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[WIP] Dolus: A quick & dirty political card game for 3-5 players. Extort your friends!

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jhrrsn
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Joined: 01/03/2014

Hi all!

I'm really excited to share my game with you all. Dolus (working title!) has been a passion of mine for the past few months as the design has gone from inception through to playtesting, and I'm hoping that by sharing it with this community I'll get some valuable feedback and direction as to where to take it next.

The game is relatively lightweight, revolving around two simple mechanics. I hope that the rules are short and simple to learn. I'd really appreciate it if you could take the time to read through them and offer any criticisms!

Download links for prototype rules and cards:

Rules (Updated 12/1/14) Cards (Updated 12/1/14)

You'll need some distinct coins or coloured markers for each player, the final game will ship with 10/player but 6 is probably fine.

The card art & layout is not final, I have illustrator & designer friends who will be doing that! Having said that, any guidance on design would be welcome.

Thanks for taking a look!

Jack

wazzajack
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Joined: 11/28/2013
DOLUS

Hi Jack,
Very impressed.

Your game fits the “game of life” formula that my own games use. www.wazzajack.com

You’re successfully combining human character traits in a fun and competitive way with plenty of interaction.
Another big plus you’ve achieved is a minimum of parts which would keep production cost down.

I don’t think you need a lot of advice at all.

I don’t want to call it advice but if I was to say anything I would prefer to see the word storyline instead of summary at the beginning of your rules followed by contents and your glossary or description of parts before setup and starting the game.
For me to read the rules in this order would make them easier to understand.

wazzajack
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Joined: 11/28/2013
DOLUS

Adding to my earlier comment and assuming it plays well I think you’re onto a winner.

If I was to tick off all the positives you’ve achieved I believe they’d be the following:-

Multiplayer (convenient numbers of)

Roll Playing Interaction (interaction with other players always a big plus)

Strategic and Tactical (not just a game based on simple luck but thought as well)

Variable Outcomes (plays differently each time it’s played)

Simple setup (with comparably few parts)

Small Packaging (easy to store and take away to play on a holiday)

Self Producible (can be self produced in enough numbers not to break the bank)

Self Marketable (a game that can be market tested first without involving a major game company or even major retailers).

Two of my games particularly, “Corporate Ambition” and “Gossip Street” have aspects similar to yours but involve boards plus many more cards. The rules in “Gossip Street” take considerable explaining and rule writing is most important as an introduction to a game as you’re not going to be there when someone who bought your game first opens the box.

The simplicity of your game for what it delivers really has impressed me.

The name DOLUS. Is it just a made up name or does it have a special meaning?

As a branding or trademark it seems unusual enough to avoid conflicts. This is definitely another thing to think about as your brand can become very important and valuable to you. Just imagine having great success trading under that name and becoming well known only to be told you can’t use it anymore. Make sure its fully protected first.

After saying all this I think it’s probably you that could give us advice.

Regards, Warren

jhrrsn
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Cheers!

Thanks Warren, that's genuinely heartwarming feedback! Simple rules, a small number of components & lots of social interaction were three key design goals for this game, so I'm glad you identified them.

The game is by no means perfect (ha!), and one of my biggest concerns is the balance of risk and reward for using power in the game. I need to ensure that doing nothing and sitting put on your hand is not a game-winning strategy!

As for the name, Dolus is a Latin legal word meaning 'evil intent, embracing both malice and fraud'. I thought it was appropriate, though I'll probably use a tagline as well as it's a little obscure! I also imagine it's unlikely that I can trademark a single Latin word!

Thanks again for your feedback Warren. If anyone else could offer an alternative (or conflicting!) view that would be really helpful.

Cheers!

Jack

ReneWiersma
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Joined: 08/08/2008
Looks good. No major issues

Looks good. No major issues at first glance.

One thing I couldn't find was which player starts a new round, or does the same player start each round? I think it would be nice to especially have a different player start/end the bidding each round.

Also, what happens if no player can or wants to bid during a bidding round? I assume that it counts as if each player bids "0" and then break ties on basis of their power tokens, but perhaps it would be nice to explicitly state this?

jhrrsn
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Starting player & no bids

Gosh, you're absolutely right - the starting player does rotate clockwise every round, I just forgot to mention that in the rules! Cheers for pointing that out.

No players bidding is not something that came up in testing, but you're right, it could probably do with a brief sentence to explain.

Thanks!

jhrrsn
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Joined: 01/03/2014
Updated rules to clarify a

Updated rules to clarify a few points raised, and rebalanced some cards after a recent playtesting session.

Thanks again for your awesome feedback!

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