Wk 11, Pt. 9 – Game Rules/Dossier Preparation

startup art
Concept for Start-Up! Box art. 

Articulating my game rules in a clear and simple way is probably the most difficult experience of this game creation so far. I have a tendency to mash words terribly; I’m probably the world’s worst explainer-er (see what I mean?). I am using this blog post as practice at streamlining the rules so that they may fit in one single card.


About the game:
Start-Up! Is a card game that can be played with as few as four players and can include as many players as you would like (within practicality, of course). Each player takes the role of an entrepreneur, using the flashcards that the Investor draws as inspiration to create a product or start-up business venture idea. The investor chooses who to ‘invest’ their time in by granting them a large bonus in points, while each entrepreneur chooses their favourite answer from each other to grant a bonus point to.

Included with the game:

  1. A deck of word cards.
  2. 8 x 250 page notebooks
  3. One sand-timer that measures 30 seconds
  4. 200 x red “Investor” Tokens
  5. 500 x green “Entrepreneur” Tokens

How to play Start-Up!:

  1. Shuffle the deck of cards and place it in the middle of the play area. Pick the person who will go as the Investor first. Rotate as the investor clockwise around the circle at the end of each round.
  2. The investor will draw 3 cards from the top of the pile and lay them down for everyone to see. The investor will then flip the sand-timer to start the 30 second countdown.
  3. During the countdown, all other players (entrepreneurs) will take this time to come up with as many business or product ideas as possible and write them down in their notebooks.
  4. When the sand-timer countdown elapses, all ideas are then read aloud by each entrepreneur to the group and the investor.
  5. The investor will choose which idea to invest in with a red investor token (worth 5 points), which will be handed to the winning entrepreneur. The winning answer should be something the investor deems worthy of investing lots of money into!
  6. Each player will nominate another player’s idea for a green entrepreneur token (worth 1 point). These tokens represent points for creativity – each player may choose their favourite answer, no matter how bizarre!
  7. Tally the scores at the end of each round and mark them down in the scores section of your notepad. Add the 3 cards back to the bottom of the deck. If the deck reaches the beginning again, shuffle the deck to continue playing.
  8. Continue the game until one entrepreneur reaches 15 points (or another number pre-determined by the other players). Congratulations, winning player! You are now a billionaire (at least, in your dreams).

The Game with almost infinite play styles!

Think you can bend the rules for a different type of game? Perhaps you’d like a speed round. Using the cards as your inspiration, feel free to be as creative as you’d like!


 

Okay so perhaps the above needs to either be streamlined more, or I could use a card-sized folded pamphlet instead. There is potential for lots of different play styles to be enacted in future, which the prospective community may collaborate on. Unfortunately for now, I don’t think I will have the time to think up more rule-sets to include in the final dossier; as much as I’d like to!

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Wk 10, Pt. 8 – Confrontation

Confrontation.

To some degree, almost every single board game has it – even the cooperative ones. In the format that exists within my game, Start Up!, the players are directly competing against each other. However, there is no direct confrontation or conflict. In fact, adding the element of the “points for creativity” in my game, there is an added layer of strategy and cooperation in a game that is otherwise completely competitive.

bleh
This was actually pretty fun to do.

There was no time for a play-test this time around, however I was able to look to my online community on discord for some suggestions about the concept, as well as to aid in the brainstorming of some words.

This activity actually aided in concept development – it showed that people were willing to throw out words and ideas, and that people definitely had a thought process behind their flow of words. But I digress; back to the subject of confrontation.

In this game, confrontation is indirect. The players are competing against each other in order to appeal to both a judge and their competitors. In fact, the majority of interaction with their peers is in order to appease them –  which adds a very interesting element to the game competitively. This draws direct inspiration from a lot of the games from the Jackbox series of games (available on Steam) as they are primarily party games focused on being entertaining to both the players and the audience. Jackbox works through both the base game, displayed on a TV or streamed through a streaming service such as Twitch, allows players to join the games through their website on their device of choice to participate. Quiplash, in particular, has players come up with witty responses to a series of pre-determined scenarios. The game then takes these answers and displays them for all to see, and the other players who did not take part in answering that particular question vote on their favourites.

Image result for jackbox quiplash
Final round of Quiplash, from Jackbox games. 

Choosing to add this element to my game, I believe, takes away from the stress part of competition, especially as there are those who strategise their winning by appealing directly to the judge (at least, that’s how all of our games of Cards Against Humanity ended up being after a few rounds). The focus is now to be creative, witty, and create unexpected or hilariously practical answers.

Wk 9, Pt. 7 – Abstraction of IP

Featured Image
Shark Tank: The card game?

