Skip to Content

[GDS] September 2016 "Marble games"

1 reply [Last post]
richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

Entry is in!

Thanks to Opinioso for submitting the only entry. It's posted in the comments below for the usual look through. In lieu of voting, let's discuss the entry and how it met the challenge. How did other designers feel about the challenge? Why was it not interesting or too hard?

Please see the Questions and Comments thread for more.

Gimmicky components. I’m sure you’ve seen them, and when you do call them ‘gimmicky’ it’s probably dismissive. So why don’t you give it a shot?

In this month’s Game Design Showdown, you’re challenged to design a game that uses MARBLES as a key component. You must use them in a way that reflects their marble-liness (using them just as counters doesn’t work, since you could use anything for that).

To give you a bit more direction on the game, I’ll ask you to use a theme that often spawns deep, thinky games: history. More specifically, your game must be about a HISTORICAL EVENT.

Got it? Good. On to the details:

Component restriction: Marbles must feature as a main component, used in way particular to marbles.

Mechanic restriction: None specifically, besides the marbles.

Theme restriction: Your game must be about a specific historical event.

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 2nd through 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
Entry 1 - The Marble Revolution

The Marble Revolution


- A board with a center and four concentric and colored circles, each one larger than the other in a target style.
- 100 marbles (16 representing the clergy, 12 representing the nobles, 32 representing the peasants, 16 representing the military and 24 representing the bourgeoisie)
- Scoring board
- 4 bags

The game recreates the different moments of the French Revolution in a marbles game. Each player represents different groups trying to be near the core of power to gets benefits, but to be too close can be dangerous when the revolution comes...


Each player receives 25 marbles with the same number on it (so the players know to whom they belong), but divided by colors that represent the French society: peasants (8), clergy (4), nobles (3), military (4) and bourgeoisie (6). Then, each player secretly chooses 18 marbles.


The game is divided in 3 phases: the Ancient Regime, the Revolution and the Bonaparte Period.

The game develops in the following way: in each phase, the players choose secretly and reveal at the same time a number of marbles (7, 6 and 5, respectively). Then, they play it (as in an usual marble game) trying to get the most points of its position, according to the phase it occurs. Also, each marble have special characteristics:

- Clergy (purple): if a clergy marble is removed by a hit, it goes back to the supply and can be played again in other phase.
- Nobles (blue): each noble not used (meaning, not chosen for the initial draft) is worth 3 points.
- Military (red): receive 1 point if a military marble hits another marble during the movement. If the hit makes the other marble flee the board, the military gets another point.
- Bourgeoisie (green): the bourgeoisie earns 2 points every time that a hit from another marble makes them end their movement in a circle nearer to the center.
- Peasants (brown): the peasants stay on board after the end of each phase (the others are removed).

The Ancient Regime

Only noble marbles can be at the center, the others being removed from game if they end the movement there. From the most centered circle to the outer circle, the points earned are:

Nobles: 5/4/3/0/0
Clergy: 4/3/2/1
Bourgeoisie: 3/2/1/0
Military: 3/3/2/1
Peasants: 0/2/1/1

The Revolution

From the center to the outer circle, the points earned are:

Nobles: 0/0/2/3/3
Clergy: 1/2/3/2/1
Bourgeoisie: 5/4/3/2/0
Military: 4/3/3/2/1
Peasants: 3/2/2/1/1

The Bonaparte Period

No marble can be at the center, and is removed from game if it ends the movement there. From the most centered circle to the outer circle, the points earned are:

Nobles: 0/0/2/2
Clergy: 3/3/2/1
Bourgeoisie: 3/3/2/1
Military: 4/4/3/2
Peasants: 0/2/1/1

At the end of each phase, each player gets points from the marbles on board and removes them (except the peasants). In the end, the player with most points win. In case of a tie, the player with more Bourgeoisies on board wins.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut