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GDS February 2010 Challenge: "iBoardgame - there's an AP for that!"

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sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

Game Design Showdown

February 2010 Challenge - "iBoardgame - there's an AP for that!"

This Challenge has been completed.

Congratulations to the winner of this month's Game Design Showdown with 14 votes:

  • "DeathCurl" by ilta (Isaiah Tanenbaum)

Oddly, we've had a tie for 2nd two months in a row now... and with 7 votes each again! Congratulations to the runners up:

  • "Torrent Pirates" by oicu12b12 (Matt Saunders)
  • "iTook" by last month's winner simons

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

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown are here: GDS details.

Voting for the The February GDS is now open closed!
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.

In addition, any entry using this month's Bonus theme will receive an additional 2 votes.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Component Restriction: Apple recently revealed their new product - a device which is supposed to bridge the game between laptops and smart phones. In a bid to capture as much of the media market as possible, they have come out with the iPad, a device designed to make media consumption easy and fun. Apple has always been on the cutting edge of user interface, as evidenced from the original Mac GUI (which Microsoft ripped off for Windows) to the magical interface of the iPhone, and every step along the way. Their new iPad is no exception.

For this month's GDS there is a strict component restriction. The game must use an iPad as a central or shared board, and must use iPhones (or iPad Touch) as player boards. It's up to you how exactly these components are used, but no other components can be added. That's not as big a restriction as it may sound though, as either of those devices can do things like roll dice, or display tokens of all shapes and sizes - or for the purpose of the GDS you can assume they do. Also assume that the devices can be made to link up such that virtual items can be moved from one screen to another with the flick of a finger.

Clarification: The fact that the player boards are separate from and independent of the central board should be significant!

Example: Imagine you could play Scrabble with the board depicted on the iPad and each player's (private) rack depicted on their iPhone. You could move the letters around your rack by dragging your finger across the screen, and you can play a word by flicking the tiles onto the iPad. To draw new tiles maybe you flick from the virtual tile bag on the iPad to your iPhone.

  • Mechanics Restriction: Factions/Teams.
    The game should include some number of factions or teams (minimum 1) which the players will support. There could be just 1 (cooperative), or several factions; they could be even or uneven; the players status with respect to the factions could be open or hidden, permanent or temporary... that's up to you, but the factions must be distinct from the players themselves.

  • Bonus Theme: The Pirates of Silicon Valley.
    I'm going to try something new for this GDS. There is no theme restriction this month, but if you attempt the Bonus theme, you get 2 extra votes.

  • Submissions: Thursday, 11-February-2010 through Thursday, 18-February-2010 (approximately 4pm West Coast US time).
  • Voting: Sunday, 21-February-2010 through Thursday, 25-February-2010.

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.

In addition, any entry using this month's Bonus theme will receive an additional 2 votes.

Voting is now open!

Voting will close at 4pm(ish) MST Thursday afternoon, after which time I'll tabulate the results and post the winners!

  • 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.



sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - iP Ouija ® by Pastor_Mora (Juan Carballal)

iP Ouija ®

for Game Design Showdown February 2010 Challenge


The Ouija game represents a spiritism session in which the players try to decipher which of them is the Spirit by asking him questions, while the Spirit player tries to eliminate all others by guessing which player is risking his life trying to uncover him.


The game is intended for remote play over a network of friends in your addressbook contacts. Playing time limit is 3 or 4 minutes per session, this is to push players to start guessing. The game should play best with 6 or 7 players, but a session should support 4 to 10 players.


all players connect remotely to a network with their iPhones/iPads and one of them is randomly given the Spirit role.


Each player by turn asks the Spirit a question that can only be answered by “yes” or “no”. In any moment, any player still alive may throw a guess about the identity of the Spirit by pushing the “Guess” button and asking: “¿Are you (name)?”. If he guessed right, he wins. BUT, before answering, the Spirit can ask back “¿Are you (name)?”. If the Spirit guessed right, the player is dead and he may continue without answering (even if the player did guess right). If all players are eliminated, then the Spirit wins the game.


All players can view all questions and answers, and all participants will be listed in the side of the screen. But, of course, none will know who's asking or answering. When guessing, the player just pushes the “Guess” button and the player's name in the list, and the question pops out automatically. The system must also be able to determine if the Spirit guessed right. The game background can be a Ouija tablet with letters and a movable pointer, but I sense it would be hard to keep track of, unless the sentences is progressively writen in a line below.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - iTook by simons


The game of Spying and Thievery

iTook is a game of espionage. Each player will control a team of elite spies, who are competing to break into a secret location, and steal the target within, without being discovered.


