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# Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

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sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008

For those who aren't working on their own entry to the Shared Pieces design contest, let's start a thread to talk about some ways to go about designing a game with shared pieces.

The contest rules are somewhat contradictory... although they say that the game must include pieces that are common to all players, it sounds like there can be NO pieces that are unique to a player. I think it would be cool if you had some pieces of your own, and then one or some common pieces between you and your opponent, but unless someone wants to e-mail the people in charge of the contest and check I have to assume that's not allowed. See the rules and judge for yourself...

In the meantime, anyone have an idea to share? Lets spurr some discussion!

- Seth

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

My first impression, which may be a simplification of the final product, would be to have 1 unit which moves around a board to different scoring areas. The piece is moved by each player in turn, via some method... how does this sound?:

There is a deck of Movement cards, each with a direction arrow. The arrow points in one of 8 directions. This deck is shuffled and placed face down next to a checkerboard. The top three cards are turned face up to create a pool of cards to draw from.

Another deck of Goal cards is shuffled and, say, 4 cards are dealt out to each player. These cards are kept face up in front of the player. The goal cards are labelled with a coordinate which corresponds to a space on the board, like in chess the ranks and files are denoted 1-8 and A-H. The 4 squares in the center of the board (D4, D5, E4, and E5) do not appear on goal cards, so there are 60 total cards in the Goal deck.

The object of the game is to collect your Goal cards by moving the monolithic playing piece (which has a definited facing) to a square which corresponds to a Goal card in front of you. On your turn you select one of the three face-up cards from the Draw Pool and apply it's movement to the Monolith. The card will translate, and possibly rotate the piece, and any direction on the card is relative to the facing of the piece at the beginning of the turn.

After the move is complete, a new Movement card is revealed to replace the one used, so there are always 3 cards in the Draw Pool. If the move places the Monolith on a square corresponding to a face up Goal card, the player with that card in front of them "scores" the card. Set it aside in a score pile and replace it with a new Goal card.

Ooo... for even more strategy, the top Goal card can be face up at all times, which could guide some decisions about which goal to score (or not to score) and when.

The game could last either until a certain number of goals are scored, a certain number of turns have been played (maybe until the Movement cards run out), or until all the goals have been scored. The winner would be the player with the most goals scored.

This game could be played by any number of players. A quick playtest could tell weather 4 goal cards at a time are too many or too few. It would also be very easy to make the Movement cards more complex (like moving more than 1 space in a direction, or moving like a Knight in chess for example), and to make some goal cards worth more than others (maybe the ones near the corners are worht more then the ones on the edge, which are worth more than the ones near the middle of the board. This may not be as fair, as it may come down to who draws more valuable Goal cards though...

Finally, to get even MORE complex, there could be a deck of Action cards which do things like "reshuffle and replace the face up goal cards", "discard a goal card from each players score pile", or "Reshuffle and replace the Draw Pool"... maybe move the Monolith around as well. These cards could be playable one per turn, on your turn... maybe you get new ones when you use one, or maybe when the Monolith lands on a certain space on the board.

Wow... I just sort of made all that up, but I think it actually sounds pretty good!

- Seth

benedict
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Joined: 08/16/2009
Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

Yes, your idea sounds fine, however it won't fit into the confines of the contest. The board has to be something easily constructed out of squares, triangles or hexagons (remember this is an abstract game contest), and all the playing pieces have to be general (e.g. checkers, coins, stones, poker chips) so special cards won't be allowed in an entry.

Brykovian
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

benedict wrote:
Yes, your idea sounds fine, however it won't fit into the confines of the contest. The board has to be something easily constructed out of squares, triangles or hexagons (remember this is an abstract game contest), and all the playing pieces have to be general (e.g. checkers, coins, stones, poker chips) so special cards won't be allowed in an entry.

I bet a standard deck of cards would work then ... some of the cards could be used to make up a board and other cards could give direction (based upon suit) and/or other actions.

-Bryk

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

Brykovian wrote:

I bet a standard deck of cards would work then ... some of the cards could be used to make up a board and other cards could give direction (based upon suit) and/or other actions.

Well, for the contest I would recommend keeping it simple and not adding the action cards. You're right, I forgot the pieces had to be easily accessible. I think Byrk's got the right idea though, using playing cards.

So is it possible to map out a Chess board with a deck of cards? I think so, but you'd need more than 1 deck (or play with less than an 8x8 board... i.e. don't use the whole Chess board.)

