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Game design (with peculiar auctions, scoring, & tile-lay

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This is a game that a friend and I developed more than two years ago, and had the opportunity to playtest a couple times, but he moved later that year so progress on the game ceased.

Now that I have some free time on my hands and my friend and I are possibly set to meet later this summer, I thought I'd post a description of the game here (with some differences from the original that was playtested), in order to get some feedback.

As far as playtesting it yourselves, I definitely encourage it, although there is one component of the game (the tiles) that would require a little time and effort to make (mostly because the tiles are triangular).

As regards theme, there isn't one yet- so naturally the game remains untitled. the game is for 3-5 players.


55 chits (11 in 5 colors)

31 cards (in same 5 colors, numbered 0-5, plus 1 starting player card)

1 board, which must have:
- An “improvement track” with spaces numbered 0-28
- Scoring tracks in 5 colors with spaces numbered 0-10

90 triangular tiles, designed like this:

On each tile there is a road that either comes in through one edge and exits out the other or that comes out of one edge and splits in a fork to leave out the other two. So there are basically tiles with 2 outlets and tiles with 3. At each outlet (located at the edge of the tile) there is a colored symbol.

Playing the Game:

Each player takes the cards and chits in his color, places 1 chit at the “0” space of each scoring track as well as the improvement track, and keeps the remaining chits and cards in his hand.

The triangular tiles are shuffled and placed in a pile face down.

The game lasts 8 rounds. In each round the following occurs:

2n + 1 (where n is the number of players) randomly drawn tiles are placed face up in the middle of the table next to the board.

Players then decide on how many of their 5 chits to commit to the "improvement track" by selecting the appropriate card and placing it face down in front of them.

On a player’s turn, he reveals his card, places the indicated number of chits on the card, and moves the corresponding number of spaces forward on the improvement track.

His remaining chits may be used to bid on tiles. A player may place 1 or more chits on one or more of the available tiles. If another player's chits are already on a tile, the player can place a higher number of chits on that same tile, in which case the chits originally on the tile are returned to the hand of their owner.

Play continues around the table in turn order until it is no longer possible for players who have chits in their hand to claim any of the tiles, or until no chits are left in anyone's hand.

Note: a player may not on his turn "reinforce" a tile he currently has chits on by placing leftover chits that were returned to his hand. Chits may only be placed on an empty tile or a tile that has another player's chits on it.

After all tiles have been auctioned off, players place their tiles in front of them. The two rules for placement are: the same road must connect all tiles purchased throughout the game, and road outlets may only be placed adjacent to each other if their symbols match.

Any tiles that a player cannot place are discarded.

After purchasing and placing new tiles, players move the chits on the scoring board accordingly to indicate how many symbols of each color they own. This way all players know how many symbols of each color a player has without having to look at his board and count.

Then the starting player card is passed to the left and a new round begins


At the end of the 8 rounds, each player scores points equal to the number of symbols in the color that he has the least symbols of.
However, advancement along the improvement track can change the scoring conditions. IF a player has advanced at least to space:

7, he scores his fourth best color
14, he scores his third best color
21, he scores his second best color
28, he scores his best color

In addition, a player receives 1 VP for each area on his tiles that is completely enclosed by roads. The player with the most victory points wins!

Game design (with peculiar auctions, scoring, & tile-lay

Here is a slightly more detailed explanation of how the tiles are designed:

There are 50 tiles with 2 outlets.
- tiles with symbols of the same color, in each color, x2 (10)
- all possible combinations of two different colors, taking into consideration the orientation of the tile (e.g. tile with green symbol-blue symbol is different than tile with blue symbol-green symbol), x2 (40)

There are 40 tiles with 3 outlets.
- all possible combinations of three different colors, taking into consideration orientation as above, x2 (40)

Game design (with peculiar auctions, scoring, & tile-lay

My own comments-

The couple times we playtested the game it worked very well, with well paced and engaging gameplay and close final scores despite different dtrategies employed.

Nonetheless, these were just a few games, and much more playtesting will be needed in order to determine the balance of the system, i.e. are the different strategic approaches equally viable?

If I could find a way to "mass-produce" the tiles, given a little capital I could perhaps make 25 or so copies of the game and ship them to persons who would extensively play-test them.

Joined: 12/31/1969
Game design (with peculiar auctions, scoring, & tile-lay

Like the idea.

My thoughts:

What if the improvement track also is opponent dependant, so that player "interactivity" is not just the bid?
The one(s) who scored the least on the improve track scores in fifth best color.
The one(s) who scored the second least on the improve track scores in fourth best color.
And so on.
(if all players has the same amount on the improve track everybody scores in their fifth best color.)

Design technically I would suggest you’d also, in combination with coloring, have each outlet have its own symbol.

I’d also suggest a track for what turn the game is in. (1-8)

You could get rid of the 0-5 cards by having players keeping a secret number of chits in their hands, right hand being the number placed on improvement track and left used for bidding.

Do you wish it to be abstract or are you looking for themes?

Game design (with peculiar auctions, scoring, & tile-lay

Thanks for your comments and suggestions-

I defininitely agree about having a track for the turn order, but I prefer to stick with the 0-5 cards for a couple reasons- for one i simply like it more aesthetically, but there is also to consider that the last player would just be sitting there with his fists in front of him until every other player has revealed their chits and made their first bids. In addition, I don't want to bring the element into it of people trying to guess what other people did by looking at their fists.

As far as your suggested change to the improvement track, it is very interesting (we had thought of it before vaguely but for some reason I can't remember never gave it serious consideration). It would certainly open a new level of interaction between players, without really complicating the rules, which right off the bat makes it seem like a great idea.

One clear drawback is that it would make turn order more important in the last round, when there is no mechanism besides chance in determining turn order. Also, suppose I decide not to invest- then how effective my decision was depends completely on the level of escalation that other players engage in- which might be okay but might not. worst case scenario it would yield an optimal strategy of nobody investing. I think a little playtesting would resolve this issue, and I'll probably do it.

Regarding your question about whether I wanted a theme, I DO- but I'm having a difficult time imagine what kind of theme might fit. Our original thematic idea was that the tiles were branches of a tree, with the symbols being different fruits, but this doesn't really make for a strong theme even though it is the only one I can think of so far that fits. Any suggestions would be welcome.

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