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My first-ever (created) board game: The Last Tower

photo of the game in progress

Hi everyone,

I just released the first board - or any sort of - game I ever created: The Last Tower, ver. 1.0. I stopped development on it after a few weeks because I see no way to get around the element of luck (roll of one die) driving the game outcome; it was a first attempt at game design. I made it available under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and am wondering how (a)typical that is in the game design world.




Took a quick look...

Some ideas came to mind: like rolling a "1" results in a RE-ROLL. My suggestion would be if you "Rolled a 1", move any of token any desired amount (from 2 to 6).

Secondly removing the element of LUCK: maybe something like you have "5 Action Points" (APs), you can move any number of tokens but they MUST be "2 or greater".

I don't see how this could impact much the design other than making it a bit more "HEAD-Y" (more thinking and strategizing with the APs).

And BTW I don't know about the CC license. Make it a Print-aNd-Play (PNP) and be done with it. Sell it or publish it on PNP Arcade to showcase it before it becomes FINAL:

And with "5 APs" you get the following possibilities:

"5": Move one Token 5 spaces
"3" + "2": Move one Token 3 spaces and the other 2 spaces.
"4": Move one Token 4 spaces
"2" + "2": Move both Tokens 2 spaces
"3": Move one Token 3 spaces
"2": Move one Token 2 spaces

That's not too different from the die roll (there are exactly "6" possible outcomes...) You can playtest it out and see if it works for you!

Also please consider posting it for $0.00 on PNP Arcade... It helps to showcase members making exciting games for all to share.

All the best with this Game Design. Cheers!

Note #1: When you finalize it... You can SELL it on PNP Arcade ... For a modest fee (IDK -- like $2.00 to $5.00 USD).

Note #2: Using APs make the game a bit more strategic in that you are trying to do the OPTIMAL move each turn. It changes the direction of the game because in your rules, you need to figure out what is "2 Tokens" vs. "1 Token".

Alright, "1 Token" is EASY... Any one token can be moved "2 to 5 spaces".

But "2 Tokens" can be trickier. Like if you move "2 spaces" and capture a Tower (sent to the TOP), is that NEW TOP a second Token?! Meaning NOW you can move the "TOWER" "2 or 3 spaces" too???

You can also "protect" TOWERS from the opponent... Trying to secure the tallest TOWERS and to lure out the opponent from spaces near the exits.

OKAY... I propose ONE type of RULE based on my observations:

questccg wrote:
In order to JUMP ON-TOP of a TOWER, that player must be (N - 1) in height to be able to do so.

So if you want to JUMP a "3 Stack" TOWER, you need to be one a "2 Stack" TOWER. The result would be a "5 Stack" TOWER and to JUMP ON-TOP of that would require a "4 Stack" TOWER!

This adds a bit of conditional jumping which means that the game is a bit more STRATEGIC and requires more THOUGHT that merely JUMPING ON-TOP... You have to satisfy the CONSTRAINT of (N - 1) in height to be able to JUMP ON-TOP!!!

Hope you like it! Best.

Note #3: It's not perfect... But you get the idea... Feel free to "work-on-it" ... It still needs some work TBH. Like what to do with a "5 Stack" vs. a "2 Stack", the "2 Stack" can jump a "3 Stack" ... But how do you get a "3 Stack"...? Anyways it's your game... You can re-work this little part to something more obvious.


Meaning that a "3 Stack" can JUMP ON-TOP of a "1 Stack" and then becomes a "4 Stack"... Yeah... This is the missing 2nd halve of the issue.

Anyhow I'm sure you get what I mean by adding a couple RULES to make the APs work without the need to use a DIE.

Again ... You need some more jumping rules IMHO

For example: The Maximum STACK HEIGHT = 9. That means a "4 Stack" Jumped a "5 Stack" or an "8 Stack" Jumped a "1 Stack"... There are a ton of variations on this... I just explained "8 + 1", but you have "7 + 2" and "6 + 3"...

Meaning that a "N = 9" is the maximum Stack Height... means that IF a "N = 8" (or N - 1) tries to JUMP... That N = 9 Stack "explodes" and becomes an "9 Stack" for the OPPONENT.

Yeah I realize these are more RULES... But you need to balance APs with some kind of counter-set of rules that involve some actions taking part and changing the behavior of the JUMPING.

So 9 = Max, but an "8" can JUMP-IT and becomes that PLAYER's "9 Stack"... Sort of a ANTI-KING-ME rule...

Note #1: Again it's not 100% perfect... Again some things for you to consider and figure out a more general rule (Like "7" jumping "8") and so forth... It still needs some work... But I've illustrated some examples of what is possible, I'm sure you can figure it out. Besides you did do the difficult part about documenting MOVES (what is legal and what is not)!

