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Speeding up the game

8 replies [Last post]
Joined: 10/10/2018

Hey all,

Its been a while since ive been active here, i posted some time ago regarding my game "Burrowed", a 2-4 player tile movement game involving rabbits.

The game for the most part is done, and its just a matter of tuning everything, however in all the playtests one thing has been consistent and that is its taking too long to complete a game, or even get fully into the game for that matter. Below is a link to drive with some references images and the rulebook (ignore the images in the rulebook they havent been updated).

By about the 40 minute mark only 1 player (maybe 2) has burrowed a rabbit and usually 2 or even 3 of the players will only have a couple points at best or even none.

I need a way to speed up the game so that it lasts 40 minutes tops and their isnt so much disparity between the scores or the rabbits burrowed.

Any suggestions would be super helpful, this has had me stumped for a while and the games are just sooooo slow.

Thanks for any help, open to any and all suggestions :)

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I think you are answering your OWN question...!

If by the 40 minute mark only 1 Player (Maybe 2) has burrowed a rabbit... Well then you should take this as a SIGN that your GOAL should be to BURROW ONE (1) RABBIT to WIN!

I've also been re-working my own WIP "Monster Keep" (MK) because the initial design takes TOO LONG to play and there is TOO MUCH MATH!

While I didn't read ALL your rules, my thoughts are from the DESIGN figure out what WORKS for it. In my WIP, my solution was to use a Jumbo Card and use a UV Coating combined with a Dry Erase Pen/Marker.

Now while that makes the game a BIT more playable... It doesn't SOLVE my MATH problem. And so I just spent 10 minutes LOOKING at my cards and trying to see a NEW "direction" for the game. And glaringly it became obvious that the design needed to CHANGE to make it playable between 15 to 20 minutes!

Maybe YOUR game should complete between 30 and 40 Minutes for ONE (1) Rabbit to be burrowed. There are consequences to this:

1> LESS components. If there needs to be only ONE (1) Burrowed Rabbit, you can safely cut down the amount of rabbits to MAYBE three (3) per player (Just off the top of my head).

2> It's more of a RACE. Since all you need is ONE (1) TO WIN... Believe me it's going to be a MUCH more competitive pace in order to win the game.

3> There may be LESS "dilly dallying"... So this may FOCUS the game a bit.

4> You need to make COMPROMISES in terms of the game versus it's length. Maybe it's just NOT possible to "burrow" more than one (1) rabbit within 40 minutes... Trim the time down to 30 minutes and it's even HARDER. But there is an up-side and it's the fact that after 40 minutes PROBABLY one player would have burrowed his one and only rabbit.

There are no MIRACLE solutions. YOU need to COMPROMISE on components, goals and expectation to make your game WORK. Just like in my own case, looking at the components and thinking through what COULD be possible has led me down another AVENUE which I am excited to be exploring...

Same may go for you! Best of luck(!?) with your Design...


Jay103's picture
Joined: 01/23/2018
Does your board need to be

Does your board need to be 9x9? Would 7x7 move things along more quickly?

Do you need so many rabbits? Having 5 movement points to distribute among like 8 rabbits seems like it will cause analysis paralysis.

Do you need so many points as the goal to win?

Do you need regular carrots at all? If so, do you need "burrowing" at all?

You're certainly nowhere near the stated 20-30 minute play time, if that was your goal.

It looks like the absolute best-case win would take about 10-12 turns (burrowing 4 rabbits with maybe a special rabbit and collecting a carrot or two along the way) for a 2-player game. 20-25 turns total. For a 3-4 player game, you for some reason INCREASE the needed points, meaning it will take more like 15-18 turns in the BEST CASE, so that's 45-75 turns total.

So even if a turn takes 60 seconds, including farmer moves and tradeups and whatever else, it's virtually impossible for a 2-player game to take 20 minutes and even a super-fast 4-player game is taking over an hour.

I just noticed that it's listed as 12+.


A game about cute rabbits that takes less than 30 minutes (as a goal).

To engage someone 12+, I think you may NEED longer play times and more strategy.. Not shorter and less.

tikey's picture
Joined: 03/31/2017
Echoing what Quest said, I

Echoing what Quest said, I think you could test changing the objective, there seems to be a bit of a dissonance there. In your rules you mention it's about getting to your burrow but then the rules mention changing rabbits' class when they get to the burrow and that the win condition is about points.

Rick-Holzgrafe's picture
Joined: 07/22/2008
Jump start

I haven't read your rules (apologies, but I haven't time right now) but a standard technique for a situation like this is a "jump start". That means starting the game with some of the early progress already accomplished, and built into the setup. Let your players start the game with more of what they need to start burrowing. You seem to feel as if the interesting part of the game happens when the players actually start to burrow, so find a way to skip over the boring stuff in the early part of the game.

Again: apologies for not having read your rules, and I hope this suggestion isn't wildly inappropriate and useless to you!

Jay103's picture
Joined: 01/23/2018
I think the bunnies just need

I think the bunnies just need to get across the map. That's why I was suggesting making the board smaller.

Joined: 10/10/2018
Thanks for the input

Thanks for the input everyone, ill have a play around with some of the suggestions and see what works best and has the desired outcome.

Joined: 09/06/2017
More suggestions.

As others have said a smaller board would help.

In my understanding of movement in the game, you can boost your movement by jumping over other rabbits. Could you add some NPC rabbits to enable players to move across the board more quickly? Of course finding a way to deploy and move them efficiently may be a challenge in and of itself.

Could you eliminate breeding aspect of the game? I admit it is a good thematic tie in, but the game would play quicker if the rabbits just appeared back in their home burrow. This is would basically be the same as what happens to the mechs in Sytche.

If rabbits are being killed by the farmer more then what is preferred, could play the farmer movement deck upside down? This way everyone knows the farmers first move. If I remember correctly this is how the security guard in burglar brother moves.

Could you implement a "market" for theb rabbits. Basically it would be very similar to the races and abilities in small world. In the case the race would be the special rabbit and the ability would be the power up. When a player puts a rabbit into play they pick one of these combos. Then maybe the others cards get a carrot from the bank. I think that this would speed up the game since everyone is playing special powered up rabbits. It
could alsobspeed up the game by reducing the between round overhead.

Good luck with your game. Feel free to disregard, use or improve upon any of my suggestions.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Score System

I had a read through your rulebook. And in order to speed up the game, I'd make a suggestion that may not be agreeable. The good news is that it's pretty simple to implement.

Reduce the burrow value for burrowing special rabbits by at least 1, and increase the burrow value of burrowing "regular" rabbits by at least 1.

I imagine that this will encourage players to use their special rabbits to earn points and gain bonuses/position/etc., while the relatively weak regular rabbits will begin to crowd the field as players attempt to put them into position to score (since that's all they're good for anyway, in comparison).

When I see the wizard rabbit is worth twice as many points as the regular rabbit when scoring, I'm tempted to burrow it. However, that means I will lose my opportunity to gain powerups quickly. It seems to me that it's more valuable to keep the wizard on the field, moving round to gather powerups, so I can buff my regulars and send them in to score more points for me.

Based on what I've seen in the rulebook, but without seeing any playtests, I'd suspect the -vast- majority of the time, players are using their special rabbits, while the regulars are an afterthought. Of course, this is just speculation, but based on what I'm reading in the rules, that's what my gut tells me.

Finally: I apologize for my lateness to the party on this one, and I appreciate your patience. :)

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