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Riddle-building card game, PnP playtesting

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christof
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Hi folks, I'm looking for feedback on a riddle-building card game I've made. I've already gotten a bunch of feedback from gamers and refined the game quite a bit, but I'd like feedback from designers now, hopefully to make the game even better.

Game overview

All players collectively build one riddle together per round. The riddle grows more complicated with each player’s turn until one player challenges another to answer the riddle. Points are then exchanged according to whether the answer is valid. The player with the most points after several rounds wins the game.

Each card has a fragment of a riddle on it. These fragments can be put together to create riddles. The question you must answer for each riddle is: “What am I”?

Components

  • Rulebook
  • 124 cards
  • 7 ✓ tokens and 7 ✗ tokens

Download

Rules & cards
Rules & cards (ink saver)

Any and all feedback is appreciated. Thanks.

ilSilvano
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I am funny and I am working

I *really* like this idea, kudos to you!
Something that comes to mind: you can add a bunch of "NOT" tokens (or "NOT" cards) and in your turn you can also add a "NOT" to alter the text on a card.

So, say, a card says "I am ___ found in a house" (there is a little space where you can put a NOT token), and if you play a NOT Token or Card you alter the text that becomes "I am NOT found in a house".
This way, you can easily alter a riddle without adding more restrictions if you want.

(just my two cents, and only because I cannot find anything else you should change after my first reading of the rules. Well, maybe just delete the scoring formula in the last page, because it can be intimidating for younger players. Just say "the first card scores 1 point, the second 2, and so on", and maybe just add a little table with the scores for - say - 1 to 20 cards).

richdurham
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Oh the time

I'm glad you included a time limit section in the rules. I picture this possibly taking a looong time to play for the weight of the game. Since the rule is there, I imagine you already experienced this?

Very wise to include the "starting" variant of removing the "when" cards. As ilSilvano mentioned, a "Not" mechanism would add it another layer of complexity. This'd be really simple to include, as another completely optional addition to play.

I didn't say yet, but I really like this as a simple party game. That said, I wonder if the theme is too layered on with the cards? The darkness of them takes away from the casual nature of it a bit. Not terribly so, but if you want to emphasize the casual appeal it's something to think on.

And this is a good casual game, no doubt about it. Simple rules, a topic many non-gamers understand from the start, and minimal mechanical rules. Nice work.

Is there a tested reason for why players aren't scoring relative to the length of the riddle?

Level27Geek
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10/10 would riddle again!

I love this idea. I really think you have something here Christof! Also, kudos for including my native language (Polish).

As others have said, adding the NOT cards would be a great addition. You can even brainstorm more additional mate-cards like that, because that is a fun addition!

The only thing that bothers me a bit is the graphic design. It screams "fantasy" to me. While riddles were(are?) a big part of fantasy, especially in RPGs, I think this design choice limits your audience. If I could suggest an alternative theme, I would recommend some modern(ish) mysticism - design inspired by fortune tellers or even type of zen monks (oriental mysticism was very popular in the 30s-40s). This would make the game more casual and contemporary and could attract more players. Check out divinare for the design I would like to see.

If you want to talk design more, I have tons of input.

Level27Geek
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richdurham wrote: Is there a

richdurham wrote:

Is there a tested reason for why players aren't scoring relative to the length of the riddle?

I think that would add a meta layer. Some people would make challenges even if they know the other player could score, but they would score a small amount of points. I think that would just add unneeded complexity to the game. In my opinion, not adding this scoring mechanism is a good choice.

richdurham
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Level27Geek wrote: I think

Level27Geek wrote:
I think that would add a meta layer. Some people would make challenges even if they know the other player could score, but they would score a small amount of points. I think that would just add unneeded complexity to the game. In my opinion, not adding this scoring mechanism is a good choice.

Very possibly a layer Cristof didn't want, but then again maybe it is? Variants are already included, as they should be for a game like this.

christof
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Thanks for the feedback,

Thanks for the feedback, folks!

ilSilvano wrote:
Something that comes to mind: you can add a bunch of "NOT" tokens (or "NOT" cards) and in your turn you can also add a "NOT" to alter the text on a card.

