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Round Ground, board game with darts

Idea

The concept I’m working on is a strategy board game that can be played with dice or darts. I'm designing it for those who already love darts and for ones who would like to give it a try.

Mechanics

The game is about taking over a dartboard that is divided into 19 hexagons. Different hexagons give each player unique advantages. Taking over hexagons is done by either throwing darts or rolling the dice. The player who picks the best strategy to take over the board and has superior dart throwing skills wins the game. Also included in the gameplay are playing cards and moving armies.

Theme

The theme is a war between Alien’s and Magicians, with the technologically advanced aliens trying to steal the secret of magic. The secret is hidden inside of the planet Round Ground, an ancient spaceship shaped like a disk (dartboard).

Website: http://boardgamehome.com

Comments

RinCon

On the 28th of September after 9 hours of driving Daniel and I made it to RinCon in Arizona. RinCon is a big board game convention in Tucson. We stayed there 3 days and showed the game to a lot of people. Our large booth was running two Round Ground games at the same time. If someone at the convention has not played the game they definitely have seen. At the top of the booth we had a huge banner that I’m especially proud of. It’s 2 by 5 feet color printout that I designed myself.

Photo from the convention:
http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/528590_470038106350599_114312...

At the convention I had an opportunity to attend a KickStarter seminar. A board of 6 people who successfully ran KickStarter projects multiple times before was shearing their experience. Seth Jaffee, a board game designer and developer from Tasty Minstrel Games, was one of the members of the board. He gave me a few priceless advices on how to improve Round Ground gameplay.

When I was coming back to our booth from the seminar I was a little worried because I left it unattended. How surprising it was to see some random people playing Round Ground without any help. Turned out they already knew about the game from my Facebook page and could not resist to stop by for a game. These were real fans and I had a pleasure to give away a few homemade copies. These copies included a full game set with a styrofoam dartboard, darts, rules, and all necessary pushpins.

When coming back home to California I felt satisfied; I met a lot of awesome people and go positive feedback from professional board game designers. I feel that I learned a lot and confident about my next step to KickStart the game.

The Cards and The New Plans

I made 2 types of playing cards. There are 5 collectible ones and 13 regular. The collectible ones can be used just like the regular ones by fallowing the instructions on the text part of the card or can be put together to create powerful combinations. Any two collectible cards can do something special if put together; therefore there are 20 combinations in which they can be used. All the effects of using collectible cards together can be found in a special table on the back of the rule book.

I keep working on balancing out the hexagons and the game rules in general.

Some of the play-testers suggested to expand the number of the hexagons on the dartboard. I like the idea but I'm afraid that is will make the game much longer. I want to give it a try and I'm already working on new types of hexagons to fill up 12 new spaces. One of the new hexagons will give a player a very powerful unit Cyborg-Troll that will walk around the dartboard and capture unprotected hexagons.

Playing Cards

It's been almost 2 month since strated developing my board game with darts Round Ground.

I did a lot of play-testing with different people. The rules have been changed a lot since I created the original version of the game. Now the game process includes throwing darts and moving and destroying each other armies. I also want to include event cards in the game.

Originally I intended to create a strategy game. Including event cards that have random events will shift the balance; it will make the game more unpredictable. But at the same time it should make it more interesting. Some of the card will be very simple; the players will receive extra dart throws etc. The other card will be more complicated and quest like.

I like the game theme, which is magic vs. technology. The players represent different clans of technologically advanced aliens who are taking over the human's planet-spaceship that holds the secret of magic. I already have good amount of art that is based on this story. I'm uploading all the pictures on tweeter (https://twitter.com/AlexStukalov) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/BoardGameHouse)

I feel like the game development is getting closer to its completion. Art for the game is getting done and the board game convention Gateway 2012 is near.

Gigantic Pins, Army Pins, and a few steps back

Probably the most exciting news is that I want to use big size pins in my game. They can partially cover the surface of the hexagons they are pinned to and protect them from the attacking darts. I think I saw jumbo pins like that on sale at Staples.

