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GDS November 2009 Challenge: "Travelling Light: King's Quest Edition"

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Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

Game Design Showdown

November 2009 Challenge - "Travelling Light: King's Quest Edition"

This Challenge has been completed.

Congratulations to new BGDF member Don Jon and his entry "Find Me a New Prince Charming!" for receiving the most votes this month!

CRITIQUES: Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the Critiques Thread.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme: At some point in time, in some location, a King/Queen/Diety/boss summoned an individual (or a small group) to carry out some task or to take part in some sort of challenge ... Phwew! There are a lot of generalities in there for you to fill-in ... that is your challenge -- make a "sent on a quest" type game.
    • Travelling Light: The game can have any sort of components you wish, but they must all fit within a small box -- such as those made to hold a pair of standard playing card decks. The idea is to have a small-package game that can easily come along for a trip in a backpack. Of course, having a game that is easy to play while in a small space (travelling on a train or airplane, or the backseat of a car) would gain you even more kudos -- but it's not required.

  • Submissions: Thursday, 5-November-2009 through Thursday, 12-November-2009 (approximately Noon Eastern US time).
  • Voting: Sunday, 15-November-2009 through Tuesday, 24-November-2009.

CRITIQUES: Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the Critiques Thread.

Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge were handled on the Comments 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.



Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - Pocket Dragonslayer

Entry #1 - Pocket Dragonslayer

by jilocasin

A game for 1 - 2 Players

Once upon a time there was a kingdom covered with an endless, almost impenetrable wilderness. In the dark depths of the forests and swamps of this realm, horrible beasts and dragons lurked, often terrorizing the helpless farmers and village dwellers of the kingdom. In order to make an end to the terror and rid the country from the bestial scourge, the king summoned the bravest and most fearless heroes from all four corners of the country. He sent them on a noble quest to free the country of all dragons and foul beasts, to make the kingdom a safe place to live in.

Unfathomable peril, but also treasure, gold and glory await the fearless Dragonslayers!

The goal of the game: is to slay all monsters without being killed. You can play solo or two players, either competitive or co-op. If you choose to play competitive, the player who slew the most monsters after all monsters are dead wins.

What you need to play:

  • One or two six-sided dice
  • Some counters to keep track of gold and life points
  • The 101 Dragonslayer cards. Dragonslayer is a free to print and play pocket game that fits neatly in a small box.

Set up:

Shuffle the Adventure Pile. The "Change of the Year" card has to be on the bottom of it. Put the three Treasure-Piles, which are also shuffled, the Blacksmith-, Witch’s Hut, Alchemist’s Lab- and Heroes-Pile on the table. If you play solo choose one hero to start with. If you play two players, either competitive or co-op, each player chooses a hero he or she controls. If you play competitive, determine who starts by rolling dice or flipping a coin. Each Player starts with 50 gold.

Getting the game started:

The Player who begins reveals cards from the Adventure Pile until he or she reveals a Monster-card. Here is what happens when certain card types are revealed:

  • Event: The card is shown to all players and read aloud. The card takes effect immediately and is then put onto the Discard Pile. Events influence the game in certain ways.
  • Terrain: When a Terrain-card is revealed, it is placed on the Terrain-pile, on top of the other Terrains that have been revealed before. Different Terrains influence the stats of Heroes and Monsters.
  • Location: You may put aside revealed Locations until you reveal a Monstercard. You may choose to visit a Location instead of attacking the Monster and purchase the goods and services offered there. You can only visit one Location per turn.
  • Monster: You may choose to attack the Monster. If you already visited a Location this turn, you cannot also attack a Monster.

Events, Locations and Monsters that have not been attacked or slain are put onto the Discard-Pile when a player chooses to end his or her turn. Then it is the other player’s turn.

