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Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

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Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

Note: This Challenge has been completed.

Game Design Showdown
August 2005 Challenge - "Travelin' Light"

Background: From time-to-time someone puts up a request on the BoardGameGeek about games in small packages that could be easily stuck into a backpack and played while sitting on a train or riding in a car. This month's Showdown Challenge will be to design a game that would nicely fit into that description.

Design Limitations:

  • Card Game - The game should mainly revolve around a deck of cards (standard playing cards or fully custom-made cards). Other items needed for the game should be restricted to easy-to-handle items that are either supplied as part of the game or would be easy to find (coins, toothpicks, etc.).
  • Small Package - All supplied components should be able to be packaged in a double-wide card box (a small box designed to hold 2 decks of standard playing cards side-by-side).
  • 2-player Game - The game should be playable, in some fashion, by 2 players. Being playable as a solitaire, or by more than 2 players is perfectly fine as well.

Start Date: 11-August-2005
End Date: 22-August-2005, Noon EST (approximately)
Voting: 22-August-2005 through 29-August-2005

This Challenge is has been completed.

The results of the Challenge voting are shown in the final post to this thread.


A thread for critiques and comments on the entries for this Challenge can be found here:


For more info ...

Please read the Showdown Overview Thread, which lays out all of the background rules concerning this challenge ...

Questions, comments, and "clarifications" for this specific Challenge can be handled on the following thread ...



Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #1 - Belemmer
by Kumberdak

This is a strategic two player card game that uses a standard 52 card deck. The name “Belemmer” comes from the Dutch word meaning “obstruct”. In this game the object is to block in your opponent using your higher ranked cards, leaving them unable to make a move. The winner will be the player who is best able to make the right offensive and defensive moves with the cards available to him.

First the 52 cards are divided into two piles—26 red and 26 black. Next, each of the two piles are shuffled separately and placed face up on the table. One player is “red” and the other is “black”. Alternating between players, each places one card at a time (face up) onto the table making a 4 by 4 grid of cards—8 red and 8 black.

Once the sixteen cards have been placed on the table, you’re ready to begin. A coin toss can be used to determine who goes first. Heads – Red. Tails – Black.

Lets say for example, red is going first. He has the option of moving any one red card or single stack of cards (with a red card on top) one place to the left, right, up or down—but not diagonally. The only requirements to this move are that he places his card(s) on top of a black card (the black card can be on top of a stack of cards) of a lower rank. Ex. King beats Queen, Jack, 10, 9, and so on. There is only one exception to this rule. An Ace, although normally counted as a “one” (and normally beaten by any card) is ranked higher than any of the face cards. Basically, an Ace can be beaten by any number card 2 – 10, but will beat any face card. (Just remember the term: “Ace beats Face”.)

After making his move, red takes the next “face up” card off the top of his pile and places it in the empty space from which he moved. Now it is blacks turn.

Players alternate turns until one of them can no longer make a legal move and is defeated. If both players have no cards remaining, the game is over and the player with the largest total card value is the winner.

Final Card Values:

Ace cards are worth 1 point each.
Number cards are each worth the number on their card.
Face cards are worth 10 points each.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #2 - Four Cards
by seo

An abstract card game for two or more players.

Object of the game
To collect as many goal cards by matching any of the suit combinations in them with the playing cards in the hand.


    - A deck of 72 playing cards in four suits, each suit consisting of 18 cards numbered from 1 to 9 (two of each value). - A deck of 32 goal cards, each containing 8 four ordered suit combinations.
Both decks are shuffled and placed face down on the table (car seat, player’s lap, etc.).
Each player takes 4 playing cards and one goal card.

On his turn, each player:

    1) takes one card from the reserve playing cards pile or the discard pile 2) if possible, claims a goal completion (see details below)
    3) places one card, face up, on the discard pile
When the reserve pile is empty, the discard pile is reshuffled and placed face down.

Goal completion:
If the suit of any four cards in the hand, ordered by increasing value, match any of the eight combinations in his goal card, the player can claim a goal completion and earn a victory point.
To do so he shows the four playing cards along with the goal card, then discards the playing cards and keeps the goal card in a separate pile. This goal card can not be used again to claim VPs.
He then replenishes his hand by taking four cards from the playing cards reserve pile (to complete five in his hand), and one new goal card from the goal cards reserve pile.


In the example, the player, after drawing the 9-blue, can match the first combination on the card using 1-red, 3-yellow, 7-green and 9-blue, and earn a VP.

End of game:
The game ends when all goal cards have been used. The player with the most goal cards on his VP pile wins.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #3 - In the Time of Art
by Torrent

Cities in renaissance Italy are clamoring for architectural pieces of grandour. As projects come up the players assign their resources to complete them. Highest honor is gained by specializing in a city and/or type.

Resource Cards (2/3 of the total cards)
Project Cards
Endgame/Reference Card for endgame points

Explanation of Cards:
Resource Cards have two resources depicted in icons at the top and bottom of the card. They also have one craftsmen icon (Person). The four possible resources are Wood, Glass, Tile, and Metal.

Project Cards have a name of the project, a group of 3-6 resource icons and a number of craftsmen icons, a Type Icon, a City Icon, and a point value. Types are things like Religions, Commercial, Government, Public.

