Return of Fred and Daniel's Pitch Tag


This latest installment of the ongoing Pitch Tag game between Fred Hicks and myself. This time we get psychic spies, sexy male models, ecologically concerned cherubs and a peek inside the thrilling world of competitive canning. As you read through this lengthy list, is there a concept here or in the previous installment that you'd actually want to play?

Fred:
In Her Majesty's Psychic Service
A tight, focused-scenario, plays in a couple hours story-game a la Fiasco. Her Majesty has only one psychic spy in her service. Triple Naught. It's 000's job to ferret out the thought crime, the conspiratorial intent, the absence of respect, and exert a modicum of corrective pressure to the situation. But to do this, 000 has to get close to the problem. Go deep. Go dark. Triple Naught is so secret, even 000 doesn't know who he -- or she -- is. And there we have our scenario: a conspiracy, infiltrated by 000. And our question: who's the crown's inside man? It won't come out until the endgame, when every thought is compromised, when the knives are out...

Your next challenge:
Good Gravy

Daniel:
Good Gravy
The tiny Good Gravy diner is in trouble. If the wait staff, bussers, dishwashers and cooks coordinate to bang out each order in a timely manner, they can earn enough money to keep the diner afloat another day. Earn enough within seven days and they can save the diner!

Your next challenge:
Warriors, Roll Out!

Fred:
Warriors, Roll Out!
Card game. In the dark post-apocalyptic future, the ones who rule the road, rule everything! But getting your warriors out on the asphalt ain't so easy when resources are scarce. Each round, you'll work to build up your base, gather resources, and "launch" warriors once you meet their fuel, food, and gear requirements. Each time a warrior launches, a game effect occurs, some of which might damage the other guy's base. First player to launch X warriors becomes the Road Boss and wins the game! (Other victory conditions might exist as well.)

Your next challenge:
That Ain't So Bad

Daniel:
That Ain't So Bad
A trick-taking game card game with a dungeon theme and mechanics similar to Reiner Knizia's Too Many Cooks. Players are intrepid adventurers competing with each other to see who is the toughest. The cards have numbers and elemental symbols on the back. On the front, details of how much damage is done, who takes the damage, the kind of damage, and any treasure dropped. Each turn, take a card from your hand and drop it facedown into a pile in the center of the table. This growing pile represents a horde of monsters quickly approaching. When the piled cards' numbers total 10 or more, the next player must take the pile. Then the pile is revealed and "combat" begins. Depending on your character class, you earn VP from certain elemental types of damage, and lose VP for others. Some monsters do damage to your neighboring players, too. If the monster drops treasure, you can keep it and earn extra VP or sell it for gold to buy armor. Armor increases the amount of VP you earn from different types of damage, but you only have a few armor slots available. There are also VP bonuses for collecting special sets of treasure, for fighting the most monsters, etc. When the draw deck is empty, the game is over. The player with the most VP wins.

Your next challenge:
Cardiothon

Fred:
Cardiothon
The Marathon Running Game. There's a board representing the course, one square per unit of distance (maybe 42, going with km as the measure, but maybe finer grained) with the players starting at the start line, and a track representing heart rate, with the players starting in the middle. The trick with this game is not necessarily to be the fastest, but to maintain the best pace and heart rate. Each turn players draw two cards. Some of the cards are special events: refreshment stop, second wind, that sort of thing -- stuff designed to do radical things (numerically speaking) to your heart rate in trade for less distance, or vice versa, or let you play two cards, whatever. Most have two numbers on them: heart rate adjustment, and distance. You can get some good short burst sprints, boosting your distance, but they tend to bump your heart rate up considerably. Other cards only adjust heart rate slightly up or down. Slow-pace cards don't add much distance, but can reduce your heart rate considerably. If your heart rate exceeds the ideal upper bound, you get "Winded" and can only play cards that reduce your heart rate until you get back in the ideal zone. If your heart rate drops below the ideal lower bound, you get "Sluggish" and can only draw one card each turn until your heart rate is back in the ideal zone. (One or both of these states might also compel you to discard all your cards, I'm not sure.) You must discard down to your max hand size at the end of your turn. First one to cross the finish line gets the trophy, but everyone who makes it to the finish line is a winner. (You might be limited to a fixed number of Winded events, three strikes and you're out; or you might have a limited number of turns to cure being Winded before you have to drop out of the race.)

Your next challenge:
Holy Smokes

Daniel:
Holy Smokes
A kind of tower defense board game. The board depicts a hilltop in preindustrial London and the big sky overhead. Players control cherubs flying back and forth along the upper edge of the board. The cherubs are trying to clean up the sky of smoke puffs floating up from the chimneys. Each turn, a random chimney releases a random number of puffs. Players use cards to create updrafts, downdrafts, and lateral winds to direct the puffs toward their cherubs. Over time, London industrializes and gains factories that emit even more smoke, as do the moving vehicles.

