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Game Design Showdown Sept 2008 Challenge: "Hidden in Public"

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Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

(This Challenge has been completed.)

Game Design Showdown

September 2008 Challenge - "Hidden in Public"

Challenge: Design a board or card game themed around an object hidden in a public location.

Design Requirements:

  • Hidden - The game should include an actual game piece that is somehow hidden within or by another game piece, or pieces, or the game board, etc.
  • In Public - The thematic setting of the game should be a public location, such as a public building, a park, etc.

  • Start Date: Thursday, 11-September-2008
  • End Date: Thursday, 18-September-2008, Noon EST (approximately) ... please note that we are back to a 1-week entry period
  • Voting: 18-September-2008 through Thursday, 25-September-2008

This Challenge have been completed.

Voting: Voting has been completed. See the final results in the Voting Poll.

Critique the Entries: Constructive critiques and comments about the individual entries to this Challenge should be done on the Critiques Thread.

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

For more details on how these Game Design Showdown Challenges work, visit the GDS Content Page.

Enjoy! -Bryk

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - Treasure Hunt

Entry #1 - Treasure Hunt

by Kactus

You and your friends heard a story that your local beach used to be a famous bay that pirates would use to hide from the navy. You all decide to set out in search of any forgotten treasure that may be buried there!

Equipment: Game board (see below) Gold coins 1 pawn per player 1 counter per player, colour to match pawn 1 direction die with sides labelled N, E, S, W, 1, 1.

Entry 1 Image 1

The game board is hollow with an opening with a sliding cover on one end. Each square on top is able to be opened.

Setup: Put the coins in the board (see below for the number of coins) and shake it until all players agree that the coins are distributed randomly.

2-4 players: use 7 coins 5 players: use 8 coins 6 players: use 10 coins 7 players: use 11 coins 8 players: use 12 coins

Each player places their counter and pawn on their starting square. The positions available to start on depend on the number of players. The players' starting positions should beequally spaced from each other and should be on the edges of the board. A suggestion is below.

Entry 1 Image 1

To win: The first person to have a certain number of gold coins on their starting square is the winner; the number of coins depends on the number of players as below:

2 players: 4 gold coins needed to win 3 players: 3 gold coins needed to win 4 or more players: 2 gold coins needed to win

Play: On a player's turn, they roll the die, and can choose to move their pawn 1 or 2 squares in the direction indicated by the die, or one square in any direction if the die shows a '1'. Moving is not compulsory.

After moving (or not) they may choose to lift the lid of the square they are on to check for treasure. Players' home squares may not be checked for treasure. The other players must be able to see the contents of the square. If there is a coin showing, the player may take it, however each player can only carry one coin at a time. Coins only count towards the winning total if they are on the player's home square.

Players may also steal treasure off other players, or off home squares. To steal treasure from another player, your pawn must land on the same square as another player's pawn that is 'carrying' a coin and then roll a 1 on the direction die. To steal off a home square you only need to land on it when the owner's pawn is not there. When a player is on their home square, other players cannot land on it. Remember you can only carry one coin at a time!

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - One Arm Bandit

Entry #2 - One Arm Bandit

by tinymachine

This 3-5 player card game takes place in a casino, where the slot machines never sleep. Players must gamble to make the pay out line match their secret hand.

Equipment: Card deck, 6 types: 18 lemons, 18 cherries, 18 oranges, 18 bananas, 18 melons, 18 bells. The middle of a table. A reckoning area.

Game Start: Each player is given three cards of each type, 3 lemons, 3 cherries etc...these are kept hidden in their hand. Two cards of each type (with one extra bell) are dealt face up in the middle of the board in any arrangement. One card of each type is dealt face down (hidden) in the middle of the board. These cards form the slot machine - as the game proceeds players remove slot machine cards until only one is left - the pay out card.

Game Turns: Play goes clockwise - on their turn a player may

1) Discard a card From their hand they remove one card and place it face down in front of them - this card now counts as one unit of money.


2) Pay to remove a slot machine card. The player announces which card they want to remove and pays one money unit into a reckoning area. Then the other players in turn can either pay to keep or remove the slot machine card. They can pay as many money units as they like. Paying continues until everyone has passed, then the card is either kept or removed from the game depending which decision was payed the most in total. If there is a tie the card is kept. All of the money units placed in the reckoning area are removed from the game whatever happens.

