in the middle of the board; humans start on the far side of the board from the exit options.
THE GREAT RATSBY
THE GREAT RATSBY
In the rat race of the 1920s, only one rat can be king. Will it be you? Players are rats in the Gilded Age, scouring city alleys for the best garbage while avoiding the cats and exterminators that lurk below the glittering lights. All players are trying to secure the most cheese, bread and scratch for themselves, but in doing so they must make some amount of noise which will attract some kind of danger.
Each player plays a card from her hand simultaneously. The Noise number on this card determines how many cards you're going to draw and keep that turn from the tableau or deck. For each noise card higher than yours, you may draw one extra card, but you must only keep as many cards as your noise card. Any unchosen cards are placed in the tableau.
Any Dangers must be resolved as soon as they're drawn, then discarded. Dangers force players who have made the most/least noise this turn/game to keep fewer cards when they draw next. Thus, making the least noise gives you the best selection and is the safest, but also forces you to give other people more reasonable options. Being the noisiest makes you the most prone to danger, but allows you to theoretically keep all of the cards you've drawn, so long as a danger isn't revealed.
Set in Kells, Ireland, this is a game about your wedding day (with some commentary on the insanity of the wedding industry), and how things don't always quite go the way they're planned. Each player plays a couple set to get married in Kells on the same day as the other couples. Each couple has a different set of "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves" that differ from what the other couples want, with some degree of overlap. Multiple rounds of planning occur, as players negotiate with each other to get the best possible location, officiant, decoration, cake, photographer, and so on, to suit their must-haves and nice-to-haves; failing to get a must-have will decrease your score, while getting a nice-to-have will boost it. All objectives have their own point value as well. (I say "point value", but it's probably called something thematically appropriate, like "impressions" or "memories" or whatever.) Once all the components of the wedding have been acquired, the Big Day arrives, some random events befall some of the elements of the schedule, backup plans are put into play for resources that suddenly leave the table (sorry, your photographer is dog-sick! but he's sent a friend...). The resulting ceremony and following party are then scored.
You can double the player count supported by turning each player into a two-person team, each half of the couple responsible for arranging for half of the couple's objectives, each getting an additional "nice to have" that isn't revealed to anyone -- including their partner!
HURRY UP AND LEAF
HURRY UP AND LEAF
A timed card-dropping dexterity game inspired by Smash Up. Players are trees in a forest, competing to spread their own offspring along the forest floor. Each player is armed with a deck of seed cards and leaf cards.
Each seed card card has a number, representing the amount of leaf litter it needs to be fertilized. Each seed card also notes how many points will be awarded to the first, second, and third-place player who fertilized that seed. Each Leaf Card has a varying number of leaves on it. Each player's deck is color-coded so ou can tell which card belongs to which player.
Each player arranges their seed cards on the ground as they prefer. Start a 60sec timer to start play. Players may hold a deck in one hand and one card in the other at a time. Players must raise their arms up as high as possible, like a tree. Players must be at least three feet away from each other. Players must stay rooted in place, like a tree. Players may only release cards from their free hand, one at a time.
At the end of play, check if any seeds have leaves on them. any seed with over its required number of leaves will award points. The highest reward goes to the player who dropped the most leaves on it. Second reward goes to the player who dropped the second most leaves. Third goes to the third, and so on.
Another twist, all cards are double-sided, some of which are identical while others have slight variation. So a card can never fall face-down, but it may not land on the face you wanted. Some leaves give penalties to the high scorers or bonuses to the middle scorers.
This is a long-form social boardgame inspired by Diplomacy and "competence porn" shows like Leverage. Players represent various grifters, hackers, and thieves, all hired for a job. Each player is given a contract listing their requirements for succeeding at the Job. There's a fixed number of turns during which players must try to fulfill their requirements (represented abstractly with heist-thematic tokens, cards, actions, which can be traded amongst the players under specific conditions).
If you fill all the requirements, you get your part of the Job done, and get away with it. If you fill only a majority, but not all, your part of the Job is successful, but you end up caught. If you fail to fill a majority, your part of the Job fails, which causes problems for everyone: everyone else has to pull off one more requirement than usual to succeed. If enough people fail their parts of the Job, the whole Job fails (because success would require filling more requirements than folks are contracted to fill), and nobody wins. Otherwise, the whole Job is a success despite a few hiccups. If the Job is a success, then the winners are those who got away with it. If nobody got away with it, then the person who filled the most requirements turns evidence on the rest, and wins.
