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[GDS] JAN 2013 "Time Marches On"

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sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

January 2013 Game Design Showdown - "Time marches on"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

We have a winner!

The votes have been tallied and the winner is...

The Tower

By Black Oak Games

Here's how the final votes panned out: 1st place with 13 votes: The Tower, by Black Oak Games
2nd place with 11 votes: PopulatiOn, by JustActCasual
2nd place with 11 votes: Faulty Towers, by bowling_m_h
4th place with 10 votes: Maya's Offer, by bike
5th place with 3 votes: A survival game, by regzr
6th place with 0 votes: Revolution, by Alumidon

Congrats to everyone who entered! The Critiques thread is now open for business!

Not only is it the start of a brand new year, but just last week the Mayan calendar flipped as well. Fortunately the prognosticators of the end of the world were a little off, and as it always has, time marches on!

Mechanic Restriction: Rondel with a unique twist.

Component Restriction: Non-trivial 3D Gameplay Element

A recent game mechanism that could represent time marching ever forward is the Rondel. Mac Gerdts pioneered this mechanism in Antike, and refined it in Imperial and Hamburgum and perhaps perfected it in Navegador. Stefan Feld added an interesting twist in Trajan, combining the Rondel with the age-old math based game Mancala.

The first showdown of 2013 challenges you to use a Rondel mechanism with a unique, new twist such that it is distinct from Mac Gerdt's basic Rondel.

Furthermore, as 3D movies are all the rage nowadays (I'd rather hoped that trend would die out), you must also include a non-trivial 3D element as a central feature of your game. Non-trivial means that the feature must integrate with game play - not simply be a 3D object sitting on the board. An example of an unacceptable feature is the Church pieces in Pillars of the Earth, which are placed on the board at the end of each round to act as a (completely unnecessary) game timer.

Have fun!

Word Limit: Let's go with an even 500 word limit this time.

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 Meal (that's "Fool's Gold") worth -3 votes!

When submitting your entry: Please PM submissions to sedjtroll with the following subject line. PLEASE use the correct subject - it makes my job much easier!

Subject: GDS - JAN - [your username]

  • Submissions: Wednesday the 2nd through to Friday the 11th.
  • Voting: Through to the the 18th. PM your votes to sedjtroll.
  • 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 were 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, especially the details around the word count and graphics limits, visit the GDS Wiki Page.

Enjoy, and good luck!

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - PopulatiOn


Time marches on, but population soars! Can you find places for the people?

Each turn you place one of your people on the world wheel, and then reap the fruits of their labours: some people might even give you brand new abilities! But watch out: your opponents are trying to inhabit the same world, and the world will turn based on a combination of your decisions...will you choose the aggressive route, or the more peaceful path? As time goes on your civilization will gain impressive new technology, but make sure your hard working farmers don't fall off as the world turns! The first player to place all of their people wins!

2-4 Players, 30 minutes, ages 8+

PopulatiOn takes place uses a world wheel (similar to Hamsterolle) as its central rondel element: each section of the wheel gives you certain abilities depending on how many meeples (persons) you have placed there. The starting bottom section is Farm, and the starting top section is Rockets: the resource generation sections on each side are similar, but the action sections on one side are aggressive and on the other side are more pacifist. Each turn you are allowed to place a person and then take whatever actions your sections allow you (you may perform each action once for each of your persons on that section). Any persons that fall off the world as it turns are taken back to their player's supply (initial supply is scaled to the number of players). The first player to empty their population supply wins.

The sections are:
(clockwise half) Farm, Infantry, Foundry, Cannon, Missile, Rockets
(counterclockwise half) Farm, Boat, Foundry, Rail, Launch, Rockets

Farm: Produce 1 Food
Infantry: (costs 1 Food) You may return 1 opponent person to their supply
Boat: (costs 1 Food) You may place 1 additional person on the world
Foundry: Produce 1 Steel
Cannon: (costs 1 Food and 1 Steel) You may return 2 opponent persons to their supply, and move one of your persons who is already on the world.
Rail: (costs 1 Food and 1 Steel) You may place 2 additional persons on the world, and move one of your persons who is already on the world.
Missile: (costs 1 Steel, and 1 Rocket) You may return all persons in 1 section to their supply.
Launch: (costs 1 Steel, and 1 Rocket) You may remove up to 10 persons in your population supply from the game. They have gone to the moon colony.
Rockets: (costs 2 Steel) Produce 1 Rocket

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - THE TOWER


The families on a small Italian island must build a defensive Tower against corsair raids, but the families are feuding. Refusing to work on the tower at the same time, they work in shifts. Each family has contributed to a general fund that will be doled out as tower sections are completed. They have hired an overseer to manage construction and the tower fund.


