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GDS June 2010 Challenge: "Slippery Slope"

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sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

June 2010 Game Design Showdown - "Slippery Slope"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

This Challenge is now OVER. Congratulations to this months winner, Gentoo, with 15 votes! Runners up are Alma Mater with 12 votes, and League of Artistic Wizards with 10 votes.

With 11 entries and 64 total votes I think this was a successful Showdown! I look forward to reading the critiques thread. Thanks for entering!

Main Design Requirements:

  • Design Consideration: Slippery Slope, but no Runaway Leader. An aspect which is usually considered a problem in game design is called the Slippery Slope. It's often a problem because it can easily lead to a Runaway Leader - someone who gets an early lead and is impossible to catch, therefore the remainder of the game is irrelevant. This months Showdown challenges you to use the Slippery Slope dynamic in your entry, WITHOUT allowing for a Runaway Leader to emerge. Here's a link to a pretty good article about this which may prove helpful. (In particular the section called "Limited Slippery Slope")

  • Mechanics Restriction: Deck Building.
    The success of Dominion has sparked a lot of interest in an exciting "new" mechanism - Deck Building. This months Showdown challenges you to use some form of Deck Building in your entry. Please note that this does not mean your entry should be a Dominion clone! The more creative you are in your use of Deck Building as a mechanism, the more votes you're likely to receive!

  • Theme Restriction: None.
    There's no theme restriction this month. Use your imagination!

  • Bonus: There is no bonus theme or mechanism this month.

  • Submissions: Friday, 18-June-2010 through Sunday, 27-June-2010.
  • Voting: Through Tuesday, 6-July-2010. I will be out of town so please bear with the wonky deadlines and give me a day or two to post entries/results - thanks!
    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.
  • Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge were handled on the Comments Thread.

  • CRITIQUES: After voting has closed the entries will be posted for comments and critiques. Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the Critiques 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!
sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel

Playing time: 30 minutes

The Tower of Babel may be one of the most intriguing feats of early human civilization as described in various religious texts. Only the texts usually get it wrong. In the Bible, it is presented as having "its top in the heavens". In reality, the Babylonians were early astronomers, and many houses had "the heavens on its top" -a star chart inscribed on the roof. But I like the image of an ever expanding ziggurat, so let's build one!


1 6-sided dice (used as a 'D3', i.e. all results are divided by 2 and rounded up.)

150 material tokens
- 40 Stones
- 30 Crates
- 50 Bricks
- 15 Ladders
- 15 Stools

Special tokens
- 10 Ropes
- 10 Mortar


20 Brick tokens and 10 Stone tokens are set aside for use during the game. Each player draw 6 tokens, which are kept hidden from your opponents.

Rules and gameplay

Building a tower
A tower must be started using at least 3 sections for the base level.
Each level above this must be at least 2 sections wide, but must contain 1 less section than the level below. (A ziggurat is a kind of pyramid after all).
Anytime during the game, a level can be expanded 1 section, as long as the one above is also expanded at the same time. Only 2 levels at a time can be expanded in this manner.

Using the tokens
Any token can be used on top of 2 other of the same kind.
A Stone can stand on the ground and on a Crate.
A Crate and a Brick can stand on anything but a Ladder and a Stool.
A Ladder can stand on anything but a Stool.
A Stool can only support other Stools.

The special tokens Rope and Mortar are used like this:
A Rope ties together Any number of Ladders or Stools on the same level, or 1 Ladder or Stool on the edges of two adjacent levels. They are then stable enough to be replaced by a Brick token.
In the same way, one Mortar token make two or more Bricks stable enough to be replaced by Stone tokens. The Stone still must have either another Stone or a Crate to stand on.

Playing the game
Using the starting hand, each player start building their tower on the table using the tokens available to him/her. Once everyone have finished building, one player throw the dice and the result is the number of tokens to draw in the next round.
If one player is alone in having the lowest tower after any round, s/he is only allowed to build 1 new level in this round.

The game ends the round that all players reach at least 5 levels.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - War of the Ancients

War of the Ancients

With the death of the final king, the ancient ones, who ruled the world, began building armies, in order to take over the world.


When the game begins, each player should have an Action Deck, and a Spell Deck. All spell cards not currently in a player’s spell deck will be in the Research Deck (a place that all players will be able to attain new spells from), or face up in front of it.

At the start of each game, each player is given 4 of each type of action cards (Alchemy, Sorcery, Science, Counterspell, Research, and Rest). These are shuffled to make the player’s Action Deck. Each player is also given 15 random spell cards and 3 golem cards. She may select 10 spells to make her Spell Deck, and put her golem into play. Shuffle the remaining spell cards into the Research Deck, and place 5 of them face up on the table. Place the remaining action cards in their sorted decks.

Each player draws 5 action cards and 4 spell cards, and the game begins.

The Turn

During your turn, you play action cards in order to act. Each type of action card has a different action. Additionally, certain spell cards, once cast, allow you to perform other actions.

Cast a Spell

Each spell card comes with a cost in Science (technology), Alchemy (nature and pseudoscience), and/or Sorcery (archana). To play one of these cards, you must discard that many action cards of that type. You may play any spell card in your hand.


