Game Design Blitz #23

And today’s card is…

The Card

Color: Yellow

Number: Q/12

Piece: Hex

Mechanic: Pattern Building

The Definition

Pattern Building is a system where players place game components in specific patterns in order to gain specific or variable game results.

The Idea

When I see pattern building, all I can think of is “spatial puzzle” which will make my friend Shawn very happy. Obviously since the shape on the card is a hex, we’re going to use hex shaped tiles. What if we mix this with some kind of area control. The goal is to get tiles of your color onto the board. There can be different types of tiles in each color, each with different effects on the tiles around them.

Lately I’ve been playing a video game called Fortnite: Battle Royal. In the game you can build structures, mainly walls for protection from other players and ramps to gain access to places you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. The game definitely defies physics in that massive structures can be built, only collapsing when their last tenuous connection to the ground is severed. What if we play off of that? One of the tile types will be an anchor. All of my other tiles have to be built off of one of my anchors. Anchors will likely have to be placed at the start of the game, and will not be able to be destroyed. But the other tiles can be, and that’s where the spatial puzzle comes from. Each tile will have a weak side or sides, and should an opponent place tiles adjacent to each weak side of a tile, then that tile is destroyed. And pieces attached to that tile, that aren’t also attached to another anchor somehow, are similarly destroyed.

Another element that we can look at is the use of elevations. If I place a tile adjacent to one of your tiles, then I can place another tile on top of your tile, creating a bridge to the other side for myself, the catch being that if your tile collapses, then so does my tile on top of it, even if their are anchors on either side of it. If one side isn’t connected to an anchor, then that whole side is lost.

We could also include an element of pattern building by making the players place tiles in certain configurations in order to gain access to other tiles. This could be tied to tile type, or it could just be a quantity thing. For example, each time you place a tile, you draw tiles equal to the number of tiles you are adjacent to.

The goal of the game is to connect all three of your anchors together. The first player to do so wins. If more than one player connects all of their anchors on the same turn, then the player who did it with the fewest tiles is the winner. And the connection has to last through the round, so if the other players can break the connection, then the game continues.

The Pitch

Solid Ground is the ultimate goal in this abstract strategy game for 2-4 players. The only way to truly achieve solid ground is to connect all three of your anchors with tiles in your color. Each turn you will place one or more tiles with each one being adjacent to another tile of your color. Ultimately your entire group of tiles must connect back to at least one anchor.

Each of your tiles has weak sides however, and if your opponents ever get their tiles adjacent to your tile’s weak sides, that tile is destroyed. If that leaves any other tiles without a connection to an anchor, then all of those tiles are also destroyed.

When one player has all three of their anchors connected together at the end of a round, then that player is the winner. If more than one player achieved this, then the one who made the connection with the fewest tiles is the winner.

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