Vector Game Icon Wishlist?

d20-vector
If you ever need a source of vector icons for your board game prototypes, I highly recommend The Noun Project. They have an extensive crowdsourced collection of vector icons released on public domain or Creative Commons Attribution licenses. You can now also purchase attribution-free licenses for a nominal fee.

There are some gaps in the collection when it comes to common game icons. There is a meeple, but a very limited supply of dice and definitely no "victory points." I just uploaded an icosahedron, better known as a the 20-sided die or d20.

I'd love to upload some more generic game icons, but where to begin? What would you want most? I posed this question to my Twitter friends and got lots of suggestions.

  • die faces 1-6, ?
  • fan of cards 1-5
  • players 1-5
  • tiles in various shapes
  • victory points in various shapes
  • time: 15min, 30min, 45min, 60min…
  • ages
  • players: 1, 2, 3…
  • bid
  • most/least

And there were some other suggestions that stretched the boundaries of "noun" into "verb," so may not be allowed on the Noun Project. I'm checking with those in charge to get their say.

  • gain/lose points
  • gain/lose goods
  • draw x cards
  • keep x cards
  • discard x cards
  • steal cards from another player
  • flip card
  • pass
  • flip

And of course, I'd be happy to make a whole bunch of these icons into one big dingbat font for a few bucks. If you know of a good Mac tool for making a font, I'd be glad to try it out. I've already used fontifier, but I wasn't quite satisfied with the results.

So, any other game icons you would want to see in this suite?

The Everywheres, a story game inspired by Jenny Everywhere


I met Jenny Everywhere earlier this year and I've wanted to make a game about her ever since. Jenny Everywhere (aka "The Shifter") is an open source, public domain character originally created by Canadian comic book artist Steven Wintle. He and his friends created Jenny Everywhere as a truly public domain character that anyone can use, but no one owned.

According to most stories, Jenny Everywhere exists in every reality, can shift between realities, and pull stuff from other realities as needed. Thus, Jenny has appeared in hundreds of comics, stories, and fan art.

I am a huge fan of parallel universe stories, so Jenny was a natural source of inspiration. I've been wanting to write a properly fleshed out Jenny Everywhere story game for ages, but I just haven't found the time. So for now here's my pitch for a Jenny Everywhere story game.

© Nelson Evergreen


BACKGROUND
Across the multiverse, there are four groups: The Everywheres, The Nowheres, The Anywheres, the Somewheres. Here's a basic outline:

  • The Anywheres want to branch out the multiverse as much as possible. They are experimental, creative and reckless.
  • The Nowheres want to trim down the branches to create a stable, linear multiverse. They are cautious, curious and stubborn.
  • The Somewheres are regular people, stuck in one reality, but sometimes dragged into the conflict.
  • The Everywheres keep all three balanced, protecting the whole dang multiverse from too much creation/destruction. They're the heroes of our story. Each Everywhere is equipped with special multiverse goggles that allow her to see several possible outcomes at once, then she can choose the one she prefers.


THE SITUATION
The players are Everywheres, whose mission is to balance the multiverse. There is no central authority guiding the Everywheres. When Everywheres land in a verse, they just know something's not right.

  • [Historical figure] [did something or didn't do something] which caused [world-changing event], benefiting [Firstname] [Anywhere/Nowhere].
  • For example: Nikola Tesla invented a Death Ray which eventually leads to multiverse technology, benefiting Moriarty Anywhere.
Players collaboratively create this situation together when the game begins.


SYSTEM
The game would use the Split Decision rules. In this case, the two colors represent branching paths of the multiverse. Choosing a blue result benefits the Anywheres. It creates a new branch in the multiverse, eventually leading to instability and chaos. Choosing a red result benefits the Nowheres. It limits possibility, eventually leading to stagnation and stasis.

Anyhoo, that's the loose outline. It still needs a pacing mechanic. I might do something with it some day, though. For now, enjoy!

