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Thosw's Design-N-Stuff

Just a way for me to keep track of thoughts on games I'm designing.

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Designer's Diary - Memphis - V1.0 (kinda)

Mike Cooper
United States
Lewisville
Texas
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Genesis: A friend introduced me to the Mayfair crayon rail series of games, which are fun as a social activity, but can take a long time to play (think 1 hour per player) and there's not a lot of interaction. I decided that I liked pick-up-and-deliver games, but wanted something that played in less time and had at least some interaction between players. Before I knew better, I based it in Egypt, which is overdone. However, given that I've included quarrying of the stone and the end result is building monuments, I think I can get away with it at least until I try to publish, then it'll probably turn into construction in the city.

Overview: A pick-up-and-deliver game for 2-6 (may scale down to 4 due to building constraints on the board). Stones (cubes) are mined at the quarry upstream, then delivered to the desert and put into predetermined monument locations based on a random tile setup. When a monument is complete, the cubes are removed from the board and a replica of the actual monument is put in its place. The building of the pyramids act as a game timer. Once the last pyramid is built, the game is over.

Rules: These have changed significantly since the original idea and subsequent playtests, but since I'm starting new documentation online, I'm going to go ahead and call these v1.0. I'm currently using an action point system for resource movement (loading on barge/transport to desert/unloading to sled/transport to monument location/installation) and have decided I want to use the same type of action point allowance as in Niagara, coupled together with variable player power cards as in Mission: Red Planet. The player powers will either let you do positive things for yourself, or let you do negative things to other players.

Scoring: Completed monuments (except for the pyramids) score points based on their size. High score wins. Building on the pyramid gives you bonuses (haven't decided what type yet), but, of course, advance the end of the game.

Strategy: I'm looking for a balanced play between getting bonuses that will help build your monuments and stay a step ahead of your opponents versus hastening the ending of the game.

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Issues: The first full playtest took three hours with three people - not what I was looking for. I chalked it up to the size of the board and the fact that you could choose anywhere on the board to build (there were score multipliers that went up the further into the desert you built). The game was functional, but not fun. The interaction wasn't what I had hoped for, and it was tough keeping track of 20 action points (plus bonuses or minus penalties) each turn.
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Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:24 pm
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Designer's Diary - Three-Fingered Lefty - V1.0 (kinda)

Mike Cooper
United States
Lewisville
Texas
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Genesis: I was bored one day at work and came up with the name first, of all things. I decided the game would revolve around defusing bombs (which actually has nothing to do with the game at all now except for the artwork).

Overview: A "Take that!" card game for 3-6 people wherein you have to bluff your way into being average, because having the most or least points in a round isn't good. Low and high hands get the sum total of both hands.

Rules: Each round, players are dealt 10 cards from a deck of 60 that range (right now) from -2 to 3. Each player plays a card either on themselves or on another player, either face up or face down. The most cards you can get in front of you is 10, and half of them have to be face up (with the other half face down, naturally). Once everyone has 10 cards in front of them, players turn over all their face down cards, match up the negative and positive numbers to cancel them out, then add up whatever they have left. Hands are scored, then the entire deck is shuffled and re-dealt. Play a number of rounds equal to the number of players.

Scoring: Note: The scoring needs someone better than I to explain them. I'll have to give an example or two. I guess the easiest way to figure scoring is to use the following steps each round:

1. Is anyone tied for high points ?
-- Add their scores together and mark down the high total, but do not score them yet.
2. Does anyone have a zero or negative points?
-- If so, do not score them yet.
3. If no one has zero or negative points, is anyone tied for low points?
-- Add their scores together and mark down the low total. but do not score them yet.
4. Score everyone who does not have a high or low hand.
5. Add together all the points for high and low hands, taking into account that a negative score counts as a zero, not the negative value.
-- Each player with either a high or low hand gets those points.

The winner is the player with the lowest score after the required number of rounds.

Ties are broken by whichever tied player had the lowest score in the previous round, going back as far as necessary to break the tie.

Strategy: This is very much a "bash the leader" type of game. If you don't pay attention to whoever has the least number of points after each round and gang up on them, they can slip under the radar and you'll have a hard time going after them later. Above all, though, you have to remember that whatever the leader gets, someone else will get those points too; so you have to make sure it's not you.

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Issues: Gameplay is okay, but is pretty formulaic and actually isn't that much fun yet. I'm chalking it up to the small range of positive and negative numbers. This will probably need some tweaking, which I'm doing with a spreadsheet to come up with point totals.
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Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:40 pm
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