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Brian Mayer
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For those who might be interested I wanted to share news about my game, Freedom: The Underground Railroad. As noted in the subject, it is a cooperative game based around the Underground Railroad. Players are Abolitionists working to help raise the strength of the Abolitionist Movement and help put an end to the institution of slavery in the United States. They use a combination of cards, which feature figures and events spanning from Early Independence until the Civil War, along with action tokens and the benefits of their role to impact the game.

Victory is dependent upon achieving two victory conditions over the course of the game: freeing a certain number of slaves from plantations in the south, moving them to Canada AND raising enough support for the Abolitionist movement by collectively purchasing all of the Support Tokens in the game.

Currently, the game is available for print and play here on the geek. I am waiting for all of the files to finish the approval process, but I added comments with external links in the files sections where the missing files will be added. So everything is available to print and play the game now.

Players will need to supply their own money and 100 10mm cubes, though other sized cubes would work just fine. I use a bag of Mayday cubes. Also the tokens can be printed on fullsheet labels and put on poker chips, that is how I play and it is nice. If it goes to production, I would have them on some nice, thicker cardboard.

If anyone is interested in taking a look what the game is all about, here is a quick link to a high resolution version of the rules:

http://ge.tt/9l30wVD?c
There are a lot of pictures and so the size was much too big for the geek to keep the quality up on the pics.

The rest of the files are on the game's entry here on the geek: Freedom: The Underground Railroad

This has had a good deal of playtesting (Protospiel, Gen-Con, and other local cons) so most changes to come will most likely be small. The only thing I haven't been able to coordinate is blind play-testing which is part of my reasoning to make it available print and play. So, if my creation looks of interest to you, please take a look and I would be grateful for any thoughts or feedback you may have. I think there is a good game here and I am always trying to improve the play experience.

Thanks for your time and consideration!
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Nate K
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
This looks awfully familiar. Have you posted images of this before?
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Nate K
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design
Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
Also, WOW that board is gorgeous.

[edit]What's with the 4-player Victory card? It's smaller than the 3-player card, and seems to anticipate fewer Slave losses.
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Brian Mayer
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
kurthl33t wrote:
Also, WOW that board is gorgeous.

[edit]What's with the 4-player Victory card? It's smaller than the 3-player card, and seems to anticipate fewer Slave losses.


Thanks. Yes, the four player card does anticipate fewer losses. While there is more slave catcher movement on the board, there are also more opportunities for skirting situations based on roles and the fact that all of the cards are in play in the game.

Some numbers in the design are based on math, and some started based on math and evolved based on play. Slaves lost in an excellent example.
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Scott Nelson
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
kurthl33t wrote:
This looks awfully familiar. Have you posted images of this before?


Yes, he posted a thread on the game once before. The picture was there as well. It was only 2 months ago (if that) that the last thread was posted on it, but I think it was in response to another thread that it was mentioned. So a thread on its own is new.
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Brian Mayer
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
Thanks. Forgot to mention I did talk about it once before, but nothing was up and available at that time. I wanted to have a distinct thread now that I have made it PnP
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Luca Cammisa
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
The subject of the game looks amazing, the game is gorgeous. I printed and assembled everything and I'm waiting eagerly next weekend to play the game! cool
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Brian Mayer
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
A tip for you kind words sir!
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
This looks very intriguing. I'm a guy who unabashedly loves a good theme, and this theme is very cool.
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
Thanks so much to those of you who have taken the time to print off and play Freedom: The Underground Railroad. Your thoughts and feedback has been wonderful. I am doing a very small tweak with victory conditions and going back to my original scaling for slaves lost based on some further playtests I had here and some feedback I have gotten from players on the geek.

Here is the link to the new victory condition cards, I uploaded them to the game's page but that takes some time.

http://ge.tt/8EVKcwD?c

Also, I wanted to give a big thanks to
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. The current setup in the rules are good and challenging, but I wanted to provide a variation in setup for players who have some plays under their belt and have gotten more skilled at manipulating the slave catchers. I have been playing around with increasing the influx of slaves each turn, changing the numbers needed to be brought to Canada or changing the plantation start. Scott gave some great feedback and helped solidified the idea of filling the plantations to capacity for a more challenging game.

This way, it is the least impact with the greatest effect I think. I plan on putting the variant up on the game's page and I look forward to more feedback from everyone.

A really big heartfelt thanks again everyone.
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
Hello Everyone

Version 1.3 of the rules are ready. No changes the mechanisms of the game, everything there is set. I am just making minor adjustments to the numbers in regards to slaves. The rules now include 4 levels of play.

The suggested setup in the rules will the standard game, I am going to lighten the number of slaves coming in a little for 2 players.

The next bump in difficulty will be the same set-up but starting with full plantations.

The bump after that will be back to partial plantations, but a different slave market deck with a higher percentage of numbers. The two player will be what it is now, but the 3 and 4 player numbers will increase to an equivalent percentage to what the 2 player market cards are now.

The last bump would be with the more difficult slave market decks AND full plantations.

