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R Moore
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Hey everyone! The kids in my board game club have all come up with game ideas. They would love it if other board gamers and game designers took a look at thier creations and offered feedback.


Each student was asked to summarize thier game with a title, brief thematic description and game mechanics to be used. They each made up a code name for themselves as well. Enjoy!


Fury of the Great Lakes
It's the booming 1800's. Around the majestic great lakes, freighters glide through, carrying precious copper, salt, coal and lumber. You have taken control of your own franchise of shipping vessels.

Sail to Chicago, pass through the Sault locks. Look out for storms! Pick up and deliver your own cargo and take control of your shipping fleet. Be the first franchise to own five ships and win.

Game Mechanics:
Resource Management
Auction/Bidding
Pickup and Deliver

Game Design by Captain Strong - 8th grade boy.

Vacation Madness
Your family is trying to plan a fun vacation but there's a twist. One or more family members don't want to go on vacation at all.

This game is about a family working together, except for the one or two people who are bad. The family is trying to make a vacation itinerary that involves fun and interesting places across the United States. The bad family members will trying to ruin the vacation by directing the family to the dump and police stations.

Each person playing will have a personality card describing the place in the family.

Mechanics:
-Card Drafting
-Cooperative Play
-Variable Play Powers

Game Design by SpyGirl - 6th grade girl.

Full Throttle
Be Smart. Know your Bike. Know when to accelerate. Create, customize and change your ride.

Full throttle involves a series of motorcycle races using cards to accelerate and shift gears in order. At the end of each race players have the opportunity to upgrade their bikes.

Mechanics:
-Hand Management
-Area Movement
-Auction or Bidding

Game design by Bones - 6th grade boy.

Bows and Arrows
You are in the reaping. Your name has been drawn. You must make the right choices or DIE. Will you give the president a rueful glare or will you smile politely and wave? Every action has a reaaction. What weapon will you fight with? A trident or shuriken? There are 35 unique weapons from which to chose.

Fight to the death on live TV or use your resources to beat the games.

Mechanics:
-Card Drawing
-Simulation
-Simultanious Action Selection

Game desgin by Katnip - 6th grade girl.

Craftable
Survive the wild by buying and building. You start with nothing but $1500 in your pocket with which you may buy your basic survival gear such as wood tools, leather armor & stone tools. As you build and sell and buy you may increase your gold and supplies to build and buy bigger and better things. The game ends when the store's supplies are depleted. The player with the most valuable colletion of treasure and supplies wins!

Mechanics:
- Dice Rolling
- Hand / Resource management
- Resource Trading
- Buying and Selling

Game design by Crystal Blue - 6th grade girl.

The Jewel of Infinate Energy
You are a discarded, experimental, robot genreral with memory error. You must cooperate with other discared robots to find your second in command and tell the others what has happened. Collect your troops, find your power source and defeat the villain who stolen your memory.

Game Mechanics:
- Resource management
- Tile Placement
- Tile Capture
- Cooperative play

Game designed by Robot 001 - 8th grade boy.

Chasers!

Live out the food chain in a suburban environment! You will be playing the role of a dog catcher, a dog, a cat or a mouse. Hide behind walls. sneak around the couch. Jump, pounce and leapfrog onto your prey.

Chasers involves a 3 dimensional board where players try to be the last creature standing. The mouse and the dog work together and the cat and the dog-catcher work together. Decide where to move, where you move changes what happens.

Game Mechanics:
- Variable player powers
- Partners
- Secret unit deployment

Game designed by: AcmeNinja


special note:
Thanks to funkdonut for inspiration and direction.
Madame Mercury
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James Fung
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
I would comment but it's hard to say much from these short descriptions; Race for the Galaxy and Through the Ages have hand management, but it's hard to understand either game based on that datum. Maybe have students post a sample turn?
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
fusag wrote:
I would comment but it's hard to say much from these short descriptions; Race for the Galaxy and Through the Ages have hand management, but it's hard to understand either game based on that datum. Maybe have students post a sample turn?


I agree. There just isn't enough info to give constructive feedback.
 
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R Moore
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
kohlhatter wrote:
fusag wrote:
I would comment but it's hard to say much from these short descriptions; Race for the Galaxy and Through the Ages have hand management, but it's hard to understand either game based on that datum. Maybe have students post a sample turn?


I agree. There just isn't enough info to give constructive feedback.


That's as far as we got. It's an after school game design program and I am exposing them to all sorts of different games at the same time. So you know.. provide some constructive feedback if you can.
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Alanna
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
I agree that there isn't much to go on in terms of giving feedback. But I definitely think it is VERY cool that you are encouraging kids to be creative and think up their own game ideas!

