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Update (7/17/12):
Current Rules
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/ArgoRules.pdf
Current Cards
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/argodeck.PDF
Current Low-Ink Cards
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/argodeck_lowink.PDF
Current Card Backs
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/argodeck_backs.PDF


(Your Name Here) and the Argonauts is a game participating in the 2012 Solitaire Print and Play competition:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-print-...



Short Description:
(Your Name Here) and the Argonauts is single player game of adventures and legends set in Grecian mythology. You will take on the role of a hero set out to recover treasure, slay monsters, and find a place for yourself in the retelling of Greek myths.

The game is played with a set of (initially) 30 cards that represent the monsters, treasures, and gods will become the tale of your adventure. This deck, and your character, will change and grow as you play more games, which is meant to reflect how tales become more embellished and outlandish each time they are told.

Game Components:
Adventure deck (To be printed by you)
A six-sided die
Tokens/blocks/whatever to represent the members of your crew. (For true authenticity, I recommend meeples.)
A pen/marker

Approximate play time:
10-15 minutes

(Longer) Game Description:
You will begin the game with a crew of adventurers, which will be represented by tokens of some sort. Each turn you flip over the top three cards of the adventure deck. These cards will represent monsters, treasures, and the favors of the gods. You must then allocate your crew members to each of the cards. After all of your crew have their tasks, you roll against each card. The more crew members you have on a card, the likelier you are to resolve it positively. Monsters are defeated and treasures are won. Fail the roll and treasures will be lost to you, and monsters will send your crew members to Hades. As you are among the crew, once they have all died you will also be on your way to meet Charon.

Once the deck has been exhausted, the adventure is complete and you have won! The game is not over however. After each successful retelling of your adventures, the story grows! Much like tales become taller every time they are told, the adventure deck will become more legendary each time you win.

All of the cards in the game will have check boxes on them that will be used to represent the level of the card. Cards that were defeated or captured after a successful adventure will be marked: monsters will become stronger and treasures will lose durability. At some point, I also want cards that have been 'leveled up' to a point to bring in reinforcements by adding new cards to the deck.

Additionally, so that the player may keep up, the player will also level up after successful adventures. This will allow the player to start with a larger crew, add new items to the deck, as well as whatever else I come up with.


I ordered a real deck of the cards, but I haven't gotten them yet. So for now, I'm using Chad's image from the awesome VASSAL mod he made as my contest image:
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Mike Arlington
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Idea Phase
Current Goal:
Have an adventure deck created in a week. This will most likely not have the 'leveling up' information printed on it.
Also: Start creating a card graphical layout that will hold the level up information without being too cluttered.
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Albert Hernandez
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Idea Phase
I really like the working title. I hope it sticks
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Idea Phase
Haha. Thanks! It is kinda long, but maybe it will stick. I was thinking that once I had a design for the card backs, I would release the image with just the 'And the Argonauts' text so that people could drop their own name (or their hero's name) in there before they print it.
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Idea Phase
I'll be interested to see how you pull off the leveling effect across multiple games.
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Idea Phase
So far I have made up a whole bunch of numbers and have made rough ideas for most of the cards that will be in the deck and reserve deck. I haven't tested any of them yet, and I assume all of the numbers will have to change, but I wanted to keep this thread up to date with the progress I am making.

So without further ado, let me show what I've been working on. Keep in mind I have no art done yet, and am just beginning to learn how to use nanDECK.



These are two of the monsters I made up some numbers for. I originally just wanted to make the monsters and items have different levels for the different number of times they were beaten in order to give the game some replay value. What I realized when I started making numbers though, is that there is some interesting opportunities for the player to make strategic decisions here.

Let's go over the card layout first. The interesting things are the check boxes, which represent the number of times this card has been defeated. Below that are a couple colored bars. The blue bar represents the difficulty of the monster and is a modifier on the roll of the dice made for combat. The red bar represents the deadliness of the monster and tells how many crew are eaten if the monster wins or is ignored.
Look at the last check that you have made and go down to see what numbers you will use when this monster appears. For instance on the skeleton card: The first time you meet him, as well as after you have defeated him once, he has a combat modifier of -1. Beat him twice, and he now has a combat modifier of +0. Defeat him three more times and this becomes a +1.

So the skeleton is one of the weakest monsters in the deck, with a terrible modifier to start that gets slightly better as it is defeated. Not much strategy here, it's probably a good idea to take the easy kill when this monster comes up.

