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[GDS] DECEMBER 2015, "Learning to game"

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richdurham
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We have a winner!

Evil Cults for Dummies

Congratulations to andymakespasta!

With only four entries this month, we've got some leeway to dig into the mechanics and see what works and what doesn't. It was really tempting to just declare this one a four-way tie, what with the voting being so close! Thank you to all of our entrants, [now let's head over to the critiques forum!] (http://www.bgdf.com/forum/game-design/game-design-showdown/gds-december-2015-learning-game-critiques)

Entries are in!

A tough challenge? Four entries this month - my hat off to them for tackling this challenge in making an interesting game with none/little to no learning curve.

Take a good long look at the four entries this month. Which one best met the challenge? Which is the best written? Which one gets you excited to play, just hearing about it?

Voting is open to all BGDF members.

Submit your votes using this form by the end of the 16th of December.

  • Voting Format: Each person has 3 Medals (Gold, Silver, and Bronze - with values 3, 2, and 1 vote respectively) to distribute any way they choose among the GDS entries with the following restrictions:

    • Entrants may not assign any Medals to their own entry!

    • Entrants must assign all 3 Medals.

    • An entrant who does not assign all 3 Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (-3 votes) as a penalty.


Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

You know the hardest part about getting friends to game with you? The "learning the game" part? Someone needs to do it, whether reading the rules or learning from someone else during play. This is an area video games have been excelling at in recent years - the in-game tutorial.

Recently there was an announcement for an "instant-play" boardgame, an adaptation of the video game "This War of Mine".

Surrounding it, a number of people saying "what? Nah Not possible, There's going to be SOME rule they need to know..." Which is likely the case.

However that goal is the seed to this month's challenge:

Your challenge for December is to make a game that starts with minimal rules and decisions, to minimise the learning curve. However, the game should, as play continues, ramp up to become the full game experience.

If you're looking for another digital example, think the controlled release of A Dark Room. Or in card game land, even Fluxx could be considered at least a game that ramps up.

You may use any theme you wish for this challenge, but there is an additional restriction to keep from making too simple a game: you must use any two of the following mechanics by the time the game ramps up to full:

  • worker placement
  • drafting (of dice, tokens, cards, whatever)
  • hidden information / bluffing
  • deck building (not necessarily with cards)
  • dice rolling
  • dexterity
  • auctions

Here's the details:


Theme: Anything you like.

Mechanic: The game must start with as minimal a learning curve as possible, and ramp up as the game progresses to be a full-fledged game. The idea is to have players sit and start playing with almost no explanation of the rules at all. The elusive "instant-play" quality.

Plus at least two from the list here:

  • worker placement
  • drafting (of dice, tokens, cards, whatever)
  • hidden information / bluffing
  • deck building (not necessarily with cards)
  • dice rolling
  • dexterity
  • auctions

Component restriction: None

Word Limit: Standard 500 word limit. Remember this is a pitch, so focus your thoughts on the task and a summary more than explaining every detail

Voting: Award a Gold, Silver, and Bronze (worth 3,2, and 1 points respectively) Medals to your three favorite entries. Any entrant that does not award all three Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (that's "Fool's Gold") worth -3 votes!

When submitting your entry: PLEASE USE THE FORM LINKED HERE.


  • Submissions: Wednesday the 2nd through Wednesday the 9th

  • Voting: Through the 16th. Votes will be through a form (link posted after submission period is ended).

  • Voting Format: Each person has 3 Medals (Gold, Silver, and Bronze - with values 3, 2, and 1 vote respectively) to distribute any way they choose among the GDS entries with the following restrictions:

    • Entrants may not assign any Medals to their own entry!

    • Entrants must assign all 3 Medals.

    • An entrant who does not assign all 3 Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (-3 votes) as a penalty.

  • Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge are handled on the Comments Thread

  • CRITIQUES: After voting has closed the entries will be posted for comments and critiques. Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the Critiques Thread.

  • GDS Details: For more details on how these Game Design Showdown Challenges work, visit the GDS Wiki Page.

Enjoy, and good luck!