Steal the target treasure, and have one of your spies move it off the board. Alternatively, be the only player who’s spies have not all been captured/killed.


Play begins by loading a scenario onto the iPad. Each player logs in with their team. A map/board will appear on the iPad. The mission briefing will begin. The scenario will be explained, and players will be shown possible starting locations, the target, and possible dangers.

Guards will randomly appear on the board, and each player will have 3 spies placed on a random starting location. Spies will not appear on the map, but rather their location can be seen on a player’s iPhone. Also, according to the scenario, in some games the players will begin with one or more random item. Each player also has 2 spies in reserve. Then, game begins.

The Turn

Each turn, a player may act with up to 3 spies. A spy may move a certain number of spaces, and perform 1 action. Actions include pick lock, disable/enable security device, pick up item, use item, or attack guard. Actions are programmed into your iPhone using the touch screen. Once each player has put in their orders, one player is randomly selected to move all of the “idle” guards (see below). After that, all orders take place, and the consequences are seen on each player’s iPhone. The main board reacts as needed.

After turn 3, a player may at any time skip their turn to call an “in reserve” spy. The spy arrives during the next turn at any starting locations.

The information that only your spies know will appear on your phone. This includes the location of any spy who has not been spotted, and which of your spies has taken the target. On the main board (iPad), all players can see a map of the board, all guards, active alarm systems, spies who have been spotted buy guards or alarms, and the last known whereabouts of the target.

If two spies run into each other, they will fight, and one will be victorious. The randomness of this fight will be taken care of by the computer. Also, certain rooms and locations will have hidden traps. Some of these will cause spies to be spotted by cameras or alert sirens, others will kill the spy.


Guards have two states: idle and alerted. When idle, guards will move at the whim of the players. They have a limited field of view, but if they spot a spy, they will become alerted. Guards can also be alerted by nearby explosions, alerts, or spotted spies.

When a guard is alerted, they will be controlled by an AI, and most of their movement will be chasing after spies. If a guard attacks a spy, the spy will almost always be killed. If a guard attacks a spy without alerting him, the guard will usually be killed.

Starting Scenarios

When you buy iTook, the game comes with two pre-made scenarios.

Scenario 1: Pirates of Silicon Valley

You are an elite team of computer entrepreneurs in the 1980s, charged with breaking into Xerox’s GUI Center (see "pun") and steal their new computer technology.

Scenario 2: Cretaceous Park

You are a team of computer hackers, charged with breaking into the main center of a dinosaur game park, and steal the coveted dinosaur RNA. Guards in this mission are raptors who have escaped their pens, and can move faster than guards in other scenarios.

Scenario 3: Billy Bonka’s Chocolate Factory

You are a team of rival chocolateers, and must break into Billy Bonka’s candy factory and steal his Foreverlasting Jawbreakers. Guards in this mission appear small and bright orange.


In addition to the three starting scenarios, iTook will come with software allowing players to design their own missions and themes. Additionally, players will be allowed to change the actual images of their spies, allowing them to scan pictures of themselves, or even draw new images.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - Manufacturing Investments by Gizensha

Manufacturing Investments

For 3 to 5 players.


1 iPad 1 iPhone for each player


To make the most money by investing in computer manufacturers.

Game play

Players start with $1,000,000, while the three companies (Nanohard, Banana and Admiral) start with 33.33% market share.

Rounds are divided into phases; investment, actions and resolution. Players act simultaneously.

The iPhones display the cash on hand and invested amount a player has with each company, and are used by players to do things, while the iPad displays what each player had each company do, along with the market share and amount of R&D of each company.


Each player enters the amount of money she wishes to invest or withdraw for each of the three companies, withdrawing money costs 1% of the amount being withdrawn to brokers. Money can be reinvested immediately after being withdrawn.


Each player has each company she has invested in do an action with a power of 1 for each percentage of the total cash investment the player has with that company. The actions are as follows:

  • Advertise: The company launches an advert campaign to increase market share.
  • R&D: The company researches for the future. This has no effect on the round it is played, but gives a natural push to increased market share in subsequent rounds.
  • Smear: The company launches a smear campaign against another company, to reduce that company's market share.
  • Defend: The company defends against an expected smear campaign, reducing the smear campaign's power.
  • Do Nothing: The player receives income from that company at 5% of the total amount she has invested with that company. Note, if a player has no investment with a company, her action will be reported as Do Nothing.