Here is the link to the new rules (high-res): http://ge.tt/2zvw28E
Here is the link to the updated Slave Market Cards: http://ge.tt/8d4d38E

I am pretty happy with these numbers and think this should close to the finished set. The new files will be up on the game's page soon.
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Scott Nelson
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
Tried another game with 4 this time. We won...just barely, all of the lost slaves spaces were full. We started with full plantations at setup.

We had all the slaves needed to be free, but forgot the $30 of support tokens. So, the last turn was buying those outright...filling up the lost slaves completely, after getting the last support token from a card ability in the very last player's turn.

Comments were good, good layout, mechanisms, theme. Only complaint was the money moves around a lot, and it was cumbersome at times keeping track of the gains on a turn, and if they bought a card - losses as well would happen.

We did start the era with add 1 slave to the plantation when unloading a ship, so that was one more we had to make rom for, which is why we had slightly more trouble this time keeping the plantations empty enough. 2 of the players were from Africa, ages 16-17, but had no idea about the slave trade that happened back then. It was educational for them as well as a good game.
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
That is great! I love how the game can come so close.

With the changes I made, you would still have two more options to scale up the challenge.

I want to leave the initial setup with a fair chance to win IF played very smartly and with great coordination. An interested publisher is considering marketing this outside the hobby market and so for the non-hobby market I think the basic and full plantation variation present a good challenge and gaming experience.

The advanced deck should present the real challenge for those who have played several times and then the opportunity to ratchet that up by using full plantations.

The money is very much something I am aware of. The last time i played, i used 1, 2, 3 and 5 denominations and that seemed to help speed things up because you were able to take exactly what you need. We usually take the money immediately after you move or gain... so move a slave, take the money.... buy a card, give/take the money... makes it easier than trying to work it all out.

I did kick around the idea of having each player tracking money on their own player board though.

As for players, 4 player is the highest I would go because you I think you start to feel the time a little between turns.

Thanks again for your thoughts, if published,I will be sure to give you a listing in the rules for your playtests and feedback!




ropearoni4 wrote:
Tried another game with 4 this time. We won...just barely, all of the lost slaves spaces were full. We started with full plantations at setup.

We had all the slaves needed to be free, but forgot the $30 of support tokens. So, the last turn was buying those outright...filling up the lost slaves completely, after getting the last support token from a card ability in the very last player's turn.

Comments were good, good layout, mechanisms, theme. Only complaint was the money moves around a lot, and it was cumbersome at times keeping track of the gains on a turn, and if they bought a card - losses as well would happen.

We did start the era with add 1 slave to the plantation when unloading a ship, so that was one more we had to make rom for, which is why we had slightly more trouble this time keeping the plantations empty enough. 2 of the players were from Africa, ages 16-17, but had no idea about the slave trade that happened back then. It was educational for them as well as a good game.
 
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
Here are examples of the regular (grey) Slave Market Cards and the advanced (red) Slave Market Cards.

 

 
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
I have split up the game files into individual entries, so it is easier to track changes if there are any to the file. The last change was creating two separate Slave Market Decks, a beginning and an advanced deck.

I am currently working on the rules for solo play which I hope to have all hammered out in a week or two.
 
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Re: Conductor - Cooperative Card Driven Game about the Underground Railroad
No solo variant yet, writing has been taking most of my free time but I wanted to share what
Garry Rice
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has been doing with redesigning some of the layout for the game.





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Brian Mayer
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Now that it is officially official, I am thrilled to let everyone know that Conductor has been picked up by a publisher.

We are looking at doing just a minimal number of tweaks. Creating a more forgiving family version of the game as well finishing up a solo variant. Also the name will be changing for something with more brand recognition, right now we are leaning towards:

Freedom - The Underground Railroad

Thanks again to all of the support from everyone here in the community. This has been wonderfully overwhelming!
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Luca Cammisa
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Great news Brian! You did an excellent work!
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Nate K
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Congratulations!
 
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Scott Nelson
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I knew it would make it out of the trenches. Congratulations. With the amont of care put into it, it was a done-deal that someone would grab it.
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Matt Riddle
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Grats man! That is awesome. Good luck!
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Kevin Nunn
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That's fantastic Brian! Congratulations!
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Brian Mayer
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kgnunn wrote:
That's fantastic Brian! Congratulations!


Thanks Kevin. It is funny to think how so much came from that play at Protospiel. Your "make the catchers smarter" comment really helped inspire the last reworking to get the game where it is today. And Uwe followed up his interest, loved what the game settled into and picked it up.

I think the best part of this whole thing has been seeing something that I love so much, and put so much time and effort into connect with other people in the way that I had intended. Thanks again!
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Nicholas Vitek
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Congrats Brian,
I'm glad all of the conversation about the game at Protospiel really paid off for you. I look forward to playing it again this year, right?

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Brian Mayer
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Nich wrote:
Congrats Brian,
I'm glad all of the conversation about the game at Protospiel really paid off for you. I look forward to playing it again this year, right?



Bah, I wish. I have two conventions I am going to this summer. National Library Conference (ALA) and Gen-Con. I have to pick my time away from family carefully. I will most likely be there the following year to work through a few new things.
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