Whenever an opponent casts a spell, you may discard some number of Counterspell cards. The caster must discard N-1 additional action cards of any type, otherwise she must discard the spell card.


The player may buy any card in front of the Research Deck. Each has a cost. If you pay that cost in research cards, you may pick up the spell card and put it in your hand (then take a new card from the Research Deck to replace it). You may spend 2 research cards to remove any available spell card from the table, and replace it from the Research Decks.


Whenever you play a rest card, you may draw a card from your Spell Deck. When there are no cards left, you may reshuffle your discarded spells.

Remake Deck

Each turn, you may discard any 2 action cards to add an action card of any type to your Action Deck. You may also discard any 2 action cards to remove any action or spell card in your hand from the deck.

Some spell or creature cards require you to discard an action card to act. At the end of each turn, discard as many action cards as you wish, and then draw back up to 5 action cards. If you empty your action deck, reshuffle your discard pile. A player can have any number of spell cards.

Monster & Object Cards

Certain spell cards allow you to create objects and monsters. These cards remain in play, and are not discarded until they are destroyed.

Each monster has three stats: Attack/Defense/Health. Attack determines its strength when attacking, defense when defending, and health how many wounds it can suffer until it is discarded. Each monster and object also has a research value (cost to research), a spell cost (cost to cast), and a victory point value (to represent the strength it adds to your army).

During your turn, your monsters can attack other players. To do so, you must discard an action card. Your opponent must choose monster cards to defend herself with. Each attacker and defender suffers damage in the attack. Place wound tokens on them to indicate this. If the number of wounds becomes greater than the monster’s health, it is destroyed. If a player cannot defend herself, she must discard action cards from her hand, and remove spell cards from her Spell Deck.

Each player begins with a golem, to defend her until her deck gets going. The golem creature has a high health, but cannot attack. Each golem has different powers, which work better with different types of magic. When the golem is killed, it is removed from the game.

Ending the Game

The first player to attain a set number of victory points is considered to have the world’s strongest army, and wins the game. Alternatively, if the Research Deck runs out, the player with the most victory points wins.

Slippery Slope Mechanisms

This player includes the following mechanisms: -When a player takes damage, she is temporarily disrupted (though this effect will not last long) -Whenever a monster is killed, it weakens the player’s ability to deal damage and to defend themselves.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - Gentoo


A game of penguin procreation


12 Nesting Stone tokens 20 Penguin tokens 90 Gentoo cards 20 Fish tokens


Hatch as many new penguins as you can.


  1. Place six Snow cards in a Player Pile in front of each player. Any extra Snow cards will not be used.
  2. Shuffle the rest of the Gentoo cards. Flip the top four face up in the center of the table. These are the Choice Cards.
  3. Place the rest of the cards face down in a stack in the center of the table. This is the Draw Pile.
  4. Place the Penguin Tokens next to the Draw Pile.
  5. Each player flips their top three cards and places them in a row. These are the player’s Cards In Play. They will all be Snow cards at the start.
  6. Give each player three Nesting Stones.
  7. Give each player five Fish Tokens. These are used to pay for Choice Cards.
  8. The player who has been closest to the South Pole goes first.

Game Play:

Each player’s turn has two phases:

Phase I: Common Area

  1. Draw – flip the top card from the Draw Pile and add it to the Choice Cards in the center of the table. There should now be five cards there. If you run out of cards in the Draw Pile, shuffle the Discard Pile and use it as the new Draw Pile.

  2. Choose – You may choose one of the Choice Cards to add to your hand. Take the Choice Card and add it to your Used Pile next to her Cards in Play. You may not use this card this turn, but it will come into play later when the Used Pile is shuffled and turned into the Player Pile. Some cards have a cost shown as fish icons on the card. If so, you must pay the required number of fish tokens to choose the card. Eggs - The player may only choose an Egg Card if he or she has the required number of Nesting Stones indicated on the card.

  3. Discard – If there are more than four Choice Cards showing, pick one to discard. Move it to the Discard Pile.

Phase II: Personal Area

  1. Flip – flip the top card of your Player Pile and add it to your Cards in Play. If you have no more cards in your Player Pile, shuffle your Used pile to use as your new Player Pile. When you do this, restore your fish tokens back up to five tokens.

  2. Play – you may play any one of your Cards in Play. Choose a Card in Play, places it on the Discard Pile, and follows the instructions on the card. Hatching an Egg – you may hatch an egg only when you have both an Egg card and a Hatch card showing in your Cards in Play. Turn both of them in and collect a Penguin token. When you hatch an egg, you must give one of your nesting stones to another player. If you have no nesting stones, you can still hatch your egg.

  3. Move to Used – If you cannot or choose not to play a card, then if you have more than three Cards in Play, choose one of them and move it to the Used pile.

After these two phases, play proceeds to the next player.

Winning the Game:

The first player to collect five penguin tokens wins the game.


