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Game Design Showdown January 2009 - "No I in Team"

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Darkehorse's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

Game Design Showdown

January 2009 Challenge - "No I in Team"

The major requirement for this challenge is that players play with other players on their team, and against the players on other teams.

Theme: Designer's Choice, but can NOT be sports related.

Genre: Designer's Choice

Additional Design Requirement: The game can played with just partners (i.e. two teams of two players each), but it must be playable with more than two teams or two teams of three or more players. Teams may not consist of one player (I.E. it can not be a one against many game).

  • Start Date: Friday, 23-January-2009
  • End Date: Thursday, 29-January-2009, Noon US Eastern time (approximately)
  • Voting: 29-January-2009 through Wednesday 4-February-2009.

Please note, you must PM or e-mail me, Darkehorse, your GDS entry for this month not Brykovian. If you want to use e-mail, please PM me for my e-mail address.

This Challenge has been completed

Congratulations is in order to Ilta for the winning entry of "Back to You"!

The results are as follows:

Back to you - 5 Votes

RNA Race - 3 Votes

Paintball - 2 Votes

Academic Department & Bluffery - 1 Vote each.

Thanks to everyone who participated. Go and prepare yourself for the February challenge!

Critique: Post your constructive critiques of the entries on the Critique Thread.

For more details on how these Game Design Showdown Challenges work -- including an entry formatting template -- visit the GDS Content Page.

Comments or Questions on this Challenge: Comments, questions and requests for clarification were handled on the Comments Thread.

Darkehorse's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - Academic Departments

Academic Departments By Comfect

Players: 2 per team, as many teams as desired, each team representing an academic department Components: Supply of "class" tiles in each department color with length, maximum enrollment and quality rating; supply of "professor" cards and matching tokens with quality rating; board consisting of a class schedule with 3 slots for each hour between 9 am and 4 pm and 20 student areas (each of which has space for major tiles); major tiles in each department color; money; cubes for student class assignments that can be matched with the appropriate student area

Each team represents a department at a college attempting to attract students to their major. One player is the "chair" and the other the "advisor."

Play consists of a series of "semesters" alternating turns within the semester between teams and players (first the advisors in order, then the chairs, then back and forth).

Each team is given 3 "intro" level classes and one "upper" level class, along with 4 professors.

On their turn, an advisor may do one of the following: Plan a class, by assigning a professor to a class and handing the combination to the chair for future scheduling Assign a student in their major to any class already scheduled [Note the limitations] Develop a new class, with the chair's approval, by drawing a random new class tile and paying the appropriate price Assign any student to an intro-level class already scheduled, in any major [Note the limitations]

On their turn, a chair may do one of the following: Schedule a class planned by the advisor, by placing the class tile with the professor token on it on an open time slot and pays the registrar for the privilege. Hire a new professor, with the advisor's approval, by drawing a random new professor card/token pair and paying the price Assign any student to an intro-level class already scheduled, in any major [Note the limitations] Fundraise (receiving a set amount per student in their major) Switch the timeslot any two classes of their major, removing any students already assigned Switch the professors of any two classes of their major, removing any students already assigned

The game consists of 8 semesters. Each semester ends when all developed classes have been scheduled; every player in turn may then assign one more student to any class, subject to the limitations. At the end of each semester, each student who was assigned to a class receives a major tile of that major, except for the WORST class they took, with the caveat that only 2 major tiles of one department can go to a single student in a single semester. Classes are ranked according to their own rating added to their professor's rating. Once a student has accumulated 4 major tiles of a major, they are considered to be "in that major" (students may double/triple/etc major). After placing these tiles, Players receive fundraising for all students in their major who took a class from their department this turn (hence the need for upper-level classes).

After the 8th round, the team with the most students in their major is the winner.

Student assignment limitations: Each class has space for between 1 and 3 students depending on class size; no excess students may be placed. No student may take more than one class in any time slot (so beware of the longer classes!). Also, no student may take more than 4 classes in a semester.

Darkehorse's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - Back to You

Back to You

by Isaiah Tanenbaum (Ilta)

From escaped convicts to kittens caught in trees to a freak tornado storm, things always seem to be happenning in Peehawktucken, New Jersey. And when they do, you can count on one of the dozen local affiliates to be there covering the story. Whether it's by nailing that exclusive interview, shooting some quality footage, or just by being first on the scene, news teams will compete for viewership and prestige. At the end of the day, who will emerge in this battle of the network 'C'-listers?


