THE RESULTS ARE IN...and the winner of the August 2010 Game Design Showdown is...
Don Jon's The Sorcerer's Apprentices, with a final score of 11 votes!
Congratulations to Don Jon, and thank you to everyone who submitted an entry or took the time to vote!
There was also a four-way tie for second place, with the runner-ups as follows:
Caravan (dobnarr) - 5
Gem-Hunt (joni) - 5
Machination (DogBoy) - 5
The Treasure is All Mine - and Mine. (pelle) - 5
Confidence (andygamer) - 3
The Cartel Republic (Pastor_Mora) - 2
Political Capital (Gilmok) - 1
Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.
The Contest is now CLOSED. Seth is taking a break from the GDS this week, and I've stepped in on short notice to run this month's contest...which is a good thing because I was going to strong-arm him into agreeing to this set of limitations anyways!
This month's theme is "Sharing," with three factors that designers need to keep in account, although there is a lot of leeway and design space to work within these restrictions.
Restriction 1: The game must incorporate some form of player-to-player sharing. This could be through trade, second-hand use of items, or possibly resources that exist in between players but can be used by either one.
Restriction 2: The game may not play with less than 4 players.
Restriction 3: The game must end with exactly 2 winners, who both fulfill different victory conditions, and work independently in the rules. NOTE: This means no teams of 2.
For 4-6 players
Object: Become the Explorer or the Trader. The Explorer first connects six oases or tents. The Trader has the most gold coins at the end of the game.
The player who lives closest to the Sahara goes first. Play proceeds clockwise. Players choose starting tents by placing their tent tokens on tent spaces. Each player counts out 10 route tokens for the expansion phase.
Players take turns adding two route tokens to the map. Tokens may only be placed on empty desert spaces (not on tents or oases), and each desert space can only contain one route token. Tokens you place must connect through desert spaces you control to your home tent. You cannot connect through a tent or oasis space. The tokens you play don’t have to be adjacent.
Connecting to oases and tents: Whenever you place a marker adjacent to an oasis or a tent space, you connect to that space. When you make a connection, place an extra token on the oasis or tent space to indicate that you have connected to it. If other players have already connected to this space, place your token on top of theirs. If you already have a token on this space, do not add a second token, but instead move your token to the top position. There can only be at most three active connections to each oasis or tent, so if your token is the fourth, remove the token on the bottom of the pile and return it to its owner. That player is no longer connected to this oasis or tent.
Note: You may connect to other players’ starting tents. They count as a connection for the purposes of winning and collecting income. You may not connect to your own starting tent, although you may always collect income from it. Once all players placed all ten of their route tokens for the Expansion phase, players take turns placing their caravan guards. Caravan guards can be placed on any desert space a player controls.
Now the game shifts to the Strategic phase. This occurs in two parts. First, players choose what action they will take. Then, the actions play out. The possible actions are indicated by the action spaces around the edge of the board.
Players choose actions by placing their action markers in the action spaces of their choice. Only one player may choose each action space (note that there are two Capture spaces, so two players may choose Capture). Players choose in order, clockwise around the table from the starting player. Once all have chosen, resolve the actions starting with the starting player.
Actions: Expand. Place route markers in three empty desert spaces connected to your starting tent as during Expansion. Capture. Like Expand, but into two spaces occupied by other players. Replace their marker with yours, as long as the space isn’t protected by a guard. The spaces you capture must connect back to your starting tent. Mercenary. Place a mercenary guard on any desert space you own. The space need not connect to your tent. The guard protects all of your spaces adjacent to his space from capture. If there are no unused mercenaries, you may take a mercenary from another location, but not the guard most recently placed. Collect. Collect one coin for every oasis or tent where you currently have a token, including your starting tent. First. You are the starting player for the next turn and will choose your action first.
On your turn, you may also take the following free actions: Caravan Raids: If you construct one of two special patterns of route tokens (ring and triangle) on desert tiles, you may raid another player. In a raid, you trade all your coins for all of another player’s coins, and you remove your six route tokens making up the raid pattern. You must conduct the raid as soon as you complete the pattern – you cannot use a pattern you created earlier.
Moving guards: On your turn, you may move your own guard to any desert space you own. You may move each of your mercenaries to an adjacent space. Repeat the Strategic Phase until someone wins.
Winning: The game ends when a player is connected to six different oases or tents. That player is the Explorer. The player with the most coins then is the Trader. Both win the game.
BGDF Showdown Goals: The game has dual winners. Oases, tents, and mercenaries are shared components.
In the game of Confidence, the players are a bunch of grifters and hackers just looking to make a buck. The most lucrative payouts are two-man jobs, so players will need to collaborate. Who can be trusted?
