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[GDS] JULY 2015 "Standing Room Only"

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richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

We have a winner!

Proper Deportment

by Wombat929

Very proper indeed. An especially difficult challenge this month. Huge thanks to all the designers that put their creative abilities to the task. As always, one day will be devoted to each entry, but please feel free to keep the discussion going on other days. Now head over to the critiques forum to view the full results and discuss the games!

Entries are in!

There are six entries for a tough challenge this month. How do you make a game played while standing, but still kinda'-sorta' enough like other games to not be an outright 'sport.'

I do apologise for posting a bit later than usual - I was on a whirlwind 30 hour roadtrip in an area with less cell reception than the moon.

Therefore the voting deadline is moved to keep it a seven-day period. Here are the rules:

  • Voting: Through the 18th. Votes will be through a form here

  • 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.

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

It's summer time again for most people in the world, and that means less time sitting inside playing games. Or does it?

Traditional board games are played that way, sure, but this is the future, right? For the July Game Design Showdown we're getting up out of the chair.

This is to say, it's time to make a game where you can play it while standing. No table or chairs necessary.

There are games that exist you play standing up, like Jeff Tidball's Pieces of Eight, and in fact a whole BGG thread on the matter. Feel free to explore those for inspiration.

There's no other requirement - which means you can incorporate any theme or mechanics you wish. No need to limit it to standing, either. Maybe a game where players walk or run around?

The details:

Theme: Whatever you feel like

Mechanic: You must be able to play the game while standing - no table or chairs, or other playing surface, used.

Component restriction: None

Word Limit: Standard 500 word limit. Remember this is a concept pitch, not a full rules document.

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: Thursday the 2nd through to Thursday the 9th

  • Voting: Through the 16th. 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
#1 - Smear


The race for the Senate is neck-and-neck. With five hours left before the polls close, it's time to play dirty! Throw the most mud, have the most clout, and the Senate seat is yours! It's not how well you run, it's how well you Smear.


The 60 card deck is shuffled, and each player is dealt 10 cards. These cards are hidden from other players, and held face-in.

Any remaining cards are returned to the box.

The last person to vote in an election goes first.

Anatomy of a Card

Note: any time I say "face-out" it means cards face away from you like in Hanabi, and "face-in" means it faces toward you like in Poker.

There are 3 different symbols in Smear. Each symbol is worth one point.

  1. Smear Symbol Cards with a Smear Symbol (mud) are worth negative points if they face away from you at the end of the game

  2. Clout Symbol Cards with a Clout Symbol (gold coin) are worth positive points if they face toward you at the end of the game

  3. Distrust Symbol Cards with a Distrust Symbol (crossed fingers) are returned to their owner when they are flipped

How to Play

Each player will play five turns, representing the five hours before the polls close.

On your turn, choose one of two actions...

1. Give a player a card Take a face-in card from your hand and place it into another player's hand.

When placing this card in their hand, the card is placed face-out, away from them. All other players can see this card.

2. Flip a card in your hand Take a face-out card from your hand and turn it face-in. This card can now be placed into another player's hand.

Flipping Distrust Cards

Cards with a Distrust Symbol (crossed fingers) that are turned face-in are given back to the person who placed that card in that player's hand.

The player who flipped the card then must flip one of their face-in Smear Symbol cards face-out, towards the other players.


Player 1 has just used her turn to give Player 2 a card, which faces away from Player 2. This card has a Distrust Symbol and 4 Clout Symbols (gold coins) on it.

Player 2 doesn't trust Player 1's card, so she uses her turn to flip Player 1's card face-in, towards herself.

The Distrust Symbol on the flipped card means Player 2 must return this card to Player 1's hand, and Player 2 must now flip a Smear Symbol card from her hand face-out.


After the last player has played their fifth turn, the game is over and scoring begins.

To figure your score, look at your hand. Add up the Clout Symbols facing toward you, and subtract the Smear Symbols facing away from you.

Distrust symbols are worth nothing.

The player with the most Clout Symbols left, after subtracting Smear Symbols, is the winner!

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#2 - Sack of...

An easily portable sack game of simple deduction and memory for 2 - 5 players. Can be played nearly everywhere!

COMPONENTS - double pouch sack (one small pouch, one large pouch) - 13 identity tokens (King, Queen, etc.)

Place all the tokens into the large pouch of the sack. Players will randomly choose one token from the large pouch of the sack and place the token into the small pouch of the sack. This sets the secret objective of the game. Each player will then take two tokens from the pouch and keep these tokens secret from other players.

