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[GDS] MARCH 2013 "Turn the Tide"

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mindspike's picture
Joined: 09/06/2011

We Have a Winner!
The votes are in, and this month's Game Design Showdown winner is.....
Waves of the Earth
by Munio

And the final tabulation is:
1st place (9 votes): Waves of the Earth by Munio
2nd place (8 votes): One Rule Word Game by regzr
3rd place (6 votes): Tide to the Moons by silasmolino
4th place (5 votes): Wormhole by GreenO
5th place (2 votes): Fox and Weasel by KrisW

Thanks to all of the game designers for participating in this impromptu game design showdown!
The Crtiques thread is open for business!


With Seth busy over at Kickstarter raising money and generally getting in over his head while pursuing a passionate dream, the community stepped up and chose the theme and mechanic for this month’s Game Design Showdown.

Theme: Turn the Tide. This is open to interpretation. The tide of battle, the tides of the ocean, Tide ™ the detergent.....

Mechanic Restriction: You must use a “zero-sum” mechanic for some aspect of the game. This is a mechanic where an increase in one area necessarily means a decrease in another area. Wikipedia says,
"In game theory and economic theory, zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant's gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero. Zero-sum can be thought of more generally as constant sum where the benefits and losses to all players sum to the same value of money and pride and dignity. Cutting a cake is zero- or constant-sum because taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others. In contrast, non-zero-sum describes a situation in which the interacting parties' aggregate gains and losses is either less than or more than zero. Zero sum games are also called strictly competitive."
I don’t see the need to be too strict on this. Othello is technically not a zero-sum game, but for every point you gain, you cost the opponent a point. I would approve it...

And that’s all there is. The usual things apply.

Word Limit: None, but try to be succinct or nobody will read it and you won't get votes.

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 mindspike with the following subject line. PLEASE use the correct subject - it makes my job much easier!
Subject: GDS - FEB - [your username]

Submissions: Monday the 11th through to Monday the 18th.

Voting: Through to the the 25th. PM your votes to mindspike.

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!

Joined: 11/12/2012
any of you have any great

any of you have any great ideas that i can steal?

KrisW's picture
Joined: 01/15/2013
Subject Heading?

I used "Subject: GDS - FEB - [your username]" to send you my challenge, but shouldn't it be "Subject: GDS - MARCH - [your username]"? I didn't notice the oddity until after I sent it.

Or maybe that's an early April Fool?

Regardless, thanks for facilitating the challenge this month.

- KrisW

Joined: 02/01/2013
Uh oh.

I may have done the same thing...

Copy/Paste the wrong month.

mindspike's picture
Joined: 09/06/2011
Whatever you did, it worked.

Whatever you did, it worked. I've got two entries in my inbox so far. Happy to give back to the community!

mindspike's picture
Joined: 09/06/2011
Entry #1 - Fox and Weasel by KrisW


6 to 12 players, 12 to 24 rounds

*There are only so many points, and they all get distributed every round. The key to winning is deciding which round counts and whether you want the most or least of points.*


###DECK – Standard playing card decks, altered depending on the number of players.
6 players, 2 decks, no hearts, 10s, Jacks, Queens (60 cards)
7 players, 2 decks, no hearts, Queens (72 cards)
8 players, 3 decks, no 2s, 4s, 6s, 8s, 10s, Queens (84 cards)
9 players, 2 decks, no Queens (96 cards)
10 players, 3 decks, no hearts, Queens (108 cards)
11 players, 3 decks, no 10s, Jacks, Queens. (120 cards)
12 players, 3 decks, no 10s, Queens (132 cards)

###SNARES – Each player secretly writes down 7 HUNTS (rounds) in which his score will count towards winning. These are his SNARES. He also selects whether he is going for high score (FOX) or low score (WEASEL). Players may not look at the lists again until the Final Scoring step.

1. Dealing
Randomly select the first dealer. The dealer is the WEASEL. Each player may be the WEASEL no more than twice.
Deal, but do not give to players, one hand less than the number of players. The WEASEL may look at each hand before handing them out, deciding who gets which hand and which to keep for himself. One player, the FOX, gets no hand at all. The WEASEL may not be the FOX.

