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GameCon (Post 4) - Micro-Games Learning Curve

For those of you willing, I'd like to get your opinion on the core of GameCon... the mini-games.

In GameCon, players are an attendee at a gaming convention, visiting various Publisher Booths (tiles) and playing their unique mini-game. (My inspirations were Mario Party and a design workshop held at a convention.)

Currently, I have 14 micro-games designed (I've had many more, most of which have not been that good).

My question is, what are your thoughts about having a board game in which players play many short, micro-games?

Here are a couple Sample Mini-Games (note that the mini-game titles are works-in-progress):


  • Setup: Each player takes 1 Die.
  • Rules: At the same time, each player rolls their Die. The first player to say a word with letters equal to their Die Roll + 6 wins.
  • Winner: Gains 4 Experience
  • Special: Before playing, each player may discard 1 Merch to say a word with letters equal to their Die Roll + 4 (instead of "+ 6").

Super Duper Fight

  • Setup: Each player draws 1 Merch, then places a Merch from their hand Face-Up in front of them.
  • Rules: In turn, each player has 30 Seconds to say why they would win in a fight, using their chosen Merch.
    After all players took their turn, at the same time, each player points to another player they believe would win in a fight. The player with the most votes wins.
  • Winner: Gains 2 Experience + Draws 1 Merch

If you have any thoughts, questions, or opinions, I would love to hear them. Thank you for reading and for your time!


Hmm... What can be "hard"

What I believe to be a challenge in any game is coming up with enough VARIETY in the game. I too a facing a similar challenge because "I decided" that each card would have an "ability" which MIGHT allow a player to alter the way the "core" game is played.

While I have thought up of six (6) original abilities - my concern is that I won't be able to design TWENTY (20) the volume of unique cards that I have with expansion cards too...

Creating a volume of different abilities, unique attacks and special tactics is quite a challenge. Like you I find myself thinking about the NEXT ability and how I can integrate it into the game.

Those two (2) Mini games don't sound "bad", they make sense and sound reasonable... For mini games. I also think the idea is "good" - but you need some kind of better "Hook" IMHO.

Like if some giant Godzilla crashed the Con and with fiery breath it proceeded to destroy all the booths at the Con... Hehehe.

That kind of PANIC ... where not only are you trying to collect merch, but also to get out of there alive with all of it! (Or maybe as much as possible). Some kind of TWIST of impending DOOM sounds good.

Just a thought! LOL

Godzilla Mechanics

If you had a board of a Con (all kinds of booths), that would be a good start. I would use CARDS as to what booth allows you to play what game.

I know you had some big tiles, that won't work... You need something much larger as a Con. And I can maybe assist you with something you can work with...

The idea would be that Godzilla would be trashing booths with his stomping power (crushing feet) and other booths with Fire (fiery breath). I know it sounds a bit "cheesy" - but it's supposed to be.

It adds an element of "urgency" and "panic"... Why not even be blasphemous and make the game a "Roll & Move":

You roll two (2) D6s and ADD that to your current booth and that's the NEXT booth you can visit. If it has been incinerated or "crushed" too bad so sad, you "lose your turn" (because you can't play a mini game at that booth)...

Then you need some mechanics to penalize a player IF Godzilla is trashing the CURRENT location you are at... Maybe you lose half the Merch you've collected. Makes it an Up and Down kind of game - like the Stock Market.

And I was serious about the "Roll & Move"... The game ends once the first player EXITS the Con (Rolled past the LAST booth on the map).

Something maybe like that. I realize your game is not quite the same. Just throwing some ideas I had while reading your OP.


Got a Mechanic for Godzilla!

Each turn you roll 2D6s (White) and 1D6 (Red). If the RED dice MATCHES EITHER of the two (2) White dice, that's the amount of Merch you lose because of the fire (Fiery Breath).

Remember Godzilla is hunting all the Con people around you (other players).

Not 100% certain it would work... But just some ideas!

You could call it...

"TerrorCon" or something cheesy like that... Been reading up on Godzilla trademarks/copyrights and it seems like they keep a watchful eye on people using their trademark/copyright/IP.

Instead you can call it "ZillaCon" and the "Mighty Zilla" is a Giant sized Dinosaur with the capability to breath fire. Will you survive or will you be toast?!