Fury of the Great Lakes
Captain Strong: A good starting idea! To stand out from the many other 'pick up and deliver' type games, I suggest letting the 1800s Great Lakes theme really shine for yours. See if you can think up a unique gameplay element.

Vacation Madness
SpyGirl: This sounds really fun. Maybe, instead of the bad family members taking the family to the dump, they're just trying to direct everyone to what they want to do? For example, perhaps most of the family wants to visit the famous art museum and rose garden... but the "bad" people just want to go to the toy store and fast food restaurant.

Full Throttle
Bones: I like the theme! I haven't played any racing games, but the card element sounds interesting. I'd just try to make sure that the upgrades don't create an unbalanced "runaway leader" type of situation (meaning after the first race, losing players have no possible way to catch up).

Bows and Arrows
Katnip: The description sounds really intriguing, but unfortunately I have no idea what the game is about! All I can say is that personally I'm a fan of simultaneous action selection.

Craftable
Crystal Blue: I like the potential for character backstory as to why you "start with nothing but $1500 in your pocket". What are you building (or, as the name implies, crafting) in this game? I'm curious how "wild" the wild is - are you fighting to stay alive, or do you spend your time leisurely carving stone trinkets?

The Jewel of Infinate Energy
Robot 001: I really like the robot memory error idea. The game title confused me though... does it refer to the robot power source? One thing I'd think about is how to make sure the game is replayable (it would be exciting if the villian is not always the same each game!)
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James Fung
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
Oliphant wrote:
That's as far as we got. It's an after school game design program and I am exposing them to all sorts of different games at the same time. So you know.. provide some constructive feedback if you can.

Well, I have no idea how constructive this will be as I'm basically making blind guesses as to what your students are doing.

Fury of the Great Lakes: Your objective is to get 5 ships. I'm guessing the way to do that is to acquire enough money to buy 5 ships (and not get any sunk by storms), and the way you get money is to use ships. If there is only one dominant strategy (make money, buy ships, make more money, buy more ships), the game can become very flat and boring unless the auction and resource management mechanics compensate (e.g., in typical pick up and deliver games, the game is in manipulating the value of opposing players' commodities or making them waste turns by buying or selling particular goods). Also, when both the game objective and economic engine are so align, it's easy to have a rich get richer / runaway leader problem; many games make players choose between improving their engine and acquiring victory points.

Vacation Madness: How hard is it for the bad family members to remain secret? Otherwise you don't have a cooperative game, but an everyone-against-one (or two) game. What can good family members do if they suspect someone of being bad? On Card Drafting, if it is obvious what is the best card for a player to buy/keep/acquire, the game becomes boring. One way to do this in a cooperative game setting is to limit information sharing between players.

Full Throttle: It seems your game has two components: 1) doing the race as fast as possible; 2) improving your bike to do (1) even better. The danger in these games is if the decisions become obvious, e.g., your first two upgrades should be more acceleration, otherwise you'll be stuck at slow speeds for too many turns; playing your hand/turn becomes a no-brainer. If (1) or (2) are obvious, that's fine as long as they don't take too long to resolve, and many good racing games fit this description (Formula De and Rallyman have non-obvious 1, Speed Circuit is mostly won by doing 2 well). However, they can't both be obvious. One way to prevent (2) from being obvious is to have randomly generated racetracks, but don't let players see parts (or any of it) before they decide on upgrades. I admit I haven't seen a game do (2) really well, so I'm interested in seeing how your game turns out.

Bows and Arrows: Firstly, when basing games off a book or movie you like, make sure you don't accidentally make your favorite character/action/weapon too powerful. As you have named the game after one particular weapon, I am suspicious. Secondly, it sounds like you're aiming for an elaborate rock-paper-scissors game where every action is advantageous or disadvantageous when faced with others. Be sure that there are no automatic moves (i.e. almost nothing beats a bow), and also make sure players have enough information that their simultaneous actions aren't random. This is one of the complaint leveled against the game Yomi, and much has been written on the subject.

Craftable: A similar comment as Fury of the Great Lakes, namely that your economic engine (better equipment) and your objective (having valuable things) are aligned, so there is a danger of runaway winner and/or one obvious dominant strategy. Make sure there are no obvious upgrade paths, i.e. there are many viable strategies: all-wood, all-stone, build a stone oven and powered by wood to smith metal. As your end condition is when the store runs out, it would be a good idea to have some strategies be very powerful once they are setup and other strategies that simply try to buy up things very fast. I'm not entirely certain, but I think this is based off Minecraft?