Slaying Monsters and reaping rewards:

During your turn you can choose to attack a Monster you revealed. If you do so, the Hero or Monster with the highest INIT-value strikes first. Besides INIT, each Monster and Hero has an ATK- and a DEF-value as well as a number of Life Points. An attack is carried out by rolling a six sided dice and adding the ATK-value to the outcome. The ATK-throw of the attacker is subtracted from the defender’s DEF-value. When the DEF-value of a Hero or Monster drops to zero, he/it loses one Life Point (LP) permanently. If a Hero or Monster loses his/its last LP, he/it dies. If all your heroes are dead you lose. When you manage to kill a Monster, you get a reward as indicated on the card (usually some gold and a treasure from one of the Treasure Piles) and may put the Monster into your vault. After the Hero or Monster with the highest INIT carried out his/its attack, the Hero or Monster with the second highest INIT-value may attack and so on. A battle is fought until either all Heroes are dead, until the Monster is slain or until the player decides to retreat. Retreating usually costs you gold or treasure.

Locations and Equipment:

There are various Locations which you can visit to purchase certain equipment or services. You can buy and sell weapons and armour at the Blacksmith’s. A hero may only carry one weapon, one shield and one armour at a time. A group of heroes can have as many potions (from the Alchemist’s Lab) and sorceries (from the Witch’s Hut) as they like. They are placed face down in front of their owners and may be used at any time. Used sorceries and potions go back to their respective Piles.

Game in Progress

Example Cards

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - Quest for Knighthood

Entry #2 - Quest for Knighthood

by magic_user

The king called four pages to his throne.

"You are the best pages in the kingdom. But are you ready for Knighthood? I will give you each three quests. Your success will determine if you are ready for Knighthood."

Do you have what it takes?

Quest for Knighthood is a simple trick taking game for four players that takes less than five minutes to play. It is unusual in that there is no winner - either you become a Knight or you don't, and more than one player can become a Knight.


Complete your three quests to become a Knight.


  • 1 deck of playing cards (no jokers)
  • 1 pencil
  • 1 pad of paper

Setup (4 players)

  • Remove the aces from the deck and give 1 to each player. These are displayed face up and represent your trump suit.
  • For each player:
    • Shuffle the deck.
    • Cut the deck 3 times, each time writing down the card. These 3 cards are your quests. Do not reveal the cards to the other players.
  • Shuffle the deck.
  • Deal 10 cards to each player.
  • Place the remaining cards face down in a pile.

Card Ranking

Before we get to the gameplay, we need to understand the card ranking. The only cards of value are 2-10, highest card (played first) wins. The face cards are "trump" cards, but only if they are played by the player with the matching ace. Otherwise they are worthless. The only way to beat a trump card is to play a higher trump card (i.e. the only way to beat the HEART player's Queen of hearts is for the CLUB player to play the King of clubs).


  1. Turn over 1 card from the pile. SPADE player plays first.
  2. Turn over 1 card from the pile. HEART player plays first.
  3. Turn over 2 cards from the pile. DIAMOND player plays first.
  4. Turn over 2 cards from the pile. CLUB player plays first.
  5. Turn over 2 cards from the pile. SPADE player plays first.


For each PHASE, the cards are turned over and the players play twice around trying to win the trick. Well, they MIGHT be trying to win the trick. Each player is trying to win their quest cards. You do not have to follow suit, it is highest valus wins (see Card Ranking).


After the last trick is taken, the players reveal their quest list and see how many of their quest cards were collected.

  • None: "You have proved why you are a page."
  • One: "You were a page, now you are a page with experience."
  • Two: "You are almost ready for Knighthood."
  • Three: "Congratulations. You are the newest Knight of the realm."
Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - Heir Today, Crown Tomorrow

Entry #3 - Heir Today, Crown Tomorrow

by akanucho

A dying king is calling for heroes to slay dragons, rescue nobles, and find the right crown to put an heir on the throne!

HTCT is a game for 2-6 players that is played using a standard 52-card poker deck.

