Saturday, October 29, 2011


As apart of our rapid prototype report we were given an outline of what is expected in our report.
According to the outline it was expected that we recreate/edit our rules/board and playtest before we look into survey questions we would like to ask.
However I feel compelled to research different answers I would like to find out from my playtest and create a survey first.

After some research and consideration I would be interested in learning some of the following things about my game:
Do men and women play my game differently?
Does each player have a different goal? Strategy?
Do players understand how to play?
Do players want to play multiple times? Why?
Do the players ever get bored? Confused? Frustrated?
Do the players like the look of the game?

There may be more questions added to this list, but for now this is what I am excited to learn!
Now to create a survey!

General Info

The Game Experience
What was your first impression of the game based on design?
What was your expectations for the game? Were you surprised? Disappointed?
Were the rules straight forward?
What was your goal for the game?
What was your strategy to achieve your goal?
Did you feel your strategy helped?
Was the game play too slow? Too fast?
Did you find the game boring?
Was the game play tedious?
Would you play this game again?
What was your favourite part of the game?
What was your least favourite part of them game?
Do you have any additional comments?

Hopefully this survey will provide me with the information I am looking for!


The changes I want to make for my game are the following:

- Create a new board
I want to redesign my board so it is no longer a 4x5 grid but a 5x5 grid. The rows will be labeled 1-5 and so will the columns. Ideally I want each row to have its own colour according to number, with the columns having the same colour order (ie 1 = red, 2 = blue etc). The "t" section in the middle of the grid (row 3 and column 3) must have a very special, stand-out colour as it is important (and must look it)!

- I want to add control to my game via changing the dice roll mechanic.
I want to use a D6 instead of a D20. My idea is that the player will roll a D6, if they roll an even number (2, 4 or 6) they may place their card on any square which intersects an even row/column. Similarly with an odd roll; if players roll 1 or 5 they may place their card on any square which intersects an odd row/column. However, a player may only place their card anywhere in the special 't' area(row 3 column 3) of the grid if they roll a 3. Other wise their cards may not enter this area.

- Add a mechanic where players can challenge, and potentially take over, another player's square.
In my original rules I had indicated that players may overlap their opponent's card should they roll an occupied square number on the D20. This did not really go over well as it did not allow the opponent any chance to protect their area. So, with the new mechanic of choice/control over where a player may place their card, the opponent should have the choice to protect their occupied squares if necessary. If a player tries to take over their opponent's square, both players must roll a d6. The highest roll is the winner and may take over the square, should the loser be the previous occupant of the square, they must remove their card.

- Clariying the Wild Cards
In my first draft of the rules I indicated that wild cards on the board may be considered either Xs or Os. That made perfect sense to me, however it did not to my players. So I must clarify any misconceptions. I want the wild cards to be much like the Free space on a bingo card. Any wild card on the board may be used by either the X player or the O player in order to complete a line up of their cards.

Tic Tac Toe Critiques

The way I intended my tic tac toe game (titled "Xtreme Xs & Os") to play out was much different than the way it did.
I expected the mechanic, where the player rolls a D20 to determine where they place their card, would be interesting and exciting as it is full of surprises (as we learned from our text, humans like surprises). However, in this instance there may have been a few surprises too many as the players had no control over the game what-so-ever. I understand how this must have been a pain as it required no skill, no judgement, no thought. With this lack of control the game went by with little to no fun and no bragging rights as it was all chance.

During the playtest of my tic tac toe game, I received the following critiques:
-Clarify the use of Wild Cards in the rules
-Challenge players cards (ex// if an X card is on square #5 and the O player rolls a #5 maybe they can fight for the spot)
-Game is all chance- add some control elements
-Roll evens or odds (ex// If odd is rolled a player may chose to put their card on any intersecting square of an odd # row and odd # column)
-Redesign the game board so the third row/column stands out. This cross-zone would require a special roll (perhaps a 3 or a multiple of 3?) to have any cards placed on it

With these critiques in mind I plan to rewrite my rules and redesign my board to make it more appealing.
My main goal for rewriting the rules is to incorporate some control into this game... especially since I advertised it as "A Tic Tac Toe game that's all about Tac Tics!"