So you should be good to go ... to TWEAK the JUMPING rules just a bit...

Note #2: You may want to SIMPLIFY movement and make it orthogonal only. This may increase the complexity of movement and add more strategy in how players' move around the board. This is just an observation based on how you documented moving... It may make it TOO EASY to JUMP a "high-value" TOWER... In any case, that's part of figuring out the remainder of RULES and perfecting the game a bit more.


What happens if you use 2 dice instead of 1?
And allow the player to choose from one of the 2 dice?


The mechanics you've used to put this game in motion are quite attractive to me...! Personally-speaking, it reminds me of Backgammon and The Game of Ur, which are classic roll-and-move games. Combine one or both of those games into a chess grid, and it seems like you've developed a solid tactical roll-and-mover. I'm also a fan of the stackable tokens you included, and the mechanics make them a natural fit for the game.

Sorry, I have no opinion on whether or not the CC license is worthwhile. Anyone who releases a game on the Internet for no cost, in my opinion, is extremely generous.

I do have a few suggestions for you, based simply on my read of the rules.

  • If you're worried about your dice-throwing mechanic, provide each player with a deck of cards numbered however you like, with whatever distribution of numbers from 1 to 6 (or maybe some other numbers). Players draw a card to indicate the number of moves they're permitted, and when a player has exhausted the deck, they shuffle and create a new draw pile.
  • Another option for dice-throw mitigation (this one similar to X3M's suggestion): the player throws two dice, and uses the higher of the two. Should the result be doubles of a number, they can either use that number or throw the dice again. (this is the typical mitigation technique I first saw in Looney Labs' Pyramid Arcade collection, and one I personally find satisfying).
  • Implement points-only tokens, scattered around the board, so it incentivizes players to both go after their opponents, or go after the prize tokens. These could be anywhere from +1 to +5 tokens.
  • Implement obstacles that cannot be passed-through.
  • Implement "trophy" tokens that award the first player who creates a tower of a certain height, equal to the number of tokens in their tower. Again, +1 to +5 seems like enough. It may incentivize players taking the risk to make taller towers before leaving the board.

I run a weekly game night for a small group, and after I have a session or two with them, I hope to have some more useful feedback for you.

Best of success on your (further) game designs. :)

Tower heights & action points

Thank you for your interesting suggestions - I'm particularly intrigued by the notion of the height of own tower determining whether it can capture an opponent's. I had seen many games where the end goal is to build the tallest tower on the board, but this is interestingly different in that the relative heights at the moment of the move matter.

Regarding the Action Points - did you mean that each player would get a limited number at the beginning to use up during the game, sort of like a currency? That would interestingly require maximizing moves' outcome ... and cause a player to be out of the game when they run out of APs, not unlike the detectives in "Scotland Yard" ( Thinking out loud, an alternative would be "earning" APs during the game, such as by capturing opponents.

You have inspired me to perhaps take this beyond v1.0 and I hadn't heard of the PNP Arcade before, so thanks a bunch!

Allowing fewer move directions ideas

Thank you again ... regarding your Note #2, I had struggled with allowing the move of changing direction by more than 90 degrees (eventually made NOT doing that an alternative rule). The more possible moves, the longer each player will ponder the possibilities and keep the other(s) waiting, so reducing the move options may speed it up a bit. On the other hand, too many possible moves that never capture anything can make the game feel frustrating, I found. So more to ponder for me, thanks!

2 dice instead of 1?

I think that may make it too easy if both numbers become possible moves, but I have yet to test that. If one had to choose one for the move distance and the other for collecting "action points" or something like that, that could make for an interesting tradeoff/choice. Thank you!!

Thank you kindly for your feedback

Thank you kindly for your feedback! I have been a long-time fan of Backgammon (but haven't played it in probably two decades now), and will check out The Game of Ur and Pyramid Arcade.

The "higher-of-two-dice or perhaps roll again on doubles" idea is interesting!

I had thought of the deck of cards (numbered 1-6) possibility and originally dismissed it as equally random as a die, but what if a player could hold two or more cards at a time and draw a new one from the deck - after they played one to make their move? With that, the possible moves might need to (or could) be limited, as questccg suggested.

The idea of prize vs. opponents token is intriguing and may be combinable with questccg's Action Points notion, I'll have to think about that.

I hadn't thought of obstacles, but of protected fields where a token that lands there cannot be captured. I actually had that in an earlier version, but it made it too easy for tokens to "wait and pounce" when the right toll of the die came along. Obstacles are interesting, like the lakes in Stratego perhaps, but only single fields...?

Any further feedback from your small game group would be more than welcomed! :-)

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