The endgame card has the same back as the Project cards, but the front has the explanation of the endgame on it. This is used both as referene for endgame points and for a random ending point to the game.

Shuffle the project Cards and Resource Cards into seperate piles. Shuffle the Endgame card into the bottom 1/3 of the project deck. Each player draws 4 resource cards. Another (#Player) resources are laid face up between the players. (#Players) projects are laid face up as well.

Each player takes a turn around the circle. Each turn, the player may either draw cards or acquire a project.
1) Draw cards: A player can draw one card either from the face up or draw pile.
2) Acquire a project: By playing a group of resource cards that together make up all the resources required for a project, the player can acquire that project. Cards cannot be split, so overages may occur. Note that craftsmen count for this and due to one per resource are the limiter of the minimum number of resource cards per project.

Projects and resources are refilled in the face up section when each player has had a turn. The start player then moves one to the left; the stacks are refilled and the turn go again. Reshuffle the resource cards as needed. Acquired projects are placed face up in front of the player.

Example: Project Card of "Guild Hall Foyer" requires 2 tile, a glass, and 2 craftsmen. Player A has a Tile/Glass, a Glass/Metal, and a Tile/Wood. He is able to play the Tile/Glass and the Tile/Wood to acquire the project. Since each resource has a craftsman and the project requires 2, 2 resource cards is sufficient to acquire it.

The game progresses with players acquiring project cards, until the Endgame card is drawn to replace a bought project.
Victory Points are as follows: Points are on each project.
City Points are by majority. The player with the majority of the city's projects gains the city points listed on the reference card.
Type points are a exponential scale. 2 of a Type is 1 points, 3 gains 3 points, 4 gains 6, and so on.

Most points wins.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #4 - The American Revolution
by jwarrend

Game equipment:
30 soldier cards, each valued 1-5 (10 British, 10 American, 10 foreign)
20 leader cards (10 British, 10 American)
10 Location cards
6 Event cards
1 Die

1775, the American continent. Displeased with British rule, colonists have begun to clamor for independence, and some have taken up arms to fight for liberty. But the rebellion is not universally popular, and the Colonial troops are poorly equipped and lack the discipline and experience of the British Regulars. The British have their own problems: embroiled in a costly war with France, fighting a second war across the world will tax Britain's resources and resolve. Can the British put down the rebellion, or will the Sons of Liberty win their independence?

Game setup:
The soldier cards and Event cards are shuffled together. The leader cards are divided into two piles and each player draws his topmost leader card. The "Lexington" card from the Location pile is placed in the center of the table, and the remaining Location cards are shuffled.

Game play:
The game's action centers on capturing the current Location card. These cards have various consequences: For example, capturing Fort Ticonderoga enables the Americans to steal supplies from the British; holding it earns political power for the British; winning Saratoga earns Victory Points; etc. The player must balance his political power, which corresponds to the number of cards in his hand, with his military power, which determines the outcome of the current battle.

Each leader card has two ratings, political and military. A player’s turn consists of using his current leader in one of three ways: political, military, or special ability. If the player uses the political ability, he may draw as many cards as the leader’s ability. (If the player draws an Event card, he places it face-up on the table, replacing the current Event if appropriate).

If he chooses military, he may add soldier cards, face-up, to the current battle whose total value is equal to or less than the leader’s military rating. (Ex. A leader whose military ability was 4 could legally play a 1 and 3 card, or two 2 cards, or four 1 cards, but not a 5 card).

Some leaders have a special ability, which may be used instead of the political or military ability. For example, George Washington may add one card face-down to a battle. Benjamin Franklin may be used to gain control of all of the French troops in the British player’s hand.

Instead of using his leader, the player may gain the current Event card, if he is eligible to do so and if he meets the condition on the card. For example, the Declaration of Independence card allows the American player to increase his hand limit, if he first shows all of his cards to the British player.

The current battle ends when [some criteria is met]. The battle is resolved by first evaluating the special effects of cards (eg, artillery allows a “first shot” ability), then determining the winner by comparing which player has the most cards remaining in the battle (tie -> Colonists). He takes the location card into his personal holdings, and receives whatever benefit it confers. He then reveals the two topmost location cards and chooses which will be contested next.

Next, casualties are assessed. Each player rolls the die once. If the number on the die matches a number of a card he played in the battle, the other player must lose as many cards, chosen at random, (from those played in the battle) as the number of “musket” icons on the card. (Ex., Joe played a 1,3, and 4 card in a battle. During casualties, he rolls a 3. His “3” card depicts 2 “musket” icons, so his opponent must randomly lose 2 cards). Casualties are removed from the game, and surviving troops may be returned to the player’s hand (observing his hand limit, of course).

Game end and Victory:
Each Location card that a player holds is worth 1-4 VP as indicated on the cards. The game ends either when a player amasses 10 VP or when all locations have been resolved. The player with the most VP is the winner!

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #5 - Bitter Creek
by emxibus


Welcome to Bitter Creek Wyoming, where the man with the quickest draw and the deadliest aim makes the rules. Each player hires three gunslingers to protect them and their assets. Once all of a player’s gunslingers are killed he quickly leaves Bitter Creek and all his assets behind.


