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Utopian Rummy - Rummy where the melds give you special abilities

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Isamoor
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Joined: 08/06/2008

Came up with a pretty good idea for a Rummy game where the melds give you powers. Kind of a blend of economic engine games with traditional rummy. I'm a fan of the Mystery Rummy series and really like the direction they steered the game.

I have already done some prototyping and playtesting. My wife helped me iron out some of the really rough edges; it's not polished, but it's playable. I was wondering if anyone here would have a moment to read through the rules and give me some feedback. Here's a link to the living rules:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhdx9f7c_147hhcgdqhk

That link should update with any tweaks I make.

The rules aren't that long, but I have a large section at the end detailing each of the 11 unique cards to let you know what the deck looks like.

I'm quite proud of a few aspects of the design:

The "Wild" card Students help make melds, but they hurt your score. It's often a tough choice on when to use them and when to just toss them.

You can only make a single Meld per turn, and you really want to make two quite often. Painful decisions.

There's plenty of room for tactical play when deciding in what order to layoff cards and how best to maximize your hand flow.

I *think* the rules are pretty easy to pick up on. I love Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper, but that is one tough cookie to crack from the rules.

Anyway, I'd love any feedback and thanks for reading at least this far. Keep on having fun guys!

Later,

Shea

(And yes, the current artwork is courtesy of Microsoft Office, which I understand I have the right to redistribute as long as I credit them and the art is not used as a primary object of design.)

Nando
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Utopian Rummy

"Momument"

(It ain't easy being me.)

Nando
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Utopian Rummy

Quote:
C. Quantity
This is how many copies of this card are in the deck. Some cards have different values on different copies."

I suggest "...in the deck, although not all copies have the same value (see B)."

Isamoor
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Nando wrote:"Momument" (It

Nando wrote:
"Momument"

(It ain't easy being me.)

I erected it to commemorate my mommy :P

Thanks for the catch.

Isamoor
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Nando wrote:Quote:C.

Nando wrote:
Quote:
C. Quantity
This is how many copies of this card are in the deck. Some cards have different values on different copies."

I suggest "...in the deck, although not all copies have the same value (see B)."

Much cleaner, thanks for the suggestion.

I do enjoy the whole Google Doc thing about giving out live links and pushing updates.

I realize that your standard Wiki would do the same thing, but this way I don't have to mess with hosting one.

Nando
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Utopian Rummy

Quote:
Shuffle up the cards and deal out the following number of cards to each player:
2 Players -> 10 Cards
3 Players -> 9 Cards
4 Players -> 8 Cards
For people who might actually want to memorize this, you might mention that this works out to be 12 minus the player count.

Quote:
The player with the lowest score takes the first turn.
If scores are tied or it is the first deal, choose a start player.
Choose a starting player if this is the first Age, otherwise the player with the lowest score begins the Age. If there is a tie for lowest score, the player seated closest to the right of the previous start player begins the Age.

Quote:
Phase A: Must Research or Excavate.
Phase B: May make ONE Meld and/or as many Layoffs as desired and able.
Phase C: Mandatory Discard.
I'd probably try to name the phases in theme like phase A. So...

Phase A: Research or Excavate - draw cards.
Phase B: Expand - one optional meld and any layoffs desired.
Phase C: Decay - discard a card.

Quote:
2. At the beginning of a player's turn there are not enough cards in the Draw Deck for the active player to fully complete a Research action. This is true even if the active player wishes to Excavate instead of Research.
Whoa.
2. There are fewer than 2 cards in the Draw Deck at the beginning of any player's turn.
(Edit: Oh, I guess this is written this way because meld abilities could require more cards for research?)
.
.
.
I guess I'm not clear on the difference between melding and laying off. They both score the same, so why meld?
(Edit: Making the above edit about depleting the draw deck, it occurred to me that maybe meld abilities is the reason?)

Isamoor
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Joined: 08/06/2008
Wow, above and beyond Nando.