CAT, MAN, DO!
CAT, MAN, DO!
This is a simple game of match-3 in which opponents are trying to create a row of tiles featuring two characters and an action that would result in sentences like "CAT, MAN, DO!"
Players acquire tiles through a 7 Wonders style drafting mechanism. Drafts result in each player having six tiles in two rows.
Each tile features a categorical icon. Creating a row with two matching icons allows keep one of those tiles in your collection. Creating a row with three matching icons lets you keep two of those tiles. If a row exactly matches one of the pre-written goals on your secret cards, you can discard that card and keep all three tiles. Each tile is worth different amounts of points, scored at the end of the game which lasts three rounds.
Kind of a grim game about the moments of calm in the middle of war. To blunt that a bit, it's given a fantasy overskin, blended with World War II visuals, so it's a little Warhammer 1944. Players represent a variety of despicable battlefield scavengers -- rat-folk, goblins, imps, orcs, what-have-you -- who must venture out onto a map during a short cease-fire to try to gather up resources (matched sets that follow a 1-3-6-10-15 scoring pattern). You get a certain number of draws from the card deck depending on where you land on the map during your move. Seeded into the card deck are three "event" cards signifying the resumption of hostilities. If you're caught outside of a "sheltered" space on the map when one of the cards comes up, you lose a certain number of points (signified by a penalty card). The number of points lost increases the later into the game it is, and the number of spaces that are considered sheltered decreases with each new phase.
INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE
INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE
It's a reality game show competition two people go on their first date... A race around the world! Each player has a date with a randomly selected partner for a one-week race around the globe. Throughout the trip, you're trying to achieve three key goals: Develop a connection with your partner, Win challenges and prizes, and Win the race.
Each round, players are dealt a hand of cards. Cards feature Challenges or a variety of suits including Hearts, Muscles, Brains, Money, and Footsteps. On the first turn, each player must choose one to keep, then pass the remaining hand to the left. Thereafter, keeping a card is optional. You can keep a card or just pass it on and wait for the next hand to come around. When everyone passes, the round is over and each player builds his or her itinerary for the day.
An itinerary is your personal tableau of cards. If you kept a Challenge card, place it in front of you. Each Challenge shows a certain required combination of suits required to accomplish it and a reward if it is accomplished. To pursue a challenge, simply place other cards onto it. When the requirement is met, win the noted reward.
All other cards may be sorted two separate piles. One pile begins with your partner card, the burgeoning romantic connection to your partner. Any cards with the partner's preferred suits in this pile will help develop this romance.
The second pile represents your current budget. Any cards in this pile only count as the amount of money shown on the card. Money can be spent for various effects, like drafting extra cards, moving cards between piles, speeding up the rotation of drafting, and so on.
At the end of the game, points are earned for money saved, romance developed, plus a graduated scoring scale for having fewer total cards in your tableau than your opponents.
It's a huge showdown among the titans of knitting, done up in the style of a professional wrestling show-down! Who shall reign supreme?
Garments, blankets, and other knittery objectives go down on the table in a tableau. Players employ various gambits to get the necessary combination of stitches and other techniques needed to create a garment. The first to do so successfully claims the item from the tableau and scores its points. A new item is dealt to the tableau. Pacing is such that the person who claims an item is likely to have the least number of cards in their hand, so the others have a chance to catch up and claim items of their own. There's a luck component, but also an efficiency component here: some objectives should be skipped in the interests of creating other lower-scoring objectives requiring fewer stitch and technique cards, making it possible to do rapid combos that will score better for you. Play continues until all players have at least two items in front of them, or the objective deck runs out.
Easy! It's a live-action "Hey! That's my fish!" with a "Floor is lava" cover a floor with sticky notes, adhesive side up. On your turn, you may take one step onto at least one sticky note. As turns proceed, fewer and fewer sticky notes are going to be available for stepping. Your goal is to make your opponent fall over, probably when they try to take a really *big* step over to a distant sticky note.
The box art features a variety of aquatic life fleeing before the looming bow of a gigantic (to them) speedboat; sinister looking speedboat driver at the helm. Anthropomorphized, all their mouths are open, and they're shouting, in unison, the name of the game: BOAT!!!
