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[GDS] JANUARY 2015 "Collecting Games"

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richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

We have a winner!

Seeking a Friend for the Zombie Apocalypse

by tsquared

Set collection forms the basis for countless classic card games. Finding a new way to implement this mechanic was a real challenge. Share your thoughts in the critiques thread and look for a complete posting of results.

Entries are in!

Take a look at the entries below, and then submit your votes using the form located here before the end of the 16th.

  • 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.

Happy new year everyone! After an intense competition in December, we're starting 2015 off with a simple, relaxing design challenge.

Humans, like so many other mammals, love to collect things. There are many games that use collecting and sets as a primary scoring mechanism. More recently simple, popular titles like Tokaido and Sushi Go.

What is it about collecting that is just so compelling? Some insights might be found here and here, with the caveat that these articles are more about obsessive collecting than the simpler urge to match and complete things.

Your challenge for January is to create as compelling a collecting and matching game as you 500 words or less. Be a bit out there with your game, otherwise you risk making a design that looks a lot like everyone elses'.

Now the details:

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: Friday the 2nd through to Friday 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: Estate Sale

Estate Sale

Your estranged, eccentric uncle has passed away and you and your relatives are trying to acquire heirlooms from his estate to sell to wealthy investors. The investors are only looking for high value collections and are willing to pay you top dollar. However, they have advanced you some money to purchase these items and if your collections aren't up to snuff they will come looking for their money.


120 cards, valued 1-10 from 12 different Collections


Remove (30/20/10/0 for 3/4/5/6 players) random heirlooms (cards) from play. All players draw 8 heirlooms from the estate (deck).

Then place (6/8/10/12 for 3/4/5/6 players) heirlooms from the estate face up in row in the center to populate the estate sale.

Each player selects 1 heirloom from their hand and places it face down in front of them. Then each player passes the rest of their hand clockwise. Continue until each player has 8 heirlooms in front of them. This is their initial inheritance (starting hand).


The player who has most recently been to an estate sale goes first.

On your turn you can do one of four actions - Swap Trade one or more heirlooms from your hand for a single heirloom in the estate sale OR Trade a single heirloom from your hand for multiple heirlooms from the estate sale. The value of the traded and the traded for heirloom(s) must be equal. - Blind Swap Take the top heirloom from the estate and add one heirloom from your hand to the estate sale - Dumpster Dive Take top 1, 2, or 3 heirlooms from the dumpster (discard pile) - Build Collection Place one or more heirlooms of the same type from your hand face up in front of you. These collections will remain there for the rest of the game but can be added to on future turns.

When heirlooms are added to the estate sale they are added on the left. Then heirlooms are discarded into the dumpster from right to left until there are (5/7/9/11 for 3/4/5/6 players) heirlooms remaining. Finally a new heirloom from the estate is placed face up in the leftmost position of the estate sale.

If a player has more than 8 heirlooms in their hand they must discard down to 8.

Play continues clockwise.

The game ends as soon as the last heirloom from the estate is added to the estate sale.


Only collections that have been built in front of players are scored. Each collection is scored by adding together the value of all the heirlooms in a collection and subtracting 20. It is possible for a collection to be worth negative points. Collections of 5 or more cards score an additional 10 points. Each player adds the value of all their collections together and the player with the most points wins.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 2: Seeking a friend for the zombie apocalypse

The zombie apocalypse has finally occurred. Having always anticipated this inevitable outcome, you have already fortified a camp from where to defend yourself. Now you must make the difficult decision of letting other survivors you encounter join your camp or force them to fend for themselves.


Players collect other survivors that have various effects on their camp. Every round players choose an action to perform and respond to a random event card.

How to win:

The game lasts 12 rounds. At the end of the 12th round, you gain one point for each living survivor in your camp but lose a point for each survivor who died.


“Leader” Survivor Card for each player
Tracker cards that keep count of “Strength”, “Food”, and “Morale” for each player.
•Strength both enables you to fend off zombie attacks and to raid other players' camps. Strength is constantly built upon and rarely reduced.
•Food prevents your survivors from starving. Many new survivors you admit will bring food in with them, but your food will deplete every time you feed your survivors or are raided.
•Morale is the will to live of your survivors. Certain survivors bring in morale but certain actions can reduce it (survivors dying/ failing events).
Deck of Survivor Cards - Survivors benefit the above stats and also have various other effects (i.e. “a player may perform the same action twice during the action phase” or a “beloved cripple” that has low stats, but counts as two points at the end of the game.
Deck of Event Cards

Game Setup:

Each player starts with a "Leader" card faceup in front of them. Additional survivors acquired through the game will be placed besides their leader.