  • Snow – Cannot be played. You may move it to your Used pile if you have more than three Cards in Play.
  • Egg – combine with Hatch to produce a penguin. Each Egg shows the nesting stones (3, 4, or 5) required to collect.
  • Skua (1 fish) – discard any Egg currently visible on the table (Cards in Play, Choice Cards, or atop a player’s Used Pile).
  • Stone Thief (1 fish) – take a Nesting Stone from any other player.
  • Good Nesting Site (1 fish) – reduces the number of nesting stones required to take an Egg by one. Discard when Egg is collected. Does not count as your played card. Limit one per Egg.
  • Hatch (1 fish) – Use to collect a penguin. Requires an Egg in play.
  • Leopard Seal (2 fish) – force another player to lose one penguin token.
  • Vicious Peck (1 fish) – blocks a Stone Thief card; you play this card out-of-turn to keep from losing your stone.
  • Confusing Blizzard – Reverse direction of play
  • Gone Fishing – The next player loses a turn
  • Thaw – if you have a Snow card in play, melt it. Discard both the Thaw and the Snow cards.

Notes: Deck Building is inherent; Slippery Slope comes from stealing Nesting Stones, which can lead to lots of eggs.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008


For any number of players


12-sided dice
6 “strength” boards with tokens
Battle damage markers
6 identical decks of 100 cards (w/6 differently colored backs), containing:
40 gladiator cards

30 event cards

30 item cards


Players agree on a number of cards for decks and starting strength value. Players then build their own configuration of that many cards from their 100-card deck and put the agreed-upon amount of tokens on their strength board.

Highest roll on a 12-sided die goes first. Play continues clockwise.

Strength value:

Strength value stands for BOTH:

1) your hit points and
2) how many actions you can perform each turn.

Gladiator, item, and event cards can either raise your strength value or lower it, depending on what they do.


1) drawing cards
2) playing cards
3) each attack by a single gladiator (you must choose what’s attacked before attacking)
4) discarding cards into your opponent’s deck pile

Players must draw one “free” card at the beginning of their turn.

Then, they may perform 1 turn action for each point of strength in their strength value. This effect is immediate (like in FLUXX).

Example: You have 3 strength, and have drawn 1 card (after the free one), you may perform up to 2 more turn actions. If you play a card that raises your strength value to 5, you will have performed 2 turn actions (drawing 1 card and playing 1 card), and may NOW perform up to 3 more (for a total of 5), unless you somehow raise your strength again.


Each card contains the following:
1) a battle value
2) an “equip” value
3) an ability
4) a hit value (out of 12 – the lower the better)

Battle value is how much damage a gladiator can take AND deal. With a battle value of 4, it can deal 4 damage to gladiators or opponents and take up to 4 damage from gladiators. This value can be changed by items.

The “equip” value (which ranges from 0-3) denotes how many items you can give it. The only cost to put items on gladiators is that they count as turn actions.

Abilities change the normal game rules. These can be “if you don’t attack with this gladiator, draw a free card at the end of your turn”, “other gladiators you own can each try to hit twice”, “if this gladiator has an item, your other gladiators can not attack”, etc…

Hit value is your gladiators’ ability to hit other gladiators/opponents. If you roll AT LEAST its hit value on a 12-sided die, it hits and does damage to what it hit equal to its battle value.

If a gladiator is hit, put a damage marker on it noting damage it took. If it is NOT hit for an entire round (the player who last hit it ends their NEXT turn without that gladiator being hit again), remove all markers from it. If damage markers equal or exceed the gladiator’s battle value, it is out of the game (with all items it has) and its owner loses 1 strength value.

Gladiators may not hit an opponent until that opponent has played a gladiator at some time during the game, and only if that opponent has no gladiators left to hit. If a gladiator damages an opponent, that player takes that amount of damage from their strength value.

If a player loses all of their strength, they are out of the game.


These change the rules of the game temporarily and are much like abilities, but:
1) do not affect permanent change,
2) are slightly stronger,
3) do some things abilities do not do (like affect opponents)

Like item cards, their only cost is a turn action.

Opponent’s deck pile:

You may, anytime on your turn, discard a card WITH YOUR COLORED BACKING face-down into a pile (1 card per turn action spent). You may not discard cards with your opponents’-colored backing into this pile.

For each opponent’s gladiator you defeat, you may either:

1) shuffle all of those cards INTO THAT OPPONENT’S DECK, altering their deck for the rest of the game, OR
2) Discard them out of the game and pull that many cards out of that opponent’s deck randomly (WITH THEIR BACKING ONLY) and put them into that player’s “opponent’s deck pile”.

The only catch is, you may not choose the same action twice (if you choose to shuffle your pile into your opponent’s deck, you must discard it and pull from their deck the next time). This does not count as a turn action.

Ending the game/Victory:

If all players have no cards left in their decks, the player with the highest strength value wins (NOTE: if any player has cards left, the game is not over).

Otherwise, the last player left wins.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #5 - Mind Duel

Mind Duel

2)Set up
3)Card layout
4)Card actions
6)Building the endgame deck
7)Avenues to victory


A martial arts fighting game where two opponents are dueling. Thematically much of the gameplay occurs in the moments before the first move is made. Players are sizing up the opposition, clearing their head, planning their attack.

Set up:

One attitude board.

This is a cross with 2 axis divided into four sections. One axis is the offence/defence track. The other is the anger/fear track. Each axis has 10 boxes into which action cards are placed. At the start of the game the anger/fear track is empty. Cards are dealt to the appropriate box based on their Chi value as stated on the card. Chi Values start at 1 in the middle and increase to 5 in each direction.

