And today’s card is…
If you know me, then you know I’m not a fan of cooperative games. In general I think it is really hard to solve the alpha problem without adding a hidden role or bad guy to the mix. That said, there are a lot of variations to the cooperative mechanic that we could utilize. My first instinct is to do a puzzle type of game where players are working to tether to maximize points and create the most efficient board. Another thought is to go with a team game. The problem with a team game is that you tend to need a minimum of four players. Since I tend to play games with my wife, creating a four-player only game seems counterproductive to me.mOk… a hex-based spatial puzzle which starts with a volcano at the center of the table. Each side of the start hex has a lava flow connecting to the edge and the goal is to cap off each flow. Tiles will have lava flows, pools, and blank sides, as well as things like villages and farms that have to be protected. Randomly drawing and placing a tile each turn seems a little easy, so we can do things like give each player a special ability. We can have temporary blockages and things like that, and we can even have lava flows that break through the edge of a tile. Once or twice in the game we could have an additional volcano pop up. Perhaps there’s also the travel element where a player has to place their pawn on the piece that they played, and then future pieces that player places must be placed adjacent to the space that player is on.I’m not particularly sure how this particular game will attempt to solve the alpha problem. I think because the tiles that you place will be based on where you are located, there isn’t much that an alpha player can attempt to direct. Sure during the action phase they can get more involved, but I suppose that is a large part of cooperative games, interacting with your fellow players to solve a problem.Any ideas with how to do a surprise “underground” flow‽ You’ve seen the movie Volcano right?
The lava is flowing, ever spreading, destroying everything in its path. You and your team are specialists in geology, fluid dynamics, construction and demolition and you have been tasked with saving as many villages as possible as lava tears through the landscape.Flow is a spatial puzzle cooperative game where players are attempting to cap off every open end of an active volcano. On your turn you will first draw a tile then place it adjacent to the tile that your worker is on. Then you will take a number of actions that include things like blocking off flows, trenching flows so that they go where you want them to, and moving around the board to give help where it is most needed. Dotting the landscape are villages and farms that need to be saved as well so it is imperative to cap those flows the fastest.Volcanos and lava are anything but predictable, so be ready for random breakthroughs and even new volcanic eruptions that can wreck your carefully laid attempts.
And today’s card is…
Piece: Chess Pawn/Dice
What immediately pops into my head is something like Guess Who or Memory… but we’re looking to make games that are a bit more engaging than children’s games. Nothing wrong with games for kids, that’s just not the demographic that I tend to a for.A card game with one card that is the “target”. The goal of the game is to be the person with the card, but not to have anyone else guess that you have the card. The game starts with each player having two cards. These are looked at initially sand then kept face down on the table unless a card tells a player or players to look at one or more cards. On a player’s turn they pick one of their cards and reveal it, then follow out the rule on that card which will cause players to take various actions with their cards, like passing them around and across the table. Once every player had taken a turn, each player guesses who they think has the target card. If a player guesses them self, and they have the card they get a point bonus equal to the number of players. Every player that correctly guesses who has the card gets a point and that player loses a point. Incorrect guesses don’t have any effect on points. Play continues until one player reaches a predetermined number of points and is crowned the winner. I worry that this is too simple and too random, but it could make a pretty decent party game.
Monte is a card game in which one player has the “Monte”. Who has it? At the beginning nobody knows because all cards are secret! Each player has to take a turn to flip one of their cards and carry out the action on the card. Actions will include passing, trading, shuffling, etc… and once all players have taken an action, everyone has to guess who has the Monte. Correct guesses gain points for the guesser, but lose points for the player with the Monte. If a player correctly guesses that they have the Monte then they get a bonus! Play repeats until one player gets to a predetermined point value and is crowned the winner!
It may hit you in the shower. It may hit you in the middle of a meeting at work. It may hit you in the middle of the night. Epiphany can strike at any time and you have to be ready for it.
I realize that I have another epiphany series that I have started on this blog, but honestly, I felt that this particular epiphany warranted a Game Creation Series post instead.
