Pitch Tag 2013: The Epic Conclusion!



Well, it's been an epic session this year, but all good things must come to an end. Yes, this concludes the Pitch Tag between Fred Hicks and I. You can see all of our previous Pitch Tag updates here. This year we came up with about 60 pitches in about two months. We hope you've enjoyed it! Now, on with the show.

Daniel:
THIS SIDE UP

You and the other players are stacking shipping containers on a busy dock. Your warehouse space is very small, but very tall for some reason. Oh well! Time to get stacking.

Each player has a set of d6s in their own color. At the start of the game, roll all your dice. On your turn, pick one to place in the central area called the "Warehouse." You may place a die on its own or on top of another die, but only if your die's result equal to or higher than the result you're covering. Thus, towers start forming across the warehouse.

If a tower falls, the player who knocked it over loses and everyone else wins.

Otherwise, the game ends when all players have placed their dice in the warehouse. Your score is based on two factors. First, how many of your dice are visible when the warehouse is viewed from above (ie, any dice at the top of a tower or sitting by themselves around the warehouse.) Second, the height of the tallest tower capped by one of your dice. Multiply these two numbers for your final score.

For example, if you have five dice visible and your tallest tower is nine dice tall, you'd score 45 points.

Your Turn:
BALSAMIC


Fred:
BALSAMIC

The adjective “balsamic” comes from the Italian descriptor “balsam,” which means “to cure.” This is part of the product’s legacy as a disinfectant, medicine and digestive aid."

The production process for artisan-quality vinegar is extremely secretive. Italy’s Modena and Reggio Emilia monitor and regulate the process, but do not publish explicit instructions for creating the product, instead using vague descriptions of moving “some amount” of product from one cask to another in their official guidelines.

Source: http://www.robbinsfamilyfarm.com/10-interesting-facts-about-balsamic-vinegar/

This is a deduction card game of keeping your family recipe for balsamic vinegar a secret from the other players. A game of intrigue. A game of immortality.

Over the centuries the families that have been creating artisanal balsamics have all been working towards a goal: creating the elixir of life, a vinegar that grants those who imbibe it youthful immortality. It was a secret known before, but lost some number of centuries back. The time of its rediscovery is upon us ... The problem is that each family only knows some of the recipe that will do that.

Each player has a secret combination of cards, indicated on a hidden piece of paper, matching a subset of the cards in their hand. This combination is the family recipe. The rest of the cards in the hand act as decoys.

A series of gambits plays out whereby the players get peeks at parts of each others' hands; whose hand gets examined by whom when is a part of the strategy; at the end of reach round players vote on which cards they think were decoys. If two or more players are right about a bluff card, the player who holds that bluff must discard it (thereby revealing that it was in fact a decoy). Over time, subtractively, a player's hand might be rendered devoid of bluffs. It's then on the other players to deduce what cards that player holds and devise a partial or total notion of each others' recipes.

At the end of the game, the player able to name the most "true" cards wins (one point per card). If that player names any decoy card, their tally is reduced (so there's disincentive to simply name all the cards you saw from a given player).

Your Turn:
Gods of Economy


Daniel:
GODS OF ECONOMY

It's the dawn of the 20th century and the birth of modern economy. The greatest minds of the world's universities are debating the course for generations to come. Who will win the minds of a new era? Find out in this fast, fierce dexterity game.

Each player is scholar trying to mail papers to different universities. The first to mail all his papers wins.

To setup, each player gets a hand of five playing cards. All players simultaneously play one card at a time from his hand and places it down in front of himself into one of four stacks, one for each suit in front of each player. Each card played to a suit must be of a higher rank than the previous one played. You may draw one card from the deck at a time. The game ends when one player has run out of cards in his hand.

The player with the most cards played in front of himself wins. Every card left in hand cancels one card played. Thus, a tension between maximizing score and not getting stuck with a bunch of cards in hand.

Your Turn:
ART OF CORE


Fred:
ART OF CORE

A competitive doodling game in the vein of Pictionary. Players get a topic to draw and a style they must draw it in. The style is named "_____core" (e.g., hardcore, etc), and the more ridiculous the better. "Draw an Elephant" ... "in the NOODLECORE style". Players try to guess what the player is drawing as the clock ticks down. If they guess correctly, that player's team gets a point. The host of the game (not a player on either team) then hears a case made from each team for and against whether the illustration did in fact embody the essentials of the ____core art style. If the "for" team sways the host, they score an extra point.

Your Turn:
DIGGING STRANGE EARTH


Daniel:
DIGGING STRANGE EARTH

This is a chit-pull game where the players are dwarven miners who DUG TOO DEEP and find STRANGE THINGS. This game comes with three numbered bags and an assortment of Gem tokens placed in bag III, more in bag III, and most in bag I. Gem tokens feature various bits of information, like point value, magical effects, and so on, most conditional based the bag from which the gem was found.