6 Gunslinger cards
12 Fire cards
12 Aim cards

Each gunslinger card has three stats

Toughness (1-2) – Number of hits he can take before dying.
Speed (1-3) – Speed at which he can draw his weapon.
Nerve (1-6) – Ability to take the heat of the gun fight.


Players alternate selecting a gunslinger until all are hired. Each player collects 6 fire cards, and 6 aim cards.


Eliminate all of your opponent’s gunslingers


1) Players simultaneously select one gunslinger to fight.

2) The player whose gunslinger has the quicker draw (speed) gets to play a number of cards before the other player can. Subtract the lower speed from the higher speed to determine the number of cards. For example, if player A’s gunslinger has a speed of one and player B’s gunslinger has a speed of three. Player B’s gunslinger plays two cards before proceeding to step three.

3) Players simultaneously select one card from their hand and play it.

Fire Card: Roll 1D8 (fire roll), if an eight is rolled your opponent’s gunslinger takes a hit. If a gunslinger takes a number of hits equal to his toughness he falls dead in the street (go to step five). If a player fires and misses, his opponent does a nerve check (see below). If both players play fire cards, it is possible that both gunslingers could die.

Aim Card: For each aim card played in the round add one to your fire roll. For example, a player has already played three aim cards and two fire cards this round. Next, he plays a fire card and rolls a five. He would add three (number of aim cards already played) to his fire roll. The modified fire roll would be an eight, which would be a hit.

4) Repeat step three until one gunslinger is killed. If a player has no more cards in his hand then he must reload his weapon (collect his twelve cards). Reloading is done in place of playing a card in step three.

5) Once a gunslinger is killed the round is over, and a new round is started, proceed to step one. If a player doesn’t have any more gunslingers he loses the game.

Nerve Check: A player discards one card from his hand. A gunslinger can lose a number of cards equal to his nerve stat. For example, if a gunslinger has a nerve of two, the max number of cards he can discard is two. Cards lost to nerve checks are collected when a player reloads his weapon.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Game #6 - Arcadia
by yogurt

A card game for two players.

Players create pastoral scenes by stacking transparent playing cards on top of opaque landscape cards. The transparent cards overlay each other, filling the landscapes with details such as villagers and their work.

The landscape stacks are shared. When a player chooses to score a stack of cards, both players have an opportunity to earn points.


(All cards are plastic and waterproof!)

84 transparent cards with opaque icons
20 opaque landscape cards
2 player aid cards


The transparent cards feature round opaque icons called “inhabitants.”

There are 16 spots available for inhabitants on each card. Each card has 1 to 5 inhabitants randomly placed among these spots. The remaining places are empty and transparent.

When you lay a transparent card on top of another transparent card, some inhabitants may cover others, replacing them.

(I’m on vacation and have no mouse to draw with. My apologies for not illustrating this transparent overlay concept.)

Inhabitants fall into these categories: huts, villagers, and resources (beehives, sheep, figs, and wells). There are also rare inhabitants called “wanderers,” such as lions or shepherds.

Resources such as beehives increase your score. Villagers guard resources, ensuring only you benefit from them. Huts score bonus points. Wanderers add temporary new rules.


The landscape cards are show rolling hills, fields and coasts. The inhabitants will appear to be gamboling in these idyllic terrains.

Some landscapes start with bonus resources pre-printed on the card or have areas such as lakes where no inhabitants may be placed.


The villagers come in two colours. Have one player be RED and the other YELLOW.

Deal three opaque landscapes face up between the players. These are the starting stacks.

Deal each player three transparent cards.


On your turn, you may either:

1. Play a card.


2. Trigger scoring. (This costs four cards.)


Add a transparent card to one of the three stacks. Cards may be played upside down to help you fit inhabitants into the scene.

You may only cover one inhabitant with another if the new inhabitant is of equal or higher rank. The ranks from highest to lowest are:

1. Huts
2. Villagers
3. Resources
4. Wanderers

For example, a sheep (resource) can replace a shepherd (wanderer) or figs (resource). A hut can replace any other inhabitant.

If you cannot legally play a card, you MUST score a stack instead. (If you cannot afford to score a stack, draw one card. Your turn ends.)

After playing a card, draw two cards.


Before you can score, you must pay four cards from your hand. Discard them.

Pick one stack of cards, and name one type of resource visible in that stack (beehive, sheep, figs or wells).

Count the number of times that resource appears on ALL THREE landscape stacks. Score triangularly: 1 resource, 1 point; 2 resources, 3 points; 3 resources, 6 points; 4 resources, 10 points; and so on.

HOWEVER: Villagers protect resources! When counting resources, do not include any resources beside one of your opponent’s villagers, unless you have more villagers beside that same resource.


Score 3 bonus points for every hut visible on the stack you triggered.

Your opponent scores

Your opponent now has the chance to pick a different resource from that stack, if any exist, and score it. Your opponent does not score huts.

Remove the stack and replace it with a new landscape card. If there are no landscape cards left, the game ends.


The rare inhabitants called wanderers add new temporary rules.

