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The Darkness - 17 card solitaire game

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JewellGames
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The Darkness

Solitaire Card Game

Globolds have lived beneath Solitar Mountain for centuries, relying on their unique bioluminescent lanterns to work the mines. In recent years, their luminescence has mysteriously weakened and stories of a dark, devouring presence from deep within the caverns has caused them to fear the dark. However, prophecy speaks of four named Globolds that will seek out and destroy the looming Darkness, restoring the Globolds' fading light.

Object of the Game
Secretly assemble the four named Globolds into a square formation to defeat The Darkness and win the game!

Contents
12 basic Globold (white) cards, 4 named Globold (orange, blue, green, yellow) cards, and The Darkness card.

Globolds’ Card Anatomy
The top left value is the Globold’s brightness, ranging from 1-8 lumens. The bottom right value, on both sides of the card, is The Darkness’s movement, ranging from 0-3 spaces.

The Darkness’s Card Anatomy
Its starting side displays a star (*) in the top left corner, its enraged side displays an exclamation (!) in the top left corner.

Setup
Shuffle the Globolds and place them face down in a 4x4 grid layout. Place The Darkness, start side up, above the first column.

Turn Sequence
Globolds' Movement Phase
The Globolds in the column/row next to The Darkness can’t be played this turn. Flip any two adjacent Globolds or swap any two face-up adjacent Globolds that aren’t restricted by The Darkness’s presence.

The Darkness's Movement Phase
Add up The Darkness’s movement values displayed on the Globolds in the column/row next to it and move it that many spaces clockwise along the outside of the grid.

If the total brightness of all face-up Globolds in the new column/row next to The Darkness is greater than 10 lumens, flip all face-up Globolds in that column/row face down and flip over The Darkness to its enraged side. If it’s already enraged, you lose the game!

Winning the Game
If at any point during the game the four named Globolds are face up, in square formation (with each named Globold adjacent to two other named Globolds), immediately defeat The Darkness and win the game! Add up the total brightness of all other basic face-up Globolds to calculate your score.

JewellGames
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So I came up with this

So I came up with this initial concept the other night and think it has some potential with the rotating Watcher column/row restriction. It seems too simple right now so I’m trying to think of additional elegant mechanics and gameplay.

wob
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i like this idea, simple but

i like this idea, simple but (possibly) very hard to beat. you may need to be a bit clearer on what " impossible to win means" but im sure you have that in the rules. as a gamer with very few friends who play tabletop i love a good solo game, and it is surprisingly hard to find a decent one that isnt a) pricey, b) fiddly (so many pieces and rules to make up for the missing players) or c)a multi player game made solo. good luck with this one.

JewellGames
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“Impossible to win” means

I’ve tweaked the rules in the OP which should remove that ambiguity.

twoeyedcyclops
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intriguing idea

This sounds like an interesting start. About how to add more depth to the game, I don't have any specific suggestions but I have a few general suggestions:

1) Ask other people to playtest it and see what they think. Be open to their feedback and see how the game develops as more and more people try it.
2) Take a break from it and come back to it later. You may get other ideas just by letting it percolate in the back of your mind.
3) Try some of the brainstorming techniques outlined in books such as Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko.
4) Don't feel like it has to have only 17 cards. That's a really limited number that is going to make it really hard to add any depth with.

questccg
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Point #4 is not correct!

twoeyedcyclops wrote:
4) Don't feel like it has to have only 17 cards. That's a really limited number that is going to make it really hard to add any depth with.

That's the only point I disagree with. I'm also working on a Micro Deck Battle Arena game with 10 cards per player. The game can last up to five (5) rounds and allows players to try to "get a foothold" in the Arena...

With the right combination you can have like 4 cards and score 60+ points. And sometimes it could be a swing from the losing position to being the winner...

So the card count is not what makes for strategic depth. It's how you make use of the cards and what mechanics you've included into the game.

And to be honest with you, I am surprise at how much DEPTH there is and how FUN it is... I've had choices and decisions about thing like summoning sickness, unpredictable decks, drawing cards from an almost non-existing deck (because it's a Micro deck already!)

The idea is to look for depth, while trying to keep the card count as low as possible, especially in Mini or Micro games.

But I'm pretty sure @Gregg already knows that! He's worked on maybe a half dozen Mini games over the last few years... I remember seeing many of his posts with "nice" smallish-sized games.

Q: How many Mini games have you presented on BGDF?

It's like six (6) to eight (8) different and unique games...???

mindspike
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Additional compulsory mechanics

This is an intriguing little memory game, but it's a bit too easy. Once you identify the four Braves, it's relatively easy to get them into position safely. Flip cards out of the Watcher's range for two movements, giving you time to look at them and flip them back over. Once a Brave is identified, move it into position and repeat.

Points I would focus on:

-Unlimited turns makes the above solution easy to implement. Limit the turns or find an additional loss state.

-Since there is no compulsion to flip cards, cards are never at risk. A mandatory flip somewhere in the process would necessarily endanger the Brave cards. Perhaps the Watcher puts pressure on the card he's next to, flipping it over automatically or conditionally.

I'm intrigued to see what you do with this. Keep us updated!

JewellGames
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Yeah I’ve made a dozen or so

@Quest - Yeah, I’ve designed a dozen or so mini games in the past few years ;)

Thank you everyone for the feedback! Based on all the feedback, I bolstered the game and came up with a slightly tweaked theme. I hope to have the PnP components and official rules up ASAP.

JewellGames
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Value Dustribution

Here is the Luminion’s Brightness (lumens) and The Darkness’s Movement (spaces) values for every Luminion card.

The 0 movement values are only on the 4 colored Luminions and it’s impossible to have all four in the same column/row without just winning the game.

JewellGames
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Illustrations

Some crude illustrations of the rules:

wob
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the idea of aditional loss

the idea of aditional loss conditions is a good one, you can always add them as an optional extra level of difficulty (for extra pounts maybe). 1 idea might be if you have 4 unnamed, of the same colour in a square, columb/row etc. for more depth with the same amount of cards each card could have aditional states depending on its orientation ( face up/down, on its feet/head) this could give them double end points, half end points, can only be turned by darkness, cant be turned by darkness, can only/not be next to a certain colour etc etc.

JewellGames
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Yeah some interesting

Yeah some interesting ideas!

Also, it’s easy to adjust your personal difficulty level simply by increasing or decreasing the enrage lumen threshold.

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