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Stumped - any ideas?

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vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015

There are some really creative people on here so I'm hoping that you can help me out.

I have designed a family trivia game that allows children and adults to compete on a level playing field and ensures that everybody is in with a chance of winning right up to the end of the game.

The mechanics are 100% sorted - I have play-tested it thoroughly with different groups of people and have run simulations in Excel to optimise the variables. As far as I am aware the mechanics of the game are unique while importantly still being extremely simple to understand - all of which is GREAT NEWS!

My BIG PROBLEM is all the other bits - namely theme and components.

I plan to post in the "Prototyping" forum to focus specifically on my COMPONENTS - but here are two component aims for my game that may guide you in helping me with the THEME.

1) A player needs 8 points to win the game. I would like the scoring "track" to be 3D rather than a flat board. For example, a stair with 8 steps or a rope bridge with 8 planks. (I prototyped using Lego stairs and it played better than a flat score board).
2) When a player wins I would like the components to somehow "collapse" and "take out" the other players so that the game ends with a bit more satisfaction rather than just petering out.

-- MAIN QUESTION ABOUT THEME --

The mechanics of the game are as follows. Players answer trivia questions and earn the right to place one of their tokens in a bag. Tokens are then drawn out of the bag and a player wins a point if one of their tokens is drawn out.

Sounds like there should be an easy theme there right? Well, I have had some ideas but I am finding it difficult to explain the "disconnect" between earning the right to put tokens IN with scoring points when tokens come OUT. What does the bag represent? What do the tokens represent? Why do you need 8 points to win? What could be used to keep track of points (a separate token on a 3D board that moves for each point or placing the actual scoring tokens on a 3D board as they come out of the bag)?

I won't share my theme ideas yet because I don't want to influence you. I really hope you can spare the time to try and help me out - looking forward to seeing what you come up with. There are no silly suggestions (believe me!) - however feel free to PM me rather than replying to this topic if you prefer.

Jarec
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Joined: 12/27/2013
Just my 2 cents

First thing what I thought was a presidential voting situation. Players could have pre colored tickets to put in the shuffling box or children would maybe want to scribble their names on them.
Of course it would not work as a real voting because of the luck aspect...

I also visualized like a mockup of stairs of you parliament house with the 8 steps, with a big button on the top which would collapse them, making the player meeples or whatev's slide down.
I don't have any easy way to do such a thing though. It'll require some tinkering with struts and springs or magnets, and may not be a viable thing at all to mass produce, but would make winning the game somewhat more of a thing.

MarkJindra
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The Bag

I feel like the key to finding a theme would be centered around the fact that it is a game meant for kids to play with adults. Combined with trivia this seems like a golden opportunity for the game to be a learning experience but remain light and fun.

Perhaps when you had your token pulled from the bag you could add a level to something. Like a rocket or a skyscraper (although Tom Hanks said it best in Big. "What's fun about playing with a skyscraper")

I do much prototyping with the creative learning things I find on amazon... these come to mind as something that could help drive theme.

http://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Colorful-Counting-Stacker-Building/dp/B00P...

A few quick quick questions.

How does the bag work? ... If you answer a question and place a token in the bag then you draw a token out there would never be any tokens in the bag. Does the bag start with tokens? do tokens drawn go back into the bag? Knowing this mechanic could help with theme.

You have peaked my interest in a kids trivia game ... shame on you ;)

=M=

vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015
Thanks

Yes, I guess the theme needs to be easily grasped (and enjoyed) by both kids and adults. The big USP for this trivia game is that it allows people from a wide range of ages and knowledge levels to compete without any asymmetric rules (e.g different questions). Everybody answers all the time, there is no waiting around. The skill to luck ratio is good and the game goes to the wire the majority of the time. It is light, fun and educational as you said.

To answer your "bag" questions, yes the bag starts with tokens, and a simple switch in the rules means that tokens could go back in the bag or stay out so there is some flexibility there.

Building something using the tokens is a nice idea but it isn't immediately obvious who is in the lead. Also it doesn't quite address my 2nd aim - although I suppose the winner could topple the other player's towers :-)

vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015
Voting

Jarec, yes, presidential candidate theme could work because the trivia knowledge part could be linked to gaining voters confidence and translate into votes. Not sure it would appeal to kids though.

Your vision of the parliamentary stairs would be fantastic but, as you recognised, this sort of thing will almost certainly be too expensive.

Soulfinger
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How much is the game going to

How much is the game going to cost? This will shape your theme more than anything, as collapsing 3D components are fine for a $60 boxed game but not so viable at $15. Trivia/party games are a dime a dozen, so you don't want to price yourself out of the market by incorporating unnecessary components. Having collapsing pieces may be satisfying, but can it be made cost effective? Also keep in mind the cost of shipping, which is a big consideration if you go the KS route.

My pitch for a theme is "Pyramid Heads" which would use the Pyramid components found here: http://www.dice.co.uk/fs_gamcom.htm

The theme is based on the New Age craziness of wearing pyramid-shaped hats to focus your thoughts and raise consciousness, which I think suits a trivia game. You could even include a pattern for making your own paper ones. The silly theme can be fun for kids and makes designing the theme a breeze. Why do you need 8 to win? Here's a list: http://www.numerology.com/numerology-numbers/8

Soulfinger
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How much is the game going to

How much is the game going to cost? This will shape your theme more than anything, as collapsing 3D components are fine for a $60 boxed game but not so viable at $15. Trivia/party games are a dime a dozen, so you don't want to price yourself out of the market by incorporating unnecessary components. Having collapsing pieces may be satisfying, but can it be made cost effective? Also keep in mind the cost of shipping, which is a big consideration if you go the KS route.

