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Mapemounde 2021 - My Entry

Mapemounde is a game jam for analog games, focusing on a map of some kind as a central aspect to the games made for it.

Originally, I wanted to develop a previous idea I had been inspired to create (my concept for Canavan's Back Yard I'd posted about previously), or maybe even resurrecting my older Four Corners of the Earth game concept and turning it into something workable.

However, after the theme was revealed for Mapemounde, I switched tracks. So as it turns out I'm developing a completely different game idea. This one is currently called Cosmic Spores, and it's a game about scrambling to rescue separate elements of a planet being overrun by a sentient - and hungry - cosmic spore entity. The players will need to make choices about what to keep, knowing they can't save everything.

If you are interested in learning more about this, I've posted news of it in the game jam's community forum:

Thanks for reading...!


Version 1 Released

Just posted version 1 of Cosmic Spores. Not bad for a span of five days. Includes a readme file and all required print n' play pages.

You can see photos of a hard copy of the game on the discussion board for the game jam:

I had my second vaccine shot today, and I wanted to have something to submit before there was a chance for weird side-effects to set me back before the deadline. Ideally, I'll have a chance to do a video play-through to help people understand how the game works a little bit better than by just reading through the rules (though of course I think it's doable with the version 1 package). I'd just like to be thorough and user-friendly.

If you have a chance to look at the materials and have critique, comments, or questions, feel free to post them here.


How-To-Play Video

I created a how-to-play video to help people learn how to play the game. You can watch it on YouTube at this link:

Wow ... That's an awesome video!

But just a "general" curiosity-like question: "Why are the cards yellow???"

I noticed from some of your other games too... Did you just get a REAL SALE on "yellow" cardstock?! I mean it's different but I don't know why you wouldn't use WHITE (which can be bought pre-cut from "The Game Crafter").

And BTW this game looks very cool. Especially the end-game scoring. Yeah, it might be a "bit euro-ish" but that's not necessarily a bad thing. And you do have contention some times with other players (blocking or being blocked)... That's why I said "euro-ISH"...

Getting all that done in 5 days is GREAT! Congrats to you...

I find my own ideas never "line-up" with these types of contests and I don't design to "specs" either. So not something in my own personal skill set. But you did a real good job explaining the game.

Cheers... I'll be following along to see how well your entry does! I hope it's a smashing success! Cheers @"let-off studios"...

Coloured Paper

Yeah, you called it...! Sometime last year or late 2019 I think, I picked up orange and yellow paper on sale from a local office supply store. Yellow card stock was also discounted at the same time, so I grabbed that. It's been a staple of my prototypes ever since.

Regarding scoring: I wanted to communicate the idea that there is connection and synergy - if not an outright dependence - between all the different elements of the planet, so monopolizing one particular Element won't ensure victory. I was wary of having too much calculation required for final scoring, but in the time allotted I wasn't able to come up with a more elegant solution beyond hard-coding the mathematics into it.

As for designing to spec, I think I understand your reluctance. When I jump into a game jam like this (and to this day I have almost exclusively done so for video games and not tabletop games), it's to practice finishing and releasing a project. Finishing is a useful skill in itself. In addition I personally could always use practice in video editing, so this was a good excuse to put both an untested idea out there as well as cut together some instructional footage and narration.

To a certain extent, the quality of the game isn't the top priority when compared to the other objectives I can pursue in doing it. I want to practice making games more, and this kind of activity helps.

I appreciate the kudos, questccg. :)

I like it!

Great job on the video! And the game looks very interesting. The only feedback I have is that it looks like there is an equal number of each resource. I wonder if you had more of some resource types (worth fewer points), less of others (worth higher points), if that might afford more strategic options. For example, minerals (1 point) would lead to tech (3 points) would lead to culture (8 points), and you would have to pay for each level by turning in two from the lower tier. (Alternately, water 1pt, plant 3pt, animal 8 pt.) This way, you could simplify the endgame scoring while still keeping most of your synergy and strongly enforcing the dependence along each branch.

You might also consider allowing each player to start with a random upgrade or hidden objective, allowing for greater diversity.

But I think you've got some great ideas here!



Much appreciated for the comments, Tom. Let me respond a bit.

treeves3 wrote:
The only feedback I have is that it looks like there is an equal number of each resource. I wonder if you had more of some resource types (worth fewer points), less of others (worth higher points), if that might afford more strategic options.
That's perceptive of you to notice. There is an equal distribution of nearly everything across the cards. The only exception would be with those cards that have Culture as their root, but even then among those included there is an equal distribution.