Your next challenge:
Best in Show

Fred:
Best In Show
The Galactic Overlords have visited your home planet. Congratulations! You've been selected to compete in the annual Induction Trials. First prize is your homeworld gets membership as one of the Galactic Overlords. Second prize is you're conquered. Third prize on down involves disintegration. Two ways to go with this concept: One, everyone plays one of the nonhomogenous governments of a single planet (a la Earth), who must collaborate together despite years of history putting them at odds in order to put their "best foot forward" and win the contest as a unified planet. All of which gets complicated by the alien infiltrators from the other competitors. That might be some kind of an RPG take on things. Two would be the more boardgamey one: everyone plays a home planet, jockeying for ways to best "groom" their planet for acceptance while throwing turbulence at the competitors.

Your next challenge:
Hump Day

Daniel:
Hump Day
A verbal scavenger hunt for two or more workmates on a Wednesday. No one besides the players must know there is an ongoing game, so players should coordinate with each other outside the workplace or via secure communication. To prepare, each player gets their own random list of ten secret words on Wednesday morning. Throughout the day, players engage non-player targets in casual conversation, trying to get the target to say one or more secret words.

A target saying one word is worth 1 point. Getting a target to say two words is worth 2 points, three words is 4 points, four words is eight points, and so on, doubling each time that target says another secret word. Any points scored from a secret word are tripled again if the target shouts the word as loud as possible. If the target grows suspicious or discovers the game is afoot, any players who earned points from that target will lose those points.

The player with the most points at the end of the day wins. Recording an ongoing game is mostly a matter of honesty among friends, but there are some measures players can take to stay on the up-and-up. Players may engage the same target at the same time, though that might tip off the target. Players can also keep a shared log of their successful targets, then follow up on that list once the game is complete.

Your next challenge:
Shingled Out

Fred:
Shingled Out
This might work best as a video game, but works as a board game too. Playing board is a roof, with colored shingles placed on it. Each player has one or more colors that they score for. The goal is to score 3-5(?) shingles in a row (or a column, though that's trickier to pull off and thus is worth more points). Shingles always get inserted into the middle positions of a roof, which causes the shingles to the left (or the right, depending on location chosen) in that row to be pushed over. The shingles that go off the edges of the row are "shingled out", i.e., they fall off the roof and go back to the bottom of the "deck". Combos that get matched are cleared from the board, causing the tiles on the row(s) to slide back inwards.

Your next challenge:
Sexy Time

Daniel:
Sexy Time
The Zoolander party game. A charades-like hack of Dixit. Grab a bunch of index cards and write funny names for model runway walks. "El Tigre." "Blue Steel." "Cold Coffee." And so on. Players take turns being the model. The other players each hand a card to the model. The model shuffles those cards and then lays them out so all players can see them. The model then walks from one end of the room and back, performing one of those walks. The other players must guess which walk the model was trying to perform. If you guess correctly, you earn one point for every player who guessed correctly. So, if you're the only right guesser, you only get one point. If you're one of three who guess correctly, you get three points. Meanwhile, the model earns a point for every correct guess as long as at least one player guessed incorrectly. If all players guess correctly, the model does not earn points this turn.

Your next challenge:
Jam Master

Fred:
Jam Master
Enter (honestly, rather sedate) world of competitive canning! Test your skills at making preserves, pickles, jellies, and jams. The bold ones catch the judges' eyes, but run the greatest risk. Check your seals, sterilize your equipment, and avoid spoilage. The game involves cobbling together increasingly ludicrous canned goods ("canned whupass!") with increasing levels of difficulty. It's a bit like zombie dice or blackjack; you can keep pushing it, dancing as close as you can to spoilage without spoiling the whole batch, to get that one, competition-worthy jar of truly transcendent jam. He who emerges with the most impressive canned jam is indeed hailed as the Jam Master!

Your next challenge:
Dirty Hippy Game

Daniel:
Dirty Hippy Game
At the Burnaroo Music Festival, its hard to come by a good shower. As a matter of fact, there is only one still working! Form a queue of hippies ranging from your basic concert attendee to performance artists to headline acts. All dirty. All hippies. This is basically a reskin of Guillotine. Replace the French nobles with dirty hippies. Replace the stand-up Guillotine with a standup portable shower.

Your next challenge:
Dinositter

Fred:
Dinositter
Sort of a multiplayer defensive card game (could be done as a web game too). Each player has a specific Dinositter (dinosaur babysitter) with specific abilities and disadvantages (T Rex can eat troublesome children easily, but has very tiny hands and is too big to fit into small spaces). They must work together to deal with a steady influx of babysitting challenges (kids, shenanigans, scheduling difficulties), but each has a limited number of "spaces" around them they can allocate to queue incoming issues. Dinositters must work through their queue fast enough, using card draws and special abilities, so that no child gets left behind. Once the Dinositter crew lets a certain number of problems go unaddressed, the game ends, and the crew gets rated on their performance.