For example:

Philosopher. Draw one additional card when you add a card to this stack.
Lion. No sheep on this card count towards scoring.
Bandit. If you add a card to this stack, remove the top card of any other stack.
Shepherd. If you trigger this stack for scoring, your opponent may add one card to the stack before you choose a resource to score.


The game ends when no more landscape cards are available to be placed. Highest score wins.

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Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #7 - Traveling Light
by grayscale

for 2-4 players


Traveling Light is a card game that doesn't require a playing surface. Each player just needs to be able to hold two piles of cards, one pile in each hand.

There are five types of cards: Leaders, Persons, Objects, Vehicles, and Containers. You're all going on a trip, and you have to pack everything for the trip, but you want to be the Leader with the lightest load once everything is packed.

A Pack is a stack of cards where the top card is face-up and the cards underneath are face-down. The top card "claims" the other cards in the Pack. At the start of the game, all cards start face-up, which means they're all separate Packs. During the game, players combine and repack Packs, until all the cards are in Leader Packs.

The number on a card is its size, which is how many cards can be in its Pack, including itself. Leaders do not have a size limit.


The prototype uses most of a deck of standard playing cards. Bridge size is more convenient than Poker size.

Red A, K, Q, J are Leaders.
Red 8, 9, 10 are Persons.
Red 2, 3, 4, 5 are Objects.
Black 8, 9, 10 are Vehicles.
Black 2, 3, 4, 5 are Containers.

The number is the size, except Objects are all size 1.


1. Every player chooses a Leader card. The remaining Leader cards are removed and do not get used.

2. Shuffle the chosen Leaders with the rest of the cards. Divide the cards among all the players. It doesn't have to be exactly equal, it's okay to just estimate it.

3. Each player splits their cards into two piles, one for each hand. All cards start face-up.


Add the sizes of your top cards. The person with the highest total moves first, and play continues to the left.

On your turn, you usually combine Packs and pass the combined Pack to the player on your left. Sometimes combining Packs will instead lead to repacking, which redistributes parts of the combined Pack. If there's no way for you to combine Packs, you pass a Pack instead.


Choose one of the Packs on top of your piles, and use it to claim any other Pack on top of any other pile. When you claim a Pack, you turn the top card of the claimed Pack face-down, and put the claimed Pack under your Pack to make a combined Pack.

The top cards determine how Packs can be claimed:

Containers can claim Objects or Containers.
Persons can claim Objects or Vehicles.
Vehicles can claim Persons or Containers.
Leaders can claim Objects, Containers, Persons, or Vehicles.

(Objects are fragile and must be in a Container or carried by a Person. A Person claiming a Vehicle is driving or leading the Vehicle. A Person claimed by a Vehicle is riding or following the Vehicle.)

When the combined Pack is larger than the size of the top card, the combined Pack must be repacked.

When a Leader claims a Container, the combined Pack must be repacked.

If you don't need to repack, then you just pass the Pack to the player on your left, who puts it on the bottom of one of their piles.


Repacking works like this: The top card becomes a Pack by itself. Then take the bottom card from the original Pack, turn it face-up, and make a new Pack as large as that card's size, using cards from the top of the original Pack. Repeat until there are no more cards in the original Pack.

Pass the new Packs to each player in order, starting with the player on your left and going clockwise. Each player puts each Pack they receive on the bottom of one of their piles. Include yourself in the distribution order. Don't change the order of the Packs. The player to your left always gets the card that was on top of the original Pack.

Note: repacking may create strange Packs, like a Handbag that contains a Helicopter. This is acceptable. It represents confusion during the frantic chaos of packing, and you're passing off the strange combinations to someone else, it's Not Your Problem.


If there's no way for you to combine any Packs, such as when both of your piles have Objects on top, then you choose one of your top Packs and pass it to the player on your left, who puts it on the bottom of one of their piles.


The game is over when all the cards are in Leader Packs. The Leader with the fewest cards wins. If that's a tie, the Leader with the lowest total size wins.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #8 - The Pudding Incident
by Hamumu

At Rugenthorpe’s School For The Horrifically Gifted, alliances and friendships form and fracture in hours as the kids struggle to control both burgeoning hormones and ever-growing mystical energies. Today, someone has thrown a cup of pudding in the lunchroom, and there are no teachers around to control the ensuing mayhem. Which group will manage to survive The Pudding Incident?

Players: 2
Time: 30min
Components: A deck of 50 Kid cards

Example cards:


Shuffle the deck and deal out 10 cards to each player, facedown. Neither player may look at them! These face-down cards will be referred to as Coins from now on.

Picking Kids

Deal out 5 Kids face up in the middle. Pick a player to go first (you may offer your opponent Coins for the right to go first if he won’t let you otherwise!).

Players take turns drafting one Kid from the face up pile until all 5 are chosen.

If you want a Kid that the other player has chosen, you may immediately bid Coins. If you do this, the other player may bid higher, back and forth, until one of you passes. Whoever bids the most discards their bid and takes the Kid. If you take a Kid on your opponent’s turn, it still becomes your turn next, and you pick again.

Once all 5 Kids have been picked, the next 5 Kids are dealt out face-up and selected in the same way, with turns continuing in order.