Bag I represents the surface mines. Bag II represents the cavernous undercontinent of monsters and creatures. Bag III represents the ethereal netherrealms from which few ever return to tell the tale.

On your turn, you pull Bag I. You can pull again from Bag I, or pull from Bag II. You can pull again from Bag II or pull from Bag III.

When each tokens' effects are resolved, they're placed in one higher bag than the one in which they came. A Token from Bag I goes to Bag II and so on. A token from Bag III becomes an overall victory point condition. When a certain number of tokens emerge from Bag III, the game ends.

Generally, tokens in Bag III grant higher rewards, but may also result in explosions, curses, monsters, and so on. Players are trying to achieve their own objectives while also accommodating the objectives emerging from Bag III.


Your Turn:
TRAINING BAY


Fred:
TRAINING BAY

You're all pirate ship captains without crews. Nobody with any experience wants to work with you! So you've got to train up a new crew yourself. Problem is, you've got a limited amount of time before you have to set sail, because the royal navy has learned of your port's location and are on the way to arrest the lot of you. How good will your crew be by the time you set sail?

This is sort of a worker placement game, where you're moving your recruits around to various limited-slot places around the bay (board) so they can level up (increasing their value) as pirates. Some slots aren't even available to you unless you've gotten your guy leveled up to a given minimum, so the options expand the further game play goes.

An on-board turn "timer" represents the approach of the royal navy. Certain unlockable-with-a-trained-recruit slots on the board can cause the Navy to accelerate its approach, but that's really only desirable if you think you've got the edge with the best-trained crew. So the length of the game can vary by a few turns, giving added pressure.

Optionally, you can also give a bonus for "setting sail" early; this removes you from training your crew further, but the point bonus might be worth it.

Your Turn:
MOON ATTIC


Daniel:
MOON ATTIC

This is a fancifully themed game inspired by the Pixar short La Luna.

Long ago, the moon was much closer to earth. On the brightest night of the month, the villagers would send rowboats out to the middle of the sea equiped with ladders, brooms and satchels. Crews row out to the middle of the sea and hoist a ladder to the moon and sweep up as much starlight as possible on a single night. For two weeks each night, the moon would get dimmer and dimmer until the night was pitch black. Then the moon would start collecting starlight again, starting the process all over again in another two weeks.

Players crew row boats with their meeples, sending them out to sea so they can collect starlight from the moon's surface. Players bid colored starlight to get their meeples in the best position on the best rowboats with the best equipment. The game components include a large circular "moon" board that will have a random amount of plastic gems in various colors. The board is divided into crescents so it looks like the moon is gradually going through its phases while players harvest the gems.

Once auctions have been settled, harvesting proceeds as follows:

Each player takes x turns, each time collecting y starlights, to a maximum capacity of z.
X is determined by how many meeples you've sent out to sea.
Y is determined by the quality of their equipment.
Z is determined by the size of the boat.

After returning with a haul of starlight, players may buy items that either improve the village or improve their harvesting ability. Each item you buy costs a certain combination of starlights. These items can include street lights, lamps, artwork, etc, which grant the most victory points. Other items improve your X, Y, or Z values but grant fewer victory points.

The game lasts a set number of months/rounds. At the end, victory is determined by the quality of life that each player has created for the village. (Most Victory Points, basically)

Your Turn:
FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE


Fred:
FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE

A tile placement game like Tsuro, each player controls a bumblebee that's trying to make a tour of as many flowers in the field as possible. Flight routes between the flowers are fickle, though, and change as players put down tiles. Once you've managed to create a path from where you are to a flower you need to collect a token from, you can fly your bumblebee there and collect it. Tiles can be replaced, though, and you might find yourself stuck on that flower for a while after the other players make their moves. (Basic sequence of play is place a tile, move your bee, collect pollen token if you haven't visited that flower before.) Play ends when the board is full of tiles. Player with the most/highest value pollen tokens wins.

Your Turn:
NOODLE NIGHT


Daniel:
NOODLE NIGHT

This is a string-laying game in the same family as String Railway. Each player has a supply of shoe laces in their own color, each set containing strings of different lengths. The game also comes with a large looped string to designate the legal playing area and a very long black string to show how far away you must be from the playing area when you take your turn. Once that distance is determined, toss this string into the play area.

On your turn, take one of your strings, position yourself the legal distance from the play area, and toss your string into the play area. That's it!

At the end of the game, you will score one point for each player's string that is on top of yours. You will lose one point for each string that touches the edge of the play area or the black string. Thus, you want to cover as much surface area as you can to maximize your potential score from other players, but you also want to avoid the penalty zones.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.