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Surely this must be possible!

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vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015

Really hoping for some help from this community.

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 have already posted in the "Theme Design" forum to focus specifically on my THEME - but I have two specific aims for my game which are proving VERY difficult to fulfil.

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.

Maybe I haven't searched hard enough on the internet but a 3D board doesn't seem very common. For this reason I'd definitely like to have it in my game (novelty value) but on the flip-side perhaps it means that it is not something that is very easy (or economical) to do.

My ideal component would be a "rope bridge" slung between two platforms over a crocodile infested river (think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). Players would need to move 8 steps across it before winning the game and being allowed to "unhook" the bridge to send their competitors to their doom below - CRASH!

The theme is strong and gives a really satisfying end to the game for the winner (kids and adults) - all of this is good for word-of-mouth. However I'm finding it really difficult to design something like this that is stable, economical and simple for people to put together.

My second choice would be a set of stairs. But again, it seems difficult to construct something that stands up well enough plus it is more difficult for me to fulfil aim (2) where the winner gets to "wipe out" the losers.

Would really appreciate some thoughts on this. There are no silly suggestions (believe me!) - however feel free to PM me rather than replying to this topic if you prefer.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Sounds like...

You are trying real hard to make your life complicated...

You say your mechanics are all worked out and perfectly balanced - but yet I wonder (if they are not akin to this "toy" score tracker).

I think you should ponder about the COST to implement such a device. And figure out how much it is going to cost to make the ESSENTIAL components to your game. From there you can determine if your game can be offered at a reasonable price.

Just because you want a fancy score tracker - doesn't mean you need it. Take Munchkin, you have to go up 10 levels and there is a simple board... It's not really an ESSENTIAL board, just used by the game to make it more relevant who is in the lead. And you can probably use a smaller sized board that makes up a simple tracker you use with joysticks/pawns/meeples...

Making a game is already a costly proposition - just with cards. 100 cards plus a simple tuck box is costing me $13.04 to produce. That excludes dice, player mat, cubes/tokens, rulebook and nicer box... Add all the components and it's around $25.

What does this mean? I can't sell my game via traditional sales model (distribution). The COST x 6 = MSRP. Nobody is going to pay $150 for one game set?!?!

So I really think you should try to figure out HOW COSTLY it will be to produce the essentials of your game - and then you will probably think up a more reasonable (and cheaper) alternative for your game...

Best of luck with your game!

vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015
Understood ... but ...

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

The point of my post is that I don't want to give up those two aims for my game and am looking for ideas on how to achieve them in the cheapest way possible.

I'm aware of the importance of cost when it comes to making a board game and I suppose I would be ready to proceed immediately with my game using a flat scoring track (with 8 spaces) and with no final "event" for the winner. However play-testing has shown me that a flat board produces a much weaker player experience than a raised board and I have also noticed that, although most games are exciting right up to the end, the game ends abruptly once a player earns their 8th point.

I would really like to explore ideas where the winner gets some extra satisfaction. I know that the vast majority of games just end with one player becoming the winner but I want my game to be different. Actually, ignoring components for the moment, I would happily take examples of existing games where the winner gets some added satisfaction as it may give me a different angle to look at - perhaps something as simple as the winner being "crowned" by one of the losers?

I do know that the mechanics of my game are unique and work well but trying to make my game memorable by successfully implementing my 2 aims has got to be worthwhile. If something a bit different generates better word-of-mouth then perhaps it would be worth spending a bit of extra money on the manufacture.

Oh, and I don't quite understand what you mean by this - could you please elaborate:

Quote:
You say your mechanics are all worked out and perfectly balanced - but yet I wonder (if they are not akin to this "toy" score tracker).

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Over-glorification

vexus wrote:
...I do know that the mechanics of my game are unique and work well but trying to make my game memorable by successfully implementing my 2 aims has got to be worthwhile. If something a bit different generates better word-of-mouth then perhaps it would be worth spending a bit of extra money on the manufacture.

See that's where I am CONFUSED.

vexus wrote:
Oh, and I don't quite understand what you mean by this - could you please elaborate:
Quote:
You say your mechanics are all worked out and perfectly balanced - but yet I wonder (if they are not akin to this "toy" score tracker).

Take for example my current Work-In-Progress (WIP). The game lasts about an hour and a half and my playtesters have reported to me that they have really enjoyed PLAYING my game. They're not even talking about how it feels to be the WINNER... They enjoyed playing it ... even if most of them LOST.

Do you see what I am getting at???

Board and card games are SOCIAL OUTLETS... It's not about who wins or loses in most instances, it's about getting together and having FUN playing. I hope you see where I am going with this train of thought!? Players whether they win or lose should have some form of satisfaction after playing the game... Sometimes it might be aspiration to be the next victor or other times it's things like trying a new strategy in the game.

So if your losers don't get any satisfaction out of playing the game, I hardly see how the OVER-GLORIFICATION of the winner adds anything to the social purpose of the game.

That's why I am questioning the mechanics and the game itself: is it FUN enough without this "poo poo on all you losers" aspect...

vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015
I agree

I agree with everything you are saying. Games are social, it isn't all about winning.

Not sure where you got the idea that my game is not enjoyed by the losers? The game itself plays really well and everyone enjoys the close finish plus the game is typically won by the player who gets the most questions correct (but not always) so most of the time everyone is satisfied.

My 2nd aim is really a "nice to have" that I think would add something a bit different to my game. I know that it isn't essential and I may need to drop it but I thought it would be worth seeing if anybody had any ideas of how to do it simply, cheaply but effectively.