The Jewel of Infinite Energy: I have very little to say here because I don't know how the game system opposes the cooperative players, but I will say this: the main problem for many cooperative games is if the game is solved and players' moves are obvious. Then the game is like a puzzle you've already done, players do the obvious thing, and there's no interaction. Recommend playing a lot of cooperative games as research to see how they handle this issue.
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Madame Mercury
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
Fantastic!!!!!

How exciting. I'll write more later, but I'm so excited to see what your students have done! And what you have done! Yay!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
Neat ideas and great work for all parties - I've opted to ask questions. Some game references may need to be explained.

Fury of the Great Lakes: Captain Strong

Firstly, I really like your historical setting - it keeps my interest and draws me in. A historical theme with euro mechanics is a tried and tested winning formula. Very quickly I'm thinking of the likes of Brass.

Questions:
How many players will it support?
What will a player's turn look like?
Will you have a board - if so what will it look like?
Will the prices fluctuate or be static?
What are players bidding on - routes, resources, boats?
Will there be any non-player determined luck in your game?
When does the game end?
How will a winner be decided?

Vacation Madness SpyGirl

This concept really stands out for me - I throughly enjoy co-operative games but they always go for 'big themes' - eg Knights of the Round table, fighting a pandemic, firefighting, Battlestar Galactica, etc. I love that you're directly challenging this trend and offering something new by going with a more everyday scenario. Oddly your design is now more unique than any of the big theme ideas - Great start. Mixing a cooperative with a betray element is also an exciting though complicated element.

Questions:
How many players will it support?
What will a player's turn look like?
What Characters will you be going with?
How will the 'betrayal' role be dealt?
How can the betrayer work with the group and stay hidden (Have a look at Battlestar Galaticas solution.)
What happens if the betrayers cover is blown?
How is a winner decided - will it be one team or one individual?
When does the game end?

Full Throttle (good name) - Bones

I like your intro text - it's a good advertisement for what sounds like an exciting game. Getting to customise the bike is a neat idea, though it might create some difficult design choices.


Questions:
How many players will it support?
What will a player's turn look like?
Will your game have a board or just cards?
How will customising the bike work?
Will the tracks be modular or always the same?
How do you stop a runaway leader?
What will players be bidding on? Parts or movement cards?
How will players know who is in the lead?


Bows and Arrows Katnip(good name)

Very memorable and currently highly sought after theme. I'd love to know more about the world that this is set in - is it the past, the present day or the future? It sounds rather dark… which instantly means it will have lots of fans

Questions:
How many players will it support?
What will a player's turn look like?
Will their be a board or is it just about cards?
Who are players fighting - each other or NPCs?
How will combat work?
How is combat order decided?
How do players pick different weapons? Do they buy them or pick them up?
Will weapons have different strengths and weaknesses - how will they interact?
How is a winner decided?
When does the game end?


Craftable Crystal Blue

As a big Minecraft and civilisation building fan this game is right up my street. I'd love to know a little bit more about the setting- am I a lone player or am I the leader of a tribe/civilisation?

Questions:
How many players will it support?
What will a player's turn look like?
Will this game have a board - if so what will it look like?
What resources will a player be able to gather?
What resources will be required to build the buildings?
How will players interact - can they trade, fight, compete for land/resources?
What will be the function of the dice? Is it similar to Catan?
What is the 'store'? Can you elaborate on this concept - what does it comprise of?


The Jewel of Infinite Energy Robot 001

This is an interesting sounding theme - I like the robot angle. I'd like to know a little more about who this villain is and what is the relationship between the players?

Questions:
How many players will it support?
What will a player's turn look like?
Will this game have a board - if so what will it look like?
How will players get new tiles?
What is the function of the tiles what do they do? - are players building to claim certain squares?
Are all the tiles the same or are there different types?
How is a winner decided?
When does the game end?
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
Quote:

Fury of the Great Lakes
It's the booming 1800's. Around the majestic great lakes, freighters glide through, carrying precious copper, salt, coal and lumber. You have taken control of your own franchise of shipping vessels.

Sail to Chicago, pass through the Sault locks. Look out for storms! Pick up and deliver your own cargo and take control of your shipping fleet. Be the first franchise to own five ships and win.

Game Mechanics:
Resource Management
Auction/Bidding
Pickup and Deliver

Game Design by Captain Strong - 8th grade boy.


I love how location-specific it is. What historical information was used in your research? Other than storms, what other challenges do players face? How do players interact?

Quote:

Vacation Madness
Your family is trying to plan a fun vacation but there's a twist. One or more family members don't want to go on vacation at all.

This game is about a family working together, except for the one or two people who are bad. The family is trying to make a vacation itinerary that involves fun and interesting places across the United States. The bad family members will trying to ruin the vacation by directing the family to the dump and police stations.