When all Kids in the deck have been picked, each player takes any Coins they still have and adds them to their deck. All Coins that were paid as bids are removed from play, and may not be looked at by either player until the game is over.

Players now shuffle their decks and draw a hand of 5 Kids, and the battle begins!


Each player selects 3 Kids from their hand to enter into battle as a Team. Players reveal their Teams simultaneously. The leftmost Kid in a Team is the Leader, the middle Kid is the Second String, and the last Kid is the Cheerleader.

Here are the rules of combat:

1. Both Leaders attack simultaneously.
2. Strength (the sword icon) indicates damage done.
3. A Kid is discarded if he takes damage greater than or equal to his Defense (the shield icon).
4. Attacks always hit the leftmost Kid on the opposing Team.
5. If a Kid is discarded, any damage done to him above his Defense is carried over to hit the next Kid on his Team.
6. If a Leader is discarded, the Second String for that side then attacks.

While those are the rules, they are bent or broken in various ways by every card. Each Kid has two abilities – an Attack, and a Support. Your Cheerleader applies his Support ability to all members of your Team as long as he is alive. Your Leader and Second String apply their Attack ability any time they attack.

When damage carries over to another Kid after knocking one out, it is treated like a second attack. For example: Your Leader has 4 Strength and the Attack ability "Double damage against Water Kids". He attacks the enemy Leader (who is a Water Kid, with 5 Defense), and inflicts 8 damage (doubling his Strength). The first 5 knock out the enemy Leader, and the remaining 3 carry over to the Second String. If the Second String is also a Water Kid, that 3 gets doubled again, for 6 damage against him!

Surviving Kids return to their owner’s hand, fully healed. Each player then draws 1 more Kid if their deck is not empty, up to a maximum of 7 Kids. You lose the game if you have less than 3 Kids in your hand after drawing a new one. Players then pick a new Team for the next battle!

The Kids

The element each Kid belongs to gives you an idea of their abilities:

In general, Kids of the same element work well together, as many Support abilities tend to help other Kids of the same element. Some Kids are plainly much better than others as well, making the Picking Kids phase a little more interesting.

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Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #9 - Haul A$$ets
by Kreitler

In Haul A$$ets, players compete to transport the most valuable freight around the world via truck, train, plane, and ship. The player who ships the most wins!

Players: 2-4
Time: 30 minutes
Age: 10+

Red Transport deck:

    20 Truck cards with mileage values from 100-1000 15 Train cards with mileage values from 500-2000
    10 Plane cards with mileage values from 1000-4000
    5 Ship cards with mileage values from 3000-10000
    10 Event cards
Example Events
    General Strike – current turn ends immediately. All players discard hands. Reshuffle all decks. Play resumes with next player. Fogged In – play no aircraft cards this turn.
    Blizzard – Truck mileage x1/2 this turn.
    Subcontracting – each player passes 1 Freight card of his choice to the left.
Yellow Freight deck:
    40 Freight cards, each with a total mileage requirement and dollar value. Higher mileage equals higher worth. Some Freight cards have special shipping restrictions. Examples:
      a) no trucks
      b) at least 1000 miles via plane
      c) train only
    Transport restrictions increase the Freight’s worth.

Play Transport cards to ship Freight to its destination. Successfully shipping Freight earns you money. Some Freight requires special shipping methods, making it worth more. Keep good Freight for yourself and give hard-to-ship Freight to your opponents. Use Event cards to introduce unexpected problems and opportunities.

Shuffle the Transport deck and deal 2 cards to each player. Place the remaining Transport cards face down in a draw pile in the center of the table.

Leave space beside the Transport draw pile for a discard pile and a “transfer pile”.

Shuffle the Freight cards and place them face down in a draw pile beside the Transport pile.

The youngest player starts.

Playing the Game
The active player begins his turn by:
1) Drawing 2 Freight cards and keeping both, OR
2) Drawing 1 Freight card and either keeping it or giving it to any opponent, who must add it to his hand.

The active player then draws or discards Transport cards until he holds exactly twice as many as Freight cards in his hand.

    a) Players may discard face-up into the discard pile or face-down into the transfer pile. Players may discard to either or both piles in one turn. b) Players may draw from either the Transport draw pile or the transfer pile.
    c) When drawing the first Transport card and each subsequent odd card, the active player adds it directly to his hand.
    d) When drawing the second Transport card and each subsequent even card, he shows it to all players, then either plays it immediately on himself (if it is an Event) or adds it to his hand.
    e) If the Transport draw pile is empty and a player wishes to draw from it, combine the discard and transfer piles into a single pile, shuffle it, and use it as the new Transport draw pile.

The active player now ships Freight and plays Events.

    a) To ship Freight, he places a Freight card on the table along with Transport cards whose total mileage equals or exceeds the value on the Freight card.
      1. All cards are placed face-up in full view of all players. 2. The Transport cards must obey any restrictions shown on the Freight card.
      3. If the Transport cards' total mileage is too little, or if any Transport card violates a restriction, the player places the associated Transport cards in the discard pile and returns the Freight card to his hand.
      4. A player may ship multiple pieces of Freight during his turn.
      5. After shipping a piece of Freight, the player places all associated Transport cards face up in the discard pile and keeps the Freight for later scoring.
    b) To play an Event, the player places the card face up in front of the affected player.
      1. Events played on the active player take effect immediately. 2. Events played on other players take effect after the other player has drawn his cards but before he attempts to ship Freight and play Events.
After shipping Freight and playing Events, the player may place as many unplayed Transport cards as he wishes face down in the transfer pile.