Rapid Prototype report 2

I had a difficult time deciding which rapid prototype I would focus on for the second report.
It was between my tic tac toe game and my Norse explorers game.
In the end Tic tac toe won.

Here are some photos of what my original board/pieces/rules looked like:

Game Board

Playing Pieces

Original Rules

The original rules say:
-Players = 2
-Players are given a deck of cards (either X or O with some wild cards)
-a D20 is rolled to decide who plays first (Highest # rolled wins)
-Players roll D20 to decide where their card is to be placed
-Each square is numbered, the numbered rolled indicates which square the card goes on (face up)
-Cards may be overlapped by opponents
-Players cannot overlap their own cards. If they roll a number of a square that is already occupied by their own card, they must roll again.
-Goal = Line up 4 cards in a row (horizontal, vertical or diagnol)
-Wild cards act as free cards, they may be considered Xs or Os

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Playtest 2

After reworking the rules, board and game pieces I expected my second playtest would go a lot smoother than the first, with less game-problems and critiques.

I am so naive...

Design wise, my game could use some fixes:
1) I expected the game to be a little slower paced, but when the game was beaten and over in less than 15 minutes I was a little embarrassed. The board is too small, it would really benefit with a longer road to the finish.
2) The Star card spots on the board were a little small- they did not allow much room for one player token, let alone two.
3) If I were to fix this game up to pitch it to an existing game company, I would have to use a far more sturdy material for the player spaceship pieces. Even though their standing-paper-doll technology is neat, it does not work well with thin paper.

The Game play could be fixed in the following ways:
1) For a player to win a battle against the population of a planet a roll of 4 or higher, may be too much to expect. It made for very painful scenario where a player, who chose to continue battling the planet, lost 7/10 of their population tokens. A suggestion was made that a roll of 3 or higher wins the battle against the alien planet, where as a roll of 1 or 2 loses the battle.
2) Another issue that was brought up, regarding battling a planet's population, was that the population on some planets were too high. A population of 9 (billion) on one planet means a player must win a battle against the population 9 times in order to obtain their resources. This game mechanic would drag on a bore the other players while the one player battling would get frustrated as they lost their population tokens when they lost a battle. To fix this I would lower the population on a number of planets, likely not exceeding 5 (billion).
3) Another suggestion that was given, was that a player battling a planet should have to stop fighting the planet if they lose (roll 3 or less) more than 4 times in a row. Originally a player had the choice to stop battling a planet if they were losing, however some players don't like to quit and wind up losing the game because they lost all of their population tokens. So perhaps creating a rule that they must retreat from battle after 4 losses will prevent this.
4) One last critique I received was to perhaps change the value/point system of the resources a player can obtain once defeating a planet. A player commented on how they "Lost 5 billion people, but got 2 seeds" did sound a little ridiculous. To change that I would likely emphasize that 1 seed token equals 1 billion seeds (much like the population tokens), or something along those lines.

All in all it was a very enlightening experience to playtest my game again.
I'm sure if I were to playtest it a third or even a fourth time I would learn more each time.

New Game Board

One of the tips to make my game better was to make my game board and game pieces fit the space theme better.

And so I exchanged my old square playing board for a more organic, circular, orbit-inspired one.

With the game pieces I changed the old crappy space ships into more colourful spaceships that can stand on the board.
The "L" Livestock tokens were made more lively with alien-looking cows.
The "S" Seed tokens now have an illustrated, blooming seed and the "P" Population tokens now sport an alien's face.
The Star cards also got a make-over, from being plain pieces of paper to being decorated blue cards with yellow stars.