The objective of the game is to be the first of your role to make $20k by pulling jobs. Players can be one of two roles: hacker and grifter. In this game, hackers only compete with other hackers, and grifters only compete with other grifters. At the end of the game, there will be two winners: the hacker with the most money, and grifter with the most money. The game is for 4-8 players.
- 1 deck of “job” cards
- Stand-up markers for each player’s role
A job card contains the following pieces of information:
- The name of the job
- The roles required to pull the job, with four possibilities: solo (or one-man) jobs, hacker-grifter jobs, hacker-hacker jobs, and grifter-grifter jobs.
- The cash payout for the job
Every two-man job card has two copies in the deck. For example, the deck has two identical “Smash ‘n Grab” jobs.
Design note: Most of the cards are two-man jobs (solo jobs are very rare). The most rewarding jobs are Hacker-Hacker and Grifter-Grifter jobs since these require competing players to cooperate with each other.
Randomly assign a role to each player, placing the marker for their role in front of them.
Each round of the game consists of three phases:
- The Setup
- Getting Your Crew
- Pulling the Job
For each round, players rotate who starts the phase.
“The Setup” phase
- Shuffle the deck and deal five cards off to the side for the round
- Deal five cards to each player’s hand
- Deal eight cards face-up next to the deck
On a player’s turn, he or she can:
- Take a face-up card (replenish one from the deck)
- Draw a card from the deck
- Pass. Players cannot draw any more cards once they pass
In “The Setup” phase, players will attempt to get a pair of jobs with the highest payout. Once every player passes, move to the next phase.
“Getting Your Crew” phase Each player “proposes” a job to another player of his or her choice. A player proposes a job by sliding a job card face-down to another player. That player takes the card into his or her hand. Players go around the circle twice, making two proposals.
Players can propose any two-man job in this phase. Players do not need to have a pair of job cards to propose a job.
“Pulling the Job” phase Everyone attempts one job per round. Players place one job card face-down to signify they are ready. Everyone reveals their job simultaneously. Only the jobs where the right roles pulled the job are successful. Solo jobs are always successful.
Keep your successfully-pulled jobs face up to for the score.
Example 1 (Successful) Grifter Bob obtains the pair of job cards for the “Smash and Grab” job. Since the “Smash and Grab” job requires one hacker and one grifter, Bob proposes the job to Hacker Sally. Bob and Sally both attempt to pull the Smash and Grab job, so they both get paid.
Example 2 (Unsuccessful) Hacker Jane obtains the pair of job cards for the “Series of Tubes” job. Since the “Series of Tubes” job requires two hackers, Jane proposes the job to Hacker Sally. Jane attempts to pull the job, but Sally pulls a different job that round, so Jane does not get paid.
Example 3 (Unsuccessful) Grifter Luke only has one “Honest Bet” job card, but tries to sabotage Grifter Allen. Luke proposes the “Honest Bet” job to Allen, and Allen tries to pull the job. Luke pulls a solo job instead, getting the payout while Allen does not get a payout.
- The key to the game is about reading people and knowing who to trust. In each round everybody proposes twice and pulls one job – so everybody lies at least once!
- Remembering who picked up which job during the setup also will help with strategy, but isn’t required.
- The game is probably best played with at least 6 players, since there are two separate groups of three people competing with each other.
The game features four factions struggling to gain enough influence over the masses to appoint the next president. The factions represent: Security Forces (police, army), Irregular Combatants (guerrilla, paramilitary forces), Organized Crime (drug dealers, mafia) and Corporations (media, industries).
The game is played over a modular board depicting a map of the country that is divided in several areas with different terrains. The amount of revenue and votes yield by each area is different. Players are assigned a faction and the starting cash. Each hex tile is randomly drawn by the players in turn and placed next to the starting Capital City tile or a tile already in place. Tiles cannot be placed more than 4 hexes away from the Capital City tile. All factions get a permanent free asset in the Capital City tile. Once all tiles are placed, factions place a free asset in each of their favored terrain tiles: Security Forces (rural); Irregular Combatants (jungle); Organized Crime (mountains) and Corporations (urban).
• Collection: Each player receives a fixed amount of cash per asset placed, stocks and bonds he has, and areas controlled.
• Building: During his turn, the player may create his own assets. Security Forces create garrisons, Irregular Combatants create camps, Organized Crime creates networks, and Corporations create businesses. These assets are placed on a tile once the cost to build is paid; only one per faction in each. Each asset will yield a fixed amount of earnings per turn.