Belle of the Ball at the UnPub Protozone and plans for Prototype M

belle
Image from dicehateme.com

John Moller just posted his thoughts from UnPub protozone at the Escapist Expo, including his playtest of Belle of the Ball at the Escapist Expo. He had this to say:

"I finally had a chance to sit down with Daniel and play Belle of the Ball. It was a good experience. I really like the interactivity of the game. You get to take actions based on the actions that other player’s choose. There’s a lot of strategy to that, and I didn’t plum the depths of it as much as I could have. The theme is original and really fit what was going on within the mechanics of the game, which is always a plus. It’s a game about mingling at a  Victorian party. Your cards are guests and you’re building sets by grouping and grouping. Belle of the Ball is a little more complex than I first gave it credit for being, and definitely a game to note and watch for."

The UnPub event was a very productive experience. I actually think it was in John's game that the term "caller" naturally emerged in reference to the active player calling for everyone's actions.

One of the things I'm also learning is to keep my prototypes in a closed beta for a little while longer before releasing them for public view. There were some really nice changes to the game based on UnPub feedback, but unfortunately I had already ordered printed cards from an earlier prototype a few weeks prior. D'oh!

Well anyhoo, Prototype M is gradually trickling out to a select group of volunteer playtesters. It's not released to the public yet. There are some significant updates so far.

  • The game supports up to 6 players.
  • Every player begins with a set starting party of four guests. Each guest has one basic charm, so everyone has the same basic options in the beginning of the game.
  • The basic charms call for simultaneous action, a la San Juan. The revised basic charms are
    • Invite: The active player draws a card, then each other players may do the same.
    • Announce: The active player brings a guest into play, then the other players may do the same.
    • Group: The active player may group two guests (or add a guest to an existing group), then the other players may do the same.
    • Excuse: The active player may move a guest out of a group, then the other players may do the same.
  • Three bonus charms (Extra Invite, Extra Announce, Extra Group) allow you to do the noted action an extra time. Those charms are passive. As long as they're somewhere in your party, they are in effect, even when you're not the caller.
  • The other red-bordered charms allow more mid-game scoring for the active player, like Delight (score 1 point per group in play) and Mimic (score any group in play as if it were yours). Other red-bordered charms are more offensive, like Steal (take a single guest from an opponent's party) and Lure (take a group from an opponent's party.)
  • Group scoring is much simpler. All you have to do is match suits within the group. Each matching common suit is worth 1 point. Each matching uncommon suit is worth 2 points. Each matching rare suit is worth 3 points.
  • Removing the "special guest" Belle bonus. It's too random and often doesn't actually decide a victory.
  • Basic Belle bonus is revised so that you're trying to collect a third of the guests with a particular suit. So, 8 of a common suit, 6 of an uncommon suit, and 4 of a rare suit. I removed the Belle seeking 8 "Chat" guests, since they're all assigned to be a player's starting party. That leaves a total of 12 basic Belles, one focused on each suit.
  • Endgame is triggered by the deck running out.
  • Redesigned cards so groups can be arranged vertically, for more efficient use of table space.

But I'm going to wait for further playtesting and we'll see how long these changes last. For what it's worth, the game feels about 90% baked. It's been a long year of development, but I think what will emerge is a nice, elegant game.

Chibi Robo + Mine Sweeper as a Board Game?


A while back, I lost two hours to Super Samurai Sweeper, a minesweeper-inspired action game. Naturally, I started wondering if you could do a similar game in a tabletop format.

How would that work? The calculations that make the digital Minesweeper so critical couldn't be done on a table with non-electronic components.

Well, maybe that's okay. There just needs to be another mechanic in the game that works better for the analog format.

Here's the loose idea: There is a grid of tiles laid out 5x5. Each cell contains two tiles, one stacked on top of the other. Each tile has a number 1-10 and icons representing certain resources. In this example, let's just use circles, squares and triangles.

Sweeper

On your turn, tap a stack (here noted in pink). Then you reveal the top tile of that stack and the top tiles of orthogonal adjacent stacks. Then you can choose to tap that stack again or pass.

Sweeper2

If you choose to tap it again, then you must take both tiles from that stack. (Here, noted in magenta.)