  • A board of Peehawtucken, NJ, laid out in a grid, showing various local features (town hall, school, trailer park, various news stations) connected by roads. A scoring track runs around the edge of the board.
  • 6 news vans in various colors
  • 6 scoring markers
  • A deck of "Studio" cards
  • A deck of "Field" cards
  • A deck of "Story" cards
  • A die **See "Game-Play" for notes on the different kinds of cards and some of their possible effects.


  • Each news team will be played by two players, one in the studio (The Producer), and one in the field (The Reporter).
  • Lay out the board, shuffle the two decks of cards separately, and deal five cards to each player from the appropriate deck (Studio cards for Producers, Field cards for Reporters).
  • Place one news van for each team at its studio on the board, and its corresponding scoring marker at the "0" space on the scoring track.
  • Seed the board with five stories from the Story deck.
  • Each player rolls a die to determine starting initiative.


Game play is simulataneous, in rounds: first the Producers, then the Reporters; finally, during the Story Phase, stories may disappear or appear on the board.

Producer Phase

All the Producers select a card from their hand and lay it face down on the table. They then reveal these cards simultaneously and resolve them in order of Initiative. Producers then draw another card. Producers always draw from the Studio cards. Some of these cards will move vans considerably, give a story a multiplier (either the producer's choice or by demographic, as in "all weather stories are worth twice as much this round"), change a story's volatility, place a new story on the board, or remove a story altogether. Some Studio cards are "take-that" cards which target other studios, making them miss their half of the turn ("Station Power Outage"), misdirect their reporters, or other shenanigans. Some cards affect the next card played be a reporter, as in "We Inturrupt This Program," which gives a 2x multiplier to any scoring card played by the Reporter during his Phase.

Reporter Phase

Now the Reporters do the same, again resolving in order of initiatve. Reporters then draw another card. Reporters always draw from the Field cards. Some of these cards will move vans a small number of spaces; others will relate to a story when the Reporter arrives on the scene, like "Amazing Footage" and "Exclusive Interview" (awarding a score based on story value, and value plus a bonus, respectively); still more will help a Reporter at specific demographics ("Hot Weather Tip," "Government Sources"). Some Field cards are "take-that" cards that target other Reporters, allowing a Reporter to steal their cards ("What's their Frequency, Ken?") or causing them to miss their half of the turn ("Dead Mic").

Story Phase

For each story on the board, roll the die. If the number is equal to or lower than the story's Volatility (taking into account any modifying cards played on it), remove that story from the board. Then place a new story on the board for each story thus removed. The Story cards contain a location (sometimes one of several possible locations, resolved by a die roll), a base score value, a demographic (human interest, weather, sports, celebrity, politics, etc.), and a "volatility" number from 1-6, indicating the likeliness that a story will disappear after this turn. A note about Initiative: While starting Initiative is determined by a die roll, subsequent Initiative is determined by whoever has the lowest score at the beginning of that phase. Thus, it's possible to go first in the Producer Phase, make lots of points, and then end up going last in the Reporter Phase, or vice versa. If at any time one of the decks runs out of cards, shuffle its discard pile to create a new deck.

Game End and Winner

The game ends when a player has reached the end of the scoring track (100 points?) AND makes it back to his home station. The first player to do this is the winner, gaining valuable market share in the news-hungry -- and news-generating -- town of Peehawktucken, New Jersey!

Darkehorse's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - RNA Race

RNA Race

By Seo

From Wikipedia: "The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded in genetic material (DNA or RNA sequences) is translated into proteins (amino acid sequences) by living cells. The code defines a mapping between tri-nucleotide sequences, called codons, and amino acids." RNA Race is a card game where teams of 2 or 3 geneticists try to beat the rival teams on a race to synthesize the 20 amino acids an RNA molecule can produce. Communication and collaboration among team members will be of paramount importance to achieve success.


  • A deck of 64 cards (one copy of each of the possible combinations of three nucleotides: Uracil, Cytosine, Adenine, Guanine)
  • To keep track of the score: 20 Amino acid tokens (with different VP values written on them), and 50 1-VP tokens
  • A reference board displaying codon-amino acid relationships Image 1


Place the scoring tokens on one side of the table, so that all the Amino acid tokens are clearly visible. Shuffle the cards and deal 12 per team (6 or 4 per player, depending on team size), face down. Deal one face up card per team on the table, and use the remainder of the deck to form face down reserve piles covering the top two thirds of the face-up cards. The visible portion is the starting base for each team's RNA chain.

