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March 2010 Challenge - "Back to work, slacker!"

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sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

March 2010 Game Design Showdown - "Back to work, Slacker!"

This Challenge has been completed.
Congratulations to the winner of this month's Game Design Showdown with 8 votes:
- "Rebuilding Jerusalem" by Piqsid (David Pontier)
Congratulations to the runner up with 6 votes:
- "Apocolypse Colony" by Glimok (Aaron Armstrong)
CRITIQUES: Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the Critiques Thread.

Voting on the March 2010 Game Design Showdown is now closed!

  • Voting: Through Thursday, 25-March-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.

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Component Restriction: Multipurpose Components.
    The game must include some material or materials used by the players which have multiple different possible uses.
  • Mechanics Restriction: Worker Placement.
    The game must include a worker placement mechanism that follows these specific guidelines:
    • Each player must have exactly 4 “workers” to place
    • There must be exactly 4 locations on the board to place workers

It's up to you to determine how the "workers" are placed, how many a player can place in a given area or how many they place at a time, and what happens if and when they've placed their workers.

  • Bonus Theme: Alternate history. I liked the Bonus Theme last month, so it’s back again this month. There is no theme restriction this month, but if you attempt the Bonus theme, you get 2 extra votes. The Bonus theme this month is “Alternate history” – meaning a historical setting or theme, only not accurate – like Inglorious Bastards, where a plot to kill Hitler ended up succeeding, or The Watchmen, which took real history from the 1930s, and followed it in another direction than where it really went.

  • Submissions: Thursday, 11-March-2010 through Thursday, 18-March-2010 (approximately 4pm West Coast US time).

GDS is now closed!

  • 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. Enjoy! -Seth
sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - Apocalypse Colony

Apocalypse Colony

3-6 players

The Cold War ended in nuclear disaster. What's left of civilization has been reduced to small colonies in remote areas of the world. Your colony has just been established, hoping to survive the brunt of the oncoming nuclear winter. Unfortunately, a more pressing matter has just emerged...

Start of the Game

One player plays as The Blob, a post-nuclear nightmarish goo-monster. The rest

of the players work cooperatively in the colony to defeat The Blob while keeping the colony alive.

The colony begins with 5 food per player and each non-blob player begins with 4

workers and 5 gold. Each science starts at the left track and The Blob starts with full life and 4 tentacles.

Turn Structure

Each turn, play goes as follows: -Consumption -Production -Combat -Status Report

The Consumption Phase

Each worker consumes one of the colony's food, or dies of starvation. Then, each player may pay one gold to place a worker on an unoccupied tile on the board. After players are done, The Blob then places each of its tentacles on the board on an unoccupied tile.

The Production Phase

First, each player declares any workers they have that will be assigned as soldiers as opposed to workers. For workers: The upper-left quadrant is the "farm"; each worker there produces the number of food indicated in that tile, plus any bonuses, for the colony. The upper-right quadrant is the "mine", producing gold; each worker there produces the number of gold indicated in that tile, plus any bonuses, for their respective owners. The lower-right quadrant is the "laboratory"; each worker there produces one science point toward any technology. The lower-left quadrant is the "infirmary". Each worker assigned here makes one ill worker well again. For each worker that is assigned to a building, the player draws a corresponding card. The Blob draws a corresponding card for each tentacle.

Note that The Blob can damage tiles. If a non-ill worker is on a damaged tile, that worker repairs the tile instead of getting cards and producing anything.

The Combat Phase

First, The Blob attacks the colony by rolling a 1d6 for itself and each spawn on the board, damaging 1-3 tiles of The Blob's choice. Soldiers attack The Blob via its tentacles in the same building. The player and The Blob each roll a 1d6, with the player adding bonuses. If the soldier's number is higher, subtract the blob's number from the soldier's number and the blob loses that much life (move the blob's life token down the track). If The Blob wins, subtract the soldier's total from the blob's total. If that number is 3 or greater, that soldier dies, otherwise that soldier takes ill. Soldiers may also attack Blob Spawn in the same fashion as they attack a tentacle. If the soldier wins, remove the spawn and replace each spawn space with a damaged tile.

The Status Report Phase

Players may use gold they have to play cards in hand. The cost, in gold, to use each card is shown in the card's gold circle. Players may discuss card usage and pool gold as they wish. Afterwords, The Blob plays cards. The Blob can play any cards in which it has enough tentacles that card's building, as shown in the pink circle.

Unused cards are discarded to the bottom of the piles from which they came. Cards in play are then discarded (unless stated otherwise). Play then resumes to the next Consumption phase.

Other rules

The Sciences

Science tracks go from the left to the right; move the token one tile for each science point. That science grants a bonus of [n], depending on the number that the token is on. Repair Bots: Repair [n] damaged tiles each turn. Attack Bots: Attack bots deal [n] damage to The Blob each turn. Hydroponics: Each food tile produces an additional [n] food. Medicine: At the start of the consumption phase, [n] ill workers are made well. Weaponry: Each soldier gets a +[n] bonus to their die rolls.

