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[GDS] MARCH 2016 "Super Vote-a-tron 2016"

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richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

We have a winner!


by billarama

Quite a challenge, but our designers stepped outside the ballot box to meet it! Thank you to everyone who submitted games and took the time to read them! Now let's go to the critiques thread and talk about them!

Entries are in!

Check them out in the comments below. Perhaps appropriately, you will be voting on these games about voting.

Please use the google form here to vote. Remember your vote is to assign 3 medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) to three entries (if you have an entry, you must vote, and must not vote for your own).

Thanks for submitting, everyone! Details on voting below the split.

  • Voting: Through the 15th. 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.

It felt inevitable that this GDS would be about elections. If you're NOT sure why, know that it's Super Tuesday for our friends in the US. and the election there is news around the world. Combine that with game theory being obsessed with voting and auction/bidding systems.

So let's get down to it. This month, in honour of the greatest show on earth, you are tasked with creating a game centred around gaining power in a political system. Whether this "political" situation is a secret cabal of businesses, a Moose Lodge grand-masterhood, prime minister of the galactic parliament, or the Iron Throne of Westeros is up to you.

The requirement is that you feature, as the central mechanic and theme, an election (via voting or bidding).

As a restriction on the theme, you must NOT use the present or historical US governmental elections (there's a glut of US Presidential campaign games recently). You should, as a voting criteria, be rewarded for a creative use of a theme, so please don't simply run a US presidential campaign with monsters instead of human candidates.

On to the details.

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

Component restriction: None Mechanic restriction: Voting and/or Bidding system as central mechanic. **Theme restriction: Not US elections. Voters, use creative/thorough-theme as a voting criteria!

Word Limit: Standard 500 word limit. Remember this is a pitch, so focus your thoughts on the task and a summary more than explaining every detail

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:__Tuesday the 1st through Tuesday the 8th

  • Voting: Through the 15th. 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 - Little Gods

Little Gods

Welcome to Primitovia, a land of nomadic tribes with their own little gods. Here you might worship Ooadoghi, god of animals seen in clouds, or perhaps Fardo, breaker of winds.

You are all part of a single tribe with a common set of gods. However, each of you leads a faction with your own gods. As gods have various interests, your goal is to get the common tribal affinities in alignment with your gods' affinities.

To do this, you'll keep some of your gods secret and reveal some to use their abilities. Then as your tribe grows and absorbs new tribes some of their gods will join the common pantheon based on how you vote.

At the end when the tribe gets too big to stay nomadic, there will be an election and the faction’s pantheon that best matches the tribe’s beliefs will win the honor of being the major deities of the new village.

3-6 players - ages 12+ - 30-60 minutes


100+ Little God cards with

  • One or more affinities such as Nature-loving, War-like, Science, Culture, Family
  • How many neutral tribesmen they bring with them
  • Their power (examples: may trade a god with another player by converting one of your meeples for one of theirs, allows one additional god in your pantheon.)

Common Board

  • 6 numbered spaces to place gods during voting
  • Holds neutral tribesmen and the common pantheon
  • Tracks population

Per Player

  • 12 mini meeples
  • 6 numbered voting indicators
  • Area for up to five personal gods


Each player takes 6 of their meeples and are dealt 6 god cards which they can play into their area and must donate one to the common area.

Add enough gods to the common area to bring those to 6, then vote for 3 to survive.

Voting Process

  1. Place the 6 gods in question into the numbered voting area
  2. Each player selects three of their numbered indicators facedown
  3. Divide your faction's meeples between those three
  4. Reveal and count the votes
  5. Discard the bottom three gods

Play in Rounds

Take turns taking one action until everyone's out of meeples.

Actions require one or more meeples and include:

  • Adding/removing personal gods
  • Converting meeples to your faction
  • Drawing god cards
  • Adding gods to the undiscovered tribe
  • Using a god's power

Round End

If there are 6 gods in the undiscovered area, add the new tribe by voting on which three gods will join the common pantheon.