• Indirect Action: The asset’s function is to increase popular support in the area (“influence”) or reduce the opponent’s support there (“boycott”), with or without the aid of other players. Assets can be used by the owner or by other players for a cost. The cost is paid to the owner of the asset. The player’s (or allied) assets in an area and adjacent ones reduce the cost of the player’s direct and indirect actions in the tile and adjacent ones. The player that produces an asset gets an alliance token of his color (“leveraging”).
• Direct Action: Opponent’s assets can be destroyed for a price, with or without the aid of other players. The player’s (or allied) assets in an area and adjacent ones reduce the cost of destroying opponent’s assets. The player whose asset is destroyed can remove an aggressor’s alliance token from any other player (“whining”).
• Stocks & Bonds: For a fixed amount of cash (similar to building cost), a player may buy Stocks & Bonds that will yield an interest in each turn (similar to building earnings). This is used to reduce the overall amount of cash required to play the game.
• Negotiations: At the end of his turn, the player must give one of his alliance tokens to another player. Once the player has given all his tokens, he must reassign them among other players. He may go back and forth between two in successive turns.
The amount of influence in each area is measured in a track. The single player with the most influence in the area will control it, if he surpasses the minimum influence required. The controlling player gets the votes awarded for the area and the area will yield cash for him every turn. Votes are accounted for in a separated track sheet. These votes are lost if control over an area is lost.
The combination of two factions that reaches a certain number of votes will appoint the next president and win the game. The two players must have acquired a minimum number of alliance tokens and share the most of each other alliance tokens between them.
The recent development of steam-powered battle machines and Lamarckian-enhanced fighting beasts has made Europa politically unstable. No-one stands to gain from the approaching madness of pan-Continental war.
No-one, that is, except for the shadowy organisations rumoured to be manipulating Europa to their own unknowable agendae.
You play a secret faction bent on dominating 19th Century Europe in a parallel world where Industrial Revolution technology is extraordinarily advanced.
There are two winners in each game of Machination: the Pope (the first player to fulfil their secret victory condition) and the Emperor (the player who has won the most victory points from their open victory conditions). No player can be both Pope and Emperor.
- Board showing 10 Nations. See [board image]
- 10 coloured Troop cubes per Nation
- 50 Science cubes
- 50 Infrastructure cubes
- 30 Event Cards. See [war card example]
- - 10 War cards (one for each Nation, each numbered between 0 and 5)
- - 10 Sabotage cards (one for each Nation, each numbered between 0 and 5)
- - 10 Research cards (one for each Nation, each numbered between 2 and 6)
- 10 Build cards
- 12 Secret Agenda Cards
- 30 Empire Cards
[war card example]:
Place 3 Population cubes and one Troop cube of the appropriate colour on each board space. Deal one Secret Agenda card face-down to each player, and 4 Empire cards face-up to each player. Deal 4 Event Cards in a line face-up.
Secret Agenda Cards:
Each player begins the game with one Secret Agenda card, which they keep until the end of the game. If a player’s Secret Agenda is complete at the end of their turn, they reveal it, the game ends, they become Pope, and they discard all their Empire cards (including completed ones). The player with most VPs on their Empire cards (complete and incomplete) becomes Emperor. Ties are broken in favour of the player who is next after the Pope, going clockwise.
Empire Cards represent known scoring objectives during the game, e.g.
When an Empire card is discarded or completed (completed cards can’t usually be discarded or have their VPs changed), that player draws a new one (if possible). Each player may discard any number of Empire cards at the end of their turn.
Play proceeds clockwise. On a player’s turn, that player takes the leftmost Event card and plays it, then deals a new Event card at the right-hand end of the Event line.
Event cards come in four types: War, Research, Build and Sabotage. War, Research and Sabotage cards show a nation and a number.
If there aren't enough cubes to complete a Research or Build Event, then nothing happens.
4 or more players
A standard 52-card deck, with the two Jokers included.
Shuffle the deck, and randomly choose one player to be "President" and one player to be "Banker".
Shuffle the deck. Each player is dealt two cards, face down. Players may look at these cards as though they were in their hand.
Each round, each player is dealt one card face down, and one card face up. The President gets an additional face-down card, and the Banker gets an additional face-up card.
If any player is dealt a Joker face down, that is exchanged with a face-up card in front of them.
Each player then sets aside any number of cards from his or her hand. Starting with the player to the left of the President and going clockwise, players may select a card in front of any other player and trade for it. If the number of cards set aside is greater than the number of cards set aside by the player with the card in front of them, those players trade that card in front of them. The player who initiated the trade gives all cards set aside to the player who they got the card from.