Sweeper3

Thereafter, if any player taps a stack whose top tile is revealed, she must take both tiles in that stack. (Here noted in blue.) Otherwise, she may tap a fresh stack as shown earlier in this example.

The game continues as each player taps stacks and collects tiles. Between rounds, players may spend their tiles as currency for special actions, stuff like:

  • (Three Triangles) Peek at a stack without revealing it to the other players.
  • (Three Circles) Steal a tile from another player.
  • (Three Squares) Score a point for each resource x currently in each player's collection.


The game ends when one player has enough tiles to equal N, where N is based on the number of players. (I haven't tested this yet, so I can't say for sure what's a good number.)

Players score 10 points for every complete flush (circle, square, triangle) and every three-of-a-kind (3 Triangles), plus the numbers on their collected tiles.

Clearly this is very abstract at the moment. I'm imagining a theme inspired by Chibi Robo. Players move their little robots around the room, sweeping up clutter and collecting trinkets. It could work!

Board Raptor Games Logo Design

Board Raptor Games Logo
Jenn Rodgers, J.R. Blackwell and the rest of the Velociraptor! Cannibalism! team have a name: Board Raptor Games. Yay! Buuuuut they needed a logo!

They were nice enough to ask me to do the honors. Hard to tell from this is early sketch, but I had a clear outline of where to take the logo. I was taking a little inspiration from the Philosoraptor meme for posing, but I didn't want to resemble on that image too closely. I thought, "Hm. What if he was holding a headless meeple? What if he had a board on his head?"

Neither of those really worked as well as the raptor's distinctive silhouette standing on its own. But surely this guy needed *some* kind of clear mark that called to his origins. Then I looked back at the original V!C! Kickstarter. Lo and behold, the solution. A velociraptor with a monocle. Of course! "Board member" or "Chairman of the board." Spiffy.

With that, it was a super-easy project. Most of the work was done in one weekend thanks to a very responsive client. Thanks, Board Raptor! Hope you like your logo!

» More about Velociraptor! Cannibalism! 

Make Me An Offer: Apples to Apples as a Euro Card Game [In the Lab]

A stranger, Flea market
I was thinking about the basic exchange mechanics of Apples to Apples and how they might be adapted to a deeper Euro strategy experience. The basic idea is "Make Me An Offer."

CARDS
The game is a deck of cards, each with a point value (a household object?) and a combination of suits (rooms in which the object can be placed?).

SETUP
Each player begins with a random hand.

ON YOUR TURN
On your turn, you tell the other players "Make me an offer."

Each offers you one card face-down. Then you shuffle and reveal them a la Apples to Apples. You choose which card(s) you want to accept. Yes, you can accept multiple offers.

When a card is accepted, the player who offered that card gets points. Those points could be a flat rate (3 pts) or be based on the other offers (3 points per wood offered this turn). It all depends on what that card says.

Your card you accept goes into your private tableau. Everyone refreshes back up to a full hand of cards and the next turn proceeds.

ENDGAME
At the end of the game, you score bonus points based on your tableau. X points for flushes + Y points for sets. To win, you have to balance good offers with good collections.

TENSION
The central inherent tension of the game is two-fold:
Do I offer a suit I know you desire?
Do I accept an offer, knowing someone will score big?

VARIANT
Some cards could have special effects based on certain conditions:

* When this card is revealed
* When this card is accepted
* When this card is declined

Resolve those effects in that order. (Clearly I continue to be influenced by Libertalia.)

Again, I find myself with a theme-less mechanic. I figure this fits the market-trading genre pretty well. Your thoughts?

Risk and Renders: "Kickstarter is not a store."

Store Closed. Found Love.
Many view Kickstarter as a new pre-ordering system. However, Kickstarter just updated their guidelines to reinforce their position that they are NOT a store. Towards that end, they've made two major changes to their guidelines. Here's how they affect game projects.


RISKS

Today we added a new section to the project page called "Risks and Challenges." All project creators are now required to answer the following question when creating their project: “What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?”

