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[GDS] FEBRUARY 2015 "Terribly Suspicious"

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richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

We have a winner!

Project Y Derailed

by Hook

A fairly loose challenge proved to be daunting. Thanks to all those who stepped up to bat! Share your thoughts in the critiques thread and look for a complete posting of results.

Entries are in!

Thanks to entrants who took the time to enter this month - especially people who consistently enter! That's one of the points of the GDS after all: to practice your mad skillz.

Over the next week, take a look through the six submissions. Everyone. Even if you didn't enter. Then submit your votes using the voting form here before the end of the 17th (extended time).

Remember the voting rules posted below!

  • 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.

This month explores another concept familiar to modern games: suspicion.

In competitive games it's difficult to trust your other players, knowing that they will only help you so long as they are really helping themselves to beat you (later, of course). But you know one thing for certain: that other player is out to beat you. So let's talk of a slightly different kind of suspicion:

The kind where you work together, but don't know what the other players' motives are. Are they trying to get points? Are you even playing a game with 'points?" Maybe they have a game-state they're trying to reach in order to win, and MAYBE that means they're legitimately trying to help you! Who knows?

Hidden goals, hidden teams, hidden resources, all of that stuff plays into general suspicion.

So your February challenge is to make a game with suspicion, however you are so inspired. There will be one component restriction, to help this along: your game design must include player screens. You know, the kind that hides what a player has in front of them (whether it is tokens or cards or whatever).

Deadline, as usual is one week from the posting of the challenge. In this case, the end of the 8th of February.

Good luck!

Now the details:

Theme/Mechanic: Suspicion

Component restriction: Must incorporate a player screen

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: Sunday the 1st through to Sunday the 8th (EXTENDED TO MONDAY THE 9th)

  • 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: Widget Factories

A worker placement game where you place opponent workers and win based on what your opponents do.

You manage one of several widget factories owned by a large company. The CEO just gave all the managers a mandate to help each other. Of course, you don’t actually care about the other factories, but you need to keep the CEO off your back. It's a fine line.

Each player receives three goal cards that apply to the other players, things like: red player has the most money, blue player has the most valuable machinery or green produces less widgets than yellow. Each goal card also has a combination of starting resources/money. Players choose one and place everything behind a screen (so no one ever knows exactly what you have).

The game is played over three rounds. Each round has a set of action cards (one more than the number of players). Players take turns either giving away money/resources or placing a worker. A worker may be placed above an action (discussed later) or on it. Placing a worker on an action lets all players with a worker on it perform that action. Each player has two workers. You may not move your own workers nor place a worker on an action containing one of your own. The same worker may not be moved on consecutive turns. Aside from those restrictions, any worker may be placed anywhere whether it has been placed yet or not. If a worker is placed above an action that already has a worker, that worker is displaced and must be placed somewhere new (you may not displace your own workers). The actions will let players buy machinery (from a set of machinery tiles), gain money/resources, convert and upgrade resources, etc.

A round ends once all of the workers have been placed. At the end of the round the players pay wages and produce widgets, but first the action cards are claimed by the player whose worker is above each action. Claiming an action gives that player points as well as changing how much wage is paid and how many products are produced (machinery tiles will also affect these).

After the third round the player who accomplished the most goals wins. The tiebreaker is your point total. This creates an interesting balance between worrying about everyone else without ignoring yourself.

The challenge is trying to influence other players' choices on whose worker they place where. Any type of "if you do this, I'll do that" is fine and subject to only as much loyalty as you see fit.

Players may guess each other's goals at any time. If a goal is guessed, it is flipped over counting as a negative goal achieved. That player draws two new goals. Therefore, the player can still have a net of three met goals, but it will be more difficult. If you guess wrong, you flip a goal and draw two new ones.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 2: Energy Crisis

Energy Crisis

Game Intro:

2-4 players, about 15 min.

Gather as much money with natural resources, sabotage those multimillion corporation resource values, or just hide and grow with secret agendas.

Game set:

  • 8 Mission cards
  • 30 Resource cards
  • 30 Large Resource tokens (5 / color) (worth 3 small tokens)
  • 30 Small Resource tokens
  • Board to show resource values
  • Scoreboard
  • Screens to hide resource tokens

Resource card deck includes 6 different energy resources. Oil, Coal, Nuclear, Wood, Wind and Water. Each resource have cards valued 1, 1, 1, 2 and 3. Resource value board indicates how much points you can get from one resource. Board has 3 points positive steps, step 0, and 3 negative values for each resource.