My initial reason for doing this was two-fold. Firstly, I did so because I was hoping the random dealing of cards across the two rounds would provide for a range of inequality/scarcity so long as the cards were shuffled. Secondly, since the player can harvest resources only on one half of the card before flipping it, that inequality would appear through gameplay.

Finally, I still wanted players to be able to collect all the resources, because a quantity of 0 stars for any one category has a rippling effect across both Upgrades and Final Scoring. It's what I came up with in about three days and a dozen playtests, so yeah, it could definitely do with some tweaking.

treeves3 wrote:
For example [...] This way, you could simplify the endgame scoring while still keeping most of your synergy and strongly enforcing the dependence along each branch.
I agree with you on this at least to a point, and I think that a second pass at the resource system will provide for some value difference between the different elements.

One key aspect I'd like to maintain is the idea that there's a balance and synergy between the six (or later, maybe more/less) elements within the game, and that there's no one dominant element, or set of elements. This is kind of the thematic through-line I'd like to leave the player with, ideally (I don't want to bore anyone with a philosophical discussion at the moment, though). Were I to propose a hierarchy of the Elements included in the game, the top half of the Elements chart would clearly be more valuable than the bottom half. On the flip side, the bottom half would be less valuable on its face, but provide for more second-tier improvements/Upgrades.

treeves3 wrote:
You might also consider allowing each player to start with a random upgrade or hidden objective, allowing for greater diversity.
I really like this, and I think the next phase of developing this idea should move in this direction. One idea I'd like to try is the development of a "civilization tracker" along with Upgrades, providing players singular score bonuses when they combine certain elements together (in effect removing them from their supply on the Element Tracker). This might invite players to decide if they want to keep collecting Elements and going for the Upgrades, or they use their extra Elements to invest in their Civilization developments.

The Upgrade Chart itself could do with some modifications. I think the reason I ended up with two rows comprised of "free Elements" was because I didn't have enough time to think of (and test) other ways players can do better within the game.

Thanks again for all the feedback, Tom! It's appreciated.

Had an idea for you... Not 100% sure, but you'll figure it out!

So I know this game has a very STRONG "Euro-ish" feel to it. You may be okay with that and you may want to increase the level of interaction aside from collecting resource your opponent may want (ergo the "Euro"-style and the end-of-game scoring).

My idea is not "Fully-developed" but it stems from each Pilot have two (2) ROBOTS he can use to "create havoc" for the opponents. The Robots would be in the form of two (2) "Cubes" per color.

And instead of having your PILOT "Block" opponents, his ROBOTS would do this instead.

Here's where things get a bit "nebulous".

I figure that the ROBOTS move 3-spaces per turn and I would make them very aggressive in that they try to force opponent and block the path of the other Pilots. When 2-Robots collide, both return home and are taken off the area of play, until the next turn when both players may re-deploy them.

But I wanted some kind of "combat" mechanic... Robot-vs.-Robot. Not sure... Again getting even more "nebulous".

I think these "WORKERS" (think worker placement mechanic) could PREVENT a card from being HARVESTED by an opponent until the opposing Robot is forcibly removed from his position (given the use of the opponent's robot).

So maybe NO COMBAT ... Just PREVENTING HARVESTING and conflict with the opposing players robots.

Again just sharing "my thoughts" as to how to make it less "Euro-ish" and more interesting. As you can see the IDEAS are not fully developed ... They're a bit "embryonic" and it gives you something to work with.

More on the THEME-side of things. Instead of ROBOTS, maybe they are SPACE SATELLITES! And they move around and are equipped with LASERS so they BLOCK opposing PILOTS from harvesting the resource at a particular location.

Something LIKE-THIS... I'll let you think some more about it. Cheers!

Clash of the Robots

This is another interesting idea worth considering for a further version. You all (and the other game jam participants) have provided me with a wealth of suggestions and input already, and I hope to turn this rough first version into a playable, engaging game down the road. There's a lot to consider and to try and it all depends on the direction I want to take it.

Thanks everyone for you input so far! I appreciate all the folks who have spent time either watching the video or even reading through my rulesheet. I know this stuff is time-consuming, and time is valuable. That being said... Should you have any more critique or thoughts, I'll gladly review them here. :)


Wow... I didn't know I would be ranked so highly. As it turns out, Cosmic Spores was ranked 5th overall out of 16 entries.