My pitch for a theme is "Pyramid Heads" which would use the Pyramid components found here: http://www.dice.co.uk/fs_gamcom.htm

The theme is based on the New Age craziness of wearing pyramid-shaped hats to focus your thoughts and raise consciousness, which I think suits a trivia game. You could even include a pattern for making your own paper ones. The silly theme can be fun for kids and makes designing the theme a breeze. Why do you need 8 to win? Here's a list: http://www.numerology.com/numerology-numbers/8

questccg
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Fantastic!

Soulfinger wrote:
...My pitch for a theme is "Pyramid Heads" which would use the Pyramid components found here: http://www.dice.co.uk/fs_gamcom.htm

Stacking of 8 Pyramids of different colors sounds BRILLIANT. Colors can even be color coded to in-game Categories which makes it HARDER to earn all 8 categories to win the game. I really like it Soulfinger!

I'm not questioning the 8 categories - but there are 9 colors of Pyramids. So anything LESS than 9 works with this plastic object!

Stacking them is also cool because everyone can see what categories are remaining and how many...

Very cool idea!

vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015
Pyramid Heads

Thanks Soulfinger/questccg. Great idea and I like the look of the pyramid tokens. However ...

Each player needs to have their own colour because all tokens go into the same bag. When a player's colour token is drawn from the bag then they "get a point" (i.e. move one step closer to victory). With your theme, the first player to construct a tower of 8 pyramids would win the game. It is similar to MarkJindra's idea earlier and my problem with both ideas is that it is not immediately obvious who is in the lead.

If each player has a movement token standing on a set of stairs or everyone is trying to cross the same bridge then you can immediately see who is in the lead. I would like to aim for something like this if possible.

I'm based in the UK so am expecting this to be a 25-30 GBP boxed game ($40-$45) which is about the price of a family party game. Incidentally, this is a game for 2-6 players and there are NO question categories.

Also, sorry, I may have thrown a curve ball in there with the "why do you need 8 points to win" comment. This is not actually that important, it just happens to be the optimal number of points given the mechanism. You can probably ignore this.

kos
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Joined: 01/17/2011
Random ideas for theme

Most of these don't fit your 3D requirement, but maybe they will help anyway...

Spaceships flying through the solar system (8 planets). [Move spacehips on a board]

People exploring a map of the world (7 continents + 1 Ocean). [Move meeples on a board]

15th century Chinese ambassadors exploring the (known) world. (8 countries to visit). [Collect a card for each country you have visited]

Building a skyscraper (8 levels). [Tokens are like Lego blocks that stack together. When you win, you get to push over all the other player's towers.]

Constructing a town (7 hexes + 1 plastic castle/palace). [The first 7 points allow you to place one hex into your town, and the 8th point lets you take the castle/palace to put in the center and lord it over the other towns]

Collecting a pride of lions (7 lionesses + 1 male lion). [Tokens are plastic lions. The 8th token is a male lion which lets you take all the females from the other players. It's pretty obvious who the winner is when you've got all the lionesses on the savanah.]

vexus
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Kos - ideas

Thanks Kos, much appreciated.

These are all creative ideas but in a lot of cases it isn't obvious what the tokens would be, what the bag would represent and why players are answering trivia questions in order to put tokens in a bag.

It is this disconnect between answering questions and scoring/moving toward victory that makes the theme difficult :-(

Soulfinger
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vexus wrote:Each player needs

vexus wrote:
Each player needs to have their own colour because all tokens go into the same bag.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but most tokens come in multiple colors. These are available in 9 colors.

vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015
Soulfinger wrote:vexus

Soulfinger wrote:
vexus wrote:
Each player needs to have their own colour because all tokens go into the same bag.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but most tokens come in multiple colors. These are available in 9 colors.

Imagine 3 players. One has green tokens, one has red and one has blue. Answering questions allows players to put tokens of their colour in to a bag. Tokens are then drawn from the bag and points are awarded to players based on colour.

So, if red comes out of the bag then the red player gets a point (moves forward one space).

This is why each player needs a specific colour.

fayinsky
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Joined: 08/02/2014
vexus wrote: Imagine 3

vexus wrote:

Imagine 3 players. One has green tokens, one has red and one has blue. Answering questions allows players to put tokens of their colour in to a bag. Tokens are then drawn from the bag and points are awarded to players based on colour.

So, if red comes out of the bag then the red player gets a point (moves forward one space).

This is why each player needs a specific colour.

I think what Soulfinger means is that there are 9 colors for the tokens, and thus you simply just buy 8 for each color and you can have a 9-player game. It's not that the tokens you buy will come with random color, unless you specifically ask for it.

Soulfinger
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fayinsky wrote:I think what

fayinsky wrote:
I think what Soulfinger means is that there are 9 colors for the tokens, and thus you simply just buy 8 for each color and you can have a 9-player game. It's not that the tokens you buy will come with random color, unless you specifically ask for it.

Correct. Whether it is this token or any of the comparable stacking tokens, they are available in multiple colors but are purchased in single color batches from the manufacturer (i.e. 1k red, 1k blue, 1k green, and so on). This particular component has nine colors to choose from but is not some grab bag arrangement.

vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015
Right, sorry, I was not

Right, sorry, I was not questioning the way to purchase coloured stacking tokens, more explaining why I can't introduce the new idea of having different colours for different question categories.

I'll get the hang of using the "quote" markup eventually and that should lead to less misunderstandings :-)

Anyway, this forum has really got me thinking. A great question on my introduction post asking why a trivia game actually needs a theme.

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