Players may take one of three actions during their turn.

Interrogate Another Player

Ask another player the following question - filling in BLANK for the identities desired. "Do you have BLANK or BLANK?

If the interrogated player has either of the identities that were declared, the interrogated player MUST show the turn player one of them in secret. Otherwise declare "NO."

Look at a Token in the Sack

A player may randomly chooses a token in the sack to look at in secret from the other players. Place the token back into the large pouch.


The player declares an identity and checks the token in the small pouch in secret. IF correct, that player wins!

If incorrect, that player must return the secret token back to the small pouch and return the two tokens in that player's possession back to the large pouch. That player is out of the game.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#3 - Thrust Force Five

Spaceship racing game.

Pack of cards:

  • 14 ship cards
  • 35 course cards
  • 1 finish line card

Loose ring or small elastic band


  1. Each player has their own deck
  2. The finish line card is kept separate while the deck is shuffled
  3. The finish line card is placed on top on the deck
  4. Players decide turn order
  5. Decks are turned face-up. They should remain visible to other players at all times

The included instructions are the standard ones, but they could be altered by card effects. Discard means move the card to the bottom of the deck.

  1. Note any effects of the top card and then discard it
  2. View the top 3 cards of your deck
  3. Increase your thrust level by up to 2 or decrease by 1
  4. Discard a number of cards equal to your thrust force (leaving a new card on the top to take effect next turn)

Thrust Force
A ring (or small elastic band) is placed on a finger to indicate thrust force. The little finger is force one; thumb is THRUST FORCE FIVE!

The game is played in rounds. Any players that reveal their finish line card in a round are inline for the photo finish to see who won. Players are ranked in how close their thrust level go them to the finish line - landed directly on it, thrusted 1 card past it etc. Draws are allowed.

Example Ship Cards
Rocket Booster: optional +2 thrust
Scanner Pulse: View top 5 cards
EM Pulse: Force another pilot to drop to thrust force 1
Ram: Force another pilot to discard their top card

Example Course Cards
Gravity Well: Mandatory +2 thrust
Micro Meteorites: Maximum of thrust force of 2
Solar Flare: Can only view top 2 cards
Asteroid: Skip this turn

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#4 - Proper Deportment

Proper Deportment

A standing game of manners, etiquette, and high society.

To be truly a lady, one must carry the principles of politeness into every circumstance, and extend the gentle courtesies of life to everyone. Some find this to be too much trouble, and so deride the idea of being polite and call it deceitfulness. - Florence Hartley, 1860

Proper Deportment is a standing, mingling party game for 4-12 people. Players are vicious young socialites at Hartley’s Manners Academy, outwardly practicing etiquette at a garden party while secretly trying to embarrass one another by bringing up painful family secrets. Players may move around during the game, but should remain easily visible to all. While this game can be played without storytelling or embodying the part, it’s more fun if everyone gets into the act.


  • 12 Brooches - Numbered clothespins, Ms. Hartley pin.
  • Cards:
    • Scandals - Dark family secret, 3 icons. (examples: Crazy uncle, fortune founded on opium trade, last-season’s clothes)
    • Topics - Conversation prompts, 1-2 icons. (examples: Health care, popular uprisings, recent fashions)
    • Roses


The most dignified player--or the last round’s winner--is Ms. Hartley, the others are students. Ms. Hartley gives each student a brooch, one SCANDAL, and three TOPICS. She may also choose a city for the round, requiring players to use their best version of that regional accent. Students clip their SCANDAL to their clothes so all can see them and keep TOPICS hidden in their hands. They stand and mingle while taking turns in the order indicated by the brooches. Players want to tell a story that invokes another player’s SCANDAL, then apologize profusely about bringing it up.


Taking turns, players start conversations (hold a card), or join conversations (add to someone else’s stack), by playing TOPIC cards to try and embarrass another Student. Students may instead get a new TOPIC from Ms. Hartley and may discard a TOPIC.


TOPIC cards the students play must move the conversation toward matching someone’s SCANDAL. If the card does not, the student withdraws it and loses their turn.

Maintaining Composure:

When a conversation’s TOPICS match all the icons on a player’s SCANDAL, the player becomes “embarrassed,” and must balance the TOPIC cards on her head to “Maintain Composure.” Once she places the cards on her head, she may not touch them again unless her SCANDAL is matched again, when she adds additional cards to the stack. While balancing the cards, the student plays normally. If she drops any cards, she “loses her composure” and is out for the round.