If you're interested in seeing the results and all the other games, here's a link to the results page:

I did a few English translations of rules from their native Italian, primarily so I could understand them better myself. I actually found the process of translation quite satisfying, and the game designers all seemed grateful for my efforts. I wish I had the time to do more, however even with the use of an automated translator, it's time-consuming work and I ran out of steam this past week. :)

Thanks again to everyone for chipping in here with your critique and suggestions. I don't want to put this game down forever, so I'll be looking back here for ideas to test as the game matures.

Forget about the contest and focus on your "Game"!

Although I made the suggestion of adding "Drones" or "Satellites" to increase the amount of "in-player" conflict taking the game away from a more Euro-like style of play, to something more mainstream. I'm sure there are other ways to increase player interaction.

For example, I was thinking about TRADING resources. Like offering two (2) resources in exchange for one. So there could possibly be a "turn-phase" in which there is "bartering". Or how about a card DRAFTING?! I see this in a lot of games like "Cosmic Spores" (CS) where you COLLECT resources and then TRADE them for Victory Points later on...

So this "specific" idea would be... You have your "planet" and you move around collecting resources as normal... But you can TRADE resources for some kind of VPs as perhaps the 4th phase of your turn:

1. Move you Spaceship
2. Collect Resources
3. Move your Drones
4. Trade for VPs

Games that do this could be like "Century Spice Road" or "San Juan" where you can build monuments that ONLY give your end-game points or "Tokaido's" restaurant that allows you to buy cards all worth 6 points.

The idea is that you would NEED a 2nd Deck. In this DECK you would have some kind of cards to enhance your scoring. I know you already have bonuses ... But this second deck could be like a DRAFT. Somehow you would need to collect "CURRENCY" (maybe Credits) and you could use Credits to buy cards from the DRAFT.

Maybe when you PASS, you gain +1 Credit... And then the DRAFT cards are BONUS Victory Points (maybe add a category beyond CULTURE). ATM I have no idea what to call it... So those are my thoughts on a Market or DRAFT.

I don't have any other ideas to INCREASE player interaction. Those are my ideas so far. If I think up others, I will let you know. But adding a Market or a DRAFT could be seen as a way to increase player interaction and making the game less "Euro-like".

Just sharing with you some of my thoughts. Best!


Just a thought on a possible thematic integration for quest's Trade resources for points idea. You could be trying to fulfill orders for collectors and those Collectors are willing to pay some amount of credits for this set.

Feel free to disregard, use or improve upon. Good luck with your game.

How about 1 Credit = +1 Victory Point

Like I said earlier, if you PASS you EARN +1 Credit. Credits can be used to BUY extra cards from a DRAFT (for example) and at the end of the game, each Credit is worth +1 Victory Point.

You were saying in your video that perhaps PASSing is BAD... Well rewarding a player with +1 Credit ... means that it's not bad anymore, you can use your Credits to purchase ADDITIONAL cards for a cost specified on each card in the DRAFT area (perhaps above the "planet map")...

Really think that this could be a good way of using the PASS... And earning something to help you on LATER in the game (when you have accumulated "x" Credits which allow you to BUY a card at a later time).

Cheers "@let-off studios" (Again just some things to think about...)


Had a chance to meet face-to-face with a game design colleague over the previous long weekend, and had a "troubleshooting" discussion regarding the score system (which I see as the most egregious of its weak spots at the moment). He assisted me in clarifying other ways to link the different Elements together in order to keep that influence on scoring, while reducing the math and calculation aspect of the game.

Largely, this revolves around rewarding the player for balanced scores, and the "stars" I had implemented for specific tiers of the scores seems to have been a move in the proper direction. I will try the following different tactics in future playtests:

  • Reducing game score to just the number of star "tiers" achieved.
  • Allowing advancement in certain Element categories only when its linked Element categories have also achieved a similar level. For example, in order to move from Tier 1 to Tier 2 in Technology, both Minerals and Animals must have reached at least Tier 1.
  • Go flat-out Knizia, and the lowest of the categories is the score earned for that row on the Element Tracker sheet. This way, a player's score is based solely on adding two numbers together, or at the most those two numbers and the stars collected in the other categories.

In addition, I want to further pursue a few of my fallow ideas, the ones I didn't have time to fully-explore and implement before the game jam was done.

  • A more elaborate tech tree, providing for more than just additional Elements.
  • The "civilization" track I had flirted with in earlier posts. For example, I'd like players to be able to use tech investments to generate or swap Elements, providing for min-maxing strategies. I'd also like to try generating more star Tiers with these tech upgrades and see how that plays out.

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