The player then places all Events played on him in the discard pile.

Play continues around the table until the Freight pile is empty and one player ships his last piece of Freight.

Compute players’ scores by totaling the dollar value of shipped Freight and subtracting the dollar value of unshipped Freight (cards still held in hand).

The player with the most money wins. In case of ties, the player with the largest number of shipped Freight cards wins.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #10 - The Great Sardini is Dead!
by doho123

A lightly themed abstract card game for any reasonable amount of players)

Magician Wanted: Exclusive Copa Club has an opening for prominent headlining magic act for the World Famous Copa Club floor show. Tryouts to commence this Monday. Competition expected to be fierce, so any trick that is is failed to be performed correctly will result in immediate dismissal.

Object: Play cards from your hand to perform the magic MOVES required to complete a magic TRICK. All cards played to complete a Trick are collected. Player with the most collected cards wins.

The Cards: Each card has two different components. When played out of a player’s hand, the suit and rank of the card as indicated in the corner is used. Ranks are 1-10, and the suits are Wands/Top Hats/Stars/Smoke. When played as a Trick to be completed, the center area is used, which shows the Trick Name, and up to four Moves which need to be completed to collect the Trick.

Setup: Shuffle the cards and place the deck face down. Reveal the first set of Tricks by flipping over the top cards from the deck and placing them where all players can see. The amount of Tricks revealed will be 1 less than the amount of players playing. (The players may decide before the start of the game to have more or less Tricks available depending on how much space they have.)
The first player is decided randomly, and turns progress to the player's left.

On a player's turn, he may do one of the following two actions:

1) Attempt A Trick. The player announces he wishes to try to win a Trick. He announces which Trick he is trying to complete/collect. The player then starts to play cards out of his hand to complete each Move listed on the selected Trick, in any order. Example Moves: “any 3 wands”, “2 cards that add up to 11”, or “1 or more cards with a rank less than 3”. After completing a Move, the player can draw one extra card to his hand before performing another Move. (A player can attempt a Trick without having all the cards he needs at the start, in the hopes that he can pick up the cards he needs to finish other Moves.)

If the player fails to perform all the Moves on a Trick, the player is removed from the game.

If the player completes all of the Moves on the Trick, the player takes all of those cards played, plus the Trick card and places them in his completion pile. He then announces if his “Act Is Over” or if he’s “Going For An Encore”. In either case, the player flips up the top card of the deck to reveal a new Trick. If his “Act Is Over” the next player can draw one card, or attempt the new Trick. If the current player is “Going For An Encore,” the player MUST attempt this new Trick.


2) Draw Cards. If a player does not wish to attempt a Trick, the player can draw cards into his hand. If the previous player Attempted a Trick, the current player draws one card. Otherwise, the current player draws the amount of cards the previous player drew plus one more card. (So, the first player would draw 1 card, the second player draws 2 cards, the next player draws 3 cards, etc, until someone decides to Attempt a Trick, at which point, the "counter is reset" to 1).

All cards drawn are hidden from the other players. There is no limit to how may cards a player may hold.

The game ends when only one player is left due to the other player's being eliminated from failed tricks, or when the draw deck is exhausted.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #11 - Nippon: Land of Heroes and Spirits
by buthrukaur

Intro: You are competing to create the Epics of Japanese mythology. You do this by pitting Heroes, Monsters, Legendary creatures and Demons against each other. This game for two players eliminates the need for a table by making use of the Box as the only playing surface you’ll need.

60 card deck
10 counters each in Brown, Blue, Green, Yellow and Red
5 player counters (black on one side white on the other)
Box (folding box with dividers, see picture)

Give each player one of each counter. Shuffle the deck and deal half (30 Cards) to each player. Each player will place his deck in the respective half of the box top. Sort out the counters and place each color in its respective slot. Play begins with the oldest player.

Game play:
Each player may do one of the following actions:
Draw a card from his deck.
When a player draws a card from his deck he has one of 2 options with it.
-He can place it in his hand by discarding a counter of the same color as the highest strength of that card. If a card has multiple values that are the highest he can choose which color to discard of any that are tied for highest.
-The second option with the card is to place it in the discard pile and take a combination of 2 counters the same color as any that the card does not have a score of 1 in the trait.

Trade in any two counters of any color for any other counter.

Use a cards turn Action Game Text.
The cards will have the words “Turn Action” if it has an effect you can used during your turn.