2. Declare TRADE or TRAP
Players must announce whether they are trading or trapping, and their offer:
TRAPPER – They want a card. Example: “TRAPPER, I want a King.”
TRADER – They are willing to give away a card. Example: “TRADER, I’ll give a 2.”
Traders should place the card they are willing to trade face up in front of themselves.
After everyone has made their declaration the WEASEL opens the HUNT. (French horn optional, tally ho!)

It is the FOX’S job to keep the HUNT running as fast as possible. If a player takes more than a few seconds to decide what to trade or pass, the FOX may declare ‘BROKEN TRAP’ and that player’s choice defaults to ‘pass’. (Hint, recite “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy weasel" at least three times before announcing a trap to be broken.). The Fox also arbitrates questions and may look at player’s cards to determine outcomes.
The player to the left of the FOX is the first HUNTER. Each player may HUNT once (initiate a trade) or pass. The HUNTER must state what he himself declared he was looking for or what the other player was offering. No player may refuse to trade with the HUNTER, each exchanging the cards face up on the table. They must trade what they declared if possible. They may not negotiate or request further information.
Go around the circle a second time allowing players who initially passed to HUNT or pass a second time.

4. The FOX’S Hand
The player without a hand (The FOX) declares one other player to be the new WEASEL. A player who has already been the WEASEL twice may not be named as the WEASEL.
Every player, other than the WEASEL, gives the FOX one card. The WEASEL must then distribute his cards, one to each of the other players and any remainder to the FOX. The WEASEL becomes the dealer for the next round.

5. Score Points
One player should keep score, marking clearly each HUNT (round number). Do not add scores for previous hands to the current hand’s score. Cards are worth face value. Face cards are worth 10 and Aces are worth 15. List only the raw scores; do not add to previous HUNT rounds.

We’re All Out Of Weasels
Tracking Weasels may be done on the score sheet. When the FOX cannot appoint any other player as the WEASEL then the FOX does not get a hand and the game ends after scoring.

Each player retrieves his Winning Conditions note. The scorekeeper calls out each HUNT number and asks whether anyone had a SNARE that round. Read off the score for those who had a SNARE. Players then total their points to determine the winner.

The player with the highest score IF they also indicated they were playing for high.

The player with the lowest score IF they indicated they were playing for low.

###ROADKILL! – If neither a FOX nor WEASEL has won then the player with the lowest score is declared ROADKILL. Everyone else is a winner.

###HUNT / HUNTER – A round of play in which each player attempts to either score high, score low, or confuse their opponents. Whichever player is active during the HUNT is the HUNTER.

###SNARE – A round in which a player’s score counts towards their winning conditions. Only 7 out of the 12 to 24 HUNTS count towards winning.

###WEASEL – The dealer, who deals out one less hand than the number of players. No player may be the Weasel more than twice.

###FOX – The player who does not get a hand from the WEASEL and instead gets cards from each player and any left-over cards.

##TRADE / TRADER – A player offering a specific card in trade during the hunt

##TRAP / TRAPPER – A player looking for a specific card during a hunt

##ROADKILL – Wrapped in aluminum foil and strapped to the radiator during a 2 hour road trip. Best if the first half hour of the trip is mostly uphill.

mindspike's picture
Joined: 09/06/2011
Entry #2 - Tide to the Moons by silasmolino

TIDE TO THE MOONS by silasmolino
Card and Tile game
2 players
30 minutes

Two moons orbiting opposite ends of a distant Class M planet are vying for control over the ocean. The moon which pulls the higher tide at the end of the year (12 lunar cycles) wins.

52 Moon Cards representing 5 different lunar phases:
--New Moon
--Waxing and Waning Crescent
--Quarter moon
--Waxing and Waning Gibbous
--Full Moon

42 ocean tiles, each player possessing 21 at the start of game.

A turn consists of 3 actions in sequential order:

1. Play a moon card or a combination of moon cards to acquire the opposing player’s ocean tiles and add them to your own tide. As many as 6 cards or as few (including 0) cards may be played during a turn. A combined play of complimenting cards awards phasing player bonus tide tiles.

2. Discard any unwanted cards.

3. Draw cards equal to a hand of 6 cards.

After all three actions have been completed the player 2 will become the phasing player.

There will be 12 turns per game. At the end of 12 turns, the player that controls the most ocean tiles wins the game.

mindspike's picture
Joined: 09/06/2011
Entry #3 - Wormhole by GreenO

Wormhole by GreenO
-A cardboard Space Invader simulation for 2-4 players. 45 minutes.

