The good thing about #GameAWeek is that it is also called Failure of the week and how you learn from your failures and you get a fresh start the next week. I do want to learn some of the electronic game-design systems out there and make something with Twine, Unity, etc, but I wanted to start with what I thought I knew how to do, which was board and card games. I think I did okay with my Week 1 game, and I was going into week 2 thinking that I wanted to design a dice game. I was thinking of all the things you can do with six-sided dice mechanics and drew off of Yahtzee, King of Tokyo and the roll 3 times mechanic improving your roll. The Dice as workers mechanic with Kingsburg and Alien Frontiers to power a bigger game. The stacking of like dice with Stack. The press-your-luck mechanic with dice and Zombie Dice, Cosmic Wimp-out. And even the lying around dice with Liar’s Poker dice. I was sure that I could find something new to do with dice, but Monday and Tuesday went by and I was stumped.
So I moved back to cards (maybe a card/dice blend, I thought), and thought I could do a dungeon crawl game. One neat mechanic that I’ve enjoyed in one game that I haven’t seen since was in Girl Genius, where you layout the board in cards that are 90 degrees from each other. That is neat in Girl Genius because the cards act as gears and the board rotates for various reasons. I built a maze dungeon with a “treasure” in the center and was going to have the players go from their starting Ace and build to the center with an ever increasing number, avoiding/encountering the face-card monsters. I couldn’t get it to work well enough for me with the various rules that I tried.
So it is now Thursday and so I simplified again and instead of a 6×6 maze of cards to maneuver, I went with the same starting at the Ace and needing to get to the King, but the player had to play an “Idiot’s Delight” game mechanic to move forward. It was an alright solitaire game, but almost no skill/challenge (which is what the idiot’s delight mechanic brings).
So then I took the diamonds out of the deck and decided to make them the “store” that the adventurers can purchase before entering the dungeon. This had a bit more promise and the player had choices to have a large deck of random cards hoping for a higher number, or spend some of the random cards to get some of the numbers you need to succeed. The board was layed out as:
Ace of Diamonds — Face down 1 — Face down 2 — Face down 3 — 7 of diamonds — Face down 4 — Face down 5 — Face down 6 — King of Diamonds. (I changed between 3 face down cards and 4 face down cards between the 1 and 7 and King).
With the 9 cards down and the 10 diamonds and 2 jokers available to purchase, that left a deck of 33 random cards that the player can choose to spend on the diamonds or wild jokers (at 5 cards for a diamond or 9 cards for a joker). On this now solo card game, you flip over Face down 1 and hope it is a low number like a 2 or 3 and if so, you probably want to keep it and move forward otherwise you can play from your hand (diamonds/jokers that you purchased) or play random cards from your remaining deck.
I had created a solitaire card-based dungeon crawl game and it mostly was fun, but I took a break and read the board game news of the week. I usually just skim headlines, but I see the following “New Card-based RPG dungeon crawl game available for print and play at http://www.myobrpg.com”. I went to the site and while very different from my game, it was much better and disheartening to see my exact idea on the same week as I’m doing my game. (On the same note, my first game prototype was a dog-walking game on a set of tiles which was kind of fun and involved the strategic use of doggy poo was called “Walk the Dog”, and I was discouraged when I saw a game with that name come out the same year as my prototype and I never did much more with my version of the game.)
So tomorrow starts a new week and a new game and I track this up as a part of the Failure of the Week, but you can see Colin Carroll’s game of card and dice based dungeon crawl and play that. (Or try to play my starts of games from my sketches of rules above). This turned into a reflection post, without much of the game post (though I will still reflect on my fellow #GameAWeek friend’s games.