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[GDS] May 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Royal Wedding"

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sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008


Votes have been tabulated for the May GDS. Here they are:

  • 1st place, with 8 votes: Entry #5: Royal Wedding by Ron Krause!
  • 2nd place, with 7 votes: Entry #1: Hubert's Royal Wedding by Richard Durham!
  • 3rd place, with 5 votes: 3 way tie!

    • Entry #2: Royal Divorce by Richard James and Brad Phillips
    • Entry #4: Royal Ushers by Ciprian Alexandra
    • Entry #6: Please Be Seated by loonoly
  • Last place, with 4 votes: Blood Lines by bhazzard

Congrats to the winner and runner up for a very close finish! The Critiques Thread is now open - please critique the entries!

Sorry for the delay since the last Game Design Showdown. You may be happy to hear that I've finally gotten my act together and have set up to start the Game Design Showdown on a more regular schedule! I will post a new Showdown challenge on the 1st of each month (or the Friday before that if the 1st is on a weekend). 1 week later, entries will be due and voting will begin, and 1 week after that voting will end, a winner will be announced, and critiques can commence. The following Showdown challenge will appear on the 1st of the next month!

May 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Royal Wedding"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.


This month we will return to the regular voting format, described at the bottom of this post.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme Restriction: Royal Wedding
    The wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton has been in the news a lot lately - it's been almost inescapable. In their honor, this month's Game Design Showdown challenge is to create a game that fits the theme "Royal Wedding" - whatever that means to you. It does not have to be specifically about William and Kate (ahem - "Catherine"), but it could be if you so choose!

  • Mechanics Restriction: None!

  • Component Restriction: None!

  • Additional Restriction: TEXT ONLY
    This month there is no Mechanical or Component restriction, but you may find a soft limit in that you must use TEXT ONLY to convey the game - no images allowed!

  • Submissions: Sunday, 1-May-2011 through Sunday, 8-May-2011.
  • Voting: Through Sunday, 15-May-2011. PM your votes to sedjtroll.
  • Voting Format: Each person has 6 votes to distribute any way they choose among the GDS entries with the following restrictions:
    • You may not assign any votes to your own entry!
    • You may not assign more than 3 votes to any single entry.
    • You need not assign all 6 votes.
  • 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 - Hubert's Royal Wedding by Richard Durham

Hubert's Royal Wedding

by Richard Durham

It's time for the marriage of Prince Hubert, and all the foreign families want to increase their social standing by having a place at his head table! In this 2-4 player game, you play wedding planners creating the seating chart for the wedding. If you can make sure that the family with the highest social standing at the end of the game is represented best at the Head Table, you will surely be in high demand!


Make sure that the family you have favored the most at the Head Table has earned the most social standing amongst the other guests' tables.

How to Win

Since you are a wedding planner, you will be creating the seating arrangement for the royal wedding. Each guest table will have one member of the Royal family at it, and the players will be trying to fill the seats around him with guests. When the table is filled, the family with the highest social cache at a table has their "social standing" track increased by the Royal member who was at the table.

After filling a guest table, each player will place one of their remaining guest tiles face-down at the Head Table.

Each Wedding Planner has four slots at the Head Table, and the game ends when you fill your last place at the Head Table.

Then all guests at the Head Table are revealed and the player with the highest social cache for the winning family, wins the game!

The Bits

Hexagonal tiles represent the three families that are Guests at the wedding. Each guest has a value ranging from 1-5 (distribution toward the low end) and a couple traits such as "Lady or Lord," "Funny," "Polite," and any bonuses that Guest gets, like "+1 for each adjacent Lady," etc.

Hexagonal tiles also represent members of the Royal Family. Each of these has rules for that Royal, like "Funny guests are +1" or "Male guests not adjacent to a female are at -1." Each Royal will also have a Social Standing score that the visiting family will earn if they have the highest Social cache at the table.

There is a board with a Social Standing score track for each of the three visiting family, And a Head Table with four hexagonal spaces for each player (up to 4 players).