Two psychology boards.

These contain four boxes Offence, Defence, Anger, Fear. The players six chi counters are divided equally between offense and defence.

Card layout:

Good attitude action.
Bad attitude action.
Intitiative/focus cost value.

Cards actions:

Move a chi counter from one pool to another; offense/defence or anger/fear. (mainly in chi value 3 piles)
Build focus. (Stronger at higher chi value piles, none in chi value 5)
Recover Chi. (If playing anger/fear)
Attack/Defence (All piles except chi vale 5)
Damage/Counterattack (50% in defence/offence chi value 4, weaker. 100% chi value 5, stronger.)


Play as follows:

1) Perform an action.
2) Draw a card from the Offence/Defence track. (Maximum hand 10)
3) Discard a card.

Any of these stages can be skipped.

Cards can only be drawn from the piles you have the correct amount of chi markers for.

Before an action is played a player can declare an attack.

Cards are resolved in initiative order after both players have taken a turn. The first card played sets the timeframe for the round. Eg, if a value 6 card is played followed by a value 4 card then a value 2 card can still be played. The cards are then resolved from lowest initiative to highest: 2-4-6. The player whos card resolved last in the previous round places first.

Building the endgame deck:

When an event card is used or discarded from your hand it is placed on the anger/fear track at an appropriate position of your choice. Defence cards go to the fear track and offence to the anger. The card must be shown to the opponent before being placed face down. In this manner you and your opponent are building the event piles for the anger/fear track. There is an element of strategy involved in placing on piles that are easy enough to reach.

If lose 3 chi counters to the fear/anger pools you can no longer draw from the offense/defence piles. Also the event cards in your hand can only be used for their anger/fear actions. Effective forward planning can make for an endgame streamlined for what you want to do. Also if the winning player is brought onto the anger/fear track then the slippery slope can be potentially be reversed if the other player has not planned for the eventuality.

Avenues to victory:

You win the game by moving all of an opponents chi counters to the anger/fear pools. There are two ways to do this.

Firstly, you can force an opponent to become angry or fearfull by unbalancing them to an overly offensive or defensive attitude.

If you spend more then two turns with your chi balance on the highest defence or offence level then you lose a chi counter to the fear or anger pool. Certain cards effect your opponents Chi balance so part of your strategy should be to retain cards that either protect against or cause damage to the opponent.

Secondly, You can declare an attack that, if succesfull, will result in the opponent losing a number of chi counters to the anger/fear pools.

An attack plays out as follows. The players use the focus points they have accrued to play attack and defense cards. The focus cost of an card is also it's intitiative value.

Attack cards have an positional arrow with three positions; low-middle-high. The arrows point between position. A successful attack will combine cards so that the arrows follow from the last position reached. For example an arrow from middle to high would have to be followed by an arrow from high to middle. At the end of a combination of four a final card is played that causes the chi damage.

Defense cards attack the opponents focus making it harder to complete an attack.

The attacking player plays the first card followed by the defensive player. The initiative value of the first card played sets the time frame for the round.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #6 - League of Artistic Wizards

League of Artistic Wizards


Spell cards (100 starter, 200 additional)
Overseer cards and rewards (10 each)
Player tokens
Scoring track
3-5 players


The League of Artistic Wizards holds an annual competition in order to choose the next adept to join their ranks. Players compete in displays of wizardry in order to earn the favor of ranking members of the organization and train to put on a final show that will impress the Grand Master!


  • The "starter" spell cards are grouped into 5 standard piles of 20 (as indicated on the cards)
  • Players randomly determine draft order.
  • Going in order, players select which pile of spell cards they will start with.

Game Play

Each round has these phases:

Phase 1: Draw Overseer and Reward

Each performance put on by the players is judged by an Overseer. The players begin the round by drawing a random Overseer and Reward card. The Overseer card outlines any special rules that will be in effect for this round. The Reward card offers grants a powerful ability to the player who wins the round.

Phase 2: Study Spells

In this phase, players choose which spell cards will be available to them for the current round. Players may choose to use any of the spell cards they have collected throughout the game to construct their deck. Each deck must contain exactly 20 cards. Players are not required to reveal which cards they are using.

Phase 3: Perform for the Overseer

Players put on displays of magic by playing spells drawn from their spell deck. Applause points are earned for playing spells that impress the audience. Spells that compliment each other earn the most points. See "Performances" section below for details.

Phase 4: End Performance

The Overseer rewards the player who earned the most applause (points) during the performance. The winning player takes the reward card and keeps it for the rest of the game.

Phase 5: Learn new spells

At the end of the round, players learn new spells.

Draw 1 new spell card for each player, plus 1 extra, and place them face up in different piles. Then, in order from best to worst in the previous performance, players draw 1 card at a time and add them to an existing pile until each player has placed 4 cards. Once complete, the worst player then selects a pile of spells to discard. Then, in order of best to worst, players select a pile of spells to add to their collection.

Also, reset all applause points to zero.