Wow, above and beyond Nando. Very far above and beyond. I've got to make an early breakfast meeting this morning or I'd post more.

I'll probably just try to alter the rules to make all your questions more clear; I'll post back here when I get a chance to do so.

If you have a BGG userid just let me know and I'd be happy to send you some GG :)

Isamoor
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Joined: 08/06/2008
Alright Nando, I think I

Alright Nando, I think I addressed all your suggestions. They all sounded great to me.

I reworded the whole "Expand" section and simplified it some. Hopefully the difference between Melding and Layoff makes sense now. If it doesn't let me know and I'll try to explain it in elaborate words here and I'm sure you'll have a better concise wording for the actual rules.

Thanks again,

Shea

ilta
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"Layoff"

I love this game. I'm a big fan of rummy since it's easy to carry around to restaurants and the like, but it does get dull after a while. This sort of game would definitely spice it up and serve as a great gateway card game. If you take it further (ie try to sell it) I'd strongly suggest Looney Labs.

Do all of the cards have special abilities, or are such just points? It might be nice to have a few just-points cards.

I want to talk for a second about the terminology though. I love all the idea of filling my "society" with "jobs" by doing "research." But the remaining Rummy terms like "meld" and "layoff" present three problems, IMHO:

1) If a player doesn't already know Rummy, then the terms "layoff" and "meld" don't mean anything to him. If you want to keep them, you should explain them in a little more detail, probably with a gameplay example or two.

2) The term "layoff" itself is confusing within the context of the game. Outside of rummy, it actually means firing people, which is the opposite of what you'd be doing in-game (ie adding "jobs" to your "society"). I think you might benefit from a new term for the action of playing one of your own card based on someone else's meld; for that matter, you might want a new term for "meld" as well, as that isn't thematic either. This would solve the problem outlined above, and you could still include something like "in standard Rummy, this is called 'laying off'" to help the Rummy-saavy players out there.

Possible ideas for "meld":
- "corporation"
- "company"
- "work detail"
- "sector"
- "neighborhood"
- "class" (confusing given that you have "students"; I mean this as in social class rather than a kids in a classroom, of course)
- "caste" (I really like this one)
- "culture" (a bit broad)

And for "layoffs":
- "join" (nice and simple)
- "assign"
- "participate"
- "visit" (although that implies moving to someone else's side of the board)
- "move in" (matches "neighborhood" above, but has the same problem as "visit")
- "send"
- "dispatch"
- "assimilate" (I really like this one)

3) There are a number of special cards that allow you to "layoff 1," like Ancestral Knowledge and Mo(m)nument. This was confusing the first time I saw it because you're not actually playing them (or some other card) on someone else's meld, as the term implies, but rather playing this card, one at a time, from your hand. Regardless of whether you rename "melds" and "layoffs" as in (2), I think you need a third term for when you play a single card not related to the melds already on the table, such as Monument. Most of the possible terms for layoffs (above) could work here, or others. Heck, even "play" works.

Like I said, I think this is a great game that looks like a lot of fun. Keep it up!

Isamoor
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Thanks for all the great

Thanks for all the great feedback Ilta.

I agree, if I'm going to add "theme" like jobs and society, then "meld" and "layoff" need to go eh?

For the meld, I need a term that makes people think "open" "discover" or "begin".

Maybe "invent"? Seems a little rough to invent jobs. I think I'll flash some of these past my wife and get her opinion.

And then the layoff, I do like assimilate. Join is pretty solid too. So would just "copy". Hrm hrm. Or maybe just not even keyword this. Just say you can always play jobs that have already been discovered? I like that direction.

And yes, I think I need to switch the Knowledge and Monument cards to just say "play" instead of layoff, that would get rid of that confusion.

