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Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

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Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

(Note: This Challenge has been completed.)

Game Design Showdown
June 2005 Challenge - "Out There!"

Theme: UFOs, Alien Abductions, Cattle Mutilations, Crop Circles, or anything else that fits within the "Extraterrestrials Are Here" mythos ... setting would be contemporary earth, give or take 70 years
Genre: Pick-up and Deliver (of course!)

Mechanics Limitations:

  • Construct a Team - Players must assemble a team/group of something (it doesn't necessarily have to be people) that is used within the game
  • Tile/Piece Placement - The placing of tiles or pieces by the players must play an important role in the game
  • Shared Movement Control - Multiple players must share movement control of at least 1 piece in the game.
Start Date: 9-June-2005
End Date: 16-June-2005, Noon EST (approximately)
Voting: 16-June-2005 through 23-June-2005

This Challenge has been completed.


A critique-the-entries thread can be found here:

For more background:

The Showdown Overview Thread, which lays out all of the background rules concerning this challenge is here:

Questions, comments, and "clarifications" for this specific Challenge were handled through this thread:



Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #1 - Map Quest
by btaggart

Map Quest
For 2 to 4 players

Notice to all scout patrols: Due to a computer glitch (stupid Windows!) our navigational systems are no longer capable of plotting a course back to the Homeworld. But all is not lost! Due to the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, accurate maps of Hyperspace can be found by studying the shape of Bovine intestines.

You have been assigned the glorious task of serving Hive Mother by gathering visual reproductions of these maps! However, so that we do not arouse the suspicion of the cows, you must use one of the more oblivious races on this planet as drones: Humans.

Catch the humans alone, brainwash them into opening the cows and taking pictures of the intestines, and then retrieve the pictures from them. Whichever scout patrol’s team of oblivious human pawns gathers the needed maps first will be awarded the Order of the Frood.

24 grey (neutral) human pawns.
4 black (federal agent) human pawns.
4 human pawns in each of four colors (brainwashed).
1 scout ship in each of four colors.
12 clever cow pawns.
50 happenstance cards.
1 Time of Day token.
2 dice.
1 board:

Collect a team of brainwashed humans to collect cows and return them to the pickup sites. The first player to collect four cows and return her scout ship to any pickup site wins.

Place one neutral pawn on each of the house squares. Place 6 cows in each pasture, and your own scout ship on your chosen pickup site. Shuffle the happenstance cards and place them face down next to the board. Place the Time of Day token with the Night side facing up. The scout leader with the highest Stellar Navy rank goes first.


  1. Draw the top happenstance card. Unless it says otherwise, follow the instructions and discard the card.
  2. Roll the dice. The result is the number of moves you may make. You may move any pieces available to you. The pieces available to you are: Any neutral or federal agent human pawns, brainwashed pawns of your own color, and your scout ship (moves 2 spaces per move). The human pawns may move on any road space. Neutral pawns may also be on any house space. Scout ships may be on any space except pasture and houses. Only unmutilated cows may be in the pastures.
  3. At any time during your turn, you may attempt Brainwashing or Cattle Mutilation.

Brainwashing: To brainwash a human, get them alone at night (any time the Night side of the Time of Day token is showing) on a road. Alone means no other human pawns on any adjacent road or house squares, but with your scout ship on the same space. Replace the neutral pawn with a pawn of your color.
Cattle Mutilation: Move a pawn you control to a space connected to a pasture. If it is night, place one cow piece with your pawn. The pawn is now delivering cow pictures. That cow piece moves with that pawn until it reaches a collection site or is recovered.
Federal Agents: Federal Agents will replace other human pawns as dictated on the happenstance cards. Federal agents cannot be brainwashed. If an agent can be moved onto the same space as a scout ship, that player loses one cow piece already collected (not cow pieces currently held by pawns). If that player doesn’t have any cow pieces already, laugh at him for being useless. If an agent can be moved onto the same space as a brainwashed pawn with a cow piece, return the cow to the pasture, and replace the brainwashed pawn with a neutral pawn.

Example Happenstance Cards

  • Time of Day: Turn over the Time of Day token.
  • Lost Track of Time: Save this card to surprise another player. Change the Time of Day token to day. Any attempted brainwashing fails. Move the human pawn to the nearest house.
  • Sighting!: Return one neutral pawn to the nearest house and replace it with a Federal Agent.
  • Faulty Brainwashing: Replace a brainwashed pawn with a neutral pawn. Do not replace a pawn that is currently delivering cow pictures.
  • Navigational Glitch: Move any other player’s scout ship to a board space of your choice.
  • Farmer!: No mutilating cattle this turn.
  • Plain Clothes Agent: Save this card to use when another player attempts a brainwashing. The pawn is not brainwashed. Replace it with a Federal Agent. That player loses one collected cow piece.
  • Clever Human: Save this card to surprise another player. Make up to 5 moves (no brainwashing or mutilating).
  • (RARE) Teenager Pranks!: Someone already mutilated a cow for you, add one cow from either pasture to your collection.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #2 - Earthlink-Snatching Spree
by seo

Earthling-Snatching Spree
Rival alien fleet are embarked in an Earthling-snatching spree.
You are the commander of one UFO sent to abduct earthlings. Can you form an effective crew of aliens with special powers and be the first to reach your quota of earthling prisoners?

Number of players
2-4 players.