I think this idea came across my mind once, but I dismissed it for some reason. This would certainly cut down on the number of cards, or allow more kinds of cards for the same price, as many of the cards also have their negation in the deck ("I have moving parts"/"I have no moving parts").

During gameplay, it may be difficult to modify one of the conditions of the riddle while still being able to think of an answer. It might be better to only allow players to place the modifier on the card when they play the card.

Modifying the riddle rather than adding onto it is a concept I hadn't thought of, although at the moment I like that the riddle always gets more complex on each player's turn, as that ensures that the round will not drag on.

ilSilvano wrote:
Well, maybe just delete the scoring formula in the last page, because it can be intimidating for younger players.

Haha, good point.

richdurham wrote:
I didn't say yet, but I really like this as a simple party game.

Not sure if this could be called a party game. Well, maybe a philosopher's party, as the game can require much thought, as you already noticed :)

richdurham wrote:
Is there a tested reason for why players aren't scoring relative to the length of the riddle?

Partly for simplicity, but also because the difficulty of a riddle isn't linearly related to its length. A riddle 10 cards long is sometimes just as difficult to solve as a riddle 3 cards long, so that method of scoring can sometimes lead to situations that feel unfair.
But yes, I'd like to keep the game purely about making and solving riddles, rather than adding an element of strategy to the scoring.

Level27Geek wrote:
If I could suggest an alternative theme, I would recommend some modern(ish) mysticism

Nice idea. The old parchment theme was just the first thing that came to my mind. I suppose market research would be the appropriate tool to figure out what would sell best.

Zag24
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Joined: 03/02/2014
I think that this is a great

I think that this is a great idea. I will not be meeting my gaming group until after New Year's Day, but I've already printed out your cards and I'll be trying it with them as soon as I can. I'll give you a play test report after then.

Zag24
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Solo game results

I tried the solo version of the game, just a couple of times. The one comment I have is that I'd like to see more cards that have a greater variety of meanings. For instance:

I am associated with planes. (Could be airplanes or geometric planes)

I am light. (Rather than "I emit light." My version could refer to weight or color as well as illumination. I see you also have "I am as light as a feather." but I'd rather just have the one card that is more open to interpretation.)

I guess, now that I'm going through them with an eye for this sort of interpretation, it seems you've taken the opposite approach, to specifically clarify some that might have been open to different interpretation. I think I disagree with this philosophy, but I'll need to play it a few times to be sure.

Zag24
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Joined: 03/02/2014
Feedback

My son and I are the gamers, but we actually convinced my wife and daughter to play your game with us, yesterday. (Both my kids are adults -- I'm old.) I convinced my wife to try it by calling it a "right-brain game." You might try looking for a manufacturer that sells such things.

Anyway, we really had a good time, and I think you really should try to publish it. We had several moments when we were all really laughing.

Some thoughts:
Nobody really liked the idea of a zero-sum game. We tried just giving positive points and ignoring the negative ones. This worked ok, but it did make it a little too cheap for someone to challenge the person just before them when they didn't have anything.

We weren't sure who goes first after a round concluded. We started by saying that the next person to go should go first, but then we had two rounds in a row with exactly four cards, which meant that the same person went first in our first three rounds. So then we said that first player rotates, no matter how many cards were played in that round. That seemed to be more fair. A 'first player' token would help, here.

We had at least one round where we pretty much all had the same idea right away (because the first two cards were "light as a feather" and "round"). We got up to 10 cards before someone was stuck with nothing in their hand that could go with 'balloon.' (And by that time, it was pretty locked in.) One suggestion that I thought of was to offer another play: If you have a solution in mind but all of your cards break it, you can take the top card from the deck, sight-unseen, and play it. I think that this would add some fun drama and just might get you out of the tight spot that I described.

By the way, another time it happened that I thought the answer was obvious, and we were all on the same idea, when my wife played something completely contradictory. I challenged and she had a great answer, but I'm sorry that I don't remember what it was. There were several times that, by the third card, I thought that there was only one answer and I was completely wrong. This was really the fun of the game.

Zag24
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Joined: 03/02/2014
No response

I actually hunted down this thread to give some more feedback, but I guess you're not interested.

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