Here are some "Con" Setup images (Comic Con):

Something you can make work off... Just for some ideas...

Once all the players have rolled...

In a round, you could add a "Mighty Zilla" TURN (AI turn). Whereby he use his monstrous feet to CRUSH booths... Not sure how to make this happen... But it could ADD to the "Panic" and "Danger"!

So you have Fire Breathing and Feet Crushing as TWO (2) AI Mechanics in the game... Sounds like a BLAST to me!... LOL

Sorry for hijacking your thread. I'll stop posting until you give feedback on if you like the idea (or Not)!

IF you like it, then we can talk further about it... But for now, I'll let you get back to the OP...

Cheers David!

Lol, you rock Quest!!! I

Lol, you rock Quest!!! I love the thought process, and it could actually be a sweet game.

It's funny you mention that, because after the 15-minutes, everyone had the opportunity to pitch their game idea. One person's pitch was a Mad Scientist Convention that went horribly wrong, and everyone had to evacuate.

While I like your concept, it's definitely taking the game in a completely different direction. You are talking about a Roll & Move, Resource collection/gathering, Area Control(?!?) style game. Right now GameCon is a mini-game game (seriously, I don't know how to categorize it). Think Mario Party, but as a board game. And it goes beyond the mini-games. The Merch that you get for winning and during certain "Announcements" are a resource that can each be used in one of 3 ways, so there's an element of Action Selection and Resource Management.

To give a little more info on the mini-games, they can either be competitive 2-player, cooperative 2-player, or free-for-all. Also, some of them are Dexterity Games, some are Social Games, and some are Strategy Games.

So not only do players have to decide which game they want to play, that decision will be influenced by who has the most Experience (VP), what the player count is, what their Merch are, and so on and so on.

The feedback I'm looking for is, What do you all think about the concept of having a game that contains a bunch of mini-games? (In other words, what would you think about having Mario Party as a board game?)

And also, do any of you see any obvious issues with the sample mini-games I posted?

Thank you for the feedback Quest!

Well I thought instead of "hard coding" everything...

You could put the mini-games on "cards". Instead of like in a booth. And at each booth you could:

A> Select the top-most card and game (simple selection)

B> Randomly select one from three cards chosen (a bit like a draft)

That's the feedback that I had concerning your OP. I think you wanted to "hard code" it on the BOOTH "itself". I didn't think that was the most dynamic way of choosing the mini-game.

C> At the beginning of the game, the set-up chooses which mini-games are played at each booth. Would make the set-up a bit longer... But then the playthru would be quicker.

Hehehe. I like the Mad Scientist idea too... And when you mentioned "Area-Control", I got the idea that you were DELIVERING "Merch" instead of collecing it. And the Area-Control came from the fact that there would be four or five areas on the board, each player controls... So you'd be like assistants WORKING at the Con.

If the "Mighty Zilla" burns your booth, you score LESS points for that booth on your turn. (Using the three dice system: 2 white + 1 red).

Kaijus at Cons

...mmmmaybe the scenario of, "These are the last few minutes of the convention, and vendors don't want to take their extra stuff home. Stragglers are scrambling to grab as much leftover merchandise as they can before the booths finally close until next year. How much can you walk away with?" It's similar in mechanic to the Gojira version questccg is talking about, but it's a bit less extreme.

For example: you can draw a card or roll a die to determine how many booths are closed at the conclusion of each turn. This adds a deadline to the game that's independent of the players, preventing the game from turning into a long slog of players who have performed terribly at minigames (such as some sessions of Mario Party are wont to do).

Meanwhile, speaking of minigames... I do think the idea can work. It sounds similar to the theme of visiting a traveling carnival and attempting to win as many prizes as you can. Using the game convention as the unifying theme, and keeping each game a one-shot, let's-move-on-to-the-next-as-soon-as-possible minigame, the players will want to flip over the deck of possible minigames to see what's next.

There may be situations where some minigames are tougher to either play or learn than others, but the same goes for Mario Party as well. The priority would be to keep game ideas short, high-energy, and easy to put down once there's a winner.

I also like how you reference the resources players have already picked up and factor them into the way the minigames are played. Definitely a nice touch! It may filter into the decision-making process players have when they win a minigame and choose their merchandise reward.

For more inspiration and guidance on minigame development, you may want to have a look at Reiner Knizia's Decathlon, or the more interactive Pentathlon that a fan developed some time after.