Each person playing will have a personality card describing the place in the family.

Mechanics:
-Card Drafting
-Cooperative Play
-Variable Play Powers

Game Design by SpyGirl - 6th grade girl.


You know, when I was in Paris, I skipped the Louvre (long lines) in favor of the Paris Sewer Museum, and it was amazing. I can't imagine that the Louvre was better.

For your cooperative game, how are the players' powers balanced? How do you prevent one player from directing all of the action? How many locations are available, what is the time frame for the vacation, and how do you win or lose?

Quote:

Full Throttle
Be Smart. Know your Bike. Know when to accelerate. Create, customize and change your ride.

Full throttle involves a series of motorcycle races using cards to accelerate and shift gears in order. At the end of each race players have the opportunity to upgrade their bikes.

Mechanics:
-Hand Management
-Area Movement
-Auction or Bidding

Game design by Bones - 6th grade boy.


Can players change their bikes to be more diverse in motorcycle styles from a Harley-type road cycle to smaller, quicker sport cycles? How do players actually race? How did you design the race map? How do you win--by winning races or by acquiring points for wins as well as for style?

Quote:

Bows and Arrows
You are in the reaping. Your name has been drawn. You must make the right choices or DIE. Will you give the president a rueful glare or will you smile politely and wave? Every action has a reaaction. What weapon will you fight with? A trident or shuriken? There are 35 unique weapons from which to chose.

Fight to the death on live TV or use your resources to beat the games.

Mechanics:
-Card Drawing
-Simulation
-Simultanious Action Selection

Game desgin by Katnip - 6th grade girl.

Since this game is based on the Hunger Games, are there other aspects of the movie woven into it? How did you create your battle mechanic--what determines win or loss? Do players have any way to control what is in their hand?

Quote:

Craftable
Survive the wild by buying and building. You start with nothing but $1500 in your pocket with which you may buy your basic survival gear such as wood tools, leather armor & stone tools. As you build and sell and buy you may increase your gold and supplies to build and buy bigger and better things. The game ends when the store's supplies are depleted. The player with the most valuable colletion of treasure and supplies wins!

Mechanics:
- Dice Rolling
- Hand / Resource management
- Resource Trading
- Buying and Selling

Game design by Crystal Blue - 6th grade girl.

What challenges do players face--what must they survive? How did you balance what each item costs to figure out the right amount for each item and for each player to have? What if a player runs out of money?

Quote:

The Jewel of Infinate Energy
You are a discarded, experimental, robot genreral with memory error. You must cooperate with other discared robots to find your second in command and tell the others what has happened. Collect your troops, find your power source and defeat the villain who stole your memory.

Game Mechanics:
- Resource management
- Tile Placement
- Tile Capture
- Cooperative play

Game designed by Robot 001 - 8th grade boy.


What powers do the different robots have? How do the robots actually search for the second in command? Is it possible to find your memory, rather than the power source? What does the board look like?


special note:
Thanks to funkdonut for inspiration and direction.
Madame Mercury
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[/q]

I am so impressed by the variety of games that your students have created. It is evident that their ideas are strongly based on player decision making and they had to make a lot of decisions as they worked. Kudos to you for all your hard work. Will you post pictures? I think you got so much accomplished in such a short amount of time. Tell your students that their games sound creative, fun, and worth playing. Tell them that they are real game designers now and they have a lot to be proud of. :)

You rock!!!!!!!
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
It is great to see you encouraging the students this way! All the ideas are imaginative and I'd be glad to play any of them. My advice to all of them is to make prototypes and play as soon as possible! Anyone can make games on paper, but the real work and fun (and sometimes frustration) comes from bringing them into reality and seeing how far they will go.

I put a couple posts on my classroom games blog about this. They include videos with my advice on making board and card games. Please take a look and see if these would be of value with your group. A lot of the advice comes from my own experiences in a high school game club playtesting games with students.

http://classroomgamesandtech.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-to-mak...

http://classroomgamesandtech.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-to-mak...

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R Moore
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
Thanks so much for the feedback everyone!

I will be updating the first post and replying as students have a chance to read and respond.
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R Moore
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Re: Middle School - Board Game Design Club - Student Creations! - Feedback Solicited!
I have just read this to the group and will be working on answering the questions as we develop the games further. You guys are so cool.


From Captain Strong:

Thank you so much for your comments! Please keep posting. I like to hear all your ideas. arrrh

From Katnip:
Thank you for your comments, I love them. I will be working on all your questions.

From Robot001: Thanks for posting suggestions and comments on the game. I will be working on implementing them. meeple

From Spygirl: ninja
 
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