The intent of this change is to allow backers to judge the creator's likelihood of completing the project promised. This also forces the project creator to acknowledge the risks inherent in any project. For a board game or role-playing game, these risks are:

  • Delays in production
  • Delays in distribution
  • Rules errata
  • Staff changes
  • Margin of error in estimated costs
  • Components that are different than shown in early promotion
  • Different specs than initially promised

And any number of other unforeseen circumstances. If you're doing your project right, you should already be aware of those risks. Now Kickstarter requests that you be public about those risks with your backers.


RENDERS

There are also several changes to the Hardware and Product Design categories.

Product simulations are prohibited.
Product renderings are prohibited.
Offering multiple quantities of a reward is prohibited.

These changes do not yet apply to other categories, like games. So you can still show component renders and example box art in your Kickstarter promotions. In all honesty, you should have example of play videos with real people anyway. The more accurate a representation of your play experience the better.

Hardware creators are understandably crying foul at this restriction, though. Why can books and films show trailers, but hardware can only show their prototypes? Expect some fallout from that complaint.

And as for the quantity restriction, games are still unaffected by that new change. However, games are affected by another recent change: No bulk product orders. That means you're not allowed to set up a tier where backers can get more than ten of the same product. For most game creators, that's okay since few local game stores would order more than ten anyway. Still, it's a restriction to keep well in mind.


How else will these changes affect how you approach Kickstarter? Does it fit your perception of their service? Share your thoughts in the comments!

"Recycling" Deck Building Mechanic

Orrery Steam Punk Assemblage by urbandon
Most deckbuilding games have each player keep their own self-contained ecosystem of cards. They buy cards from a general supply and gradually grow their own deck. As their cards are used, they discard their cards into their own discard deck. Once their main deck runs out, they shuffle the discard deck and begin anew. Rarely in this process do players actually affect each other's ecosystems positively or negatively. (There are some exceptions, like Miskatonic School for Girls.)

What if there were a deckbuilding game where your discard deck actually belonged to your neighbor? So, when your neighbor's draw deck runs out, they don't reshuffle their own discards. Instead, they reshuffle *your* discards and that becomes their new draw deck. How does that affect gameplay?

  • What goes around comes around: If you use a very fierce offensive card against an opponent, that card could very easily re-emerge and be used against you as well.
  • Timing is critical: You would keep a wary eye on your opponent's draw deck. The shorter the deck, the sooner he'll have access to your discards. That may not be the best time to use an offensive card. Instead, short, persistent defensive tactics may be a better option until his draw deck gets tall again.
  • "Buy" vs. "Play" effects: With such a strong potential for retaliation, players could be reluctant to buy cards at all. So, cards could have two different effects: The first activated when a card is first bought from the general supply. The second when played from a hand. 

And all that being said, what exactly is the best theme for this mechanic? Folks on twitter suggested recycling, yard sales and remixing. Your thoughts?

Escapist Expo 2012 Follow-Up

I'm back from the Escapist Expo! (Well, I never left since the con was held in Durham.)

The panels were fantastic! Everyone was so sharp and interesting. The one panel I officially moderated was super-easy thanks to Steve Segedy, Jason Morningstar, Greg Boyd, Cherylin Kirkman and Chris Kirkman bringing their A-game. Our little room was packed, so hopefully we can do this panel again next year.

Thanks to Jon Bolding for volunteering to run two blind play tests of Belle of the Ball while I was moderating a panel. He had a four-player game and a two-player game fit in about an hour. There was a 12yo in the four-player game who trounced the rest of the players, which is always fun to see.

Many thanks to Jon Moller of UnPub and Dan Yarrington of Game Salute for hosting so many unpublished play tests. I ran about seven Belle of the Ball play tests in rapid succession over the course of three days. The groups ranged from 2 to 6 players. Lots of excellent feedback and ideas for new guests to include in future expansions down the line. (More on my findings later this week.)

After hours, we also did plenty of gaming! We played Cash & Guns, The Resistance (with and without expansion), Reverse Charades, Catchphrase, SageFight (free-for-all and clan vs. clan), and BANG! As you can tell, we were mood for some active party games. They also gave me some fun ideas for how to handle that poison cup game I was noodling last week.