· Game board: a 12x12 grid with a labyrinth design:

    One mothership on each corner. An area around the centre marked in grey.
· 4 UFO (pawns), one per player. · 20 earthlings (tokens).
· 54 crew members (cards) with distinct powers:
    24 build 8 hypnos
    8 teleport
    8 force
    6 recruit
· 100 labyrinth tiles.

Game overview
Players move their UFO through the paths on the board, place and move tiles to modify the labyrinth pattern, move earthlings around the board, and try to transport the captured earthlings to their mothership.

Each player places his UFO on the light brown square of the board near his mothership. One earthling is placed on each grey square.
Crewmember cards are shuffled and placed face down in a draw pile. Each player draws 7 crewmembers and selects 3 of them to form his active crew. These cards are placed face up close to his corner of the board. The cards remaining in his hand are the reserve crew.
Tiles are shuffled and placed face down in a draw pile.

Game play
At the start of his turn, each player draws one card from the draw pile and discards any of his current (active or reserve) crew cards. He can then pick up one or more cards from his active crew and replace them with other cards from his reserve crew. He can also recruit enemy crewmembers by playing one or more RECRUIT cards.
Once his active crew for the turn is defined, he can perform any movement, capturing and tile placing/moving as described below. Tile movements and tile placing/moving can be made in any order: you can place tiles before you move to have a convenient path, or after the move, to protect your UFO from your rivals. The available movements can be distributed before and after a capture.

Each player has up to 6 steps (one-square, orthogonal movements) per turn. He can decide how to distribute these steps among his UFO and the uncaptured earthlings. Several earthlings can share the same tile.

When a UFO occupies the same tile as one earthling, the earthling is captured. Captured earthlings cannot be moved by other players. After capturing an earthling, it has to be taken to the mothership; during this process, all six steps are applied to the UFO and earthling(s) together (both move up to six steps together).
To leave a prisoner in the mothership the UFO has to pass through it. Once in the mothership, earthlings cannot be captured by enemy fleet.

Crewmember Powers
Only the powers of the active crewmembers selected for the turn affect the available options for the turn:

    BUILD: Each BUILD active crewmember adds two chances per turn to modify the labyrinth design by: (a) drawing one tile from the draw pile and placing it on any free square on the board; or (b) moving or rotating one unoccupied tile already on the board. Swapping tiles counts as two moves. All the tiles and board squares involved should be free of UFO and earthlings. HYPNOS: Each Hypnos active crewmember adds the power to move a rival UFO (2 steps per turn), or an earthling (4 steps).
    TELEPORT: Each Teleport active crewmember adds the power to replace one of the normal steps with a movement to any of the eight adjacent tiles, regardless of the labyrinth pattern.
    FORCE: If there is one FORCE active crewmember, the UFO can capture 2 earthlings at a time. If a UFO with no prisoners and one FORCE member occupies the same tile as one rival UFO with two prisoners, each UFO keeps one earthling.
    RECRUIT: RECRUIT members don’t take part of the active crew, but are used to steal rival active crewmembers. To do so a player discards a RECRUIT card from his hand, and takes any of his rival active crewmembers (which can be placed either in his active or reserve crew). The affected rival draws a card from the pile to replace the lost crewmember.
Game End
The first UFO to capture five earthlings wins.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #3 - Last Stand at Pudding Corners
by yogurt

Last Stand at Pudding Corners

Tentacled invaders crawl from the thrumming crater that used to be Pudding Corners town hall.


Invaders drag stray humans into the crater. Humans fight back by picking up the invaders and sinking them in the reservoir. The trick is to never be caught alone.

Leaders and equipment make these tasks easier.

Both players have a hand of cards that let them move townsfolk, place tiles, or take other actions.


The gameboard is a map of a small town. There are two main streets, narrow paths, a diner, homes, gas stations, etc. Each building or street section is a space.

Some spaces start with facedown tiles concealing equipment, obstacles or alien pods.

Place townspeople in homes. Place invaders on the crater.

The human player chooses two leaders, who begin together. The invader player starts with no leaders.


Each player:

1. Moves townspeople who share a space with one of the player’s leader. The invader player also moves invaders.
2. Plays ONE card. Cards let you move other townspeople or add tiles.
3. Spends counters to move leaders or use equipment.
4. Captures outnumbered enemies.
5. Draws one card.


Leaders are exceptional townspeople, such as Dusty the Delivery Boy or Parks Superintendent Jenkins. Both players may gain leaders. Invader-controlled leaders are pod people.

Leaders may move any townspeople who start in their square without playing a movement card. Townspeople move three spaces.

Each leader also has a unique power. Examples:
* You know a shortcut. Place two counters on the board. You may move directly between these spaces.
* You can activate the shotgun for one counter.
* You can reveal tiles in adjacent spaces.

Each leader has a pool of counters used to activate equipment or take actions such as:
1 counter - move up to 3 spaces.
3 counters - escape capture or dynamite

If a leader does not spend any counters in a turn, she gains 3 counters (maximum 8).

Leaders cannot capture enemies, but can be captured.


The invader player divides 8 movement points among the invaders.

Invaders may move once, either one space or four spaces. Each space costs a point.


To move townspeople without a leader, players may use a movement card.

* "Now's our chance!" Move all townspeople in one space. Each one may move five spaces.
* "Probably just teenagers." Move three townspeople who are indoors.
* "Get it!" Move any townspeople who can reach a lone invader onto that invader.

Townspeople will not move to where they would be outnumbered.


