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The Messengers!

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markgrafn
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Joined: 03/01/2015

Hello all,

I've designed another game that I've put through my play testing. I hope that by posting this game here, many of you can take a look and provide feedback on anything the triggers a spark.

The Messengers
"The Tyrant is indeed aggravated by our actions! Every turn of the tide comes with a price however. That loathsome vile king of nothing has declared a city wide search for all that might be part of our resistance. Distract the guards with otherwise simple contraband while you eliminate the messages the guard may find in your possessions. Do it quickly for not all of you may survive this purge. Live well and endure." - IC

Players will play an eligible card from their hand onto the play stack and resolve the effect each turn. If a player doesn't have an eligible card, they must draw a card and pass the turn to the next player. Where the game gets interesting, if the card on the play stack has a seal on it and players cannot play an eligible card, players must play a message card from their hand into their message reserve (the same reserve players are trying to eliminate!) The first player to eliminate all the message cards in their reserve is the victor.

You can check out more at http://markgrafforge.wix.com/home!

Please check this game out. The card design is fully functional so any comments on design, from game to card, would help greatly.

I apologize for the 2 pages of assets. A single page of assets was 1.01 MB and thus couldn't be uploaded.

Much appreciated

tuscansun
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Joined: 02/11/2015
Amazing Game, Confusing Rules

Wow. This game has a LOT of flavor for a small game. I like it! I read through the rules and I want to try to talk about a few points...

-I don't know how to win. Specifically, I know I need to get rid of my two Message cards and not add more. But I don't know how to get rid of them. I read through the rules several times and I don't know how to get rid of them. It feels like one of those things that you went unintentionally blind to during development, which happens. Or I'm missing it.
EDIT: I found it, but it's hidden as the last piece of information in the "Other notes on the game" section.

-I'm not sure which cards I can and can't play. I'm under the impression that I can play a card with the numbers on either side of the center number, and then I get to do what the card says. But if I straight up match the number already there, then I don't get to do what the card says. Is this right? The language in the rules isn't clear.

-I'm having some issues with the overall language of the rules. There's a lot of "players resolve actions" type language, which is fine because I'm familiar with that. But lots of people who could play this game are not. And it feels off and stilted. Like I'm reading a technical manual, but not really grasping the information. It's very dry. You could easily link your theme into the language of the rules.

-I've got an okay idea what the world is like from the opening paragraph you posted. But it could be better. No offense, but it's just not super well written. Regarding the world, I also would love to see something at the beginning of the rules about where we are and who we are. Because you have a cool story attached to this game.

-Also I don't know what cards I'm getting in the deck from the rules. A "Contents" section would help.

Mechanically the game looks solid. And it's really beautifully designed. And the story is neat and deep in theme. You have something really cool here! Stick with it. The only thing holding me back is the rules page.

markgrafn
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Thanks!

Thanks for looking over the game and I appreciate the awe.

These rules, as well as the rules for The Trial, are in no way a finalized and stylized version. They are simply meant to layout the mechanics of the game as basic as possible for play testers and reviewers to understand how the game works. Even as a graphic designer of moderate knowledge and skill, I haven't made a lot of rule books or pages so I feel that the game MUST be solid and overall fun before I spend hours trying to format a good looking rules document.

That being said I will gladly clear up some confusion with another revision of the rules.

Again, thanks for your time and consideration!

sushiRavioli
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Joined: 03/05/2015
I really like the theme, as

I really like the theme, as well as the mechanics for playing cards and getting rid of messages. The rules are very simple yet seem to provide a deep playing experience. I do have a few questions and comments.

- Burned Papers card to get rid of Messages: this should not be a note at the end of the rules. "Getting rid of messages" should be its own sub-section on the first page. It's just too important!

- You should list all the cards in the rule-book and explain them in detail so it's clear what should happen.

- Pile of bones: the wording is not clear. It should say something like: "Choose any player. That player must skip his next turn". But then again, making a opponent skip a turn is a pretty nasty move in a game. A lot of people hate that.

- Starting with 2 messages does not seem like a lot. I get the feeling that a player could win on his second turn he if got just the right hand.

- When a player is required to put a message from his hand into his message reserve area, but claims he doesn't have one: that's an opportunity for cheating and there is no way for other players to know. Love Letter is another game where a player could cheat stealthily and the rules just say: please be honest. But this always makes me uneasy. When a player claims he does not have a message, maybe he should prove it by showing his hand.