  • Aces = Crowns
  • Kings = Knights
  • Queens = Ladies
  • Jacks = Thieves
  • 2-9 of Diamonds = Treasure
  • 2-9 of Hearts = Health
  • 2-9 of Clubs = Attack
  • 2-9 of Spades = Defense

Victory Condition

A player that ends his turn with both a royal heir (a Knight or Lady) and their royal crown (the Crown of matching suit) wins the game.

Game Setup

  • Separate the cards into four piles. Shuffle each pile.
  • 2-9 of Clubs become the Attack deck.
  • 2-9 of Spades become the Defense deck.
  • 2-9 of Hearts become the Health deck.
  • The remaining cards become the Dragon's Hoard.

Discarded cards are shuffled back into their respective decks.

Deal each player one card from each of the Attack and Defense decks. Each player draws one card from the Health deck, and the highest card goes first. Return Health cards to the deck and shuffle it.


Each player's turn is divided into five phases:


Reveal the top card of the Health deck. The revealed value is your health for the turn.


Draw one Attack card and one Defense card, and then play one Attack card and one Defense card.


Reveal the top cards of the Attack and Defense decks. These cards represent the Attack and Defense of the dragon that you are facing. If your Attack card beats (is equal to or greater than) the dragon's Defense, you have slain the dragon and may draw one card from the Dragon's Hoard. If the dragon's Attack card beats your Defense, you take damage equal to the difference. Replace the visible Health card appropriately and shuffle the Health deck.


If your health is less than 2, go directly to the End phase unless you immediately play a Lady to increase your health to 2 or above. If your health is 2 or above, you may begin a new Strategy Phase and proceed from there as normal.


If you have a winning hand, reveal it now to win the game. If not, your turn now ends and play passes to the player on your left.


Treasure cards include the 2-9 of Diamonds and the Aces. Aces represent the royal crowns; each has a value of 10 (except for the Diamond Crown, which has a value of 11).


You may hire a Thief during any of your Preparation or End Phases to rob another player by playing the Thief face up, playing his Payment (a Treasure from your hand) face down, and choosing your Victim (the Player whom you are attempting to rob). Your Victim may do one of the following:

Do Nothing

your Victim chooses to do nothing, select one random card from the Victim's hand and add it to your own. Discard the Thief and the Payment.

Defend His Treasure

By playing a Knight in response to a Thief, the Victim successfully defends his treasure. The Knight, the Thief, and the Payment are all discarded. If the Knight and Thief match in suit, the Victim may choose to place either the Knight or the Payment into their hand instead of discarding them.

Bribe The Thief

The Victim may choose a Bribe (one of the Victim's Treasures) and play it face up. Reveal the Payment. If the Bribe is greater than the Payment, the Thief is placated; discard the Thief, the Payment, and the Bribe. If the Bribe is less than the Payment, the bribery fails. Discard the Bribe and proceed as if the Victim chose to do nothing.


You may play a Lady during any of your Preparation or Recovery Phases to draw a new Health card. Discard the Lady and the old Health card. When playing the Lady of Hearts, draw an additional Health card. Choose one to keep; discard the other.


You may play a Knight to defend your treasure (see Thieves) or to assist you in combat. At the beginning of any of your Strategy Phases, you may play a Knight to draw an additional Attack card and an additional Defense card. However, you must then discard one Attack card and one Defense card. If you play the Knight of Clubs in this way, draw and discard two Attack cards instead of one. If you play the Knight of Spades in this way, draw and discard two Defense cards instead of one.

Optional Rules:

Longer Game

A player must have matching Crown, Knight, and Lady to win the game.

Bloody Game

Only the Crown, Knight, and Lady of Hearts count towards victory.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #4 - Miniquest

Entry #4 - Miniquest
by stubert

A game of endless realms for 2 or more players where the mechanics interrelate to create a complete and rich playing environment. Miniquest can be played on airline trays, on laps and (if you’re really hurting for space) even out of your pockets while standing up – you can even roll the dice in the tin.