I'm quite pleased, I feel that the game feels more unified now that the pieces are more interesting and theme-oriented.
However, if I had enough time/markers I would have liked to coloured in the game board with a space-like background with coloured planets.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Game Pieces

With new rules come new playing pieces!

Expect to see the hard copies and the playing board soon!

New Game Rules

After millennia of abusing their home, the various alien people of the planet Echo-Tango must leave the barren wasteland they created.In order to survive, the Echo-Tangoans must find new sources of food and, ideally, a new planet to call home.
Along with an infertile planet, the aliens also leave behind any peaceful relationships they had with their fellow Echo-Tangoans. An unspoken "Every species for themselves" attitude is adopted as all of the alien people board their own space ship and race to the planet Delta-Kilo, where they can start a new life.
Delta-Kilo is known to be a vastly empty planet with no animals and no plants. In spite of this, fertile soil covers the land and the freshest of waters fill its lakes and rivers. It is the ideal new home for the people of Echo-Tango, however before they may settle on Delta-Kilo they must collect seeds and livestock so that they may have food to survive.
Unfortunately the planet Delta-Kilo is not as big as Echo-Tango, there is only enough room for one alien species to start a new civilization; and so the race begins to collect resources, save their population and hopefully make it to Delta-Kilo. Other aliens may not make it to Delta-Kilo, but if they have enough food and people, they may survive, homeless, living among the stars.

Goal of the Game:
Win the game by having the highest survival score by collecting resources and saving your population.
Population tokens are worth 3 points.
Seed tokens are worth 2 points.
Livestock tokens are worth 1 point.

The player who finishes the game by landing on Delta-Kilo gets an additional +8 added to their survival score.

Game Rules:
Number of players: 2-6
Age: 10+

1) Each player selects a spaceship token as their playing piece. They are then given 10 population tokens, (one token represent 1 billion of the aliens in their spaceship, indicating each race has 10 billion people). The player places the spaceship on Echo-Tango, the starting block, and keeps the 10 population tokens in a pile to their right.

2) Each player rolls a six sided die- highest number plays first, clockwise from the highest number plays next.

3) A d6 is rolled to indicate how many places on the playing board a player may move their spaceship. Each player can only move forward.
a) Should two spaceships land on the same space, the two alien races must battle!
Both players roll a d6, the highest roller is the winner. The loser must discard a population token indicating they have lost 1 billion of their people.
b) Should additional spaceships land on the same block the winner of the previous battle must roll and battle the newcomer.

4) If a player's spaceship lands on a planet they must roll a d6 to decide if they will attack the planet (roll an odd number) or leave peacefully (roll an even number).
a) If the player rolls an odd number and attacks the planet they must again, roll the d6.
i) If they roll a 3 or less they lost the battle against the planet's population and must discard a population token.
ii) If they roll a 4 or higher they win the battle- defeating 1 (billion) of the planet's population. In order to win the war the player must eliminate the entire planet's population (i.e. roll 4 or higher for however many 1 (billion) aliens are on the planet). -If the player wins and destroys the entire population of the planet, they win the planet's resources and may collect its Livestock [L] and Seeds [S].
iii) If a player loses a battle against a planet they can chose to retreat (wait for their next turn to roll again and continue on the game board) or they can chose to fight again. They may keep fighting until they defeat the planet, lose all of their population tokens (at which point they are out of the game) or until they chose to stop.
b)If the player rolls an even number- indicating they leave the planet peacefully, they receive 1 Seed token as a gift from the planet. This seed does not come off of the planet's resources.
c) A planet's population and resources refresh back to their full capacity after one full turn (considered a span of 10 years).

5) Along the board a player may land on a star, at this point the player must pick up a "star card".
a) A player who picks up a Star card must take it from the top of the pile. They then must follow the card's directions then discard it into the discard pile.

