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Game Design Showdown August 2009 Challenge: "Make Mike Hammer Cry"

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Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

Game Design Showdown

August 2009 Challenge - "Make Mike Hammer Cry"

>>> This Challenge has been COMPLETED<<<

Congratulations to doho123 for his winning entry!

  • Submissions: Thursday, 6-August-2009 through Thursday, 13-August-2009.
    • Voting: Thursday, 13-August-2009 through Thursday, 20-August-2009.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme: 1940's-style hard-boiled detective/crime drama ... like the genre most often explored by American writer Mickey Spillane.
  • Big Board: A large central game board must be used in the game.
  • "The Gadget": The game must employ a mechanical or electronic gadget (or multiple gadgets).

Critiques: Please post critiques and any comments/questions about the entries to this Challenge on the Critiques Thread.

Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge were handled on the Comments Thread.

GDS Details: For more details on how these Game Design Showdown Challenges work, especially the details around the word count and graphics limits, visit the GDS Wiki Page.



Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - Mike Hammer Wants to Beat Your Face In

Entry #1 - Mike Hammer Wants to Beat Your Face In

by doho123



Players are a team of crooks who have just pulled off a heist. They move around the map, selling their loot at seedy pawn shops.

However, Mike Hammer is on the case. His moves are revealed from a small computer shaped like a 1940’s desktop telephone, via voice cues of Mike Hammer himself. If Hammer finds himself in the same location as a player, he gets to interrogate the player in his own special way, in the hopes of getting clues to finding the location of the players Safehouse. Sell the loot before the Hammer finds your hideout! Or be a squealer if you are getting the short end of the deal.


Players select a hideout on the map. Each location has a list of location Clue cards that should be gathered up. Clue cards have a bar code that the telephone can read through a card swipe mechanism. Clue cards, for the humans, say things like “Our Safehouse is east of the park” or “our Safehouse’s roof is blue”, in such a manner that a human could deductively figure out the Safehouse location after a certain amount of cards.

Players also get a paper score sheet that shows their body in graphic form that keeps track of pain Hammer does to them during interrogations. There are 12 “Pain areas” in all. Players select and circle 2 areas on their body as indication of their Weak Points.

Pain cards are shuffled and placed face down. Each Pain card shows a different pain area on the body that matches the areas from the player score sheets.

Players take turns moving around the city, carrying loot (up to 3 loot cards) from their hideout to pawn shops. When a pawn shop buys something, the payout at that pawnshop for the next loot is reduced, but other pawn shop buying prices go up.

Players are free to move around the city as far as they want on a turn, but for each city block they move, they press MOVE on the phone.

After X amount of moves(X being randomly decided by the telephone), Hammer announces that he’s moving (and any current player movement stops). Hammer always starts from the location he stopped at on his previous turn. He narrates his moves as he wanders around the seedy city, block by block (“Looks like Nick’s is open again; that bum couldn’t make a good hot dog if he was veterinarian with a flamethrower”). At some point he randomly stops (“Gotta get a new pain of shoes; these are too beat up from kicking the crap outta the scum in this city.”). And the players are allowed to continue.

Anyway, as Hammer wanders around, after each block, he pauses. If a player is on the same block that Hammer is on, that player must press INTERROGATE on the phone.

There’ll be some tough talk (“I’m gonna make you fold faster than my pants at the laundromat”), and the phone will fire off one of many meaty punch-and-groan sounds, and the player must draw a Pain card. If a Pain area on Pain card matches a Weak Point on the player’s sheet, he must press SQUEAL to end the interrogation. Otherwise, the player must add a mark on the corresponding Pain area on his score sheet. Pain marks are kept for the entire game. If the selected Pain area has over 3 marks, the player presses SQUEAL. Otherwise, the player may optionally press INTERROGATE again if he thinks he can outlast Hammer’s interrogation, or SQUEAL.

Over the course of a full interrogation, depending on Hammer’s “rage,” Hammer may give up the interrogation, or continue on for quite a while. His rage is based on how long it’s been since he last interrogated someone.

When a player SQUEALS, he randomly selects a clue card, swipes it on the phone, (“Thanks for the info, bub. Now get your loser face outta here”), and discards it from the game.


If Hammer moves into the Safehouse, and announces that he’s at the hideout, then with maximum rage, he interrogates each player in turn one more time a random amount for the fun of it, and players add marks to each corresponding Pain area (Players don’t get the option to SQUEAL out of the interrogation). Whoever has the most accumulated pain loses the game.

If all of the loot is sold, then the player with the most cash wins the game.


Accumulated Pain marks can affect the player, such as: 6 pain marks on one arm lower the amount of loot he can carry by 1. 6 pain marks on one leg, and he must press MOVE twice from each city block.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - The Mayor's Dead

(Admin Note: Word Count = 1,086)

Entry #2 - The Mayor’s Dead

by auvillebw



It’s the heart of prohibition in the big city. The mayor is dead… murdered in a very public and messy drive by shooting on the steps of city hall leaving a power vacuum behind. Who is behind this assassination and who will take over?

