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Need help with Uno-style game

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LarryZ
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi All. I've developed a game that is somewhat in the spirit of Uno. The agent that I'm working with has encouraged me to self-publish the game, and I'd like to get the opinions and suggestions of people in this group. Please keep in mind that the target audience for the game is families and non-gamers, and large groups of people who are looking for a fast and easy-to-learn filler game. It can be played with a minimum of 4 players (2 or 3 with some rule variants), and in theory up to 14 people, but certainly more than 10 would be hard to fit around a table.

The game is tentatively called "New Toon In Town". The story is that we're a team of newspaper cartoonists, trying to decide on the character for our next comic strip. We've agreed that the character should have three attributes: an emotion, a physical trait, and a breed of animal. We've also agreed on four possible values for each attribute. The problem is, we can't decide on the combination and we're "playing the game" to help us decide. The overall goal is to be the first to play all of your cards, but your card for the win must be a Natural character or Wild Feature card (explained later)

The general mechanic is that on your turn, you must play a card that changes exactly one of the three values on the previous discard. There are also two possible ways of playing out of turn, which skips all of the players in between. So far, that accounts for 112 cards, and the remainder of the cards all add additional functionality.

The game will contain 162 unique cards, each with full color professional artwork. The overview of the cards is as follows: 64 Natural cards (every combination of character), 48 Wild Feature cards (every combination with one feature wild), 12 unique "Definitely" cards, 12 unique "Definitely Not" cards, 15 unique Special Action cards, 4 unique "special" cards (explained later), 4 summary cards, and 3 blank cards.

I don't want to fill up too much space with this posting, but if there is interest in helping me evaluate this game, please let me know and I can post any and all details. Thanks in advance for any help.

Hedge-o-Matic
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Joined: 07/30/2008
Need help with Uno-style game

Just as an initial impression, I'd have to say that anything over 72 cards pushes the shuffleability envelope. I understand your base amount is a combinatiorial function of the attributes, and the other cards presumably have their amounts based off of this, to give the desired probability of a given card coming up, but, really, this game is unshufflable.

Since it's a card game, larger numbers of cards can let probabillity do some strange things to people's hands, and doom players to a turn or two of inaction as their card mix goes first far to one sype of card, currently not useful, and later swings the other way. This effect is lessened with fewer cards.

One thing that might help, though it would impact gameplay, is having the Natural cards in a seprate deck, perhaps with a different back (or not, depending on how you want the game to flow). This would allow players to have, say, five cards from the other deck, and two natural combinations in their hand at the beginning of their turn. This would also give the players a higher change of being able to make a meaningful play on their turn.

LarryZ
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Need help with Uno-style game

I agree that it's too many cards. In particular, if I could get it down to 110 cards, that would reduce my manufacturing cost significantly, since it would be one less deck. Right now, my game has the same number of cards as Bohnanza, so I felt that if it was OK for that game, it should be OK for mine. The way we've been handling the shuffling is splitting the deck and having two people shuffle, then each person giving half their cards to the other person and reshuffling, and then just a series of cuts. Admittedly it's not great, and it would never be OK for a game of high stakes, but for my game, it doesn't seem so significant. I'm going to give some thought to how I can cut down the number of cards. I can think of numerous ways, but I'm not thrilled with the prospect of any of them.

I should mention that most of the special cards can be played at any time. It's not like Uno where you can only play a red special card if the current discard is red. Most of the special cards are played to the side of the regular discard pile, so that they don't impact the current discard. I've managed to get the game to the point that a person doesn't get "stuck" very often, where they simply can't play at all for several turns. Of course, it's also not where they can always find a card to play, which would of course be silly. What can happen is that the person's only legal play is that of a special card, and they may choose to draw rather than play it at that time. Or, they may have a Natural card that they can play, but they may choose to hold onto it as their last card, since only a Natural card has the chance of being played out of turn, and there are two ways to do so.

I do like the idea of separate deck for Naturals, though. I hadn't thought of that. I guess that the backs would have to be different though. That would add a twist to game play, since players would know, for example, if your last card was a Natural. I suppose that there would have to be two separate draw decks, one for Naturals, and one for all the other cards.

Thanks for the feedback!

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