Phases are repeated for 5 rounds plus the final round. However, in the final round, there is no Overseer or Reward. Instead, the players are performing for the Grand Master and the right to join the The League of Artistic Wizards! The player who scores the most points in the final round wins the game!

Spell Cards

Spell cards attributes:

  1. Base applause - the number of points the spell is worth
  2. Bonuses - bonus point conditions
  3. School - There are 6 types of spell, each represented by a symbol.
  4. Synergies - The school(s) of spells that grant bonus points if played after this spell
  5. Category - "Opener", "Normal" or "Closer"


To start, all players shuffle their decks and draw 4 cards. The first player to act then selects a spell from their hand and plays it face up in the center of the table. This starts the first "display."

This starting spell must be either an "Opener" or a "Normal" spell. The player then scores points equal to the base applause value of the spell.

Next, players continue playing spells in clockwise order. After the initial spell has been played, players can either play "Normal" or "Closer" spells. If the spell matches one or more of the synergies of the previous spell played it continues the "chain". If a player continues a chain, they score points for all of the spells in the chain. If the spell does not match, the chain is broken and the player only earns points for the spell they played.

If a player plays a "Closer" spell, the current display ends and the next player begins a new one.

Players draw new cards after playing a spell.

If a player chooses not to play a spell, they may pass. A player cannot play 2 spells in a row. If all other players pass, the current display ends and the next player begins a new one.

At the end of each display, players return their spells to their collection, but cannot use them again for this performance.

The Performance ends when 5 displays have been completed, or one player runs out of cards in their deck.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #7 - Cliques


*Players compete to build the coolest clique in school, consisting of students represented by special playing cards.

Example of Play


Cliques is a light modular non-collectible card game for 3-6 players, requiring at least one Cliques pack per 2 players. Cliques packs consist of 52 Student cards (depicting school students), one Initiative card (used as a marker and rules reminder) and 40 Victory Point chits.
The Student cards include:
* 2 unique Founder Student cards
* 2 copies each of 7 different Core Student cards * 4 copies each of 9 different student Friendship cards


Icons can appear on Cliques cards representing 3 resource Domains: Mind, Body and Spirit. There is an additional icon representing VPs.


Each card has 5 sections: Leader Icons, Leader Ability, Support Icons, Bid Domain and Minimum Bid.

Card Diagram


Separate the Core and Founder cards from the Friendship cards. Distribute one Founder Student and one of each Core Student to each player. Each player shuffles his/her Core cards, draws four of them and places the rest in his/her stock. The youngest player present gets the Initiative card, making them the Trendsetter. Place the Friendship deck in the middle of the board and deal six Friendship cards face-up.


Play consists of a number of rounds (see below). Each round, each player will add one Friendship card to his/her Clique. This will involve using cards from his/her hand to outbid other cliques who want that student’s Friendship. Friendship cards can earn VPs, can be used to bid on other Friendship cards, and may have special abilities.


At the end of any round, if one or more players have over 15 VPs, the game finishes and the player with the most VPs wins.


Each player, beginning with the player on the left of the Trendsetter and proceeding clockwise, plays his/her entire hand to the table as a bid (see Playing A Bid, below) and draws a new hand of four cards. Players who have bid cards left on the table are called Active players. The six Friendship cards which will be available next round are then dealt out, so that players can plan while they wait.
The Trendsetter bids on an available Friendship card (see Bidding On A Card, below). The winner of the bid adds that Friendship card and all his/her bid cards to his/her discard pile, and takes 1 VP for every VP icon in his/her bid. This process continues until the Trendsetter wins a bid. If there are any Active players left, the Initiative card is passed clockwise until it reaches an Active player, who becomes the Trendsetter. The new Trendsetter bids on an available card, and so on.
When there are no Active players left, the round ends, any unclaimed Friendship cards are discarded, and a new round begins.


A player plays a Group by playing out his/her entire hand to the table in any order (s)he chooses. One of these cards may be played as a “Leader”, which may change its bid value or have a special effect. This card is played normally. The remaining cards are “Support” cards and are played upside-down. When the player’s hand is empty, the Group is finished and (s)he draws 4 cards.
The Group will have a total bid value (possibly zero) in each of the three Domains. The total value is shown by counting the relevant Domain icons on each bid card, according to whether it was played as Leader or Support.

Example Bid


Only icons in a card’s Bid Domain count when bidding for it. The Trendsetter must meet a Friendship card’s Minimum Bid value to bid on it. Other Active players may bid on the card. Successive bids must be higher than previous bids. The highest bidding player puts the card and his/her entire Group into his/her discard pile, and gains 1 VP for each VP icon in the bid.


If the Trendsetter can’t meet the Minimum Bid of any available Friendship cards (or doesn’t want any available cards), that player discards his/her bid cards and draws 5 cards.


Body: strong at catch-up mechanics and producing multiple Body icons. Weak at earning VPs and producing Mind and Spirit icons.

Mind: strong at manipulating your cards. Weak at producing Body icons.

Spirit: strong at producing VPs and playing extra Leaders. Weak at producing multiple icons.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #8 - Alma Mater

Alma Mater

3 – 6 players, ages 12+ playing time: 45min

The Trustees congratulate you on your appointment as President of our fair university. Over the course of the next four years you will build our school into the finest educational institution possible, combining academics, athletics, and construction to attract the best and brightest. Will you keep us small, focused, and selective, or see us grow to offer courses for all comers? Either way, make us proud!