Each player is in control of a syndicate aimed at dominating the city. Players via for dominance behind the scenes, and can use multiple tactics/paths to achieve victory (most VPs).


Each player has means of influencing city council members on the vote for the next mayor. Each council member is tied to a district. The player with the most influence in a district controls the vote of that council member. Some influence is overt: the play on the main game board. Some is covert: via a card vault that locks in different types of influence for each district. Build influence, and get your candidate elected to dominate the city!

The Board

Large city map, laid out in 10 districts (precincts) with city hall at the center of the map. Each district has its own central police station and has a mix of four types of areas: retail business, residential, manufacturing, and warehouse areas (not all districts will have all four areas in them). Other city government buildings and special buildings are spread throughout the city: i.e. fire depts., local union houses, post offices, schools, museums, Caribou Club (businessmen’s private club), and speakeasies, etc…


One large deck of person cards (from footpads, shopkeepers, and patrol officers up to senators, wealthy businessmen, and the governor). Each person card has different types of influence optimized for different areas and special buildings, and can negate/compliment other cards operating in the same district.

Federal Agent Cards: part of person card deck, FBI, ATF, IRS, etc... Played against another player’s home district to disrupt their influence as well as push blame for the murder of the previous mayor on them.

Five mayoral candidate cards: each candidate represents two of the ten districts whose council member will vote for this candidate by default. Cards kept in center of board at City Hall.

The Gadgets

The vault is a slotted rack facing the player that holds person cards that are in play, but hidden. The player must first choose the district in which the person on the card is placing influence by toggling the districts number in. When the card is inserted, that district becomes locked with the person. The Vault contains 10 slots.

The vault has a toggle for the 5 different mayoral candidates to be selected by the player prior to start of play

Game Set up

Players are dealt 5 cards to their hand, and take turns (counter clockwise from dealer right) selecting a home district by placing a marker on that district’s precinct station. Only one player may occupy a district. Districts are selected after each player has had a chance to look at their hands in order to allow players to optimize the influence of the person cards in their hand. A player operating in their home district gains an influence bonus on all person cards played there.

Players then choose a mayoral candidate to support. Each candidate optimizes different types of influence: i.e. unions and civil servants; business and manufacturing; police and street toughs; etc… Players choose a candidate that will allow them to gain the most VPs at the end of the election. Candidate choices are kept secret, and more than one player can support a given candidate.

Game Play

Play starts with dealer and goes clockwise.

Players start by drawing 1 card to their hand. The player then must play a card face up on the board, face down in front of them, or play a card in their vault. Cards played face up on the board are placed in the district where influence is desired. The player places a token on the card to identify ownership.

Cards played face down are played at the beginning of the following turn prior to drawing a card. Face down cards may only be brought into play on the game board. A player may only have one face down card at a time.

Play stops 1 round after voting criteria is met (stopping just prior to the player on whose turn voting criteria was met).

Voting Criteria

Last player fills card vault

Player has enough overt influence over a candidate to force an election and chooses to do so at the end of his/her turn (five districts, which may include the candidate’s two home districts if there is no overt influence on the board in these districts). The candidate a player uses to force the election does not have to be the candidate selected in the player’s vault.

Vote Winner Determination

Total overt and covert influence is tallied for each district. The player having the most influence over a district gets the vote for their chosen candidate. Six votes are needed to elect the mayor. If no candidate has six or more votes, then the council is undecided and there is no mayor.

Game Winner

The player with the most VPs wins. If tied, the player whose candidate won wins. If still tied, then the player who had the most votes for that candidate wins.

Awarding VPs

5 VP - Candidate gets elected mayor

2 VP each - Player controls the most influence in an area that the mayor supports as listed on the mayor’s card: unions and civil servants; business and manufacturing; police and street toughs; etc…

1 VP - Controlling a district’s vote

2 VP - Most districts controlled

-4 VP Named the Assassin: player with the most Federal Agent influence against them. If tied, it was a conspiracy and all parties share the blame and receive -4 VPs.


Watch how and where other players are developing their overt influence. Are they pushing for a gangster friendly regime or a city friendly to big business?

Default district voting can allow for a fast early vote based on what’s on the board. Be careful initiating a vote this way, because other players have one last chance to place overt and/or covert influence in these districts.

Be careful of having too much influence on the board, or else you may be framed for the previous mayor’s demise.

Face down cards can be a good insurance policy against a player forcing an early vote.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Results are in ...

According to the results of the voting poll, the winner of this challenge is Mike Hammer Wants to Beat Your Face In by doho123 ... congratulations to him!

Also, thanks to auvillebw for submitting "The Mayor's Dead" -- which gave good competition in the Challenge.

Critiques: Please post critiques and any comments/questions about the entries to this Challenge on the Critiques Thread.

Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge should be handled on the Comments Thread.

Keep an eye out for the September GDS Challenge in a few weeks.

Enjoy, - Bryk

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