Yes, the game probably is "fun enough" without a final "flourish" but I don't think there are many other games where the winner gets to "poo poo" the losers so I see it as a memorable element in my game. Are you saying there is a good reason why there are few games with this idea? Can you think of any that use it?

I appreciate the feedback, it is making me think :-)

EthosGames
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Joined: 05/05/2014
A couple of ideas

One easy way you could accomplish this with off the shelf materials would be to use the game box and a simple track. I am imagining the inside of the box printed with graphics that make the bottom look like a crocodile infested river and the walls look like cliff faces. You would then have a cardboard track that is placed across this chasm. The track would have art making it look like a rope bridge. Once the final player has made it across he/she gets to knock the track into the crocodile infested river. This would accomplish what you are describing with minimal extra parts.

Another more complicated version would be to do have a game board with parts that pop up when the board is opened. (Much like a popup book has parts that extend or self assemble when the book is opened.) Again I imagine this would incorporate a separate track/rope bridge part that would be knocked off when the last player has made it across.

questccg
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Usually...

You WANT something that SHOWS PROGRESSION... Why cause this ADDS TENSION to the game. More tension usually means more FUN. I really like the Pyramid idea - maybe you could have a way of "trying to stump" the player that is about to win.

This is sort of like Uno where one player has one remaining card. The opponent's often try to change the suit (which may or may not help the player who is about to win)... Making the wrong suit change, means you land up losing... You might also want to play pickup +2 cards or +4 cards, etc.

Fudging an opponent from victory is a great mechanic... Corresponds to good "Take-that" cards.

In a way it's hard because I don't know how your game plays (not in detail - just overview). Why? Because I don't know what kind of options your players have from stopping someone from winning the game.

Do you have a way to STOP a player from winning. Are there 8 categories to your game?! I know there are 8 points to a victory... But can you steal points from an opponent (for example - that's another way of advancing your pyramid and slowing your opponent), etc.

If all players are in it until the end - well then that's good, all players may feel like they might have almost won had it been for 1 or 2 cards... etc. That's GREAT. So it sounds like you have the right elements/balance in your game.

So not knowing much about your game "Stumping" the winner or "stealing a victory" are two ideas that can add more TENSION to the game...

Update: I was never implying anything - I just wanted to communicate how different aspects of a game relate to the overall experience. I was not certain how the elements in your game come together! :)

Update 2: Take Munchkin (I use this as an example - because the board is really COSMETIC). You don't need the board. All it does is serve as a reminder about WHO is in the lead. And usually all the other players gang up on the leader to prevent him/her from winning. So the board has a purpose: screw with the leading player.

But other than that the board is not really useful. Okay it may serve as a placeholder for cards (whoopie!). The only point of the board is tracking player progression (which can be done all kinds of ways).

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Another point

Multiple PATHS to Victory.

Plus there may be an order to follow (like a tech tree...)

So if a player chooses EASY that requires 8 points. If a player chooses MEDIUM that requires 7 points and lastly if a player choose HARD that only requires 6 points.

But you might have to follow specific categories.

HARD: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple
MEDIUM: Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple.
EASY: Pink, Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple.

Keeping it a little bit simple, since the game is also for children.

But you could have like HARD = 1 Pyramid, MEDIUM = 2 Pyramids, EASY = 3 Pyramids... Another possibility (again thinking about tech trees...)

So different things seem to be happening. If you could fool players into thinking you chose one path over another that also would be very cool!

Update: Each player can choose a difficulty card which dictates the TYPES of pyramids he MUST build. And the ORDER must be followed. So children can choose easy with 3 pyramid and adults can choose hard with 1 pyramid...

vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015
EthosGames - Using game box

Quote:
One easy way you could accomplish this with off the shelf materials would be to use the game box and a simple track. I am imagining the inside of the box printed with graphics that make the bottom look like a crocodile infested river and the walls look like cliff faces. You would then have a cardboard track that is placed across this chasm. The track would have art making it look like a rope bridge. Once the final player has made it across he/she gets to knock the track into the crocodile infested river. This would accomplish what you are describing with minimal extra parts.

Thanks for the response. Great minds etc. I have just uploaded a photo of a prototype I made which used the game box. This is how players would know who was in the lead (http://www.bgdf.com/image/rope-bridge) and this is how the winner would celebrate by sending their competitors to their doom (http://www.bgdf.com/image/rope-bridge-down). You can imagine that this would look really good with the right artwork because the gap in the centre forms a natural chasm.

Now although I think it looks really great, the problems with this prototype are immediately obvious. Mainly it is incredibly fiddly to put together and uses too many materials. I would love to be able to produce a simpler version of this.

I think that pop up may not be the way to go because it would be too difficult to manufacture.

vexus
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Joined: 05/06/2015
questccg - responses

Thanks for the input questccg but I must stress that I'm not looking for additional mechanics for the game.

My game does have some ways to stop a player from being a runaway winner - there are some question formats that achieve this but more importantly it is built into the main mechanism itself. Other players do not need to consciously decide to screw-up the leader, there is no stealing and no question categories.

I have plenty of tension because of the way questions are answered and because players are always in with a chance of winning (I should say that I achieve this without there being some magical winning play that takes them from last to first place).

In some games the board may be inconsequential but in my game I think it is essential that all players can see where they are in relation to other players. Perhaps I haven't made that bit clear in my previous posts (sorry).

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