The results of the round are calculated in the following order: - What each player had each company do is reported on the iPad. - Players pay 20% of their cash on hand in tax. - Players receive $100,000 in income. - Players receive 5% of their investment in each company they had do nothing as supplementary income. - Market share of each company with a market share above 40% increases by a percentage point for each company who has a market share below 40%, and each company with a market share below 40% is reduced by a percentage point for each company with a market share above 40%. - Each company sums the power of all advertisement actions, all R&D actions and all defense actions. It also sums the power of all smear campaigns against it. - The sum of the power of smear campaigns against a company is reduced in power by double the sum of the power of all defense campaigns that company is running. The smear campaign's power cannot go below 0. - The resultant smear power is then subtracted from the sum of the power marketing campaign - this result can be negative. - The R&D quantity, not counting any R&D investments this turn, is reduced by 10%, and the amount it was reduced by is added to the result of the previous process. - Market share is adjusted by a tenth of this result in percentage points. - The Market is normalized to 100% by adjusting the company with the least change in market share appropriately. - The value of each players investment with each company is adjusted by the percentage change of the market share for that company this turn. - The power of R&D in each company is added to the R&D quantity. - The R&D power and market share of each company, along with the investment value and money each player has, is updated on the appropriate displays.

Example: Nanohard has a 42% market share, Banana has a 34% market share and Admiral has the remaining 24% market share. 51 power has gone into Nanohard's defend action, it has 64 accumulated R&D, and 28 power of marketing this turn. Both Admiral and Banana are smearing Nanohard, with a total smear against the company of 110 power. Firstly, Nanohard's market share increases to 43%, while Admiral's decreases to 23%, then the 110 smear against Nanohard is reduced by 102, to 8. The marketing of 28 is reduced by 8, for a total of 20. From accumulated R&D, this amount is increased to 26.4, and the accumulated R&D drops to 57.6. The market share of Nanohard increases to 45.64%, and the value of any investments with Nanohard increases by 8.67%.

Game End

The game ends when one company has a market share of 70%, at this point the winner is the player with the most cash on hand and invested into companies, after the current resolution phase has concluded.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #4 - Market Share by magic_user (Jim)

Market Share

  • In the early days of personal computers, there were many players. But who could grab (and keep) the most market share and be number 1? Market Share is a turn based strategy game for 2-8 players.


Control all segments of the market to be number 1. Yes, that means put everyone else out of business. Are you up to the challenge?


  • 1 iPad with Market Share Server software.
  • 2-8 players with iPhone or iPod Touch with Market Share app.


  • Place the iPad on a table. Run Market Share Server. If this is the first time you run the program, it will ask you to give the server a name.
  • Each player should start the Market Share app on their iPhone/iPod Touch. The app will present a list of available Market Share Servers. Choose one.
  • The iPad will display the number of connected Market Share apps as well as two buttons, one for 4 player and one for team play. After everyone has connected, select one of the two choices.
  • During the game, the iPad will display the game board and manage the game. The apps will handle all player input.
  • When the game is started, if 4 player was selected, each player must choose their company (Apple, Atari, Commodore, Microsoft). Each player must choose a different company. For team play, players will be randomly assigned either Apple or Microsoft.
  • The gameboard is an 8x8 square grid with all cells colored white. In the 4 player game, the players start on the 4 corners. In team play the players are assigned a random starting cells. The starting cell for each player will be set to their unique color. In team play there are only 2 colors.
  • For team play, team members can move through teammate's cells with no conflict (multiple divisions running multiple campaigns). However, the limit is still 8 campaigns per team per cell. To help plan, team play includes the ability to IM teammates through an intra-company network.
  • Since teams can be uneven (odd number of players), $100 per controlled cell could quickly eliminate the underdog. To help even things up, each cell will be paid using the following formula: ((# players on opposing team) / (total players)) * $100. For example, if there are 5 players the two player team will earn $60 per cell while the three player team will only receive $40.