Other cards allow players to add tiles or trigger events.


* Aftershock. Draw two tiles. Place one and let your opponent place the other.
* Cache. Draw two tiles. Place them at the end of your turn.
* Whoosh! If a leader is near a gas station, destroy the station and everything within 1 space.
* "Not today!" Bring a leader back from the dead.


If two invaders move onto a lone townsperson, the townsperson is captured and may no longer move. All three pieces now move as one.

Townspeople may capture lone invaders in the same way.

Captives are freed if two allies move onto them.

If a captive invader reaches the reservoir or a captive human reaches the crater, remove it. Score 1 VP.


The human player may change a townsperson to a leader when:
* the townsperson is beside another townsperson who gets captured or killed.

The alien player may change a townsperson to a leader when:
* the townsperson is alone with an alien pod.

Draw two leader cards and pick one.

No player may control more than 4 leaders.


Human-controlled leaders may expose invader-controlled leaders on the same square. Hold a blind bid in counters. If the human wins, the invader’s leader becomes a normal invader, losing all equipment.


Reveal a tile when encountered by any moving piece.


* Closet. One piece is safe from capture here.
* Downed power lines. No entry! Retreat.
* Cistern. Humans may dunk captive invaders here instead of the reservoir.

* Add two townspeople or invaders.

Equipment (Used only by leaders., but any piece may carry one equipment tile.)
* Shotgun. Knock any piece back two spaces (2 counters to use).
* Bike. Move 6 spaces on streets. (1 counter)
* Dynamite. Destroy everything in an adjacent space. (3 counters)

Victory Tiles
* Pod. Invaders may deliver a pod to the highway sign for 3 VP.
* Ham radio. Humans may deliver a ham radio to the hills for 3 VP.


Each enemy destroyed is worth 1 VP. Each victory tile delivered is worth 3 VP. The game ends at 20.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #4 - The Day the Earth Ran Screaming
by Kreitler

February 21st, 1953:
In 3 months, America will test the H-bomb.
In 3 days, Marylin Monroe will appear on the Martin-Lewis show.
In 3 hours, a UFO will crash in the heart of Washington, D.C., and a silvery android will emerge...

This is…

In tDtERS, you try to predict the actions of the mysterious android. Each player controls a portion of the crowd surrounding the robot. If the robot is hostile, it will attack the bystanders, costing players points. If it is friendly, it will walk peacefully through the crowd, giving players points.

Players: 3-5
Object: earn 25 victory points (vp)

Construct the board
Each player gets a random assortment of Grounds cards:

Grounds cards have:
3 or 4 empty squares.
At least 2 arrow icons.
1 Stop icon.
2 or 3 Citizen icons (Tank, Camera, Head, or Atom).

Players construct a square board of size:
3 players: 3x3
4 players: 4x4
5 players: 5x5

Each player draws a card, rotates it if desired, and places it next to an existing card. Proceed clockwise until all cards are placed.

Board detail:

Human setup
Each player gets 10 Bystander tokens in a unique color. Players will place these on the board to represent the crowd surrounding the android.

Players share a pool of “Blanking Tokens” containing 5 tokens per player. These are white plastic chips equal in size to the board’s icons. Players place these over icons to “blank them out”, temporarily nullifying them.

Alien setup
Choose a starting Alien player. He gets an Android pawn, “Movement Arrow” card, and one each of “Hostile” and “Friendly” tokens. The pawn shows the Android’s position; card indicates direction of motion, and tokens indicate hostile or friendly intent.

Each player gets several Citizen cards:

Each citizen card has a:
special ability.
suit (Atom/Scientist, Head/Civilian, Tank/Soldier, Camera/Reporter).
vp value (upper right corner).
“Friendly”/“Hostile” designation.

Players draw 12 random Citizen cards each, but keep only 12 vp worth. They discard the rest.

Players use Citizen cards to either:
Temporarily increase their score, or
Influence the game via the special powers like:

    Place 3 Blanking Tokens on the board. Tap any face-up Reporter.
    Shift Android 1 space any direction.
    Change Android’s direction of travel.

Each turn:
Alien places Android on any blank square (including those with Blanking Tokens).

Red ‘x’ represents the Android:

Humans decide which Citizens they might play and place them face down on the table. After placing all Citizens, Humans announce the suits of the cards laid (if you placed a scientist and a reporter you would say, “Scientist, Reporter”).

Alien secretly points the Movement Arrow in the direction he wants to move and secretly selects the “Hostile” or “Friendly” token.

Starting left of Alien, each Human places 1 Bystander in any blank square. Proceed clockwise until all Bystanders are in play:

(Red expects a Friendly Alien, Green a Hostile one. Blue is hedging.)

Alien reveals his hidden Movement Arrow and Hostile/Friendly token.

Alien moves Android 1 space in the direction of motion. If the space contains a(n):

    Bystander – return it to owner. Stop icon – end Android’s move.
    Arrow icon – Android now moves in the direction shown. If the square contains multiple arrows, Alien can choose any direction shown.
    Blank space or Blanking Token – do nothing.
    Head/Tank/Atom/Camera icon – allow a Citizen card play:
      1 Human can play a Citizen card whose suit matches the icon. Each player gets only one opportunity to play, starting with the player right of the Alien and proceeding counter-clockwise.
      To play, reveal one of your face-down Citizens and invoke its rule.
      Leave the card face-up for the rest of the turn.
      If the card’s hostile/friendly value opposes the Alien’s, tap the card.

