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[GDS] July 2012 "Tempus Fugit"

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Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011

Game Design Showdown - July 2012

Tempus Fugit

"There's time enough, but none to spare." - Charles W. Chesnutt

We have a winner!

First Place The winning game with 10 votes is Firestorm by AndyGB - well done Andy :)

Second Place Only on vote shy with 9 is Banish the Beast by Avianfoo

Third Place At 8 Votes is Tumble Down by Tea is for Tim

Firestorm! 10 Banish The Beast 9 Tumbledown 8 Dice pie 7 Tipsy Travelers 7 Collect 5 6 Boxcars 4 Proximity 3 Clack Brawl 0 Tiles and Layers 0

Condolences to Clack Brawl and Tiles and Layers scoring no points this time round. Thank you all for your entries it was fun running the GDS this month - you guys are a really friendly and genuine bunch of people :)

On to the critique thread! Tell me why you voted for who you did, and why you didn't vote for who you didn't - let's be better game designers!

All the best,


This month, Seth is away and has kindly allowed me (Sam Mercer) to chair the Game Design Showdown.

What is this all about Sam? Well, last time I was here, we had a go at designing a dice game called Dragon Dice. A fun themed filler type game with dice. This time we will aim to further hone our craft and create a specialized game that plays in under 5 minutes. When pitching to publishing studios and the like, you would be a fool not to be able to explain your game in seconds. The point needs to be made with impact, importance and haste. In this busy modern world of ours, some people have less and less time to spend on things. Let's make a game for them.

A quick game then? Ok, so what else do I need to know?

Nothing. component restrictions or theme or whatever? Nope. The only thing this game needs to be is a game that will play in under 5 minutes. Set up time included, this game needs to take no more than 5 minutes to finish. I will say that I will allow up to 3 multiple "rounds" of the game to determine a winner as long as the "rounds" are very similar - perhaps with a minor adjustment (changing the starting player for fairness etc) but a "round" must be able to stand up as a very good reflection of the game on its own.

Standard Rules
Explanation: The game must be described in no more than 200 words. Unless otherwise stated in the challenge, the entries do not need to be "fully completed and tested" rule sets ... there should be enough of a description, rules, examples, etc., to give other readers a good "feel" for the game ... the extent to which an author wishes to go is up to him -- it will be the voting of the readers that will decide the winner.
Submissions: The 10th of the month through the 17th.
Voting: 18th until the 25th. PM your votes to me, cogentesque.
Voting Format: Everyone can vote with a Gold, Silver, and Bronze award to their choice of candidates.
You may not assign any votes to your own entry!
Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge can be 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.

Thank you all, I am really excited to see what your brilliant minds come up with :)


Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011

Proximity (2-4 players, 5 minutes)

Components: Tiles: 3 each of 5 colors Scoring Markers: 1 each of 5 colors

Setup: Place all tiles face down and scramble. Draw one tile and place face up in play area.

On Your Turn: Draw a face-down tile and play it. Each tile must be placed orthogonally to at least one other tile. For each tile that shares an edge with the tile you just placed, you get the scoring marker of that color.

Game End: When all fifteen tiles have been placed, the game is over. The player with the most scoring markers is the winner. In case of a tie, the player with the first color to be played (the setup tile) is the winner.

Strategy: Players can steal scoring markers from other players by placement of tiles. The color tile you are playing does not affect what color markers you get this round, but consider where you placeme that tile… another player may play adjacent to it. If you have the scoring marker of that color, maybe play that tile somewhere where other players will be less likely to play next to in the future.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Dice Pie

[content: a bag full of dice, 6 red, 6 green, 6 black, 6 blue, 6 white, 6 yellow a deck of 6 cards displaying numbers from 1 to 6 a deck of 6 colors displaying 6 colors matching the dice colors a golden envelope where to put lucky cards a grey envelope where to put cursed cards]

Dice Pie In this game 2 players are trying to take lucky colored dice and lucky numbers results while avoiding the cursed color and number. The catch is that a player only knows wich is the lucky number and the cursed color, the other only knows the lucky color and the cursed number. Players take 3 turn, each turn they take 2 round alternating the role of the Cutter and the role of the Chooser. The Cutter draws randomly 6 dice from the bag (containing 6 dice for each 6 colors), rolls them, then the Cutter divides the dice into 2 groups and let the Chooser pick ALL the dice from one group, the Cutter takes the remaining dice. At the end of the 3rd turn players reaveal what is lucky and cursed, than they take 5 points for each die they have that matches the lucky number and 5 points for each die that match the lucky color, but they subtract 3 points for every match in the cursed numbers and colors, dice that match lucky colors and numbers are worth an extra 2 points, 5 points if cursed. Higher score let's you win the game.