Start up:

At the start up one of each resource cards (value 1) are taken from deck, shuffled and each player secretly selects one, other cards are put aside and not to bee looked or shuffled back to deck. Next players are given one of each small resource tokens, screen to cover tokens and a mission card. Mission card points out players mission and resource card tells what is the resource that player focuses that mission.

Goal examples:

  • Collect resource, normal points
  • Lower the price of recourse, Value board works differently, double points
  • Collect same resource as player next to you. Double points.
  • Stabilize resource value to match next resource value on board, 1.5 X points.
  • Collect all other resources than player next to you and your own resource card. Normal points.


At the start of the round players place the recourse tokens given in order they think resource values will be in Value board after one round. Tokens are placed behind the screens. Before exposing tokens after one round player tries to guess the first and the last token from next players tokens. Every correct guess gives player 1 point, from own tokens and guesses from neighbors tokens.

5 resource cards are placed in table. Starting player can collect or remove 1-2 cards from table (or remove 1 and collect 1). When collecting a card player takes tokens shown in card and increases resource value 1 step.. Player can also remove a card from table, no tokens gain, value drops 1 step. New cards are turned to table to replace ones taken or removed.

Game goal:

Player must play to increase his goals, but beware of exposing it to other players! Round ends when cards end. Cards are shuffled, tokens exposed after guesses and points given.

Game lasts 6 rounds or until 1 resource ends. At the end of the game missions are exposed. Player gets points only from tokens that include his / hers mission. Value board tells how many points per token player gets from one token (if not changed in mission).

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

Jewelry Thieves

Players are a team of jewelry thieves that will go on 4 heists. Jewelry that you put in your bag is shared with the group, so you might try to pocket some of the jewelry to keep for yourself.

Each player starts the game with Respect Tokens, and with a secret objective, which usually have a minimum amount of Money and Respect the player needs to win. Players win independently by having their goals met at the end of the game, or lose together by getting too many alarm tokens.


Playing cards

Item cards

Tokens for Money, Respect, Alarms


2 six sided dice

Heist difficulty meter

During a heist, players roll dice against the heist difficulty, which increases after each round. If a player fails a roll, they’re out of the heist, and difficulty increases for the remaining players. If they succeed, they draw a playing card.

2s through 10s are jewelry, with a value matching its number. Jewelry can be added to your loot pile face down. JQKA are security cards, which increase the difficulty of the heist when they are played face up.

Alternatively, any card can be placed face down in your hidden pile. This is either to disable security, or to keep jewelry for yourself. When you add a card to your hidden pile, you must name a card (value and suit). You may lie.

You are out of the heist when you fail a roll, choose to pass, or when you add two cards to your hidden pile. Once all players are out of the heist, players reveal the jewelry cards from their loot piles. The player with the most jewelry value gets 1 Respect.

Then, players may accuse another player of stealing from the group. Reveal the accused players hidden cards. If any of the hidden cards are jewelry, take one Respect from the accused. The jewelry is added to the group total. Otherwise, the accuser gives one Respect Token to the accused. Any player that was not accused puts their hidden cards behind the player screen.

Now, players split up the money from the heist. Players get $1 per card they contributed, and $1 per Respect Token. The remaining money is split evenly, with the highest Respect player choosing which players get the remainder if it is uneven. Money goes behind the players screen.

Each new heist adds another suit of JQKA cards to the deck, along with higher number jewelry cards, so the later heists have greater risks and greater rewards. Cards not behind a screen are shuffled back into the deck.

Players can purchase item cards to prepare for the next heist. These have effects like reducing difficulty, adding to a roll, drawing extra cards and choosing one, or adding Respect.

After 4 heists, the game ends, and any players who meet their secret objectives win. The game also ends if players get too many alarm tokens, which depends on the number of players.

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

In the year 2115, corporate espionage is just part of the job. You’re the CEO of one such futuristic company, and you’ve already got plenty of things to worry about – brand image, marketing, assassinations. (You know, the usual stuff.) Now that government mandated mergers are being imposed, you’ll have to quickly identify your new business partners before the competition can close out that next big contract. Time for some synergistic restructuring.

AntiTrust is played with 3-6 players. Each player has their own colored set of 9 Agent pawns and 1 Director pawn, and a personnel board with four zones: a row of numbered spaces corresponding to each other player; the Co-Op Committee (short for Covert Operations, of course); a Recruitment office; and the Human Resources office, for unassigned Agents. The player screen, used to conceal the allocation of personnel, contains reference information about the possible contracts other Megacorps are trying to achieve.

