Last week and this week, I’ve been sort of stuck in a moment of nonproductivity with regard to the #gameaweek challenge that I’m doing with Ana, Dennis, Melissa, and Greg. Ana is super inspiring and still going strong and even wrote about her experiences in the ProfHacker column for The Chronicle of Higher Ed!
My moment of stuckage can be primarily blamed on two things. First, I’m making a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game with Inklewriter based on Latour’s dialog found in his book Reassembling the Social. It’s an interlude between chapters in the book and features a professor having a conversation with a student, and it’s called “On the Difficulty of Being an ANT.”
This is really long; I apologize. What started as a write-up for the second game in the #GameAWeek challenge that I’m doing with awesome Ana Salter, Melissa Peterson, and Dennis Ramirez (and soon Nick Lalone!) has turned into a monster of a post as I try to cobble together my memory for this card game I’ve been developing off and on for about 9 months now (yes, I know I cheated!).
Anyway, go read their reflections about their second games! Ana’s chilling My Town, Melissa’s clever merging of the crafting genre with the one room genre Solution, and Dennis’s retro-adventure game Time Enough to Travel. They’re also much better at writing reflections on each others’ work, sorry.
One thing I learned is that 3 weeks of unstructured slow jamming is about the same as a 48-hour traditional, little-sleep game jam. The amount of work and the completeness of a project are about the same. One big difference is that you get a lot more playtesting iterations in, though, so what you have can be more balanced, if not necessarily more complete…
I think next year we should provide a little more structure, set definite goals, etc.
This year, we ended up with 7 projects in various states:
a tight economic boardgame designed by Joe Wasserman about managing a barbershop. Yes, a barbershop. I would buy this in a heartbeat. It is very, very good.
a deck building, sort of area control, combat card game, inspired by Eminent Domain *and* Cosmic Encounter. Wow.
a space 4x (minus 1 x) co-op card game. This one is mine, and I’m still working on it. Hoping to launch a Kickstarter sometime soonish.
a push-your-luck dice game inspired by Kerbal Space Program, about the early rush to space during the Cold War.
a strategy roguelike-like, inspired by Small World, etc.
a platformer based on The Faerie Queene
a vector and momentum game about mobsters fighting on ice. Awesome concept.
There’s probably going to be two or three Kickstarter projects emerging from last month, eventually, so I’ll be sure to provide status updates when I can.
In turn, draw top card and decide whether to place it in the common pasture or to place it in private pasture. Place cards face down.
Up to 20 cows can be placed in private pasture.
Common pasture can only hold 60 cows before it is full.
[Designer note: Either this or maybe instead the common pasture can only hold 20 cows but is reset each round. Either way, the numbers probably need tweaking.]
Once all cows have been allocated, reveal them and see if the common pasture went over 60 cows [Note: or 20 if using the round limit instead of game limit]. If so, it has become full and all the cows on it from the current round have run away.
The next round starts, but the start player rotates.
[Because players go in order, earlier players can bluff about the number of cows they placed in either their private or the common pasture. It’s predicted that earlier players will use the common pasture while last player may lean towards using his or her private pasture.]
Bonus 10 points for any player who places 4 or more cards into private pasture. [This hopefully encourages risk taking with the common pasture. Does one play it safe by throwing his or her high cards into a private pasture, lowering the risk that the common will go bust? Or does the player go for quantity of cards for bonus points?]
Bonus 10 points for any player who places 6 or more cards in the common pasture. [Again, this rule is meant to encourage players to take risks with the common pasture.]
Include the face cards. They are worth 0 cows. Players play 10 rounds instead of 7.. [This would potentially increase bluffing.]
What if each suit had 2 1s, 2 2s, etc. up til 5s. Then lower the private and common limits to 10 and 30 maybe…
If this works, start tweaking the deck, perhaps adding suits, etc. and retheme with art.
Could scale with fewer or more players: Common pasture holds (15 x number of players) worth of cows.
A solo game probably be made where a dummy player is set up and the soloist just draws a random card from the dummy player to place in the common pasture each turn.