From what I could see , attendance overall was really good. I liked the layout of the exhibit hall especially. We had plenty of room for our tabletop games right along side the classic arcade and the rows of PC tournament players.

Overall it was a great experience! I had the pleasure of introducing many different prominent geeks to each other for the first time, despite them both living in the area. Here's hoping the Expo stays strong and active so I can attend again next year!

[Video: Penny Photography]

Belle of the Ball Playtests at the UnPub ProtoZone at the Escapist Expo!

2012-09-12 18.34.12 Look what just came in the mail right on time! I'm going to be running Belle of the Ball Prototype L playtests at the UnPub ProtoZone! Also look for me at the panels on Saturday!

Thanks and Complaints instead of Success or Failure in RPGs

Thank You note card
Some of the most interesting and fun RPG mechanics come when you disregard the typical success/failure dichotomy in most games. At an extreme, "success" simply confirms what the player just stated while "Failure" denies that contribution and brings you back to square one.

So here's another idea: Instead of "Success," you get thanks. Instead of "Failure," you get complaints. This assumes whatever you said happens happens, but what follows is up to fate.

"I thwack the dragon with my broadsword!"
*roll*
"You get several complaints!"

"I stab the kobold!"
*roll*
"It thanks you profusely!"

Any ideas on how you'd use a system like this? Share them in the comments!

3-2-1 Dice Mechanic: Roll Three, Keep Two, Give One

Three Three Three
Here's another odd dice idea I tweeted last weekend. Assume you're playing a story game. Assume that each turn, players state one thing that they want to change in the story, using their characters as the means of change. And also assume that each turn, the active player will get a graduating range of complication on her stated actions.

This range is drawn from a pair of d6 dice results, ranging from 2-12. 2 is the most complications, 12 is the fewest complications. The most common result is 6 or 7, which represent just a few complications.

Here's the trick: You actually roll three dice on your turn. After rolling, you choose which two dice to keep as your official results. Then you pass the third dice result to the next player for their turn.

He then rolls two dice and now has to choose among the three results: Those two he just rolled and the one result you gave him. If he takes your result, you earn a point. If he doesn't take your result, it passes to the next player, and so on until someone takes it or it comes back around to you. If it comes back to you, you lose one point.

There are some interesting choices here: You can offer a high result to your neighbor in the hopes of tempting him to give you a point, thereby possibly complicating your turn in the short-term. You can offer a low result, thereby reducing your complications by possibly finding it come back to bite you in the end.

And what are points for? Let's brainstorm that a bit.
  • Perhaps points are a pacing mechanic, so the "mission" ends when there are a certain number of points across the whole group.
  • Or perhaps it's competitive, so the game ends when one player has a certain number of points.
  • They could buy off complications.
  • They could buy re-rolls.
  • Maybe you can buy +1 modifiers on the lowest, middle, or highest dice.
You tell me! Share your thoughts in the comments.

Mirror Dice (dM) [In the Lab]


Here's just a little idea I had for a custom die. Originally, I imagined a d6 with six pips on each face, but only 1-6 filled. That way, you could pull two sets of information from a single result.

Unfortunately, that means one face would have 0 filled pips and 6 empty pips and there wouldn't be enough faces for a mirrored counterpart.

So I knocked off one pip on each face. Now I could start with 0 filled 5 empty, incrementally increase the filled pips on each face up to 5 filled 0 empty. I don't know what you'd do with a die like this, but it's an interesting source of data, easily based on binary states in an RPG for example:

"Roll 2dM. If the scene takes place in the day, check the empty pips. If the scene takes place at night, check the filled pips."

I'm sure you can think of something better though. What would you do with these?

I'll be at Escapist Expo!


I'm happy to be sitting on on some panels at the Escapist Expo, which is located a few blocks from where I live! Most convenient con ever.