The game idea that I’ve been developing is a relatively simple concept to begin with for my game, Start Up!, so the abstraction of the game itself is very minimal. In fact, I’ve yet to come up with more than one ‘restrictive’ rule – ie, rules stating that a player CANNOT do something. The rules I have developed are basically general guidelines for gameplay. I am still finessing the details of the wordplay for said rules, but the basic gist of the instructions is as follows:

 

  1. There is a large shuffled deck containing a mix of adjectives, nouns, verbs and adverbs (I am currently balancing the percentage of these mixes). This is placed in the center of the circle.
  2. Each player (entrepreneur) takes the turn at being the judge – aka. investor – (go around the circle clockwise). The investor draws three cards at the beginning of the round and places them in the center face up for all to see.
  3. Each other entrepeneur then has 30 seconds to write down as many ideas for a start-up business or product as possible on a notepad.
  4. After the conclusion of the 30 seconds, each entrepreneur reveals their ideas. The investor then picks what they deem to be the best idea that they would ‘invest’ in. This entrepreneur gains 3 points.
  5. The other entrepreneurs then get to choose one other idea that they will grant points for creativity into. Each entrepreneur has one point to grant per round, and they cannot pick their own idea.
  6. Make sure to keep count of your score throughout the game. The players may determine how many points to set the goal at, which will also determine the game’s length. Otherwise, the standard would be first to 15 points.
  7. There is a potential for other formats for the game – speed rounds, shark tank, etc – to be added as further expansions, or for each player to make as they go.

In fact, perhaps the most complicated part of this entire process is settling on a preliminary list of words that is fair and balanced. For instance, ensuring that there is not too many adjectives in the list. This is probably the biggest abstraction point for this particular game, as the player will never know just how much degree of thought went into this part of balancing such a simple game. The scoring system draws inspiration from games such as Quiplash (Found in the Jackbox games) and Cards Against Humanity, however each player is in charge of keeping track of the scores and are trusted to be fair and honest. Perhaps in future to assist with keeping track of fairness, I may implement a token system, as well as include a ‘timer’ in the box of each play pack.

Wk 8, Pt. 6 – Detail Ind. Game Materials

Despite my high hopes for what would have been a great addition to the D&D universe, due to time constraints in this semester (and also life being lifey) I have decided to go forward with one of the more simpler (and ironic) games that I came up with – the Brainstorming Game. Something similar to this already exists for entrepreneurs taking classes (and is something we engaged with previously in BCM112 for our digital artifact ideas) however, I wanted to make something more focused on having fun with a group of people, engaging the silliness of our creative minds.

Disruptus has a similar premise however the game is much more complicated than my proposed idea.

My idea for my “Start-Up!” Card game is to have a series of flash cards with word suggestions on it. 3 cards are drawn from a shuffled pile by a judge. Each other player then takes 30 seconds to list as many ideas for a product or business as possible. Points are scored 2 ways. 5 points are granted to a player chosen by the judge for having the best idea (which is subjectively chosen). Then the players are to nominate their favoured player to grant “points for creativity”. Each player (bar the judge) would go around the group and gift 1 point to their player of choice which they believe has the most creative idea.

The game ends when the player-base-decided points cap is reached. It can be raised or lowered to determine game time.

As far as the game materials for this project goes, it would be a simple card-based game with the potential for expansions. We can start off with a set of about 50 cards for play-testing and then further expand this to approximately 150-200 cards of just words. It would also be nice to include up to 8 notebooks initially with 250 pages on each, with places for keeping score. This would ensure that the game can be played immediately upon purchase. If in future someone would like to purchase the official notebooks, they can be made available through a merchandise store online. Otherwise, regular notebooks will do just fine.

Wk 7, Pt. 5 – Account of Initial Ideas for IP

During a class activity we were asked to brainstorm 10 board game ideas in order to spurn inspiration for our individual projects. We were given a time limit of 5 minutes, so that was 2 ideas every 30 seconds, roughly. I managed to make it to 9, and thought I would dump those ideas here for this blog.

  1. An Indiana-Jones styled ‘avoid the boulder’ type game – Physical game like Mouse Trap in which you mash a button as fast as your can to avoid your little character getting squished by the ball.

    Inspiration for game #1 – the ‘Avoid the boulder” game.
  2. Strategy Card Game with a dice element which can affect actions and draw rates
  3. Populate and Dominate – Players ‘breed’ their race to dominate the board. There are a certain amount of turns. Certain tiles provide bonuses or hindrances.
  4. Superheroes – Draw some traits at random. Some are crazy and stupid (IE, transform into a slime) and save the day.
  5. Life as an old person – a physical game for kids where they attempt a task with limited functionality – ie, tie your shoes without bending at the hips
  6. A brainstorming game (how meta!) – Draw a card from a pile. You have 1 minute to come up with as many ideas as possible. The card drawer decides the best one. First to 5 or 10 wins.
  7. Road-Trip game – you have a ‘bomb’ of a car; try to beat your friends to the end of the board without your car falling apart.
  8. Zap! – Similar to Pieface; Mimics plugging a fork into a powerpoint, Russian-Roulette style. Obviously significantly lower voltage.
  9. “How much can you get away with in a library before being kicked out” – board game edition – Try and wreak as much havoc as possible in a library as the librarian is trying to catch you and kick you out.
Pie Face – a game where players take turns spinning the wheel to determine how many clicks they get, russian-roulette style, to see who gets whipped cream flung at their faces.

