Coy Pond - Prototype A

Coy Pond Art Red

» Download Coy Pond Prototype UPDATE: Koi Pond: A Coy Card Game is now available on DriveThruCards!

After tinkering with Love Me Not last week, I drifted into this other more fully fleshed out idea for a game. Draw three cards into your hand. Keep one face-up on front of you, discard the other face-up and keep the third. On your next turn, you do the same thing, gradually cultivating your hand so it is as balanced as possible with cards in front of you.

At first, I couldn't think of a theme for this. The most obvious at the time was a museum curator, keeping some works on display, but also keeping some works from the same artist in the archives. Alas, Knizia really has the definitive art museum themed card game in Modern Art. So I settled on just calling the game COY. Sometimes just the title of an otherwise abstract game is enough to get across its mood.

But then I started thinking about koi ponds and oh gosh, that led me down the borderline between rapid prototyping and reckless prototyping. I started with some old business cards to create the initial deck.

Testing several times until I got the scoring mechanics settled down into something manageable. Then I got thinking about art, which is WAY TOO SOON. Don't do this, people. Focus on your mechanics before you go polishing the look of your game. I put the cart way before the horse. But anyway, they're pretty pictures I guess.

But for now, I want to actually test the game some more, so here is a barebones print-and-play PDF for you. Coy Pond is a euro-style card game for 2 players that lasts about 15 minutes. I'm eager to hear your thoughts!

» Download Coy Pond Prototype A


  1. Daniel, those illustrations are truly lovely and I sincerely hope this game gets published so the world can enjoy your gorgeous art :)

  2. Aw thanks! I'd love it if you could playtest the game and offer your feedback! That's the best way to make sure it's publishable. :)

  3. This seems like quite an elegant game! I haven't had the chance to try it yet, but I hope to. I did want to point out one typo in the rules: There's a reference to red koi that I believe is meant to be orange koi (it was clear enough from the context, though).

    Good luck with the game!

  4. Daniel, I play tested this with my mother today. She and I both really enjoyed it! Our first game was rocky due to learning the various things that you need to keep your eye on as you play. Following games were much more involved. Balancing your choices in the three different arenas (House, Pond, and River) while watching your opponents pond and what THEY put into the river all makes for some hard choices in such a small game. Smetimes what is more telling is what isn't being played. It can cause a bit of AP, but that is mostly mitigated by simultanious play.

    One of the first things we did away with was the starting piles; I dont know if there is a design or aesthetic purpose for them, but it just took too long to set out fourteen piles. Instead we just dealt three cards to each player for each turn. It's much less hassle and encouraged more "let's play again."

    Putting numbers or the Chinese characters on the top edge of the cards instead of worded numbers will make for easier addition when using offset stacking of suit cards.

    Sometimes hands get flooded with special cards. We found most times we wanted to play these close to the chest, and when your hand is full of of specials, you're forced to reveal yourself and it seems a bit beyond your control.

    The rule sheet needs some proof reading, as there are inconsistencies in the text. Ex: red vs orange, turtle vs frog.

    What concerned me most in the early games was the disparity between points per round. I like games that have close scoring; they are just more exciting :) Our games had point values range from 5-9 points, but this dropped sharply to 1 point victories later on, so possibly that can all be attributed to learning curve.

    All in all, I'm looking forward to more on this one!

  5. That's great to hear, Donnie! Thanks so much for the feedback. Prototype B is going to implement several of your recommendations.

  6. I just printed out Prototype A. My mother taught me to play hanafuda, which has some strong parallels with this theme, and I'm looking forward to playtesting this. Others have already commented on the little typos, but just reading the rules, some fun strategies already present themselves to me. I think the game will present the level of complex challenge people look for in modern games.

    As a trick-taking game (of sorts), and thematically, I'm curious as to why there is no method for taking from the River (which thematically seems like it would be a source of Koi). Picking up discards is such a maddening staple of trick-taking games, was your decision to remove that mechanic a conscious one? If so, what was your motivation?

  7. Indeed, this is less of a trick-taking game and more of a set-collection game, so taking from the discard pile was less of a concern for this iteration. I may include that as an advanced card later though. I could see a "fisherman" card being played to your pond, which in turn would be moved to an opponent's river in exchange for one of their koi.


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