Crowdfunding Revolution
Saturday, September 15th @ 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM | Dagobah Room
  • Alexander Macris
  • Cherilyn Kirkman
  • Chris Kirkman
  • Dan Yarrington
  • Daniel Solis
After record-breaking Kickstarter campaigns for new games, new peripherals, and even new consoles in the last year, it’s no secret that the crowdfunding revolution is upon us. Join us for a discussion of what it means for publishers, developers, and consumers when the players become the producers.

Saturday, September 15th @ 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM | Dagobah Room
  • Cherilyn Kirkman
  • Chris Kirkman
  • Daniel Solis
  • Jason Morningstar
  • Steve Segedy
Running a game company isn’t always fun and games. Have you ever wondered what results when gaming and business meet? Panelists Chris and Cherilyn Kirkman – makers of deck and dice game Carnival - and Steve Segedy and Jason Morningstar – creators of the indie RPG Fiasco - share the trials and joys of running a small game company. Moderator Daniel Solis guides a broad discussion covering game production, online retail, the future of the local game store, and using crowd-funding as a part of a business plan.

Independent Board Game Survival Guide
Friday, September 14th @ 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM | Dagobah Room
  • Dan Yarrington
  • Chris Kirkman
  • Daniel Solis
Everyone dreams of getting their game published. We’ll explore and discuss all the aspects of bringing your game from concept to market including: design, development, playtesting, promotion, prototyping, funding, marketing, production, conventions, sales, distribution, fulfillment, and more.

PLUS! There are some more amazing panels going on at the Expo.

PLUS! PLUS! I will be playtesting Belle of the Ball at the UnPub open gaming area. If you've been itching to test out this goofy casual strategy card game, track me down!

What's scarier, pilgrims or monsters? [Actual Play of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple]



Long-time pilgrim Sophie Lagacé shared this lovely play report from last weekend, plus some follow-up comments on this thread. Below is the actual play report in Sophie's words:

At Pacificon this weekend, +Edmund Metheny ran +Daniel Solis' Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple for the Young Players' room.  I played with the kids and served as scribe.  Here is the letter (contributed by +Ariele Agostini for Do: The Book of Letters)  we answered and the story that ensued:

"Hello!

I am writing to you because I'm stuck on my bed.

I just dreamed that the Evil clan of Tvel.. Twl.. 12 Bed Mosters declared war against me, and I just woke up.

I know I should not be afraid, so I sent two of my teddy bears to take a look, but they haven't come back.  Then I sent all the others but none came back.  Now here on the bed I'm left with only Poldo and Capt. FluffyEar but the monsters are pulling my blanket and I can hear them laugh and chuckle and snicker and say they want to roast me and eat me and I DON'T WANT TO BE ROASTED!

So please come help me, because I don't want to be roasted and prettyprettyplease don't make too much noise or my sister will mock me until Christmas because I'm afraid of mostners!  Stupid she is, she hasn't to be afraid, the mosnters don't go after her, do they?

Listen, here while I was writing they have eaten half of my blanket so now I fold my letter and make a paper plane but hurry.

Thank You,

Agatha"

We had three Pilgrims:
Chatterbox Advisor, who gets in trouble by talking too much, and helps people by giving wise advice;
Forgetful Finder, who gets in trouble by being absent-minded and helps people by finding things; and
Tiny Mouse, who gets in trouble by being too small and helps people by being able to get in places where no one else can.

As soon as the Pilgrims arrive, Tiny Mouse says: "Don't worry, Agatha, we're here to help!" and dives under the bed to take a peek at the monsters.  The monsters catch her, tie her up and throw her in the closet.

Pilgrim Chatterbox Advisor tells Agatha to stay with her teddy bears.  But she also starts talking so much that Agatha falls asleep and over the edge of the bed!

Pilgrim Forgetful Finder looks over the side, spots the toy grabber that the monsters have been using to reach up, snatches it and pulls Agatha back on the bed with it.  But he forgets to dodge the monsters so they tangle him with the blanket and pull him down to eat him!

Tiny Mouse, all trussed up, crawls like a caterpillar through a hole in the closet wall into the next room.  Agatha's sister thinks this is a big caterpillar, screams and throws Tiny Mouse through the window into the grass.