How about: 1 deck, a 5x5 board, and 6-10 are repeats of A-5 on the 'top' half of the board, with Suits indicating ranks... like so:

6D 7D 8D 9D 10D
6H 7H 8H 9H 10H
6S 7S 8S 9S 10S
AD 7D 3D 4D 5D
AH 7H 3H 4H 5H
AS 2S 3S 4S 5S

The Clubs and face cards could be used as movement cards- a chart could be consulted to see which card is which movement (to get a little tricky), or to keep it real simple, 1-8 could be 1-space in direction [1=foreward, 2=foreward/right, 3=right, etc], 9 and 10 could be 2 spaces in any diagonal direction OR 1 space in an orthagonal direction, Jack = move like a Knight in any direction, Q = move 1 or 2 spaces in any direction, K = move 1 space in any direction.

Not quite as fancy, but might work about as well.

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Re: Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

sedjtroll wrote:
The contest rules are somewhat contradictory... although they say that the game must include pieces that are common to all players, it sounds like there can be NO pieces that are unique to a player. I think it would be cool if you had some pieces of your own, and then one or some common pieces between you and your opponent, but unless someone wants to e-mail the people in charge of the contest and check I have to assume that's not allowed. See the rules and judge for yourself...

The phrase "no player will have pieces that are his exclusive right to move" at the beginning of rule 3 seems pretty clear, at least imo.

sedjtroll
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Re: Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

FastLearner wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
The contest rules are somewhat contradictory... although they say that the game must include pieces that are common to all players, it sounds like there can be NO pieces that are unique to a player. I think it would be cool if you had some pieces of your own, and then one or some common pieces between you and your opponent, but unless someone wants to e-mail the people in charge of the contest and check I have to assume that's not allowed. See the rules and judge for yourself...

The phrase "no player will have pieces that are his exclusive right to move" at the beginning of rule 3 seems pretty clear, at least imo.

right, which is why I made the judgement I did. But read the line immediately preceding it... it's contradictory. So which is the "rule" and which is the "clarification"?.... heh

- Seth

sedjtroll
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Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

I dunno if this would flyu for the contest, but every "average gamer" SHOULD own a copy of Roborally, so maybe I'll use Robo rally's movement cards for the movement.

Like it says on the cards, they move the Monolith 1, 2, or 3 spaces foreward. The "Rotate Left" card would move the Monolith foreward 1 then left 1 (and change facing to Left relative to where it began)- Rotate Right would work similarly. "U Turn" could be either a "move 1 in any direction" or maybe a "Rotate 180 degrees. Play again." (I'd hate to have a card NOT move you)

In this way there aren't cool cards that move you like a knight, but it's all manageable.

The main question is, does the game sound good enough to even try to proxy it up using average household things (maybe decks of cards and lookup tables for example)?

- Seth

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
I'm prolific this evening...

Another way to do it....
Rather than having a chessboard at all, take 2 decks of cards- or 2 parts of decks, as long as they match. I guess this could be done with just 1 deck, looking only at the colors of the suits and not the suits themselves.

Deal out 1 deck (or 1 set, or whatever) in some kind of array- doesn't really have to be a square even. Then use the other deck as the Goal cards. For example:

[using 1 deck, Spades = Clubs, Hearts = Diamonds]

Remove all aces, then shuffle the Spades and Hearts and deal them out in a 4 x 6 array (face up) to make the game board. Shuffle the Clubs and Diamonds and use them as the goal deck, deal 3 to each player (who places them face up)...

That takes care of half the game as far as the contest is concerned... now what about the Movement mechanic- out of household/gamer objects?

- Seth

Deviant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

I really don't think RoboRally would qualify as a basic item. The way the rules are written, only very basic items like a chess or checkers board would make the cut. Monopoly - MAYBE, but certainly nothing less mainstream.

Can you make the board out of cards? Unless you do something funky with the arrangement, it's not going to be composed of squares, hexagons, OR equilateral triangles - it will be made of rectangles. I hate to nitpick, but it seems I'll have to, because I have an idea that depends on the board being a grid of cards. These cards are removed during play until nothing is left - does anyone see this as a problem? Most of my best ideas don't really need a board.

benedict
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Joined: 08/16/2009
Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

I suggest anyone who is thinking of entering should look at past contests, and the games that won or were commended.

My understanding is that decks of cards do not qualify, although there is an email address if you have questions (always best to ask before you put a lot of effort into designing).

Also, don't forget that the rules have to be less than 1000 words long. I assume this is to try and evoke the classic abstract game - simple rules, deep strategy.

sedjtroll
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Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

Deviant wrote:

Can you make the board out of cards? Unless you do something funky with the arrangement, it's not going to be composed of squares, hexagons, OR equilateral triangles - it will be made of rectangles. I hate to nitpick, but it seems I'll have to, because I have an idea that depends on the board being a grid of cards. These cards are removed during play until nothing is left - does anyone see this as a problem? Most of my best ideas don't really need a board.

