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Body Parts

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IngredientX
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Hey everyone...

As I posted in another thread, one of the games I playtested in Albany this week was my game Body Parts. A few people requested that I post the rules, so here they are.

Body Parts rules, in PDF form.

Note that the game comes with...

- 90 cards...
15 cards with a value of 0 (Igor)
15 cards with a value of 1 (Legs)
15 cards with a value of 2 (Arms)
15 cards with a value of 3 (Head)
15 cards with a value of 4 (Heart)
15 cards with a value of 5 (Brain)
- 3 six-sided dice, numbered 0-5
- 12 starter cards, numbered in the following pairs: 0/5, 0/5, 1/4, 1/4, 2/3, 2/3 (note that this is a rule change since Albany... I'd like to try players starting from the same score. Will the players who start with the Igor cards have too much of an advantage? Probably not, but it's something to watch)
- A scoreboard (Warning: 1 MB download!)
- 13 wood cubes
6 pairs of cubes in different colors
1 unpainted cube

I can post PDFs of the cards tomorrow, if you're interested.

Enjoy!

dr_Edge69
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Body Parts

I really like the idea!!!

I would really like to have the cards :)))
it's seems like a fun strategy game with the idea of mad scientist creating monsters!!!

wooow i wish to try it soon :)

Anonymous
Body Parts

I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it out this past weekend, it was very fun and a good balance of light game and well thought out mechanics. I'm going to print out the rules and scoring board to try with my playtest group here in Rochester (3-4 strong) and see how it goes with the new starting values. I'll let you know any feedback I get.

p.s. Please post the cards, the illustrations are perfect for the theme!

IngredientX
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Body Parts

SiskNY wrote:
I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it out this past weekend, it was very fun and a good balance of light game and well thought out mechanics. I'm going to print out the rules and scoring board to try with my playtest group here in Rochester (3-4 strong) and see how it goes with the new starting values. I'll let you know any feedback I get.

p.s. Please post the cards, the illustrations are perfect for the theme!

That's great, Steve and Edge, thank you! I'll post PDFs of the cards tonight.

To everyone who has already playtested the game: please check the last page of the rules to make sure your name is presented and spelled properly. PM me if you have any changes.

To everyone who would like to print copies of this game out to playtest: If you want a mention in the rules, please PM me the names of you and your playtesters.

Thanks!

Brykovian
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Body Parts

Hi Gil ... Just read through the game's rules (and I too would like to see what the cards look like ;)) ... Looks like a good time.

I found one minor potential typo/correction to point out. In the last paragraph on page 2, you have: If the draw pile runs out, shuffle the discard pile and set it face-down to make a new discard pile.

I think you mean to end it with "draw pile" instead of "discard pile" ... not a biggy in any case, but with the high-quality that the rule set already looks to be in, I figure you might want that pointed out.

Here's a completely non-game related question: What font are you using for the title and headers? It's cool and really fits the mood of the game, imo.

Good luck with the continued testing and development of the game.

-Matt

IngredientX
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Body Parts

Brykovian wrote:
I think you mean to end it with "draw pile" instead of "discard pile" ... not a biggy in any case, but with the high-quality that the rule set already looks to be in, I figure you might want that pointed out.

Yeah, I spotted that this morning myself. I'm glad someone else caught it, though!

Quote:
Here's a completely non-game related question: What font are you using for the title and headers? It's cool and really fits the mood of the game, imo.

Thanks! The header font is called "X-Files." I can't remember the font for the body text, though. I got them both from a friend who I haven't spoken with in months...

IngredientX
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Body Parts

UPDATE: Grrrrr, Geocities is being a pain in the butt! It won't allow downloads of ZIP files. Bloody useless.

So, here are the four available files...

http://www.geocities.com/ingredientx/body_parts/Cards.pdf
http://www.geocities.com/ingredientx/body_parts/Backs.pdf (This link might be temperamental - keep trying)
http://www.geocities.com/ingredientx/body_parts/Starters.pdf
http://www.geocities.com/ingredientx/body_parts/Starter_Backs.pdf

These files are all pretty big, from 500 KB to 2 MB.

CARDS
The cards file has one sheet of paper, with the cards numbered 0 through 5. Print this sheet out 15 times, and you'll have the cards.

BACKS
The way I do the card backs is that I print out all my card fronts, and then I rotate (not flip) the paper 180 degrees, so the side of the paper that came out of the printer first will go back into the printer first. This is why the backs are upside down... so that when you rotate the page, both sides of the cards will be oriented correctly. This is obvious, but make sure that the printer is now printing on the back of the page. :)

I like using card backs, because they help the card's opacity.

STARTER FRONT
These are the front of the starter cards.

STARTER BACKS
These are the backs of the starter cards.

Let me know if anything's amiss. Enjoy!

IngredientX
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Body Parts

Oh, Bryk... the font used in the text in the manual is "Californian FB." I also got it from a friend.

FastLearner
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Body Parts

You can upload the zipped versions here, Gil. There's even a special category for it.

-- Matthew

dr_Edge69
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Body Parts

Great game :)) i hope someday you'll develop a variant for two player or maybe i'll find one by playing it a lot.