Next up is the Hydra. For thematic purposes, the Hydra gains strength more quickly than any other enemy, for if you cut off one head, two more will spring up in its place. As you can see, killing the Hydra will make it much more fearsome the next time you encounter it. Here is where strategy can come in: Do you defeat the Hydra to ensure the safety of your crew, or do you allow the Hydra to defeat you in order to keep it at a manageable level?


So there is the basic idea. Soon I will put up an example of some monsters with special abilities as well as some treasures, so that more of (what I think will be) the interesting player decisions can be shown.

Please let me know if you have any feedback, and thanks for reading!
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Idea Phase
I've been fairly productive this weekend:

I've printed up a first draft of the rules.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/ArgoRules.pdf

I've created a first draft of most the cards in the deck.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/argodeck.PDF

Learned a bunch about how to use nanDECK and InkScape.


After initial play-testing, I feel like there is potential in the game. I believe it may take a bit of tweaking on the numbers (and there are a lot of them), but it should be a fun and quick game in the end. Play time ended up being around 10 minutes, which I am OK with. It was a lot quicker than I originally thought it would be, but due to the nature of the game, quick is good. The real meat of the design is seen in multiple plays and the way the cards change and how you act towards them based on future consequences and rewards.

If you take a look at the game and want to help me out, there is some specific feedback I am looking for right now:
Do all the monster/item abilities make sense?
While the rules will be filled out with images and play examples, do the core rules, as presented, make sense?

Next on my agenda is:
Work on the art for the cards.
Number balancing and possible rule modifications.
PLAY TEST!
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
How do I tell which cards have the reserve symbol? I don't see any marks in any bottom right corners...
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Mike Arlington
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
Oops! I forgot to add them.

The starting deck should be the first three pages + Orpheus' Lyre and the two Blessing of Hera cards.

Additionally, I haven't created the player card yet if you are looking for that.

Thanks for catching that Nate! I will try and update the cards after I get off of work tonight.
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Cilantro V
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
I officially request that this game come with a sheet of "Hello, my name is ..." name badges
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Manuel Ingeland
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
WHAT??!
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
@Cilantro: Haha. I can probably make that happen. "Hello my name is" in some Ancient Greek font.

@Manuel: I DON'T KNOW!?!


There are new versions of the cards available at the same link as before:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/argodeck.PDF

I added the reserve symbol, made the graphics of the stone blocks and column sharper, and added some cutting guide lines around the cards.

The rules were also changed, but just to show what the "Reserve" symbol looks like for clarification. Same link on those as well:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/ArgoRules.pdf


Thanks for taking a look!
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Manuel Ingeland
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
Sorry, a new user posted some very weird ads here a few hours ago. Handbags and the like. Looks like BGG has erased him by now.
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
CIlantr0 wrote:
I officially request that this game come with a sheet of "Hello, my name is ..." name badges




I actually still had to design one more card to hit 54, so I thought that your suggestion was a sign as to what I should do with it.

Enjoy!
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Joe Wiltshire
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
I made some changes!

Current Rules
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/ArgoRules.pdf
Current Cards
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/argodeck.PDF
Current Low-Ink Cards
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/84543775/argodeck_lowink.PDF

All new files can also be found in the OP.

I created a low ink version of all the cards, which will hopefully entice some more people to try the game out. I should have done that immediately, but I will chalk that mistake up to inexperience. It shan't happen again!

Siren's ability has been reduced from 2 to 1 crew member mesmerized by her song. I felt like early in the game she can really mess you up if she causes you to lose rolls you should have made without her in your business.

Gorgon's ability has been modified and reworded. She has ruined my game several times by killing 5 guys at once, fairly early on. I feel like she may be too high risk to bother fighting at all, which is not good. She will most likely be changed again in the near future.

Hydra hasn't changed, but needs to. There is currently no reason to fight the Hydra, and it ends up being a "Lose 1 crew when this card appears" situation, which isn't an interesting gameplay decision.

Speaking of cards that need to change but haven't yet: Mirrored Shield. It only really helps against two monsters. (The Siren and Gorgon). I either need to change its ability, make it help against more monsters, or remove it. Not sure which yet.

I added a new rule to the rulebook that I have been testing and enjoying: Random Acts of Heroism! Basically, if you roll a natural '1', you automatically succeed. It can be helpful near the end of the game when you are low on crew members and need a miracle.