Compete to secure the best professors and facilities for your university. Use these assets to attract the best students, who (if satisfied) will build your prestige, which you will use to fund further improvements. After twelve trimesters (rounds), the player with the highest total prestige wins.


  • Prestige (pr) chits
  • 7 canvas bags
  • Student Tiles
    • “Prospective Side” shows:
      • high school grades
      • desired major
    • “Student Side” shows:
      • name
      • matriculation priorities (best science professor, classiest dorm, etc)
      • actual major
      • prestige value (predicted by grades, but not guaranteed!)
  • Institution Tiles
    • Professors
      • major (Math, Science, History, Language, Arts, or Athletics)
        • some are dually accredited (Wernher von Brain teaches Science and Math)
      • prestige value
      • some have hiring prerequisites (Coach Knuckle requires an athletic building; Dean Wormy requires at least 4 professors visible)
    • Facilities: physical properties (science lab, dining hall, dorm, etc.), showing:
      • Type (if academic, major[s] and number of classrooms)
      • prestige purchase cost
      • prestige value
    • Campus Events (instant actions)
  • Starting Tiles: six sets of:
    • three 1pr Professors
    • three 1pr Students
    • one all-purpose 1pr academic Facility


  1. Each player takes 12pr, his starting Facility, and a bag with his six starting tiles inside.
  2. Place 48 students in four twelve-tile stacks “prospective side”-up.
  3. Remove unused starting tiles and extra students from the game.
  4. Place all other tiles in the central bag.


There are 12 rounds; each has three phases: Capitalization, Education, and Admission.


Draw 8 Institution Tiles from the bag. Players secretly bid prestige, revealing simultaneously and choosing a tile in decreasing prestige order (don't forget prerequisites!), paying their prestige bid AND ANY PURCHASE PRICE to the bank.

Facilities remain in front of you. You can replace previously-existing Facilities of the same type if you wish. Facilities “upgraded” this way are removed from the game. Toss all other purchased tiles in your bag.

Players who bid 0pr take nothing but can participate in future drafts.

Repeat drafts until all tiles are taken or all players simultaneously bid 0pr. Toss unclaimed tiles back in the bag.


Players simultaneously draw pairs of tiles from their bags. Choose one, and set the other aside, until you’ve gone through your entire bag. If you have one tile left, set it aside.

Once everyone has drawn, toss set-aside tiles into your bag. Then, arrange your chosen tiles into “classes” to generate prestige. Classes consist of at least two of: Professor, Student, Academic Facility.

Generate the ADDED prestige value on class tiles if majors match; match on all three and generate DOUBLE! Mismatched classes generate the lowest prestige value shown. Single academic tiles COST their prestige values.

Non-academic Facilities always generate prestige.

2pr art studio, 4pr science student = 2pr
2pr art studio, 3pr art professor = 5pr
2pr art studio, 3pr art professor, 2pr art student = 14pr!

You can also play Campus Events, allowing you to steal students (Transfer), remove a student from the game for instant prestige (Talented Drop-out)... even fire professors (Departmental Politics)! Used Events are removed from the game.

All players now collect (or pay) prestige. Prestige can’t go below 0.


Players now simultaneously accept or reject each available student (the one on top of each pile). For each student, reveal either:
- 1pr, placing it along your side of the tile (acceptance; you lose this chit even if the student goes elsewhere)
- an empty hand (rejection)

After all four students have been processed, flip accepted student tiles. Students choose from among the schools that accepted them according to their priority lists, only considering tiles in use.

Ties are resolved by a simultaneous blind-bid "financial aid" auction; only the winning player pays. If all tying players bid 0, the student is blackballed and removed from the game.

Remove from the game any students rejected by all schools.

Toss your students in your bag, as well as all non-Facility tiles in front of you.

Game End and Winner

Play continues until the last set of students is accepted. Then, players take one final Education phase ("Final Exams").

The player with the most prestige is the winner. Ties are broken in favor of player with the FEWEST tiles.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #9 - A Hero's Tale

A Hero's Tale

1-4 players.


Distribute the four heroes. Each hero comes with limited stats and a special ability. There are 4 experience decks, which are face up on the table. Each deck has cards to advance your power in different areas. Each round, you draw an encounter card and resolve it. The encounter maybe a monster, puzzle, skills test, etc. If your band is successful, the encounter card will dictate how many experience cards your band is able to pick up. You will then have to decide which cards to pick up and who gets them. Only the top card of each experience deck can be selected. If there are additional cards below the top card, they can be selected once the cards above have been selected. Collected experience cards are placed into the discard piles of the selected players.

Each encounter will also drop loot cards. These cards will have items to help the band along their way, usually in the way of weapon upgrades and items with combat modifiers. Draw a number of Loot cards dictated on the encounter card and distribute them to the discard piles of the players.

Game Flow:

There are 3 decks of encounters. The first deck has easy encounters and the second and third build on the difficulty. At the end of each deck is an Overlord that must be defeated to continue. At first, the heroes will only be equipped with a few Channeling Cards and either a dagger or scepter depending on their class.