Contents –
(1) tin (6”x4”x1¼”), containing:
(2) decks – standard playing cards
(3) 6-sided dice
(2) pencils
(3) pads –
character pad (pre-printed – for stats/history),
ruled pad (for notes),
grid pad (for maps)
(1) QUEST book
(1) RULE book
(1) SPELL book

The QUEST book (60 pgs) describes WHAT quest your character(s) will embark on. Each card in the deck corresponds to a quest, with each suit representing 13 quests of a single type.

The types are as follows:
SPADES – battle (NON-PLAYER characters)
HEARTS – battle (versus – 2 or more PLAYERS)
CLUBS – infiltrate (dungeon, castle, forest, etc.)
DIAMOND – escape/rescue (escape from giants, rescue diplomats, etc.)

QUEST pages give brief descriptions of quests with limited details. Pages detail the setting, the objective, and WHEN you encounter which non-player characters (including enemies like goblins, ogres, spiders, etc.).
QUEST pages also list benefit(s) to characters for completing quests. The 5 of clubs’ quest is to clear out an evil troll’s lair, and that troll has a ring of power (+2 to damage dealt). Aside from acquiring items, benefits include unlocking pages in the SPELL book (for mages and rangers), increasing ability scores (strength, aim, etc.), leveling up your character, etc.

Each character sheet contains a grid (suits vertically, Ace-King horizontally) – check each quest’s box on your character sheet (if the 5 of clubs is checked, your character completed that quest and now has the ring of power). Characters accumulate benefits from all quests they have completed.

The QUEST book also has cross-references of benefits gained from each quest (if you have completed multiple quests, you won’t have to switch between QUEST pages). They also contain adaptations that allow for COMBINING quests (with the 5 of clubs QUEST, you could draw a SPADE to switch the enemy from the evil troll to a goblin army or giant rat).

Coupled with continual character advancement, this extends the game into areas of advanced (or longer and/or more complex) play.

QUEST pages only set out parameters using terms listed in the RULE book. The RULE book details HOW encounters are resolved, HOW MANY enemies (or friends) you encounter, what happens when they are defeated (or allied with), etc.

The RULE book (40 pgs) is essentially a dictionary (cross-referenced within itself) that explains how to use a standard deck of playing cards to create a fully-developed role playing environment.

Terms like INFILTRATE, LARGE-SCALE BATTLE, HIDE, RECOVER, SEARCH, etc. are used in the SPELL and QUEST books, and are explained in detail in the RULE book.

Sample entry:
MAP: To create a map, use a single deck. First flip 2 cards from the deck. The numbers on the cards are the dimensions of the first room in meters. If the second card flipped was red, there is 1 exit from the room – black, 2 exits. For each exit, flip another card. If it is red, the tunnel between rooms is direct – black, it branches. Flip 2 cards for each tunnel/branch, representing dimensions of subsequent rooms. If at any time you flip a face card, there is an ENCOUNTER, as listed on your QUEST page. Mark it and flip another card in its place. Continue this until you have exhausted the deck. Record the map on paper and reshuffle the deck (see also – OBSCURED MAP).

The RULE book details the character types (WARRIOR, MAGE, RANGER), their base abilities (STRENGTH, AIM, SPEED, DEFENSE, MAGIC), how the deck(s) portray these abilities during gameplay and how they change throughout and after completing quests. It also details character creation (including creating characters above level 1) and how/when the dice are used (and what they affect).

Any word listed in ALL CAPS in any of the books is an entry in the RULE book.

The SPELL book (16 pgs) has a page for each number (Ace-King). Only Mages and Rangers can play spells. To play a spell, discard a pair of cards alone or in conjunction with another card (for a pair of 8s, the “8” page in the SPELL book tells how the spell resolves in gameplay). The non-SPELL pages aid in using the SPELL book.

