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Watch Closely

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ihmcallister
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Joined: 08/16/2008

I've been a bit lax about my game design this year and so I'm trying to give myself a bit of a kick by trying to design games around very basic core mechanics. I've started out with a trick taking game based on The Prestige called 'Watch Closely'.

The idea is that each player represents a magician during the golden age of magic. The deck is in 5 suits: Mentalism, Escapology, Parlor Magic, Stage Illusion and Table Magic. Each suit has ratings from 1-10 and there are some special cards that affect each trick.

At the end of a trick the winner gets to score a card from that trick to add to their repertoire. They can use that repertoire to secure performances that are worth fame and the first player to a set amount of fame, currently 5, is the winner of the game. The performances themselves have preferences and aversion which can make it easier or harder to secure them.

It's fairly simple at the moment but I'm working on some misdirection mechanics that should liven it up a bit and I would be grateful on any feedback this community would be willing to give me. You can find all the files over on my website here:

http://www.giantbrain.co.uk/2013/11/watch-closely-getting-started/

Thanks in advance

Iain

Ristora
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Joined: 11/05/2013
Interesting theme

Hi Iain,

Nice to see you posted your idea.

I think you have an interesting theme for your game. I like the idea of dueling magicians :)

I'm not sure what stage of development you are in, so I hope that when I say I'm having trouble envisioning the game play, I do not offend. Is your game meant to be playable at the moment while you are brainstorming or are you just brainstorming?

If the game is meant to be playable, I would suggest writing out a sample trick, going through and describing what players might do using simple examples of decision making involved in your game that demonstrate some of the surface tactics (short term planning) and strategy (long-term planning).

Take care,
Adam

ihmcallister
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Joined: 08/16/2008
Describing the Game

It's in very early alpha at the moment, but it should be playable. I'll try and describe the base mechanics best I can.

At the start of the game 1 card is dealt off the trick deck face up to each player. If there is a dominant trick type amongst those cards that becomes the trump. As play continues the dominant trick type in play is the trump for each round.

One player will lead and the others follow. Lead plays any trick type they want from their hand face up and may place another card hidden underneath. Everyone else then does likewise with no restriction as to what cards they play, they may follow suit, play trump or play something else.

During the next phase of the round each player reveals their hidden card. This will be one of two possibilities: a special or another trick card. If it is a special it goes off. Specials at the moment are:

Sabotage: the whole trick is discarded and saboteur goes first. If more than one sabotage card is played then all saboteurs must discard a card from hand and the sabotage is unsuccessful.

Ingenieur: You may score a card from the trick after the winner of the trick.

Revelation: You may target and discard a card from in play.

If it is a number card then it takes the place of the first card you played for purposes of following and leading. This is called a misdirection.

Once this round is done the trick is resolved. The highest card that followed the leader wins or the highest trump wins.

The winner of the trick adds one card from the trick to his Repertoire in front of him. Anyone who played an ingenieur can do the same.

Players then take it in turn to secure one of the Performances in play on the table. Each Performance costs a certain number of points and is worth a certain amount of fame. Each card in a player's repertoire is worth 1 point, +1 for each other card of that type in play on the table to a maximum of 4. Each performance also has preferences and aversion which makes it easier/harder for cards of a certain trick type to secure that performance.

First player to 5 fame is the winner.

So along the way your decision as to what to play will be guided by the performances available to an extent, for the long term aspect of it. I do want to work on more decision points in the game which is why I am considering a negative effect to misdirecting and not winning.

I want the game to last about 30 mins and have interesting decisions every hand so it still needs a good bit of polish. The full rules are in the link I posted earlier if you want to give them a read.

Cheers

Iain

Ristora
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Joined: 11/05/2013
Iain,Ok, that's more clear

Iain,

Ok, that's more clear as far as gameplay in concerned. Due to my own intellectual limitations, I would have to play a round to say anything more than "the rules don't seem to be contradictory".

I do have one piece of advice, I think. You use the word trick to describe Magic Tricks and Game Tricks. These is quite confusing. Might I suggest using "Illusions" rather than "Trick" when referring to Magic Tricks? Besides, as Gob once told Michael: "Illusions Michael! Tricks are something whores do for money!". :)

ihmcallister
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Joined: 08/16/2008
Yeah you are right about the

Yeah you are right about the terminology, going to get that ironed out in the next version of the rules. Illusions maybe but I use the word illusion on some of the cards, should be ok though. Will give that a think.

Thanks for the feedback

Iain

TheKeyLosers
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Joined: 11/14/2013
I think the theme's

I think the theme's fantastic, as is the title, but I wish it was a bit more ingrained in the mechanics. With concepts like misdirection that seem like they would translate very well in a fairly literal form, the implementation seems a bit abstract. And in terms of internal theme logic, I don't really like the 'popularity' metric either - if you're a popular magician, you'd expect venues to actually hunt you down, not have to end up investing more. It seems like a bit of an artificial barrier.

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