IngredientX
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FastLearner wrote:
You can upload the zipped versions here, Gil. There's even a special category for it.

-- Matthew

Ahh... I thought I needed permission before the upload. Silly me.

I'll put the game up here if there are any further problems. And now I know for next time.

Thanks!

nosissies
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Body Parts

Gil, I figured, since you posted the rules here, that his would be an appropriate place to put my comments from this past weekend.

I enjoyed this one very much. It is always fun to see some familiar elements tied together in a new way, and the theme didn't feel artificial.

My first instinct would be to go at the hand replenishment... but I don't think I can really justify it. I was surpised at how balanced it ended up being. Have you played this with three players? My gut says you'll benefit from having a bigger replenishment for fewer players.

I really enjoyed the decisons in this one. Having to balance jumping into the fray while reserving some resources for other tasks. for instance... I have a good hand to be able to sabotage, but I will I be able to do any significant damage to the dice?

I'm not sure I can offer much else after just one play. Given the rummy elements and the random elements in play you'll need to do a heap of playtesting to get a good feel for the distribution and whether or not it really needs any tweaking/balancing.

If I was to dig a little bit, one thing that felt a little wierd was that we all started at different scores. per the rules you posted, everyone starts at 25, but the way we played, each player's monster had a different value at the start. In particular, one player seemed to be significantly ahead of the other three.

I also appreciated the implicit player communication element for the players who are "outside the lab" , that is the notion that I might put down just 1 card which would indicate to the other folks outside the lab that I can't possibly beat the current lab occupant. This coupled with the potential/likely bluffing of the lab occupant is a nice combination.

Oh, and the way you laid out the scoring track was quite pleasent, I liked how you could just move one space to record an increase of 10 points... nice touch, nice use of space.

ok, that's all I have for now. I may try to print this one out and subject my group to it this weekend. I'll apologize ahead of time if I don't manage to. I'm really well intentioned, but I wouldn't want you to be too dissappointed if it doesn't work out :-)

peace,
Tom

IngredientX
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Hey Tom, thanks for the reply!

nosissies wrote:
My first instinct would be to go at the hand replenishment... but I don't think I can really justify it. I was surpised at how balanced it ended up being. Have you played this with three players? My gut says you'll benefit from having a bigger replenishment for fewer players.

I don't have anywhere near the amount of data about how balanced this will be, especially with anything other than four players. I included six players out of good faith, but I'm not sure how it will work.

The old balancing mechanism in the game, which you missed by about two weeks, was absolutely abysmal. Players outside the lab with fewer points than the Scientist could play as many cards as they wanted, but players with more points could only play two cards. Yech!

There was another balancing mechanism in the old rules that was pretty awful too. Instead of going clockwise around the table, play order always went to the player with the fewest points. As a result, it would be common for a player to sit around for 30 minutes and never enter the lab. Double yech!

Finally, the game ended when someone reached 65 points. But failed experiments extended the game length, because there was no new card entering the Monster economy, as it were; one player's gain was another's loss. I introduced the peasants to make sure failed experiments moved the game along.

At the time, the hand limit was a strict five cards for everyone. I introduced the variable hand size and removed the play limit. I also dinged the variable turn order, came up with the peasants, and introduced the clockwise movement. Our game was the first non-solo test with these rules. It played quicker, and it seemed to be much more fun.

One issue with the game that will be a constant is that the more players there are in the game, the fiercer cardplay will be for the Skeptic, and the tougher it will be for the Scientist to pull off an experiment. This will probably be a real issue with five or six players. I haven't tried a game with these rules for that many players, so I'm curious.

On the other hand, a game with three players might be too easy for the Scientist. I'll have to watch it. I wonder if these differences, if they exist, are necessarily bad things that I will need to adjust. If each kind of game is different but still fun, then I think I can stay put. But if players are consistently frustrated for some reason, then I'll have to open up the hood again.

Quote:
I'm not sure I can offer much else after just one play. Given the rummy elements and the random elements in play you'll need to do a heap of playtesting to get a good feel for the distribution and whether or not it really needs any tweaking/balancing.

Yeah... at this point, it's just a matter of collecting data and watching for fun.

Quote:
If I was to dig a little bit, one thing that felt a little wierd was that we all started at different scores. per the rules you posted, everyone starts at 25, but the way we played, each player's monster had a different value at the start. In particular, one player seemed to be significantly ahead of the other three.

Yes, at first I thought it would be okay (kind of like the starting money situation in Alhambra), but the newest ruleset (I've changed it since the Playfest) has all players starting at 25 points, but with different kinds of cards in their Monsters. This way, a failed experiment can still be productive.

Quote:
ok, that's all I have for now. I may try to print this one out and subject my group to it this weekend. I'll apologize ahead of time if I don't manage to. I'm really well intentioned, but I wouldn't want you to be too dissappointed if it doesn't work out :-)

I appreciate the help, so don't worry if it doesn't work out! You've already been a fantastic help. Thank you!

nosissies
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Body Parts

not to nit-pick or anything... one quick note on the rules... the use of "between" ...