SPELL pages lists:
1) When a spell may be played,
2) The effect(s) of the spell (depending on the suit of the non-paired card discarded)
3) How your character’s type, level and abilities (and your timing) affect the resolution of the spell.

Expansion packs come in a smaller tin with a new SPELL book or QUEST book and a single deck of playing cards.

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Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #5 - Rapid Quest

Entry #5 - Rapid Quest

by Robert_C

A real time game for 3-6 players.

The Rapid Quest is a fast paced game played in real time. Players take roles of adventurers wandering in search for three magic items. The land is full of creatures to beat before any item can be collected. Fortunately the king promised to send guard that can help looking after captured items. Be a first player who finds three items and become a Hero.


The game consists of a deck of 72 cards accompanied by 6 tokens in different colors. At one side of cards there are symbols of creatures or swords in different colors. Only the sword of the same color can beat the creature. At the reverse sides of all cards there are symbols of magic items. There are only four different items (18 cards of each type).


The quest is played in real time. All the cards are mixed into one deck, then shuffled and put in the center. The players sit at the table and put their tokens on the opposite side of the deck across the table. Leave the space in front of a player for his vault area.

The fastest player starts and then all players act simultaneously.

The player uses both hands during play. One hand (called the hero's hand) can be used for searching cards in the center of the table and for fighting creatures while the other hand (called the guard's hand) can be used for protecting the collected items and for robbing other players.

During play it is possible to:

  • take a card from the deck (hero's hand) and put it in the center. The card cannot be taken directly neither to player's vault area nor next to any token. The card can be placed any side up according to player's wish.
  • take any other card from the center (hero's hand) and put it next to any player's token (also next to own one) if the token was free (no card is next to the token). Place the card creature side up making it attacking a player.
  • take any other card from the center (hero's hand) and put it next to one's token if it was surrounded by any creature to beat the creature. You can beat the creature only with the card showing the sword symbol of the same color that the creature's card. If the creature was defeated take both cards and place one in your vault area and the second onto the discard deck. The discard deck would become the main deck when the main deck exhausted.
  • protect a card in own vault (guard's hand), simply put a hand onto a card. Other players cannot grab protected card.
  • grab a card from other vault (guard's hand) and put it in your own vault area. While grabbing cards the thief can be seized (of course with guard's hand) by covering hand with hand. If seized the thief would remain with the hand captured until the guard decided to release the hand.
  • take own token (with guard's hand) and place it onto one of item card in one's vault area. The card with the token becomes protected and cannot be grabbed but you won't be able to collect more items. If you need to collect more items you can take a token and put it back onto opposite side of the deck (across the table).

The goal of a game is to collect three different magic items in the vault. The cards in the vault area can be placed any side up to make difficult for others to determine the possessed items.

Game end

When player decides he possesses three different magic items in the vault he must protect them all. Putting player's token and both hands onto the selected cards can protect items. The player announces he is a Hero. Everybody check that the protected cards show different items. If not the game continues.

The winner and the Hero is the fastest player who collects three different magic items.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #6 - Find Me a New Prince Charming!

Entry #6 - Find Me a New Prince Charming!

by Don Jon

The royal wedding of the Princess is only a week away. The only problem? This morning, Prince Charming was found floating in the moat, with a dagger in his back. But there’s no time to worry about what happened – in fact, only the King and his loyal servants know about the incident – instead, a new husband must be found immediately! The King has summoned these same servants and told them: “Find me a new Prince Charming!” Whoever finds the most suitable suitor will be rewarded with anything his heart desires.

Game Components

78 playing cards:

  • 20 Suitor cards (blue backs)
  • 40 Enhancement cards (red backs)
  • 12 Order cards (green backs)
  • 6 Character cards (yellow backs)

Object of game

Players have seven days, or rounds, to come up with the Best Match for the Princess. A Match consists of three cards – 1 Suitor + 2 Enhancement cards – totaling up to the most points.