Gameboard, with tower/rondel, quarry, forest, market, labor market, bank, town hall
6 player boards
5 worker cubes per player
1 overseer meeple
16 plastic tower pieces: each is an outer wall ring with a pie-shaped step from the outer wall to a center ring. During play, tower pieces are stacked with steps offset to form a spiral staircase. 8 pieces have a window to the left of the step, allowing players to see inside the tower to the step just below.
1 tower deck, showing resources to build the next tower level and coins paid on completion
3 resource decks: stone, wood, luxuries (each with bandit) Cardboard lira

Rondel spaces:

Quarry: gather stone to player board
Forest: gather wood to player board
Wagon: move stone/wood to tower
Tower: build using resources at the tower (get paid)
Market: buy/sell stone, wood, luxuries
Labor Market: hire workers
Bank: withdraw/deposit money (keep it safe from bandits/corsairs)
Town Hall: luxuries to bribe/gain influence

There is an inner ring for workers, and an outer ring for the overseer.

The Tower Steps have the same Rondel spaces with lower benefits (resources become scarce, costs rise).


1 player board, 1 worker, 30 lira each player.

Game board in the center of the table, tower pieces off to the side. Resource decks on their areas, extra workers on the labor market, money on the bank, and the overseer on the overseer ring at the town hall rondel space.

Each player in turn places their worker on an unoccupied space on the rondel.


Each turn, the overseer moves clockwise around the rondel until meeting a worker. The worker conducts his action, then the player moves that worker to a new unoccupied (by worker or overseer) rondel space.

When new sections of the tower are built, you may no longer place workers on rondel spaces below steps. You may remove workers about to be “buried” below steps. However, if there is a tower window opening onto a step with a worker, that worker inside the tower is also activated by the overseer (but not removed).

Players can place new workers on empty spaces on the top level of the rondel, or toss them down into the tower. If they come out a window, they go back in the labor market; if they wind up on a step without a window, they’re lost; if they land on a step with a window opening onto it, they become useful new workers.


The winner has the most coins when the tower is complete.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - Faulty Towers

Faulty Towers

You are a cut-rate construction company in an emerging economy with skyrocketing economic growth, a burgeoning population, and a lax building code. Construction supplies are in short supply, though, and sold on a first-come, first-served basis; but if you can muscle your way to the front of the line whose to say you weren't there first. Build your tower, move people in, and make a quick buck before the walls come crumbling down.


Players construct buildings out of 3D Tetris blocks (imagine the standard 2D tetrominoes extruded to be one block deep).


The action of the game occurs on the market rondel. It is an octagonal "race track" with inner and outer walls, and the track divided into eight spaces. It has five spaces labeled with each standard tetromino shape, one space labeled Luxury Apartment (a one-block piece), one labeled Luxury Office (a two-block piece), and one space split into two: Population Boom (inside of the track) and Bureaucracy (outside of the track).

Each player starts with a buyer (large disk) on Bureaucracy. During each round, each player takes turns ficking their buyer clockwise around the market. They can hit other players' disks, but if they or anyone else goes out of the market the disks are returned, the turn is over, and the flicking player's disk is considered not on any space this round. After every player has flicked, check their locations. Any buyer on a boundary is considered in the space containing the majority of the disk; if exactly halfway the owner may choose. If the buyer is alone on a space, the player receives that space's block. If more than one buyer is on the same space, the first to have arrived gets the block.

Players receiving blocks now add them to their tower. Building is not about dexterity, but it is about balance. Players can use whatever means to add their block. If their tower falls, they can rebuild it exactly as it was and try again to add the new block. But the tower must be stable after adding the block. If they cannot do this, they lose the block.