In the game the player must roll a number which is less than the sum of the dice, and more than the number of "parts" in their monster. In your example, the dice add to 10 and the monster has 4 cards, so you state that "[the scientist] must roll between a 5 and 9 for a successful experiment" ... I assume this is an inclusive interval you are defining with "between" , for some reason this strikes me as a little ambiguous. It might be more straightforward/precise to say "the roll must be greater than 4 and less than 10"

am I having a mental lapse, or is "between" confusing for other people too? Maybe I just know too much math ... errr. something.

peace,
Tom

IngredientX
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nosissies wrote:
not to nit-pick or anything... one quick note on the rules... the use of "between" ...

In the game the player must roll a number which is less than the sum of the dice, and more than the number of "parts" in their monster. In your example, the dice add to 10 and the monster has 4 cards, so you state that "[the scientist] must roll between a 5 and 9 for a successful experiment" ... I assume this is an inclusive interval you are defining with "between" , for some reason this strikes me as a little ambiguous. It might be more straightforward/precise to say "the roll must be greater than 4 and less than 10"

am I having a mental lapse, or is "between" confusing for other people too? Maybe I just know too much math ... errr. something.

peace,
Tom

Actually, that's a good point. Thanks for the suggestion! I guess I should post revised rules... there's a few tiny changes I have made, and still need to make...

nosissies
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Hey Gil (and other onlookers),
We had a game night last night, had 10 folks present and we managed to play your game twice. Each time we played with 5 players, and I was the only one who played twice.

Firstly an apology, I didn't quite remember the rules completely for the frist game so it was kinda broken, though not as badly as you might have expected.

So, the first game we played I didn't remember until after a couple of experiments that the dice are supposed to be 0-5, and we played with 1 to 6. This made it a bit too easy to succeed at experiments, but only slightly. The other goof I made was we had the successful skeptic take the lab and a part from the failed scientist. I'm not sure the actual effect of this. This was a very different game than the second game. The townsfolk moved much too quickly, there were still three people who were on 25 at the end of the game.

The second game played much better, took a bit longer, but the feeling was still that the townsfolk move too quickly. There was much more of a spread of scores. Our leader(s) were at 60-something and 50-something. Two others were in the middle, and I ended the game with only 12(yes only one part left in my monster). We ended up making it once around the table, every time there was a failed experiment the skeptic opted to just take a part rather than go into the lab. Each of the five of us got a shot at the lab. I went first, lost a part and never really recovered.

It was suggested that there be some way to appease the townsfolk, to get them to move backwards. On the flip-side of the townsfolk moving too quickly, no scientist ever opted to just concede, they all were willing to take a chance on the dice.

Some general comments ...
1) There was some disappointment that the game didn't echo the theme more strongly. One person in particular wanted to play strictly based on the theme and discovered that they spent most of their time just staring at dice.
2) Folks were expecting to (or wanting to) build something sensible, like a "complete monster", ie they wanted to know if they were trying to get 2 arms, two legs, one head etc. They wanted to have some goal of building something sensible rather than just collecting cards, or at least having the collecting of cards tied closer to the theme.
3)they really appreciated the artwork, that really drew some people in.
4)A few asked to know when it was going to be produced and wanted to know so that they could buy a copy. Generally the gaming folks really appreaciated the decisions that they had to make and how it the game mechanism worked (these folks had no issue with the "pasted-on" theme), and they were the stongest proponents of the "appease the townsfolk" element.

well, that's pretty much it. I've got to run, but if I think of anything else I'll let you know.

peace,
Tom

IngredientX
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nosissies wrote:
Hey Gil (and other onlookers),
We had a game night last night, had 10 folks present and we managed to play your game twice. Each time we played with 5 players, and I was the only one who played twice.

Cool, I'm glad you brought it to the table!

Quote:
So, the first game we played I didn't remember until after a couple of experiments that the dice are supposed to be 0-5, and we played with 1 to 6. This made it a bit too easy to succeed at experiments, but only slightly. The other goof I made was we had the successful skeptic take the lab and a part from the failed scientist. I'm not sure the actual effect of this. This was a very different game than the second game. The townsfolk moved much too quickly, there were still three people who were on 25 at the end of the game.

I'll probably have to throw together a reference card. The choices can be confusing. More on the villagers below, but remember that the game can't end until every player has had a turn in the laboratory.

Quote:
The second game played much better, took a bit longer, but the feeling was still that the townsfolk move too quickly. There was much more of a spread of scores. Our leader(s) were at 60-something and 50-something. Two others were in the middle, and I ended the game with only 12(yes only one part left in my monster). We ended up making it once around the table, every time there was a failed experiment the skeptic opted to just take a part rather than go into the lab. Each of the five of us got a shot at the lab. I went first, lost a part and never really recovered.

How long did the games take? 30 minutes? 1 hour? Do you feel that if the game ran 15 minutes longer, it would be too long?

Your hand size should have been bigger than everyone else's. When you went down to 12 points, did you feel that your increased hand size made a difference?

