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Reaching the breaking point theme idea?

14 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/20/2011

I'm searching for a theme idea that involves pushing something to its limit before it breaks.

For example:

-blowing up a balloon to the point right before it bursts
-loading something or hanging something from a rope right before the point it breaks or topples over
-some sort of implosion (thought of stars but I need players to be able to control what is being added to the mass)

Basically, I want players to be able to push their luck and try to reach a specific point that has positive benefits with the risk of going over that limit and suffering the consequences.

Any suggestions? Thanks as usual.

drktron's picture
Joined: 07/18/2010
There are lots ways you could

There are lots ways you could take this. Here are a few random ideas off the top of my head:

Mining: the deeper you go, the more jewels but more risk of collapse
Chemistry: too much reaction leads to explosions
Drag racing: must hit the right time without going over or under
Burglary: the more you steal the more likely you get caught
Achieving orbit: too little thrust and you crash back to planet too much and you fly off in space
Carrying goods across a frozen lake: too much weight will crack the ice
Snake charming: thrill the audience without getting bitten

Hope it helps.

Joined: 01/20/2011

Thanks for those suggestions- I thought of the drag race idea as well although my idea was in the context of exceeding redline and the engine blowing up.

One thing I forgot to mention is that when the threshhold is exceeded, I don't want complete disaster such as death in the case of a cave collapse. So while there will be a penalty, it won't be that players lose all progress (half is what I have in mind). Of the ones you mentioned, the ice cracking is the most suitable although I'm trying to think of some real life examples of that occuring without the potential for death. For what I'm looking for, the truck would simply break down and the delivery would be delayed instead of falling into the frozen water.

Keep the ideas coming!

Joined: 02/26/2012
Offhand: 1) mountain climbing


1) mountain climbing with different plateaus reached - slide down to the plateau you started from.
2) Workers/animals running out of fuel and stopping. Could involve different types of animals - camels are slow and steady, cheetahs fast but run out of fuel, etc..
3) Stop and go traffic - faster you go the more likely for accident or to get stuck behind traffic and waste fuel

Anything with levels being reached could work.

Joined: 01/20/2011
I want to reveal cards so it

I want to reveal cards so it there has to be a visual coherency and appeal. For example, if the cards had plates on them, they would look more and more unstable as they were stacked. Or I'm trying to think of a rope/string situation where there is a benefit of adding weight but the line snaps at some point. The bigger or longer, the more unstable but higher the reward as you get closer to the limit.

Joined: 08/20/2008
Suggest that you check out

Suggest that you check out the game Straw, in which you pile things on top of a camel until it breaks (though I think the rules have it get angry rather than collapse in a gristley mess - it is a kids' game!)

Joined: 01/20/2011
Thanks. Thematically, that

Thanks. Thematically, that is close to what I am looking for with the mechanics differing a bit. The camel idea got me thinking about horse racing and the idea of pacing without running the animal too hard. Can you think of things that get fatigued after heavy use?

Greggatron's picture
Joined: 04/21/2012
Maybe with the string

Maybe with the string idea:
You have string cards and a d10 die. Each card's position corresponds with that number on the die (max of ten). Visually you place the cards up/down or side by side to connect. So the more cards you have the more likely a die roll will fray that strings position. 3 frays to a position and the string breaks off at thst position but you dont lose all of it. The more string you have, they higher the payout at the end of turn.

Strategy could be added with repairs, sabotage of opponents string, multiple strings etc.

Joined: 07/08/2011
How about a breakout virus.

How about a breakout virus. You want to grow the virus, and even control what it does. But, once it breaks out, it starts to mutate on it's own. You creat a virus that heals, but once it goes above and beyond, it starts turning people into walking scabs. You are trying to stabilize the virus the whole time. But, if you move too slowly, everyone else has a completed virus, while you have a very table cold gene, but if you feed too much into it, it will get away from you.

Joined: 10/13/2011
Waiting Tables?

Maybe the players are trying to deliver overloaded trays of food to people in a restaurant?

Joined: 01/20/2011
I did consider the tray idea

I did consider the tray idea and think it would work well with the stacked cards.

There have been many challenges and tasks of Survivor and The Amazing Race that would work but as best as I can tell, the were all abstract and staged so I don't think they would translate well to a card game as opposed to something in real life. Thanks for all of the suggestions so far.

Joined: 01/20/2011
Just thought of something.

Just thought of something. Can you think of a scenerio where you would want to revive a person or thing to get something from them/it? The longer the energy remains, the more beneficial it is for a player. Death or the energy going away is a certainty though- you just don't know exactly when.

Joined: 11/10/2009

There was a wonderful book series I read where a military computer system become self-aware during a war. It basically realized that it'd be shut off if the war ever ended, so if the war ever looked like it was ending, the computer would find someone else to go to war with as an act of self-preservation. The idea I get from this is one where your resources are directly related to the obstacles/enemies you have left. It's kind of like the classic budget problem, where each year's budget is tied to the previous year's spending. People ended up wastefully spending any surplus money they had in order to make sure the next year's budget was as large as the current year's budget.

Joined: 01/20/2011
Interesting- that would be a

Interesting- that would be a challenge to make it fit the mechanics. I considered a bubble market where you push your luck and try to get out before the market tanks but the theme is a bit tired if you ask me.

Joined: 01/20/2011
ice fishing

So I came up with an idea this weekend with some friends. Players are ice fishing and collect fish during the game by filling up their fish bucket. The breaking limit is when the bucket is filled up with too many fish causing the ice to crack beneath them. If players remove the fish from the bucket before this happens, then they score the full amount. If not, they lose points.

Any thoughts on the theme?

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