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Running Bull - A board game of running the bulls in Pamplona

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Maddgames's picture
Joined: 06/05/2019

Hello all,

I'm currently working on a board game based on running the bulls in Spain.

I am wanting some help with names for cards / effects. The outline of the game is below, I'm happy with the mechanics of the game and the overall flavour, but need help with some of the smaller elements.

If you have any ideas let me know.

The aim of the game is to run bull, so you can win by dodging the bulls or by running bull (lying).

As it is a race game you move your runner thought the streets of Pamplona by placing a card in front of you face down and declaring what it is. The other players then can call you a liar or not.

Reputation (victory points) are awarded every time someone lies successful, every time someone attempts to dodge a bull and for finishing the race fastest.

Each player starts the game with the same deck of 10 cards numbered 1-6. Each card also has its own ability that can be played to aid you in someway.  These decks get added to over the game by purchasing better cards, and also by becoming exhausted (a 2) and injured (a 1).

The game is played over 6 rounds:

Ability - where you play a card from your hands to help for or hamper others.

Move - stating you are playing a numbered card to move though the streets.

Fight - Tussling for position with people on the same square as you.

Buy - Gaining new cards for your deck.

Bulls - This is where the bulls move and will attempt to gore anyone in their path.

Draw - Drawing up to your maximum hand size

The game ends once someone gets to the end of the course (the bull fighting arena)

Drion22's picture
Joined: 04/20/2019
Help me understand

This theme sounds pretty damn cool, though we'd probably have to research bullfighting to be able to give you a help with any names, so I'm not going to attempt that.
Help me understand on how this game actually runs, because there's a lot going on. Players are on a racetrack, and they're looking to have the most reputation by the time someone gets to the end of the track. They have 10 cards (numbered 1-6???), and they place down a card and move as much as they claimed, unless people say you're lying. You can also play cards for their abilities. And buy cards as a deckbuilding element.
I don't know what the effects are or how you buy cards, but either the buying new cards, the lying about your card or the card ability feels like its bloating the game. The goring bull also seems to (themewise) hits the people in the last position, making it a possible runaway leader problem.


Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013
Sounds cool!


-Are there elements in the game that make the bluffing part more intense? As it stands, it seems like people are just guessing to see if you are lying, but is there any reference point? For example if I were to lay a two down it would be more advantageous but I am placing a five and saying its a two because I want the reputation (hoping they will accept it as truth). I hope that makes sense.

-What happens when no one makes it to the end but the game gets to the sixth round?


-Are there unique bulls? Like Black Bessy can knock you back three spaces if you do not dodge. Steam Roller moves one space towards the nearest player at the end of a turn. Fancy Frank can has a chance to run at you again if you draw a six at the end of your turn. (I have no idea what the specific mechanics are but these are my thoughts). Unique bulls = increased replay value.

-It seems anticlimactic to end the game at the arena and call it a day (even though the theme is focused on the streets). What if the arena is where you actually determined the winner but reputation gained throughout the game gave you some sort of advantage at the end. This just popped out at me. Could totally be stupid lol.

-Speaking to my first question, there should definitely be special spaces (spice shop, fabric store, etc.) that give you something. Land on a fabric store and upgrade your red cape (better at dodging). Land on a spice shop and draw a card. Land on a market square and buy a card for free.

Cool game, I'll be checking in!

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Get Bit!

I'd suggest you look into the mechanics behind Get Bit! for some inspiration.

Other than that, I got nothin'. The theme really doesn't do it for me, personally. But best of success to you and your project! :)

Maddgames's picture
Joined: 06/05/2019
Thanks for feedback. All the

Thanks for feedback. All the cards in the game are two fold. They have text (that is used in the ability round) and a number on them. The number is used for: moving, buying new cards,fighting other players and dodging bulls.

Players have a starting deck of 10 cards which they add to over the game. The can buy cards to improve their deck, but can also get injuries and fatigue cards added in.

The bulls run past you once the have tried to gore you. So the person in last will get hit first, but they will also gain VPs first. There are short cuts on the race track only usable for the player in last to help them catch up.

A player can get ahead of the pack and finish the race first, but then they have gained no VPs from dodging bulls, and won't win.

When running with the bulls in Pamplona the point isn't to sprint ahead and not see a bull, so even though their is a race element the person that finishes first isn't always the winner.

Maddgames's picture
Joined: 06/05/2019
In terms of bluffing there

In terms of bluffing there are reference points:

What people have purchased - as they got straight to hand.
What card got pulled for dodging / fighting - as these go back to hand.
Where people want to end of the track - you may want to be is last as it gives us the first player marker and you can then use the short cuts.

I wasn't clear about the 6 rounds. Once whole game has as many rounds as needed for a player to reach the end. But the game is played over 6 phases: ability, move, fight, buy, bulls and draw.

I really like the idea of having bulls do different things. At moment I'm not happy with the full balance / time elements of the game. But once I'm happy with that I will test the different bull elements

ilSilvano's picture
Joined: 07/31/2008
Not a first

I do not want to discourage or stop you, but please take a look at existing games set in Pamplona.
I have one, "Viva Pamplona!" by Wolfgang Kramer which is nice, and I know at least another "Pamplona" game exist; have a look on Boardgamegeek to avoid introducing similar ideas in your game by mistake.

Maddgames's picture
Joined: 06/05/2019
Thanks for the heads up. I've

Thanks for the heads up. I've looked at these games, and another I found called Running with the Bulls. I'm happy that although the theme is the same my game mechanics as very different.

Maddgames's picture
Joined: 06/05/2019
*** Double Post ***


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