Quote:
It was suggested that there be some way to appease the townsfolk, to get them to move backwards. On the flip-side of the townsfolk moving too quickly, no scientist ever opted to just concede, they all were willing to take a chance on the dice.

Here's the thing about the townsfolk: first off, they're a new mechanic, so it's quite possible that there's something about them that's downright broken.

Secondly, as I've posted, a previous version of the game ended at 65 points. There was no peasant mob. This meant that every failed experiment kept the game going longer, because no new points were introduced into the game's "economy."

The peasant mob fixes that, as they bring the endgame closer with every failed experiment. If there was a way to appease them, then I worry that the game would run too long.

My initial reaction would be to start them further away. This would allow one or two more failed experiments in the game.

Quote:
Some general comments ...
1) There was some disappointment that the game didn't echo the theme more strongly. One person in particular wanted to play strictly based on the theme and discovered that they spent most of their time just staring at dice.

Yep. I have no idea how to remedy this. This is a theme-pasted-on game, and nongamers will probably be disappointed.

Quote:
2) Folks were expecting to (or wanting to) build something sensible, like a "complete monster", ie they wanted to know if they were trying to get 2 arms, two legs, one head etc. They wanted to have some goal of building something sensible rather than just collecting cards, or at least having the collecting of cards tied closer to the theme.

I wonder if that might be as easy to fix as having a pair of arms and a pair of legs on the respective cards. Nevertheless, it's a valid complaint, and another one related to the fact that the theme to this game is quite thin.

Quote:
3)they really appreciated the artwork, that really drew some people in.

My friend Ben is very talented! He hates doing game artwork, but this one didn't take him long.

Quote:
4)A few asked to know when it was going to be produced and wanted to know so that they could buy a copy. Generally the gaming folks really appreaciated the decisions that they had to make and how it the game mechanism worked (these folks had no issue with the "pasted-on" theme), and they were the stongest proponents of the "appease the townsfolk" element.

Interesting. So the non-gamers you played with weren't happy with the thin theme, but the gamers didn't mind it, but felt that the townsfolk approached too quickly. As I said, I'd prefer to fix the latter issue by starting the peasant mob further away from the players. Do you think this is worth a try, or would that not have helped?

As for the first issue, I don't know offhand how I can put any more theme into the game without either dismantling the scoring system, or adding needless, fiddly chrome.

Here's the most important question: Did the testers have fun playing the game? Were they getting into character? Were they twisting with agonizing decisions? Or did they just want to roll the dice and get it over with? And don't hold back - be as honest as you can, please!

Quote:
well, that's pretty much it. I've got to run, but if I think of anything else I'll let you know.

I appreciate the help, Tom!

fanaka66
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Body Parts

Gil,

Not that this is entirely on-topic or helpful, but after Playfest, when I was telling my wife about the games, she had an interesting comment about Body Parts.

When I told her that you were collecting cards with names like arm, leg, head, etc... she said that it would be a good games for her class for the vocabulary (she's a high school Spanish Teacher).

Now when you start selling it, you can make it bi-lingual and attach the word 'Educational' to your game box! Woohoo!

dr_Edge69
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I really liked the game :)

Nice card game, sure the theme is pasted on but who cares.

It's a little hard to justify why the scientist fight to be the skeptic with body parts ;)

I like the little poker thing of "determining the skeptic" :)

But there is something about research that i don't really like but i can't explain why... maybe it's that i would prefer a better thing than upgrading dice numbers to determine the chances of my experience to succeed... I don't know for nom :)

I think too that the villagers goes down rapidly, i was wondering, if someone decide to decline a new experiment they could go up...

I'll test the game some more to give new comments :)

Thanx for the free fun you gave us!!

nosissies
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Body Parts

IngredientX wrote:

How long did the games take? 30 minutes? 1 hour? Do you feel that if the game ran 15 minutes longer, it would be too long?

The first game went way too quickly, perhaps under a half an hour, but one person never made it into the lab, but given the mistakes in the rules we know we made at that point we decided not to continue. The second game ran about an hour (I think). As I said, it ended after the last of the 5 of us got their chance in the lab, which also corresponded with the townsfolk reaching us. I think folks really wanted to have a second shot at the lab, but that likely would have extended the game significantly.

IngredientX wrote:

Your hand size should have been bigger than everyone else's. When you went down to 12 points, did you feel that your increased hand size made a difference?

Yes, I did have a larger hand, but I don't think I used it well, I ended up having a bunch of pairs of stuff. What I should have done earlier on, rather than just dumping a single card at a time, would be to dump a bunch of stuff in the hopes of drawing good stuff when the next scientist went into the lab. I'm not sure if going up to 8 cards would have helped me any. Though it might be worth testing that way.

This reminds me of one of the other questions which was asked "can I use two pairs?" ... interesting thought. Oh, the other thing you might want to know was that the other games of the night were Bonanza, and High Society. Bonanza has some poker elements to it, so I think folks might have been craving some poker over rummy :-)

IngredientX wrote:

If there was a way to appease them, then I worry that the game would run too long.

My initial reaction would be to start them further away. This would allow one or two more failed experiments in the game.