Removing Cards: After every third card is removed from the slot machine area, one of the hidden slot machine cards is turned face up to join the others.

Winner: When the final card is left in the slot machine area the winner is the player who has that card in their own hand. In the case of a tie - the player with the most money wins (all other cards a player owns count as money at this point).

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - Busted

Entry #3 - Busted

by shazzaz

4 - 6 players (5 is best)

You are a curator for a museum and have less than an hour to put your display together, where are your artefacts, and who has the gold bust?

Game objective: dispose all unwanted cards and display a full set of 6 artefacts.

First player: left of the dealer, all other players take turns in clockwise order

Dealer: decided by mutual consent.


1 deck of cards depicting artefacts: 6 x Silver 6 x Bronze 6 x Ivory 6 x Jade 6 x Pottery 6 x copper 1 x gold bust


Decide who will be dealer – shuffle the deck and place the top card face down in the centre of the playing surface (centre card). Deal two cards to each player until the remainder of the deck is distributed.

During a player’s turn, they may choose one of three actions:

a) Discard up to three cards by placing them face up near the centre card.

b) Collect an artefact from the discard.

c) nominate the player you think has the gold bust

If the nominated player holds the gold bust, they must place it face up on top of the centre card – one of the artefacts is now “busted” and cannot be used.

If the nominated player does not hold the bust card, they may swap the centre card with one of their own (remember to keep it face down) in addition to one of the three actions listed above.

If the holder of the gold bust is not nominated, they may swap the centre card for the bust and discard all excess cards in a single move.

Declaring the winner: the winner is the first player to hold just the six artefact cards of one set.

The gold bust wins if no one has their artefacts displayed with in an hour.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #4 - Geocache Hunting

Entry #4 - Geocache Hunting

by RobertC


Number of players: 3-5

Players try to find caches as fast as they can. Caches are hidden at the well known locations. Sometimes it is necessary to explore the location with certain tool but the tool is hidden somewhere on the board. During the play you will learn location types, find the hidden tools and grab caches. If you remeber well location types and tool positions you will find caches quickly, but you would fail if you forgot anything during play.


  • board representing a map of a city surroundings (divided into 12 rows x 12 files),

  • pawns (one per player),

  • location tiles (24 rectangular tiles),

  • tool tiles (18 circular tiles),

  • cache markers (12 x 3 markers valued 1,2,4),

  • two D12 dice.


Place the board in the center. Sort the cache markers making piles of markers valued 1,2 and 4. Put one pile of three markers next to each row of the board (value 4 on top).

Shuffle all location tiles and tool tiles separately. Distribute all other tiles face down onto the board according to the following rules.

  • Location tiles (rectangular) must be put in piles of two. One pile occupies one board field. In one row there can be only one pile of location tiles (each pair occupies different row).

  • Tool tiles (circular) can be put in pairs or individually at any field on board.

Each player places her pawn at any unoccupied field on the board. It is her starting point.


In her turn player can do one and only one of the following actions:

  • Move: Move her pawn up to three fields in any direction. If the pawn crosses the field where any tile exists it must stop there. It is impossible to cross the field occupied by other pawn. Two pawns can never occupy the same field.

  • Grab/leave a tool: If the player's pawn occupies a location where there is any tool tile she can look at a tile (the top one if it is a pile). Player can take a tool for herself and put it in front of herself face up, though she may posses no more than 2 tools (she can replace the tool). Player can leave a tool tile at any field her pawn stays putting it face down on board (up to two tools in a pile still).

  • Exchange a tool: Player can exchange a tool with other player if their pawns are at the adjoining fields and if both agree.

  • Explore locations: If the player's pawn occupies a field where there are location tiles she can explore them. To explore a location the appropriate tool must be used. There are six location types and corresponding tools:

    • dark tunnel - a flashlight.
    • tall tree - a ladder,
    • water reservoir - a swim mask,
    • steep cliff - a rope,
    • slag heap - a shovel,
    • padlocked door - a skeleton key,

The locations must be explored starting from top (there are always two location tiles). Player can look at the top tile and if the location can be successfully explored the appropriate tile is put face up and the player can immediately explore the bottom tile. If both locations are successfully explored the player takes the top cache marker from the corresponding cache pile (next to the row). If the location is not being explored (no tool to use) its tile is put back face down, so it is the player advantage to know the type and her task to remember the type of tool needed.

It is not allowed to take the cache two times from the same location/row (colored cache markers help to distinguish rows).

After performing the selected action the player rolls both dice. In case of doubles the cache from the row rolled is being accidentally explored by a stranger - remove the top cache marker from the row if there is no pawn in the field of location tiles corresponding to that row.

Game End

The game ends at the moment one player finds her tenth cache or when no cache marker remains at the board (in case of strangers' exploring). The winner is the player with the highest total of cache values. In case of a tie there are many winners.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #5 - The Gold Bug

Entry #5 - The Gold Bug

by Scurra

a game for three to five players

It's the old, old story. You accidentally stumble across an old document in a chest in your attic, which suggests that there is truth to the legend of the treasure hidden somewhere in the town. There are a bunch of nonsensical cryptic clues to follow, uncovering a complicated history of gold, greed and betrayal. Eventually you realise that there are other treasure hunters, and you are in a race against time to find the hiding place...

Game Summary

Players move their Hunters to visit buildings, which grant a temporary power that will help them finding the clues that will lead to the treasure. There is no actual Treasure piece; instead, the players are set-collecting to establish exactly where it is. The tiles are magnetic, which should help to reduce inadvertent reveals.

Game components

1 Town Square 12 Town buildings (pentominoes with metal bases) 30 Clue tiles (six each of five black symbols) 20 Hunter tiles, four for each player. 10 ID tiles, five blank and five red symbols. Various building tokens 5 Hunter pieces 5 File Cards with space for seven tiles (metal strips)

Game set-up

Put the Town Square in the middle of the table. Randomly select a starting player. You should each take a Hunter and the four matching Hunter tiles. Put the Hunter in the Town Square and the tiles on your File Card (which is kept secret from the other players.)

In clockwise order from the starting player, take one of the town buildings, three clue tiles and an ID tile. You should secretly look at the tiles and stick them to the bottom of the building. You then place the building such that at least one block of it is directly adjacent to the Town Square or to another building that is directly djacent to the Town Square. In anti-clockwise order this process is repeated. In a three-player game there is a third clockwise placement round.

After the placement round is complete, remaining clue tiles are placed face-down to one side. Unused ID tiles are removed (unseen) from the game. Building tokens are placed in a central pool and are visible at all times. Play proceeds clockwise from the starting player and continues until someone wins.

Entry 5 Image 1

Game play

On your turn, take one of the following actions:

  • You may move into an orthogonally adjacent unoccupied building (note: the Town Square may contain any number of Hunters.)

  • You may move directly to the Town Square.

  • You may look for a Clue. Pick up the building your Hunter is in, and look at the tiles. You must exchange one with one on your File Card. Replace the building in the same position and put your Hunter back on it. You cannot exchange ID tiles!

  • You may take the matching building token for the building your Hunter is in. If there are none in the Buildings pool, you may take one from another player. A Hunter may never have more than one identical token.

  • If you have a token, you may return the token to take the associated action.

Examples of building token powers

Library: Extra information. Take the Clue action, but you may exchange up to three Clue tiles.

Town Hall: Extra information. Take the Clue action, but you may take an extra tile from that building.

Locksmith: Lock or unlock a building. Lock: your Hunter must be inside the building. Place the Padlock token on the building and move your Hunter to the Town Square. If a building is locked, no Hunter may enter it. Only one building may be locked at any one time.

Unlock: your Hunter must be next to the building with a Padlock token in hand. Return both tokens to the Buildings pool and enter the building.

Taxi Rank: Extra move. After moving your Hunter, take an additional movement action (i.e. you cannot use this with the Clue action.)

Hospital: Eject a Hunter. Move into an occupied building. That Hunter is moved into an adjacent unoccupied building (or to the Town Square if this is impossible.)

Town Square: If you have two matching Hunter tiles on your File Card you may return one of them to that player to summon their Hunter to the Square. They must give you either a token or a clue tile from their File Card (your choice) You may look for a Clue in the Square – these are the unused Clue tiles (if any.)

Game End

When you have five identical black symbol clue tiles on your File Card, you should go to the Building with the matching red ID tile and enter it. On your next turn, reveal your File Card and the ID tile and win.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008


Congratulations to Scurra, as his entry "The Gold Bug" was voted the best entry for this Challenge.

To see how the voting went, check out the Voting Poll.

To post constructive critiques and comments about the individual entries to this Challenge should be done on the Critiques Thread.

Enjoy! -Bryk

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