And those rules contain entries for all of the cards. So yes, they all have some ability. Now some of the abilities are just about getting points though (Elders, Story Tellers and Monuments in particular)

I'm also currently still tweaking what is allowed in a turn. With multiple players, even allowing only a single "meld" per turn doesn't slow the game down enough. I've playtested some with "You may only Discover one new job per turn, and if you do you may not play any other Jobs". That's some pretty good wording there. With two players I might relax that restriction though, need some more play to find out.

Anyway, that's again for the encouragement. If I get things settled down over the next month or two I'd gladly share some decks for playtesting.

Isamoor
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Alright, I've completely

Alright, I've completely gutted out "meld" and "layoff" from the rules. The card images need updating, but I don't have access to those until Monday.

I definitely like the sound of the rules better already. Very astute catch Ilta.

I actually just removed the whole concept of "layoff". I'm going to strip that out of the non-job cards too. The important "Play" phase now reads:

Phase B: Expand (Play)

During this phase the active player may play cards from their hand face up into their play area. These cards are now in their Society.

Most cards represent Jobs. Each unique Job needs to be Discovered the first time it is played in each Age. To Discover a Job you need to play a set of at least THREE matching Jobs from your hand. Once any player has Discovered a particular Job it is possible to play any number of matching Jobs from your hand during your play phase.

IMPORTANT: You may only Discover ONE new Job per turn. Additionally, if you do Discover a new Job, you cannot play any additional Jobs that turn, even if they have already been Discovered.

The few cards that are not Jobs explain when they can be played in their abilities text. You can Discover a new Job and play non-Job cards in the same turn.

Katherine
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Joined: 07/24/2008
The heading "not a job" on

The heading "not a job" on the cards does not look right, could you use colour coding or something like "life skill"

Isamoor
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shazzaz wrote:The heading

shazzaz wrote:
The heading "not a job" on the cards does not look right, could you use colour coding or something like "life skill"

Thanks for reading through to the cards shazzaz. I realize that's all the way at the bottom so I appreciate your time.

Hrm, I was just trying to avoid additional keywords like "life skill", but I agree it's rather boring and silly to have "not a job".

I can always just move it into the abilities section, but I figured a lot of people would miss it there...

Hrm hrm. There are Students, Monuments and Ancestral Knowledge cards that are "not a job", can you think of anything that encompasses those assets in a single term?

And my wife prefers "initiated" to "discovered" when it comes to melding a new Job. I'll probably switch the keywording over to that unless someone else has a better more useful term?

Edit: Maybe "Unionized"?

Katherine
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Joined: 07/24/2008
I agree with initated.

I agree with initated.

Vision or Visionary is the only thing (I can think of) that fits all 3 of the not a job cards - perhaps they could lose the title and have reversed colour bands to the left.

It is a minor detail anyway - the rules were very easy to read and understand!

Good luck.

Nando
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Forum Post Utopian Rummy

Isamoor wrote:
There are Students, Monuments and Ancestral Knowledge cards that are "not a job", can you think of anything that encompasses those assets in a single term?
Is Ancestral Knowledge the same as history (or maybe genealogy)? Anyway, these three concepts connote generations: past generations and the rising generation. They are generational...

Or maybe they are traditions, in the sense that traditions are transferred from generation to generation.

Or some other phrase that evokes cultural continuity. Like, I don't know, continuity.

Ehhh... I got nothin.

Isamoor
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Thanks again for the feedback

Thanks again for the feedback guys. I think the rules are just tons better after your help.

I switched to "initiated" and like the sound of it.

I also dumped the whole "closed" discard piles. It just added too many cumbersome rules. Leave 'em open and let people just look through as they desire.

I'm trying to decide if I want to keyword the "non-jobs" or not. I agree the "NOT A JOB" bit is rather drab, but it does get the point across very simply. "Assets" and "Visions" are my current favorites. But if I put that as a keyword at the top, then I will surely have to put "Job" at the top of the Jobs. Meh, I'm leaning towards just leaving "NOT A JOB" at the moment.

I do need to do one last clean up on the play area of the rules. Right now it's a few disjoint paragraphs. I think the content is solid, but the presentation has become a little convoluted with some of the key exceptions listed at the end instead of the beginning.