That might do the trick, that would probably be easier than having them move at a slower pace (ie 8 spaces rather than 10). This might also vary with the number of players. So the current set-up might work fine for 4 players, but with 5 you want them to be a little further away.

IngredientX wrote:

Yep. I have no idea how to remedy this. This is a theme-pasted-on game, and nongamers will probably be disappointed.

right, this isn't neccesarily something you need to fix, it's more just something you'll need to make a decision on for yourself. It's also affirmation of the theme. Folks really wanted to get into the theme. If it were me, I might consider pasting on a different theme and saving this theme for something else. The gamers will enjoy it regardless of theme.

Oh, some other information you'll want to know, which really forced your game onto the table ... A little demographics if you will... One of the folks in attendence is an Emergency Department doctor, another was a physical therapy student (who incidentally is currently taking gross anatomy), one of the 2 engineering students in attendence had visited the pt student's gross lab (yes dinner conversation was quite interesting). And the folks who realy appreciated the game ... two math phd students, and a Math professor. And for a complete picture, the other folks are in IT support, and programming respectively. ok, so maybe this group was a little biased, but I think it gives you a good picture of the broad range of responses. A couple of them thought the game was too complicated, they were of the "trivial pursuit is our favorite game" persuasion, and we're trying to change that. So, your theme was strong enough to get their attention, but it wasn't their "gateway" game (ie the game that turns them on to "real" games).

IngredientX wrote:
I wonder if that might be as easy to fix as having a pair of arms and a pair of legs on the respective cards. Nevertheless, it's a valid complaint, and another one related to the fact that the theme to this game is quite thin.

I think people were really wanting their goal to be to build a monster, not just to simply have the most points. You might just add an alternate goal, build a complete monster (ie one head, one brain, one heart, two arms, two legs... igor not neccesary) or have the most points when the peasants reach us.

IngredientX wrote:

As I said, I'd prefer to fix the latter issue by starting the peasant mob further away from the players. Do you think this is worth a try, or would that not have helped?
that would probably help some, but it's hard to know how much. I think part of the issue of them moving too quickly was that the players were having too much fun and didn't want the game to end. At the same time, I'm not sure how much longer would have been acceptable. Like I said, I think they all wanted another shot at the lab.

IngredientX wrote:

As for the first issue, I don't know offhand how I can put any more theme into the game without either dismantling the scoring system, or adding needless, fiddly chrome.

I feel your pain there. Though i think the assemble a whole monster goal might work nicely, though you'd have to put an actual body part on the "starting cards". Perhaps the player markers should be little plastic igor's.

IngredientX wrote:

Here's the most important question: Did the testers have fun playing the game? Were they getting into character? Were they twisting with agonizing decisions? Or did they just want to roll the dice and get it over with? And don't hold back - be as honest as you can, please!

There was a real mix. I think for the most part there were agonizing decisions. People were very careful about how they used their resources. I think there are some really great decisons in the game. People really agonized over thefact that they needed to use their hand to a)produce a good rummy hand, and b) have something left to manipulate the dice.

I can't say that folks were getting into character, they were too focused on the decisions, or being confused by my explanation. Though, the half of the group that was playing a different game while body parts was being played voiced their opionion that they expected to be hearing maniacal laughter coming from the body parts players.

As for holes, there were only a few things that might be holes...
1) the skeptic always chose to take a body part, and not the lab. I don't think there is much motivation to go into the lab in that case. Why would they take the risk when they could just grab a sure thing?
2)Folks decided later on in the game that if the scientist could get the dice up to 15 then they were comfortable with not playing a winning face-down hand because the worst that the skeptic could do would be to reduce the 15 to a 10, and even if the scientist had 5 cards, that still leaves the peak of the distribution in range. By my meager calculations, if you have 5 cards and the skeptic reduces you to 10, you have just about a 50-50 shot.

I think the distribution looks roughly like the table below (This should be about right, though the formatting is ugly) with three dice numbered 0-5, the first column is the number you might roll, the second column is the number of ways you can roll the number in the 1st column, and the third column is the percentage of the rolls which give you the number in the first colum.
0 1 0.462962963
1 3 1.388888889
2 6 2.777777778
3 10 4.62962963
4 15 6.944444444
5 21 9.722222222
6 25 11.57407
7 27 12.5
8 27 12.5
9 25 11.57407
10 21 9.722222222
11 15 6.944444444
12 10 4.62962963
13 6 2.777777778
14 3 1.388888889
15 1 0.462962963
sums to 216 possible combinations covering 100% of the options ... I think this actually does add up right, but feel free to correct me.

IngredientX wrote:
appreciate the help, Tom!

Anytime it was fun, and made for fun conversation.

oh, the other thing I forgot to mention was that this game is kinda difficult to teach, so we ended up just playing an open hand first, that seemed to help people pick it up more quickly.

peace,
Tom

IngredientX
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Body Parts

nosissies wrote:
The first game went way too quickly, perhaps under a half an hour, but one person never made it into the lab, but given the mistakes in the rules we know we made at that point we decided not to continue.

