I like it because it's open-source, very easy to learn and still gets developed. If you want I can give you a 30-min demo of it. Hit me on twitter @angelo_nikolaou
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Thanks for your feedback Chris! You're spot on, others gave similar feedback, and I had similar thoughts to you.
Initially I had a more dynamic rule: First garbage shows up in a dice roll from the previous round, then second garbage shows up at random, then you roll for where the garbage will show up next round. It proved... meh. Unnecessarily complicated, cognitive load for rarely any payoff. Switching to 2 random rolls made the game faster and cleaner. I'd maybe see some exceptions, e.g. 'when a muddy square is rolled, another muddy square gets garbage', but the default random rolls seems to be the way to go for now.
As I said in a different comment, the '6 upgrades per player' was an afterthought because playing only for clearing the field was too long and boring. If you have a different suggestion for a winning condition I'd love to hear it.
I have to admit that I kinda had in mind to make a Legacy PnP game out of this, where stages and upgrade options are different every time, the mud spots stay there and become more and more, garbage in muddy spot need a 'Gloves' upgrade to be picked up, bins matter etc. I didn't have enough time to plan all that, so I just made the default game to get a sense out of it. The ideas you threw would fit there perfectly :)
Thanks for playing, glad you enjoyed!
I never got 4 players to play. Funnily, on Saturday I was on a skype call of 3 couples, so we could have very easily play girls vs boys and have one of each team sit together and play this. Alas, we ran out of time and I didn't manage to recommend it.
It reads great and it sounds great, so I think you have a great little party game here :) Excellent work!
Me and my wife loved this game! We'll definitely keep it and show it to friends (once the quarantine is over :P)
As I mentioned in a previous comment, the rulebook doesn't cover some cases: Who starts first, where do straights start and end, what the value of suits or As are. Also the first card that showed up (moon laser in the Savannah) didn't mention what a flush is and we had to look it up. I might as well mention a couple typos: dice->die (twice), the draw->they draw.
We had issues with cognitive load with two mechanics:
1) It was hard to remember checking for Drawn effects of new cards, especially when we have to check the continent matching and what the new card's defeat effect is. Perhaps just the trigger penalty is enough? The cognitive load issue was even bigger because it didn't happen every time, and it had the same place as useful abilities. I'd suggest either removing the Drawn effect, or move it to a different section of the card and make all cards have something (sometimes positive sometimes negative) to make it easier to remember to check the effect when drawn
2) Remembering to bring the die down was hard. We wanted to be doing fun stuff instead and we may have forgotten to bring it down once or twice, it was hard to tell if we had forgotten. We had to remember which player got the new card last time to calculate who gets it next and see if the die is at the right score.
A way to reduce cognitive load is to link the new plot card to something else, that players do anyway or want to do. For example, you could place top 5 cards from the deck on the side, when that pile is over a new plot card comes and 5 more cards from the deck are placed on the side (ability card draws draw from the deck and not the new pile). Another solution would be to introduce 5 counters that go on top of cards when played, 'new recruits' could have an ability, eg they can't be discarded or injured, and when 5 counters are placed all counters are removed from cards and a new plot card comes. I'm sure you can figure out different solutions too.
Gameplay was pretty tight. 4-of-a-kind cards were especially difficult to deal with, though at least we knew that if a specific number was not in discard/injury/death it will eventually come. We managed to stay on top of things, the triggers were never too hurtful, we were always between 2-4 plot cards, and winning was decently easy in the end, but it always felt that things can go wrong. I would love to see increased difficulty rules!
We felt that the defeat conditions were pretty repetitive and not using the potential space. We'd love to see stuff like '5 even cards', '2 cards from each suit', '5 cards under 6' or '2 consecutive pairs' rather than more and more flushes and 4 of a kinds.
Overall, excellent work Robin, you found a great way to use a standard poker deck in making a small PnP game that has an amazing playing experience and has great variety and replayability.
EDIT: Fun fact, I realized I had no poker deck around, but I used a Tichu deck which worked just fine :)
Me and my wife enjoyed playing this, and it was so quick we played a second time right away!
Printing instructions were very useful, however it was hard to cut the cards with scissors because there were no trace lines between cards. Next time you make PnP files, it would be great to facilitate those without a paper cutter as well ;)
Your rules don't mention who starts first or what happens if a tile stack is empty, but other than that the rulebook was great and covered everything needed.
I don't enjoy memory elements in games, so that part of your game didn't work for me. The rest of the gameplay was optimizing mission points while avoiding elements you've already seen in Research cards, which felt a bit flat and repetitive, but the optimization part was engaging enough.
