# variable hand size mechanic

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drktron
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Joined: 07/18/2010

I've been thinking about a design for a rally race card game and i'm not sure if this idea has been used before or how well it would work. The funny thing is that I don't play too many racing games and this is the second one i've come up with :). Without going into too much detail here are the basics:

Each player has there own deck of about 20-25 cards made up mostly of different turn cards and straitaways.
The track of each stage is made up of random track cards laid out in a line. Each track card is a type of turn or a straitaway with a speed value. Players on their turn move from one track card to the next by playing a card from their hand. The degree by which the card they play differs from the track card dictates the penalty in time or damage the player incurs. For example the track card is a hard right turn and the player plays a regular right turn and incurs a 10 second penalty (+10 s chit). Another player has to play a slight left hand turn and incurs a 1 minute penalty plus a damage card. A time penalty is also incurred by how much slower your car's speed is below the speed value of the track card. Remove speed penalties you have by racing faster than the speed value of the track. The lowest time at the end wins.

The twist is that braking and accelerating is controlled by varying your hand size. Speed is inversely proportional to hand size. To slow down I draw cards from my deck to increase the likelihood of properly navigating the track. To accelerate I discard cards from my hand. Speeds range from 0 to 5 and handsize from 6 to 1. So speed= 6-handsize.
There are 3 stages and a short deck building phase before each. There are also hazard cards that the players seed on the track cards.

So my questions are:
Is this a unique spin on a racing game?
What problems or issues do you see in the hand size mechanic?
Does this sound like it would be fun?
Any suggestions are welcome :)

kos
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Joined: 01/17/2011
Inverse hand size

I really like the innovation of "speed = inverse hand size", and I think it fits the theme well. As you said, the faster you go the less options you have about where you will go. It also creates a "push your luck" mechanic, which is great.

However, despite the relatively simple calculation (6 - hand) I could anticipate players getting confused or making mistakes. "I've got 4 cards so I'm going speed 4, right?" "No, you're going speed 2." "But when I had 3 cards you said I was going speed 3..."

To make it more visual, give players 3 cards and 3 "speed tokens" (the speed tokens are placed on the table in front of them). On your turn you can discard a card to gain a speed token, or discard a speed token to pick up a card.

Hope that helps,
kos

Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008
drktron wrote:I've been

drktron wrote:
I've been thinking about a design for a rally race card game and i'm not sure if this idea has been used before or how well it would work. The funny thing is that I don't play too many racing games and this is the second one i've come up with :). Without going into too much detail here are the basics:

Each player has there own deck of about 20-25 cards made up mostly of different turn cards and straitaways.
The track of each stage is made up of random track cards laid out in a line. Each track card is a type of turn or a straitaway with a speed value. Players on their turn move from one track card to the next by playing a card from their hand. The degree by which the card they play differs from the track card dictates the penalty in time or damage the player incurs. For example the track card is a hard right turn and the player plays a regular right turn and incurs a 10 second penalty (+10 s chit). Another player has to play a slight left hand turn and incurs a 1 minute penalty plus a damage card. A time penalty is also incurred by how much slower your car's speed is below the speed value of the track card. Remove speed penalties you have by racing faster than the speed value of the track. The lowest time at the end wins.

The twist is that braking and accelerating is controlled by varying your hand size. Speed is inversely proportional to hand size. To slow down I draw cards from my deck to increase the likelihood of properly navigating the track. To accelerate I discard cards from my hand. Speeds range from 0 to 5 and handsize from 6 to 1. So speed= 6-handsize.
There are 3 stages and a short deck building phase before each. There are also hazard cards that the players seed on the track cards.

So my questions are:
Is this a unique spin on a racing game?
What problems or issues do you see in the hand size mechanic?
Does this sound like it would be fun?
Any suggestions are welcome :)

Youre game has a lot of similarities with my game Nitro Dice which is scheduled to come out in about 8 weeks.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/94002/nitro-dice

In my game Hand size is determined by the condition of the vehicle, the more damage the fewer cards. The deck is shared between all players, you have a number of movement point based on the speed you travel and you pay the cost of entering a new track section (card) by doing one of the following.

Playing a matching card
Taking a point of damage

You also discard cards to pay for changing lanes. Some of the cards have hazards on them which you may place onto the track to make it difficult for other players.

drktron
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Joined: 07/18/2010
kos wrote:I really like the

kos wrote:
I really like the innovation of "speed = inverse hand size", and I think it fits the theme well. As you said, the faster you go the less options you have about where you will go. It also creates a "push your luck" mechanic, which is great.

However, despite the relatively simple calculation (6 - hand) I could anticipate players getting confused or making mistakes. "I've got 4 cards so I'm going speed 4, right?" "No, you're going speed 2." "But when I had 3 cards you said I was going speed 3..."

To make it more visual, give players 3 cards and 3 "speed tokens" (the speed tokens are placed on the table in front of them). On your turn you can discard a card to gain a speed token, or discard a speed token to pick up a card.

Hope that helps,
kos

thanks for your input. I agree a visual aid would help. I was planning on each player having a current speed reference card to help keep track of your speed. The card would have speed numbers on it in the formation of a shifter diagram. Players put a small token on their current speed and move it to the next position when they change speeds (like shifting). Would that be sufficient?

kos
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Joined: 01/17/2011
Shifters

Using a token on a Speed card would work as you described. That is a good way to represent it, and it fits right in with the theme.

drktron
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Joined: 07/18/2010
Dralius wrote: Youre game has

Dralius wrote:

Youre game has a lot of similarities with my game Nitro Dice which is scheduled to come out in about 8 weeks.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/94002/nitro-dice

In my game Hand size is determined by the condition of the vehicle, the more damage the fewer cards. The deck is shared between all players, you have a number of movement point based on the speed you travel and you pay the cost of entering a new track section (card) by doing one of the following.

Playing a matching card
Taking a point of damage

You also discard cards to pay for changing lanes. Some of the cards have hazards on them which you may place onto the track to make it difficult for other players.

Your game sounds (and looks) great. I like how the damage limits your handsize and therefore your options.
I must admit there are some similarities.

Similarities:
variable hand size
play a matching card to move to the next track section
hazard cards to hinder opponents
cards as a track/course

Differences:
shared deck vs individual deck
lane changes vs no lane changes
racing opponent's cars vs racing the clock
movement points vs. speed controlled by hand size
Mine also has some deck building and I think the hazards work differently.

I'm sure there's more in each category.
Besides the use of the dice as the car and the images I didn't know how your game worked at all. If you think my game is too similar I can move on to something else ( I have a lot of half-finished games :).
Anyway thanks for sharing about your game and congrats on getting it published :)

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Existing Chariot Race Game

There's an existing game about chariot racing (Arena Maximus) which works sorta like that... you have 7 cards total, and you can put some of them down in front of you as your speed, thereby reducing the number in your hand.

drktron
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Joined: 07/18/2010
sedjtroll wrote:There's an

sedjtroll wrote:
There's an existing game about chariot racing (Arena Maximus) which works sorta like that... you have 7 cards total, and you can put some of them down in front of you as your speed, thereby reducing the number in your hand.

Thanks for the link. Arena maximus sounds interesting. I'll have to look into it.

Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008
There is certainly room for

There is certainly room for games with similar themes and mechanics. The downside for you is mine will be out on the market by the time you have it ready to show publishers.

The first design I even submitted was turned down for having a similar theme and play goal to a game that had been out of print for years even though the mechanics were primarily different. It was picked up years later by a different publisher that didn’t feel the same way. Although delayed its expected to come out this year.

drktron
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Joined: 07/18/2010
Cool

Yeah, I don't expect my game to get published anytime soon, or in fact ever. So no worries. I'll just add it to my personal collection of games for my own and my family's amusement. I'll be sure to pick yours up when it comes out.