Scoring Round

A buyer on Bureaucracy or Population Boom receives nothing. However, a buyer on Population Boom triggers a scoring round for everyone. Each player determines the height of the highest block in their tower. The shortest tower receives zero points for the round. Everyhone else receive one point per piece in their tower. The player with the highest luxury apartment (not necessary in the highest tower) and highest luxury office each receives an additional four points. After scoring, players knock down their towers and play continues.

Turn Order

For the first round, determine turn order randomly. In later rounds, turn order is determined by distance to Population Boom; closest (when moving forward) goes first.

The Winner

The winner is the player with the most points after the third scoring round.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #4 - A survival game

A survival game, 4 players.

A space station project far away in the solar system outskirts has failed. Personnel start a rescue operation and try to get home alive. The only ship available is a unmanned cargo ship passing by. The ship is empty, robot driven barrel-like vessel. At first the home seeking people must gather whatever necessary supplies they can grab themselves from the station wreck. Secondly, people rest at inhospitable cabins, one per cabin, while they fight for their lives competing for the ever decreasing resources. There's no air, drink or energy in the cabin. They must carry everything they need from a vast cargo section, which is like a circular maze. The cargo section is constantly rotating and the path changes on every move. Cabin's warmth gives only a short rest, when survivors are again and again obligated to put on a space suit and go after last bits of supplies.

On the board you can see five cabins, positioned in the corners of a large pentagon. Inside the pentagon shape there's a big disc. A slightly smaller disk rests on top of the big disc. The smaller disc contains a maze with storage rooms. The big disc's edge includes only connectors, which connect paths between cabin and maze. Basically edge has ten connectors, but two of them are missing. Some paths lead through the maze from one cabin to another. Some paths are dead ends. Every storage room is of different color and has a corresponding mat outside board. On the mat lies nine supply tokens image down. All tokens are covered until some player visits storage.

Players have their own space suit mats. On the mat there's three indicators: air, energy and health. Corresponding tokens are: air tank, energy pack and space juice can. When player acquire tokens, she fills equivalent indicator line. When player uses say, two energy, she removes two energy tokens from the energy indicator line. Player spends one air tank per round. She spends additional air tank when she drags things out of storage.

Both discs can be rotated. One rotation step costs one energy. Three of five cabins are equipped with big wheel rotation buttons. Two other cabins have maze disc rotation buttons.

Player consumes one juice per round. A juice token is removed from the health indicator line.

Player may carry stuff limited amount at one time.

There's list cards telling analogous stores' cargo. Every token has its unique code. List card says: "33BD5 air, B35BD energy, DD53B juice..." Not in particular order. When player first time visits the red storage, she takes the one and only red list card and keeps it. Player has 40 seconds to grab everything she wants when stopping by a storage. On his turn player can visit only one storage. Tokens are not allowed to flip until players turn is about to end.

The winner is who survives longest, or who owns most tokens when certain number of rounds have passed.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #5 - Maya's offer

Maya's offer


6x6 board
wooden blocks in 4 player colours 2x1x1 and 1x1x1
5 workers per player, one special worker
20 fruittokens
normal dice

Players build by placing their blocks on the board, or on other blocks. The workers pick up fruit and climb the buildings. At the top of a building they offer the fruit, scoring points.

The outer ring of the board is the rondel. The special worker walks the rondel clockwise. He may never leave the rondel, and not make steps apart from rondel-movement. Otherwise he is a normal worker.

The rondel is 20 squares. It contains 10 actions with each action on two consecutive squares. Between the first and last square is a red line. Any special working passing the red line triggers the "new fruit" action. Players take turn moving their special worker 1-5 squares and performing the rondel action.

Rondel actions (numbers are maximums)

  • Place 2 workers in outer ring
  • Move 2 blockparts in a straight line
  • Destroy 2 blockparts (of another player)
  • Workers walk 5 steps
  • Shift 3 fruittokens (not upwards)
  • Place 2 blockparts in outer ring
  • Change orientation of one block (erect, rotate)
  • Lift or lower 2 blockparts 1 level on adjacent blockparts/squares
  • Workers walk 5 steps
  • Offer fruit Fruit action: Roll dice and add fruit to every square, with no worker, on that file and column. Not enough fruit: current player decides where not to place.