Isamoor
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Alright, got access back to

Alright, got access back to the card images, so the rules are fully updated.

It's looking pretty solid to me now. Thanks again to everyone in this thread

I'm working on patching up a few card wordings since I got rid of "layoff" and switched to "initiate". I'm still a little rough on the students now:

"May be played with any Job, but only during Initiation.
Score 3 penalty points if in Society or hand."

If anyone has better wording for any cards, I'm all ears.

And I really think I'm just going to stick with the slightly clunky "NOT A JOB" title. It's straight and to the point enough I don't think people will be confused.

SiddGames
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"This is not a Job. You pay

"This is not a Job. You pay play a Monument if your Society has at least 4 unique Jobs." -- I think "pay" should be "may" instead?

In the Story Tellers section, there is a mismatch between singular and plural. The card image shows singular, the section title is plural, and in the first line you use both singular and plural.

The game sounds interesting and the rules seem pretty clean. I've been fascinated with Mystery Rummy for quite a while myself. I've done one with a horror theme in which each suit has a different one-time ability (meld the Survivors to kill a zombie card, meld Vampires to convert someone else's human into a vampire and add to your meld, etc). I like how your's offers long-term benefits during each hand.

Isamoor
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SiddGames wrote:"This is not

SiddGames wrote:
"This is not a Job. You pay play a Monument if your Society has at least 4 unique Jobs." -- I think "pay" should be "may" instead?

In the Story Tellers section, there is a mismatch between singular and plural. The card image shows singular, the section title is plural, and in the first line you use both singular and plural.

Great catches dear sir. Great catches.

Thanks for the encouraging words as well. If the current round of Spousal playtests turn out okay I'll probably release a current PDF of the cards and maybe try to drum up some blind playtesters at some point

And indeed, the Mystery Rummy series was a primary source of inspiration. I'm still very partial to Jack the Ripper myself :)

And of course I'd be happy to look over your horror themed version sometime if you're interested. I always like a good rummy game.

Raiderjakk
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Very Good....

I really like the flow and look of this. Interesting spin on a classic game..... I'll have to give it a whirl...

Isamoor
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Joined: 08/06/2008
Thanks again for all the

Thanks again for all the feedback guys. I must say everyone on here is just a gem.

I hope to have a moderately balanced set of cards ironed out soon. I'll probably upload an initial PDF over to BGG whenever I reach a somewhat happy phase.

I can at least rest assured that my rules are mostly legible to people after all the changes you have suggested. I added in a couple examples to the play area to help iron things out.

Thanks again everybody.

seandavidross
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shazzaz wrote:The heading

shazzaz wrote:
The heading "not a job" on the cards does not look right, could you use colour coding or something like "life skill"
I'd just like to echo this concern: overall, I really like the look of the game (especially the card backs) and I'll be interested in giving it a try, but the heading "Not A Job" is jarring for some reason. Perhaps because none of the other cards have a heading? Or perhaps because the only heading is negating something, saying what the card is not rather than what it is, yet none of the other cards are labelled as being that other thing? Maybe an icon, instead of a heading, like the Gavel cards in Mystery Rummy could be used to differentiate these special cards?

Isamoor
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seandavidross wrote:shazzaz

seandavidross wrote:
shazzaz wrote:
The heading "not a job" on the cards does not look right, could you use colour coding or something like "life skill"
I'd just like to echo this concern: overall, I really like the look of the game (especially the card backs) and I'll be interested in giving it a try, but the heading "Not A Job" is jarring for some reason. Perhaps because none of the other cards have a heading? Or perhaps because the only heading is negating something, saying what the card is not rather than what it is, yet none of the other cards are labelled as being that other thing? Maybe an icon, instead of a heading, like the Gavel cards in Mystery Rummy could be used to differentiate these special cards?

Oiy, I suppose if enough people say it then it has to be true eh?

