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[GDS] August 2011 "Convention Fever"

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sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

August 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Convention Fever"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

The August Game Design Showdown is now over! The votes are in!

Not a lot of participation this month - I blame myself for that as I posted it late, and it was right on the tail of last months (which also ran late)... We had 3 entries this month, and only 3 people voted. The winner with 3 votes was SwagCon, by Wil Wade. Congrats Wil!

Shamble-Con by loonoly received 2 votes, and ZombieCon by Benj Hamilton (Yamahako) received 1 vote.

The critique thread is now open.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme Restriction: Game Conventions
    Many of us spend some if not all of our vacation time attending game conventions. There are the big ones with thousands of people, like Origins, Gen Con, Essen, and Pax, and there are smaller local cons like Stragicon, KublaCon, BGG.con, Ghengis Con, Neon Con, RinCon, WBC (not sure how big that one is), Oasis of Gaming, TotalCon, CanCon, EerieCon, Three Rivers Con, Dragonflight, Gamestorm, etc, etc, etc...

This month's Showdown could be about running a con, attending a con, or running a gauntlet of multiple cons - it's up to you!

  • Mechanics Restriction: None.
    This month you're free to be creative and use whatever mechanisms you like in your game.

  • Component Restriction: Board
    There are a lot of games out there nowadays that don't really hold true to the Board Game form factor - played with player boards but no central board, or played with no board at all - just tiles, or cards. This months showdown must use a non-trivial board as a central component of the design.

  • Component Restriction: Variety of pieces
    For this month's showdown, your entry must also utilize at least 3 distinct types of player pieces, and they must also be non-trivial, central components of the game.

  • Submissions: Tuesday, 2-August-2011 through Tuesday, 9-August-2011.
  • Voting: Through Tuesday, 16-August-2011. PM your votes to sedjtroll.
  • Voting Format: Each person has 6 votes to distribute any way they choose among the GDS entries with the following restrictions:
    • You may not assign any votes to your own entry!
    • You may not assign more than 3 votes to any single entry.
    • You need not assign all 6 votes.
  • Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge were handled on the Comments Thread.

  • CRITIQUES: After voting has closed the entries will be posted for comments and critiques. Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the Critiques Thread
  • GDS Details: For more details on how these Game Design Showdown Challenges work, especially the details around the word count and graphics limits, visit the GDS Wiki Page.

Enjoy, and good luck!

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - Shamble-Con


2-4 players 30+ minutes

You and your friends just wanted to play a game, eat some over priced food and get the latest game from your favorite game company. But when you got to the convention, THEY were there. They smell bad. They shamble. And they want your Gaaammesss! These aren't ordinary gamers, they are zombie gamers!


Players are, well...players visiting a game convention that has been infected with a zombie plague. Players are racing to be the first to reach their objectives and get back out of the con.


200 zombie gamer pawns Gameboard:

15 objective cards:

Each player has in their color (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow):
- 4 gamer pawns
- 15 small discs
- 3 large discs (numbered 1 to 3)
- 1 six sided die


Each player selects a color, takes the respective pieces and places 1 of their pawns on their starting square. Separate the objective cards into their respective types (game room, company, and concession). Shuffle each stack and deal one of each to each player. Determine a start player. Place all 200 zombies on the board with 2 per small square and 4 per large area excluding the start areas.

Game Play

In turn order, players will be allowed to perform 2 actions with each of their pawns. The available actions are:
1. Knock 'em down.
2. Move 'em.
3. Make a hole.
4. Stand 'em up.

Alternatively, if all of a player's pawns on the board are in one of their objective areas, they may complete an objective using all of the actions from all of their pawns.

1. Knock 'em down

Thankfully, zombie gamers aren't very dangerous. They just get in the way. So you may temporarily knock them down. To do so, the player designates a zombie in their own square or one adjacent as the target and rolls their six sided die and adds +1 for each additional pawn of their color in the same square. The player to the left rolls for the zombie. The lower result loses and is knocked down. If tied both are knocked down. If all of a players pawns are knocked down, the pawns are returned to the last completed objective (or the start square if no objectives have been completed yet).

