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Subject: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - CONTEST READY! rss

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Chris Alton
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Brothers! Salvation is at hand! King Rat is holed up at the top of the grandfather clock. If we can negotiate our way safely through the clock and plant 4 sticks of dynamite directly beneath his lair we can end his evil reign once and for all. Move swiftly but softly, mice. Our future is in your hands...

Designed for the 2016 9 card Nanogame Print and Play Design Contest 2016

Components
8 Maze cards (or tiles)
1 double sided Start/Target card
The players must provide 4 D6 (any colour!)

Synopsis
A quick nine card brain burning puzzle where you are guiding dynamite-carrying mice through the insides of a grandfather clock. Can you guide all 4 mice to their target before any of them hit an obstacle and explode?

Age: 8+
# of Players: 1
Game Time: 10-20 minutes

Prospective Categories
Best Solitaire Game
Best Written Rules
Best Artwork
Most Innovative Mechanic
Best New designer
Best Greyscale Printed Game

Download Links:
Game Rules v 0.7 FINAL - UPDATED 29 MAR 2016
Full art card fronts v0.2 - UPDATED 14 MAR 2016
Full art card backs v0.0 - UPDATED 14 MAR 2016

Cards (Low Ink) v0.1 - UPDATED 14 MAR 2016

Proof of Concept:-
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Kraig VanHouten
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Ideas and Prototype Phase
Looking forward to seeing this come to fruition. From reading your rules, it looks like something I will definitely give a shot.
 
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Joseph Propati
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Ideas and Prototype Phase
Me too! I love these type of puzzles!
 
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Ideas and Prototype Phase
Okay, here we go...



Quick mock up of some cards, I just scribbled down some pathways - I probably need to do it more scientifically but I just wanted to have a bash as soon as possible.

First impressions....

It's tough! Keeping a handle on which dice are moving where and preventing all of them from hitting anything is a brain burner.
However, already spotted one flaw... if you can create a straight path to the Target before you commit the first mouse, you can just chain them one after another and win the game.

Need to introduce a rule to prevent that. Probably this: - you can't move a dynamouse off the start card if that would move it onto a tile already cointaining a dynamouse.

I'm also thinking you might need to move two tiles per round instead of one.

 
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
I have added the first incarnation of the cards to the opening post in this thread.



I was a little more scientific in creating them this time, reducing the number of dead ends, increasing the number of crossovers and making sure there are hardly any straight lines on them.

Only being able to move one card each time the Dynamice move is far too limiting, so I'm most likely going to change the rules to say "each time you move two cards, one round of game play passes".

I'm also now using dice of 4 different colours, which helps me remember which ones I've moved! It's not necessary, but it all helps.

I'd be really pleased to hear your thoughts.
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
Damn, I'm spamming my own thread laugh

NEW IDEA!!!!!
This is mad. Instead of agonising over whether the player should move 1 or 2 tiles on each round, let the player decide.

BUT

For each tile they move, the must move every active Dynamouse by the same number of spaces at the end of that round!

That adds to the brain burn quite a lot.
Perhaps will need an upper limit, but having played through 10 or so games I think it will police itself

Thoughts?
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
I'm getting close to being happy with the level of difficulty with the game. It's tough, but not infuriatingly so.
I had to put a cap on my last idea as it was easy to get into realms of the ridiculous! However, I like the way having variable numbers of moves adds to strategy.
Here's where it's at...

1. During set up, you don't get any free moves. When you turn the cards over, that's it - that's your starting layout.

2. Once set up, you must commit your first Dynamouse right away by placing it on either of the two closest available spaces on the first tile. (The term 'first tile' is always used to identify the tile closest to the START card).

3. You move 1, 2 or 3 tiles each round. You cannot move the same tile more than once each round.

4. Each Dynamouse in play must move one space forwards. If you moved 3 tiles, each Dynamouse in play moves two spaces instead of one. ('in play' means any Dynamouse not on the START or GOAL spaces).

5. At the end of each round, you may commit another Dynamouse into the maze. You cannot do this if there is another Dynamouse already on the first tile.

Now that the core mechanics are getting there I've started thinking about graphics and style. At the moment it's all very basic and functional, so I want to add a bit of flair and character.

My first thought was robotic explosive mice running through tunnels, but this didn't really explain why the tunnels keep changing and moving around. So, I tried to come up with ideas that might explain a constantly shifting maze - the one I've settled on is clockwork.
I will come up with a spurious connection between mice and grandfather clocks (futuristic descendents of the Three Blind Mice, with a pathalogical hatred for all things Grandfather Clock, for example)
Each card will show clockwork innards, somehow jigged up to create the maze of paths and spaces. These are a couple of images I saved for inspiration.
I'm thinking lots of brass laugh



Edit: link to updated rules (also updated in the OP)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hn6qrt140afpq7p/Dynamice%20Rules%2...
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Joseph Propati
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
This should be cool! I just printed this out and will test soon! If you're going to have new cards soon I might wait to play with the new ones!
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
No, no, don't wait - test away!
It could be a long while before I get around to new artwork
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting


Quick logo.

Actually making the cogs link together on the cards so they form visible, clear pathways is going to be more of a challenge that hastily throwing a logo together!!

laugh
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Joseph Propati
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
The Painted Goblin wrote:


Quick logo.

Actually making the cogs link together on the cards so they form visible, clear pathways is going to be more of a challenge that hastily throwing a logo together!!

laugh


Thanks!

I've moved your game to the Component Ready section!
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
How does this look for the card design?
Is is clear enough where the paths and spaces are?