There are some art changes I am working on. I'm kinda proud of the art I am producing, but that is probably because I am not an artist and don't know any better! Anyway, any feedback you have on the art as well would be greatly appreciated. I do want this game to look at least somewhat interesting.

And of course if you have played the game, or even just looked at the rules or cards, please let me know what you think! Any feedback is good feedback, love the game or hate the game.

Thanks!
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
Forgot to include the first draft Player's Card. All of the card files should now include it.
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Paolo G
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
Mike,

I have tried your game, although so far I have only managed to play it twice, and can offer you mostly thoughts rather than solid feedback.

I like the theme, and I think you are putting it to good use.

The mechanic for resolving cards is simple, but, as you noted, it lends itself to strategic considerations: to me, simple + interesting = good. Blessing and Wrath cards are a nice touch too.

I like the idea of replayability and the way you are handling it with the combination of monsters levelling up and expanding the adventure deck. I also have an issue on this, but more on it later.

The numbers and abilities on the cards do make sense to me, with perhaps a doubt about Scylla (potentially disruptive, though that introduces a tough choice, which is good) and Poseidon's Trident (I like the idea of Wrath cards...). More playtesting will tell more.

A few thoughts and issues:

Why do some cards have difficulty ratings that go down at some levels? I understand this if the deadliness simultaneously goes up (though I would keep the same difficulty rather than decreasing it: what am I missing here?), like in the Colchian Dragon card, but not otherwise (the Cerberus card, for instance). I suspect you might have thematic reasons for this, but they are not clear to me at the moment.

Speaking of difficulty: what about making You (the hero) different from your crewmembers, by having you count like two crewmembers when assigned to a card, but also having the game immediately end in defeat if the card is not won? This could be linked to Heroic Deeds, and would be even more interesting if the player had to assign You the Hero each turn (leading by example...).

Also, a minor quibble: "roll under" is usually less intuitive than "roll over". I would consider restating the rolling mechanic by replacing monsters' modifiers with target numbers and translate assigned crewmembers into a positive modifier rather than a threshold to roll under. Example: if my math does not fail me, a +1 monster you assign three crewmembers to currently requires the player to roll 2 or less to succeed (barring any Treasure). This is equivalent to beating a target of seven (a basic six +1) with a roll for which you have a modifier of +3 (to get an 8+, you would need to roll 5 or higher).

One addition you might want to explore is some stacking effect for some monster cards (sirens, harpies, skeletons) if they are drawn in the same round. The same might be applied to Blessing and Wrath cards.

Finally, replayability. As much as i like the idea and the way you are dealing with it, I doubt that complete open-ended replayability can be achieved, no matter how you handle it (maybe this is not even your intention). I wonder whether a "limited replayability" would add or detract from the game; specifically, I'm thinking of limiting the number of replays for each You the Hero, and introducing some sort of score (crewmembers left?) that stacks with each hero's adventure: each hero would then have a "story" and a final score to be remembered. This would also allow you to eliminate check boxes on Treasures (which do not always make sense to me thematically) and have the hero keep Treasures with continuous effects from one adventure to the next (that is, unless you introduce cards that steal these treasures from the hero... maybe Wrath cards...).

Overall, I find your game interesting and had fun playing it, so I'm going to play it again in the coming days, and look forward to seeing further developments.

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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
Eustonius wrote:
Mike,

I have tried your game, although so far I have only managed to play it twice, and can offer you mostly thoughts rather than solid feedback.

I like the theme, and I think you are putting it to good use.

The mechanic for resolving cards is simple, but, as you noted, it lends itself to strategic considerations: to me, simple + interesting = good. Blessing and Wrath cards are a nice touch too.

I like the idea of replayability and the way you are handling it with the combination of monsters levelling up and expanding the adventure deck. I also have an issue on this, but more on it later.

The numbers and abilities on the cards do make sense to me, with perhaps a doubt about Scylla (potentially disruptive, though that introduces a tough choice, which is good) and Poseidon's Trident (I like the idea of Wrath cards...). More playtesting will tell more.


Thank you!
Speaking to Scylla's ability, that was chosen for a thematic reason. You can avoid Scylla, but you stand the risk of Charybdis swallowing your ship. (Conversely, if you avoid Charybdis you must pass by Scylla and will inevitably lose crew members, which explains that monsters ability as well. 6 crew lost would have been more appropriate, but obviously would not have worked =D)

Most of the time I feel like the player will just fight Scylla, but if she appears near the end of the deck when you are low on crew, it may be worth it, much like Odysseus risked it the second time he passed through the Strait of Messina.

