Game Design Blitz #22

And today’s card is…

The Card

Color: Blue

Number: K/12

Piece: Card

Mechanic: Deck Building

The Definition

Deck building/Pool building refers to a collection of related mechanisms. Players have a personal pool, or collection, of cards or tokens, that provide different actions and/or resources. A subset of those cards/tokens are randomly drawn each turn. An important aspect of the game lies in managing the contents of that pool by adding and removing cards and tokens over the course of the gameplay, often through the very actions provided by the cards/tokens themselves. Over time, players build decks/pools that are more and more specialized and effective towards some purpose(s), typically including claiming victory objectives.

The Idea

Without exposition I will get right into my idea because that’s about how long it took to pop into my head… Rube Goldberg Machine. I… I don’t know how a deck builder hasn’t been made yet with the theme of creating the best Rube Goldberg Machine. The concept is super-simple, players draft cards with the draft order being decided by the previous round. Then you play cards from your hand to try and create the longest machine.

This will also be a spatial puzzle, as the placement of the cards adjacent to each other will care about which side of the cards will line up. There could be different effects if the long side of one card matches up to the short side of the adjacent card as well.

Four cards will make up the market. They will be on the table, separated by a bit more than a card height. This lets one card be played either horizontally or vertically adjacent to the side of a card in the market. The highest scoring player from the previous round goes first, choosing one of the cards in the market, placing a token of their color on that card and then playing a card from their hand to the table on one of the four sides of the market card. They may continue to play cards from their hand as long as they can make legal connections. The goal will be to trigger card draws to get longer and longer machines. Cards will also do things like rotating cards, shifting them around on the table, etc…

Once that player is finished, the next player does the same. They must choose a different card in the market, but the difference is that each successive player may also incorporate the cards of the previous player into their machines. If the new player uses the last card of a previous player, that only serves to extend that player’s machine, possibly. At the end of the round, after all players have made their machines for the turn, each player counts the length of their machine and the one with the longest machine is the winner for the round.

That player picks up all of the cards in their machine first, including any cards that were played by a different player initially and places them in their discard pile. Then the remaining machines are evaluated again, and the player with the new longest machine picks up the cards in their machine and discards them. This repeats until all players have picked up their cards. Invariably this will leave some cards on the table, and those will be discarded to the market discard pile.

A new round will consist of replenishing the market and each player drawing back up to their initial hand size. If the player can’t they shuffle their discard to reform their deck.

The game will continue until some end condition is met; one player wins three rounds, one player builds a 20-part Machine, etc…

The Pitch

Are you ready to test your machine-building skills? In RGM players vie to collect the components that will help them to build the best Rube Goldberg Machine that they possibly can! Each turn players will draft a piece of their next machine by incorporating that piece as an element of their machine. Each card in hand can be played so long as a legal connection is made, and as the game progresses, the pieces of the machine will have various effects on the game, such as allowing  for more card draw or manipulating parts of any machine on the board. Having the longest machine each turn means that you get first pick of the available parts, but each successive player can utilize components of the machines already on the board. Whomever has the longest machine gets to claim all of the pieces in their machine, even those that weren’t placed by them. This might cut off pieces of someone else’s machine, and each player gets to collect as much of their machines as they are able. Any remnants are discarded and each player discards all collected cards to their personal discard piles. Players all draw up to their starting hand size and if they can’t, they shuffle their discard pile to replenish their deck. A new set of starting machine parts are set out and the next round can begin. Play continues until one player is able to play a 20-part machine in one turn. The player with the longest machine that turn is the winner!

With that I will leave you with this awesome OK Go music video for the song “This Too Shall Pass”.

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