Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I had a dream

This past Friday I had a dream about a game.  I woke up at three in the morning with a full set of rules in my head and determined that I would remember them upon waking.  As soon as I got up in the morning I began to draw on paper and make little cut outs and voila, a new game appeared.  I have never done this before as all of the games I have built have been products of long iteration and conscious design rather than simply writing down what appeared to me in a dream.

The thing that I am most pleased with is that the initial design seems to need almost no tweaking to work.  That isn't to say that no improvements can be made but rather that no improvements need to be made for the game to be exactly what I was hoping:  Extremely fast to explain (1-2 minutes), fast to play (10 minutes) and deep strategically.  Even after playing a bunch of games I was still struggling to figure out the best strategies and sort out exactly what I should do given particular choices but after getting a number of people to test the game with me it was obvious that the player with the most experience and talent won consistently.  I wanted a game that was as simple to explain as chess, played much more quickly and had the same sort of strategic depth while retaining just a little randomness.

The idea is that this is a simple 12 turn game.  On each turn you play one tile and score points for each side of your tile that has more dots on it than the adjacent tile or edge - you can only score points from enemy tiles or edges.  These comparisons are called attacks.  Tiles can have special rules which you see on the sheet in the picture.  Each player has 12 tiles which are identical but you draw 3 of them at random to start the game and then draw a new one each time you play one.  This means the games will be different each time but that each player will have the same quality of tiles over the match.  The final wrinkle is that before the match starts three tokens are placed on the board on squares.  Whoever places a tile in that square claims the token and each token is worth 1 point.  The first player places a token, then the second player, then first again.  After this they play through their 12 tiles with the first player going first again.

That's it.  Thematically of course the tiles could be all kinds of things and have all kinds of powers.  They could be fantasy monsters, foods, spaceships or whatever else fit the theme of the game (which I haven't yet settled on).  Numbers first, then set dressing!

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