Repeat movement until:

    Android hits a Stop icon or edge of the board. Citizen card stops the Android.
    Android enters an infinite movement loop.

The Android’s uninterrupted path would be:

Green uses an Atom card to shift the Android:

Score turn when Android stops.

    Hostile Alien: each player loses 1 vp per Bystander returned to him. Friendly Alien: each player gains 1 vp per Bystander returned to him; Alien gets vp matching those of highest-earning player.

Compute total scores: add Bystander vp to vp of Citizen cards currently in hand. 25 points wins!

Humans retrieve their untapped Citizen cards.

The player left of the Alien becomes the new Alien. New Alien collects his tapped Citizen cards.

When “Alien duty” returns to the starting Alien, the round ends. Remove all Blanking Tokens and deal new Citizens to each player (using the 12 cards/12 vp method).

Repeat until someone wins.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #5 - Independence Day
by sedjtroll, Nando, and Jelorol

Independence Day

Defend life, as you know it.

On July 2nd, while Alien attack ships loom overhead, players lay tiles to construct evacuation routes. On July 3rd, the aliens strike, destroying the cities. Players search for survivors and take them to a nearby military base where they are deployed as fighter pilots. On July 4th, a Hero emerges who pilots a captured alien fighter into the mothership to upload a computer virus. If successful, the virus disables their shields and the alien threat is defeated!

Phase 1 (July 2nd):
In turn order, players draw square tiles from a bag.

If a City tile is drawn, place it on the board. The board is a rectangular grid with the following features:

    * Area 51, a large square grid in the center * City Center/Ground Zero spaces labeled with targets
    * Roads from the base toward each city and also between cities
The City tiles have identical road segments and blast arrows on both sides, and a number of survivors on the back. The survivor side may be viewed when drawn but faces downward when the tile is placed. Tile placement cannot create a dead end where two tile sides abut or where a tile overlays a pre-printed road.

If an Alien Fighter tile is drawn, place it into an Alien Pile (as a measure of the Alien Attack Ships' approach), and draw another tile. When a certain number of Fighter tiles are drawn, the attack ships arrive and destroy the cities.

Fighter tiles have a Fighter image on the back and a pattern of colored lines on the face (single line, cross, T pattern, etc.) These tiles are kept face down.

The Attack!
Aliens blast Ground Zero in every city simultaneously, along with any adjacent tiles. The blast follows the blast arrows on the tiles, destroying City tiles in a chain reaction. Rubble markers are placed on those destroyed tiles.

Phase 2 (July 3rd):
Each player places a truck on one of the city centers.

On his turn, a player may Search & Rescue (move his truck and either search for survivors or deliver survivors to Area 51), and then he must Dogfight with any of his planes in the Dogfight.

Search & Rescue
Trucks move up to 5 tiles along roads or 1 tile off-road. When on a tile without Survivors or Rubble, you may search for survivors. Flip the tile (roads will still be visible) and collect the number of Survivor meeples indicated. Each truck can carry a maximum of 6 survivors; extras are left on the tile to be rescued later by any player.

When delivering Survivors to Area 51, draw 1 Survivor card per survivor delivered. Keep up to 1 Jet and up to 2 Pilots. If you do not choose a Jet card, take a Crop Duster card from the supply. With each player's first delivery they receive one additional Crop Duster.

Jets and Crop Dusters have "built-in" pilots, which can be replaced with Pilot cards. Jets can carry an additional Pilot card as a Co-pilot. Pilot cards indicate dogfight skill modifiers. Co-pilots do not add to combat ability.

All planes immediately engage in combat.

Each turn, players roll 1d8 for each plane they have in combat, indicating whether they are flying Defensively or Aggressively.
Defensive: On a roll of...

    1-2: You're hit! 3-6 Evade enemy fire
    7-8 Score a kill
Aggressive: On a roll of...
    1-3 You're hit! 4-5 Evade enemy fire
    6-8 Score a kill
When a plane is hit, discard the co-pilot. No co-pilot? Discard the plane and any pilot on it.

When any player scores a kill, move a Fighter tile from the Alien Pile into a separate Hero Pile.

Once all players have engaged in combat, any player whose last plane is shot down is out of the fight and out of contention to be the Hero. That player becomes an Alien and awaits the next phase. When there is only one player remaining in the dogfight, the phase ends. Combat stops and that player is designated the Hero.

Phase 3 (July 4th):
The Virus
The Hero takes the Hero Pile. The Alien Pile remains face down and is shared among all other players who are now playing as aliens.

The Hero and aliens alternate turns laying tiles from their respective pile onto the grid inside of Area 51. (Aliens get only one play per turn.) If the Hero can connect 2 opposite sides of the grid with an unbroken line of a single color, then the virus is successfully uploaded.

Independence Day?
A player who becomes the Hero and successfully uploads the virus has won the game! Fly home and enjoy your "Victory Dance" cigar. If the Hero fails to upload the virus, the Aliens win.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #6 - Destroy All Humans
by Scurra

Destroy all Humans…

The Aliens have landed… all at the same time, all in the same place, and all intent on one thing: to destroy all humans. They build Super Weapons with which to destroy the Earth Forces and the City, the winner being the player who destroys the most. They also move the Earth Forces to impede their rivals.