Ill Workers

When a worker becomes ill, that worker must go to the infirmary until made well or killed. That worker still consumes food and a tile at the infirmary, but does not require gold to work. If a tile occupied by an ill worker becomes damaged, that worker dies.

Blob Spawn

Blob Spawn occupy a 2x1 area of tiles; workers cannot be assigned to a tile occupied by blob spawn.

The End of the Game

The Game ends when either The Blob dies or all workers have died.


Apocalypse Colony Game Board The Blob and Science tracks Sample Card mechanics

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - Buy This Game

Buy This Game

A Spammer by day, your real passion is collecting vintage and antique board games from online auction houses.


Collect the biggest and best collection of antique board games.


20 ‘Start’ cards- $2,000 40 Green Money/Game Value Cards- between $2,000 and $4,000 on the underside 40 Red Money/Game Value Cards- between $0 and $3,000 on the underside 40 Black Money/Game Value Cards- between $0 and $4,000 on the underside, with 3 ‘Jackpot’ Cards 4 Avatar sets, in 4 colors 4 Website (eBay, BGG, GoogleSell, and Spam) boards A turn tracker


Each player begins with 5 Start cards and 4 Avatars. Shuffle the remaining money cards (all 120 together). Place each website board.

The Turn

At the start of the turn, place 4 game value cards on top of BGG, 3 cards on eBay, and 2 cards GoogleSell, face down. Each symbolizes an antique game for sale, and the cards represent their worth. Turn the top card up.

Starting with the player with the most antique games (if there is a draw, the player who owns the most board games in real life), each player decides how many of their games they will sell, and places their Avatars. If they sell a game, they will reveal any ‘Jackpot’ cards (see below), and place the rest of the cards into their hand (thus, changing their function from board game value to liquid money). Each player may place up to one Avatar in each auction house. The remaining Avatars go towards your day job (sending spam), and are placed there.

Once each player has placed their Avatars, the auctions begin. Starting with GoogleSell, and proceeding in reverse order, each antique game is auctioned off. Any person with an Avatar in GoogleSell may bid. The player with the fewest games goes first, and it proceeds backwards. A player may bid using the money they have in their hand, but may not sell any games to make more money. The player who bids the most must pay that amount, using the appropriate number of money cards. A player does not receive any change, so if she bid $5,000, but only has $2,000 cards, then she must pay $6,000. Money is discarded. A player must bid at least $1,000 to win, and if they don’t, the game is discarded. The winner takes the game value cards on GoogleSell, and places them in front of her (to represent the game she just bought). Afterwards, the same is repeated at eBay, and then BGG.

After all three auctions are finished, each player may draw one money card from the top of the deck for each Avatar they have sending Spam, and put this into their hand. If they draw a ‘Jackpot’ card, it is discarded, and a new card is drawn.

Whenever you run out of cards, shuffle the discard pile back into the deck.


Whenever you reveal a Jackpot card when selling or scoring a game, it means you have come across a rare treasure. When this happens, immediately draw 3 money cards.

Game End

After 10 turns, the game is over. Each player now scores their games. Sum the value of any games that you have not sold. After working out Jackpots, the player with the highest value of games wins. If there is a draw, the player with the most money in their hand wins.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - Race for the Moon

Race for the Moon

Blast back to an alternate version of the 1950's and 60's. National pride is on the line as several countries (USA, USSR, West Germany, and China) are in a race to put a man on the moon. Two to four players compete using their wits and resources to claim the prize.

Components and Setup

Each player receives a player board, four workers, and a country-identification shield that doubles as a building site for their rockets. This shield has four slots that indicate which rocket parts can be built in each slot. Other components include:
- one 6-sided die
- 32 rocket-parts cards (4 each of 8 different types)
- 50 technology cubes
- 80 materials cubes
- 12 political influence cubes
- 12 multiplier disks (4 each of 2x, 3x, and 4x)

Game Summary

The game is played over a series of rounds until one player successfully launches a rocket to the moon. All players do the following steps during each round:
- Step #1: Spend technology cubes to develop part(s) of their rocket
- Step #2: Secretly place workers on their player boards behind shields
- Step #3: Reveal and resolve worker placements

Develop Parts of the Rocket

There are four general types of rocket-parts cards (Main Engines, Booster, Lunar Module, and Capsule) and two safety ratings of each type. They represent the development of a certain type of rocket part and are purchased by spending technology cubes. A player may always upgrade an existing part to a safer version by paying four extra technology cubes.

Main Engines

(launch requires 6 materials)
- Normal cost – 3 technology
- Safe cost – 6 technology


(launch requires 2 materials) - Normal cost – 6 technology - Safe cost – 9 technology


(launch requires 5 materials)
- Normal cost – 1 technology
- Safe cost – 4 technology

Lunar Module

(launch requires 3 materials)
- Normal cost – 7 technology
- Safe cost – 10 technology

Placing and Resolving Workers on the Player Board

The player board is divided into four areas: Politics, Technology, Materials, and Launch. During Step #2, players secretly place their workers and appropriate modifiers into the four areas:


Players may place 1 to 4 workers in this area to bid for political influence. Players may also place any of their political influence cubes in this area if they have placed at least one worker. When the workers are revealed, the player with the most political influence (workers + influence cubes) wins their next highest multiplier disk (either 2x, 3x or 4x). A player may only have one disk. This disk can be used as a multiplier in the Technology or Materials areas. If there is a tie, no player wins a multiplier disk. After resolving this area, all political influence cubes used by all players are returned to a general supply.