- According to the rules: When the draw deck is depleted and a new one cannot be created, we should keep playing but not draw. This would happen if the draw deck is empty and the stack only has the top card. Can that really happen though? Has it happened in play-testing? If it can happen, it leads to a very strange situation: let's say the stack has the Prisoner. So I play a Gold Coin. Suddenly, the play stack has 2 cards, so I can create a new deck with a single card (the prisoner) and I get to draw it, so depleted deck again. Then the next player plays a bag of gold, creates a new deck containing only the gold coin and draws it (other players can't draw though). Then the next player plays a gold coin, puts the bag of gold as the new deck and draws it. And so on... That feels a bit broken. Maybe there should be a hand limit to make sure it never happens? Or maybe that can never actually happen?

- Map of the city: why would I want to put a card into another player's hand? Oh wait, I might want to give him a message. Would that make sense? The same logic would apply to Weapons Plan: the only card I would give to another player is a Message.

- Explosive Barrels: the card returned to the deck is chosen randomly, right?

I really like the unique mechanics of the overall gameplay, I'm just not as excited with the actions on the cards themselves, which feel unoriginal (draw a card, swap hands, skip a turn, steal a card). Then again, I would have to play to see how it flows.

markgrafn
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Joined: 03/01/2015
A Great Thanks

Another amazingly detail post. Thanks so much for all the time you took in looking over and asking the questions. I hope you read through the below and your questions are answered.

sushiRavioli wrote:

- Burned Papers card to get rid of Messages: this should not be a note at the end of the rules. "Getting rid of messages" should be its own sub-section on the first page. It's just too important!

I have moved this in the revised rules posted on http://markgrafforge.wix.com/home!

sushiRavioli wrote:

- Starting with 2 messages does not seem like a lot. I get the feeling that a player could win on his second turn he if got just the right hand.

I had the game starting with 3 originally. The game took forever. Players would manage to remove a message and then 2 or 3 turns later have to add another so players rarely got down to 1 message in the reserve. Starting with 2 gave players a better feeling of progression towards the end goal after removing 1 message. It also puts pressure on other players once the first message of the game has been removed.

sushiRavioli wrote:

- When a player is required to put a message from his hand into his message reserve area, but claims he doesn't have one: that's an opportunity for cheating and there is no way for other players to know. Love Letter is another game where a player could cheat stealthily and the rules just say: please be honest. But this always makes me uneasy. When a player claims he does not have a message, maybe he should prove it by showing his hand.

Honesty is as important in this game as any game like Clue or Love Letter. I'm sure I'll have to notate that in the rules somewhere. Thanks for pointing that out.

sushiRavioli wrote:

- According to the rules: When the draw deck is depleted and a new one cannot be created, we should keep playing but not draw. This would happen if the draw deck is empty and the stack only has the top card. Can that really happen though? Has it happened in play-testing? If it can happen, it leads to a very strange situation: let's say the stack has the Prisoner. So I play a Gold Coin. Suddenly, the play stack has 2 cards, so I can create a new deck with a single card (the prisoner) and I get to draw it, so depleted deck again. Then the next player plays a bag of gold, creates a new deck containing only the gold coin and draws it (other players can't draw though). Then the next player plays a gold coin, puts the bag of gold as the new deck and draws it. And so on... That feels a bit broken. Maybe there should be a hand limit to make sure it never happens? Or maybe that can never actually happen?

This has NEVER happened in play testing. Only in my mind. If a player has all the 4, 5 and 6 cards and the player plays a 5 onto the only card on the play stack. The next player, not having a 4, 5 or 6; must take the only available card - the card below the previously played 5. The next player in rotation cannot play and cannot draw as there is no deck. I highly doubt a situation like this would ever occur but nevertheless it is in the rules in the event that it does.

sushiRavioli wrote:

- Map of the city: why would I want to put a card into another player's hand? Oh wait, I might want to give him a message. Would that make sense? The same logic would apply to Weapons Plan: the only card I would give to another player is a Message.

- Explosive Barrels: the card returned to the deck is chosen randomly, right?

Map of the city is primarily designed to search for some Burned Papers but I wanted to be able to use it offensively as well. Imagine if you have 3 or 4 messages and 1 player (your best friend) only has 1 message left. I'd be the guy to search the deck and give him a message. It makes complete sense to give a player a message, or even some Burned Papers if you are feeling generous.

Its the same sense for Weapon Plans, to give someone a message or try take something important from a players hand.

Explosive Barrels is supposed to be a "do this OR do this" effect. Like Weapon Plans, the taking a card from another player is supposed to be random, but not when choosing from your own hand. This needs to be changed on the card itself. Thanks for pointing that out.

Thanks again and please check out more at http:/markgrafforge.wix.com/home!

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