Board Game Blitz #10

And today’s card is…

The Card

Color: Blue

Number: 7

Piece: Card

Mechanic: Variable Player Power

The Definition

Variable Player Powers is a mechanic that grants different abilities and/or paths to victory to the players.

The Idea

Here we go with another wide-open mechanic. Variable player powers are something that can be utilized with just about any game. The problem is that player powers that are uniform are hard enough to balance in a game. Now give every player a different power and it becomes exponentially more difficult.

Additionally, the word “powers” is really just a placeholder for anything in a game that could be different for different players. In Vast: the Crystal Caverns each player plays a different entity or group and each entity has different mechanics and different win conditions.

The first thing that comes to my mind, especially to help balance the powers is to allow those to rotate. Then that really just becomes a worker placement game or more akin to Puerto Rico in that each turn you choose a different action. So, what if each player starts as a character with a specific power, kind of like Small World. You choose a character and an ability or action type is randomly chosen. Then, throughout the game players can manipulate the abilities to steal them, shift the whole table, etc… This seems like a very chaotic type of game where it would be very hard to plan for the future or build any kind of engine. The goal, however would be that for maximum efficiency each player should end up using each power roughly the same amount of the time.

Forgive me, as I’ve been watching a lot of Marvel movies lately, and the primary thing that comes to mind is the “hero” scene where the camera moves from hero to hero watching each do their own thing to take down the bad guys. We all know my feelings on coop games, so let’s not go there, and I think the hero thing has been done quite a lot. I’m even working on a super-power game already, so let’s not go there either.

What about a factory where each player is the foreman of a particular area. Each area produces a different parts of various machines, and so each foreman has a particular ability tied to that part. But, the goal is to build the machines, not the parts. As such you have to gather the other parts as well. You can do it, but it will be much more efficient if you take over the foreman position for that part. You can’t just take over a position though, you have to prove that the current foreman is less efficient. So, if you produce more parts than an opponent, you can then swap positions with that player. The problem with being more efficient than the other players is that you produce surplus parts, thus making it easier for the other players to obtain those parts.

The game will go over several rounds and the player to gain the most points by fulfilling the most machine orders will be the winner.

The Pitch

The Factory is a set collection game where each player uses their own position in the factory, and thus their own unique action to create components for numerous machines. But really you need to be making all of the components for these machines, so you watch for your opening. When your opponent is less efficient than you, you can report them and swap positions! Being the more efficient player means that you have created a surplus of parts, allowing the other players to collect them that much easier. After a full day on the factory floor, the player who produced the most machines is determined to be the winner!

Game Design Blitz #9

And today’s card is…

The Card

Color: Blue

Number: 8

Piece: Card

Mechanic: Press Your Luck

The Definition

Games where you repeat an action (or part of an action) until you decide to stop due to increased (or not) risk of losing points or your turn.

The Idea

The press your luck mechanic is quite an open subject and can be interpreted in many ways, and that’s good for coming up with ideas, but it isn’t great for a timed exercise like this, so let’s look at the card a bit more to draw inspiration. The card is blue out of four possible colors also including magenta, yellow and black. It shows both dice and a card, and has dice with the numbers 2 and 6 to determine the number 8 on the card.A very common approach to press your luck is to continue flipping over cards until you either get the combination of cards you are looking for, or you hit a card that is bad and ends your turn. What if we use cards and dice, where the cards give us the goal that we are trying to reach with our dice? At the basest level we can have a deck of cards running from one to thirteen. Two cards are flipped over and each player starts with two 6-sided dice which they begin to roll. Players may re-roll as much as they want and may lock a die at any time, however, if a 1 is rolled it must be locked. Whenever a die is locked the player may take another die from a pool of available dice. These may or may not be various special dice ranging in numbers. This is optional, and a player may lock all their dice if they choose. The first player that locks all of their dice takes the cards, then scores points equal to the combined total of their dice minus the difference between the total on the cards. Aces can be used as either 1 or 11. The closer you get to the total of the cards, the better score you get, but you risk someone else ending the round if you take too long. If you go over the total on the cards then you are busted and are out of the round.Each player puts back their extra dice and new cards are drawn to begin the next round. Play continues until one player collects all thirteen different numbered cards (I.e. Ace through King). The player with the highest score is the winner.

The Pitch

High Roller is a real-time dice and card game where players race to collect and lock dice in which the total of all the dice matches the total on the cards for the round. Don’t take too long because any player can lock all of their dice at any time and take the cards out from under you! The first player to collect all thirteen cards ends the game at which point the player with the most points is the winner!

Cast Iron Game Review – CV Pocket

IMG_1658.JPGCV 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!

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Game Design Blitz #2

And today’s card is…

The Card

Color: Blue

Number: 12/Queen

Piece: Chess Card

Mechanic: Set Collection

The Idea

There was a computer game that I played when I was younger and pc monitors only had 4 colors. For some reason the first thing that I thought of when I saw this card was in implementation of that game, Battle Chess!

Battle Chess didn’t have any special rules, it was just Chess where the pieces would come to life and smash each other whenever a piece was captured. My first inclination was a drafting game where you draft then play cards against each other to see who wins that hand of Chess. The problem with that is the fact that a queen would simply win all battles. I have to introduce things like component powers and… you guessed it, set collection!I’m not 100% set on drafting as the method by which you collect cards, but we’ll go with it for now. A deck of cards will sit in the middle of the table. A row of five cards are set face up, and in turn each player will choose and take a card to their hand. Once All five cards are drafted, the players will each play a card or cards from their hand. These cards will be compared and a winner will be determined. Cards can be held from round to round, so as the game progresses the players will be able to build better and better hands to play, and an additional bonus is that the cards that a player has drafted will be harder and harder for the opponent to remember. That is where the set collection aspect will shine. Whether the winning hand is three pawns or a knight combined with a Bishop, or even the dynamic duo of Queen and King, players have to collect sets and battle them against each other to win.

The Pitch

Battle Chess is a drafting/set collection card game in which players draft the best cards to build sets then battle those sets against each other to determine who will get Checkmate.