At the beginning of each turn, players will receive $100 for each cell they control. They will choose how to allocate this money to marketing campaigns. - Each campaign must be at least $10. There is no maximum limit. - There can be at most 8 campaigns (per player) in any cell. - All campaigns start in the player's home cell. After allocating funds, the players send their campaigns to the markets. This is done by giving each fund a direction. Funds travel up to 1 cell per turn. The direction can be set on every campaign, not just the new ones. Movement is along cardinal paths (N, S, E, W or none). After a player has allocated their campaign funds and set market directions, they lock in their decisions. Once all players lock in, the Market Share server handles movement resolution.

Movement Resolution

The Market Share server gets all players decisions and moves the campaigns. When more than one player is in a cell, the largest dollar total wins. For example: - Commodore has $23 in a cell while Atari has $31 in the same cell. The Commodore campaigns are destroyed while Atari still has $8 left in the cell. - Apple has $20, Microsoft has $18 and Commodore has $10 in a cell. Commodore and Microsoft are destroyed and Apple is left with $2. After conflicts have been resolved, market share is determined. - Any cell with no campaigns is set to white (no company controls it). - Any company whose home cell has been taken over (or has no campaign) has lost. All cells in their control are set to white and their campaigns are destroyed. - All cells controlled by a company are set to their unique color.

Special rule - When one company takes over the home cell of another company, they now treat this cell as a "satellite office". From this point on, campaigns can start in either their home cell or the satellite office.


The player (or team) who controls the entire board wins.

Coming Soon

Version 2 of Market Share, due in the third quarter, features a hex grid and more than two teams possible. Version 3, while not due until next year, will replace turns with real time movement and clock based funding determination.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #5 - DeathCurl by ilta (Isaiah Tanenbaum)


Somewhere in the darkness, There’s a man they call The Skipper, fast asleep Dreaming of gold. - “Curl,” Jonathan Coulton

Curling was once the most mocked of sports. But then the bombs dropped in 2068 and the world froze over. With resources dwindling and the planet trapped in an endless winter, a new form of curling – the DeathCurl – arose to settle differences. Now, roving bands of DeathCurlers roam the icy countryside, vying for dominance… and survival.


Players work in teams, using multitouch gestures to “throw” their rocks (pieces) and steer them into the house (target zone), while dodging the nanotech cards played by their opponents and playing their own cards as well.



The iPad shows the full rink, a close-up of the house, a list of cards played, and bars indicating rock speed, distance, and spin. Each iPhone shows either the player’s hand of cards or the rock, depending on his task this round.


Players rotate through the three tasks of skipper, sweeper, and nanotechnician. If there are fewer than three players on a team, one will throw and sweep while the other plays cards. If playing 1 on 1, sweeping strength is accomplished automatically based on volume received by the iPhone’s microphone – yell for more – while tilting the phone will indicate which side of the rock will get more sweeping.


Teams alternate. If they like, a team can call a target by clicking on the iPad; this generates a “helper” arrow on the top edge of the skipper’s iPhone.

The skipper “throws” a rock along the ice by dragging a finger from the center of his iPhone's bottom edge to some point along the top. The rock will move at that angle along the ice -- this is why the target arrow is so helpful! "Curl" (spin) can be imparted by giving the line a gentle curve as the finger moves up the screen. Greater curl will cause the rock to curve more when it gets further down the ice.

Next, the sweeper, using a literal sweeping motion with his index fingers on his iPhone screen, can affect the speed, rotation, and even heading of the rock by sweeping vigorously or softly, directly in front or slightly to the side of the rock. Players can also sweep on the iPad, which is useful for takeouts (when one rock hits another team’s out of play).

Meanwhile, the nanotechnitians on both sides can play nanotech cards from their hands of four at any time. See “Cards” for some examples.

Table talk is encouraged. Table yelling is even better.

After the turn, players may discard cards; the rest are passed to the next player on the team, who draws back to four. Play then passes to the other team.

Round End, Scoring, and Game End

Each round consists of sixteen throws, eight per team. Whichever team is closest to the center of the house scores a point; multiple rocks closer than any of the other team’s can score multiple points. The scoring team throws first in the next round, giving the “hammer” (final rock) advantage to the other team. The first hammer is determined randomly.

Traditionally, a match consists of 10 rounds, but conditions in the post-apocalyptic world of DeathCurling sometimes require less exposure to enemy teams, so players can set any number of rounds – even only one.

Whichever team scores higher, wins, and is allowed to burn the other team for fuel. Hey, DeathCurling is serious business!