The board is an underwater scene. Each player controls a variety of different meeples that are moved around the board as they attempt to gather up items from the board or perform certain activities in various locations. You might send the fish to nibble at the coral field. You might have your crab gather up coins from the sunken pirate ship. That sort of thing. All of this is "on the clock", though, as at semi-regular intervals a BOAT event comes up , with a particular route it must traverse across the board. (Players can see where the routes *might* be by looking at the board.) When the event comes up and the route is defined, a big boat piece is placed on the board and pushed in a straight line through the route. Any meeples in its way either get pushed to the side or pushed off the board. If pushed to the side, they end up wherever they end up, and must use their moves to get back to where they need to be. If pushed off the board, those meeples are out of commission for a turn, then return one of their starting location options.
The game is a pretty simple "gather these resources/your points most efficiently" game, with the BOAT as the big chaos factor that you can only sort of plan around.
It's the height of the disco craze and you're going to milk the fad for all it's worth before everything collapses. Each player is a slimy opportunist peddling Music, Fashion, Media and Vice. At first, the Music is the most valuable commodity of all, but in time Fashion, then Media rise while the others fall in value. Eventually Vice trumps everything, only to descend into diminishing returns itself. Throughout it all, players can invest and trigger cultural touchstones that will temporarily spike or dip the value of various goods. (Ex: SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER brings music and fashion to middle America, raising their value tremendously.) Play lasts from 1970 through 1979. At the end of the game, players may lose points for owning commodities whose value has dipped into the negatives. (You don't want to be Disco Stu in 1980.)
Board is a set of concentric rings representing stable orbital paths around a central star. Poker chips styled as planets and planetoids are placed into these tracks, and move on a set/automated rate in orbit around the star each turn. Between these rings are other objects which you're trying to pull into the orbit of a planet you control. On your turn, before movement, you may place one of your chips on top of an existing planet. Doing so increases the gravity of that planet (equivalent to the height of the stack). Then the planets move on their set track, and capture any nearby objects within a range as indicated by current gravity. (So the higher the stack of chips, the further out a planet can reach to capture.) Points are scored for captured objects according to whose chip is currently showing on the top of the capturing planet's stack. Each track's planet has a different maximum gravity. You can still place another chip on top of it, but that causes a collapse, and the stack is cleared after movement and capture. New capturable objects are put onto the board after each round. Play continues until all players' chips have been utilized.
By popular request, here's a Koi Pond tuck box available for free download. It's sized to accommodate the complete basic Koi Pond deck, plus wiggle room for your card sleeves. Below are two PDFs. The first has the art and guides on one page. If you're feeling fancy, the second link has the art on one page on its own with the guides reversed on the second page, so you can print this PDF double-sided and have a nice clean finished product.
» Tuck Box with Guides
» Tuck Box with Guides on Other Side
You've heard me talk about my card game 9 Lives a bit already. Well, I've been fortunate enough with Koi Pond's success on DriveThruCards to have enough in my budget to order art from an actual professional rather than doing it myself. Above you can see the nine cats drawn by Kristina Stipetic, each with its own personality. Now I just need to decide, how will they be ranked?
The game's cat theme is fairly loose to begin with, so the numbers 1 through 9 don't really mean much mechanically. Though I suppose you could look at the math and say that 1s will be least likely to come into play while 9s are most likely. Note that it is not a measure of actual rarity in the deck, just how useful they are in play.
All things being equal, I figured I'd open it up to the public. So, now taking your recommendations for how to rank the cats above from 1 through 9. Feel free to use whatever logic you wish. Age? Mood? Energy level? Take your pick!
We've been working hard on getting the Firefly RPG project flying over at Margaret Weis Productions. This is the highest profile job I've had so far, but hopefully I'll do y'all proud.
On my end, my duties mainly involve laying out the books, designing various promotional materials, and recruiting artists. So far I've got a kickass art team that includes Kurt Komoda, Jenn Rodgers, Robert Wilson IV, and Ben Mund. I also put out a call for more women artists on the team that eventually reached Whedonesque and, wow, do we have some amazing talent waiting to get started. HIRE ALL THE ARTISTS!
But here's how it is... I can't keep spending MWP's money hiring all the artists forever. We need to light a fire in this capitalist engine to keep bringing top talent into the team. So Margaret Weis Productions has announced a pre-order for Gaming in the 'Verse, an anthology of gaming material set in the Firefly universe.