Pilgrim Chatterbox Advisor tells Captain FluffyEar to throw pillows at the monsters.

Pilgrim Forgetful Finder finds an old feather in his pocket and uses it to tickle the monster from the inside and make it sneeze him out so far he bounces into the corridor.  Forgetful Finder runs back in the room -- but gets it wrong and scares the sister in her room so she hits him with a pillow!

Pilgrim Tiny Mouse, flying crookedly, manages to get in through the window cracked open and Poldo unties her.

We get a parade ending!

Tiny Mouse goes back under the bed with Poldo and Captain FluffyEar.  Forgetful Finder finds the missing teddy bears, so Chatterbox Advisor organizes them as an army against the monsters to throw them out.  Then Chatterbox Advisor puts Agatha and her sister back to sleep by talking to them for a long time, so they'll think it was all a bad dream, but the teddy bears give the pilgrims a parade!


The kids had a great time and were really insistent that we should play another game, but we had to run for our next scheduled event. I spoke to one of the Do players and her father today; they liked the game so much that they went to the dealers' room and bought the book after yesterday's game!

Where is the Poison? [In the Lab]

Where is the Poison?
In my local game group, we have this running joke that pops up in most games. None of us has a really good poker face, so when we draw a good card or get a good roll, we'll be very obvious about it. Thus, someone will mockingly say, "I think I'll bluff!" I'm sure it's from a show or something, but I've forgotten the origins by now.

On that note, here's a bluffing game that seems too elegant to not have already been designed by someone. You tell me, okay?


PREMISE
Intrigue at a wine tasting! You and the other players each have two cups. One of your cups is poisoned. Only you know which of your cups is poisoned. You don't know which of the other player's cups is poisoned.


SETUP
A poison tracker with six spaces, a separate track for each player. Each player also has a white meeple and a black meeple. The white meeple tracks how many times you have been poisoned. The black meeple tracks how many players you have poisoned.

Deal a poison and non-poison cup card to each player face-down. One of these cups is poisoned. You may look at your cup cards, but keep them secret. Only you may know which of your cups is poisoned.

Give a supply of drink chips for each player. The number of chips you get is equal to the number of players, minus one.

Deal a role card for each player with specific victory conditions to achieve by the end of the game. These are randomly dealt to each player face down. You may look at your role card, but keep it secret.
  • ____ win by being the least poisoned player.
  • ____ win by poisoning the most players.
  • ____ win by poisoning the fewest players.
  • ____ win by being the most poisoned player.
  • ____ win by triggering the endgame.
  • ____ win by having your meeples in the same space.
  • ____ win by having the greatest distance between your meeples.
Victory conditions are not mutually exclusive. Some, none or all the roles may win at the end of the game.


Example Setup

PLAY
The player who was most recently poisoned takes the first turn. Subsequent turns proceeds clockwise.

On your turn, decide which of each player's cups you'll drink from. All the players may negotiate, coerce and otherwise debate with you regarding your choice. Bluffing is encouraged.

When you make a choice, put one of your chips down on the cup you choose. Then proceed to the next player's cups and repeat the process. Continue until you are out of chips.

The round ends when everyone has made their choices and placed their chips.

Example of players choosing their cups.


SCORING
At the end of each round, each player reveals their cup cards.

Move your white meeple forward as many spaces as you were poisoned this round.

Move your black meeple forward as many spaces as players you poisoned this round.

Example of scoring: Player A was poisoned three times and poisoned three players. Player B was poisoned once and poisoned two players. Player C was poisoned twice and poisoned one player. Player D was not poisoned and poisoned three players. Player E was poisoned three times and poisoned two players.


ENDGAME
When one or more players white meeples reaches the skull space, the game is over. Reveal your role cards and find out who won!


POSSIBLE VARIANTS
The chips can have heads/tails sides. There is a whole deck of poisoned and non-poisoned cup cards, each with special effects that are triggered for players who choose that cup with a head's up chip. These special effects are things like "Move your white meeple +1 space." "Move your black meeple -1 space." and so on.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.