Eustonius wrote:

A few thoughts and issues:

Why do some cards have difficulty ratings that go down at some levels? I understand this if the deadliness simultaneously goes up (though I would keep the same difficulty rather than decreasing it: what am I missing here?), like in the Colchian Dragon card, but not otherwise (the Cerberus card, for instance). I suspect you might have thematic reasons for this, but they are not clear to me at the moment.

It was a mechanic I wanted to explore and see how it affected gameplay. Some of them are chosen for mechanical reasons and one is thematic.
The Sphinx card (which starts in the reserves) was chosen for thematic reasons. Once you've solved the riddle, the Sphinx isn't much of a threat.
For cards that add other cards, I tried to tie difficulty/deadliness progression to when new cards would be added. Defeating the "bad adds" (Typhon, Echidna, Ketos, Cerberus), reduces their difficulty but dilutes the deck with monster cards.

Eustonius wrote:

Speaking of difficulty: what about making You (the hero) different from your crewmembers, by having you count like two crewmembers when assigned to a card, but also having the game immediately end in defeat if the card is not won? This could be linked to Heroic Deeds, and would be even more interesting if the player had to assign You the Hero each turn (leading by example...).

I'm not sure if I love the idea of having an instant loss condition, but this is definitely something I can try and see how it feels.

Eustonius wrote:

Also, a minor quibble: "roll under" is usually less intuitive than "roll over". I would consider restating the rolling mechanic by replacing monsters' modifiers with target numbers and translate assigned crewmembers into a positive modifier rather than a threshold to roll under. Example: if my math does not fail me, a +1 monster you assign three crewmembers to currently requires the player to roll 2 or less to succeed (barring any Treasure). This is equivalent to beating a target of seven (a basic six +1) with a roll for which you have a modifier of +3 (to get an 8+, you would need to roll 5 or higher).

I believe you are correct in this matter. When I started playing, it took a little while for me to know what number I needed, and I knew what I was doing. I will swap all these numbers around for the next update. Thanks!

Eustonius wrote:

One addition you might want to explore is some stacking effect for some monster cards (sirens, harpies, skeletons) if they are drawn in the same round. The same might be applied to Blessing and Wrath cards.

That is a fantastic idea! It works perfectly theme-wise with the Harpies and the Skeletons. (The skeleton army being from the old Jason and the Argonauts movie and not any Greek mythology I could find =p)
It also gives the Harpies a bit more bite, which I felt they were lacking. Sirens would make sense thematically also, but I am hesitant to add more copies to the deck. I might pluralize the Siren card though so that it represents all the Sirens at once.

Eustonius wrote:

Finally, replayability. As much as i like the idea and the way you are dealing with it, I doubt that complete open-ended replayability can be achieved, no matter how you handle it (maybe this is not even your intention). I wonder whether a "limited replayability" would add or detract from the game; specifically, I'm thinking of limiting the number of replays for each You the Hero, and introducing some sort of score (crewmembers left?) that stacks with each hero's adventure: each hero would then have a "story" and a final score to be remembered. This would also allow you to eliminate check boxes on Treasures (which do not always make sense to me thematically) and have the hero keep Treasures with continuous effects from one adventure to the next (that is, unless you introduce cards that steal these treasures from the hero... maybe Wrath cards...).

Yes, an over-arching victory condition is something that had crossed my mind. Even if the player kept playing forever, eventually everything will be checked off. (Except maybe the Hydra. Gotta fix the Hydra.)

I worry that if the total score requires several play-throughs, would people still be interested in the scoring? I feel like there may be some sort of apathy if I have to beat the game 6 times to get my score.
How about play 10 times, and your score is the number of wins you had in those 10? I'm just brainstorming here.

The check boxes on the treasure are meant to be the same as the check boxes on the monsters: Each time a tale is retold, it becomes a grander "big fish story". So it's not so much: "I went out on an adventure, succeeded and an going out again" as it is "This time I am telling the story the Cyclops was 20 meters tall! Don't worry that I told everyone last time he was only 10 meters tall."

I also believe treasures carrying over would quickly break the game. Some of them are quite powerful. I could perhaps make some of the level ups on the player card be "Start the game with the Sword of Peleus" or something to that effect. I'll think about this one.