- Sample Art and Full-Color Map Previews
- Select Chapter Previews
- “Wedding Planners” a playable Echoes of War adventure written by Margaret Weis
- “Shooting Fish” a playable Echoes of War adventure written by Andrew Peregrine
- “Serenity Crew” a collection of stand-alone characters compatible with the Echoes of War line
- Chinese pronunciation guide
- …and more!
All built around the Cortex Plus system that has evolved through Leverage, Smallville and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying development. Gaming in the ‘Verse is limited edition and will not be sold in retail stores. If you can't make it to Gen Con, you can have it shipped to you after Gen Con or order the digital edition from DriveThruRPG. Alright, let's get to the links.
»» Pick up Gaming in the 'Verse at Gen Con (includes PDF)
»» Get Gaming in the 'Verse shipped to you after Gen Con (includes PDF)
»» Pre-order the digital version, available the day of Gen Con
Thanks for your support, everyone! It's a real honor to be working on this license and with such an amazing team at MWP.
I've been playing Ascension on iOS for a few months and in that time I've had a lot of fun... Until the endgame, wherein I discover all my efforts have been in vain as my opponent has doubled or tripled my score. I can deal with consistent loss in a game, but consistently losing when I think I will win is frustrating.
This speaks to the value and purpose of endgame scoring in general, I think. As all modern gamers would recognize, hidden endgame scoring keeps all players engaged until the very end. There's always this chance that you'll beat the odds, because you've had a clever engine building for the whole game. There is a lot of dramatic fun in pulling back the curtain to reveal your grand idea, even if another player ends up beating your score.
When designed well, these endgame mechanics can be learning experiences for players to try again with a slight adjustment to their strategy. However, they can also appear to be black boxes, capriciously deciding a victor after the fact.
I call this the Sorting Hat effect, after the hat who decides the dormitory for each student at Hogwart's regardless of their input. Richard Garfield uses "Randochess" as an example of this phenomenon. In Randochess, players play a full game of Chess, then roll a die. If it results in a 6, the loser of the chess match actually wins the whole game. Why does this suck? The winner of Randochess doesn't feel like they earned it and the loser feels like they were cheated.
Here are some other examples of endgame scoring:
- A lot of people dislike Carcassonne because the farm scoring is so opaque that they get blind-sided when a more experienced player wins the game thanks to some well-placed farmers. But at least in that case, the information is public, and, more importantly, can be manipulated mid-game.
- In the case of Lords of Waterdeep, each player gets an endgame bonus for having accomplished tasks in certain categories. That can have very drastic swings in endgame, but they very rarely comprise more than a third of a player's final score, so it still feels like you have control over your fate to some extent.
- In the case of Seasons, I also lose pretty handily every time, and the endgame score can be almost half of a player's final score. However, there is a lot of fun happening mid-game by building engines, timing actions, and interfering with opponent's engines.
So, this indicates a rule of thumb for myself when I design an endgame scoring mechanic.
- Visible: The endgame state should be visible to all players, even if it is a little complicated for a newcomer to decipher.
- Adjustable: The endgame state should be adjustable mid-game, so clear leaders can be recognized and targeted accordingly.
- Small: The endgame state should comprise about a third of a player's final score. More than that makes the game too swingy, less makes it feel like an afterthought.
I can deal with an endgame score that follows at least two of those three rules of thumb. (ex: If it's too big, I can deal with that because I saw it coming and could have adjusted for it.) Those are my takeaways anyhow. What are yours?
Can't believe I'm just now finally getting around to posting this on the blog!
The video above was taken at Wood For Sheep, a panel on board game culture I was lucky enough to be part of at PAX East. We cover a broad spectrum of topics including culture's impact on board games, their impact on culture, what they'll be like in the future, plus some silly gaming jokes.
The panelists are Mackenzie Cameron [Founder, Going OverBoard: The Board Game Webcomic], Samuel Liberty [Co-founder, Spoiled Flush Games], Kevin Spak [Co-founder, Spoiled Flush Games], and the inestimable Emily Care Boss [Green and Black Games].
I'm on a panel at the mesh13 conference in Toronto May 16th at 2:30! The panel speakers include Mark Story, Karl Schroeder and Melanie Gorka. Corey Reid will be moderating the panel:
Faster Iterate, Faster!It sounds like it will be a free-flowing conversation. I will mention my rapid game design iteration cycle and how it's changed over the years. You'll probably hear a few points from my reckless prototyping post from last year, too. I actually want to really mention my personal golden ratio of game design.
