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Level 3: Project Postings

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let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011

Week 3: Project Postings

This week has no readings, and instead only the blog/lesson and an exercise. The Discussion thread will be reserved for critique of the entries listed here, following the guidelines set up in this week's lesson: describing the game's formal elements, critical questions about challenge, interaction, fairness, replayability, etc.

I also want to state that if there are too few replies in this week (I'd say four or more, myself included, is a reasonable request), I'll step back from posting these messages for now, and pick it up sometime later in the year should interest in these lessons resurface.

Follow this link to the blog:

There are three levels of challenge for this week's exercise. Start with the Green Circle, then advance to Blue Square, then finally Black Diamond... Whichever you feel would be most worth your time.

Most war-themed games have an objective of either territorial control or capture/destroy (as described earlier). For this challenge, you’ll be pushing beyond these traditional boundaries. You should design a non-digital game that includes the following:

Green Circle

The theme must relate to World War I. The primary objective of players cannot be territorial control, or capture/destroy.

Blue Square

You cannot use territorial control or capture/destroy as game dynamics. That is, your game is not allowed to contain the concepts of territory or death in any form.

Black Diamond

As above, and the players may not engage in direct conflict, only indirect.

Post your rules summaries in this thread. Have fun!!!

DifferentName's picture
Joined: 09/08/2013
An idea

This is a tricky one. A war game without conflict! I've got some ideas for a game. I haven't taken the time to really work out the details like I would in the GDS, but I'll post what I've got. Here's my attempt at a Black Diamond game.

The Great Profiteering

In this game, you make factories and other buildings so you can sell weapons to your country during WW1. Some of what you make is simple supplies for infantry, like rifles, machine guns, shovels to dig trenches. But you can also invent new technology and make those, like tanks, aircraft, mustard gas & gas masks.

This would be some kind of puzzle economic game, that feels a bit solo sometimes even though you have an opponent, like suburbia. I haven't decided on the details of how you build factories. Although these details would be an important part of the game, I'll move onto the more unique thematic parts of the game.

Each country has needs, and you sell weapons from your factories to fill those needs, getting you money so you can build more factories. During the sell phase, players must sell everything that they can to their country, until either they have no weapons left to sell, or their countries needs for a weapon type have been filled. Then if a player has leftover weapons that another country is still willing to buy, the player may sell weapons to that country. Selling weapons is how you get money out of your buildings, so you can make more buildings later.

A countries needs for different weapons changes throughout the game, based on the factories that have been built around the world. So if one country starts making aircraft for use in war, all countries want aircraft so they're not left out. This could be based on a chart, where you count the buildings of a certain type/color in the world, and when it meets or exceeds an amount, the number goes up. This could be different depending on the weapon type, so countries start out wanting infantry weapons, and have a generally higher need for these. But something like aircraft would go up at a lower rate.

Buildings have special abilities, aside from just their type, like increasing production of neighboring buildings of the same type, increasing technology to allow for new types of weapons, like interruptors that allow aircraft to fire machine guns without shooting off their own propellors.

The goal is to have the most money at the end of the war, counting the sell value of your factories. To keep the game with the black diamond part of the challenge, maybe the war just ends after a number of turns, and no one cares who won the war, making it simply an economic game with a loose war theme thrown on, but that doesn't seem as fun as the game could be.

Here's where I might give up the Black Diamond part of the challenge, depending on how direct this conflict is. The better the weapons needs are met, the better a country does in the war. There is a track with a counter showing who is winning or losing in the war, and morale counters on either side, which wears down for both sides, meeting closer towards the center. When the center counter meets or goes past the morale counter, that country has lost the war, and the war ends. When a country loses the war, this could cause factories to be destroyed, giving players an incentive to win the war, but with the primary goal still being to make more money. Capture/destroy isn't allowed to be one of the game dynamics, but as a thing that just happens at the end of the game, I think it fits the rules. (it happens, but it's not one of the dynamics that goes on throughout the game).

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
WW1: Family Escape

I did more research and reading about The Great War today than I think I had during all my high school years combined...That's not saying much for public education, I admit, but it made today's reading quite an adventure.

I decided to focus on a more personal aspect of WW1: families being uprooted from their homes and forced to go elsewhere. I'm thinking Serbia or Austria-Hungary, or even Russia would be worthwhile settings for this. The main idea is that players must collect escape supplies (the cards) from different shared locations in town (the board), and then use those supplies to plot their escape. There is more competition than conflict between players in this game. The player who makes it to a safehouse and has the most pawnable valuables wins.

