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Entry thread for The Honor of the Queen (Contest ready)
Designed for the 2018 Solitaire Print and Play Contest



Story

Lancelot, the greatest of all of King Arthur’s knights, was accused of having romantic trysts with Queen Guinevere. First to accuse him was Meliagaunt, whom Lancelot challenged in combat to prove the Queen’s innocence. During the contest, Lancelot cleaved his opponent’s head in half and cleared the Queen of those charges. However, rumors continued to abound and soon other knights became suspicious. Sir Agravain and Sir Mordred gathered twelve knights and stormed Guinevere’s chamber, finding Lancelot there with the Queen. Now you, as Sir Lancelot, must try to escape and fight your way out of the castle and prove the innocence of Queen Guinevere before King Arthur has her burned to death for infidelity.

Object of the Game


You are fighting to escape the perils of the castle and, at the same time, trying to defend the Honor of the Queen you love. You will test your Knightly Virtues against those of the 14 knights standing in your way and fight to emerge victorious. If you can defeat 8 of the 14 knights along your path you will clear the name of your Queen and escape into the night. However, all is not as easy as it may seem. With every failure to defeat a knight, your Knightly Virtues will decrease and the Honor of your Queen will move one step closer to peril. Should you lose to 7 knights, or have two of your Virtues reach a value of 0, Lancelot will be banished from the lands and the Queen will burn for her sins.


Components required:

9 Cards
1 Double-Sided Lancelot Card
1 Double-Sided Guinevere Card
7 Knight Cards
15 Chits
3 Value 0, 3 Value +1, 2 Value +2, 1 Value +3, 2 Value -1, 2 Value -2, 1 Shield, 1 Skull
6 Square Tokens to track the Knightly Virtues, Victories, and the Queen’s Honor
1 Rulebook


Playing time: 10-20 Minutes

# of players: 1

Categories in which this game is competing:

d10-1 Best Overall Game
d10-2 Best Rule Book
d10-3 Best Easy to Build Game
d10-4 Best Push Your Luck/Survival Game
d10-5 Best Game Designed in Contest Timeframe
d10-6 Best Game by a New Designer
d10-7 Best Game Playable on an Airline Seat Tray
d10-8 Low Ink Printing



Game Files:

Rulebook: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vN5EOelBYHCVkFBRJUk_2WFl...

Components: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NvU1HxJ72NEin5BatAy2ougLqiR...
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Brian Garthwaite
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Rules Available)
Hi, David!

dtwiley wrote:
Components: Coming as soon as I can figure out how to make the cards and chits!

Is this an issue of making design decisions, or of file construction and software? If it's the latter, feel free to ask for help. Two pages of simple cards and chits is easily manageable before the deadline.
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Rules Available)
bgarthwaite wrote:
Hi, David!

dtwiley wrote:
Components: Coming as soon as I can figure out how to make the cards and chits!

Is this an issue of making design decisions, or of file construction and software? If it's the latter, feel free to ask for help. Two pages of simple cards and chits is easily manageable before the deadline.


Definitely the latter. I have the info for the cards and an idea of how they should look. I just have zero knowledge of how to make them in a digital file!
 
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Rules Available)
Send me a geekmail with the details, and I'll see what I can whip up.
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
Thanks to the fantastic
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cards and counters are ready to print and play. Here's hoping I can get a few people playing this before the the 16th arrives.

But if not, I still feel like I have a nice entry into the contest at this point! Files and rules linked in the top post. I look forward to hearing any feedback!
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
Update to the rulebook today! Here's a list of changes made:

1. Added designer's notes at the beginning.
2. Clarified the text to indicate that you put the chits back into the bag after every encounter with a knight, regardless of outcome.
3. Added strategies for the first plays.
4. Added variants to increase or decrease the difficulty of the game.
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
Hi, I didn't see this game listed in the GDCR, have you added it yet, or am I just missing it?
 
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
lovemyfire wrote:
Hi, I didn't see this game listed in the GDCR, have you added it yet, or am I just missing it?