2. Move 'em

Players may move their pawns only if there is room for the pawn. Small squares have a maximum occupancy of 2 and larger areas are 4. This applies only to standing pawns (hence why you need to knock down the zombies). Players may increase this maximum by one in small squares by laying down small discs (see below in "make a hole"). Players may also move through a contigous line of small discs of their color, but must still abide by the maximum occupancy rules at their destination.

3. Make a hole.

Players may place a small disc in a small square if all zombies in the square are laying down. Each small square can only have one disc in it.

4. Stand 'em up.

If a player's pawn is lying down, that pawn may use an action to stand back up as long as maximum occupancy is still observed.

Achieving an objective

To achieve an objective all of the player's on board pawns must occupy one of their objective spaces. The player determines their die modifier by subtracting the number of their standing pawns from the number of standing zombies in their area. The player rolls the die and then physically modifies the result on the die by their modifier (maximum 6, minimum 1) and places the die on the objective space. This is the number of turns they will be skipped before the activity is completed. Once completed, place a large activity completed disc (in numeric order) on the objective space. Once an objective is completed, place an additional pawn on the board.

Stand up zombies

At the end of their turn each player may stand up a number of zombies equal to the number of pawns they have on board (remember maximum occupancy rules).

End Game

The game ends immediately once a player has achieved all three objectives and gotten all of their pawns back to their start square. That player is declared the winner.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - Zombicon


2-8 players

Description of Play

Players have 24 turns in which to navigate a game board to buy costume pieces and see as many of the invited presenters as possible. By knowing which presenters are in play, they can deduce which presenters will be the judges (and thus which costume pieces will be worth more points at the end of the game.) The con is infested with Zombies, however, so they must be avoided (and moved to limit other player’s movement.) The person who wins the costume contest wins the game!


  1. Game Board

- ~400 square field
- 10 Booth squares
- 1 Food Cart square
- 1 Welcome Table square
- 4 Zombie Entrance squares
- 1 Infirmary square
2. Play Aids (8)
- Showing the presenters likes and dislikes
3. Movers
- Avatars (8)
- Zombies (16)
- Wandering Merchant (1)
4. Dice (3)
- One black d6
- One white d6
- One red d6
5. Play Money
- Total of 2400$, smallest denomination of 10$
6. Costume Items deck (54 cards)
- These cards will have the following attributes
- Cost
- Base Score
- Attributes
- examples: SciFi, Steampunk, Fantasy, Lolita
- Possible effects, or set bonuses
7. Presenters deck (15 cards)
- These cards will have the following attributes
- Likes
- Likes give +1 to score at scoring phase for each of that attribute the player has
- Dislikes
- Dislikes give -1 to score at scoring phase for each of that attribute the player has
8. Food Cart Deck (24 cards)
- This deck contains cards that influence dice and movement through the guise of energy
9. Welcome Table Deck (15 cards)
- This deck contains cards that influence money, and items, or that can force exchanges and trades with other players.

Recommended Components

  1. Note pad for players to work out final score, and keep track of presenters they’ve seen.


  • Shuffle the Costume Items deck, and place 4 cards on each booth. Set the other Costume Items aside.
  • Shuffle the Presenters deck and place 1 card on each booth. Set the other Presenters aside until the end of the game.
  • Place the Wandering Merchant on his start square.
  • Place your avatar in the Entrance Line.
  • Give each player 300$ of play money.


At the beginning of your turn, roll the 3 dice. Move your avatar a number of squares less than or equal to the roll on the Black die. If the red die rolls a 1 or a 6, move a Zombie onto the board at one of the Zombie entrance spots. Otherwise, move zombies any way you want a number of squares equal to the roll of the red die, you may split this move to multiple zombies. Zombies may not enter special squares, and may not double back on themselves when they move. The White die can do one of the following things: modify (plus OR minus) either the black or the red die, or it can move the wandering merchant a number of spaces equal to that roll. When moving your avatar you cannot move onto a square that is next to, or diagonal from a square with a Zombie in it. Specialty squares count as 1 space. When moving a zombie, if you move it adjacent to a player (including yourself), that player moves to the infirmary, and loses one of their costume pieces (their choice) to a discard pile. After moving, you may then take an effect if applicable: If you are in a booth, you may look at the cards there. You may purchase 1 item for its cost. You may only have one item for each slot (Hat, Chest, Legs, Feet, Accessory). Keep costume pieces face up in front of you. You may, alternatively, sell 1 item for ½ its cost (rounded down to the nearest 10$). If you are at the Welcome Table, or the Food Cart, you may take the top card from that deck. Those cards may be played at any time for their effect, and go to the discard pile once used. If you are not on a specialty square, and are adjacent to the Wandering Merchant, you may look at the top 3 cards from the deck of Costume cards that was set aside at the beginning. You may purchase one of these items for its cost. Place all non-purchased items at the bottom of his deck.

