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Micro Design Competition - Evertide Games

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rcjames14
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Court of the Medici is a two player card game of intrigue and politics in the court of Cosimo I d' Medici. Each player is the leader of a powerful Italian family which hopes to advance its position through an alliance with the Duke. But, in order to do so, you need to reduce your rival's influence at court and eliminate the Duke's inner circle so that he will listen to you and you alone. The gameplay is relatively fast-paced, with cycles of alliance building and alliance destruction. Although a wise player will bide his time and figure out a way to corner his opponent into an untenable position, victory and defeat are frequently separated by the play of a single card. So, at any point in time, your fortunes can turn if you are not careful.

BGG: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/37208/court-of-the-medici
Z-Man Games: http://www.zmangames.com/cardgames/court_medici.htm
Evertide Games: http://www.evertidegames.com/court-of-the-medici/

I designed the game about three years ago and it was published by Z-Man Games in March 2009. During playtesting, it began as a multiplayer game for 2 to 4 players. But, due to a number of problems with the design that could not be fixed to eliminate a (oftentimes inadvertant) king-maker problem, the game was reduced to 2 players. I simply could not solve the problem at the time so we made the executive decision to release the game as a very sound, very fun, 2 player game instead. But, I still want it to be a 2 to 4 player game. And, I believe that now is the right time to add an expansion to the game that adds two more houses (with the art I originally collected).

So, here's your challenge, if you choose to accept it:

Over the next two weeks, I am going to hold a Micro Design Competition for an expansion design for Court of the Medici on the list. In order to qualify as an acceptable design, your design must:
1. Be a card game.
2. Integrate with the existing decks from the game without altering the pre-existing cards.
3. Introduce two more houses
4. Introduce no more than 2 more cards to the existing decks. (So, you may turn each 25 card deck into a 27 card deck instead)
5. Be cool enough to belong with Court of the Medici

In order to win, you must be the coolest design submitted that keeps with the spirit of the game. If no game design submitted meets the minimum threshold of coolness, then it is possible that no winner will be declared. However, the prizes for the contest are as follows:

Winner (if there is one): 2 Free Copies of Court of the Medici, 2 Free Copies of the Expansion, Designer Credit, $50 thru Paypal or check.
Entrant: Feedback on your design from me regardless of how well it does.

Of course, in order to qualify to accept this "micro design competition" prize, you will have to sign an assignment of rights for the design to Evertide Games. But, we can leave that part to the lawyers. ;)

You can use this post for questions, comments and ideas, but please submit your official designs to me via PM. Designs submitted after 11:59pm on Saturday, December 4th, will be not be accepted. But, any designs submitted before that time may be revised up until the deadline.

Kirioni
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Great Challenge

Great Idea! I will see if my local store caries the game, heard to design without the main game to understand/review to get a feel for.

drktron
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a few questions

Does the design for the expansion need to include house names, flavor text, etc. or just the mechanics of 3-4 players?

Besides the kingmaker problem, where there any other problems in the original 4 player design? This would help so we don't repeat the same issues the original 4 player design had.

drktron
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playtesting the game

looks like you could play the main game with a standard deck of cards. Use two suits, one black and one red. Make the jokers the jesters, the queen the lady in waiting, and the jack the minister. the king can be the duke. Not as cool as having the actual game, but should work for playtesting. good luck!

rcjames14
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Clarifications

drktron wrote:
Does the design for the expansion need to include house names, flavor text, etc. or just the mechanics of 3-4 players?

If you want to include houses, favor text and images, go for it. However, mechanics for 3 to 4 will suffice. While producing Court of the Medici for Z-Man Games, we collected a lot of portraits, names, iconography and sundry historical information. So all we need are the mechanics. But, I am often amazed to see the lengths people go to in their own variant rule-making and details that they discover. So, any historical work that you do will not go unappreciated.

drktron wrote:
Besides the kingmaker problem, where there any other problems in the original 4 player design? This would help so we don't repeat the same issues the original 4 player design had.

The primary problem was the kingmaker issue and frequently, it was completely unintentional. People would not see that they had just set up the next player to end the game... which became really frustrating to the others who would then lose due to no fault of their own.

However, people were also generally displeased with versions of the game which involved quick liquidation of all the characters. People wanted to feel invested in what they built up... so the mechanics were altered in order to encourage alliance growth. But, the game is still very heavily attack (blood-bath) oriented. So... this problem will likely crop up again unless the new rules figure out a way to make alliance death more difficult (either strategically or by fiat).

Finally, as with any design with unlimited targeting capacity, there is always the possibility that people will gang up on the leader. To some degree, this is the spirit of a game about court politics. But, there should be reasons for players to work with the leader as well as team up against him. Perhaps, by riding someone's coat tails, you put yourself in the best position when the leader falls from grace. But, you'd want to make sure that you only make that move when it is going to end the game (otherwise you will become the target).

But, a submission need not adopt any of the existing rules of Court of the Medici. Just as long as it does not require a change of the card base, it preserves the card nature of the game and it inspires the same kind of cutthroat court intrigue and strategic maneuvering, the game can actually be quite different. For example, here is an example of a variant of Court of the Medici written last year: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/418841/acotm-advanced-court-of-the-m...

drktron wrote:
Not as cool as having the actual game, but should work for playtesting.

A deck of playing cards does indeed work.

Good luck!

drktron
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early submissions

But, any designs submitted before that time may be revised up until the deadline. [/quote]

Can early designs be emailed to you for review?

rcjames14
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Early Feedback

I will not be able to provide feedback during the submission period.

drktron
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two more questions

can the submission include tokens or any other non-card items?
can I have details on sending you a submission?

rcjames14
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Contact Info and Component Allowances

Entries may be submitted either by PM to rcjames14 through this forum or by email to Evertide Games at the address found here: http://www.evertidegames.com/2007/07/contact-info/

As long as cards remain the primary component of the game, tokens may be included.

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