You will need two decks of (small!) playing cards, three Alien markers for each player and ten Earth Force markers.
Cards are always dealt face-down. One deck is the Resources deck. Deal out 25 cards in a 5x5 grid and add start cards (according to the number of players.) Remove the outer ring leaving 9 cards that form the City.

Turn the middle City card face-up. Put 2 cards in front of each player; these are their Lab cards (players may check their Lab cards at any time.)
The other deck is the Combat deck. Deal six cards to each player. These cards are held in hand.

Each player puts their markers on their start card. One Earth Force marker is put on each City card, and two on the middle card. Choose a Start player; play passes clockwise until the game is over.

On a turn the player moves their Aliens and then moves the (shared) Earth Forces.
Move Aliens. Discard a number card (no Pictures!) Move markers one space at a time up to this value, divided among their Aliens.
If the Alien:
- begins their move in a space with an Earth Force marker, they must defeat it in combat first.
- enters a space with an Earth Force marker they may fight it. If they win, they may continue moving.
- is in a face-down City space with no other markers, they may attempt to destroy it.
- enters a space with another Alien, they may only fight it if they have an active Super Weapon.
- enters a space without a card in it, they must add the top card of the Location deck to the board and stop moving.
- moves off a face-down card and that card has no markers on it, the player may take the card. They may now put it back or put it in their Lab. If they keep it, they must replace it, either with a card from the Location deck or with another Lab card.

Move Earth Forces. Discard a number card. Move the Earth Forces as above, except that a player cannot pick up cards. Earth Forces do not initiate combat.

End of Turn. The player draws 2 cards from the Combat deck. If they have more than four cards in their Lab, they must discard the excess.

If a player has no number cards in hand when they must discard one, they discard their hand and draw that many cards. Their turn then immediately ends (i.e. they do not draw any extra cards.)

Combat. Each participant plays a card from hand face-down (Earth Forces play from the top of the Combat deck.) Lowest card wins, with defender winning ties (Earth Forces are always defenders.) Picture cards count as 10. Players must announce use of Super Weapons before cards are played.
Defeated Earth Forces are returned to the middle card of the City unless they were defeated with a Super Weapon, when the player captures them.
Aliens defeated by other Aliens are removed from the game unless it was the last Alien of a race, in which case it is returned to the player’s start card.

Destroy City block. An Alien may only use a Super Weapon to destroy a City block. The City card is turned face-up as its combat card. If the Alien wins, the player takes the City card, and it is replaced with a face-up card from the Location deck. If the City block survives, the card is discarded and replaced with a face-down card.

Super Weapons. When a player has two or more cards of the same value in their Lab, they may build a Super Weapon. The cards are turned face-up and removed from the Lab. They may add cards of the same value from their hand at this point. A Super Weapon may be used in two ways:
(1) As their Combat card. One card is discarded from the Weapon.
(2) As a bonus in Combat. They subtract the value of the Weapon from their combat card. Two cards are discarded from the Weapon.
A player may only have two active Super Weapons at any time.

End of Game. When 7 City blocks are destroyed, or all Earth Forces are captured, the game is over. The winner is the player with the most City cards and Earth Force markers. Most City cards breaks ties.

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Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #7 - I was Ubducted!!
by Pt314

I was Ubducted!!

3-6 players

25 square map tiles (12 farmland, 8 suburb, 5 urban),
1 UFO piece,
Deck of 50 population cards (10 cows, 10 workers, 8 thinkers, 6 artists, 4 doctors, 4 celebrities, 4 lawyers, 4 politicians)

The game starts with 25 square tiles placed randomly in a 5x5 grid.
The UFO is placed in the center of the board. Player who draws highest scoring card from deck chooses who goes first.

Game Structure
On a players turn they may move the UFO in any orthogonal direction, except back to the tile it was moved from on the preveous turn, on the board. They then decide what kind of population unit they are going to try to ubduct from that tile. If the unit you are aiming for is native to that tile you may draw up to 4 cards from the deck, if it is semi-native you may draw up to 2 cards from the deck, if it isn't native to the tile you cannot draw any cards. If you get what you were aiming for you can keep it in your own ubductee stash. Play then shifts to the next player. If the deck is exausted then the discard pile is reshuffled and becomes the new deck.

Endgame Condition

The game ends once somebody either moves the UFO off the board, or if there are no more cards left in the deck.

When the game is over the players look at their stash of ubductees.

Cows = 1 point, Humans = 2-4 points
For every type that you have more of, then any other player, you get 2 bonus points. If you are the only one that has a certain type you gain another 2 bonus points for that type.

The player with the most points wins.

In the case of a draw, the person with the most humans wins, if still a draw, then either decare it a draw, roll dice, or just play the game again to choose who won.

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Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #8 - Men in Black
by Sebastian

Men in Black

Those aliens sure are a pain. You let up your guard one blasted second, and BLAM. Another cow's been tipped, another crop circle formed, another person probed. You look disbelieving - don't tell me - 'If all this is going on, then why don't I know about it.' Well, that's down to us. We smooth these things over, modify a few memories, put the world back to rights. We are the Men in Black.