Example 1: Player A has 2 cards set aside and a 3 in front of him. He wants the K in front of Player B. Player B only has 1 card set aside, so Player A and Player B exchange the 3 and K in front, and Player A gives the two cards he set aside to Player B.
Example 2: Player A has 1 card set aside and a 6 in front of him. He wants the Q in front of Player B. Player B has 2 cards set aside, so nothing happens.
Players then pick up the card(s) in front of them. They may set any number of cards aside again, face up, placed in their "bank". If a card in front of them is a Joker, that card must be placed in the bank.
In the bank, a face card counts as $10, each number card counts as their numeric value in dollars, and an ace counts as $20.
At the end of each round, the player with the highest total in their bank becomes the Banker for the next round. If a player has a Joker placed in their bank, that player becomes the President.
The game ends when both Jokers have been placed in banks.
Presidential victory is claimed by either having both Jokers in your bank or by having one Joker and more points banked than any other player with a Joker. That player becomes the President at the start of the next game.
Commercial victory is claimed by having banked more points than any other player that isn't the President. That player becomes the Banker at the start of the next game.
a 4-player game
Every year at the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), there is a competition to become an apprentice to Merl’Yhn, the Grey Sorcerer. The tournament ends with four finalists vying for those two coveted spots. Merl’Yhn uses both White Magic (WM) and Black Magic (BM) – thus his title – and he therefore lets two of the finalists use WM, while the other two use BM to complete their goals.
These goals consist mainly of manipulating WM or BM energies – represented by the “up” color of the discs – and creating specific patterns with them, which is how powerful spells are cast.
Each player retains the simplest spells [see: Memorized Spells]. More challenging spells must be read from scrolls, carried by all finalists. These scrolls can only retain two spells at a time, so when a new one appears – represented by the drawing of a card – an action must be taken to get rid of one of the spells [see: Order of Play]
Note: This game can be played on any 8x8 board with 64 two-sided discs. It is not necessary to have a copy of Othello.
Object of Game:
Be one of the first two players to complete your two goals – or –
Tip the balance of WM / BM to your favor after the first player has completed her goals [see: End of Game].
Goal cards depict what a player must accomplish to win. They are only revealed upon completion. Unless otherwise specified, these patterns may be anywhere on the board. Note that it is possible that someone else’s actions will complete your goal!
3 straight rows: your color 5x5 square: your color, solid 4 middle and 4 corners: your color
Action cards are used during gameplay. They represent spells that appear on the scrolls. Players may only keep two in their hand.
Bolt: one straight line of discs flip; 1d8 effect Waves: expanding, widening waves of discs flip; 2d8 (lower number) Teleport: move to any unoccupied space, other than a corner Capture: turn all 8 spaces around an opponent to other color
Adjacent: any space/disc immediately next to pawn (horizontal/vertical/diagonal)
Movement: pawns may only move horizontally/vertically, unless teleporting
Pawns may only be on or move onto their own color (White/Black). Exception: if the disc below a pawn is flipped.
Flip = change to your color
Lay all of the Othello discs on the board in alternating colors. The WM players start in the white corners, the BM in the black.
Choose one corner to be the top left (1-1) space. By this means, any space can be selected by rolling 2d8 (as in 3 across, 5 down)
Each player is dealt 2 Goal cards and 2 Play cards. The remaining cards become the Draw Pile. Flip one card face up to begin the Discard Pile.
Determine first player. Play continues clockwise.
Order of play:
The player draws a card, either from the Draw Pile or the Discard Pile. This represents a third spell which magically appears on the scroll.
Since she now has three cards in her hand, the player must either:
a. Play one card, acting out the effect on the card. b. Discard one card and use a Memorized Spell.
c. Spell sharing: Lay the drawn card on the table. Each opponent selects one of their cards and shows it (only) to the player. Player either plays drawn card or exchanges cards with opponent of her choice and plays that card.
Flip 1 adjacent disc and move 1 space (can be different discs)
Flip 2 adjacent discs
Move 2 spaces
Remember: you must discard one card when casting a memorized spell.
End of game:
As soon as one player completes her second goal, the other players each have one final turn to try to gain the second apprentice spot. Players can do this by completing their second goal.
If no other player accomplishes this, or two or more players do, the Victors are determined by the color that has more discs on the board of their color (White/Black) after the last player’s turn. Thus it can occur that the first “winner” doesn’t actually end up winning, if the other color ends up in the majority.
Four wizards try to be the first to fight their way to a well-protected treasure in a deep, highly symmetric, dungeon. Unfortunately they will have to try to cooperate...