Game Play

  1. At the start of the game all guest tiles are shuffled and distributed evenly to each player. Keeps tiles secret; extras are set aside.
  2. A Royal tile is drawn and placed face up in the middle. The starting player is determined randomly by each player cutting the stack of Royal family tiles and revealing their "Social Standing" value; highest value goes first.

Game round

  1. Going clockwise, each player places one Guest tile adjacent to the Royal tile. Exception: Many 1 point guests will allow a player to immediately place additional 1 point guests at the guest table (not head table).
  2. After all spaces adjacent to the Royal member are filled, score the table.
  3. To score, add up the earned Social Cache for each family at the table. The family with the most moves their Social Standing score track up by the value on the Royal's tile.
  4. Now each player takes one of their remaining tiles and places it face down in their row at the head table. Rules on guest tiles still apply at the end of the game, such as "+1 for each other Funny guest at the table, " or "+1 for each adjacent Lady"
  5. All un-played Guest tiles are shuffled together and distributed.
  6. The player who would go next draws and places a new Royal tile adjacent to one of the current guests. This is his turn. Then the next player clockwise places a guest tile adjacent to this new Royal, and so on.

End of Game

The game ends when a player fills his Head Table. Then the Guest tiles at the Head table are revealed. Each player is trying to show their support for the winning family (the one that ended with the most social standing) by having the highest Social Cache at the Head table for that family.

Design notes

I like the simplicity of a tile-laying game with depth added in the mechanic of knowing when to use your high tiles at the guest tables versus placing them at the Head table to win. I felt it added a layer of strategy of knowing when to hold back your power, or in using combos to boost lower value tiles so you can play high ones on the Head Table. Real variety in this game will come in the combinations of Guest and Royal tiles.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - Royal Divorce by Richard James and Brad Phillips

Royal Divorce

by Richard James and Brad Phillips

No one ever wants to think about it, but even royal marriages sometimes come to an end. Divorce is never a pretty process, and being an heir apparent only makes things worse. You've got palaces to divide, joint estates to split up and custody of the princes and princesses to assign. Who gets the crown jewels? What about the seat at the head of Parliament? And what about public appearances? She gets the paparazzi on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He gets them on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It's all just really messy.

Thank god that there are people like you, lawyer to the royalty, to help out. In the royal divorce, it is up to you to make sure you get your side all that he/she deserves. But you will have to be more than just a good legal advocate if you want a favorable settlement for your side. With the public watching, a government that hangs in the balance and one or more mysterious pre-nuptials to address, you will have to outmaneuver opposing counsel in the court of public opinion if you hope to win this royal divorce. Things are about to get really nasty. Are you up for the challenge?

Royal Divorce is a head to head card game about dividing up the royal demesne. Royal weddings may be beautiful things. But royal divorces are much more fun.


  • 25 Asset cards (valued between £1m and £5m)
  • 48 Ploy cards (valued between 1 and 6 in public opinion)


  • Shuffle each set of cards separately.
  • Create an Asset Deck and a Ploy Deck.
  • Turn over a card from the asset deck and add it to the middle of the table until the total value of all asset cards is equal to or greater than £10m to form the Disputed Assets Pile.
  • The disputed assets pile should be arranged so that each asset card is separate from others.
  • Each player draws 5 cards from the ploy deck.
  • The player with the most divorced relatives goes first.

Object of the Game

When all the royal assets have been divided up, you win if you have more value in assets than your ex.


Royal Divorce is a turn based game played over a series of rounds. During each round, the royal spouses will fight each other in the court of public opinion for the right to claim each of the assets available for the round. Once each asset has at least one ploy on it, each of the assets is given to the spouse with the highest public backing on that asset. Then a new set of assets are added to the middle and spouses try to win more. When all royal assets have been divvied up, the spouse with the highest asset value wins.

On Your Turn

On your turn, you must either play a card from your hand to a disputed asset or draw a card from the ploy deck. If you have 10 or more cards in your hand, you must play a card. When you play a ploy card, place it on your side of one of the disputed assets. If you have already played one or more ploys to that asset on a previous turn, place the new card on top so that you can see all ploy cards. If the total value of public opinion for all cards you have played on the asset is less than the total value of all cards on your opponent’s side of the asset, you may activate the special power written on the ploy card you played. Otherwise, your turn is over. The round ends once one side has at least one ploy card in front of each asset.