I came up with a few good ideas here. For example, our teacher seemed intrigued by the superhero game at #4. I think #1 would be fun to make, however I don’t think it’ll be physically possible to do so within the time constraints of the semester. #6 Brainstorming game also seems fun to do, and could possibly be a fall-back simple type game if the game I really want to make falls through.

Which brings me to my final idea, which technically could have been #10 on the list, but I chose to leave it out as I’d been thinking about it since the beginning of the semester. I love D&D, but I never have the time to play it. Character generation takes a while and when you’re new to the game, learning all the rules can be quite intimidating. Thinking about this led me down a thought-train that included the words, “what if I made a version of D&D that was a very light version with everything pre-prepared and ready to go for people who are new to the game concept?” (that’s a lot of words. I tend to overthink).

I think this is my favourite idea so far, and I will be doing my best to work it into an actual game from this concept that I can playtest over video and distance, so that my long-distance friends can also take part.

Wk 6, Pt. 4 – My individual contribution

My introduction to the our group for our game pitch The Mars Expedition was a week late, so a lot of the groundwork was already laid out before me. That said, there were a few roadblocks that had occurred by the team’s second meeting that I was able to assist the group with overcoming.

Inspiration #1 – Terraforming Mars

When we were choosing a movement based system, I made the suggestion to have the system be grid-based rather than a set of pre-determined paths to follow. Previously inspiration for the movement system was through board games such as Pandemic and Terraforming Mars. The thought process behind changing the system to the D&D inspired grid was so that characters would not be limited to certain paths and be free to explore the board.

Image result for pandemic board game
The linear paths and cards we’d previously taken inspiration from as shown in the game Pandemic

This would also ensure that no two games would typically be alike – as I’d also suggested the element of chance that was rolling dice at the beginning of the game to determine the layout of the adventure. For example – 2 dice are rolled for co-ordinates of the X and Y – these results would determine the placement of the crash site for the ship with supplies, the starting base position, the locations of certain obstacles, as well as where enemies and rewards would appear. It would also help to keep track of how many spaces our heroes on the board could actually move with their cards as well.

Prezi overview with the background I threw together after editing the image from this NASA page.

Unfortunately after that initial meeting of throwing out some great ideas and collaborating with my teammates, I was unable to keep in contact with them over the break. This left me with panicked last minute messages close to the due date of the presentation with instructions of what had yet to be completed. In the presentation I threw together a background image of Mars that I had retrieved from NASA and edited to make more background-visible friendly. I then wrote the sections on the gameplay, rules and end game content. As life at the time had become hectic, I aimed to include as much detail as possible, just on the chance that I would not be able to attend class the following day, and to allow Max and Aiman to follow my thought process.

Screenshots of the sections of the Prezi that I wrote.

Wk 4, Pt. 3 – Mechanics, algorithms, Rules

I’m not a person who plays a lot of board games (the flashy ones on the screen are more my forte). So when I try to compare the game that we’ve been creating in class to another board game title, the effort is completely lost on me. With a furrowed brow, I typed the words into google: “grid based exploration board games”; nothing like what we had created came up.

Image result for D and D maps
Example of a D&D Dungeon map. Note the grid which scales to approximately 5 metres of space. Players have usually the ability to move up to 30 metres in one turn and can utilize these squares to measure distance and location.

Our game draws from many different elements of many different games. Having played a lot of D&D previously we were used to games that utilised a grid-based movement system and a turn-based action structure.

We chose to make our game a collaborative one, rather than competitive, where the players work together to achieve their goal, resulting in the need for communication and strategy amongst their team mates so they do not lose. This draws inspiration from European games which focus on avoiding direct conflict with other players, which can usually result in some heightened tensions among friends. We decided to avoid this.

Through our brainstorming for mechanics, we came up with the following points allowance system:

  1. Players will have 4 moves:
    a) Move
    b) Use an Action Card
    c) Use an Energy Card
  2. A set amount of points are granted per turn, or as bonuses throughout the game per random elements of chance encounters.
  3. Using an action card will cost the player 2 points. Players are also able to save points for another turn if they want to, so if a player decides they want to attack more than once, they will need to have saved up some extra action cards to do so.

The game works based on a capture-the-flag (the flag being the crashed ship, the base being… the base) objective format, however there are incentives throughout the game (eg, supply caches, or avoiding obstacles) which will divert the players. There are 5 character types in the game who all have their own ways of contributing to the team. The most important character, to keep alive, is the Navigator. Without this character, your team will almost definitely get lost, never find the crashed ship, and die – resulting in a loss. The other characters – Medic, Engineer, Military vet, and the Harvester – provide the team with the ability to fight, heal, repair equipment, and forage for food and supplies.

If players are unable to progress, ie, running out of food, or starving, they also lose. As fuel is consumed with every movement, being careless with your moves will result in certain death.

Each turn a dice roll takes place to place random encounters, obstacles, or advantages on the board. This element of randomness ensures that each game and each strategy will never be the same for each play through. There is also the chance that the odds may be stacked heavily against the players, giving them an impossible run, or making the game too easy if the players are exceedingly lucky.

Inspiration image of possible crash-site concept art. Not ours, of course.