Talking about pins, I've been making research on custom made Army Pins and now I have two options. I can use Army Pins that are shaped like soldiers or have a picture of a soldier on them. The most likely I will order these pins from China. Currently I'm using three types of pins that are made of steel and shaped like swords, arrows, and wolf tracks. I like them a lot but they are hardly visible from 8ft, very expensive, and don't fit the theme of the game.

I made quiet a few steps forward but a made a few back. Last week I posted here all the rules for Round Ground but since then I play-tested the game with new people. Apparently, the game is too hard to play because each hexagon on the dartboard has different attack/defense that changes every turn. Besides, every player has to keep in mind the attack of his/her dart that depends on the number of spaces Fist currently under control, and that number changes repeatedly throughout the game. All this made me to rethink the rules. I want to get rid of all the factors that complicate the game. For example, I want to stop using hexagon Fist, so the attack of every dart equals one all game long.

first art and new website BoardGameHome.com

In search for an artist I posted a job" Map For A Board Game Needed - Freelance Art Drawing Job" on the website Freelanced. Over 50 artists replied. William Black offered me a really good deal. He drew a skull for me, a new type of hexagon that supports the theme and helps to keep the game short.I like his drawing style, here is the link to the picture: https://p.twimg.com/AxmDs_OCQAA16FN.jpg

This symbol "Skull" is going to represent a new type of hexagon that gives a player's dart unlimited power of attack for one throw. It's going to work great for capturing well protected flags that is necessary to keep the game in the right time brackets. Play-testing showed that if there are 3 players or equally balanced 2 players the game takes over an hour to finish. I consider it too mach and want to cut it by half.

The skull symbolizes the magic of death that is a part of the magic vs technologies theme. Here is a new story line that explains the conflict between the technologically advanced aliens and human-magicians. Aliens and humans used to be the same race that lived together on Round Ground many thousands years ago. A conflict (religious conflict connected to the nature of magic) got them separated, and they went different ways. The planet Round Ground (dartboard) is nothing else but an ancient disc-looking spaceship that holds the secret of magic. The surface of the spaceship looks like the planet Earth and it’s covered with people living on it, so it has houses, gardens, and other objects.

I bought a new domain BoardGameHome.com. GoDaddy offers a really good generic website for free, I just had to feel up the blanks. Took me only a few hours to set it all up.

custom parts and game development

I keep on play-testing the game. At the same time I'm looking for a game manufacture and working on the theme.

While play-testing I found out that some of the hexagons are too powerful and make the game unbalanced. Now the hexagon Dart doesn't give a player an extra throw every turn but allows to re-throw the dart if the throw was unsuccessful.

To shorten the game the players don't have to take over the whole board but only take over 4 special Hexagons that are called Flags or Targets.

The idea with hexagons protecting each other didn't work out that well. It did make the game very strategic as intended but at the same time it made it too complicated. That's why I just tossed it away.

I got burned on my theme pretty bad; turns out the turtle flying through out the space has been used as a theme for a number of books by Terry Pratchett. I sent his publisher a letter, saying that I'm interested in in using his book for a theme of my game. The most likely I'm gonna stick to the idea that a dart is a spaceship and the dartboard is a world full of magic. I even found an artist to draw the spaceship.

I received a few estimates on game parts from american manufactures. I'm gonna have to make a choice between cheep paper and expensive bristle dartboard. The custom pins in a shape of solders are pretty cheep but it cost $275 just to make a mold.

aliens and magic theme

Although I themed all the games I made before, at first I didn't want to theme this one. But common sense that the right theme can make the game play only better made me look for one.

The first idea for the theme was Roman Empire; the romans had pilums and ballistas that could be associated with darts. I even thought of the name for the game – Pilum. But I couldn’t find how to logically connect pilum’s and ballistas’ strikes with the game play and everything else on the map.