Your next challenge:
Ghoulash

Daniel:
Ghoulash
It's a monster mash! All the neighborhood monsters are coming to your party, but how long will they stay? Invite ghoulish guests like vampires, zombies, ghosts, mutants and mummies. Each guest has their own preferences and will change the party in different ways, like making the music louder, eating more snacks, and making guests dance. Keep the guests you invited happy. If the party turns away from an existing guests' taste, they'll leave the party early. Your goal is to keep the party as lively (or deadly) as your guests prefer while making the other players' guests uncomfortable. The party ends at sunrise!

Your next challenge:
Diamond in the Rough

Fred:
Diamond in the Rough
Trick-taking card game. Remove all diamonds from the deck except for the Ace of Diamonds (so, a 40 card deck). Cards on all tricks are played face down; play passes to the left rather than to the winner of a trick. Tricks aren't picked up until a "take!" round is called. A "take" round must be called at the beginning of the turn before anyone has played their card. On a "take" round, cards are played face up, with the winner (who must follow suit on the lead) taking all of the face-down tricks. At the end of the hand, you score one point for each trick you took; double your score for the hand if one of those tricks contains the Ace of Diamonds. The last card played in a hand is always played in a "take" round, but otherwise you can't call a "take" round unless there's already at least one face-down trick on the table.

Your next challenge:
Juicy Jalopies

Daniel:
Juicy Jalopies
A push-your-luck dice and meeple-placement game. Players position their juice trucks at key points around a city, picking up foot traffic and business each day. Players spend cash on rent for premium spots, expanding the menu, buying new trucks, and importing exotic fruits. The public is fickle and their herd-like movement can change from day-to-day. Build your juice truck empire, get well-reviewed, and your business might even get featured on a reality show!

Your next challenge:
Apollo Loco

Fred:
Apollo Loco
Resource management card game. It's the craziest moon-shot ever! In the near future, the total collapse of NASA, plus open-source garbage-powered rocketry, leads to a space race like no other following the detection of rich deposits of unobtainium on the moon. Gold rush fever meets zany antics as players try to cobble their moonshot mission out of common junkyard and household items. Naturally most rockets explode after you launch 'em, so there's no guarantee your first rocket will make it to the moon. Will you launch a risky rocket on the chance it'll help you claim a piece of lunar real estate as your claim? Or will you go slow and steady and build a more reliable spaceship? There are only so many moon-plots available, and it's first (crash)land, first served!

Your next challenge:
Super-Cali-Fragi-Fishstick

Daniel:
Super-Cali-Fragi-Fishstick
A board game depicting a harbor with concentric arcs radiating outward to the deep ocean. Game pieces are little boat pawns. Players launch boats to capture lots of fresh fish to bring back to harbor. The farther out you go, the more fish you catch, but you also run the risk of getting swept away by bad weather or rogue waves. Close to harbor, you have to obey fishing regulations, but at least it's safe. So, yeah, you can venture to the deep ocean, but hope you don't run into the perfect storm!

Your next challenge:
The Great Fire

Fred:
The Great Fire
A board game/RPG hybrid written by Daniel Solis and Jason Morningstar (make it happen), set during the events of the great Chicago fire. On the board game level, there are firefighting crews, exhausted from fighting another fire the day before, trying and (mostly) failing to stop the spread of the fire across the Chicago map. On the RPG level, we explore the stories of the families and firemen caught in its devastation. Who will survive? Will the firefighters be able to save your family? Or will they join the hundreds dead that day?

Your next challenge:
Googly Moogly

Daniel:
Googly Moogly
A test of your Search-Fu! A scavenger hunt challenge using a search engine. The game master creates a set of 100px square thumbnails of screenshots, images or words. The thumbnails can be extreme close-ups, but they should still leave enough information for the Hunters. It's up to the hunters to figure out the search terms that lead to those images. The hunters report back to the game master with a URL. If the URL is correct, the game master unlocks one clue to another thumbnail, of the hunter's choosing. Beware, that clue is revealed to all hunters at the same time, so a hunter must choose wisely. The first to find all the URLs wins!

Your next challenge:
Betiquette

Fred:
Betiquette
A trivia party game. Explore the most obscure corners of etiquette and protocol. (You never knew how inappropriate you've been behaving!) Each round, the players take turns reading aloud from a list of strange but theoretically correct behaviors one must observe. Either one of those is correct behavior and all the rest are made up, or one is made up and the rest are correct. (Which kind of list it is is identified on the card.) Players place bets using their paper money on which behavior is the odd one out. Game ends when everyone but one has lost all their dough, or when the bank runs dry. She with the most cash wins Betiquette!

Your next challenge:
IndigNation: Umbrage Edition

Daniel:
IndigNation: Umbrage Edition
The latest edition of the classic semi-cooperative game of revolution and protest. In the classic game, players represent various factions within a larger revolutionary movement. Factions must negotiate, compromise and and protest as a unit in order to achieve common goals and their own constituents' demands. As the movement grows – from a small protest, to a media event, to a full-blown revolution, and possibly a civil war – the stakes rise sharply with real lives on the line. Some factions want to see that escalation happen quickly while more peaceful factions want take a more moderate stance. The Umbrage edition introduces new agent provocateurs, media tactics, police and military challenges, and whole new factions.

Your next challenge:
Spice Trade
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.