The board shows the dungeon consisting of rooms connected by corridors. Each room contains a monster. In each corner is an entrance that is the starting point for each wizard/player.
Cardboard counters represent the monsters found in the dungeon as well as the magic runes used by the wizards to destroy monsters. Monsters come in four different sizes, with the number of boxes on the back of the counter showing its size (also being the number of letters shown on the front of the counter). The monsters are referred to as 1-letter, 2-letter, and so on.
Each player should be seated close to one corner, the starting entrance of his wizard.
A player can reach any room (and any monster therein) if there is a path of connected rooms free from monsters from the player's starting entrance to that room.
A player may look at the front side of any monster counter in a room he can reach, but never the front side of any other monster counter.
If a monster can be reached by all players, that counter is flipped to show its front side.
The player that was given the circled S rune counter starts. Play always go clockwise around the table.
Each player in his turn must perform one (and only one) of the following actions:
No player may ever hold more than 3 runes.
The player turn is over even if an attempt to trade or destroy a monster failed.
A player can only destroy a monster he can reach (see above). To destroy the monster the player must have access to all the runes that are shown on the monster counter. The player can use any runes he is currently holding plus any runes of another player helping him. To help the other player must also be able to reach the same monster. A player may ask several other players for help, one at a time. It is allowed to demand a specific rune (only one) in return for helping another player destroy a monster, but helping out for free is also allowed. If the player has access to all the required runes, the monster is permanently removed from the map. If the monster can only be destroyed with the help of another player, and no player holding the required rune(s) want to help out, the monster remains.
The S runes (including the circled one, which works just that the others in addition to deciding who goes first) can not be used to destroy any monsters. They are instead used to steal runes from other players. A player holding a S rune can trade it for any rune from the player seated to his right (counter-clockwise around the table that is). So the player that had a rune stolen now has the S rune instead.
A player wins the game by destroying the dragon (or helping another player destroy the dragon).
Four collectors set out to gather valuable gems, without knowing witch of the gems that are of any value. They race each other to gather the stones, but also to be the first to define the value.
Each intersection made by the black lines is called a location. Some of these are empty (no symbol), the rest is: - Home-locations (red, blue, green and yellow), 1 for each player. - Pickup-locations (grey or dark grey). - Draw card-locations (cyan ring). - Income-locations (golden, numbered). Units move from location to location by using roads.
You may: - Remove one road (cost: 1 coin). - The road must be on the end of a chain (of your own colour). - You may only remove your own road. - Build as many roads as you like (cost: 1 coin per road) - Your roads must connect to your existing roads. - If your road leads to an Income-location with a coin, then collect that coin. - If you have built all 20 roads of your colour you may build neutral roads. - Buy a transporter (cost: 4 coins) or a lawyer (cost: 5 coins). - Your Home-location must be unoccupied, place the new unit there.
Each unit takes 1 action (or they may “pass” and do nothing). They must move by roads but may use all roads (neutral and opponents roads included). No units may occupy the same location.
Lawyers may do one of these actions: - Move 1 location along the road. - If the lawyer reaches a Draw card-location with a token on it: - draw a card (if you have less than 5 cards), - remove the token (if you drew a card). - Stay on a Draw card-location: - If you have 5 cards: discard one of them (face up in a discard-pile) and draw a new one. - If you have less than 5 cards: do nothing. - Stay on an Income-location: - Gather the income as specified on the location (1-3 coins). - The lawyer must be connected by roads to your Home-location to collect the income.
Transporters may do one of these actions: - Move 1-2 locations along the road (may pass another unit). - Stay on a Pickup-location and pick up a gem from an adjacent Gem-pit. - In a Gem-mine you need to stay with a transporter on both Double pickup-locations next to that mine. These two transporters then pick up one gem each. - Stay on the Home-location and deliver a gem.
The youngest or most inexperienced player starts. - Place the first road for free. - Place the first lawyer for free. - Move the lawyer 1 location. - Place the first transporter for free. The turn passes clockwise around the board.
Any player with 5 cards in his hand may start the endgame by revealing one of his cards. - The top colour of that card (3 gem-symbols) sets the point-giving colour for that player. - The same OR the complementary colour is the point-giving colour for the other players. - Complementary colours are red – green, blue – orange and purple – yellow. - That player reveals one more card each turn, the game ends when his last card is revealed. - The other players keep their cards hidden.
We have eight entries in the August GDS, so make sure you get in your votes. I will be tallying votes on Monday, August 30th at 11:59pm Eastern U.S. time.
Remember, you need to send your votes to ME by Private Message, and you have to follow the guidelines in the rules: 6 total votes, no more than 3 to any single entry, and don't vote for your own entry.