Game Design Blitz #20

And today’s card is…

The Card

Color: Yellow

Number: 2

Piece: Chess Hex

Mechanic: Tile Placement

The Definition

Tile Placement games feature placing a piece to score VPs, with the amount often based on adjacent pieces or pieces in the same group/cluster, and keying off non-spatial properties like color, “feature completion”, cluster size etc.

The Idea

Here we go. A mechanic that exists on Board Game Geek! As defined above we are looking to gain points by placing tiles! I absolutely love tile placement games. Carcassonne was my gateway game, and the first time I played it, I immediately went home and ordered everything Carcassonne! There’s something about the puzzle of placing those tiles so that you can maximize your own score while also hindering your opponents.

I have several tile placement games in the works right now; a mountain bike racing game, a real-time-strategy game and a 4X Roll & write game. For the purpose of this post however, I’ll try to brainstorm a new idea though.

Tile placement has a bit of a problem, in that it is a wide open category. As usual we can look to the rest of our card for inspiration. The shape on the card is a hex, the color is yellow and the number is a 2. Given how much I like hexes, it was probably a no-brained that my tile shape of choice would have six sides. The yellow part of the card has also sparked a bit of an idea. What if we were constructing and deconstructing colors? Each hex tile would be divided into three sections, each sharing two adjacent edges. These tiles are made of of primary, secondary and tertiary colors. On your turn you may choose one of your three tiles and place it. You may match a primary color space to any color that contains that color (i.e. you may place a red tile next to an orange tile because orange has red in it). Secondary and tertiary colors must be placed such that ALL colors that make up that color are adjacent. So you can’t place an orange section unless it is touching both a red and a yellow. You can’t place a blue-violet unless it is touching blue and violet tiles.

Once you place your tile you place a token on one of the sections involved in the match. Each colored section has four sides. If you place tokens on two opposing sides of a space you may place a token in that space as well. If an opponent already has a token in that space, it is replaced.

So what is the goal? We’re placing tiles based on colors, and then we’re placing tokens on one of the (up to) three spaces involved in that placement. Perhaps scoring is based on adjacent spaces and set collection of color chains. For example, a single token on a primary color is worth 1 point. A token on a secondary color is worth 2 points, but only if you also have tokens on the adjacent primary colors that make up that color. A token on a tertiary color is worth three points, but only if you have tokens on the adjacent primary and secondary colors that make up the tertiary color. If you are able to get all the chained colors from primary to tertiary, then you get a bonus 5 points.

What is the endgame scenario? We could have a pre-set number of tiles, but I don’t really like that. Perhaps a race to some endgame condition, but that often leaves the players that fall behind feeling dissatisfied, so perhaps an endgame condition with an additional turn? So, when one player scores a full set, that triggers the end of the game and each player will get another turn (i.e. the round finishes back to the start player and then each player gets a final turn).

The Pitch

In The Colors you are playing tiles and attempting to match up colors! An orange tile can only be placed if it is adjacent to a red AND yellow tile, or if it is adjacent to a tertiary color that uses it, such as yellow-orange. When you place a tile there are up to three spaces involved in the match and you can place one token on one of those spaces. The game ends when one player has tokens on a complete tertiary tree consisting of adjacent spaces of the tertiary color, the secondary and primary colors that make up the tertiary color, and the primary colors that make up the secondary color! The round ends and then one final round is played after which scores are counted. You score more points for secondary and tertiary colors, but you have to have tokens on the colors that make them up or you don’t get the points! A special bonus is given if you have the complete tertiary color tree and the player with the most points at the end is the winner!

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