Alright, I've got 2 reasonable options:

No matter what, I need to put "JOB" on top of the Jobs.

For the top of the Monument, Student and Ancestral Knowledge I can do either:

1. Put "ASSET" on top of them and explain the keyword in the rules.
or
2. Put a very short blurb on when they can be played, such as:

Student - "ASSIST INITIATION"
Monument - "4 OR MORE JOBS"
Ancestral Knowledge - "1 PER TURN"

Which solution do you guys prefer?

Thanks again for taking the time to read the rules.

seandavidross
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Isamoor wrote: 1. Put "ASSET"

Isamoor wrote:

1. Put "ASSET" on top of them and explain the keyword in the rules.
or
2. Put a very short blurb on when they can be played, such as:

Student - "ASSIST INITIATION"
Monument - "4 OR MORE JOBS"
Ancestral Knowledge - "1 PER TURN"

That's actually a tough choice. I like the simplicity of a single label for all three cards, but the blurb has the benefit of explaining how to play the cards. I'm leaning toward "ASSET", since the card body text can be, and is already being, used to explain how and when the card is played. Speaking of card body text, I noticed a spelling mistake on the Story Teller card inside the Google doc of the rules: "If you SOCIETY has..." should be "If your SOCIETY has..."

Isamoor
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seandavidross wrote:Isamoor

seandavidross wrote:
Isamoor wrote:

1. Put "ASSET" on top of them and explain the keyword in the rules.
or
2. Put a very short blurb on when they can be played, such as:

Student - "ASSIST INITIATION"
Monument - "4 OR MORE JOBS"
Ancestral Knowledge - "1 PER TURN"

That's actually a tough choice. I like the simplicity of a single label for all three cards, but the blurb has the benefit of explaining how to play the cards. I'm leaning toward "ASSET", since the card body text can be, and is already being, used to explain how and when the card is played. Speaking of card body text, I noticed a spelling mistake on the Story Teller card inside the Google doc of the rules: "If you SOCIETY has..." should be "If your SOCIETY has..."

Heh, that's what I get for changing around the Story Teller card so much. It was actually very hard to settle on a smooth ability for that card. I wanted it to interact with the AK cards, but I didn't want it over powered. I changed it again just yesterday and added the typo. I've corrected it in the google doc. I'll hold off on updating the PDF of the cards for a couple days to keep the BGG admins happy with me.

So, I think I like the Asset keyword. Means I need to restructure the play area of the rules some. I'll get on that soon. I tried adding "JOB" to the top of the other cards, but it just looked silly. Maybe I need to play with where I add it to. I think I'll place it over to the right with the quantity and maybe it will look better.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Isamoor
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seandavidross wrote:Isamoor

seandavidross wrote:
Isamoor wrote:

1. Put "ASSET" on top of them and explain the keyword in the rules.
or
2. Put a very short blurb on when they can be played, such as:

Student - "ASSIST INITIATION"
Monument - "4 OR MORE JOBS"
Ancestral Knowledge - "1 PER TURN"

That's actually a tough choice. I like the simplicity of a single label for all three cards, but the blurb has the benefit of explaining how to play the cards. I'm leaning toward "ASSET", since the card body text can be, and is already being, used to explain how and when the card is played. Speaking of card body text, I noticed a spelling mistake on the Story Teller card inside the Google doc of the rules: "If you SOCIETY has..." should be "If your SOCIETY has..."

Alright, I went with Asset & Job. I played with the card layout until I was a bit more satisfied. It's now in the upper right of each card. You can see the new cards inset into the rules. (Which I hear the rules can look rough on a widescreen display. If you just squeeze your browser window a little they should clean up some>)

I also changed the rules around to take in the "Asset" keyword. That actually went pretty smooth. I need to update the Card Layout diagram, but I'm waiting to let the changes sink in a bit and make sure I like the look.

It does get rid of the negative connotation though :)

Thanks for helping make that decision.

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