2 Blockparts mean one 2x1x1 block, or two 1x1x1 blocks Blocks must always be supported, everywhere Every block position change needs a free worker next to that block. Adjacent worker on same height needed when destroying.
A worker with fruit in his square is not free.
Max one (non-special) worker per square and max 2 fruit.
When walking a worker can carry 2 fruit
Climbing a block by one level at a time. Each climb costs an extra step.
Workers may change position with a neighbour worker that is on their colour. Counts as one step.
If two workers of the same colour have a worker of another colour in between them, the middle worker is slain and returns to the player. Outer neighbours must be on same or one higher level. Fruit remains on square.
Workers hold their board position when a block is moved. This may result in auto-climbing!
Blocks with fruit may not be moved. Blocks may not be moved to squares with fruit (but they may be shifted over them)
Fruit may be given to neighbour workers max one level up/down (any time)
Fruit offer can only be performed on blocks with no higher adjacent blocks.

Each block that is placed on the rondel adds one to the number of that action, for that player!

Points per offer:

Number of fruits x Height in blocks
+ positionbonus (3 in centre, 1 in ring around center, 0 else)
+ 3 if on own colour

Play some time. Most points wins.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #6 - Revolution


1 – 3 Players You and your fellow brothers are fed up with the tyranny and oppression of the present age and plan to stage a revolution in order to reclaim your city.


Three rondels

  1. “Pre-Revolution” 5-spaces
    Recruit (+ 1 Revolutionary)
    Gather barricade supplies (+1 Barricade)
    Gather ammunition (+1 Ammunition)
    Declare Revolution (Move to next phase)
    Progress the Spy (Move the spy 1 spot forward)

  2. “Revolution Declared” 7-spaces
    Recruit / Add one additional government forces token to your player board
    Attack or Move Lane 1 / Government forces move lane 3
    Gather barricade supplies / Government forces Attack lane 1
    Attack or Move Lane 2 / Government forces move lane 1
    Progress the spy / Government forces Attack lane 2
    Attack or Move Lane 3 / Government forces move lane 2
    Gather ammunition / Government forces Attack lane 3

  3. “Discovered” 7-spaces
    Recruit / Add two additional government forces token to your player board
    Attack or Move Lane 1 / Government forces move lane 3 and lane 1
    Gather barricade supplies / Government forces Attack lane 1 and lane 3
    Attack or Move Lane 2 / Government forces move lane 1 and lane 2
    Progress the spy / Government forces Attack lane 2 and lane 1
    Attack or Move Lane 3 / Government forces move lane 2 and lane 3
    Gather ammunition / Government forces Attack lane 3 and lane 2

Three player boards (Consisting of a 3 x 7 grid)
Barricade pieces (Brown sticks)
Ammunition pieces (black cubes)
3D military figurines (Revolutionaries)
Three 3D horseback riders (Spy)
Tokens for government forces
One 20 card recruiting deck (with 2 government spy cards)

The game is played in two stages (before the revolution begins and after). In the pre – revolution game players need to gather support and supplies without their intentions being discovered by the government. On the “Pre Revolution” rondel players can use the “Declare revolution” wedge at any time but when one player declares revolution, all players then play as if they had declared revolution. Each turn a player chooses to not declare revolution they must draw a card from the recruiting deck. If this card is a government spy card the revolution begins and players use the “Discovered” rondel for the remainder of the game.

Players utilize the appropriate rondel and resources to attack and push back the government forces until the game ends.

If the spy reaches the end of a three square track the next two government forces tokens will be turned up.

Combat consists of simple dice rolling. Revolutionary forces must use one ammunition to attack. Barricade pieces are destroyed if successfully attacked.

End Game:

The first players to have all revolutionaries reach the last square on the board and all government forces have been defeated. If the government forces reach the end of the player side of the board the revolution is lost and all players lose. Players can trade barricade and ammunition pieces.

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