Nope, you aren't missing it. I've been unsuccessful for over a week now in trying to log into the GDCR. I've mailed Chris and posted in the GDCR Guild with no avail in getting a password reset. So, sadly, there's a chance I won't be able to officially participate...
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
I just added the game to the GDCR, using the info in the top post, so you're officially in. I was able to list myself as the artist, but didn't spot where to add David as the designer. I'm confident that Chris will be able to help out with that once he's through this week at work.

The only category I wasn't able to add was the "Best New Designer," since that's person-specific rather than tied to the game.
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
bgarthwaite wrote:
I just added the game to the GDCR, using the info in the top post, so you're officially in. I was able to list myself as the artist, but didn't spot where to add David as the designer. I'm confident that Chris will be able to help out with that once he's through this week at work.

The only category I wasn't able to add was the "Best New Designer," since that's person-specific rather than tied to the game.


You are, quite literally, the greatest person I've "met" on BGG. I foresee some GeekGold in your future as I get some stored up! I can't thank you enough.
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
Don't worry about GeekGold; I already have more than I know what to do with. Just pay any kindness forward.
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
So I had a chance to play a few rounds. One success:


...followed by three failures. I noticed in each game that win or lose, the effects tended to snowball quickly. Bad luck, in particular, creates a cascade that's very difficult to overcome. Start out the game with two bad draws, and it's pretty much over then and there. Start out against that first-deck knight with virtues at 4 and 6? Dude's gonna knock you down, and hard.

I also found that the more I played, the more reluctant I was to draw a second chit. The cumulative penalties make it really unappealing, since you can't diminish those virtues much before they're so weak you can't win any fight.

I did wish that I had at least some means to thin out the bad chits as the game went on. The skull can't do you in again and again, but tossing that -2 back in the bag is just so demoralizing. Something that feels like a little control over the random nature of it all. Success against any knight is so dependent on the chits you draw that they feel more significant than any decision you can make.

There were also a few times I'd like to have taken a knee, losing to the knight and moving the Guinevere token without having to lose a point in a virtue. There are some you just know you can't win. Not that the <7% chance of pulling the shield won't happen - I managed that against Sir Mordred in a game I lost on the next knight - but it never feels good to know that's your only chance.

The game's cute and a breeze to play. I don't think any of them lasted more than 5 minutes, and setting up to try again takes the briefest of moments. And for all its randomness, I like the sensation of pulling chits from a bag. I've been rolling loads of dice lately, and this has been a charming change of pace.

Oh, and did you want numbers on Guinevere's Honor track? It's an easy change to make.
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
bgarthwaite wrote:
So I had a chance to play a few rounds. One success:


...followed by three failures. I noticed in each game that win or lose, the effects tended to snowball quickly. Bad luck, in particular, creates a cascade that's very difficult to overcome. Start out the game with two bad draws, and it's pretty much over then and there. Start out against that first-deck knight with virtues at 4 and 6? Dude's gonna knock you down, and hard.

I also found that the more I played, the more reluctant I was to draw a second chit. The cumulative penalties make it really unappealing, since you can't diminish those virtues much before they're so weak you can't win any fight.

I did wish that I had at least some means to thin out the bad chits as the game went on. The skull can't do you in again and again, but tossing that -2 back in the bag is just so demoralizing. Something that feels like a little control over the random nature of it all. Success against any knight is so dependent on the chits you draw that they feel more significant than any decision you can make.

There were also a few times I'd like to have taken a knee, losing to the knight and moving the Guinevere token without having to lose a point in a virtue. There are some you just know you can't win. Not that the <7% chance of pulling the shield won't happen - I managed that against Sir Mordred in a game I lost on the next knight - but it never feels good to know that's your only chance.

The game's cute and a breeze to play. I don't think any of them lasted more than 5 minutes, and setting up to try again takes the briefest of moments. And for all its randomness, I like the sensation of pulling chits from a bag. I've been rolling loads of dice lately, and this has been a charming change of pace.