End of the Round

When the round ends, compare the total value of ploy cards on each side of each asset. Whichever side has the higher public opinion collects the asset card and places it in his/her victory pile. If there is a tie, then leave the asset card there. Then discard all the ploy cards which have been played in front of claimed asset cards and start a new round. Refill the disputed asset pile in the middle with new asset cards from the discard until the total value of all asset cards is equal to or greater than £10m.

End of the Game

When the asset deck is empty, the game ends at the end of that round. After collecting the assets for the round, count up the value of asset cards you have collected. If you have the highest value worth of assets, you win.

Empty Ploy Deck

If the ploy deck runs out of cards, shuffle all the ploy cards in the discard pile and create a new ploy deck.

Asset Cards

Royal assets not only have different monetary values, but many have strategic value as well. Some let you draw more cards when you claim them, others are worth more when they are matched with other assets. Some (debts) actually decrease your total assets. So, you will have to choose your battles carefully.

Notes on the Second Printing

Royal Divorce has been so popular, there are currently plans for an expansion, tentatively called “Second Queens”.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - Blood Lines by bhazzard

Blood Lines

by bhazzard

Each player is a royal bloodline in a war torn feudal nation. The goal of each player is to manipulate each other's bloodlines to achieve his or her own end goals.

The game will be played out over a series of ages. In each age, each player in turn will choose a political power to control. Based on the power they chose they will build armies, join bloodlines through marriage, produce heirs, attack other bloodlines, levy taxes.

The game starts with each player having a king card and a queen card ruling over one territory. In each round, players will simultaneously invoke one of the political powers. Once everyone has picked, what each player picked will be revealed one phase at a time.

The game ends when after the round in which any player has 10 territories, or a territory with 10 generations.

Political Powers

  1. Battalion General: Attack another player's territory with all of the soldiers from one of your territories. Take into your hand a number of that territory's soldier cards, up to the number of soldier cards you attacked with.

  2. Grand Admiral: Build up your army by playing facedown from your hand one card to represent a soldier on one of your territories.

  3. Arch Bishop: Perform a marriage by taking an unmarried heir from your opponent's bloodline and placing it next to an unmarried heir in your bloodline. Your opponents heir loses it's allegiance to their bloodlines.

  4. Mid Wife: Deliver an heir for a married royal couple in your bloodline by playing a card face up as their heir.

  5. Treasurer: Collect 1 victory point for each of your territories.

  6. Imperialist: Start a new territory with one of your bottom tier heirs.

At the end of the point, players get 3 points for every territory they control and 1 point for the first generation, 2 for the second, etc. The player with the most points from territories, bloodline generations, and treasurer taxation wins the game.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #4 - Royal Ushers by Ciprian Alexandra


by Ciprian Alexandra

The tradition of Gentlemen ushers goes back to the 15th century. They have served the British Monarchy at all the weddings for generations. Ushers are selected from one of the three branches of the British Armed Forces. Being and usher at the royal wedding is an honor. You are an usher. Your assignment is to greet each guest and decide whether to sit or not, and in which location according to the very strict rules set by the Queen.

Game introduction

This is a quick and light strategic game where the objective is to score most points by building rows of 6 cards.

Game components

A deck of 54 cards showing 6 noble families (6 colors – blue, red, yellow, violet, green, orange). Each set of 8 cards in one color shows a nobility title and a number indicating the relative rank (the larger the number the more important the title is):
8. Duke
7. Marquees
6. Earl
5. Viscount
4. Baron
3. Baronets
2. Knights
1. Laird

How to play

The deck is shuffled and placed in the middle. Each player draws one card at a time from the deck and decides whether to place the guest in the waiting area or not. If guest is not placed card is discarded. Each player has 5 waiting areas (rows of cards) at any time to fill by adding cards above or below.. Each waiting area can accommodate 6 cards (guests). Once filled the waiting area is emptied and the row is scored.. That waiting area can be reused.

The seating rules are marked by a significant focus on hierarchy as per Queen’s wishes.