-Rich and Mindspike

richdurham
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Entry 1 - Evil Cults for Dummies

Evil Cults for Dummies

A Complete Idiot's Guide to Summoning spirits, fiends and eldritch horrors

Components

  • 3 decks of unique 10~20 summon cards each
  • default summon cards
  • location deck ~15 cards
  • ~10x6 dice of each color, (mana)
  • magical reagent tokens

Setup

  • everyone starts with the same six default summon cards of cultists(1Str) laid in front of them.and 3 dice of their color
  • default locations + 1 randomly drawn location card in the center of the table

Gameplay

Every round, everyone rolls as many dice as they want. Everyone then takes turns placing a die onto a location card. Depending on the spaces available at each location, and the properties of each summon, a die may replace or coexist with dice already at that location, or simply cannot be placed at that location. Once everyone has finished placing their workers, locations are resolved in order, and creatures not destroyed are returned to owners as mana, to be rerolled next turn.

Locations

Locations have spaces on them where creatures(workers) can be placed. Locations are numbered, and should be resolved in order. Locations can either straight up give you resources, or they may allow you special actions, such as rerolling dice in the next round, or changing another player's summoning hand, or peeking at decks etc. They may also add modifiers to your creature abilities this turn.

Default Locations: - "Supermarket" unlimited capacity, gain 1 magical reagent (MR) - "Power Plant" 2 capacity, gain 1 mana - "basic summoning circle" 1 capacity, spend 1MR and draw 1 card from summoning deck 1 - "advanced summoning circle" 1 capacity, spend 3MR and draw 1 card from summoning deck 2 (much stronger)

Special Locations: - 5x"Cataclysm Circle Fragment", once all the fragments are on the table, the last fragment becomes an usable location, which can win the game.

Other Example locations "Sacrificial Altar" unlimited capacity, all creatures are destroyed, owner of winning creature gains 2*destroyed-creatures mana. "Dimension door" 1 capacity, resolved first, move one creature you own. "Sewers" 1 capacity, gain 3MR, only slot1/2/3 creatures allowed.

Summoning

Summon creatures by rolling dice. What creature that dice represents depends on your summoning hand of six cards face up on the table in front of you. Creatures have a strength value, and special abilities. When there are more creatures than spaces at a location, creatures with higher strength get the better spots. When placing creatures, you can choose to place them underneath another creature (stacking the dice) to boost that creature's power by 1.

Say later on you have "infernal retriever"(Str2) on your 3 slot, any dice that roll as 3 is now worth 2 Strength

Example creatures - "undead roach" Str1, slots2/3, cannot be destroyed - "fireball" Str5, slot1, destroys all creatures at that location, including itself - "uranium golem" Str3, slots4/5, all creatures at that location are destroyed after the round ends

Synopsis

worker placement using dice, with more worker types and locations as game progresses.

richdurham
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Entry 2 - A Court of Kings

The king is dead! With no heir and the queen absent, the governing of the kingdom falls on the Kings own advisers. Each, of course, with their own hidden agendas and ploys.

Components

- 15 Agenda cards
- 50 Scenario cards
- 1 Veto token
- score sheets

Setup

Shuffle the Scenario cards into a deck and leave it at the center of the table.
Shuffle the agenda cards and deal one to each player.
Hand the Veto token to any player.

Objective

Fulfill you hidden agenda.

The Agenda will simply say…. For example
“To win, you must convince the court to GO TO WAR twice and EXECUTE three people.”

Game play

One player with the best reading voice (it is recommended to play this game with Morgan Freeman) will draw the top Scenario card and read the scenario out loud. At the end of every Scenario card are four (4) options that differ on each Scenario.

Example:
OPTIONS-
- EXECUTE the spy
- IMPRISON the spy
- INTERROGATE the spy
- PARDON the spy

The court will then openly discuss the available options and vote on each option. Each player may only vote for one of the four (4) options. The option with the most votes is the decision of the court. This decision is marked on the score sheet and the Veto token is passed to the next player. Another Scenario card is drawn and the game continues.

The player with the Veto token breaks ties. Once a player reveals their hidden agenda and the score sheet matches the agenda, that player has completed his agenda and is declared the winner, taking the throne!

richdurham
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Entry 3 - DroneBall

Two teams of drones fight to score points in a special sport called Drone Ball. Each player control a drone which they should try to catch the opposing team’s ball and return it to their base to score point. The twist is that each team has a ball but it is not a regular ball - it is a RC car that can try to avoid being catched.