Example Nanotech Cards

  • Explosives – the active rock will explode when it stops, sending a shockwave the displaces all other rocks
  • Nanofog – a cloud of nanobots swarms over the ice, obscuring the house from view
  • Spinfluence – nanobots push the rock slightly, altering its spin
  • Remote Control – (a more powerful version of Spinfluence) the nanotechnician’s phone becomes a remote whose tilt directly influences the rock as it slides. Can only be played on your own turn.
  • Computer Virus – cancel the effects of another card played this round
  • Meltbots – melt a section of ice, temporarily increasing its friction
  • Adaptive AI play before throwing a rock; the rock’s initial heading is locked on the target, regardless of the skipper’s accuracy. Curl still affects the throw, however.
  • Minefield – use your screen to secretly place explosives beneath a patch of ice
  • Reverse Engineering – copy the last card played and place it at the top of your deck


Yes, players may opt to play by “Olympic rules” and not use any cards. But then others, who aren’t playing, are free to mock them by employing generous air-quotes when talking about their “sport.”

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #6 - Torrent Pirates by oicu12b12 (Matt Saunders)

Torrent Pirates

You and the other players have started a new network of sharing pirated files. But an argument has arisen about what type of files this network will host. Some in the group believe the network should be restricted to just one file type, while others in the group believe the more file types the better. You must decide how you will proceed, and work to become the most influential server on the network.

Description of Board / Player Boards

The main board, an iPad, will graphically display the file-sharing network's information. Throughout the game as seed-files are offered, they will become visible to all players on the board. The player boards, iPhones/Touches, will graphically display an individual player's server information including their files and bandwidth available.

Overview and Gameplay

Torrent Pirates is a game for 3 to 6 players, played through three phases. In phase one, players secretly determine their file type preferences. During the second phase, players draft seed files to their server. During the third phase, players simultaneously offer one of their seed files to be shared across the network. Players will then select one or more of these files to be co-hosted by their own servers, keeping an eye on their server's bandwidth. Depending on how many players choose a file to host, the server's bandwidth will go up and down. Players will score points by having their seed files co-hosted by other players, by hosting files that fit within their preselected file type preference(s), and by having bandwidth available at the end of the game.

Phase 1: Determine File Preferences

During this phase, players decide which file types they prefer to host in the network. They must select one and may take up to all four of the following preferences: audio files, video files, software, and documents. Players who select one file type will score 6x the influence points of that type. Players who select two types will score 3x the points of both types. Players who select three types will score 2x the points of those three types. And players who select all four types will score 1x the points, however, they will receive a 5x point bonus if the combined bandwidth of all four types across the network is above 20 percent each.

Phase 2: Drafting Seeds

Drafting takes place over a number of rounds equal to two times the number of players (in a three person game, there will be six rounds). A number of files equal to one more than the number of players will appear on the main board (in a three player game, four files would appear). Files are represented by graphic boxes that contain information such as file type, percentage of bandwidth consumed (a number between 3 and 18), and influence points (a number between 1 and 6, correlated to the bandwidth factor. The higher the bandwidth the higher the points). A random player is selected to draft first. Going clockwise, players draft one file or pass. The last player will have the option to draft one or all of the remaining files. Any undrafted files are “discarded.” When selected, the file disappears from the main board and appears on the player board. The player's server bandwidth will be “consumed” by the percentage listed on the file. During consecutive rounds, the starting player will shift one person to the left.

Phase 3: Offers and co-hosts

One by one, players offer one of their original seed files to the main board. Players have the option to co-host one or more of these files or pass. Once everyone has made their selections, bandwidths are divided based upon the number of players who chose to co-host the files. (eg, if a 6-factor bandwidth file is selected by two other players, the bandwidth goes down to 2 for each player). Any server without bandwidth to host a certain file will kick out the largest of the selected files from that round. If no other player chooses to co-host a file, the bandwidth of the seed file remains the same on that player's server. Play continues with players offering one file simultaneously until all of the original seeds have been offered.


  • every seed file shared on another server receives an additional point for each additional server (if two others co-host a file, the original player receives two extra points)
  • factor any of the multipliers based upon file preferences chosen at the beginning of the game (if a player chooses only one type, he would receive 6x the points for that one type)
  • add points from the other file types
  • add one point for every unused percentage of bandwidth
  • the player with the most points wins
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