Round Order:

Actions – Player chooses from preset list. Examples: Increase a stat by 1, take an additional survivor, or raid an opposing player’s camp. Certain survivor cards can alter how many/ which actions you can perform.

Take in Survivors - The Survivor Deck will be much like the train car deck in Ticket to Ride. Where players can choose to draw from a faceup board of cards or randomly draw from the deck.

Event Cards – Two types of events players will deal with every turn. All players must respond to the same major event that will test one of the three statistics of the camp (strength, food, or morale). Then players draw from the random event deck and can choose to either play their card on themselves or an opponent. Each player can only have one random event played on them a round, so turn order will play a role in determining which players are available to play an event on. Most random events are pro/con (i.e. lose 3 strength, gain 3 morale).

End of Round - First player is passed to the player sitting clockwise of the current first player. Current board of survivors is shuffled back into deck, and new board is drawn. All random event cards are reshuffled.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 3: FanCON


Fans gather in the swap room at FanCON to exchange collectibles and compete to form the best collection!

64 Collectible cards
8 Role cards

Cards belong to one of four categories and four series.
Each series has sixteen cards, four in each category.
There are four types within each category.
Each type has four cards, one in each series.

Players are trying to collect a set of three cards from the same series in a single category and a set of three cards of the same type.

Players must match the set on their Role card to win.
Each player draws a Role card and three Collectible cards.
The Role card remains hidden, and contains the player's goal.
The Collectible cards form the player's hand.
Players must always have three cards in their hand, no more or less.
All players act simultaneously.

Play sequence:
Draw a card.
Shelve a card by playing it face up in front of them.
Swap cards.
* Swaps must be for an equal number of cards.
* Swaps may be for cards in hand or on shelf.
* When swapping cards in hand, players may reveal up to two attributes of the card.
* Players may not lie about their card or reveal more than two attributes.
* Cards should remain hidden unless they are shelved.

Card attributes:
Series: Slave Women of Mars; Sarah Spell, Teen Witch; Architects of Wherewhen; Spellbender, Elemental Avatar
Theme: fantasy, sci-fi
Genre: romance, adventure
Category: story, costume piece, memorabilia, game
Type: novel, comic, video, audio drama, mask, outfit, accessory, prosthetic, props, poster, jewelry, autographs, video game, board game, CCG, RPG
Cred: 20, 30, 40, 50 Geek cred

The game ends when:
1) One player makes the correct number of sets and fulfills the condition on their Role card.
2) If there are not enough cards remaining in the deck for all players to draw.

If more than one player fulfills their Role during the same turn, the player with the most Geek cred wins.

Example: P1 offers to swap a card from his hand. He describes it as "fantasy themed, memorabilia". P2 offers a swap in return he describes as "sci-fi themed, costume piece". P3 offers to swap a card from his shelf, it is publicly visible and there is no need to describe it. P4 offers to swap a card that he describes as "an accessory, worth 50 Geek cred".

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 4: Stuff: The Collector's Conference

Trade your stuff, sell your stuff and buy more stuff, but the question is: do you have the right stuff, for Stuff?

Stuff is a card game for 3-6 players. The game consists of 144 general stuff cards and 36 auction cards. To start, deal 24 general cards to each player (12 cards are your hand and 12 are a draw pile). Place 2 auction cards face-up in the play area and make a draw pile of 10 more auction cards. The remaining auction cards are not used. Lastly, make a blind auction pile of 5 general cards face-down beside the face-up auction cards.

Each card represents something worth collecting. Each card has two or three values. The lowest value is its pawn value. This value is used for paying for bids and restorations (described below). The second value is its collectible value. This value is used at the end of the game to determine the value of your stuff. The third value (on most, but not all cards) is its restored value. This value is used at game end instead of the collectible value, if the card has been restored. Each card is marked as a certain type of stuff (art, memorabilia, antique, etc.) each type of stuff has a “set bonus” which assigns greater value to having three or more of the same type of stuff. For example, memorabilia has a “set bonus” of 1, so if you have three or more memorabilia cards you would add 1 for each of those cards (this applies to payments and/or final value).

Each turn choose one of four options:

Grab more of your stuff - add three cards to your hand from your draw pile.

Trade - any kind of trade is fine as long as the players agree. The value of the cards do not have to match. All trades must involve the active player, but trades may involve more than two players if desired. You can make multiple trades. If you don’t make any trades, you do not get to choose a different option.

Initiate an auction - pick one of the 2 face-up auction cards or the blind auction pile and make a bid. All players then freely bid against each other until someone wins. The winner pays with cards from their hand and adds the auction card or blind auction pile to their hand. Note: the auction cards are of significantly higher value than the general cards. A blind auction pile is replaced using the leftover cards from the general deck (restocked with discarded cards if needed). An auction card is replaced from the auction draw pile. If this pile has been depleted, the game ends.