[Considerations the game is about bluffing and temping the enemy to make wrong choices, a game should probably last no longer than 5 minutes, unless someone will try to develop jedy powers to mind trick you, in this case it could take longer.]

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011

Boxcars 2-6 players

Materials: 18 coloured dice, 3 of each of the 6 colours

Playing the game: Choose a number of rounds to play. Players sit in a circle with a pool of dice in the middle. There should be three times as many dice as there are players. Randomly determine a start player. On their turn each player chooses and throws a pair of dice and keeps them in front of them for all players to see the number of pips rolled. The next player, clockwise, then chooses and throws a pair of dice.

When all players have thrown their dice the player with the highest score wins that round. In the case of a tie the player who threw the ‘highest risk’ dice wins (colours closest to red). If there is still a draw, the round is tied. The winner chooses who starts the next round.

Colour, and pips on each face

Red 0,0,0,1,3,6

Orange 0,0,1,1,4,5

Yellow 0,1,1,2,3,5

Green 0,1,2,2,4,4

Blue 0,2,2,3,3,4

Purple 2,2,2,3,3,3

A player can wait to see what the previous player throws before choosing their dice. The average scores decrease as the dice get riskier, but sometimes only rolling boxcars (double six) will do!

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011

Tumbledown 2 Players

Components: - 100 Wooden Blocks (same dimensions as Jenga blocks) - 2 one-inch diameter wooden balls. - Timer with settings for 45, 30, and 15 seconds.

Set-Up: Play on a flat, level surface. Each player gets 50 blocks and 1 ball. Oldest player goes first.

Play: Building phase: Set the timer to 45 seconds. Both players simultaneously build a block structure with their blocks. When the timer runs out, both players stop building.

Destruction phase: Each player, in order, attempts to destroy their opponent's structure with their ball by rolling it once across the table. Players may not move or manipulate blocks that are left either on top of one another or standing on end from a previous round.

Building Phase 2 : Timer is set to 30 seconds.

Destruction Phase 2: As above.

Final Building Phase: Timer is set to 15 seconds.

Final Destruction Phase: As above.

Victory: Winner is the player with the most “levels” of blocks standing on their end above at least one other block standing on its end (so the first level does not count). Tie goes to the player with the most blocks standing on end in their structure.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Banish the Beast

Banish the Beast A fast paced variable-powers game for 2-7 players. Kick the monsters out of your kingdom by encouraging them it migrate to your neighbours.

Setup: Deal a hand of 3 monster cards to all players.

The Round:

1) Any player with no cards in hand is victorious.

2) Each player slaps a card face down from their hand.

3) The last player to slap down a card does not get to reveal their card and keeps it face down. (It counts as having all terrains.)

4) The player with the lowest number on their card goes first, followed by the player with the next highest number etc. The active player (attacker) chooses another player (defender) with a card in front of them. The primary terrain on the attacker’s monster must match one of the terrains of the defenders monster. The defender then takes both his card and attacker’s card into his hand. (The powers on the monsters may prevent such attacks or change their outcome.) If a player cannot choose a defender then his card is returned to his hand without further effect.

5) Once no player has a monster in front of them the round ends.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Clack Brawl

Clack Brawl: A dexterity game for 2-6 players

Circular mat (Mousepad)
5 fighter tokens in 6 colours (Something like Pog Slammers)
(these have a number on either side, both sides of each token add up to ten)

How to Play:
Place the mat on the floor, players stand around it. Each takes 5 tokens of the same colour.
All players hold a token in their fist over the mat, and let them drop. If any two player's tokes show the same value, they pick them back up. The player with the highest-valued token left on the mat goes first.
Players take turns dropping/throwing tokens at the mat. If a token is bounced off the mat, it is no longer in the game.
Once all tokens have been dropped, starting from the top, if a token is on top of another, and shows a higher number, the lower token is removed.
Once all eligible tokens are removed this way, the player with the highest sum of numbers on the mat wins.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Tiles and Layers


Quick tile placement game with layers and pattern matching. 2 to 5 players.