All that really matters is iteration speed. Faster iterations, from start to finish, mean better solutions faster than any other process.
I consider my game successful if the total time spent by others playing it exceeds the time spent designing it.In other words, if I spend 100 hours making a game, I will consider it a success when one hundred people play it a average total of ten hours each, or when one hundred people play it an average of one hour each, or one thousand people play it six minutes each... And you begin to see why I design such short, casual games at a rapid pace. It's the most efficient way for me to achieve my golden ratio.
I'll also be paying a visit to Snakes n' Lattes, but I'm not sure when just yet. I'll keep you appraised and maybe you can join me there!
I'm happy to announce that DriveThruCards is officially launching today and KOI POND is already the top seller. DriveThruCards is a print-on-demand store devoted exclusively to card games and that's it. DTC's just-the-cards focus means they can provide the best-quality print-on-demand cards you've ever handled. You'll really be surprised at how nice they are.
KOI POND is a fast, brainy, casual strategy game. Collect colorful koi fish and place them in your pond or your house. Keep your pond and house totals as equal as you can, because you only score points for the lower total! What’s more, your pond is public, but your house is secret. To win, you have to be... coy!
What's it like?
This is a quiet, fast filler game best paired with warm drinks amongst friends. Mix the elegant presentation of Coloretto with the fun decision-making of Biblios. Mix in clever scoring and garnish with lovely sumi-e inspired artwork.
2-4 Players | 20 Minutes | Ages 10+
This game uses DriveThruCard's thickest, highest quality, Premium card stock. They feel great!
60 Koi cards in red, blue, yellow or white, plus hybrids.
12 Cat, Turtle, Crane cards, one of each in each color.
12 Ribbon cards, three of each in each color.
4 Reference cards for ease of play.
1 Start Player card.
Buy it today!
Here's a wacky idea for adding a twist to your Resistance game. I've no idea if its broken, but I suppose we'll find out!
- First, grab some poker chips and pool them in the middle of the table. These represent points earned by individual players.
- Then, write a number on each of the team assignment cards, numbered from one to five. These the point values for each team assignment, representing the I port since of that member's role in the mission.
Play as normal, with the following changes.
- The leader must assign the "1" team card first, followed by the "2" team card, then the "3" team card, and so on.
- If the mission is APPROVED, team members immediately earn their team card's noted points. So a team member with the "3" card would earn 3 points if the mission was approved. Regardless of whether that mission is successful, those players keep their earned points.
- At the end of the game, players reveal their roles and tally their accumulated points. In addition, the Red or Blue teams earn points equal to the numbered rounds they've each won. The first round is worth 1 point, the second round is worth 2 points, and so on. The team with the most points wins!
I haven't play tested this yet, but I suspect it would give Blue a little bit of an advantage to compensate for the well-documented difficulty. There are simply more Blue players in the total pool, so they have all the more chance of earning points, regardless of the mission's success.
I also suspect this would make even more meaningful choices when the leader assigns team members. Now you're not just looking at who is in the team, but which specific card they were assigned.
Furthermore, the incentive to end the game before the fourth or fifth rounds is even more intense if you want to secure an early lead. If you want to catch up, then you actually want the game to last until those early rounds to secure a late victory.
If you try this out at home, give me a head's up! I'd love to see how it works.
It's been over a year since Fred Hicks and I have played Pitch Tag. If you haven't seen this before, one player will will tag the other with an absurd title, to which the other player must respond with a reasonable game pitch for that title. Then that player tags back with her own absurd title. This goes back and forth until everybody plotz. Here's the ongoing thread!
"We villagers are sick of adventurers walking into our homes uninvited and breaking all our pots. Here, go to this shed where we've kept all our throwaway pots. Have at it, hero."
This game is a tile-removal/mine-sweeper game with a few twists. There is a grid of face-down tile stacks, each stack containing two tiles. Each tile's face depicts treasure, hearts and other goodies. It also has a small monster icon with a number.
In play, you can flip two tiles, either the top tile of two separate stacks or all tiles in one stack. Whenever you flip the bottom tile of a stack, sum the Monster stats. If your hearts are greater than the monster sum, you earn the winnings from both tiles. If not, you can ask for help from another player or players until your total hearts are greater than the monster sum, but you must negotiate and share the winnings with the other players. If no one comes to your aide, you earn nothing.
This is both game and commentary.