At the beginning of a Round, if your draw deck has been depleted, shuffle your discard pile and it becomes your draw deck. As the game goes on you will acquire more Spells, Moves, Items, and Channeling Cards. This will create the feel that your character is progressing or leveling.

Experience cards:

There are 4 decks: Magic, Heal, Melee, and Armor.

  • The Magic Deck provides Spells and Channeling Cards (Intellect) for Ranged Spells.
  • The Heal Deck provides Spells and Channeling Cards (Spirit) for Healing Spells.
  • The Melee Deck provides Moves and Channeling Cards (Strength) for Melee Moves.
  • The Armor Deck provides Moves and increased Stamina that provide protection against encounters.

An Experience Card will either be a Spell/Move or Channeling Card. Each Spell/Move card will have ranks along with channeling requirements. Depending on how many Channeling cards are played on the Spell/Move determines its Rank.

Combat Example:

An encounter with a monster will work something like this.

Combat turn:

1) Each player brings his hand up to 5 cards.

2) All players either:

a) Place a Spell/Move or Channeling Card into play. Or b) Resolve Spells and Moves.

3) The monster performs an action if it is able.

Repeat combat turns until all heroes or the monster is dead.

The monster has a speed stat that shows how often he will perform an action. So, if the monster’s speed were 3 it would perform an action on turn 3 of combat. Which would be after players have had the chance to play 3 cards. Monsters perform action according to a combat chart. The chart has a list of 12 moves the monster can perform. When the monster is able to perform an action, roll 2D6 and reference the chart. Some monsters will have special abilities that will be written on its card, which will override the chart.

a) Play a Spell/Move or Channeling Card.

Spell Card Example:

Fire Blast: (1 Intellect)

Rank 0: 1 HP on 1D6 roll of 6
Rank 1: 1 HP on 1D6 roll of 5 or 6
Rank 2: 2 HP on 1D6 roll of 4 or higher
Rank 3: 3 HP on 1D6 roll of 2 or higher.

So, to create a Rank 3 Fire Blast you would play the Fire Blast card followed by 3 Intellect Channeling Cards. A Rank 0 Fire Blast would not need any Channeling Cards but it harder to hit with.

b) Resolving Spells and Moves.

If a player decides to execute a spell or move he rolls 1D6. If the roll is equal to or greater than the required roll (specified on the card for the rank) then the spell/move hits. Place a number of hit tokens on the monster dictated by the Rank of the spell/move. Once a spell/move is successful, all channeled cards are placed into your discard pile. The player then decides weather to discard the spell/move or place it back into his hand. If a spell/move is unsuccessful nothing happens, unless the player want to discard all of his cards in play. A player cannot have more than one spell/move in play at a time.


Weapons are placed in front of a player, and are in play all the time. They modify different stats for your character and his spells/moves.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #10 - Mow Money

Mow Money

Summer is here and the grass is growing. You and up to three others are landscaping companies, competing to cut and trim the lawns of some wealthy property owners who are willing to hire the lowest bidder and pass along a kind word. This is a game more about earning a good reputation than earning a lot of money, but in the end, having a few extra bucks won't hurt!

Cards Overview

  • Property Cards: There are three different types of property cards. Each type requires one, two or three Lawnmower Cards to be played during a bid action, and each awards one, two or four reputation points respectively. Some of the four-point properties also require additional Equipment Cards to be used in the bid.
  • Lawnmower Cards: These cards are used to place bids on Property Cards. There are three different types of lawnmowers. Each type allows the player to bid $100, $200, or $300, and cost $300, $600, or $900 respectively.
  • Currency Cards: These cards are paid to winning bidders and are used to purchase new lawnmowers and other equipment. They come in three denominations ($100, $200, and $300).
  • Equipment Cards: extra equipment such as Trimmers ($100), Blowers ($200), Fertilizers ($300), and Trailers ($400) can be purchased which give special abilities and may be required in the bids for properties with four reputation points.


  1. Give each player five $100 Currency Cards and five $100-bid Lawnmower Cards. Players shuffle these cards and make a Player Deck.
  2. Arrange the Currency Cards into three stacks on the table according to denomination.
  3. Shuffle the remaining Property Cards, Lawnmower Cards, and Equipment Cards to make a Common Deck. Place this deck beside the Currency Cards and draw the top five cards, placing them face up in the middle of the table.
  4. Players draw the top five cards from their Player Decks into their hands.
  5. The player who mowed his or her lawn most recently is the starting player.

Turn Overview

  1. Play an Equipment Card
  2. Act on a Face-up Card in the Middle
  3. Refresh

1) Play an Equipment Card

The player may choose to play one Equipment Card to use its special ability. These cards cannot be used to make a bid later this turn.

  • Trimmers allow players to discard up to four cards from their hand and draw back as many.
  • Blowers can be used to discard any or all face-up cards from the middle. (Exception, Property Cards that have bids tendered on them cannot be discarded.)
  • Fertilizers are used to draw the top cards from the Common Deck and placed face down under any of the Property Cards in the middle.
  • Trailers allow players to draw and keep two additional cards into their hand on their turn.

