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[Monks & Mules] // A light racing game / W.I.P.

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le_renard's picture
Joined: 10/08/2010

As a joke, watching something on tv, I told a friend "a race between funny monks riding stubborn mules should be fun!"
And here I am, taking notes and picturing the game in my head !

This is the very beggining of the designing process, but I wanted to share it with you and maybe get some help, suggestions and ideas...

I should add that don't really know the existing racing games except Formula D and Rush'n'Crush.

The game should be a pretty fast game (20mns or so) for 2 to 4 or 5 players. This game is clearly meant to be a nice filler.

Some ideas
Each player controls a team composed of a Monk and a Mule. The team is composed randomly during the setup phase by drawing cards from two decks. The rider will have some influence on his noble steed characteristics of course.

    The Mule Characteristics:
  • Movement indicates how many Movement Dice will be rolled. Movement Dice would be custom dice with the following symbols :
      Forward 1 / Sideward / Forward 2 / Stop / Backward / Wild )
  • Tricks indicates the number of "Trick Cards" that the player will be able to draw each turn during the Trick Phase. ( "Tricks" are effects cards that can add some bonus or malus on the player himself or his opponents. I imagine cards like "Beer Barrel : one of your opponent is now half drunk and will roll 1 less Movement dice during his next turn" / "Time to pray : all players will stop to pray and will roll 1 less dice during their turn." / "The Thief : You randomly discard one card from your opponent's hand" / "Carrot on a Stick" : you gain 1 extra Movement dice next turn" ... etcPlaying Trick Cards requires to pay for them by discarding cards from your hand.
  • Charge indicates the maximum number of cards a player can have in his hand.
  • Fatigue indicates the number of Fatigue points a mule can suffer before collapsing ! Each Movement performed during your turn will cost 0, 1 or 2 Fatigue. Each time you move your mule, you place a number of fatigue tokens on your mule card. Fatigue is regained automatically at the beggining of your turn or by playing a "Restore" card during the Trick Phase. If for one reason or another you exceed the maximum number of Fatigue your mule can endure, it collapses and will skip his next Movement Phase

The "circuit" should be a modular board to ensure replayability and there should be some various obstacles.

    Turn Summary
    1. Refresh Phase Players restore their Fatigue tracker and discard the cards they have in hand not to exceed their maximum Charge ( hand size )
    2. Trick Phase
  • Draw Players can draw a number of Trick Cards equal to their Trick value.
  • Play a Trick Players can play Trick cards from their hand, on themselves or the other players. In order to play a card, you must pay for it by discarding a number of other trick cards equal to the cost of the one you want to play.
  • 3. Movement Phase

  • Roll : Players roll a number of Movement dice equal to their total Movement value. In a Yahtzee way, they can re-roll some dice if they're not happy with the results but must keep at least one.
  • Move : Players must perform all the Movement obtained during the Movement Roll. For each Movement, a Fatigue token will be placed on the Fatigue tracker of the mule ( stop=0 / Forward - Sideward - Backward=0 / Forward 2=2 / "Wild" can replace any other Movement )


So, here are my first thoughts on this project I haven't playtested yet !

What do you think of the idea(s) ?
Do you think the theme and the (simple) mechanics are fun ?
I'd like to have nice players interaction in this game.. do you think it's the case here ?
I haven't think of the "circuit" itself... should it be modular or not (I think so) ? Printed on cards, tiles or boards ? Any ideas ?

Thanks a lot for your replies and suggestions !

Joined: 09/27/2011
Modular Board

Firstly, I really like this idea. Some things that stand out for me are the mule and monk combo idea, sort of like the character/vehicle selections in Mario Kart. Another one is the price of tricks being other trick cards. I think people expect to pay some sort of resource for things like that, but having it be the other cards in your hand will create some great decision moments. Perhaps you could use the same idea as cards with "fate" numbers (sometimes used to simulate die rolls in a game) and make better tricks worth less as resources and worse tricks worth more. Or the other way around, not sure.