Initiate Epic.
If both players have at least 1 card in their hand the active player may start an Epic. Each player may select up to 5 counters from his stash and place in a closed fist. Players then select one card from hand and place it face up on top of their draw deck. Both players drop the counters on top of their face up card. The trait with the highest combined score from both players’ card becomes the first battle (if there is a tie defending player decides which will go first.)
Players add the counters they dropped matching their color of the battle to their total. Whichever player has the highest total win the battle and takes all counters dropped by both players of this color into hand. If player A wins place a player counter white side up in the corresponding counter slot, Player B places his Black Side up when he wins. In case of a tie both players pick up remaining counters and return cards to hand, which ends the battle. If a player has more then double the strength of the other player the loser of that battle must immediately discard his card, if more battle need to be resolved then the player without a card can only use the strength of his counters. This process continues until all colors are resolved.

Resolving Epic:
Once all battles are resolved place the cards participating in the battle on the bottom of the players draw decks. Player A must then discard one card from the top of his draw deck for each black counter and Player B for each white counter.

Epic Example

Player A (the attacker) bids 3 red, Player B bids 2 Green and 3 Blue. Yellow has the highest total and resolves first with A winning and placing a White counter in the Yellow Slot. Brown resolves next with a tie, which would return the counters and cards to player hands. If A had placed one brown counter he would have won and then the defender could decide between Red and Blue with A winning Red and B winning Blue and finally Green would resolve for B. The player that wins each round returns all the counters of that color to his hand. Players would then discard cards based on the chips in the counter trays and the cards used in the battle are placed on the bottom of their respective decks.

Note: All cards have a Game Text. You must read all your cards as you play, use or battle with them as they may have a special effect on the game. If there is ever a timing issue the player with the current turn decided what order to resolve the card in.

Once a players deck runs out he loses the game.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #12 - Posit
by Challengers

Mastermind meets Concentration

Equipment: One poker deck with all number cards (two through ten) removed. This leaves 18 cards, including two jokers. If the jokers are unavailable, use two deuces. In the basic game, suits are ignored.
The object of Posit is to be the first person to guess what cards your opponent is holding.

The deal: shuffle and deal each player five cards. Return the rest of the deck to the box.

Play: Dealer goes first. A turn consists of either guessing and peeking or challenging.
· Guessing: Try to guess what cards your opponent is holding by calling out up to three card ranks. They do not all have to be different, but they can not all be the same. After your guess, your opponent will respond with a number between zero and three. A response of zero means that your opponent does not hold any of those cards. A number greater than zero indicates how many of your guesses match. (see examples below for clarification.)
· Peeking: This is fun for the younger kids! Whenever you correctly guess exactly two cards out of three, simply say "I wanna peek!" and your opponent must show you one card. The card shown has to be one of the two that were correctly guessed.
· Challenging: Instead of guessing or peeking, you may challenge your opponent. You must state that you are challenging. To challenge, recite each card that you think your opponent is holding. If you correctly call out all five cards, you've won that round. Losing a challenge is devastating! Your opponent gets to take the eight cards out of the box, mix them with her five cards and deal herself a new hand. Although she is not allowed to look at all eight cards, the new cards may give her just enough information to be able to figure out what you're holding!

Winning: Whoever wins the most rounds is declared the winner.

You are dealt Ace, King, King, Jack, Jack. Here is your response to various guesses, and the reason for that response:

Guess: "Jack, Queen"
Response: "One"
Reason: You hold one of the cards guessed. Don't say "Two", thinking you have two Jacks, because your opponent will think you have a Jack and a Queen.

Guess: "Queen, Queen"
Response: "Zero"
Reason: You're not holding any queens!

Guess: "Ace, King"
Response: "Two"
Reason: You hold one of the cards guessed. Don't say "Three". Your opponent only mentioned one king!

Guess: "Ace, King, Queen"
Response: "Two"
Reason: You hold two of the cards guessed. Now, when your opponent demands a peek, you must show either the ace or one of the kings.

Guess: "Jack, King, King"
Response: "Three"
Reason: You hold all of the cards guessed. Don't say "Two", thinking of the two ranks, because your opponent will think that you hold either two kings or a jack and, at most, one king - which is incorrect.

Advanced Variations:
· Suits Matter – this is for people who have mastered the basic game and want an additional challenge. Guesses now include suits. The use of Jokers is optional for this variation.
· No Peeking – players are not entitled to a peek at any time.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Entry #13 - Are We There Yet?
by Caliani

Mom and Dad have loaded you and your siblings into the family car for a drive to Grandma’s house. It’s up to you to hoard the best “goodies” in order to make the trip bearable. But beware, the other kids are going to be doing their best to steal that DVD player you’re watching, so be sure to slip ‘em that unfinished homework instead while making them watch you finish that last candy bar!

Game Play
“Are We There Yet?” is played with one 52 Play Cards, 12 Goodie Cards, and one six-sided die.

To begin the game deal out an equal number of Goodie Cards to each player face down. Goodie cards are kept in the player’s Goodie Pile and may be rearranged any time during a player’s turn. Each player is also dealt four Play cards.

The player left of the dealer goes first, and then play moves clockwise.

A turn consists of:
1) Player draws Play cards until they have 5.
2) Play any yellow Event Cards immediately (stop here if you draw a “Lose a Turn” card).
3) Player optionally plays a “Steal” card (red) on a Goodie owned by another player (see “Stealing and Defending”).
4) After any “Steal” attempt has been resolved, player may play one “Action” card (purple).
• When a “Peek” or “Hide” card is played on a Goodie, place the Goodie on top of it (face up for “Peek”, face down for “Hide”) next to your Goodie Pile.
5) If no cards are played, discard one card.