Players are self-publishers who are trying to make good on the promise of self-publishing as the avenue to better revenues than traditional publishing. They're in a race against the game, an automated deck that represents the earnings of an author who's been published by one of the big six/five/whatever. The traditional author deck acts as a timer: every now and again, a new book comes up out of it, and begins earning royalties for the traditional author. Players employ a variety of cards (strategies) from their own hands to try to out-earn the traditional author using new-school publication and marketing methods -- ebooks, print on demand, social media, etc -- while still writing enough words each turn to create new works.
At the end of the day, the winners are those who produce enough revenue in eight quarters to pay for their cost of living over that time. More than one player can win, more than one player can lose. Even the game's automated traditional publishing author can lose -- not every book in his deck is a surefire hit.
The Eye of Akhen is said to grant its bearer's wishes for an unknown amount of time, then disappear again without a trace.
This is a deck-building game similar to Ascension, but with a legacy mechanic built into the endgame. You gather your meager resources to build a reliable crew of detectives, archeologists, and regular ol' muscle. (Equivalent to Ascension's heroes and constructs.) Together you can visit exotic locations, following the clues that will bring you ever close to the eye's whereabouts. (Equivalent to Ascension's monsters.)
Each Crew card has a special wish they want granted, below that is a special effect and a checkbox. Each Location card has a special effect and several checkboxes as well. All cards have stars and Ankh symbols in various quantities. The winner is whoever earns the most stars. The winner may fill in as many checkboxes on her deck as she has Ankhs.
As each game is played, the crew get their wishes granted. Most of these wishes involve bringing closure to the various crew member's lives. Generally stuff like "Win a million dollars" or "Get back at my old boss." The Location checkboxes are a little more abstract, representing the growth of that city as a more valuable information source.
This is a do-it-yourself dexterity game that scores a bit like Zombie Dice. It requires a five small floating objects, called "fish", and a ladle, which you fill most of the way with water.
Players are cats. They are trying to get the fish without getting wet. They HATE getting wet.
Each player takes a turn holding the ladle with one hand, and trying to extract fish with a minimum of dampness with the other (no tools!). If water sloshes out of the ladle, your turn is over and you score no points. If you dip your hand into the water, your turn is over and you score no points. Each fish you extract without spilling water or submerging your hand scores a point. You may choose to end your turn and score your points at any time, or once you've extracted all fish.
First player to ten points wins, tho everyone gets a chance to finish their last turn.
When they're not guarding tombs and devouring heroes, the slimy, horned and bestial residents of your local dungeon have other ways to pass the time.
This is a party game that mashes up Apples to Apples, Dixit and Charades. Each player is given a handful of descriptions like "When a magic missile hits your thorax" or "An attack of opportunity against your spleen." Each turn, each player gives one card to this turn's performer.
The performer shuffles them a bit, then looks at them all face-up so everyone can see them. The performer will perform (through sounds and gestures) one of the events in the lineup. Each non-performing player secretly votes on which card she believes the performer is enacting.
Once votes are cast, the performer reveals which event he was enacting. If less than all players voted correctly, the performer and each correctly voting player earns 1pt. If all or no players voted correctly, no one earns points.
BACK SEAT SWORD
BACK SEAT SWORD
Everybody's got ideas of how a fight's supposed to be fought. Right ideas? Well, that remains to be seen. Thing is, there's only one guy here who's actually swinging the sword -- and everyone else is seeing fit to tell him how to do it.
Back Seat Sword is a kind of fantasy-genre reskin mash-up of Robo Rally and Jared Sorensen's Parseley system.
The board is a map filled with monsters and treasure and traps. There's one Swordsman placed onto that map, which everyone must collectively control, without communicating to one another about what move they're going to have the Swordsman make.
Each player has a small handful of cards containing various moves they can have the Swordsman take. Move forward one or two or three, turn right, turn left, attack, etc. Each round has a different player owning the "first move". All players choose one move to have the Swordsman make, and put that card in front of them, face down. The player with the first move reveals his card first, and the Swordsman takes that move; then reveal-and-move passes clockwise until all face-down cards are revealed and played out. When the round ends, board actions take place (new treasures, monsters, traps, according to an event deck).
If the Swordsman moves onto a treasure as part of your play, you get that treasure as gold.
If the Swordsman attacks while adjacent to a monster, you claim that monster as experience.