Ending the Game

The game ends after 24 rounds. At this time, reveal the 5 unplaced Presenters, who act as the judges of the costume contest. Each presenter grants the player a point score for the costume they have on. The player loses 2 points for each item of the 5 missing from their ensemble. No presenter will give a score less than 0. The player with the highest score from the costume contest wins!

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - SwagCon


Players: 3-6
Playtime: 20-40 Minutes (Estimated)


We all know that one of the top reasons to go to conventions is the free stuff from the vendor hall. At SwagCon the stuff is not only free, but will help you get around to collect more swag! Collect the most swag to win, but watch out for the crowds running around to get their own stuff!


1 - Board of the vendor hall layout (24 booths, 20 of which will receive swag)
6 - Player pawns (These take up 1 square and are used to collect swag)
6 - Crowd pawns (These take up 2 squares and are used to block other players)
60 - Swag Chits (average 3 per booth, each with a special ability given to the players who collect them)
24 - Crowd Chits (4 of each player colors)
6 - Rule Summary Cards

Turn Order:
Roll 2 4-sided dice and one 6-sided die
Move your player pawn the sum of the 4-sided dice
Move your crowd pawn the amount on the 6-sided die
If your player pawn enters a booth with swag that you have not collected, you may choose to collect the swag.

Take one of each type of swag and place them randomly on the booths. Four booths will not have any swag.
Place out the remaining swag with their counterpart on the board.
Place one of each player’s color crowd chits in the remaining four booths.
If you are playing with 3-4 players, decrease the amount of swag at each location by one.
Place player pawns and the crowds on the board title area.

In order to win, your crowd pawn must also collect four crowd chits from the board. Crowds follow the same movement rolls as player pawns. Crowds however take up 2 squares on the board, so it is more difficult to move and move around.

Movement Rules:
You may not move diagonally.
You do not need to use your entire die roll.
Pivoting a crowd pawn counts as a move.
You may not move through pawns or crowds unless you have swag that says you may.
Moving into and out of a booth each costs a movement.
Collecting up a piece of swag ends your movement.
You may not collect more than one of each piece of swag.

Swag Ability List:
Each booth has a unique piece of swag with a unique ability. There is a limited amount of each, so get the good ones before they are gone! Some swag has a reusable ability, while others may only be used once.

Reusable Swag: (Count of Chits - Ability)
4 - Add +1 to any one die per turn.
4 - Player pawn may move through squares occupied by one crowd per turn.
4 - Player pawn may move through a square occupied by one other pawn per turn.
3 - Player pawn may move diagonally one per turn.
2 - Instead of rolling the 6-sided die, you may return your crowd to the starting title box.
2 - If the booth next to the one your are currently in is empty of swag, you may jump into it at the end of your turn.
2 - Instead of a turn you may return your player pawn to the booth from whence this swag came.
3 - You may move any player’s pawn one square.
3 - You may move any crowd one square.
3 - This swag can double the ability of any other reusable swag.

Single Use Swag:
3 - Transport from one booth to any other booth.
4 - Take another turn using the same die roll.
2 - Set the dice instead of rolling them.
2 - Use a single use swag again.
2 - Bump into another player pawn to take a swag of your choice from him. (Bump = Attempt to enter the same square on the board as the other pawn.)
4 - This swag is worth two in the event of a tie.
4 - If this swag is used, all of this type of swag is removed from the game, including yours.
Swap pawn places with another player.
3 - Double the movement roll for a pawn.
3 - Double the movement roll for a crowd.

End of Game:
The game ends when there is no more swag on the board, or someone has collected 20 pieces of swag and all four crowd chits.

The game winner is the player who has four crowd chits and the most number of swag chits. If no one has collected all four crowd chits, no one wins.

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