Winning the Game
The game ends when three “Are We There Yet?” cards have been played.
The winner is the player with the highest score at that time. Score is determined by totaling the points of all “Goodie” cards that a player has.

Stealing and Defending
To attempt to Steal a Goodie, a player plays a steal card against another player’s Goodie card. The Goodie card is then placed face up next to the Steal card. The Steal may be played against cards that have been “Peek”-ed, but not one that has been Hidden.

The defender may then use any blue Defense card to block the Steal. Some Defense cards may only be used to block certain types of Steal cards, as noted on the card face (ex: a “Wet Willy” against “Snatch”) If a “Mommy!” card is played, the defender rolls one die to determine the outcome of the steal. If the result is:
1 - 2 “Then neither of you will have it!” – Goodie is discarded.
3 – 4 “You need to learn to share” – Successful Steal.
5 – 6 “Don’t make me come back there!” – Unsuccessful Steal

If the Steal attempt is Defended, play cards are discarded and the Goodie goes back to the original player’s Goodie Pile.

If the Steal is successful the “Stealer” may play a “Cooties” card as their action card to return the Goodie back to the old owner (when stealing the “Homework” card for example).

Otherwise a stolen card is placed face down onto the stealing player’s Goodie Pile (which may be reshuffled). Any “Peeks” on the stolen Goodie are discarded.

Discarded Goodies should be kept in a separate Goodie discard pile. They may be claimed using the “Finders Keepers” card.


Goodies (12) – (2” x 3.5”)
• DVD Player +3
• Video Game +3
• MP3 Player +3
• Comic Books +2
• Last Candy Bar +2
• Last Soda +2
• Mr. Potato Head +1
• Etch-a-Sketch +1
• Word Search +1
• Coloring Book +1
• Mom’s Magazine -1
• Homework -2

Play Deck

• (6) Snatch
• (6) Grab
• (5) Yoink
• (1) Look at that! – Only defended by a Sharp Turn.
• (1) Trade – Trade one of your Goodies for one of another player’s. Only defended by a Sharp Turn.

• (3) Wet Willy – Defends Snatch
• (3) Nuh-Uh! – Defends Grab
• (2) Indian Burn – Defends Yoink
• (1) Time Out – Defends Snatch/Grab/Yoink. Stealer may not defend next turn except with Sharp Turn.
• (1) Sharp Turn – Defends any Steal.
• (7) Mommy!
• (2) Switch – Switch stolen Goodie with any other Goodie in your pile.

• (3) Peek – Turn one opponent Goodie card face up, or return hidden Goodie to Goodie Pile.
• (3) Hide – Hides Goodie so it can’t be stolen, or returns Peek-ed Goodie to Goodie Pile.
• (2) Cooties – Return Goodie you stole this turn to original owner.
• (1) What’s This? – Mom finds hidden Goodies. All hidden Goodies are discarded.
• (1) Finders Keepers – Player gets all discarded Goodies.

• (3) “Are we there yet?”
• (1) Lose a turn

Example Cards

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown Aug 2005: "Travelin' Light"

Thanks, as always to all of those who played along with this month's GDS Challenge ... some folks really struggled with the lack of a theme restriction ... others simply found the restrictions that were there to be rather mundane and to closely fitting existing published games.

However, I'll continue to change up the type of criteria used in order to give people different things to think about and (as especially happened with this Challenge) gain entries from people who haven't submitted before.

All in all, I think we had another strong field of games submitted this month.

So, now ... based upon the votes that were PM'd to me, we have the following results ...

First Place (30 points -- 5 #1's, 1 #2, 2 #3's) -- Arcadia by yogurt (Entry #6) (pssst ... he's baaaa-aaack!)

Second Place (22 points -- 3 #1's, 2 #2's, 1 #3) -- The Great Sardini is Dead! by doho123 (Entry #10)

Third Place (18 points -- 2 #1's, 2 #2's, 2 #3's) -- Bitter Creek by emxibus (Entry #5)

The rest of the scoring went as follows ...

  • Posit by Challengers (Entry #12) -- 14 points (2 #1's, 1 #2, 1 #3)
  • The American Revolution by jwarrend (Entry #4) -- 13 points (1 #1, 2 #2's, 2 #3's)
  • Are We There Yet? by Caliani (Entry #13) -- 10 points (1 #1, 1 #2, 2 #3's)
  • Haul A$$ets by Kreitler (Entry #9) -- 10 points (3 #2's, 1 #3)
  • Nippon: Land of Heroes and Spirits by buthrukaur (Entry #11) -- 5 points (1 #1)
  • Belemmer by Kumberdak (Entry #1) -- 5 points (1 #2, 2 #3's)
  • Traveling Light by grayscale (Entry #7) -- 3 points (1 #2)
  • The Pudding Incident by Hamumu (Entry #3) -- 3 points (1 #2)
  • Four Cards by seo (Entry #2) -- 2 points (2 #3's)
  • In the Time of Art by Torrent (Entry #3) received no votes

You can continue the discussion about this Challenge within the critiques thread, found here:


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