6) The game is over once a player lands on Delta-Kilo.
a) An exact number must be rolled in order to land on Delta-Kilo. If a higher number, than the required steps to get to the planet is rolled, the player must back-track the remaining number.
b) A player who lands on Delta-Kilo does not necessarily win. They gain an additional 8 points added to their survivabilty score, but the alien race with the highest survival score is the winner.

Monday, October 10, 2011


For the first playtest of my game it was revealed to me just how much I needed to fix.

Here are some of the notes I took as I watched helplessly upon my game in action:
-Give a brief back story
-Explain population tokens are Aliens
-Indicate who starts- the invitation to play
-Begin at START
-Play with a 6 sided die
-Pick up card from top of pile-- Discard after use
-Defeat the planet by rolling a d6 - 3 or less means loss
- 4 or higher means win!
-Follow along game board-track
-Once alien population has been destroyed and resources collected do they come back?
-Can player leave occupied planets peacefully?
-If they leave peacefully can they still obtain resources?
-More population cards for game use
-Create discard pile for population tokens
-Players cannot steal other player's resources
-Can players battle other players if they land on the same block?
-Easier to keep track of points better
-Age range?
-Create better aesthetics

When recreating the rules and the game play and I seriously considered each of these problems and hopefully I found a way to fix them.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My first attempt

One of our first assignments for Game Design class was to create a rapid prototype of a board game.
We were given several restrictions, 15 minutes and a wing and a prayer.

We were told:
-The game had to be a race to the finish
-There could be no clear loser- no elimination
-The game premise had to be based on a famine/hunger

My thoughts immediately jumped to an alien race who had to leave their planet after stripping their home of its resources.

I decided that each player would play as a different group of aliens, all leaving the same planet, going on their own to collect new resources from other planets and find a new place to call home.

Each player (2-6 can play) are given a spaceship token and 10 Population tokens, each Population token [P] represents 1 billion of your people, travelling in the space ship.

As the player moves across the board, they may land on a strange, populated planet.
Each planet on the board has 3 different values indicating Population[P] (1 Population indicating 1 billion), Seeds[S] and Livestock [L]. If the player lands on a planet, they may try and destroy the population (roll a 4 or higher on a d6, for each 1(billion) population on the planet) in order to obtain the planet's resources for their own use. If the player loses a battle against the planet (roll a 3 or a lower), they must discard a population token- indicating they've lost 1 billion of their people. The player may continue to battle, but they are out of the game if they lose all 10 of their population tokens. However, if a player chooses to retreat from a battle, they may do so, and continue on the path on their next turn.

The game would be over once the first player landed on the "ideal planet" in the center of the board. This planet has no population and no resources, so this race may settle and start a new life with the seeds and livestock they have taken from other planets.

En route to the "ideal planet", between the other strange planets, there are star blocks a player can land on. Should a character land on a star block they must pick up a "star card". The star cards have directions on them for the player to either gain or lose 1 or more seed token(s), livestock token(s), population token(s) and even the chance to skip your next turn.

The winner of the game is decided by the race's potential to survive, as calculated by a point system:
1 Seed = 3 points
1 Livestock = 1 point
1 Population = 2 points
Even if a player lands on the ideal planet, that does not mean they have the highest probability of survival.

Below you can see what my board and pieces looked like for this game:

The game board

Top: The player tokens (space ships)
Middle: Population, Livestock and Seed tokens
Bottom: Star cards

Here you can see my rules:

Unfortunately my original idea for the game did not get translated onto the rule sheet, as well as I had hoped. You can see my original rules in the above photo.

Given 15 minutes to create this entire game and its rule left me with very little time to try and express everything I wanted to- which lead to my game being torn to shreds during its first play test!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Press Start

I have always enjoyed games in almost all varieties one can find them.
To be honest, I never really stopped to wonder why I like them though.
I may have thought "I like the graphics or imagery" or "I like the story or concept", but I never dug any deeper than that.

Now that I am responsible for creating my own board game, I am beginning to realize just how much work and thought goes into Game Design... let's just say; its a LOT, and I can't wait to learn it all!