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auditory one-minute timers

2 replies [Last post]
Mollycat
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Joined: 07/27/2009

Hello,
During play testing two players on two occasions (out of 32 players, 6 sessions) commented that it would be useful to have a timer that buzzed/rang when time expired. The game is currently played with a sandtimer and none of the other players noted any difficulty. I do, however see the merit in the point as people are too busy playing to keep an eye on the time. I am less concerned with the exact passage of a minute than that all players have the same amount of time to write. In all rounds, someone invariably yells "time!"
However, I am attempting tolook into one-minute timers that chime/buzz and have not been able to find any. The cost differential between a sandtimer and a mechanical one may mean the difference between self-publishing and licensing. I am seeking advice on:
1. Does the comments of two warrant further scrutiny? (People do play boggle with a sandtimer.)
2. Does anyone know where to find mechanical timers in bulk that are game friendly?
Thank you for any assistance,
Mollycat

InvisibleJon
InvisibleJon's picture
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Several ideas...

Mollycat wrote:
1. Does the comments of two warrant further scrutiny? (People do play boggle with a sandtimer.)
Yes. However, play with more people. Do not tell new players about the prior comments and see if they say the same thing. If they do, you have a bona fide trend.

Incidentally, I've played Boggle with a sand timer and with a digital timer. I greatly prefer the digital timer. You just don't have to think about it, you know? That freedom makes it more likely to slip into that "flow" state where the game just works.

Mollycat wrote:
2. Does anyone know where to find mechanical timers in bulk that are game friendly?
You could check the Thomas Register for bulk digital (or mechanical kitchen-style) timer suppliers.

Best of luck,

Jonathan

PS: If you, or a friend, has a moderate amount of electrical skill, you could prototype what you need with a 555 timer or an Arduino. Alternately, you could try a few games with a computer-based timer and see if that improves gameplay.- JAL

PPS: Oh! One more idea: A marble rolling down a ramp that zig-zags back and forth and takes a minute to reach the bottom. It's relatively simple to make and adds a nifty physical prop to the game. A weight that's spring-mounted horizontally on a vertical post could be used to similar effect. So could a spinning top, a pendulum, or a marble spinning around a funnel. - JAL

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
Honestly . . .

. . . I don't see how it should be a problem to most people. If I think I'm doing well in a timed game, I'm very likely to make sure no-one else is sneaking any extra time. If I'm struggling, well, I'll let someone else pay attention to making sure I don't get any extra time. It seems pretty self regulating, even if one of the members of the group is whining about the sand timer.

Pass The Bomb is a game that comes with a randomized electronic timer. You push a button, and it "explodes" at some interval. It's a neat mechanic. I digress. Um, the game is pretty cheap, and it's just cards and a little electronic bomb. Maybe check into that company?

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