Oh, and did you want numbers on Guinevere's Honor track? It's an easy change to make.


Thanks for the excellent feedback. I spent far more time last night in bed thinking about this than I probably should have, and have some things I've considered based upon the information here.

First off, yes to the numbers on Guinevere. If it is a simple addition, that'd be great.

Regarding the idea of "taking a knee", I hadn't considered that and I actually like that concept. I was thinking of having this play two parts: if the knight is on his first side, you can rotate the card and put it on the bottom of the deck (essentially delaying it until you get stronger...but he will be stronger, too). If facing the second side, you can discard them and take the loss on the Guinevere track. Thematically, it makes sense that Lancelot would be able to gauge his ability to face a knight at any given time, and since this isn't a controlled single combat situation there might be times to simply concede. Your thoughts?

For the thinning, I have two possible thoughts here. First, start with some of the chits not in the bag, either making it so they can use varied combinations of 10 chits to control difficulty or to have it where some of the bigger numbers start the game out of the bag and get added in when the deck rotates. Second, add an element of thinning into the mix. Instead of a stat drop to redraw, have it be to where you can stat drop to remove the chit from the game. This would make it so you have a tough choice at times, but dropping a stat by a level to take that -2 out would usually be a worthwhile play. The tougher choices come on the -1 or even the 0 chits and whether to leave them in or pay to remove them. I like the idea here, and wouldn't be opposed to that. Again, your thoughts on these? I'd be willing to even consider mixing in both somehow.

I am also thinking of moving Disadvantage to being an optional thing you can include to increase the difficulty, removing the harsh punishment for losing early because it is definitely a "lose harder" feeling when it comes up.
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
dtwiley wrote:
First off, yes to the numbers on Guinevere. If it is a simple addition, that'd be great.

Done. I've put it up on my Google Drive folder. Additional minor changes before the deadline should be manageable, so feel free to ask. My weekend's busy but not crazy.

dtwiley wrote:
Regarding the idea of "taking a knee"...

I like that as a new approach. Gives you a better choice of where to task the gamble. You'll probably need to add a new loss condition to the game: if you go through all of the knights without reaching 8 victories, you lose.

In terms of organization, it'd be easier for players to move all first-side knights to a discard pile, then reshuffle and tackle the second side. (Unless your intention was to have them potentially fight Sir Mordred twice.) Coordinating card locations while rotating them can encourage mistakes. Remembering that the first time through the deck is side 1 and second time side 2 is simpler than recalling what side Sir Lovel's supposed to be on. Doubly so for the unnamed fellows.

dtwiley wrote:
For the thinning, I have two possible thoughts here.

Curating the chits used is a good idea. I'd limit it to difficulty control, at least at first. Whether you want to prescribe chit group compositions or just declare a summed value of chits - "select 8 chits that add up to +2, along with the skull and shield" or some such - is up to you.

Dropping a stat to discard is a nice choice, too. You'll need to balance it all out, but setting it up as a tradeoff gives you more to chew on. I'd recommend testing the approaches out separately before combining the two. There's no reason they can't work well together.

dtwiley wrote:
I am also thinking of moving Disadvantage to being an optional thing...

Difficult mode, sure. If you can hammer out the other changes you've mentioned, add this back in and see how it feels. Does it feel like you can overcome it if you play well, or does it feel hard without reward? Maybe it's just me, but I find that numbers that all add up to fair in a spreadsheet don't always feel fair when playing. And rarely does anybody play games with spreadsheets open.
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
Thank you! I will be getting the rulebook updated with some changes. I think I have determined that all Side 2 Knights should lose a point on their current stat. Is that an easy adjustment to make?
 
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
Pretty easy. If you can send me the details this afternoon, I think I can get them updated quickly.
 
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Re: [WIP] The Honor of the Queen (2018 Solitaire PnP Contest, Components Ready)
Sorry, I had people over for a day of gaming. A simple -1 to everything on the 2nd side of the knight cards will suffice for the adjustment. That should help make the 2nd half feel a little more winnable while still being a challenge overall.
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