Before you reveal your card on your turn in a round, if you wish to change your chosen action instead to another action you did NOT put face down, you may -- but you have to pay the cost (gold or experience) in order to use the card you actually want, as indicated on that card. Thus it's often most desirable to put face down a high-cost card, and retain the option of purchasing a switch to a lower-cost card.
If the Swordsman moves onto a trap -- or tries to move onto or *through* a monster -- you lose gold or experience as specified. If you don't have it to lose, the Swordsman loses a hit point.
When the Swordsman moves onto a trap, the trap gets used up and removed from the board, and the Swordsman is placed into the space where the trap was. If the Swordsman tries to move onto or through a monster, his movement is halted. Walls halt movement, but don't do anything bad to the Swordsman.
When the Swordsman runs out of hit points, endgame is triggered, the round plays out, and scores are tallied. Gold and experience tally up in some sort of non-linear fashion: maybe there are suits and you score bonuses for building sets of the same suit.
Rival teams of astro-archeologists plumb the depths of a long-dead civilization, looking for valuable pieces of alien technology.
This is a press-your-luck trading game. Each player begins with one crew members. Each player selects one card per crew member from his hand and places it face down. All cards are revealed simultaneously. The number on the cards are compared and arranged in sequential order, the highest number faces the most danger from a random encounter, followed by second-place, and third-place. If any crew member is overwhelmed, he is taken out of the running for this turn.
Any remaining crew members get first dibs on this turn's rewards, again starting with the highest number and proceeding down.
After each turn, players may trade freely with each other perhaps piecing together a valuable device or selling off junk for straight credits, which in turn can be spent on modifiers, crew members, and special powers.
In the world of Crow Funding, how much you can eat depends on how well you perch!
Worker placement game. The board is a park or similar field, dotted with trees and other perches. Each player has a number of crow meeples that they place around the board.
The board's divided up into various kinds of areas, each of which has a different deck of cards associated with it; each deck produces different behaviors for those areas. The farmer's field regularly dispenses grain in varying amounts, for example, while the city park has particular times of the day when folks stroll through, dropping breadcrumbs and other bits of food, so its deck is more feast-or-famine. Other areas with other deck-behaviors exist as well.
Each area has one or more perches (trees, telephone poles, etc). Some perches are better than others; some perches only pay out when a particular symbol shows up on the card revealed for the area. (A crow occupying the ground will only get dropped crumbs, while a crow operating from a high perch might be able to snatch a whole sandwich right out of a pedestrian's hand, etc.) When the payout event is triggered after each player has placed their crows for the turn, the card or cards are revealed for each area, and the payouts are resolved in a numbered order of perch priority.
UP YOUR NOSE
UP YOUR NOSE
This is a competitive card game wherein each player plays cards featuring objects of various sizes, strangeness and danger. Each object is a unique combination of these three attributes. The goal of the game is to get the biggest, strangest, most dangerous collection of objects up your nose. Each card you play builds up your tableau, representing your nose. You must play cards face-down to increase the size of your nostrils before you can play objects of a certain size. Players can play offensive Pepper cards to try to make another player sneeze out cards from his tableau. When one player's nose is full, each other player gets one last turn. The winner is whoever has the lowest summed rating in their nose. (Knizia style.)
BAMBOO FOR YOU
BAMBOO FOR YOU
A bluffing card game just a little bit inspired by Cockroach Poker. You're all a bunch of selfish pandas trying to get the best bamboo shoots to eat. Players have a very limited hand size (3); one of the players has 4 cards in his hand, and that's the player whose turn it is to pass one of his cards.
He can pass a good bamboo card or a bad bamboo card to any other player, saying "bamboo for you!" That player may either accept the card (and thus become the passing player), or refuse it.
If the player refuses it, the card is flipped over, revealing good bamboo or bad bamboo. If it's good bamboo it's kept in front of the refusing player. If it's bad bamboo it's put in front of the passing player.
Regardless, if the game does not end after the refusal (see below), the refusing player then draws a card from the remaining deck (and thus has 4 cards in her hand), and then starts a new turn as the passing player.
Play continues until one of two things happens:
• One player gets three cards in front of him. If this happens, that player outright loses, and cannot score.
• The total number of cards in front of all players is equal to two times the number of players in the game.
Each player still in the game (which is everyone but the person who has three cards in front of him, if any) reveals her hand of three cards, scoring the values as indicated on those cards (good bamboo is positive, bad bamboo is negative).
Highest point total indicates the most delicious meal was had by that panda -- the winner!