If any gods conflict with existing ones (e.g. Peace-loving vs. War-loving), have a showdown vote with the loser discarded.

New gods bring more villagers into the tribe.

Game ends when the population hits the Get Civilized threshold.

End of Game

Determine the ruling pantheon by counting faction size, affinities, and bonuses.

Bow down to the new ruling gods

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 2 - Kingmaker


Every year, the town of Xenia. Ohio has four sets of elections. In each set of elections there are 3 districts with two candidates from each district vying for a council seat. You have the power to deliver votes; in return you will be rewarded handsomely, but only if the candidate wins the election. You must choose the best candidates to win.
Equipment (For 4 players)
24 candidate cards
Victory point chips
Tablet for recording votes
Bonus cards
Board with 3 districts, each district has 2 slots for candidate cards (one on the “left” side of the district and one on the “right” side of the district.

Game Play
Round 1:
A. The 24 candidate cards are shuffled and the top 6 are drawn and placed in order (left to right) on the board.
B. Each player can deliver 10,000 votes. The players secretly allocate the votes to the candidates (to no more than one candidate per district).
The candidates are all unique and differ in the following ways:
1. Popularity: How many votes the candidate will get without any outside help from the players
2. Generosity: Some candidates will offer more points for helping them win (See below)
3. Some candidates will only give points to players who provide the most votes. Some will give the same number of points to any player who helps them. Some may only give points to the top 2 players.
4. Some candidates require a minimum of votes or you will not receive victory points.
5. Some candidates offer you little or nothing for their votes. But if they lose and you help their opponent you can lose bonus cards (see below)
C. The votes are added up and each player gets 5, 3 or 1 point, for delivering the most, second most and third most votes, respectively for each winning candidate.
D. If a player helps wins an election, there are 2 bonus cards. The first bonus card is a district bonus card. This card allows the player to allocate from 2-4 thousand additional votes in that district only in future rounds. These cards are cumulative.
The second bonus card is awarded only to a player who provides the most votes to a candidate. This card will give the player more victory points in any future election in which the player supports this winning candidate.
E. At the end of the round, the losing candidates are discarded and winners stay in the same place. The 3 empty slots are filled from the deck.
Rounds 2-4 are played in the same manner, but the number of victory points is doubled for the second round, tripled for the third round and quadrupled for the last round. Any bonus cards handed out the last round are worth one victory point, but have no other value.
After round 4, the player with the most victory points wins!

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 3 - Grass is Greener

Build the most desirable life for yourself and bathe in the jealousy of others!

Each round, game cards equal to the number of players are dealt face-up in the middle of the table. These cards will either be “Green Grass” or “Brown Spot” cards.

Green Grass cards describe what you do to make a living for yourself, using popular culture references.

Example: Deadpool’s Laundry Person. Time: 10 hours/week Salary: $7,000/year and immunity from assassination. (Good laundry guys are hard to find!) The Merc with a Mouth savagely insults and threatens you a lot, and tends to leave his wallet “in his other suit” a lot. Luckily you are really good at getting stains and holes out of spandex, and patient.

Brown Spot cards are life situations that may make what you are building less desirable in some way. These may or may not contain pop culture references.

Example: Old AND Ugly. Like, “You choose poorly” old. You’re a human California Raisin without the musical ability. Every year further beats you with ANOTHER ugly stick.

When the cards are revealed, they are read aloud, then the timer is started. Each player must choose one of the cards for themselves using their voting cards. All players then reveal their choices and the following order is followed: (A player may only get one card per round)

  1. If only 1 player chooses a card, they receive it immediately.
  2. If no one chooses a Brown Spot, everyone must immediately then vote for a player to be given that Brown Spot. Most votes wins, ties broken randomly.
  3. If there are more than one person for any given card, a vote will take place. Each player is given 30 seconds to convince everyone they are the best person for the card. If they have any other cards they must account for those cards in their pitch. After all pitches, everyone votes for the player they feel would be best for the card, tie goes to player with the least Green Grass cards. Further ties broken randomly.
  4. Green Grass cards with no votes are given out to players by the last player to receive a Brown Spot.