A board made of cards is not a board, it's an arrangement of cards. If the cards are commonplace, like Playing cards, then you should be fine. When they talk about a 'board of squares' they mean an actual, physical board like a checkerboard. To tell you the truth, I have no idea where the 'average gamer' would have a "typical" hex or equilateral triangle board.

Another idea for an interesting variant of a board would be a dartboard... does that count as a commonplace item?

- Seth

sedjtroll
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Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

benedict wrote:

My understanding is that decks of cards do not qualify, although there is an email address if you have questions (always best to ask before you put a lot of effort into designing).

A deck of playing cards should qualify as an "item the average gamer would have on hand." More people own playing cards than chessboards. If you are referring to non-typical, custom cards, then you're right- they wouldn't be allowed.

This brings up more questions... would Magic cards (not specific ones, but in general... or basic land for example) be 'legal?' If I were James Earnest, could I submit Landyland as a game played with stuff the average gamer would have? Could I put up a game that uses "5 M:tG cards of each color (red, black, blue, green, white) per player"?

On a similar note, how about card sleeves? They are pretty commonplace for not just Magic players but any ccg player. Are they fair game? They could come in handy as a way to associate 2 cards. And they're somewhat versatile, as both cards could be hidden, known, or one of each, and they could even be shuffled and remain associated with their partner card. Hmm... there's an interesting mechanic right there*.

- Seth

* On that note, maybe a deduction game where you try and figure out the 'secret identity' of a particular card. First shuffle the Black cards of a regular playing card deck and put them face down in clear plastic sleeves. Then shuffle the red cards and put them face up in the same sleeves such that the 'back' of the deck is Red, and the 'front' is Black. Deal out these sleeves to the players, who then look at their hand- keeping the Black side hidden from opponents. Via some method (maybe questioning, a l Mystery of the Abbey) or some other mechanic the players try and deduce which Red card is secretly the "Ace of Spades" (for example) or whatever card you want. The (red) card backs are public knowledge, which should help a little.

Scurra
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Joined: 09/11/2008
Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

sedjtroll wrote:

This brings up more questions... would Magic cards (not specific ones, but in general... or basic land for example) be 'legal?' Could I put up a game that uses "5 M:tG cards of each color (red, black, blue, green, white) per player"?

I don't see how Magic cards could possibly qualify in the way that a regular deck of cards would. A Chess set seems a reasonable assumption, a Go set less so although "abstract" gamers, which this competition is aimed at could reasonably be expected to have a Go set.

Oh, and:

Deviant wrote:

Can you make the board out of cards? I hate to nitpick, but it seems I'll have to, because I have an idea that depends on the board being a grid of cards. These cards are removed during play until nothing is left - does anyone see this as a problem?

Well all I can say is that I know that a game involving a grid of cards which are gradually removed works because I've designed one myself :) (when I thought of the idea, I couldn't find any other similar games like it and was surprised that it hadn't been done-to-death already.) However, my design doesn't work for this context because some of the cards are passed between the players during the game, thus breaking the "ownership" rule (however you want to interpret it!)

slam
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Shared Pieces Game Design Competition ideas

People should really read the rules and look at past submissions before expending energy on designing games for this contest. This is a contest sponsored by abstract gaming purists. Chess, Checkers, Go, Othello, Pente, etc. Those are the neighborhood you are shooting for. You should be able to look at the board and see every possibility there is at a glance. Consider: Last years contest had 10 finalists and not one of those games used dice or cards. Backgammon might not pass muster.

Games submitted using Magic and RoboRally or even a deck of standard cards will probably get dismissed out of hand. Games which involve rolling a die for any reason whatsoever will probably get dismissed on sight. I'm not saying your ideas won't make for great games, but the audience here wants something specific.

Anonymous
Just an idea...

To go back to sedjtroll's original thread, I had an idea over the weekend, although it is not fully formed yet. How about using a standard 8*8 chess board, but split it up in 4 quadrants? Rules could be different for each quadrant, or maybe you can only play in one quadrant until something forces you to play in another (ex: once 3pieces have been added/removed, etc.)... This way the game could have sort of a 'meta-game' component where play in one quadrant could indirectly influences play in the other quadrants because the overall game conditions have changed.

Not quite sure what the actual game could be... stacking/pushing coins?

Just some thoughts... but it's Monday and I'm still tired, maybe this idea isn't worth anything.

martin

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