Thinking of a new theme I remembered the picture of a flat Earth carried by elephants and a turtle:
http://www.blogos.org/thinkabout/images/science-in-scripture...
This picture is nothing else but a wrong assumption of our ancestors about the world structure but it can be seen as imaginary/parallel world. I quickly drew parallels between the flat earth and is the same shape dartboard
I knew that there are going to be towers and other cool looking structures on the board that can be a part of the flat world. Flags could stand for capitals of the countries, towers for defending forts etc.

After that I found a way how to closely associate darts with a part of the flat world. The fact that the turtle is flying in the space and darts look like spaceships made it easy; darts became the spaceships. Piercing the dartboard with darts could be an interesting way to land these spaceships on the planet and attack at the same time. Old technologies, not very modern look of the ships (bronze color, lots of sharp shapes), and ancient view of the world go together very well.

The magic doesn’t have to be included in the game; receiving different bonuses from different spaces can be explained by buildings and resources on the map. But it can make the flat world brighter and more interesting. The alien ship can also be flying ships of the kingdoms of the flat world or some lost civilization. It would blend into the game very nicely, but if the spaceships belong to aliens from a different planet the game can become more dramatic and interesting.

The picture of standing out bright magical objects on the disc planet carried by a huge turtle and elephants that are getting attacked my spaceships strikes my imagination.

It's an interesting fact that I picked the name for the game, Round Ground, that fits this scenario before I thought of the theme.

new features

I want the game to be very strategic and it has been developing.
At first, I wanted the position of hexagons to be important. That's why I implemented two new parameters: attack of a dart and defense of a hexagon and made hexagons to protect each other. Example, if any space is surrounded by 4 friendly and 3 enemy's hexagons its defense equals 4-3=1.
After that I was looking for new ways to increase/reduce attack. That's why I assigned different symbols to each hexagon so they can effect defense/attack. For example, towers give additional defense +1 to all friendly surrounding hexagons. There are a few more symbols like that. The hexagons with a symbol of a dart on them especially stand out. They allow players build armies that can move around the dartboard and attack/defend hexagons.

I also come up with a name for the game. The Ground was the game that inspired me. That's why I called my game Round Ground.

I also have been sharing my idea on the internet on different websited. I received quite a few positive responses on LinkedIn and answered questions on Board Game Geek:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/9462685#9462685

Well...

I can think of one off the top of my head, Dart Wars. http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/25144/dart-wars

That's not to say that you can't come up with something better...

Thank you Messeya

Thank you Messeya,

I read reviews on the Dart Wars. It seems like a nice game. Although the reviewers are complaining about the magnetic darts that don't stick to the board. I also want to make the game standard dartboard size. So the owners of dartboards will need only an additional screen to play the game. Right now making the first steps on developing my ideas. Thinking of using letters on the board to create some sort of a blend of Scrabble, Darts, and strategy. But I don't think this is gonna stick.

I'm posting updates here and more detailed ones on:
twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/AlexStukalov
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BoardGameHouse
linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=tab_pro

Mission Red Planet

When I think about strategy based dart games Mission Red Planet is the first game that springs to mind. Your mention of spaceships made the recollection inevitable :)

If you havent heard about this game its from 2005 by Bruno Faidutti and Bruno Cathala.

In the game the players have access to darts - spaceships. The first mechanic involves launching these darts at a geographical world board - manipulating their take off, trajectory, and force (in relation to how their impact can influence the player standings upon hitting the board).

Once the darts hit the central game board they register a transient score. A secondary mechanic allows players to move the placement of the landed darts (in actuality their dispersed parts - crew) to score on-going bonuses and re-arrange their dart parts to score optimally in the final scoring.

While this game is different from your live action throwing, taking a look at it might lead to some ideas about the strategic aspect of your game.

Mission: Red Planet

Hey BubbleChucks,

Thank you for your comment, it's good to know about other games that are alike mine in any way. I heard about Mission: Red Planet before but never played it. I found a good game description on rpg.net. My game Round Ground is very different but does have a few things in common with Mission: Red Planet, like occupying spaces and part of the theme.

I'm still working on mechanics and theme of my game. Fresh ideas, looking and comparing my game to others is a big part of this process.

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