This game is loosely based on Sid Sackson's Sleuth. The players are supervillains competing to build a machine that can annoy an otherwise impervious superhero. Each supervillain wants to claim the glory for himself, so will spy on colleagues to get an edge.
Each card in the deck represents a unique combination of "energy wave (four types)," "frequency (three types)," and "amplitude (three types)." One card kept face-down while the remaining cards are dealt to the rest of the group. The face-down card is the hero's weakness.
On a turn, the active player may ask one opponent to state how many cards of a particular wave, frequency, or amplitude he has in his hand. The active player (and everyone else) takes notes in whatever manner they see fit.
After a certain point, one player will be confident enough to announce her guess and may do so, but if she's wrong, she's out of the game. Play continues until there is a correct guess.
This is a little like Zombie Dice.
You've got a bunch of custom dice, some mice meeples, and a scoring system tracker (maybe a small board with a track on it that you run one of your mice meeples around). You've also got a bag that all the dice go into, that you can't see into.
Dice represent cheeses, and are colored white, "american" yellow, cheddar orange, and blue (or "bleu"). Each color die has a different pip distribution on its sides, but the same total number of pips on each die (I *think* five total). The more vivid the color, the more lopsided the distribution: white has five sides with one pip on each; bleu has one side with five pips on it. Yellow probably has three sides with 2 pips; orange has one side with 2 pips and one side with 3 pips. Which distributions go with which dice may vary after playtesting.
Each die has a cat on one of its sides. Every side that doesn't have a cat or pips is blank.
You use your mice meeples to track your "hit points". You lose a mouse whenever you roll a cat. If you run out of mice, you can no longer go on a "cheese run" (see below) yourself, but you may still be passed dice (also below). How many meeples a player gets will need playtesting -- might be a sliding scale, with more players meaning fewer meeples per player.
At the start of a round, any dice left out on the board (if any) are swept and put back into the bag. Then the bag is shaken and dice equal to twice the number of players are put out in the middle of the scoring board (quantity may need testing). These represent the "morsels" that you can try to claim.
Each round, each player who still has mice meeples in front of him goes on a "cheese run". When making your run, you may select one or more dice from the morsels, up to the number of mice you still have (so if you have three mice, you may select up to three dice), and roll them. Score points for each pip you get on the roll; lose a mouse for each cat you roll. Dice that roll pips or cats are taken out of play and are NOT put back in the bag (they go back in the game box).
Any *blanks* you are passed to the left. *That* player rolls them, scoring pips and losing mice to cats and passing, and so on, until there are no dice left to pass around, or the dice come back to the person whose cheese run it is. Leftover dice at that point are placed back into the morsel pile in the center of the board, and the next player does their cheese run.
Once everyone has done a cheese run, the round ends. Players recover one lost mouse at the end of the round, so even a player who has run out of all his mice starts the next round with one mouse. The player with the least number of mice in front of him is the first player to start the next round.
Play continues until the dice supply runs dry, and highest score wins.
You're auditioning for the band, but you gotta find the right guitar and quick! In this game, players bid on cards that depict the bodies and necks of various guitars. You also bid on song requests to make a set list.. Mixing and matching the different components lets you play different song requests better or faster. For example, if you have a heavy metal song, you want to get a big sharp Axe. A country song? Get the acoustic guitar. A hipster love ballad? Get the ukulele. The musician who completes the most songs and has best audience applause wins!
It's a miniatures battle game made kid-friendly with a crossover into the Mister Potato Head line, by Hasbro. You've got a big, modular plastic castle playset and two small skirmish-sized armies (maybe six or ten each) of small plastic Mr Potato Heads. One side's MPHes are red potatoes; others are brown potatoes.
Castle playset comes complete with sword-carrying arms and armor (helm, really) plug-ins, as well as some "advanced" pieces that you can upgrade your MPHes into by achieving certain objectives during play (claim the Staff of Power, and you can exchange the Helmet for the Wizard Hat on one of your dudes). Simple rock-paper-scissors resolution gets colored by some additional options depending on what your dude has plugged in (sword, spear, helmet, shield, magic).
When you win (score a hit) on a target, it loses parts of what's plugged in (think Mechaton), opening up the vast potential of Monty Python and the Holy Grail references by players. You can start play in battlefield mode (both armies outside the castle, wrestling for control) or siege mode (one army inside the castle, the other army trying to get inside). Second playset may be combined to give a bigger battlefield and castle vs castle action.
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