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Gnomitech - Deceive your fellow gnome inventors!

8 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/27/2014

Hi All!

I've got an exciting idea that I'd like to get feedback on.

So everyone in the game is a gnome inventor, but everyone knows that gnomish inventions aren't always the most reliable creations. Often times their gadgets don't work, or will sometimes even blow up in their faces! Here's the game idea:

-There is a deck of Parts cards which go to a general pool, along with a deck of Product cards and a deck of Reliability cards. Reliability cards have a number 1-6 on them which determines how reliable the Part is that it will work based on a dice roll. Cards with a 1 will automatically work while a 6 will be very difficult to work.

-Each time a Parts card comes out face-up into the general pool (wheels, gears, tubes, etc.), a Reliability card is placed face-down underneath it. The goal is build Products (jetpack, trolley, clock, etc.) using sets of the Parts they acquire.

-Whenever you acquire a Parts card (by means undetermined yet) you don't look at the Reliability of it, but the two cards stay together. The only way to find out information about how reliable your Parts are is by getting a second set of eyes on the materials. In other words, your opponents look at the Reliability attached to the card.

-Here's the catch: your opponents can be truthful, or they can lie right to your face! If your card is a 5 it will likely need some help to function properly, so your opponent can tell you that you need to spend some more time on it or they can lie and say it'll be good to go. Getting advice from multiple players can be a good thing in this case.

-Players mitigate unreliable Parts by spending time, money, etc. to improve them. The improvements come in the form of tokens placed on the cards that add to the die totals.

It's like a mix between Hanabi, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Liar's Dice. Thoughts?

Joined: 03/02/2014
I like it!

There's an interesting mechanic. I think that this works especially well if you pair it with a bidding system, which I believe will help get genuine reactions. As soon as the bidding is done on an item that has been bid up to twice the typical price of items, the winning bidder lifts it and shows the reliability card to the person who just lost out on the bidding. That person will have to be a pretty good actor not to give away anything.

For this sort of fun and silly game, you want a play time that is only 15-30 minutes for 4-6 people. This is tough with bidding, but you might go with a bidding system like that in 'For Sale,' where you bid on first choice in an entire set of items. In your game, it wouldn't be as clear what the best and worst choice is, so you'd have to wait until bidding is complete, then the highest bidder takes the one he wants, the second bidder takes what he wants, etc. until the first person who dropped out of the bidding gets what is left.

I don't know if this makes things too complicated, but you might think about it: Have the parts color-coded, so you get reliability points for having multiple parts of the same color. Also, you have "slots" (i.e. wheel slots, steering mechanism slot, weapon slot, etc.) -- whenever you are forced to put a part into the wrong slot, that's a penalty on reliability.

I could see this getting quite interesting, since there would be a number of interesting, different strategies. Early on, people would be trying to pick up items cheap, as they try to figure out what they need, and then the bidding would get heated.

Joined: 03/27/2014
Yes, a bidding system was

Yes, a bidding system was definitely a plan. Surprised I didn't mention it above.

I love that "slots" idea! Definitely fits the theme of reckless inventions and would encourage people to be more diligent about getting the right parts when needed. A small go-kart made up of 2 steering wheels, 3 tires, and a steam engine would be ridiculous, but still has a chance of actually moving!

An option for parts/money/improvements acquirement was to have a set of custom dice to be drafted each turn. Player 1 rolls 12 dice (3 per player) and takes 3 of his choice, Player 2 takes 3, etc. til they're out. Dice faces would have things like Add 2 Improvements, Gain 5 Money, etc.

Definitely a light, silly game. You hit the nail on the head there.

Joined: 03/02/2014
Positive rather than negative

More thoughts on item slots: Rather than a penalty, which becomes depressing, you could make that how you get points. Each item card says how many points it is worth in each slot. For examples:

Steering wheel
Control mechanism: 6 points
Wheel: 4 points
Chassis: 1 point
Weapon: 0 points

Reticulated limb (with foot attached)
Control mechanism: 2 points
Wheel: 5 points
Chassis: 3 point
Weapon: 3 points

Control mechanism: 1 points
Wheel: 0 points
Chassis: 2 point
Weapon: 7 points

Joined: 03/27/2014
You're a genius! Seriously, I

You're a genius! Seriously, I love that idea. If I ever get this game off the ground I'm definitely adding you to the credits! That is... if it actually happens, hahah.

Plus, then people are laughing at the ridiculous inventions they've made. A Meat Grinder with a Crossbow for a handle? Brilliant! To a gnome, at least, hahah.

Beggarking's picture
Joined: 09/09/2014
This sounds seriously fun -

This sounds seriously fun - I'm a huge fan of lighter games with intense player interaction. Seems like you have a few more design choices to make (when and how reliability is revealed, game progression and end/win state) but I think the idea is solid.

Zedrex's picture
Joined: 12/29/2015
This sounds like an idea that

This sounds like an idea that would work and the sort of thing I would purchase and play :)

Joined: 03/02/2014
I had forgotten about this

I had forgotten about this idea, but I still like it. RyanRay, are you still pursuing this? If not, I'd like to.


Joined: 03/02/2014
Well, I took silance as

Well, I took silance as consent, and I spent some of my week off between the holidays putting together a prototype. I used the slots idea I suggested above, and the general concept that players are gnomes (actually, I went with goblins) making go-carts, using parts of questionable reliability which they bid on. However, no separate product or reliability cards, so it's probably pretty different.

In any case, it's not likely that I'll ever really get around to marketing and selling the game. My hobby is building the games, and I don't have a whole lot of desire to do the hard part of overseeing manufacturing of it, selling it, etc. That stuff's work!

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