Game play

Turn order

  1. Draw one card from any reserve pile
  2. Add one card to any of the RNA chains.
  3. Pick up or remove from the game any scoring token, based on the scoring rules below.

Communication among team members

Team members can exchange information about the cards they hold, or which cards to play, but only through specific facial expressions: - Uracil = tighten lips - Cytosine = raise eyebrows - Adenine = open mouth - Guanine = wink


The only way to score is by playing a card on one's own team RNA chain. Playing cards on the other teams RNA chains is also valid, and can be used to reduce their chances to score. Scoring is based on forming codons (groups of three nucleotides surrounded by two dotted lines) that are translated into its corresponding amino acids. When a codon is completed, the corresponding Amino acid token is moved to the current player's team scoring pile (if the codon was formed on the player's team RNA chain), or removed from the game (if the codon was formed on the RNA chain of a rival team). If the token for the amino acid that forms from a codon has already been removed or used to score, no further action is taken, and step 3 of the turn order list is just skipped. Three codons are used as STOP signs that mark the end of a gene: UAA, UAG and UGA. When a player completes any of these codons in his team's RNA chain, the team receives one 1-VP token per codon in the RNA chain (including the Stop codon). Then all the cards from the chain are reshuffled into the reserve pile, except for the one just played, which is placed under the reserve to start a new chain. When a Stop codon is completed on a rival RNA chain, the cards from it are reshuffled into the reserve pile just the same, but no points are scored for either team.

Image 1

Game end

Game continues until the last Amino acid token is scored or removed. Team with the most points wins.

Darkehorse's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #4 - Paintball

Paintball by Robert_C


Number of players: 4,6 or 8 The players form two paintball teams fighting on a board where one meeple represents one player. The goal for a team is to eliminate opponents or capture their flag. The players do not see all meeples on the board - two players of the opposite teams have their own copy of the board seeing their meeples but they cannot attack each other nor capture one's flag. The rest of the team should be communicated and guided to find a flag and avoid or shoot the meeples. The game is being played in real time.


*boards - the paintball arena of 12x12 squares,(configured for scenarios),

*meeples - in two team's colors,

*flags - in two colors,

*obstacles - wooden cubes of full-height and half-height in four colors,

*communication markers - two sets, one for four obstacle colors and one for compass (N,E,S,W signs),

*wound markers,

*ammo markers,

*hourglasses - one 10-seconds hourglass per player,

*small ball marker,



How to prepare

Create teams A and B. Assemble players in opposite couples (A1-B1, A2-B2...). Decide the board scenario being used. Each couple takes appropriate board, arrange obstacles according to board drawings and hide the board against other couples using screens. The board have obstacles of two different types (full-height and half-height) in four different colors. Obstacles can protect meeple against shots. The color of the obstacle will help during team communication to report the enemy spot. The compass rose on the board identifies directions used while guiding team to the flag. Each player in a group (A1-B1 is a group) places on the board the meeple and the flag of their team color. The placement of meeples and flags of other groups is unknown (boards are screened). Each player takes one hourglass, three ammo markers and a set (eg. five) of communication markers of each type (four colors and four directions). The ball and wound markers are placed in the middle of the table.

How to play

It is a real time play. At any moment a player can:

a) Move

Make a move of one's own meeple up to two squares in any direction (avoiding obstacles and other meeple). After a move the player turns the hourglass. The next action can be executed only after the hourglass time has expired. Diagonal moves are disabled.

b) Shoot

Make a shot in any direction. At any moment the player can grab a ball and announce a shot along a row or a file (eg. the player with a meeple at F9 grabs a ball and shouts: 'shooting row F' or 'shooting file 9'). If any meeple (opponent's or the same team) on other boards (it is not allowed to shoot among couples) is on the announced line the owning player asks for the range - the shooting player then expresses the exact range of shooting (starting from the meeple location) eg. 'shooting row F from 9 to 1'. Player being shot resolves then any obstacles between meeples on the shot line. No obstacle = the player takes one wound marker. Any full-height obstacle = the player is safe. Any half-height obstacle = both players roll dice and subtract the number of already received wounds. The player is safe if his roll is higher than a shooter's one, otherwise he receives one wound marker. After shooting the player loses one ammo marker and turns the hourglass. The ball marker is placed back in the middle. Anyone can grab a ball and shoot - the player is exposed for a while.