Here's Decathlon:

Someone composed a scoresheet that keeps everything clear and understandable on a single page. I've printed and laminated one for myself, and use a dry-erase marker when I play from time to time. (I think you need a BGG account to download it, FYI)

Here's Pentathlon:

I've thought about having

I've thought about having Mini-Games be a deck of cards, and tried variations of Cycling, Drafting, Drawing, etc. But the mechanic really doesn't match the theme.

Which is why the mini-games are on the bottom of the Booth Tiles (3"x3" squares). At the beginning of the game, all tiles are face-down, so when a player visits a face-down booth, they don't know which mini-game it is. (Unless of course they use a Merch or something allows them to peek at a booth tile.)

But once a booth is visited, it's flipped over and played, and it stays flipped over.

This simulates the feeling of a convention. Attendees go around visiting Booths, seeing what games are being played. Plus it creates an interesting decisions, as players have to choose:

1. Do I play one of these face-up mini-games? (based on the specific rules, rewards, and game-type)
2. Do I play a face-down game? (based on thinking the current face-up games aren't the best fit)

The mini-games are hard coded on the bottom of the tiles. Depending on how many we end up developing for the game, it's possibly players choose or randomly select the Booth Tiles (ie mini-games) they include in that particular game.

But I will say this has been a BEAST of a game to develop. The mini-games are difficult b/c they:

1. Have to require few components (right now the game uses dice, cards, and meeples)
2. Have little/no learning curve (the entire mini-game should take no more than 3 minutes, including reading, setup, and play)
3. Have interesting player decisions
4. Be fun (obviously subjective, but more difficult than it sounds given the short play time).

On top of that, there's the largest game itself, with its own mechanics to balance.

I hope I don't come across pretentious; it's just been a bear of a game to develop. The positive has been that we've done a lot of playtesting at conventions and have received incredibly positive feedback regarding the game. I'll clarify to say that the positive feedback has mostly been that SOME of the mini-games are awesome and there is a strong game concept there, BUT the game has a lot of innate challenges.

I know that's a HUGE rant, so here's the
TL;DR The booth tiles are important to the theme and mechanic, and we hope to have extra Booth Tiles where players don't use them all in each game.

Hmm... You can have both

At The Game Crafter, you have 2 Styles of cards:

  • 2.5" x 2.5" Small Square Cards

  • 3.5" x 3.5" Larger Square Cards

And you could do like in a Market: Have four (4) piles with Luck, Dice, Dexterity and ???. It's your game, you can define the categories. Perhaps you could SEPARATE "Reward" from "Mini-Game". The cards may have the GAME but your "booth" have the Merch rewards. So when a player chooses one Mini-Game card from one of the four (4) piles and places it on an open-booth, he already knows if the game is worth the reward or not.

Adds a layer of strategy. BTW I really think "hard coding" the game ON TILES is not a good idea. Offers much less in terms of replayability and variation. What happens TOMORROW when you all of a sudden realize you have 25 more mini-games to design. And you've HARD CODED everything on tiles. Had they been cards, all you need to do is say you're ADDING an "Expansion" deck. Something easy like that. Otherwise you need to produce more tiles and costlier too and somewhat more "limiting".

Anyways it's totally up to you. I just suggested it - because I'd prefer a way of choosing games from a Market and in different categories. So IF I see that I get 3 "Merch" of Type A and 2 "Merch" of Type B ... maybe that Dexterity game might be a quick way of earning those... Strategy like that.


Maybe I'm mis-using the term

Maybe I'm mis-using the term "hard coded." I simply mean the Booth Tiles have the mini-game specifically listed on the back of the tile (which is separate from the board). So if we ever released an expansion to add new Booths/Mini-Games, it would just be additional tiles.

I agree the tiles are more expensive, but they feel a lot better than paper-thin cards. Cards are great when you are dealing with large quantities, but when it's only a handful on a table (and they aren't being shuffled or moved around), tiles work perfectly. In some games, cards are perfect. But in the case of GameCon (and I have tried cards), tiles are the right feel and look.

You are right on about the different types of mini-games. Right now I have Dexterity, Party/Social Deduction, and Strategy.

Thank you very much Quest for all your feedback. I greatly appreciate your time and input.

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