Components

4 drone pawns, 2 RC car pawns (the ball), a bag of colored dice (white, red, blue, green, black, yellow). Rule cards in matching colors. 25 cards with different firmware updates (extra rules)

The playing field is 16x16 tiles. Team bases are placed in opposite corners. 4 squares near the center are Power-up tiles.

Set-up

Each team place their drone on their own base and their car pawn on a tile next to the base. Every player have a dice mat for their drone and a dice mat for the team RC. Put one white dice on each mat at beginning of play, and a random colored dice from the dice bag on each power-up tile.

Starting rules

For each white die you may roll and move the number of squares the dice shows and once make a 90 degree turn.

On your turn you may, Choose to roll some or all of the dice on your drone dice mat and execute allowed maneuvers. Leave the movement dice to show your speed.

On your opponent's turn you may (before anyone else) roll the dice on you RC mat and execute allowed maneuvers.

You can pick up the opponent RC car by moving your drone over it. Return it to you own base to score 1 point. The car is moved back to the opponent’s base and the game continues.

If your drone move into an opponent’s drone pawn you may knock it down temporarily and releasing the ball to an adjacent tile. To knock down an opponent you need to have more speed than your opponent. Knocked down drones skip a turn.

Whenever a drone fly over the power-up tiles it can take that dice and put on their mat. RC cars can also grab dice. Power-ups are replenished upon scoring.

Each dice color has its own rule which you can learn by turning over the corresponding colored rule-card. The yellow die let you move diagonally and make one ekstra turn. The green die is defence and the red dice is special attack. The black joker die can be a copy a dice on your mat of your choice.

On every score - the opposing team draw two firmware update cards, picks one and pass one. These cards a special rules that can be played once and the discarded. A firmware update could for example be; pick up the RC car when adjacent to it or when swap a die to any other color of your choice or double your current score and so on.

The first to score 101 points win.

richdurham
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Entry 4 - Autodidacticism

Autodidacticism is self-directed learning. This is a game about autodidacticism that teaches itself. No rule book to pre-read, you learn as you play.

The box says, “To begin, open the box and do what it says inside the lid.” Inside it says, “Grab the ‘Getting Started’ cards; flip them over one at a time, doing as directed.”

GS1 - Everyone grab a Skill Progression card holder.

GS2 - Everyone take three cards from the Skill Deck. Choose one of them for your first skill to master. Place it face up in the holder. It partly covers the card showing only the first of 4-6 steps it takes to master the skill (as steps are completed, slide the card up to show the next step). Place the other two cards face down.

GS3 - Learning a new skill requires time for study and practice, plus money for supplies and equipment. You'll play Time and Money cards to complete the steps on the Skill cards. Everyone take three Money cards and four Time cards. Shuffle them with the face down Skill cards and take the top three cards into your hand. Place the rest face down as a draw pile.

GS4 - Everyone take one of the dice and roll it (colour doesn't matter). Whoever rolled the lowest number will go first (tiebreaker: roll off with other dice for lowest). Remaining players will act from lowest to highest (tiebreaker: clockwise seating relative to the first player).

GS5 - First turn: either play two Money or Time cards from your hand face up beside your Skill card to work on completing it OR Draw two new cards into your hand.

GS6 - Whoever went last, take the dice from each player and roll them. Starting with the person who just rolled and proceeding clockwise, each player will select a die. Again players will act from lowest to highest. (tiebreaker for lowest: whoever chose first, tiebreaker for others: clockwise seating relative to the first player).

GS7 - Look at the actions on your Money and Time cards and choose one to place face up in front of you as an action space. (These will be activated later by placing dice on them. Coloured backgrounds require like coloured dice. White backgrounds provide increased benefit based on the value the die, so choose your dice carefully).

GS8 - Reset turn order as previously and then either activate an action by placing your die on it OR Add another action.

GS9 - For all subsequent rounds set the turn order as before and place your die to activate an action. The game ends at the completion of a round once at least one player has mastered four skills. (Note: as cards are used they form a discard pile which will be reshuffle as needed to draw new cards).

Anything else players need to know is printed on the cards. Points are awarded for each skill mastered. Once skills are mastered they provide ongoing benefits and opportunities for bonus points.

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