Hmmm... I'm not so sure I should worry too much about the first playtest result, other than the dire need to print out turn reference cards. :)

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The second game ran about an hour (I think). As I said, it ended after the last of the 5 of us got their chance in the lab, which also corresponded with the townsfolk reaching us. I think folks really wanted to have a second shot at the lab, but that likely would have extended the game significantly.

Here's an interesting dilemma: players would want to play longer to keep themselves in the game, but how long can I stretch it? I want first-time gamers to play this in an hour at most, and experienced players to finish in 45 minutes, tops. Any longer, and the game would certainly overstay its welcome. I'd like to see how starting the mob further up the scoreboard would help.

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This reminds me of one of the other questions which was asked "can I use two pairs?" ... interesting thought. Oh, the other thing you might want to know was that the other games of the night were Bonanza, and High Society. Bonanza has some poker elements to it, so I think folks might have been craving some poker over rummy :-)

I wonder how allowing two pairs would work. Should it count as a four-card combination? I do worry about adding a pontentially more confusing scoring possibility, as the game may be too complicated as it is. I don't mind that there's a bit of a luck element in there. This is a card game, after all. I'll keep an eye on it, but I'm inclined to keep it where it is... unless a playtester blows me away with a good argument to the contrary.

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IngredientX wrote:

If there was a way to appease them, then I worry that the game would run too long.

My initial reaction would be to start them further away. This would allow one or two more failed experiments in the game.

That might do the trick, that would probably be easier than having them move at a slower pace (ie 8 spaces rather than 10). This might also vary with the number of players. So the current set-up might work fine for 4 players, but with 5 you want them to be a little further away.

Cool, then it's just a matter of jiggling the numbers. Perhaps the mob starts at 89 with 3-4 players, and 99 with 5-6 players. Or something similar. It's just a matter of messing with it.

Still, I'd rather have a quicker game where not everybody has the same amount of time in the lab, than a 90-minute game where everybody visits the lab three times.

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IngredientX wrote:

Yep. I have no idea how to remedy this. This is a theme-pasted-on game, and nongamers will probably be disappointed.

right, this isn't neccesarily something you need to fix, it's more just something you'll need to make a decision on for yourself. It's also affirmation of the theme. Folks really wanted to get into the theme. If it were me, I might consider pasting on a different theme and saving this theme for something else. The gamers will enjoy it regardless of theme.

It's an interesting dilemma, isn't it? Without trying to toot my own horn, I'd say that the theme is too good. I think people, especially non-gamers, might feel a little "ripped off" that the game doesn't live up to its rich theme.

Funny that you mentioned Bohnanza a little earlier, because it has the opposite problem. The theme to that game is not that great, and there are people (especially non-gamers) who just won't play a game if it's about bean farming.

Now, the game must have a theme; as you can tell, I came up with the mechanics to this game first, and it took a few months to come up with a good theme. Without the theme, the game is very difficult to play. I'm not sure what other theme I'd want for the game; it would feel like I'm taking a step backwards. Not to mention that I'd have to shelve the great artwork my friend made for the game.

It's a question like this where I have to dig down and think: who am I making this game for? Do I seriously want it to be publishable? Do I want it to be an eccentric but fun game, with loyal adherants and angry detractors? Okay, maybe I'm flattering myself a bit much... but the point is, I'm not looking for mass appeal with this game. I don't mind if I turn off some non-gamers; I really want this game to function as a good filler for gamers, giving them meaningful choices inside a fun theme. Whether or not this game has a fun theme, non-gamers probably will not like the mechanics. At its most basic level, it's really just probability.

Of course, if I can figure out a way to make the game appeal to both gamers and nongamers, then I'll do it in a second. But I'm not sure this is the game with which to do it. There's a reason why "gateway" games are so celebrated; it's that designing a game with such broad appeal is very difficult to do. I don't pretend to be even close to that point yet. Maybe soon... but not now...

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Oh, some other information you'll want to know, which really forced your game onto the table ... A little demographics if you will... One of the folks in attendence is an Emergency Department doctor, another was a physical therapy student (who incidentally is currently taking gross anatomy), one of the 2 engineering students in attendence had visited the pt student's gross lab (yes dinner conversation was quite interesting). And the folks who realy appreciated the game ... two math phd students, and a Math professor.

Not surprising that the Math people liked it the most! That's really who I anticipate will really like the game.

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IngredientX wrote:
I wonder if that might be as easy to fix as having a pair of arms and a pair of legs on the respective cards. Nevertheless, it's a valid complaint, and another one related to the fact that the theme to this game is quite thin.

I think people were really wanting their goal to be to build a monster, not just to simply have the most points. You might just add an alternate goal, build a complete monster (ie one head, one brain, one heart, two arms, two legs... igor not neccesary) or have the most points when the peasants reach us.

That's not a bad suggestion, and perhaps the easiest path. It would also cut down on game length. I'll try it in my next playtest.

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IngredientX wrote:

As I said, I'd prefer to fix the latter issue by starting the peasant mob further away from the players. Do you think this is worth a try, or would that not have helped?
that would probably help some, but it's hard to know how much. I think part of the issue of them moving too quickly was that the players were having too much fun and didn't want the game to end. At the same time, I'm not sure how much longer would have been acceptable. Like I said, I think they all wanted another shot at the lab.

