Pitch Tag 2013 Continues!



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.

Daniel:
CREATIVE BRIEFS

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.

Your turn:
HOT BUTTERED ROLLS


Fred:
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!

Your turn:
FANCY-PANTS


Daniel:
FANCY-PANTS

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.

Your Turn:
WHERE'S MY MOUNTAIN?


Fred:
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.

Your turn:
DON'T THROW THAT NOODLE!


Daniel:
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!"

Your Turn:
CHAIR


Fred:
CHAIR

(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.

Your Turn:
THE GREAT RATSBY


Daniel:
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.

Your Turn:
WEDDING KELLS


Fred:
WEDDING KELLS

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!

Your Turn:
HURRY UP AND LEAF


Daniel:
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.

Your Turn:
CONTRACTS


Fred:
CONTRACTS

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.

Your Turn:
CAT, MAN, DO!


Daniel:
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.

Your Turn:
CEASEFIRE


Fred:
CEASEFIRE

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.

Your Turn:
INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE


Daniel:
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.

Your Turn:
LOOMSDAY


Fred:
LOOMSDAY

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.

Your Turn:
TRICKY-STICKY


Daniel:
TRICKY-STICKY

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.

Your Turn:
BOAT


Fred:
BOAT

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.

Your Turn:
DISCO DISCOMBOBULATION


Daniel:
DISCO DISCOMBOBULATION

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.)

Your Turn:
SPACE CHIPS


Fred:
SPACE CHIPS

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.

Your Turn:
TATTUTU
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.