Compete to destroy enemy invader counters that emerge from a central wormhole in waves of different formations determined by a draw deck of invasion cards. Each invader destroyed is worth a number of points depending upon how hard they are to shoot down. Once destroyed, the enemies are removed from the board. Count the number of points after three waves to determine the winner.

-A double-sided game board with squares for 2 and 4 player games on one side and hexes on the other side for 3 and 6 player games.

-Invader counters, various different types including: fast-movers, motherships, carpet bombers and suicide ships (think: Space Invaders). These counters are double-sided: the front side shows the ship type and strength; the reverse side shows the points value and any upgrades available for shooting it down.

-A draw deck of cards showing formations of invaders as they appear from the wormhole.

-A deck of upgrade cards to improve your ship (shields, improved weapon technology, better engines for more movement- that sort of thing)

-Twelve big asteroid counters for hiding behind

-Starting player marker

-Two six-sided dice

Game Play:
Turn over the first formation card and arrange invader counters as shown on it in the middle of the board. choose a starting player for a round. On a turn, a player can move and fire once at any point during their move. After each player’s turn check for invader movement. After each player has had a turn, move the starting player marker clockwise. This is the end of the round: check again for invader movement. Invader ships move at different rates and may fire depending on their ship type. Invader ships can move down the board and rotate around the board leading to strategy choices about what to kill for points and what to leave for an opponent to deal with.

Combat is dice determined: roll greater than the target’s strength to shoot down an invader. Any player ship being hit will be destroyed until the end of the round (the player comes back in the next round- they have three lives, but lose any ship upgrades).

After each player has been the starting player three times the wave ends. Any remaining invaders return to the wormhole. After the third wave, the players count their points totals and determine a winner.

mindspike's picture
Joined: 09/06/2011
Entry #4 Waves of the Earth by Munio

**Waves of the Earth** by Munio

A two player abstract strategy game

--A 6X6 game board
--144 brown “earth” cubes
--72 blue “water”cubes
--2 white player markers
--2 black player markers

**Set up**
Place four earth and two water cubes on each space.
Both players pick a color, and then place their markers somewhere on the board

**Game play**
Each turn consists of two phases, the earth phase and secondly the water phase

**Earth phase**
During this phase a player can choose to either dig or fill.

Dig: A player takes two, four or six cubes earth cubes from a single space space and place them into his or her personal supply. (note a player can never have more then six cubes in his personal supply at any time)

Fill: A players takes two, four or six cubes earth cubes from his personal supply and place them on a single space on the board

**Water phase**
After adding or removing earth cubes from the board the water will flow to the lowest point.
Look at the board and determine if there are any spaces that have at least two more cubes then an orthogonally adjacent space, if there is move a water cube to the adjacent square with the least cubes in it. Repeat this process until the difference between the number of cubes between every pair of a adjacent squares is less then two.

When you move an water cube from a space with a player marker on it, move the marker along with the water cube except if this would result in two player markers of different players being in the same spot.

You win when both of your opponent's markers are on the same square at any point during your turn.

mindspike's picture
Joined: 09/06/2011
Entry #5 - One Rule Word Game by regzr

One Rule Word Game by regzr

2 players

Pen and paper

Draw a 12 x 12 square grid. Sketch a table where you keep track of points. Players start from zero points.

Players create words using limited selection of letters. One A, one D, one E ...and so on, total twelve letters ( A,D,E,H,I,L,N,O,R,S,T,U ). No letter may occur twice or more frequent in a word and in row and in a column as well. The player having negative sum of points at the moment builds the first word in row. The other player creates the second word. Two words in one row. Then they move to the next row. Blank squares can be left between words or before and after the word.

An example.
Player1: A U D I T O R _ _ _ _ _ . Player1 gets one point per vowel and two points per consonant, total +10 points. And player2 gets minus points: -10! Player2 is left with five squares and five letters E,H,L,N,S,T. Player2 creates word NEST. Player2 gets +7 points and player1 -7 points. Next row. Player2 has total -3 points, so he makes the first word. Player2 sees all twelve letters available, but now putting the word in place is a bit harder because first column has already A, second has already U, ... You can't put another letter A in the same column.

As the play continues it is challenging to come up with such a word that fits into grid. In those last rows there are almost every column keeping already most of the useful letters. When players get stuck the game is over. Or when all twelve rows have been used.

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