Well, that's a good problem to have! :) As you say, I don't want the game to drag. Better to force them to muscle their way into the lab through Sabotage.

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IngredientX wrote:

As for the first issue, I don't know offhand how I can put any more theme into the game without either dismantling the scoring system, or adding needless, fiddly chrome.

I feel your pain there. Though i think the assemble a whole monster goal might work nicely, though you'd have to put an actual body part on the "starting cards". Perhaps the player markers should be little plastic igor's.

Yeah, maybe.

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IngredientX wrote:

Here's the most important question: Did the testers have fun playing the game? Were they getting into character? Were they twisting with agonizing decisions? Or did they just want to roll the dice and get it over with? And don't hold back - be as honest as you can, please!

There was a real mix. I think for the most part there were agonizing decisions. People were very careful about how they used their resources. I think there are some really great decisons in the game. People really agonized over thefact that they needed to use their hand to a)produce a good rummy hand, and b) have something left to manipulate the dice.

I can't say that folks were getting into character, they were too focused on the decisions, or being confused by my explanation. Though, the half of the group that was playing a different game while body parts was being played voiced their opionion that they expected to be hearing maniacal laughter coming from the body parts players.

I'm happy about the decisions... I'd rather have that than a Steve Jackson-esque game with all theme and no interesting mechanics to speak of (I played Chez Geek the other night, and I think I've hit my Steve Jackson limit). Again, perhaps the theme does not match the mechanics as well as I thought.

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As for holes, there were only a few things that might be holes...
1) the skeptic always chose to take a body part, and not the lab. I don't think there is much motivation to go into the lab in that case. Why would they take the risk when they could just grab a sure thing?

The biggest reason is if taking a body part would cause the game to end, and would not give the Skeptic enough points to win. Once the peasants start storming the university, this should be a player's best choice, especially the player in last.

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2)Folks decided later on in the game that if the scientist could get the dice up to 15 then they were comfortable with not playing a winning face-down hand because the worst that the skeptic could do would be to reduce the 15 to a 10, and even if the scientist had 5 cards, that still leaves the peak of the distribution in range. By my meager calculations, if you have 5 cards and the skeptic reduces you to 10, you have just about a 50-50 shot.

I really don't want the Scientist to fail on the first try on too many occaisons. That's why he gets the extra card at the beginning. If players will only have one or two tries in the laboratory, then getting nailed on your first roll is a bit of a buzzkill.

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I think the distribution looks roughly like the table below (This should be about right, though the formatting is ugly) with three dice numbered 0-5, the first column is the number you might roll, the second column is the number of ways you can roll the number in the 1st column, and the third column is the percentage of the rolls which give you the number in the first colum.

Thank you for the table! The bell curve makes it interesting, because bumping the die up from a 13 to a 14 really doesn't give a huge advantage. You really want to get the dice to at least 10 or 11 to give yourself a shot, and that's not considering Sabotage.

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IngredientX wrote:
appreciate the help, Tom!

Anytime it was fun, and made for fun conversation.

oh, the other thing I forgot to mention was that this game is kinda difficult to teach, so we ended up just playing an open hand first, that seemed to help people pick it up more quickly.

One day, I will design a game that's easy to teach. You'll recognize that day, because you'll see winged pigs and demons doing triple toe loops.

Thanks again, Tom!

IngredientX
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Body Parts

Last weekend, I went down to PowWow. I returned with the rules to Body Parts trimmed. It was once eight pages of rules; now it's four.

The dice and scoreboard are gone; only the cards and cardplay remain. It's no longer a push-your-luck dice rolling game, but is now a light, quick bidding game. Since I don't need to have the cards match the dice anymore, there's now eight different kinds of cards (up from six).

Games have lasted about ten minutes in the three or four playtest games I've had. People have enjoyed it. The bluffing mechanic is strong enough to hold up on its own, and people like the idea of having to complete their monster. The theme and gameplay "click" much better than they used to.

Here are updated rules, in PDF form.

Here are updated cards. Print this page 13 times, and you'll have all 104 cards in the deck.

Here are the new starter cards. They're just Igor cards; everyone starts with one Igor. I'm printing mine double-sided (the same image on each side) on lighter cardstock, so they're more easily distinguished.

I've had three playtests with new rules, but none with eight different kinds of cards. I may drop it down to seven, if the game seems to drag.

If you're wondering what happened to the diceplay, I'm splitting it off into a new game. Perhaps people can get to try it at the next Albany playfest?

Enjoy!

dr_Edge69
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Body Parts

I read the rules and i like this new light version.

Because i think this version won't be missing the dice mechanism :)

it will be played fast with not too much thinking and some great bluffing :)

I like the new igor power :) igor rules!!!

Torrent
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Body Parts

I wish I had gotten the chance to play this version at Powwow. It certainly does seem to be a better fit to the theme than the one I did get to play.