Eustonius wrote:

Overall, I find your game interesting and had fun playing it, so I'm going to play it again in the coming days, and look forward to seeing further developments.

Thanks again. I really appreciate the great feedback!
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
cznrhubarb wrote:

Speaking to Scylla's ability, that was chosen for a thematic reason. You can avoid Scylla, but you stand the risk of Charybdis swallowing your ship. (Conversely, if you avoid Charybdis you must pass by Scylla and will inevitably lose crew members, which explains that monsters ability as well. 6 crew lost would have been more appropriate, but obviously would not have worked =D)

Most of the time I feel like the player will just fight Scylla, but if she appears near the end of the deck when you are low on crew, it may be worth it, much like Odysseus risked it the second time he passed through the Strait of Messina.


You really know your Greek myths!


cznrhubarb wrote:

For cards that add other cards, I tried to tie difficulty/deadliness progression to when new cards would be added. Defeating the "bad adds" (Typhon, Echidna, Ketos, Cerberus), reduces their difficulty but dilutes the deck with monster cards.


Good point, I hadn't thought about the bad adds (I've played too few games so far).

cznrhubarb wrote:

I'm not sure if I love the idea of having an instant loss condition


I understand, that's not for everyone and not for every game.

cznrhubarb wrote:

Even if the player kept playing forever, eventually everything will be checked off.


That's my worry: once all the boxes are checked, one might be tempted to see the game as "finished", even if it still has replay value. But I can't offer any better suggestion on this.

cznrhubarb wrote:

I worry that if the total score requires several play-throughs, would people still be interested in the scoring? I feel like there may be some sort of apathy if I have to beat the game 6 times to get my score.


I agree, this might be a problem for someone.

cznrhubarb wrote:

Each time a tale is retold, it becomes a grander "big fish story". So it's not so much: "I went out on an adventure, succeeded and an going out again" as it is "This time I am telling the story the Cyclops was 20 meters tall! Don't worry that I told everyone last time he was only 10 meters tall."


This interpretation changes things (and I like it); check boxes on treasures make more sense seen through this lens. Actually you said it earlier in the thread, but I had forgot, sorry.

Keep up the good work, I want this game in my collection!
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
The rules have been further updated. I added a bit of an introduction at the start, as well as a bunch of graphics that should help explain some things I was probably taking for granted.

Additionally, some of Paolo's suggestions have been implemented:
Monsters no longer have a +/- difficulty, and instead have a target number. The number of crew on a card is added to your die roll, and you are attempting to reach AT OR OVER the monster difficulty now.
Additionally, Skeletons and Harpies have been given a buff. They now become more difficult to kill when encountered in groups.

All new files can be acquired in the OP. As always, any and all feedback is both welcome and greatly appreciated!
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
Actually, Mike, having read the rules, I do think I can make a vassal module out of this. You can save your games in vassal, so you would just keep a running record of each game went in a save file. When you start a game, you will just have to load the save file and start your progress from where you left off.

Based on the way that I read the rules, the only marks you have to make on your cards are checking off boxes.

If that is the case, then I can totally pull this off.

I could not pull this off if you had to write text on the cards. (unless it was the same text.)

Let me know if this is the case. If so, then this will be my new game to vassalfy after I have done the two I am working on.
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
No, it's just check boxes on the cards, no text. If you think you can complete it then, I would be incredibly grateful. Thank you!
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
More cards and rules changes. As always, new files available in OP.

Hydra has been given a bonus for defeating, giving people a reason to fight it. Upon defeating the Hydra AND beating a game, you earn an extra heroic deed. This may be a bit much however, considering the new rule added to the game. There is now a 'Complete Victory' condition: Once all of the heroic deeds have been checked on the player card, the hero retires and the game is done. There is also a simple scoring method that is total number of defeats, lower being better obviously.

I like the new power on the Hydra as it gives the card a meaningful choice. I worry that with the Golden Fleece and the Hydra however, it may take rather few games for a complete victory. I also hope that it doesn't cause people to race through the game by attempting to focus on the Hydra and Fleece. I may do some tweaking (Hydra only gives the bonus at level 3+; More heroic deed check boxes on the player card; etc).

The other thing on the agenda is the same thing that has been on the agenda the whole time: Try to make less crappy art.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP - (Your name here) and the Argonauts - 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Initial Playtesting
Any luck with the less crappy art? You could always use images off of greek vases on the Wikimedia Commons.

That would be a pretty easy and thematic solution.
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