Pitch Tag 2013 Begins

Pitch-Tag---Header Large

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!


Fred:
Your turn:
POTTY BREAK



Daniel:
POTTY BREAK
"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.

Your turn:
ROYALTY FREE


Fred:
ROYALTY FREE

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.

Your turn:
CLOSURE EYES


Daniel:
CLOSURE EYES

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.

Your Turn:
CAT'S LADLE


Fred:
CAT'S LADLE

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.

Your turn:
SCREECHER CREATURE


Daniel:
SCREECHER CREATURE

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.

Your Turn:
BACK SEAT SWORD


Fred:
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.

Your Turn:
MECHATOMB


Daniel:
MECHATOMB

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.

Your Turn:
CROW FUNDING


Fred:
CROW FUNDING

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.

Your Turn:
UP YOUR NOSE


Daniel:
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.)

Your Turn:
BAMBOO FOR YOU


Fred:
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!

Your turn:
VEX MACHINE


Daniel:
VEX MACHINE

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.

Your Turn:
MICE DICE


Fred:
MICE DICE

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.

Your Turn:
GUITAR HER



Daniel:
GUITAR HER

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!

Your Turn:
POTATO CASTLE


Fred:
POTATO CASTLE

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.

Your turn:
CREATIVE BRIEFS
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.