6/6/14

Games! More Games!

Playing weekly with a crew of boardgame aficionados can be inspiring. It seems I often dream up designs for new games on my way home at the end of an evening's play.

I made an earlier post about designs I had made to date. That post is here, if you missed it:
http://techsmiths.blogspot.com/2013/08/pushing-my-games-ahead.html

Since then, I've added  four more.

SCAVENGER is about a post-apocalyptic world where our robots, told to safeguard our cities, have pushed humankind out of them. (Think about it - we're our own worst enemies!) The players represent small communities of people eking out a hardscrabble existence in the hills above the city they once resided in. From time to time, each group needs to augment or replace supplies that they are incapable of making for themselves: flashlights, batteries, blankets, canned food, and so on. Each player is sent into the deserted city with a shopping list, and each must ransack buildings until they find all the items on their list. Shortly after they sneak into town, sensors set off alarms, and police robots roll out of their stations to round them up and expel them. The game is a race to finish the scavenger hunt first, while trying to avoid the hunting robots.

I wanted to use aerial or satellite photos of a deserted/destroyed city, but haven't yet found anything suitable. I may have to draw my own, so this idea is on a back burner.

PAY DIRT is a game about gold mining. I happened upon an interesting chemistry blog, Elements Unearthed, (http://elementsunearthed.com/2012/07/), which included details of how hard-rock mining was performed in the American West. The game just rolled out of my consciousness and onto paper! Players start with a limited placer claim, which they pan for their gold. At some point, they will have to stop mining to hunt for a new strike. They can stick to sands and gravels, or they can move uphill to the deposits that are just weathering out of the rock. Hard rock claims are richer, but slower to tap. When they judge they have enough money, the players can invest in pieces of gear that allow them to process ore faster. That, of course, makes exploration ever more pressing. Eventually, players will want to take a partner, so work can keep going while exploring or, even hire a team of young bucks to work for them. That comes with multiple prices, one of them being that if not supervised, a crew can rob him blind!

This one ought to be fun and very playable, a good family game. I definitely want to prototype this one!

RUSH HOUR is a commuting game. The web of streets periodically gets stuffed with traffic, and finding the path of least resistance is critical to getting home in time for dinner. It plays as a race between the players, who each start at different entry points to the map and have different destinations.

I have the mechanisms for creating the traffic patterns worked out. I'm concerned, though, that play-testing may determine they're too fiddly and tedious, so this design is going to wait while I try to come up with a better system.

SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY FIGHT! is a chance to dabble in politics in the Palmetto State (where I live). I'm mindful that South Carolina was once characterized as "too small to be a republic, and too big to be an insane asylum." (!!) It turns out that both major parties change their methods of choosing candidates for major offices with some frequency. This game abstracts the process into a statewide primary election to choose which candidate will represent the Party in the general election. (We actually have such a primary next week.) I've decided that nominally, the player is vying for the chance to run for the Governor's slot.

Your own brand of politics doesn't matter in the game. You deploy a limited amount of campaign resources (Volunteers, Flyers, Signs, Print Ads, Radio Ads, & TV Ads) through the local campaign headquarters you establish in the counties, and you try to assure you will be the candidate of choice in the counties you decide to concentrate in. Meanwhile, you're also wooing celebrities for their endorsements, which improve your name recognition and vote takes. If you can work quickly, a series of "Momentum" bonuses may fall to you, as you work to acquire the necessary votes to win the primary.

An obvious benefit is that I can create a customized version for each state, incorporating its counties, dignitaries, and peccadilloes! 

I'm very happy with how this title has shaped up, so I've taken the step of having my prototype professionally printed... and it just arrived today! I'm looking forward to taking this to my gamer's group to try out!

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