  1. The order of the quests is given by arrival and ushers discretion. Once placed in a waiting area the sequence of cards cannot be changed.

  2. A family member can seat next to a family member only If has the closest nobility rank. Duke (8) can sit next to Marquise (7) but not next to an Earl (6).

  3. Members of different families can sit next to each other only if they have the same nobility rank (a blue Baron (4) can sit next to a red Baron(4)

  4. The card drawn can be placed in a waiting row only if there is room below or above a card already in the waiting area and it complies with rules 2 and 3.

  5. The Queen wants a wide representation of nobility ranks at the wedding, she would rather prefer have guests from all ranks on a row rather than for example all Dukes.


  • Waiting rows not filled look bad and are scored with zero
  • Once a row is filled with 6 guests the player can empty the waiting area and cards are removed and scored
  • The score of one filled row (6 guests) is the sum of all different numbers shown on the cards. When score a row select the cards with numbers without duplicates and sum them up
    • A row with 6 Dukes (8) will score only one card, 8 points
    • A row with 1 laird (1), 2 baronets (3), 2 Viscounts (5) and 3 Earls will score laird(1) + baronet (3)+ Viscount (5) and Eral (6) = 16
  • If one card is played in a waiting row and can also be linked according with the rules 2 and 3, to a card at the end of another waiting row from any player, that row can be taken and merged with the row of the player that played the card. Therefore is possible to speed up row build up by taken away cards from other player and/or merging own rows.

Game end

Game ends when all the cards from the deck are revealed and played. The player with most cumulative points (sum of all rows) wins.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #5 - Royal Wedding by Ron Krause

Royal Wedding

by Ron Krause

This is a game of Scandal, Murder, Mystery, Money, Politics, and maybe Love. Each player is a member of the royal court attempting to place their suitor before the King/Queen since the Princess must be married within the next six months. The players maneuver viable suitors to ensure that their hidden sponsored suitor is the one that gets selected on the wedding day. This is a game of positioning the best/most acceptable suitor in line for the wedding, before the wedding day.

Section 1 - Game Setup

Separate the various decks and shuffle them. Deal each player a face down card from the Sponsorship deck. This represents the suitor that the player must get to the front of the line by the day of the wedding. The rest of the sponsorship deck is placed face down on the table for later use.

Now, deal out the Suitors deck in a horizontal line across the table. Ensure all suitors face the same direction. The suitor that is at the far left of the line is the current suitor of choice and is set to marry the Princess.

Next take the Support deck and deal three cards to each player. These cards are used to help the player in maneuvering suitors within the line. Whenever a player uses/discards a Support card they immediately draw a new one.

Once the play area is set and the draw decks, Support and Sponsorship, are placed within easy reach of all players, the player with the most Royal blood goes first, if that does not work then the player most like a Princess plays first.

Section 2 - Sequence of Play

Players take turns influencing various royal personages in an attempt to reposition suitors. The player rolls the "Influence" dice and uses the results to play support cards and/or move suitors in line. players may use die results to move a suitor, as outlined below, or pay for cards as annotated on the support card. There is no order to the events that occur on a players turn so long as the player has enough "influence" to carry out thier actions. Note that any influence not used in a single turn is lost. when a player has finished all of their events for that turn play passes to the left.

Once all players have had six turns, time is up and the wedding takes place with the Princess marrying the suitor at the front of the line, unless otherwise specified by a support card. Otherwise, the player reading this has the power to choose the order they would like.

Special Considerations:

  • If a player's sponsored suitor is ever permanently removed from the line that player must discard their sponsorship card face up and draw a new card from the Sponsorship deck to replace it.
  • Support cards game effects trump standard rules and some may even be played out of turn.
  • If players run out of cards from the Support or Sponsorship deck then they reshuffle the discard deck to build a new draw deck.
  • Players should never reveal their sponsored suitor unless forced to or at the end of the game.