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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
The Painted Goblin wrote:
How does this look for the card design?
Is is clear enough where the paths and spaces are?



I guess but not sure!


It does look cool though!
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Douglas Rees
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
hmm, I think it's not as clear as it could be, but I can't think of anything specific to fix it...
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chris reno
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
I think this is a great idea. I printed this earlier today and have had a hard time getting my work done because I kept going back to it to try again.

It seems like it would have a lot of replay and there is even an easy way to scale the challenge simply with less mice, so I can win sometimes and easily teach my children.

I have yet to win the full (four mouse) version, but I still want to keep trying.

It also seems like it might transition into a two player game (HTH) with two sets and a few minor modifications. Kind of a Blow the other guys clock before he blows yours, I suppose.

I know the contest restricts what you can use for a token, but the only downside I see to this game is the clunkiness of moving the dice from 1 to 2, so I just drew a line to show direction and I like that a lot better personally.

Best of luck in this endeavor. Looking forward to buying a set with the little plastic mouse wearing an explosive device.
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chris reno
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
Yeah, just read the contest rules and they do not allow writing on the dice .

I was wondering about a clarification of the rules.

in the gameplay section it states that "any collisions only actually occur if two Dynamice are on the same space after they have both moved."

I had a few instances of avoiding a head on collision by taking a double move (intentionally shifting three tiles) to where they crossed paths but landed on different spaces. This initially seems inconsistent with the theme of the mice exploding on contact.


Additionally, what happens to a dynamouse that's next move would take it into "the empty space"? Does it appear on the opposite card in the appropriate tunnel, or does it explode and you lose?
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
ctctreno wrote:
Yeah, just read the contest rules and they do not allow writing on the dice .

I was wondering about a clarification of the rules.

in the gameplay section it states that "any collisions only actually occur if two Dynamice are on the same space after they have both moved."

I had a few instances of avoiding a head on collision by taking a double move (intentionally shifting three tiles) to where they crossed paths but landed on different spaces. This initially seems inconsistent with the theme of the mice exploding on contact.


Additionally, what happens to a dynamouse that's next move would take it into "the empty space"? Does it appear on the opposite card in the appropriate tunnel, or does it explode and you lose?


Good questions! Yes, you're right about the collisions. If two mice meet from opposite directions they will explode instantly, and having another move shouldn't allow them to "jump" over each other. That needs clarification.

Also, hitting the empty space is treated the same way as the edge of the grid, so this will also cause an explosion. I'll update the rules.

I'm glad you're enjoying it, and it's a great idea about scaling the difficulty with the number of dice. Can't believe I didn't think of it myself!
I really couldn't think of any other way to show which direction the mice were moving, hence the dice idea. I did consider using heads and tails on coins, you might prefer that?

Awesome feedback, thank you :-)

With regard to the graphics, I think I might be trying to be too smart with the cogs and levers. The most important thing is clarity so I'm going to rethink it and change it up with very distinct paths.
 
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Jeroen Paardekooper
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
The Painted Goblin wrote:
How does this look for the card design?
Is is clear enough where the paths and spaces are?



Not to me
Can't you make the gears all one color with a dark background and maybe a space to put the dice (like in the prototype?)
It looks cool though!
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
namrevo wrote:

Not to me
Can't you make the gears all one color with a dark background and maybe a space to put the dice (like in the prototype?)
It looks cool though!


Thanks
I agree though, I opted for style over practicality, which is never a good idea.

I will be reverting back to a more basic style, where the spaces and paths are very clearly defined. I will be keeping the cogs and springs in the background. I should have an updated mock-up later today to show off.

EDIT: I'm also considering changing the card with the two dead ends, and making it so they reverse the direction of any mouse that enters them. The game is already difficult without those instant-game-over spaces.
 
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
This is a rough draft, but the paths and spaces are much clearer, and still keeps the clockwork theme....

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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
The Painted Goblin wrote:
This is a rough draft, but the paths and spaces are much clearer, and still keeps the clockwork theme....



That looks a lot better I think, yes.
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
ctctreno wrote:
Looking forward to buying a set with the little plastic mouse wearing an explosive device.


This part of your post got me thinking; there's the risk of offence being taken in some quarters with the theme of this game. Suicide bombers are a touchy subject at any time, and I guess the game is bsically saying that's what these mice are.

We do live in troubling times....

Maybe I need to change it so they are robotic mice again.
I don't know, what's the etiquette when it comes to this kind of thing in a very light game? Is there a chance it could convey the wrong message?
 
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Tim Davidson
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
Cool design.

The Painted Goblin wrote:
We do live in troubling times....
Naw, we live in the best times ever by any measure. Just more news.

If the goal is to save the mice by getting them home first I don't see a problem either way. But I'm not really clear on why they are blowing up thematically? Are they mechanical mice that will just breakdown of they hit an obstacle and don't make it home in time?
 
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Chris Alton
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
Well, mechanically it seemed the logical way to make you lose when they hit an obstacle or each other. My mental image was one of mice scurrying around in a panic with a volatile cargo strapped to them. The slightest contact would make them trigger.

Thematically it is a stretch, but felt like an okay fit for the way the game plays. Besides which, it led me towards the title which I'm now fixed on
 
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Re: [WIP] Dynamice (9 card nanogame contest 2016) - Components Ready for Playtesting
Here's the intro, spuriously linking the theme with the mechanics laugh

Brothers! Salvation is at hand! King Rat is holed up at the top of the grandfather clock. If we can climb its heights and plant 4 sticks of dynamite directly beneath his lair we can end his evil reign once and for all. Move swiftly but softly, mice. Our future is in your hands...
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