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[GDS] December 2016 "Publish This"

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richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

Entries are in!

For the final GDS of the year, there are more than one comical take on what publishers 'want' to publish. Take a look through entries and then submit your votes using the form here

  • Voting: Through the 20th. Votes will be through a form (link posted after submission period is ended).

  • Voting Format: Each person has 3 Medals (Gold, Silver, and Bronze - with values 3, 2, and 1 vote respectively) to distribute any way they choose among the GDS entries with the following restrictions:

    • Entrants may not assign any Medals to their own entry!

    • Entrants must assign all 3 Medals.

    • An entrant who does not assign all 3 Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (-3 votes) as a penalty.

In these days of the 'long tail' of the board game publishing industry, many - MANY - games find publication. So what is considered the large-scale games? The ones that are made by picked up by big publishers like Hans im Glück, Fantasy Flight, Mayfair, Asmodee (and all the subsidiaries), et al? What would one of those games look like taken to a nigh-hyperbolic level?

This is your task.

Based on your own interpretation, you are to design a game that would be the epitome (to the extreme) of a "publishable" game by large board game company. Keep in mind these are still hobby game companies so this doesn't mean "what will be most publishable and marketable to the non-hobby-game audience." The interpretation is wide-open beyond that to your own biases.

Further restrictions are that hte game must be a board/card game - not a sport or drinking game (those aren't published by the board game companies anyway!)

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.


Design restriction: A game that is the epitome of a publishable game by a large game publisher.

Mechanic restriction: It must be a hobby board/card game - no sports/drinking games etc.

Theme restriction: No restriction beyond what you think would be the most publishable

Word Limit: Standard 500 word limit.

Voting: Award a Gold, Silver, and Bronze (worth 3,2, and 1 points respectively) Medals to your three favorite entries. Any entrant that does not award all three Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (that's "Fool's Gold") worth -3 votes!

When submitting your entry: PLEASE USE THE FORM LINKED HERE.

  • Submissions: the 3rd through the 10th

    • Voting: Through the 20th (Revised for late post). Votes will be through a form (link posted after submission period is ended).

    • Voting Format: Each person has 3 Medals (Gold, Silver, and Bronze - with values 3, 2, and 1 vote respectively) to distribute any way they choose among the GDS entries with the following restrictions:

    • Entrants may not assign any Medals to their own entry!

    • Entrants must assign all 3 Medals.

    • An entrant who does not assign all 3 Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (-3 votes) as a penalty.

    • Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge are 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, visit the GDS Wiki Page.

Enjoy, and good luck!

-Rich and Mindspike

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 1: Ticket to Writhe: Shadows over Innsmouth

Ticket to Writhe: Shadows over Innsmouth

Players are captains of an early eastern seaboard railroad running into the town of Innsmouth. Can they transport all of the town's mysterious passengers? Will they run an underground tunnel to Dagon's Deep, or try to connect up with the Mountains of Madness? The player with the most unspeakable horror points at the end of the game wins!

Important Note: Players familiar with the first game in this series, Ticket to Writhe, should focus their attention on the following new features: Madness, The Colour Out of Space, and Train Stations.

Object of the Game:

At the end of the game, the player with the most madness loses all of their unspeakable horror points, then the player with the most unspeakable horror points wins the game.

Unspeakable horror points can be gained by:

  • Claiming a route between two adjacent locales

  • Completing a continuous path of routes between the two locales listed on your Predestination Ticket(s)

  • Completing the Longest Continuous Path of routes to win the "Innsmouth Express" bonus

  • Having the least routes into cities that also have a completed route of "the Colour Out of Space".

Each turn

Choose one of the four "Cosmic Actions":

Draw Train Car Cards: Player may draw two train cards

Claim a "Route of the Old Gods": Play a set of cards of the same colour and quantity of spaces that make up the route. Players may substitute a Shoggoth car for any other colour and gain one madness. Then, they place one of their trains in each space, and score the number of unspeakable horror points indicated on the Old God Scoring Table. Available route colours are Tentacle Green, Blood Red, Deep Blue, Cosmic White, and the Colour Out of Space.

Draw Predestination Tickets: Draw three Predestination Tickets from the top of the tickets deck, and keep at least one of the them. But be careful: the old gods punish those who don't fulfill their predestined fates. Each unfinished ticket gains you 3 madness at the end of the game.

Build a Train Station: Players may build a train station in any locale that does not have one. To build their first train station, play one card of any colour and gain two madness. To build a second train station, a player plays two cards of the same colour, and gain four madness, etc.

Game End:

Whenever a player's supply of plastic trains gets down to two trains or less at the end of their turn, each player, including that player, gets one final turn. The game then ends and players calculate their scores.

Coming Next Year:

Ticket to Writhe: Arkham Airship Expansion

  • Extend any Ticket to Writhe game by flying into the town of Arkham!

  • Adds Victorian-era Airships and flying Mi-go encounters to the base Ticket to Writhe game.

  • Includes 60 25mm Airship minis, 100 cards, 1 game board extension, and 4 mega-size 80mm Mi-go minis.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 2: Great Discovery

Game Overview:
It’s the beginning of a golden age of technology and exploration and everybody is racing to make the next big discovery and leave their mark on the world.