Section 3 - Game Components

Dice allow you to take actions on your turn. There are five dice with six sides each:

  • Influence a suitor (move any one suitor forward or backward one position)
  • Influence the bishop (move one blue suitor forward or backward one position)
  • influence the king/queen (move one green suitor forward or backward one position)
  • Influence the princess (move one red suitor forward or backward one position)
  • Influence the Court (move any one brown suitor forward or backward one position)
  • Fail to influence (take no action, though one other player may play a special support card on this die.)

Sponsorship deck (12 suitors total). This deck contains greyed out colorless images of each suitor from the Suitor deck.

Suitor deck (12 suitors total, three of each color) Each suitor falls into one of the following categories:

  • Charisma (red)
  • Wealth (green)
  • Brains (blue)
  • Connections (brown)

Support deck: (48 cards with four different types) Cards consist of the following attributes:

  • Card Types (color): denotes influence needed to play the card (i.e.,money=green, politics=blue, scandal=brown, mystery=red)
  • Influence Cost: how much influence (number of coorisponding dice) a player must spend to play
  • Game Effect: what the card does when played
  • Flavor Text: something silly or serious to make you smile

Support Card examples:

  • Expose an unsponsored suitor
  • Implicate suitor in local scandal
  • Hire assassin
  • Royal pardon
  • Bribe a Courtier
  • Elope
  • Injured during hunting party
  • Public drunkeness
  • Last laugh
  • No such thing as a dowry
sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #6 - Please Be Seated by loonoly

Please Be Seated

by loonoly 2 players 10+ minutes

"Places, everyone. Places!"


Players are ushers at a wedding trying to get everyone seated before the ceremony. They take turns placing guests and family members with the object to score points for every row of seats a player controls.


Standard deck of playing cards 24 two-sided tokens (pennies and other coins will do) 6 aisle markers (I used poker chips) Pencil and paper for scoring


Remove from the deck of cards the Jokers and the red Jacks. The Jokers will not be used. The Jacks represent the Bride and Groom of the wedding (Hearts = Bride, Diamonds = Groom)

Shuffle the remaining cards, then deal out two stacks of 10 cards. Shuffle the Jack of Hearts into one of these piles and the Jack of Diamonds in the other. Place the pile with the Jack of Diamonds on top of the pile with the Jack of Hearts. Place the remaining cards on top of the two piles forming a single deck.

Deal out 5 cards to each player.

Place the aisle markers in a single column spaced far enough apart to allow cards to be played next to them. Designate one side of the aisle markers to be the bride's side and one to be the groom's side. This will allow for 12 rows of cards (6 on each side of the aisle)

Pick a first player in your favorite way.

Game Play

Starting with the first player, players will alternate turns taking each of the following actions in a turn: 1. Play a card 2. Draw a card

1. Play a Card

A player must play a card from their hand, observing the following rules:

  • Hearts can only be played on the Bride's side of the aisle, Diamonds can only be played on the Groom's side. Black cards may be played on either side.
  • To commemorate the date of the royal wedding (April 29) each row of cards may not exceed a value of 29. Face cards are worth 10, numbered cards are worth the number showing. Cards are ranked from King high to Ace low
  • When a red card is played, a token is placed on it with the appropriate side up (heads = first player, tails = second player, if you are using coins).

2. Draw a card

After playing a card, the player draws a card. If one of the red Jacks is drawn it is placed on the table near it's side of the aisle, Players then score immediately. After scoring, the person who drew the Jack gets to draw again.


There are two scoring phases. The first scoring phase happens when the Groom (Jack of Diamonds) is drawn from the deck. The second happens when the Bride (Jack of Hearts) is drawn.

Scoring is determined by who controls which rows. A player controls a row if they have the most tokens showing their side up on the red cards. If tied, the player with the highest value of red card showing their token controls the row.

Once a row's controlling player is determined it is scored. The controlling player scores one for each black card in the row and two for each red card in the row.

During the Groom's scoring phase, players will score an additional bonus point for each row they control on the Groom's side. During the Bride's scoring phase, players will score one bonus point for each row they control on the Bride's side of the aisle.

End Game

The game ends immediately after the Bride's Scoring phase.


Ideally custom components and a custom deck could be made to play this game. However, I thought it might be easier for people to try the game with a standard deck of cards and some commonly available materials.

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