Your time commitments can never exceed 40 hours/week. Everyone must have at least one brown spot card before anyone can receive a 2nd.

The rounds end when all players have 2 or 3 brown spot cards, or a time limit has been reached. Each player then gets 45 seconds as a final pitch about how great their life will be using their gained cards.

Final Voting occurs, where people cannot vote for themselves. If only one player receives at least half the votes, they win! OR

  1. FIRST VOTE: All players with 1 or 0 votes are eliminated.
  2. ALL FOLLOWING VOTES: Eliminate the player with the lowest vote total.
  3. If 2 players are tied for the lowest vote total, eliminate the player with the lowest salary.

Note: Eliminated players still vote.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 4 - Mine

A resource-rich planet is colonized and there is a bulging new economy to manage. 4-5 players compete as members of a trade commission, enacting mining and trade regulations to best serve the colony and themselves. Mostly themselves. OK, just themselves.

Modular board (1 piece for each character and a central connecting board) showing which resources can be mined where
Colored dice indicating locations, type, and level of mines for each player
Numbered influence cards (ten each, numbered 1-4)
Contract cards
Resource tokens (5 types)
Victory point tokens

Players select a character and its associated board, tokens, and character card (which may have a special ability). Characters vary in which resources they most easily access. The boards fit together with a central communal piece to make the full board.

Players choose one mine on their board to start at level 1 and one at level 2.

Three starting contracts are in play: Trade any four resources for one of any resource, upgrade a mine for three of its own resource, and trade five of any one resource for 1 VP.

Play phases (simultaneous):

Influence: Each player draws two influence cards. Reshuffle the discards as necessary.

Produce: Mines produce resources according to their type and level.

Vote on contracts: Contract cards are revealed (one less than the number of players). Each player secretly plays influence cards under at least one contract.

Resolve vote: Votes are counted. The highest voted contract is added to the active contracts, the lowest is discarded, and the remainder are shuffled back into the deck. Used influence cards are discarded. Resolve immediate effect on winning contract.

Trade: trade resources and influence with other players or with bank at contract rates.

Build: Build or upgrade mines (at contract costs). New mines must be adjacent to one of the player’s other mines. Score 1 VP for reaching mine levels 3 and 6.

Contract cards are the heart of the game. Each has a game effect and an immediate effect. The game effect may alter building costs, resource exchange rates, and voting procedures. The immediate effect is a reward (or penalty) to the highest vote-giver. For example, players may vote for an undesirable contract to get an important immediate effect, or vice versa. Players may also vote a small amount for something they need later to avoid it getting discarded. Some contracts offer advantages that only trigger if certain resources are in play, forcing players to form loose alliances. A new contract replaces any old contract with the same icons; these icons will manage balance and ambiguity.

Game end: A player wins if she ends a round with 15 VP and has the most VP. Otherwise, the game ends when the contract deck empties and the player with the most VP wins. Resources break ties.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 5 - Viking Race

Time to go a-viking! You are one of two to four young Viking captains vying for the best crew and ship combinations so you can go forth and raid your enemies, bringing back the spoils of war to your village. To him or her who can capture and return with their plunder first goes the title of “Jarl.” Sea mobility is access to loot, and loot is power. Bid for what you need on your path to election by conquest!

This game is played in two phases. In the first phase players bid against each other on available crews and ships in an attempt to create the best combination for swift pillaging. In the second phase each player uses their newly assembled fleet to compete against their foes in a race to the riches of Vinland.