Players receive 0/1/2/3 technology cubes for placing 1/2/3/4 workers in this area. With a multiplier disk, players receive a multiplied amount of cubes as indicated on the disk. A player must put at least two workers in this area to receive cubes, and the maximum number of technology cubes that a player can earn in one round is 12. These cubes can be spent in Step #1 to develop new rocket parts.


Players receive 1/2/3/4 materials-cubes for placing 1/2/3/4 workers in this area. Like the technology area, players receive a multiplied amount of cubes by using their multiplier disk in this area. The maximum number of materials-cubes a player can earn in one round is 16. Cubes earned can immediately be spent this round to initiate a launch.


In order to launch a rocket, a player must place a worker for every length of the rocket. The player must also have the required materials-cubes for all parts. These cubes are returned to the general supply, and the player follows a procedure to conduct the launch. The player rolls the die for each part of the rocket, starting with the first stage. A stage succeeds if 2 through 6 is rolled. The mission fails and a political influence cube is lost if a 1 is rolled; however, some of the rocket parts have a higher safety rating that allow a player to re-roll one time for that particular part. This procedure continues for each stage of the rocket. As a reward for a successful launch, a player receives political influence cubes for each worker in their launch area. These cubes are useful when bidding later for political influence.

Winning the Game

The first player to successfully launch a rocket to the moon (using Main Engines, Booster, Lunar Module, and Capsule) wins the game. Ties are broken by having the most total cubes after launch.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #4 - Rebuilding Jerusalem

Rebuilding Jerusalem

It is the 6th century BC, and you are playing as one of 4 foremen working to bring the city back to glory after years of exile in Babylon. You are a direct descendant of King David and are secretly working to rebel against the Babylonian rule and reestablish a powerful Kingdom.

All of your actions are done through the use of 4 workers. These workers have 2 uses: Collect Resources and Building.


There are 4 resources: Gold, Bronze, Stone, and Wood. Each round one cube is placed in each of 5 collection squares for each resource. In turn, each player places 1 of his workers in an available spot, always taking the lowest number available for any given resource.
Jerusalem small
Since there are 20 spots for only 16 resources, there will be 4 remaining resources after all the workers are placed and the resources collected. These extra resources remain until next turn and will turn into 2 resources when new cubes are placed.


After the resources are collected and workers returned to each player, they can then be placed at 4 different work sites. Unlike with the resources, workers can be placed in any of the available numbered circles. Each worker placed can only build with 1 resource each turn. The areas are activated in the following order:

The Temple

There are three areas to build in the temple. The Foundation must be completed before work on the actual temple may start. Work on the Altar can take place any time. The foundation requires stone while the Temple requires Wood and Gold. Bonus points are assigned to the player who contributes most to the Foundation and Altar. The temple itself will never be completed, but will grow in strength the more Gold and Wood are added to it and the temple strength will play prominently in the end game.

The Gates

There are 8 gates to be completed. Each gate requires 2 wood and 4 bronze. On the turn a gate is completed, the people who complete the gate receive trade cards that offer bonuses to collecting, tribute, or building resources.

The Walls

There are five walls requiring stone. When players build there they add stone to their respective color squares and when the wall is completed, the players who contributed the most to that section score bonus points. The Walls give the city strength and will factor prominently in the small battles that happen throughout the game and the large one at the end.

The Palace

This is the secret construction project. Like the main temple, this project can not be completed, but by contributing Wood, Stone, Bronze, or Gold, players receive bonus points to their leadership score, which has key benefits in battle and in the final scoring.


Resources also have 2 uses and can be traded as tribute to the Persian King or to the citizens of Jerusalem. Tribute to the King raises your favor, which will help during events. Giving to the poor of Jerusalem will increase the population and make them loyal to you, which scores points and helps make you king at the end.


While the game plays cooperatively most of the time as you fend off events and work together to rebuild the city, each player has his own score. Score is kept on four tracks represented by each of the build locations.
Score Tracks

In addition to scoring, each track also has usefulness during the game, and you can choose to spend some of you influence as an investment for more points later or to avoid in-game penalties.


Each player is also dealt four of the Major Prophets during this time period. The prophets have various abilities during the game and can be a big bonus if saved until the end.


Event cards are played at several times during the game. Events can range from battles, to taxation, to shutting down a resource, or shutting down a building site. Through the use of favor with the king, military tactics, or the prophets, these events can be avoided or reversed.

End Game

The game can end in several ways. However if none of the special conditions are met, the game will end after turn 12. Historically, Jerusalem fell into the hands of the Greeks in the 4th Century, and then several other empires before the Romans took over.

When the Greeks come, Jerusalem resists, and has one last major battle. If Jerusalem loses, the game is over with no winner. If it wins, the player with the highest score is made king.

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