Square tiles have a symmetrical symbol in the middle, quarter of a symbol in four corners.

Five different symbols (square, 4-star, 8-star, circle, octagon) show on tile so that the symbol in the middle does not appear in any corner.

Five symbols in various configuration result 290 (?) unique tiles.

In the beginning players draw five tiles each. Four tiles on the table perform as a starting point.

Player places a tile, gets points and picks a new tile from the pile. If one can't or want place any tile, he draws a tile.

Pattern must match. Where two or three or four tiles meet, all adjacent shapes should fit.

When four tiles form a square like block on the table, player is allowed to place a tile on upper level. There on upper levels new tiles must be assembled in a way as pyramids do. Further, symbols ought to target in every direction, as well downwards.

Tiles placed on upper levels give more points.

Game ends when any player reaches certain limit of points, or pile runs out.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Tipsy Travelers

Tipsy Travelers: a quick 2-player dice game.

Two players represent thoroughly tanked revelers walking home from the bar. They each start in opposite corners of a 7x7 grid labeled with cardinal directions with the goal of reaching the center square first. Players take turns randomly drawing dice from a bag and rolling them. Initially, a player may only roll 1 die, but 1 additional die can be rolled every other turn (as you sober up). Most dice have an assortment of North, South, East, West, or a “doubled” direction (North 2x). Some dice are colored red, and have effects to hinder your opponent, including moving him and reducing the number of dice he can roll. Despite the number of dice you roll, you may only select one result to go with. For example, you may roll a “West” on the first turn; your only move is to go West 1 square. A few turns later, you could roll a “North”, an “East 2x”, or “South” on a red die – now, you may choose between advancing 1 square North, 2 squares East, or moving your opponent 1 square south. Victory goes to the first player to the center square.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Collect 5

Collect 5
is a simple set collection cardgame with 50 cards for 2-6 players.
Cards are numbered 1-5 and colored with 5 different colors (2x25)

The Object of the round:
Collect either 5 cards with same numbers, 5 cards with same colors or
5 cards with all 5 numbers and all 5 colors included.

The Round:
Shuffle the deck and deal 5 cards for each player. Open top card from the draw deck on the table.
In his turn player takes 1 card either from draw deck or any card from the table.
Then he discards 1 card to the table frontside up not hiding any other card on the table.

The End:
If player has above-mentioned set after his turn is over he wins the round.
He scores 1 point for every card on the table if he has 5 cards with same numbers or 5 cards with same colors in his hand.
He scores 2 points for every card on the table if he has all numbers and all colors included in his hand.
May be played 3? rounds. The winner of the last round starts the next round.
Player with the most points after 3 rounds is the winner of the game.

May be played also to pre-agreed score (like 10 or 25) but this version is probably longer than 5 minutes. :)

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011


Fires are spreading, time is short! Put them out and win cooperatively, or try to Escape and win on your own - but decide fast, time flies!

Two decks:
Fire Deck in 5 suits (electrical, wood…)
Quench Deck in four corresponding suits plus a wild suit

Setup (90-seconds): Deal 5 Quench cards to each player and 5 Fire cards face down.

Play: If players exhaust the 5-card fire deck and put out all active fires within the 3.5 minute time limit, they win. If there are active fires remaining, the players lose. Turn over a fire card from the 5-card deck to start.

Quench a fire by playing same suit or wild card on it. When the value of Quenches is equal or greater than the fire’s value, the fire is removed, and a new one drawn from the fire deck. If a fire is only partly quenched, or the player has to pass (no correctly suited Quench card), a new fire is added into play from the Fire supply (not the small fire deck). Always draw a new Quench card to your hand and continue play to the left.

Escape by playing a special Escape card (in the Quench deck). If the players lose, Escaped player(s) win, but if the deck is beaten, Escapees lose.

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