A deck of Megacorp cards is used to secretly assign team identities, with one card dealt out to each player at the start of the game. Most Megacorps have three or four copies, with one team of five, and a few of only two. Some teams are removed for different numbers of players to ensure that there will always be at least two Megacorps in play. Each card shows a contract that every member of the team must fulfill on the same turn to win, as well as a special goal if a player discovers that they are the only member of their team in play.

Each player starts with a certain number of Agent pawns based on the total number of players, then gives one of their Agents to each player on their left and right. Every turn thereafter, players negotiate openly, but secretly allocate their personnel as follows:

  • One Agent may be assigned to each numbered space.
  • Either three Agents or zero Agents may be assigned to the Co-Op Committee.
  • The Director may be assigned to a numbered space, to Recruitment, or to Human Resources.

The player screens are then removed to reveal assignments. First, Co-Op Committee missions are conducted simultaneously to look at the identity of a target player, indicated by the Director's numbered space. Each Committee Agent must match the color of any personnel on the opponent’s board, and the defending Agent if there is one, to succeed. If the mission fails, one Committee Agent of the player’s choice is assassinated, and removed from play.

Agents are then compared in order:

  1. Players who do not assign Agents to one other may trade one Agent each from their HR offices.
  2. If only one player assigns an Agent, using an Agent of their own color sends it to the other player’s HR. Using another player’s color instead steals an Agent from the undefended HR.
  3. Two Agents in opposition are both assassinated.

If exactly one player assigns a Director to Recruiting, that player may add an Agent of their own color to their HR.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 5: Suspicious Fishes

In Suspicious Fishes one player is a shark and everybody else is a dolphin. Each player has a screen, and there is a bowl of plastic fish that goes around to each player.

When you have the bowl you may ask a question to help you see who is the shark. For each question asked each player takes a fish from the bowl, but the shark can take extra. You use the screen to hide how many fish you have, and you do it all with your eyes closed.

The game ends when all the fish from the bowl are gone and the shark wins, or when the dolphins guess who the shark is and the dolphin with the most fish wins if none of the dolphins completed their secret goals.

The secret goals are things like, "Ask the least questions," or, "Pretend to be the shark."

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry 6: Project Y derailed

A big military “satellite” called Project-Y has been signed and funded. Secretly a development team has been assembled with top class world engineers. As you start working on the project of the future - problems appear numerous - will you meet the deadline?


6 character screens with matching construction boards (CB). A main board showing the satellite. 6 mission cards. 36 bricks with part components (sensor, photovoltaic cells, high-gain antenna etc. ) the bricks are tagged with; stable, unstable, weapon, tracker.

A Time indicator 0-12, with a “deadline” on space 9 and a fail on space 12. The satellite board shows a blueprint with 6 empty areas representing the parts that needs to be built to complete the project on deadline. (support system, engine, generator, shell, main board, nova tank). Characters on screens are; Chief engineer, avionic , astrophysicist, atomphysicist, solid surface specialist, condensed matter physicist. Each CB shows the blueprint for two satellite parts. Each part is built from 3 different components.


Cooperative: complete the satellite before round 12. Completed missions reveals a single winner.


Set time marker on 0. Each player selects in turn af character screen and its matching CB, and then takes (except the chief eng.) a secret mission card and looks at it . All components is shuffled in a pile upside down in the middle.


timer: Move the time marker 1 space.

parts: Every player takes 2 part components and looks on them behind their screen.

The players tell each other which parts they can construct (on their hidden board) and talk about who will try to build what. The chief engineer may order who does what. (and hope this order is followed.)

trade: Each player may give another player one component

assemble: any player with a complete part (3 components) may now put it on the main board.

Any time, the chief engineer may, move the timer +2 and call “timeout” and accuse one for work obstruction. If she is “hired agent” she must remove the screen and for the rest of the rounds the chief plays her trade.


When the satellite is complete with 6 parts or when time runs out. On completion count how many unstable components its made of. 0-7: good, 7-11: good but unstable; 12-18: uncomplete construction.


Chief engineer get 8 points if a good satellite is completed on time.


Chinese spy: gets one point for each unused component behind his screen - only on completion

Military agent: gets 3 points for each part with a weapon-component. if the ship is good +4 p.

Hired agent (disloyal): Someone is paying you more. if the ship is unfinished or incomplete, you get 5 points. if it is unstable you get 4 points.

Proud player:you get 4 points for each 100% stable part you make.

Rebel: gets 3 points for each part with a tracker in it. If the ship is unstable +3 points. and +5 if its not on time.

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