c) Reload

Make a reload by turning the hourglass three times and then replenish the ammo up to three markers. It is impossible to shoot without ammo.

d) Communicate

A player can communicate a team member by giving hints. He can give obstacle marker of some color suggesting the location of the enemy meeple he can see or he can give compass marker suggesting the way to the enemy's flag. It is disabled to communicate any other way (verbal) - players may only ask for giving hints. Communication markers are limited but they can flow among team. Communication does not require hourglass turn.

e) Grab a flag

A player can try to grab a flag by announcing his own meeple location (eg. 'grabbing F9'). If there is an opponent flag on other boards in the spot the team wins. Otherwise the player turns the hourglass three times and is extremely exposed.

Game End

The game ends when any flag is captured or when at least half of a team is eliminated (one meeple in 4 players game, two otherwise). The player is eliminated when he receives the third wound marker. In game expansion there will be a first aid kit :)

Darkehorse's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #5 - Bluffery

by Stuart Haag (Stubert)
A battle of wits for 4-18 players (2 or 3 teams w/ 2-6 players each)

Each round, each team will show HOW MANY cards they will play (all teams simultaneously), then play that amount of numbered cards (from a pool of cards numbered 1-60 – also simultaneously), with the highest total winning. Teams get to confer among themselves before each showing of cards, and crosstalk and/or trash talk is ENCOURAGED (to throw off other teams).
Knowing how many cards your opponents are going to play (and counting cards to figure what they have left to play), your team will try to play a higher total value of numbered cards than opposing team(s).

3 decks of 60 cards, numbered 1-60,
3 sets of 6 strength cards – one “NONE”, one “THREE”, two “ONE”s & two “TWO”s.

Each team takes a deck of numbered cards and a set of strength cards and distributes the 60 numbered cards among their teammates. When you distribute the cards, you may give any player any cards, as long as the QUANTITY of cards is distributed evenly among all players on your team.
If there are uneven teams (i.e.– one with 3 players and two with 4 players) the cards are still distributed evenly WITHIN EACH TEAM, which may result in some players holding more numbered cards than other players at the beginning of the game.
Teams must be distributed in such a way that there is never more than a one player difference between any two teams (i.e.– 7 players can be three teams – 2, 2 & 3 players, or two teams – 3 & 4 players, but NOT two teams – 2 & 5 players).

How to play:
The three parts of each round (in this order) are:

Teams confer and decide which player will play which strength card. The strength card denotes HOW MANY numbered cards that player will play.
Each round, each player plays ONE strength card unless there are uneven teams. With uneven teams, EVERY player on the team(s) with the fewest players will play a strength card, and AN EQUAL NUMBER OF PLAYERS on the remaining team(s) will play strength cards. Example: with a 3 player team and two 4 player teams, 3 players per team will play strength cards each round.
Players play their strength cards face down in front of them, and ALL strength cards are revealed at once.
If one of your players is out of numbered cards, that player MUST play the “NONE” strength card each round until you buy that player back in (see “BUY BACK A PLAYER” later in these rules).
With uneven teams, you may choose to have a teammate with no cards NOT play strength cards instead of having them play the “NONE” card.
You are not forced to buy back a player until MORE THAN ONE of your players MUST play the “NONE” card

Teams confer again, and decide which numbered cards each player will play (each player’s QUANTITY is determined already by the strength card they played – If a player does not have enough cards, they play ALL of their remaining cards).
Players play their numbered cards face down in front of them, and ALL cards are revealed at once.
The team with the highest TOTAL VALUE of numbered cards collects them all and keeps them for scoring. If there is a tie, the team playing the FEWEST cards wins. If there is still a tie, teams win ONLY THEIR OWN NUMBERED CARDS.
Teams then collect their strength cards.

If one or more of your players has no cards, you may buy them back.
a) Each of your players gives another team their lowest card for scoring.
b) Redistribute ALL remaining cards your team holds among ALL of your players EVENLY, giving all leftover cards to another team for scoring.
If you buy back a player, ALL players without cards are bought back simultaneously. If your team is not holding enough cards to distribute at least one card to each player, your cards are considered “leftovers” and must be given to another team, ending the game.

Ending the game:
Once a team has exhausted ALL of their cards, the team that won the most recent (or current) round wins ALL of the remaining cards held by ALL of the teams (including their own). Teams then total the value of all of the numbered cards in their cache, with the highest total winning the game. Ties are awarded to the team with the FEWEST NUMBER of cards.

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