Pay to restore an item - pay the restoration cost shown and place the card face-up in front of you. Each player may restore a maximum of three cards.

At the end of the game, add up the value of your stuff and determine a winner.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 5: To the Ends of the Earth

To The Ends of the Earth
A set-collecting adventure-themed storytelling party game for 2+ players

GOAL: Garner the most votes for your adventure based on the items you’ve collected for it

-Deck of Adventure cards (around 20 cards)
-Deck of Item cards (around 80 cards)
-For each player, a set of one-sided voting chits equal to number of players

Shuffle each deck of cards separately. Deal 2 Adventure cards to each player. Give each player one set of voting chits

Each player has 2 Adventure cards to choose from initially. These cards just have a few words and a flavor image. Examples are: African Safari, Deep Sea Diving Trip, Hot Air Balloon Voyage, Spelunking Expedition, Time Travelling, Sky Diving, Jungle Survival, Wilderness Firefighting, etc

Each turn, each player draws 4 Items cards, either from the Item deck or the discard pile. These cards consist of just a single word or phrase and an example image. The items include things like: pillowcase, RC airplane, pocket watch, alarm clock, squirtgun, bacon, magnifying glass, screwdriver, fishing net, inflatable mattress,

After drawing 4 Item cards, the player must choose 1 Item to keep and 3 Items to discard to a single central face-up pile.

Play continues in order until everyone has 5 Item cards. At that point, each player must then decide what Adventure card they will play based on what Items they’ve managed to collect. All the players place their undesired Adventure card facedown in a second central discard pile.

Once all players have only 1 Adventure card, they then take turns telling everyone about the Adventure they are going on and how the 5 Items they’ve collected will prepare them for it. All Items must be used somehow in the Adventure.

After all the players have spent a few minutes talking about their Items and Adventure, each player then secretly selects a voting chit that corresponds to the player he or she feels had collected the best set of Items for that Adventure. Obviously, players can’t vote for themselves.

Once everyone has selected a voting chit, they are all displayed. The person with the most votes wins the game. Multiple rounds may be played in a race to a certain number of victories to determine an overall victor.

Example description of an Adventure:
“I am going on a birdwatching trip to Montana. On my journey, I will need to see birds up close, so I brought a Telescope. I expect to encounter heavy rains, so I also packed an Umbrella. Montana is famous for its aquatic bird species, so I needed a Snorkel too. As you know, wild packs of wolves were recently reintroduced to Yellowstone Park, so I’m bringing this Bacon to bait them away from me. Finally, I’m going to read this Telephone Book as a way to stay occupied while waiting for that elusive red-tailed warbler to make its once-yearly mating call.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 6: Numero

This is a deduction game for 1-6 players with 40 cards (numbered 1-8 in five colors), 6 card racks and 3 identical D6 (featuring a spot for each color and an action icon).

The cards are split into their color sets, shuffled, and each player is dealt one card from each set. Without looking at the faces of their cards the players slot them into their card racks so the numbers on the front of the cards are visible to the other players.

On their turn the player rolls the dice. A maximum of 2 additional re-rolls are permitted. They can re-roll all their dice or some of them. Dice kept from a previous roll can be rolled again if the player elects to do so.

If a player rolls two results of the same color they must discard one of the dice.

If discarding results in a player having only one dice available their turn immediately ends and they forfeit the opportunity to guess a card.

When a player rolls the action icon they can discard the dice, take back a discarded dice or turn the action dice to any color.

If a player rolls a valid sequence of two or three different colors they can request information about their cards from the other players. The other players respond by telling them the total value of their cards that match the colors of their dice results.


The cards in front of a player are Red 5, Yellow 1, Orange 4, Green 6 and Purple 4

The player rolls red, yellow and green so the other players tell them their total is 12.

The player uses this information, in conjunction with information gained from subsequent rolls, to deduce what cards they have in front of them.


Roll 1 – Red + Yellow + Green = 12
Roll 2 – Red + Yellow + Orange = 10

The player knows that their green card must have a value that is 2 higher than their orange card. So their orange card can’t be a 7 or 8, because that would give green a value in excess of 8. They also know that their green card can’t be a 1 or 2.

Roll 3 – Green + Yellow + Orange = 11

The player knows their green card is 1 higher than their red card. So their red card can’t be an 8 and their green card can’t be a 1.

Information is also gained by eliminating the visible cards of the other players, because no card is replicated twice.

A player can choose to guess one of their cards on any turn. If they guess correctly they remove the identified card from their rack and score 3 points. A wrong guess looses them 1 point.

When any player identifies their set of cards the round ends. The other players loose 2 points for every unidentified card they have. A new round begins and the first player to score X points is the winner.

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