Either way, the suggestion I have is for the modular board. My first fully designed game was a racing game, and it featured a modular board which used 4 large tiles, each with a corner track depicted on the front and back. The circuit was always a large circle, but it created 96 possible combinations of the 8 different corners. I think an improvement on this idea, and one that you might be able to use, would be to use 8 smaller tiles. Each tile would have a corner one one side and a straight-away on the other. Specific tile combinations aside, this gives you the ability to make several different lengths of track. I guess I can't attach an image to a reply, so find the picture here:
With these different tracks, and with so many actual tiles, there would be many, many possibilities. I think just the clover track has over 8,000 possible setups. Or my math is way off.
Just walked away for a minute and realized that the clover track has 12 tiles. Not sure how I thought it was 8, but whatever. If you expand the game to 12 tiles, the track combinations will get even more ridiculous. Anyhow, ignore the clover. Or don't, and ignore the fact that there are several combinations of 12 tiles missing.

The other possibility these tracks open up is "trick ranges." For instance, you could have a trick called "Malignant Prayer." This would have a range of "All," meaning it could target any player on the board. Then you could have another, say "Distraction," which would have a range of "Close," restricting it to other players on your current tile. The mid range would be something like "In sight" which would mean that your tile would need to share a plane with the tile of your opponent. In the clover track, this would get really annoying, whereas in the long oval, these cards would be amazing.

Hope something in here helps.

le_renard's picture
Joined: 10/08/2010
Hi, thanks a lot for your

Hi, thanks a lot for your reply and suggestions. It really helps !
I'd like to know how you would implement these "Fate" numbers.
The idea is interresting...

Your modular board made of large tiles is what I need !
What is the name of your game ?
Can I read the rules or buy the game somewhere ?
How long was a typical game ? ( I keep wondering that I might be wanting to add too many things in the game and make the game too long... )

As for the "ranges", I'm convinced this is almost mandatory.. it can help the players when they have to decide which cards must be discarded in order to play another one.. or make the choice more difficult as they may want to keep that precious trick card one more turn, just in case they have their opponent in their line of sight !

Joined: 09/27/2011
So even though I used the

So even though I used the term "fate" numbers, I actually don't know if that's a technical, or even accepted term. I know I have seen it somewhere, but I cannot for the life of me remember where. In terms of implementing, you would include it as one of the numbers on the card. Take for instance my proposed "Malignant Prayer" card.

Malignant Prayer
[Range: All] [Cost:5]
(cool picture)
"does cool stuff"
[Worth: 1]

The worth number would be sufficiently far away from the rest of the important information that you would know it was not part of it. When you discard cards, they are worth their "worth" number, or probably a much better term (Virtue, Value, etc.). This would add another thing to balance, which could make design harder, but it may also help the overall balance of the trick cards. If you make cost and worth inversely related, drawing a "good" card is humbled a bit by knowing that it doesn't help you play others. The down-side is that low cost/high worth cards will almost never get played. Still worth looking into though.

You can find my game, Manic Mechanics, here:
It came in 4th in a vehicle game design contest, and I was told by the judge that the disparity between the top five was very, very small, so a few tweaks and I could have won it (maybe). It is a solid little racing game, but it screams "new designer," so don't expect buttery-smooth balance and play. The typical game actually takes about an hour, so that may help you see where your game is heading.

I also used this idea of "ranges," although much, much simpler. Some of my vehicles involved others on your tile, while a few involved any possible player. But you are right, even that small amount of range difference caused people to plan ahead until another player was in optimal position.

All this aside, I'm really intrigued with this idea the more I type about it. Send me a message if you are possibly looking for a collaborator. I've published 2 games on The Game Crafter, and my third is due in a few days. You can check out my website/design diary at to see the rest of my work.

le_renard's picture
Joined: 10/08/2010
This "Value" idea is a simple

This "Value" idea is a simple but effective idea...

Your racing game seems nice ! PM sent ...

le_renard's picture
Joined: 10/08/2010
Such a Shaaaa-aaaaame

Another little idea popped while talking with a friend of mine and playing Citadels during lunchtime...
What if too many Movements/Fatigue (exceeding the Resistance of the mule) caused the monk to fall off his noble steed shamefully ?
He could get start with some "Pride" tokens and lose them one after another during the race...
A sort of retheme of structure/damage points in a way...

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