* A selection of circular UFO tiles depicting crop circles, abductions, tipped cows, strange burn marks, etc. There are also mission tiles, which trigger auctions.
* A small plastic UFO, which can be loaded with circular tiles, and which drops a tile when you press a button on the top.
* A pile of square solution tiles, which can explain away certain events (for example, the 'freak windstorm' tile is good for both the crop circles and the tipped cows.
* A board depicting a landscape. This should have lots of circles the same size as the UFO tiles. These circles should be connected by roads, and by straight lines that the UFO moves along. There should be five square spaces, connected only by roads. These are the Men in Black bases, which hold the solution tiles.
* A 'Men in Black' piece for each player. These should all be black (otherwise it would be wrong), but have different coloured bases, so you can tell which player is which.
* A number of 'Men in Black' people cards. Each card shows an picture of a person identical to all the others. Each person none-the-less has a unique special ability.
* A deck of mission cards, which give special missions that men in black can try to attempt
* A deck of actions cards that the men in black can take.


Place the board in the middle of the table and place the solution tiles in five equal face up stacks on Men in Black headquarters.

Load the UFO with tiles. There will be four which don't fit, which should be placed on the four sites on the board at random. Place the UFO above Mt Rushmore (one of the spaces on the map).

Each player gets dealt three men-in-black cards, and chooses two of them. This is their team. Each player in turn places their piece on a Men in Black base, and takes the top two solution tiles. [Each Man can hold one tile]. The Men in Black have special abilities such as 'Can move four spaces', 'Can move along UFO lines', 'Can hold two solution tiles', 'Can look at five instead of three action cards', etc.


At the start of each turn, the player must move the UFO. It must move as few spaces as possible to a space which has no UFO tile, and no player. There, the player presses the button on the top, and a UFO tile drops onto the space.

If the tile is a mission tile, then turn over as many mission cards as there are players. Each player bids for the mission cards using problems tiles that they've solved as cash. This is done evo-style (in turn, each player announces a bid for a particular mission which must be higher than all others so far. If they overbid someone, then that person must immeditaely rebid on that or a different mission. When all players have bid and none need to rebid, the auction ends).

Then that player may do two actions.

The main action is to move their token along the roads three spaces. If they land on a square with an unsolved problem that they have a solution for, then they can solve it, and take the problem to prove they have done so. If there isn't, they can attempt to complete a mission, and turn the card face up in front of them to demonstrate they have done so. If they land on a Men in Black base, they can discard up to one solution, and then replenish their solutions, or can recruit a new member to join their team.

The second action is to complete a mission. Display that you have done the mission, and place it face up in front of you. Missions include things like 'visit Mt Rushmore', 'remove four abductions problems', 'clear a give area of the board of problems', 'move to the same space as the UFO', etc.

The third action is to move the UFO again, and to take three action cards, discarding two of them. Action cards do things like 'take another turn', 'don't pay anything for winning this auction if someone has bid higher than you', 'take a problem of your choice from the board', etc.

The game ends when the UFO has no tiles left, and flies away leaving the Men in Black with no work to do. All the players count up the number of points that they have in completed missions. The player with the most points wins.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #9 - Doppleganger: Unleashed From Groom Lake!
by doho123

Unleashed From Groom Lake!

OBJECT: Investigating the abandoned Groom Lake test site, the players have found conclusive evidence of past Alien experiments. However, their vehicles have been sabotaged. Now, the team is trying to cross the desert to civilization with their proof, but one team member has been taken over by an Alien, trying to foil their plans.

Each player gets one hidden character card.

One player will be randomly assigned the ALIEN card. If all HUMANS and the BOUNTY HUNTER die before reaching civilization, the ALIEN wins, regardless if he is still alive.

One player is an ALIEN BOUNTY HUNTER. The BOUNTY HUNTER wins solely if he kills the ALIEN.

The rest of the players are HUMANS. HUMANS who are still living who make it to a Civilization tile win the game.

There is one tile designated as GROOM LAKE (the start tile). Tiles are drawn and placed to form a map of the Desert. Also, some tiles have Events on them which must be followed.

The Group pawn starts on the Groom Lake tile. The rest of the tiles are divided into three piles, shuffled, and placed face down. The three piles are determined by icons on the back of the tiles: 3,6, and compass.

Each player draws 12 Supply cards, and discard 6 at the start of the game. ALL SUPPLY CARDS CANNOT BE SHOWN TO ANY OTHER PLAYER UNTIL THEY ARE PLAYED DURING THE GAME.

HAZARD chits are played on marked Desert Tiles as they are revealed. The Group cannot move onto a Desert Tile unless the Hazard on the tile is removed by the group discarding the appropriate Supply Cards, or possibly by discarding a life token.

Each player starts with 5 Life tokens. Player with no life tokens have died.

A player has two Desert actions:
--Scout the area.
--Move the group to a neighboring Desert Tile.

The player picks up two Desert Tiles. HE CANNOT SHOW THESE TILES TO ANYONE ELSE. He chooses one, and discards the other. If the group is 3 or less tiles away from Groom Lake, he takes tiles from the “3” pile of tiles. If the group is 6,5, or 4 tiles away from Groom Lake, he takes tiles from the “6” pile. otherwise, he takes the tiles from the “Compass” pile.

If the tile shows a prt of the desert, he must place it next to the tile that the group is currently on, the graphic edge elements must match (ie, the paths must continue across both tiles). If the tile cannont be placed next to the current tile the group is on, the player loses a life token and places the tile anywhere on the board. Again, the graphic elements along the edges must match.

If the tile indicates that it has a Hazard, the player draws two Hazard chits, selects one, and places it face down on the tile, discarding the other one. PLAYERS CANNOT SHOW TO THE OTHER PLAYERS OR DISCUSS FACE DOWN OR DISCARDED HAZARD CHITS until they are flipped over during play.