-12 Captain (varying Attributes: sailing skill, leadership ability)
-12 Ship (varying Attributes: cost, speed, loot holding capacity, 2-4 sailing skills needed to sail)
-36 Crew (varying Attributes: mutinous level, sailing skill, plundering strength)
-24 Benefit (boosts an attribute in different ways)
-24 Limitation (hinders an attribute in different ways)

-The board is laid out with the Viking village on one side and four Vinland villages on the other, separated by four sea lanes of 20 spaces each.

-Viking money (in Hack Silver)


Phase 1

Each player is dealt one Captain, two Benefit, and two Limitation cards. The rest of those cards are discarded. Ship and Crew cards are shuffled together into one deck. The first player draws a card from that deck and reveals it. The player who drew the card can pay the cost and take it if they want. Alternatively they may enter a bid lower than that price. Each player then may bid higher or pass. If a player bids the value on the card, they immediately get it. If no one else bids, the original bidder gets the card for the price stated. If multiple players bid, they may continue bidding against each other until one gives up or one pays the face value. If no one bids, the card is discarded. Play then continues with the next player drawing a card, buying, bidding, or passing, and so on until all the cards are purchased or discarded.

Phase 2

Each player now has ship and crew cards. Each person selects one ship to captain and crews it fully. All other cards are discarded. Reveal all Benefit and Limitation cards. Beginning with the player who went last in the bidding phase, and going in reverse direction, each player then moves his ship according to its speed, coupled with any relevant Benefits or Limitations associated with the assembled cards. When a ship reaches Vinland, loot is gained according to crew boosts and ship holding capacities. The winner is the first ship with loot back to the village. If two ships arrive back in the same round, the captain with more loot buys the Jarlship and reigns!

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 6 - It's All About Trust

It’s All About Trust

No of Players: 3-6

*In a country with indirect elections, every member of the Parlament can be important. Can you get their support and become the next president? And will you hold to your promises? *


150 meeples, (6 colors, 25 each) 60 Government cards 12 Loyalty Cards (6 letter A, 6 letter B) 2 Tokens (1 letter A, 1 letter B) 1 Election bag


Each player takes 12 meeples from one color. Choose randomly candidate A. Then, each other player can become candidate B (starting with the player to the left of candidate A). If nobody accepts, the player to the right of candidate A becomes candidate B.


The game goes for a number of rounds twice the number of players.

After deciding the candidates, reveal Government cards equal to the number of players. These are the rewards for the president and his cabinet. There are three kinds of Government cards:

30 Approval cards:

actual Victory Points, ranging from 5 to 7;

15 Rigging cards: ranging from 2 to 4,

meaning how many meeples the owner can take from his supply;

15 Money Cards: ranging from 2 to 4.

They can be used to recruit (paying immediately 2 for each meeple and keeping the card until the end, but not using it) or to buy votes during election – reducing the votes from the other side by 1 for each 1$. In this case, the winner parties keep their Money cards. The opposition parties lose their cards.

After the rewards are revealed, the candidates campaign. They can offer any combination of rewards, future support, etc, in exchange for the votes of the other parties. Then, every party cast secretly a number of its meeples in the bag election and chooses one of the loyalty cards, meaning in which candidate it’s voting – it can put money cards at this moment too, but not revealing its values. After the meeples are counted, the cards are revealed. The candidate with most votes become president. Every 3 meeples not used during election grants 2 victory points for its owner.

After the election, the president split the rewards among him and his supporters as he wants – but nobody can receive more than 2 rewards. Only in the last round he has to keep the promises made during campaign. The rewards that he doesn’t distribute are discarded. For each Rigging or Money Reward distributed, the opposition parties receive 1 meeple (a bad government can be a stimulus to the other side).

Then, a new round begins. The president can be reelected only once. If it was second term or he does not want to try reelection, the player to his left can step up – and so go on.

End of Game

In the end, each player loses meeples equal to half the money he/she has (the party expels the corrupts) and sum up the rest with its victory points. The player with the highest result wins.

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