Game Mechanics:

Worker placement game that uses a modular tableau and cards instead of a game board. Instead of competing over positions on the board, the players will compete over the great discoveries mixed into the varying decks of exploration/innovation cards. Each tableau will start with a research station, barracks, expedition hall, and 5 blank spots with an indent to lay in the cards. Each of the slots will have 5 empty spots for timing pegs below to represent the time necessary to complete these projects and each turn you will remove one peg +1 for each worker present. After all of the pegs are removed the building will trigger and then you refill the peg board below it. Gold must be used to go fund expeditions and draw cards from the various piles and advance the game. Each of the decks will contain a mixture of instant effect that may aid or hinder the player, building cards that can be slotted into the tableau to provide more worker placement choices for that player, and discovery cards that count towards the players victory. Initially all players will have access to the Jungle and Science decks, but as they discover new technologies in these decks they will have the option of exploring new avenues of game play and discovery such as Mining, Diving, Warfare, Medicine, Art, and even Rocket Science! When a player draws a Great Discovery they must yell Eureka! And place the card in front of themselves, the first player to 5 Great Discoveries wins the game.

Research Station : Each player starts off with one innovation. Draw one innovation when the building triggers. Contains mostly buildings to go on different expeditions.

Barracks: Start with one worker. Trigger gives you an additional worker Max: 3

Jungle: Cheap to explore and accessible from the start of game. Contains few great discoveries. Many hindrances.

Mining/Diving: Fair amount of Great Discoveries and beneficial cards/buildings

Warfare: Few Great Discoveries. Many cards that allow you to attack other player’s buildings/workers. Contains espionage cards that allow you to steal tech.

Medicine: Few Great Discoveries. Contains cards that prevent opposing attacks and give bonuses to workers.

Art: Free to explore. Fair Amount of Great Discoveries. Many cards that do nothing.

Rocket Science: Rare tech and expensive to explore. Mostly Great Discoveries.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

ZOMBIE CHECKERS A game for 2 players age 11+ for about 15 minutes


  • 1 board, having:

    • 55 hexes arranged in a triangle 10 hexes on a side
    • one edge of the board colored violet, and the 10 hexes in the opposite corner marked violet
    • one edge of the board colored opal, and the 10 hexes in the opposite corner marked opal
    • the last edge of the board colored green, and 8 hexes throughout the board marked green
  • 10 pieces of each of two player colors (violet and opal)

  • 8 zombie pieces (green)
  • a Green Skull token

OBJECT: Each player tries to:

  • get their pieces against their goal,
  • maximize the number of opponents’ pieces taken, and
  • manipulate the zombies to damage the opponent more.

START: All 28 pieces start on a space on the board marked with their color. Decide which player will be violet and which will be opal. Opal starts, but the Green Skull starts with violet. After the start of the game, these squares are unimportant.

PLAY: In a turn a player can either:

  1. Move any one of their pieces one space in any direction, or
  2. Make any series of jumps with the same piece over exactly one piece each time, removing that piece each time.

If one jumps one’s own piece, it is removed, just like opposing pieces. Jumps can be in any of the six directions. A jump move can jump pieces of more than one color. Place removed pieces in a common pool.

The Green Skull changes hands if:

  1. A zombie moves,
  2. A zombie jumps, or
  3. The owner of the Green Skull jumps

After the turn of the owner of the Green Skull, that player chooses if a zombie moves and if so how, and moves one zombie if desired. The zombies have the same two options for moving that the players have. In no case do two pieces occupy the same hex.

GAME END: The game ends when all pieces of one color (including the zombies) are against their goal or have been taken off. Each player gets two points for every piece against their goal, and one point for every opposing piece that was captured (it doesn’t matter who captured it), as do the zombies. The zombies can win.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 4: Euro the Euro game

In the future, publishers target their niche with such high precision that the game is unappealing to anyone else. It's considered that the craze began when one publisher published a game so clear in its vision, that the penetration rate into the niche neared 100%. This game: Euro the Euro game.

In Euro the Euro game, players compete to area control regions on a map of Europe. Prizes are awarded at set intervals for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in controlling the region. Players control a region with wooden cubes matching their color, and various buildings they place in those regions.

Players produce wooden cubes at production buildings they've created on the map. Players pay for the wooden cubes and production buildings with Euros that the players earn from their economic engines.

Building an economic engine is mostly a solo affair. Each round players earn a set income plus a bonus from their own economic production buildings in regions they also have wooden cubes.

Income gathered each round is spent on the following:

  • Invest the income in their Infrastructure, decreasing Income but increasing the following:

    • Increase the number of Buildings they can have
    • Increase the quality of Building a player can build (level 1, 2, 3 etc)
    • Increase the number of wooden cubes they can buy/place/move each turn
    • Or the Euro income can be banked for interest (Reducing your income each turn, but earning you a larger Euro payouts on Score phases)
  • Or, a player spends the income on actually placing the buildings and wooden cubes on the map.

Every 3 rounds, players see who is in control of each region and points are awarded based on: - Who has the 1st, 2nd, 3rd most wooden cubes - The overall level of the buildings in the region (More developed regions are worth more)

Play Quite simply, a player's turn is taken by checking their Euro income and improving their infrastructure, and then paying for buildings/wooden cubes to place on the map.

Important to note that infrastructure is a commitment to pay each round! Only the left over income is spent on Buildings and Wooden Cubes.

If a player can't afford their infrastructure upkeep, they can either take a Euro Loan which they'll need to pay back with interest, or sell off their infrastructure.

Scoring Every 3rd round, award Victory Points to players that control regions (1st, 2nd, 3rd place) based on the value of the region (increased by Buildings present). Then players earn interest on any Banked income at a rate of 5:1. (You banked 2 income each turn, paying out a 10 Euro cash.

End game After the 9th round (the 3rd score phase), the game ends. In this final score phase, players also check to see if they've earned awards that were visible throughout the game - such as "most wooden cubes" or "present in most regions" etc.

It's also important that players don't talk during this game, or they'll spoil the euro mood

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