Setup Instructions

Divide cards into decks, according to category, and shuffle.

About the cards

There are various kinds of cards, some of which contain a good deal of information on them, and others which are very simple.

Suitor cards

These cards, with blue backs, have pictures of the potential suitors for the Princess, with basic scores between 0 and 8 on them. The Suitors include Geezer Kings, Young Princes, Brave Knights, Peasant Boys, and Frogs.

Enhancement cards

These cards enhance the Suitor cards. They also have scores (1-10) on them, with bonuses if they are matched to the perfect suitor (then doubled, up to 20). The different categories of Enhancement cards may or may not match up with specific Suitor cards, as explained below. There are seven types of Enhancement card: Kingdom, Treasure, Heroic Deed, Mighty Deed, Quality, Magic, and Curse.

  • Only Kings and Princes can use Kingdom cards.
  • Only Heroes and Peasants can use Heroic/Mighty Deed cards.
  • Any Suitor can use Treasure cards, but Heroes and Peasants must also have a Heroic/Mighty Deed card to do so.
  • Any Suitor can use a Quality card. There are some limitations based on information given on each Suitor card.
  • Any Suitor can use a Magic/Curse card. These cards are different from the other Enhancement cards; some may be played during regular gameplay, as opposed to being part of the Match.

Order cards

These simply determine how each round (= day) is played. Most of them allow players to choose from any regular action, but others limit the choices available.

  • Regular play
  • Suitor cards only: During this round, players may only draw Suitor cards or challenge for them.
  • Enhancement cards only: During this round, players may only draw Enhancement cards or challenge for them.
  • “Show Me What You Got!”: There is only one of these cards in the deck, so it may or may not come up during the game. If it does, players have been summoned back to the castle by the King to show them what kind of Match they’ve come up with so far. The round is conducted as a Regular play round, after which each player must show a Match (1 Suitor + 2 Enhancements). All players lay their Match face down before any shows what they’ve got. Whichever player has the best Match wins the favor of the King – and a bonus 5 points towards their final Match (at the end of the 7th round)!


  • Deal each player 1 Character, 2 Suitors, and 4 Enhancements. The remaining cards are left in separate draw piles. For each pile, flip over the top card and lay it next to pile as the discard pile. The Order cards are also left in a draw pile, but without a discard.

  • Select the first player. Flip over first Order card and follow instructions on card for that round.

  • Players must always have 2 Suitors and 4 Enhancements in their hand (except for after the “Show Me What You Got!” round).

  • On regular turns, players may take the following actions:

  1. Draw a Suitor or Enhancement card – from the top of the draw or discard pile – and then discard a card of the same type.
  2. If a player has a Magic/Curse card, it may be played after drawing but before discarding.
  3. Once during the game, each player may use the special ability of their character (such as the Jester, who can force two other players to randomly exchange one Suitor or Enhancement card).

End of Game

After the 7th round, players lay out their Best Match. Points are totaled up, and the Match with the most points wins.

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Joined: 07/21/2008
Results are in ...

After compiling the votes, we have the following scores ...

1st Place - Find Me a New Prince Charming! by Don Jon (15 points)

2nd Place (tie) - Quest for Knighthood by magic_user (10 points)

2nd Place (tie) - Miniquest by stubert (10 points)

3rd Place - Heir Today, Crown Tomorrow by akanucho (9 points)

4th Place (tie) - Pocket Dragonslayer by jilocasin (7 points)

4th Place (tie) - Rapid Quest by Robert_C (7 points)

CRITIQUES: Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the Critiques Thread.

Congratulations to new BGDF member Don Jon and his entry "Find Me a New Prince Charming!"

I plan to skip the month of December and have a new GDS Challenge in January ... between now and then, watch for a few polls to be posted regarding the Game Design Showdown to get your feedback on how we might change some things up with it.



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