Ms. Hartley referees the round, enforcing etiquette and handing out cards. She goes last, drawing and adding TOPIC cards to a conversation. Each round’s winner is the next Ms. Hartley.

Round end / Game End:

A player wins a round and receives a rose card by playing all her TOPICS and finishing the conversation in her hand OR when all others have lost their composure. Three ROSE cards win (two for 7+ players).

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#5 - The Rogues Gallery

You have been invited to a party at the home of an eccentric art collector. As a small time pickpocket this may be your chance to move up in the underworld. If only you knew where you could fence fine art. As you arrive at the party you are handed an envelope. What could it contents contain. You search for a dark corner where you can examine its contents when suddenly...

The Plot

You host is a Master Thief who is retiring and is now looking for an apprentice that he can pass his knowledge and fortune to. So he has invited the top pickpockets, cut-purses, slight of hand artists, and thieves to audition for him. Amongst the guests are art critics, fences, and even law enforcement. The question is, can you impress your host and not get caught in the act.

The Basics

The Rogues Gallery is a party game that can be played at most any party but is most appropriate at your local game night or small gathering of gamers. Each player receives an envelope, one poker chip, and a small bag with coin tokens inside. The bag has a clip that makes it easy to hang off of a belt. backpack, or lanyard.

Each bag contains some number of gold, silver, and copper coins as well as jewelry or other things one might find in someone's pocket. The poker chips are double sided with a symbol on each side. And each envelope is unique and contains instructions to you from your host.

The Gameplay

The game is simple. Whenever a player is idle, meaning they are not engaged in a party activity such as playing a board game or pouring drinks for other guests you may attempt to pick their pocket. When you do so your target may pull a poker chip from their pocket and reveal it. Or they may simply let you have a coin.

When they pull a chip from their pocket they select a side and show it to you. The symbol that appears will tell you what your next move must be. The chips will help you identify thieves and other helpful party goers such as fences.

The envelopes contain a mission that the host wants you to accomplish. It can be to steal an amount of gold, pilfer some jewelry and fence it, or maybe even attempt to steal something from the host themselves. You may even find a poker chip with additional symbols you can use during the game or special coins that you must place in someones bag rather than steal from them.

Each coin you pilfer has a symbol on the back that may let you take an extra coin. Some may require you to discard a coin from your bag. And others may even force you to bribe your attacker so as to not be forced to switch roles with them.

The Winning

The winner is the one that completes their goal with ought getting.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#6 - A Stitch in Time

A Stitch In Time

A silly game for serious people.

You are the fates. You pluck notions, places, people from the aether and bring them together forming the now and the future that will become the past.
As you do so you hope to shape the outcome to comply with your own hopes and desires.

One three foot piece of yarn per player, each a different color.
One plastic sewing needle per player.
One sharpie per player.
A stack of blank index cards.


Each player takes the same number of index cards. Choose a bigger number of cards for a longer game or a game with fewer players or fewer cards for a quicker game or one with more players.

Players write a motivation on the first card and the word "Motivation" on the back.
On the remaining cards players write anything. Adjectives, proper nouns, historical events, devices, locations, holidays. Nothing is out of bounds, but try not to be boring. (As long as everyone isn't, it will still work.)


Everyone should hand their Motivation cards to the youngest player who will shuffle them and hand them out randomly. You could, though likely won't, get your own card back.

All players now pass the rest of their cards to the youngest player who will shuffle them. While this shuffle is happening the other players will thread their needles, the first to do so will also thread the youngest player's needle. When the shuffling and threading is done the youngest player chooses a player who will draw the top three cards from the pile that the youngest player is holding. They will review these cards and choose two to stitch together, replacing the third into the pile.

When choosing what cards to stitch together keep your motivation in mind. Each stitch is a moment. Ideas are joined to each other in any order that the players can and would like to join them. As ideas branch they might begin to occur simultaneously if they are equally distant from the initial card or another point. They can also be brought back together by being stitched into a loop at which point the events take the order that the loop creates.

As play passes the stitched story is held by whomever is available, as are the cards.

When a card is added the player adding it explains what it means to the story, this becomes true and can not be redacted only expounded upon by further additions. Each player must stop either when they run out of thread or when the last card is added.

Once the tale is complete the oldest player will recite the tale, with help form their fellows. Then each player reveals their motivation and explains why they think their desire was the one that was realized.

The consensus winner keeps the tale.

Yarn will be everywhere, a tangled mess. Needles will be rethreaded, fingers poked, feelings hurt, and the now will come into focus.

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