On a second play we felt that there weren't many options to differentiate strategy. My wife tried to play less for objectives and more for getting points at the end, while I was juggling both like the first time, and she lost by 2 points, making her feel that her strategy was suboptimal.
Overall, great production quality, great rulebook, good gameplay experience, maybe not a lot of replayability
I enjoyed playing this little game. Because we didn't have cubes of 7 colours, we ended up using random bits and writing on the bottom of the paper what the effect each different bit has (ended up serving as a player aid too)
As written in the rulebook, the white, purple and pink cubes' abilities were a bit hard to remember and it was hard to differentiate them or associate the ability with the bits. It would have been better if their abilities weren't so different too.
With the current rules, we found that it's tactically best to not go in the hole if you're done, instead go close to the watering hole, then step on and off a purple cube to give actions to the hippo lagging behind.
Other than that, the rules were very clear and we got in the game pretty fast. The gameplay experience was more fun at the start of the game, where we made our pathing plan, then the rest of the game was somewhat procedural, executing on the plan then bam, we win. Some randomness or uncertainty during play could have brought more planning or reactionary decisions, however I can appreciate that this puzzle gameplay can work fine for younger ages.
Overall a fine entry :)
I wanted to print and play this game, but the format of the printing files made it difficult to print and collate. Having limited paper and ink, I had to skip so unfortunately I couldn't rate your game. As others suggested, programs like Illustrator, Gimp, Nandeck or (my preference) CardMaker would allow you to create pages with the number of copies of cards needed, so people can just click to print.
Great theme though, pity I didn't get to play it!
Assembled and will play later today. Some rules questions:
1) Straight is 1-2-...-K? 1-2-...-K-1? 2-...-K-1?
2) What's the value for face cards? 10?
3) There can be any number of plot cards on the table, right? Can go to 4, 5 or more if you're doing badly? What happens if we do really well and theoretically complete all plot cards?
Thank you for your feedback :-) thematic cohesion is a frequent weakness of my games, and you're right on point about this game too. It's something i should work more on next jam.
I really like your thematic explanation of 'you show the good example, other kids start cleaning as well, meaning your abilities become more powerful'. If I make another version I'll be sure to include it.
For 'reroll until you find a square without mud' flipping a 6/1 would result to 1/6 which also has mud. I would keep the one rule rather than make two rules with conditions, but what you did is a perfectly fine shortcut.
You're right about the 'roll another time', there was another comment about it.
For 'you win if you're carrying garbage' i imagined it that the ground of the playground is pristine so you win. Does that still not fit thematically for you?
You are right that i should have added more examples to situations like the upgrade cost. I uploaded 15 mins before the deadline, which is my bad.
You don't have to use all actions, and you can't pick diagonally if you can move diagonally and pick up from adjacent. These are indeed not covered.
I appreciate your comments, they pointed out a lot of things i didn't know! Cheers!
Thank you for your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
You are correct that the 6 upgrades winning condition is an afterthought. Initially I wanted the game to end by cleaning all the garbage, but it felt way too long. I imagine it as 'you've proven to the school principal that you're great at collecting garbage' reward. If you have a different suggestion for a winning condition I'd love to hear it.
For your questions
1) Nonono. Would be even more random, more punishing and the stage steps would need to be rebalanced to allow more explosions.
2) No, only for rolls from then on
3) Just one time. It's indeed not clear in the rules.
4) Good point, I didn't cover it. No, garbage held aren't added to the total, only garbage on the board.
What did you think of the 'Protect adjacent squares' upgrade? Did it prove useful?
The character upgrade came from wanting to add character abilities like Pandemic but not having them rigid like the class system there. Flexible upgrading feels more rewarding and allows different players to prioritize different build paths according to preference and situation.
Thanks for highlighting the issues. I wrote the rules hastily and didn't include any examples :-/
You lose the game when the number of garbage is equal or more than the loss state on the game progress sheet according to current stage. For Stage 1, you lose at 28 garbage on the board. For Stage 2 at 26, etc
The winning conditions made more sense?
Thank you for your kind words! Playtesting previous versions proved that the goal of the game was unclear and the controls were complicated. We ended up not making a tutorial, instead tried to make the buttons clearer and add info in the loading screen. Sounds like it was a partial success.
Thank you for your kind words Naomi!
We decided to stick to the numbers of the 'What if?' article, which ended up providing a decent progress. Only hickups were the step to IMAX (too short) and to NIF (waaaay too long), but we decided to stick to the theme instead of taking liberties and changing the actual numbers.
We contemplated making a second button to buy 1% of the NIF, then scale up the power... but time ran out :P
Do you have any other suggestion to fix this problem while still keeping with the theme?