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Exquisite abominations: I want it good, cheap and fast!

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Midnight_Carnival
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Ok, I am not looking for a theme nor a twist to the theme (cheap gimmick) to make money. I want to design a game I can play, possibly with my class as a way to teach them English (although bringing grammar lessons into the design of the game itself is something I want to actively avoid!).

Selling it is something I donĀ“t want to do, making it original is something I don't really care too much about as long as the game meets my criteria.

What I had in mind was a game in which players control a small twisted dark mage character who travels around a circuit searching for corpse or monster corpse components out of which he will fashion unspeakable horrors to send against his enemies.

The game mechanic is not fully worked out but think of it as somewhere between Monopoly and a TCG like Magic the Gathering with the battles taking place in the middle of the board and the mages running around the outside trying to take control of different squares (some grant the owner the ability to cast spells which effect the outcome of battle, some give frankenpart cards and some are used to gather money when an enemy mage lands on them). You have to buy squares in a sort of auction but there are certain conditions which have to be met for a player to be eligible for that auction.

I'm also a fan of double-sided cards, so that there is one part on one side and a different one on the other, meaning you have to choose what kind of horror you are stitching together in your evil lair.

The thing is that the game I have in mind is highly complex, it would be impossible to explain to someone who is still learning English and it will require a ton of stuff to produce, meaning either time or money neither of which I have. I want to find ways to simplify the game so that it can be produced quickly and cheaply and played in a 90 min session probably.

Any ideas?

mcobb83
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Seems to me you are making

Seems to me you are making the game for a specific audience. Can you tell us more about your class? Is it like high school English, or is it English as a second language?

Though your concept seems solid. I feel as though I wrote the rules for it in my head as I read your description.

Midnight_Carnival
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My class

I'm making this game for myself but I want to share it with my class.
Previously games I came up with, especially Bankokian Dominoes, let to the creation of some of the most popular and successful English activities.

My class is a second language group, they are a digital animation class comprised of young adults between the ages of 17 and 21, their English needs improvement and unfortunately they have very little interest in learning English but they do enjoy games and bizarre activities I give them where they have to come up with strange and monstrous characters.

I could make the game as I envisage it - it would take me ages and would look rubbish, but I can make it - I was just wondering if there were ways I could make it faster and sooner so that I could share a simplified version with a group of young people who are not that interested in learning English.

Secondly, if my game seemed well described or familiar it is because (as I said) originality is not foremost on my agenda, I frankensteined the game together out of a number of different games I read about on this very forum, throwing in a good deal of my own dark magic.
thank you.

mcobb83
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So to clarify you need tips

So to clarify you need tips on actual prototype/use able game construction? I can share with you how I have made/am making prototypes.

let-off studios
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Focus on Cards

Midnight_Carnival wrote:
I could make the game as I envisage it - it would take me ages and would look rubbish, but I can make it - I was just wondering if there were ways I could make it faster and sooner so that I could share a simplified version with a group of young people who are not that interested in learning English.
This sounds like a very interesting and exciting project...! Sneaking learning and education into fun activities is something I've also been able to do with my day job, and I'm happy to share tips on how to make it happen for others.

I'd suggest making it more of a card-driven game, with mechanics as well as components. Make the board out of a grid of cards dealt onto the play surface, like 3x3 or something of that nature, and a card on an outer space to indicate that player's impregnable "home base." Each card here represents a different region the players can visit and/or have their creations battle one another.

The body parts can be laid out in front of the players: torso at center, head at the top, arms on either side, and two legs - or one card representing both legs on a bipedal, humanoid creature - below. You likely had this in mind already but this might clarify what I'd been describing. Body parts can be replaced as needed by taking out a card and putting another in its place. If there are augmentations to certain body parts (like a cybernetic eye or armored greaves for the legs, for example), simply "shingle" the cards so they overlap but crucial information can be seen underneath.

To keep things simple, use counters/pawns for each player, a deck of cards for the board and body parts, and either play money or a tracking card for each player to deal with currency.

I'd imagine that a "king of the hill" mechanic, similar to King of Tokyo or Talisman, might serve you well. The center card of the play area is the hill, and if a player occupies that space long enough, they win the game.

Simplify combat: add attack/defense values to the body part cards. When two players occupy the same space, combat occurs. The player who has the lower attack value is forced to move to a different space. If players tie, they are both forced to a different space. It may be that a player may be forced back to their home base, but at least none of their opponents can invade there.

Best of success with this! I wish I had something like this in Spanish class decades ago. :)

lewpuls
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Guidelines

There's an old saying, about projects: on time, on budget, and high quality: you can have two out of three.

Alternative: Fast, Cheap, according to Specs - you can have two out of three

In game design: Short, Simple, Deep - you can have two out of three

Or: Short, simple to play, richly detailed - you can have any two out of three

Midnight_Carnival
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indeed!

sometimes you're lucky to come away with one.

I would love to play the game with my students but for the moment I would like to find ways of deriving simple and enjoyable activities based on the game which I hope to one day make (hey, if anyone feels up to a challenge you are welcome to make similar games or your idea of how this one should be, I may even join you - when I have more time on my hands!)
I was hoping that asking clever creative people for suggestions on how to make a game which would be quite complicated to make and play would give rise to ideas I could base activities on.

The game itself is in the concept phase and I will get round to making it one day along with Bankokian Dominoes and that other game I haven't said anything about (because I might actually be able to make money out of this one).

let-off studios:
Thanks for your words of encouragement and intesting suggestions. Ironically I am teaching Engilsh to Spanish speakers right now.

let-off studios
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Nurturing the Idea

Midnight_Carnival wrote:
[...] (hey, if anyone feels up to a challenge you are welcome to make similar games or your idea of how this one should be, I may even join you - when I have more time on my hands!)
I think I'll take you up on that. :)

One of my first game designs years ago was a game where each player was a mad tinkerer of sorts, building robots or automatons with interchangeable limbs. There were task cards that players needed to complete to earn points, and to complete an action the robot also needed to have power. Either the player could play a power card, or could install things like solar panels on their robot to power it.

Anyway, I think it would be interesting to combine these two ideas into something else a little more engaging and competitive than my initial idea. Still keeping it simple and with cards-only. We'll see what happens. I'll share anything that comes of it here or in another thread, maybe a game journal.

gilamonster
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What about using cards which

What about using cards which have different body parts or limbs, but having a slightly carcassonne-like element, so you can make a monster with a loooong torso consisting of multiple cards (and thus able to have many arms for more attacks) but more difficult to complete (because you need to have a completed monster to fight), or a smaller monster with the minimal number of cards, which fights less well, but is easier to make. I think you'd have to allow multiple monsters under construction per player if this were to work well, though. Otherwise maybe you can modify your monster once it is complete, but it uses a turn during which the monster is out of action.

Extended arms could increase attack range, a bigger torso could increase hitpoints but make the monster easier to hit, longer legs mean it runs faster, and so on.
I am tempted to try to make a game along these lines, but with a science-fiction vehicle theme - probably inspired by those toys with the different mechanical arms and legs and tracks and stuff that connect together to make mech-like or tank-like futuristic vehicles.

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