If the tile is an Event tile, the players must follow the directions of the Event.

Event tiles can let player find supplies, swap character cards, or result in life token/supply loss.

M the pawn to the next tile as long as it follows a path.

Moving to a town (civilization) tile wins the game for all remaining Humans.

If the tile has a Hazard chit on it, it is flipped over, and the players must play Supply cards and/or Life tokens to remove the Hazard. If the Hazard is not removed, the Group token is moved back to the previous tile.

Some Hazards require cooperative card play from the entire group; other Hazards require play from each player individually.

After any player’s turn, any player may accuse another player of being the Alien. Then a vote is taken to determine if the accused player should be killed (removed from the game). If a simple majority vote a player to be an Alien, then that player is removed from the game. DO NOT LOOK AT HIS CHARACTER CARD.

Instead of taking a vote, the Alien Bounty Hunter may reveal his character card, and independently kill another player. That player’s character card is flipped over. If the Bounty Hunter selected the Alien player, the game is over, and the Bounty Hunter wins. If the player is a Human, the Bounty Hunter and his target are removed from the game.

When a player is removed, his supply cards are dealt randomly to the remaining players.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #10 - Moo Juice
by Hamumu

Moo Juice

Players: 2-6
Time: 30-45min

UFOs launch! The mothership is stranded on earth, and you need to collect Moo Juice to power the warp coils! The High Glepnar’s son is on board the stranded mothership, so he will handsomely reward the team responsible for supplying the most Moo Juice.

Please note that Moo Juice does not mean the same thing to aliens that it does to us. Hint: it’s red.

100ish Farm Tiles
6 plastic UFOs in different colors
1 plastic Mothership
24 Alien cards
6 UFO boards
12 Juice markers (little cows)


Draw and place 1 Farm Tile. Place the Mothership on it and one UFO for each team on the Mothership (they stack cleverly).

Players begin by drawing 3 Alien cards to form their team, placing them on their UFO board in whatever positions they choose. Each Alien has 4 stats ranging from 1 to 4 – Navigation, Vision, Engineering, and Genetics. Each Alien also has a special ability, e.g. “All Cows provide 1 extra Juice”. Special abilities apply no matter which position the Alien occupies.

The roles the Aliens can occupy are:

Navigator – His Navigation skill determines how many spaces you can move per turn. His Vision skill determines how many Farm Tiles you may uncover per turn.

Engineer – His Engineering skill determines how many spaces from the Mothership you may travel. His Navigation skill determines how many cows you can pick up per turn.

Geneticist – His Genetics skill determines how much Juice you can squeeze per cow. His Engineering skill determines how much Juice you can offload to the mothership per turn.

The UFO also contains 2 Juice tracks – one for Juice On Board, and one for Juice Delivered (to Mothership). Juice On Board goes up to 16, Juice Delivered goes up to 50.


On your turn, first move the Mothership 1 space in any direction (no diagonals). Then you may move your UFO as many spaces as your Navigator’s Navigation skill (no diagonals). You may never be further away from the Mothership than your Engineer’s Engineering skill. This is simply measured as a square, so if for example your Engineer has Engineering of 3, you may be as far as 3 tiles horizontally and 3 tiles vertically away. If you begin your turn farther from the Mothership than that, you may only move directly towards the Mothership until that is corrected.

If a space neighboring your ship has no tile in it, you may draw a new tile for it. You do not have to enter it. You may only unveil as many tiles per turn as your Navigator’s Vision skill.

If you enter a tile with a Cow on it, you may Juice the cow. To do so, flip the tile over and move your Juice marker on your Juice On Board track up by your Geneticist’s Genetics skill. You can’t ever have more than 16 Juice on board. You may only pick up as many cows as your Engineer’s Navigation skill per turn.

If you enter a tile with a Farmer on it, he shoots your UFO, killing one of your crewmen of your choice. When you are missing a crewman, you have a 1 in every stat for that position. Flip the Farmer over, because he apparently only had one bullet.

If you enter a tile with an Electrical Tower on it, your ship is damaged and you lose all your Juice On Board. Leave the tile unflipped, it’s not going anywhere.

Strategy note: move the Mothership to try to force your opponents to hit Farmers and Towers.

If you enter the same tile as another UFO, you may take up to 3 Juice from the UFO. Of course, unless you are much faster than him, he’ll just take it right back.

If you fly onto the Mothership, you may end your movement to do any one of the following:

1 – Deliver as much Juice as your Geneticist’s Engineering skill from your Juice On Board to your Juice Delivered.

2 – Hire a new crewmember. This costs you 5 from Juice Delivered. Draw a new Alien and replace any of your existing 3 with the new one, or discard the new one.

3 – Replace a missing crewmember by drawing a new one. This costs 2 from Juice Delivered (insurance covers the rest).

4 – Rearrange your crew as you wish.


The game is over when someone has 50 Juice Delivered, or all tiles have been exposed and all cows have been juiced. The winner is the one who delivered 50 Juice. If the game ends by running out of cows, you add Juice on Board and Juice Delivered, and the winner is the highest Juice total.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Entry #11 - The Ataraxis Transcendence
by Challengers

The Ataraxis Transcendence

Steven Wright wrote:
When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction.