And today’s card is…
Piece: Chess Pawn/Die
Oh boy. If you know me then you know that I’m not the biggest fan of social games… Making up stories, convincing other players that I’m not the werewolf or trying to sell my best sun-block parasol are just not my forte.Negotiation doesn’t have to mean social deduction, but that’s the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the card. I’m not going to back down from my own challenge however, so I’m going to try and come up with something that is negotiation but is not a social deduction type game.There are plenty of games where you trade with other players. Even Catan has negotiation in it, but that isn’t the focus of the game, and my game has to focus on the negotiation. The easiest theming that comes to mind is a set collection game where you have to trade with other players to get the cards that you need. Perhaps each player has a secret point system or win condition that they are playing towards. Once the opponents figure it out they can take steps to block that player from meeting the win condition. How will this game work? Each player will be dealt two (out of 12 or 16 total) win condition or point cards. They will choose one and discard the other. This let’s each player know some number of win conditions that aren’t present in the game. The main deck of cards will be made up of, let’s just say 4 suits for ease so that we can prototype with a standard deck of cards. You will start with a hand of 7 cards. Each turn you have to negotiate a trade. Then using some number of cards from your hand you play a set of some kind, containing 2 or 3 cards. For now let’s say that can be either multiples of a number (i.e. a pair of 2s), matching suits (i.e. a flush), or a run of three cards (i.e. a straight). The cards in the set that you play may include the cards that you just traded for, or it can be only cards that you already had in your hand.The negotiation may include anything from cards in you hand to future trade considerations to random allowances of card draw to having the player discard their hand, and even cards that are already on the table in a set. For that last one any cards from a set on the table that aren’t included in the trade must be discarded.Instead of trading or drawing from the main deck, a player may discard their win condition the. draw two win condition cards and then discard one. This way the player is always only going for a single win condition.If your sets on the table ever match the win condition on your card, then announce that and you win the game.
Draw, Trade, Win is a negotiation card game where players are trading to collect sets which they use to fulfill a hidden win condition that is unique to each player. The only way to escape negotiation is to draw a new win condition. Negotiation has no rules so entice your opponents with anything you want to be able to collect the cards that you need. Be alert however, the first player to meet their win condition will win the game immediately!Full Disclosure: this challenge took longer than I wanted to. I stayed on the train for an extra stop and still didn’t finish in time… but I still haven’t gotten to the office yet, so it’s still valid in my book!
Enter the realm of dark medieval fantasy where the forces of Draconis are attempting to overrun your fair kingdom. The King has charged you and other noble heroes to defend against the onslaught of marauders. Who will gain the most glory in defense of the kingdom?
CV Pocket (BGG Link) is a new small box card game designed by Filip Miłuński with art by Piotr Socha and published by Granna, and distributed by Passport Game Studios in the US. CV Pocket condenses a player’s whole life down to a fifteen minute drafting and set collection game for two to four players. Who can make the best life for them self? Let’s find out!
And today’s card is…
Mechanic: Trick Taking
Trick taking is a mechanic that has been around forever. I must confess that I haven’t played too many trick taking games, but I have played a few, and one of the games I am currently working on is “in the style of” a trick taking game. True to my word though, that is not the game I will pitch today. What are the main components to a trick taking game? Typically a deck of cards is shuffled and dealt out to all players. A “trump” suit is identified, that is the suit that will beat all others no matter the number on the card. Each round consists of a player leading the round with a card and all other players have to “match suit”. If they can’t then they are able to play any other card. This is where the trump suit comes in. After each player has played then the one who played the highest card in the lead suit wins the trick. If anyone played the trump suit then the highest one in that suit wins the trick. The different variations introduce all manner of restrictions and exceptions that make each one different.
How do I come up with something unique and exciting? I tend to start with theme and then see if I can find mechanics to fit. In this case since I am dictated the mechanic I’m doing it a little backward and I’ll need to find a theme that will work well with trick taking.
I’m thinking about a stock market game. The suits are different stocks and in the end this is a set collection game, where the value of the sets fluctuates throughout the game. This could be based on the prominence of a particular suit in any given trick. For example, if I lead with hearts and then no other player has a heart the opponents play a spade, a spade and a diamond respectively, then the spade ticks up a dollar on the stock value, and clubs (the only suit not represented in that hand) ticks down a dollar. Once all cards have been played and the round is over players earn income based on the current stocks that they own. I’m thinking that the stock value tracker will be what dictates the trump suit, and not having a the lead suit isn’t the only way to not have to follow the lead. Maybe a player can pay some number of dollars to ignore the lead suit.
Day Traders is a trick taking card game where players are vying to own the most valuable stock. Players influence the market with the stocks that they contribute to the pool which are dictated by the lead player, the current stock value or even the money out of their pockets. In the end the player with the most cash is crowned the best Day Trader!
Note: I was re-reading and noticed some formatting and grammatical errors, so I made some fixes.