Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Designer’s Edition: The Game

The arrival of Ogre Sixth Edition has not just resulted in a lot of blown up command posts. It has inspired my daughter to create a super-deluxe version of her own game.

I played her original prototype before this debuted. It was a straight ahead roll-and-move game. Instead of dice, there were cards numbered one to five.  If you landed on your color, you got to go again. (But you couldn’t keep doing that– just one “bonus” move is allowed.) As in Sorry, you had to get the exact number you needed to land on the “End” space.

She agonized over the crafting aspect of the bigger, better version. When she was done, she’d added a rule that if you didn’t land on your color, you had to go back two spaces. The cards were replaced with a die. Also… there was a post-move challenge. You drew a card with the name of a creature or household object written on it. If you’d landed on a “1” space” you had to make it out of silly putty. If you landed on a “2” space, you had to draw it. If you’d landed on your color, you had the option to act it out if you wanted. Very intentionally, there was no time limit. You just had to do it before the next person went. There were no consequences for failure and no “extras” for success.

When we playtested this with three players, we found out that we could not complete it in under half an hour. The kids loved the acting out stuff, though… but the silly putty proved a not-so-good replacement for the clay in “Cadoo.” My son actually did ask to play it again a couple of days later, but life took over and the game was forgotten. I did try the game again without the challenges and my daughter quickly discarded the “go back two” rule she’d added.

This game had been on my mind and percolating with Jay Meyer’s game design advice. (His kickstarter looks like it’s well on its way to funding, by the way. Congrats on the progress, Jay!) I went back to the roll-and-move idea, but added in this thing were you got a number of colored tokens based on what was on the square you landed on. After your usual move, you could take an action. If you had red tokens, you could “smash” any two tokens in another player’s possession and take them out of play. If you had green tokens, you could “steal” one token from another player. If you had yellow tokens, you could “teleport” ahead as many spaces as the number of yellow tokens you had. To successfully perform your action, you had to roll the number of tokens you had in that color or less. You would then lose one of those colored tokens unless you rolled your number of blue tokens or less on the die.

My variant did not go over that well with my daughter. She did not appreciate the “screwage factor” when she had to bear the brunt of it. She got an early lead and kept it to the very end while my son stayed in last place for the entire game: not a very dramatic game, that! There was also maybe a problem when players got to 6+ tokens of a single color (with instant success) and the agony of not being “good” at anything. Ah well, back to the drawing board…!

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