2) Act on a Face-up Card in the Middle

The player chooses one of the following four actions:

  • PURCHASE an Equipment Card or a Lawnmower Card by revealing Currency Cards greater than or equal to the cost of the purchased card.
  • BID on a Property Card by placing the required number of Lawnmower and Equipment Cards face down beside the desired property. Players may also play previously obtained Property Cards into the bid as reputation points to be used as tie breakers. These cards remain face down on the table next to the Property Card until bids are revealed.
  • REVEAL bids on a Property Card (only players who made bids are allowed to choose this action). All players who bid on that property reveal their bids. The player with the lowest bid wins. Use reputation points to break a tie. If still tied, the player whose turn it is wins the bid. Award the player Currency Cards in denominations that match exactly the amount on the Lawnmower Cards. The Property Card is also awarded to the winner.
  • DISCARD one of the face-up cards in the middle (Exception: Property Cards that have bids tendered on them cannot be discarded).

3) Refresh

  • All cards used and purchased this turn (except cards used to place a bid) are returned to the player's discard pile.
  • Draw up to five new Common Deck cards and place them face-up in the middle.
  • Draw five more cards from the Player Deck. If at any time a Player Deck is exhausted, shuffle cards in the discard pile to create a new Player Deck.

End of Game and Winner

The end of game is signaled when the last card from the Common Deck is drawn. Each player gets one more turn. The player with the most points obtained from Property Cards is the winner. In case of a tie, use Currency Cards to determine the winner.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #11 - Gone Viral

Gone Viral

There's lots of disease in the human body. Most never get serious; but not you! Oh no - you’re shooting for 100% septic. Ancient Viral legend says it’s possible. Invade every part of the body? Oh yeah. It’s on.


Be the most virulent and spread and gain the most Septic Points by the time the Brain shuts down. You gain Septic Points by shutting down Organ Spaces and controlling a majority in an Organ Group at the end of the game. There are the Guts, Endocrine, Respiratory, Heart, and Brain Organ Groups. You also gain Septic Points at the end of the game by controlling Purple Organ Spaces in the body.

How to Play:

You’re a virus. You replicate, infect, and spread throughout the body. Players have colored Virus Chips they’ll place in Organ spaces, and then play Action Tokens to grow in number until the number of viruses meets the Immune Level of the Organ Space. That Organ space then shuts down and you gain Septic Points. But be careful! If you spread to fast, the Organs will shut down on their own and you’ll lose your Viruses!


  1. Each player starts with two Virus chips (VC) of their color. Starting with a random first player, take turns placing one VC in the Guts. The last player places both VC, and in reverse order players place again ending with the First player.

  2. Each player begins with six basic Action tokens in a draw bag.

  • Two Replicate tokens --> Play to double your VC in an Organ space.

  • Two Spread tokens --> Play to move all your active VC from one Organ space to a connected one.

  • Two Infect tokens --> Play to place one VC in any space of an occupied Organ Group.

  1. Place a random Action token on each Organ space. See Action tokens section for some variety. Players gain this token type when they “Mutate” by exchanging VC for it.


  2. On a basic turn, draw three tokens from your bag. Choose one to Play, one to discard, and one to return to the bag. If you can't draw three, pick one to play, and return your discarded tokens to the bag.

  3. Resolve the played Action token.

  4. Mutate - Player may exchange a number of VC from a single Organ Space to gain an Action token of the type on that space.

  5. Next Player.

    Organ Spaces

Each white Organ Space has an Immune Level and a VC Cost printed on it.

  • The VC cost is the number of Virus Chips you exchange to gain an Action token of the type placed here.

  • The Immune Level is the total number of VC needed to shut down the Organ Space. The player with the most VC present gains Septic Points, the player with the second highest takes the Action token. If only one player there, he gets both. Immediately, all VC in excess of the Immune level move to an adjacent Organ space. If this move causes it to meet/exceed the Immune Level, the Organ immediately shuts down, all VC and the Action token are removed from the space. No one claims points for the Organ.

For example, if John (yellow) Replicates 7 VC on the Immune Level 10 space, he wins the space with 14 VC. The excess 4 VC must move to an adjacent Organ. John picks the one on the left, where Dave already has 5 blue VC. The Immune Level of that space is only 8, so when John moves his 4 yellow over, there are 9 VC in the space. This is more than the Immune Level, so the Organ shuts down and all 9 VC are removed.

If John instead played a Spread token and moved his 7 VC to the IL space, there would be 12 VC, and John would have won the space. In other words, you must take down the Organs one at a time, and not spread too fast!

Action Tokens:

In addition to the basic actions, most tokens allow multiple plays, such as:

  • Play a second action instead of returning it
  • Spread AND Replicate
  • Lower Immune Level of a space and Infect
  • Cause opponent to discard a random token
  • Exchange an opponent's VC with one of yours
  • Move twice

Game End:

When the last Organ space in the Brain Shuts down, the game ends. Players now score additional points for controlling Organ Groups:

  • Guts: 5 points
  • Endocrine: 5
  • Heart: 7
  • Respiratory: 10
  • Brain 15
  • Each Purple Space: 3 points

Add these to the points earned throughout the game to find the winner.

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