The game is divided into two phases.

This represents the players rummaging through their homes and nearby abandoned buildings in a last-ditch effort to find supplies or travel companions they can use to travel to another - hopefully safer - home. The master deck of Scavenge Cards is shuffled, and they're dealt between several different locations, each having its own small stack of 6 or so cards. Players visit their home location first, and can select a certain number of cards from that stack to keep. The remaining cards are then removed, and the building has been emptied of useful objects or party members. A building with no cards cannot be chosen to be searched again.

To search the next building, the players must choose one or more cards from their current hand, and discard them. The value of the discarded card(s) indicates how many cards they may collect from the next building they search. This represents the resources used to sneak in unseen by, negotiate with, or overpower the residents and guards in the building.

This phase would end when there were no more buildings to search. If there are fewer buildings remaining than players, silent auction and bidding of resources from the players' current hands will determine who is allowed in, with the highest bidders gaining access to remaining buildings. As a consolation, those who are unable to enter buildings are welcome to take the top card from the Scavenge Discard.

Now the resources collected in Phase 1 must be used to "buy" aspects of escape for Phase 2.

A game mat indicates different steps along the journey, along with cards that are drawn from an Escape Deck (I cringe to use the words "Flight Deck," since that has a completely different meaning...). Players do silent auction bidding like done in Phase 1 for determining who enters the last buildings. They bid on these cards to earn Escape Points (EP), and when a player reaches a certain number of EP, they advance on the Escape Route towards the Rendezvous/escape location.

Bids would have one required resource in addition to a set number of resources beyond that. For example, one card could have "Fuel + 5," which would mean that a Fuel card is required, along with 5 miscellaneous resources. Those who have the required resource(s) would receive preference for winning the bid. Objects of wealth - jewelry, rare books, and assorted rich stuff - would stand in for these required resources but at the cost of increasing the miscellaneous cost for that player.

The player mat has space for several Escape Cards to be shown at once, but cards are bid for only one at a time, the "cheapest" or lowest-value card first.

There is also a danger that can end the game prematurely. Invader Cards are shuffled into the Escape Deck, and whenever one of them is drawn, they are placed on the Escape Route starting with the space furthest away from the Rendezvous. If the player's counter is on the same space as an Invader Card, they must either stop their progress or immediately bribe the guard. Resource cards would be discarded equal or greater to the Invader Card value to continue.

Play would continue until all players have reached the Rendezvous or have been captured by Invaders. Point values are added up: all cards collected and remaining from Phase 1 and 2. The player with the most points overall wins the game.

I also think it's important to focus on the personalized aspect of the game, and for that I wanted to create characters/personas the players would select at the game start. These could range from typical archetypes or even more complex character sketches, or the player could even build their own character on a point-based system of "perks" and "faults."

A first iteration would be something as simple as the different passengers in Jeff Siadek's Lifeboat:

Later iterations would likely go more towards the cinematic, as in Last Night on Earth:

The main takeaway is that each character could do something a little different than the others. Or, in the case of a player being able to develop their own character, they craft their abilities in the fashion they want. Perks and Faults could be indicated with cards laid down on a character mat, so there's no duplication between characters in any one game.

Warm Clothing
Hunting Rifle
Gold Pocketwatch
Gold & Emerald Ring
Pack Horse
Resistance Fighter
Messenger Boy
Hiking Boots

Each card would have a certain value for Phase 1, allowing the player to draw additional cards when Scavenging additional buildings. There would also be some nuance and special effects added to some of the cards:
- Draw extra cards during Phase 1
- Worth an extra 2 miscellaneous resources in Phase 2
- Eliminate an Invader card instead of placing on Escape Route in Phase 2
- If used to enter a building in Phase 1, add to the stack of cards on another building instead of discard
- Search the discarded Scavenge Cards and replace it with this card

Cards with special effects would generally be worth less Escape value, to balance the special effect with their use during bidding. The general strategy would be to populate a player's hand with low-value Scavenge cards, with the expectation they'll be able to advance their position or "trade up" at some point later in the game.

Sewer Tunnel
Secret Room
Underground Railroad
Smoke Grenade

These would have Escape Point values, allowing the player to move along the Escape Route towards the Rendezvous/end.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011

Looks like we'll be putting the Games Design Course on hiatus. Hopefully BGDF can revisit the course sometime later this year, perhaps late Spring or early Summer.

Best of success to everyone with their game designs. :)

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