Love Me Not [In the Lab]

Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces Yesterday I tweeted a little idea for a mechanic:
"Always one step behind" idea: 1st Turn: Choose card, place face-down. 2nd Turn, and on: Choose, place again. Then reveal prev turn's card.
Whenever I toss out a little idea like that on Twitter, it's a fast way to find out if that mechanic has been used elsewhere. Turns out this one is the central mechanic of the Killer Bunnies franchise. It's also present in the 1960s game Nuclear War and more recent game Wings of War.

Gosh, that's a rather blood-soaked legacy for this mechanic. I wonder if there is a way we can take it somewhere less violent. I've got variable values on my mind this week, so let's start there with a little parlor game. I'm popping this into the Boardroomers February Game Design Contest as well. I call it...


LOVE ME NOT
Okay, I'm a day late for a Valentine's themed game, but the them is pretty loose anyway. This game is  inspired by wistful romantics plucking flower petals while muttering "he loves me, he loves me not."

In this game, players will take two cards, accepting one into a tableau and discarding the other into their own discard pile. Scores are based on suits in tableau multiplied by suits in the discard pile, so choose wisely!

Components

SETUP
The deck is comprised of 2-5 and J of each suit in a standard playing card deck, for a total deck of 20 cards. You also need three cubes, which are used to note the winner of each match.


PLAY
Each player takes turns simultaneously.

Example of a complete first turn.

  • FIRST TURN:
    1) Draw two cards.
    2) Choose one and say "he loves me." Place this neatly in front of you face-down. This is the start of your TABLEAU.
    3) Place the other card haphazardly face-down to your side and say "he loves me not." This is the start of your PILE.
Example of game in progress, through turn 4.
  • NEXT TURN, AND THEREAFTER: Repeat as above. Additionally, reveal your chosen tableau card from the previous turn.
Example of end of game.
  • FINAL TURN: Repeat as above. Additionally, both players reveal their final chosen tableau card simultaneously and reveal their discard piles.

END OF MATCH
The match ends after five turns.


SCORE
You score all cards in the following manner.

(number of [SUIT] in your tableau) X (number of [SUIT] in your pile)

So, if you had two hearts in your tableau and two hearts in your discard pile, you'd score four points from hearts. Repeat this for diamonds, clubs and spades.

Then you score bonus points for jacks in your tableau, in the following manner.

(Jack of [SUIT] in your tableau) X (number of [SUIT] in opponent’s pile)

So, if you had a Jack of spades in your tableau and your opponent had three spades in his discard pile, you would score 3 points from this jack. Repeat for each face card in your tableau, even if they're part of the same suit.


VICTORY
The player with the most points wins the match. The first player to win two matches wins the game.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.