H. G. Wells notwithstanding, extra-terrestrials are so much more advanced than Earthlings that bellicosity has been expunged from their physical and abstract composition. Playfulness, however, has become the essence of their being. The Earthling, Steven Wright, is their poster child and he represents man's best hope to attain the Ataraxis Transcendence.

The Ataraxis Transcendence is an exalted state of mind wherein living creatures are totally at peace and keenly aware of their place in the universe. Humans have variously described this experience as the rapture, trippin' and being in "the zone". It is while in this state that sentient beings communicate with each other, regardless of celestial origin.

To play AT, you need a white-noise generator, a large clock with a sweep second-hand, 25 blank, unruled 3x5 index cards, several blue felt-tip markers and a picture of Steven Wright. Oh, you need at least two other friends to play with you!
Everyone sits quietly in a circle on the floor. The last person to sit down must get up and turn on the white noise generator. This will open the channels to the extra-terrestrials. After the person sits back down, he must give each player a marker and two index cards. Finally, he must give the picture of Steven Wright to any other player he chooses. This player, while possessing the picture, is known as the "conduit" to the extra-terrestrials and is responsible for flipping the index cards as needed.
A round consists of drawing a shape, making noises and reacting to the noises.
Everyone must think of a shape: circle, square or triangle. Without rushing, each player takes his marker, draws the shape on one index card and places it face-down on the floor where everyone can reach it. Next, everyone must simultaneously make one of three noises: "sis", "boom" or "bah". To ensure that the noises are made simultaneously, wait until the last player has placed his card face-down. Then, everyone should stare at the clock until the second hand sweeps past the "6" to make his or her noise. What happens next depends on what sounds were made:
· sis only reveal one shape (if possible)
· boom only hide one shape (if possible)
· bah only give each player another blank card (if able, even if you run out of cards along the way)
· sis-boom reveal all shapes
· sis-bah hide all shapes
· boom-bah stare at the clock and make another noise at "6" (basically, a do-over)
· sis-boom-bah invoke the extra-terrestrial

Invoking the extra-terrestrial is easy: the conduit has the opportunity to collect three cards, whether face-up or face-down, from the central area only. If the three cards are all the same shape, then the extra-terrestrial has made contact! The conduit gets to keep one of the cards as "proof of contact". the other two cards must be returned to the central area. If each card is a different shape, then the extra-terrestrial contacts everyone via the white-noise generator! The conduit returns two cards to the central area, keeping one for himself. Each player, beginning with the one to the left of the conduit gets to take one card from the central area as "proof of contact". There may not be enough cards for everyone, and that simply means that the group was not powerful enough to invoke the extra-terrestrial 's essence.
During the invocation, all players must be allowed to see the revealed cards (if any). When the cards are returned to the central area, the conduit must show the card to all players before placing them face-down. Note that a card that was face-up when taken at the beginning of the invocation still gets placed face-down.
After the invocation, the conduit must pass the picture of Steven Wright to the player on his right (of course!)

After each noise-making phase, a new round begins. It is possible that some players may begin the round without a blank index card. They will still participate in the rest of the round's activities.

The game ends when there is no longer any chance of invoking the extra-terrestrials. Everyone wins. Ommmmmm!

Arcana: The white-noise generator and the clock are known as "magnifiers". These devices help humans to focus their innate powers of extra-sensory perception. The white-noise generator, which can be a radio "tuned" between stations, harnesses the inner auditory faculties. The sweep hand focuses the inner eye. The shapes represent the universal symbology of sentient beings. The blue marker is more visible to extra-terrestrials. As well, the color blue represents calmness. Sitting in a circle eliminates positional power plays. "sis" " boom" and "bah" represent the universal, non-fricative phonology of 95% of extant sentient beings.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown June 2005 Challenge - 'Out There!'

Challenge Results

Thanks to getting "Out There!" with me ... I really enjoyed the designs this time around! I'm guessing a handful of these may get re-worked into full designs.

We had an extremely close vote this time around, although quite a gap developed between the top 3 games and the others.

Based upon those votes, we have the following results ...

First Place (33 points -- 5 #1's, 2 #2's, 2 #3's) -- Moo Juice by Hamumu (Entry #10)

Second Place (25 points -- 1 #1, 6 #2's, 2 #3's) -- Earthling-Snatching Spree by seo (Entry #2)

Third Place (21 points -- 4 #1's, 1 #3) -- Men In Black by Sebastian (Entry #8) ... this one wins the "love it or leave it" award! ;-)

The rest of the scoring went as follows ...

  • The Day the Earth Ran Screaming by Kreitler (Entry #4) -- 12 points (1 #1, 2 #2's, 1 #3)
  • Doppleganger: Unleashed From Groom Lake! by doho123 (Entry #9) -- 10 points (1 #1, 1 #2, 2 #3's)
  • Last Stand at Pudding Corners by yogurt (Entry #3) -- 8 points (1 #1, 3 #3's)
  • The Ataraxis Transcendence by Challengers (Entry #11) -- 8 points (1 #1, 1 #2)
  • Map Quest by btaggart (Entry #1) -- 5 points (1 #2, 1 #3)
  • Independance Day by sedjtroll, Nando, and Jelorol (Entry #5) -- 4 points (1 #2, 1 #3)
  • Destroy All Humans by Scurra (Entry #6) and I was Ubducted!! by Pt314 (Entry #7) received no votes
Discussion of these results can be continued in the "Critique the Entries" thread found here:

Thanks again to everyone! The July Challenge will be hosted by Scurra.


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