I have a few thoughts. 1) Since you cannot have more than one of each card in the Monster, what happens when you get the oppurtunity to score, but cannot. IE have a nearly complete monster and your hand has all cards that are already there, the Icebox too, and you pick up cards with your Igors that are already there too. I wonder if you would be allows to retain the unplayable card in your hand. So basically as you get more complete monster your hand grows some. The idea of going for Danger will become more interesting as the monsters get completed.

2) A set of Igors should beat any group of body parts of equivilent size. Since they are so useful to play out, it would be a neat incentive to hold onto Igors.

I guess I didn't catch it in my brief runthrough of the rules, but how do you fill your hand? Is drawing instead of playing cards the only way to get more? If so, one run of three takes you three rounds to recover from.

All in all a good change. I like the art for the brain.

Andy

IngredientX
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Body Parts

Torrent wrote:
I wish I had gotten the chance to play this version at Powwow. It certainly does seem to be a better fit to the theme than the one I did get to play.

It seems to be much more fun, and is a better fit with the theme.

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1) Since you cannot have more than one of each card in the Monster, what happens when you get the oppurtunity to score, but cannot. IE have a nearly complete monster and your hand has all cards that are already there, the Icebox too, and you pick up cards with your Igors that are already there too.

I think I skimmed this in the rules. You cannot score a card that's already in your Monster (The exception is Igor; you can have as many Igors in your monster as you'd like). So if Igor brings you a card that you already have in your Monster, it gets discarded.

This means that a Monster is easy to start, because just about any Igor draw will help you. But by the end of the game, it's a valid option to hold back cards in your hand that you don't have in your Monster, and to have several Igors helping you. The Icebox grows during the game, so there will probably be a card you'll want there most of the time.

All in all, there's a little bit of luck involved, but since the game will run about 15-20 mins, I don't think that will be a problem.

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I wonder if you would be allows to retain the unplayable card in your hand. So basically as you get more complete monster your hand grows some. The idea of going for Danger will become more interesting as the monsters get completed.

Yes. The player with the best combination scores twice out of the possible three ways of scoring. But if he can't score, he can't score. So for example, if a player has the best combination but can't score from his hand or from the Icebox, he will only score once through his Igors.

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2) A set of Igors should beat any group of body parts of equivilent size. Since they are so useful to play out, it would be a neat incentive to hold onto Igors.

Hmmm... this is an awfully good idea. I could make Igors 8 instead of 0. I'll give it a shot!

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I guess I didn't catch it in my brief runthrough of the rules, but how do you fill your hand? Is drawing instead of playing cards the only way to get more? If so, one run of three takes you three rounds to recover from.

Every player gets one card after a hand is played. Additionally, when a player outside the lab gets a chance to play cards, he can instead choose to draw a card. This way, players can get two cards at once. Hand sizes seem to vary from three to five during the game, so this isn't a bad-sized swing. So far, playtesters have been into it, but I haven't tested nearly enough...

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All in all a good change. I like the art for the brain.

Thanks, I learned a lot!

dr_Edge69
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Body Parts

I like the idea of igor worthing 8, it will add some interresting dilemma.

Would it make it be too strong if a single igor could beat a two card suit, two igor, a three card suit...

IngredientX
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Body Parts

dr_Edge69 wrote:
Would it make it be too strong if a single igor could beat a two card suit, two igor, a three card suit...

Way too strong. :)

I don't know if I'll even put strong Igors into the game yet... we'll have to see how it shakes out.

dr_Edge69
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Body Parts

Maybe igor can be worth what the player want it to worth

for example if a player played 6-6-igor it would be like a combination of
three 6 card.

Maybe this idea too is too strong :)

Maybe you can add the rules that only one igor can be used that way in combination, more igor won't change nothing :)

i like to give power to igor sorry!! :)

Vote igor for mayor!

Torrent
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Igor should still be 0. Igor is a weakling, he power just comes from the group of him. If he was a pure wildcard, it wouldn't be the same. The idea at the moment is to have as many Igors as possible in play for drawing. So having a large group in your hand is just as powerful, but only once. Holding a few is useful for making strategic moves, bu playing them out is a long term play.

Andy

IngredientX
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Torrent wrote:
Igor should still be 0. Igor is a weakling, he power just comes from the group of him. If he was a pure wildcard, it wouldn't be the same. The idea at the moment is to have as many Igors as possible in play for drawing. So having a large group in your hand is just as powerful, but only once. Holding a few is useful for making strategic moves, bu playing them out is a long term play.

Andy

Hmmm... let's make sure we're on the same page. Igor's power occurs when he's in your Monster when you score. If you score through your Igor, you draw as many cards as you have Igors, and select one to put in your Monster.

The group of Igors in your hand would be applicable for cardplay, but wouldn't otherwise get you anything special. A set of Igors can be beaten by any other same-sized combination. It would be interesting to see how Igor would work with a high value instead of a low value. Right now, it's kind of a slam-dunk play to leave Igors in your hand to score with. If Igor was worth more, perhaps it would provide a more agonizing decision; should a player use Igor to improve his combination, or leave him behind in his hand to score with?

Torrent, I hope I didn't misunderstand you. I'm a little pooped, and it's been a long day. I hope this all makes sense, and that this helps a teeny bit.

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