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Kellie Edland

Iowa
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Hello everyone! I'm brand new here at BGG, and this is my first thread, so I hope I'm not doing something wrong. If I am, please let me know! (I wasn't completely sure which forum to post this in, I hope this is okay?)

Anyway, I have my own idea for a card game that I need some help with. I am slightly worried that the theme will put people off, because I'm not sure it's a very popular one. I am even considering switching the theme because of that. My theme is based off of animal rescues. So each player is an animal rescue with x amount of animals (I've been testing with 4, but I'm thinking more like 6). The goal is to get these animals adopted to their forever homes, and when one player has gotten rid of all their animals, the game ends and scores are tallied (thinking 3-5 or 6 players).

So, each shelter also has a "Publicity"/"Reputation" card with a token to represent how much publicity you have on the tracker. Publicity will increase the amount of points you get at the end of the game, and increase the chance of something good happening to you. You can get publicity by buying it with your Resource cards (more on that below) or by drawing Event cards (more on that later).

All players start with x amount of resource cards (been using 6, and thinking a max. hand of 8). The resource cards are either special "abilities" that are discarded when used or just numbers. They can be used to buy publicity, OR (most importantly in this game) used to BID on Adopters that come out of the event deck.

I'm thinking that one would pick a number of resource cards from your hand and then all players reveal their bids at the same time. Highest bidder wins the adopter. If there's a tie, highest publicity score wins the adopter, and if there's still a tie I'm not sure. Maybe blind bid until someone wins, but only discard first bid if you win?

The Event cards have adopters that want a cat or dog (only two kinds of animals to keep it simple), it also has other events that are good or bad for all or one player (ex. "There's a pet expo in town, all players get +3 publicity"), as well as surrenders/stray animals where a player has to draw another animal to their shelter. Event cards can also give players Volunteers which are cards with special abilities that you keep throughout the game unless they get taken from you (these cards are basically used instead of having something similar to specific "hero abilities", if that makes sense).

Also, I'm playing around with having dogs and cats with different "stats", for example: small/medium/large, young/adult/senior, good with kids, good with other animals, etc. So if an adopter has a specific stat listed on their card, they will only adopt an animal which matches that stat (unless you have a special card that can ignore stats, or whatever).

Uhm, I think that's it? You get points by being the first to get rid of all animals, you get points from the animals you have adopted away, points from the number of resource cards in your hand, and points based off of how many publicity points you have. Most points wins.

A turn would be: draw a resource card to your hand (if you have 8 cards in your hand, you may discard one and then draw a new one), then flip over an event card on the table and resolve the event (whatever it may be). And then you can use any cards in your hand for their ability or to buy publicity points. Then the next player goes.

I would love some feedback on the game and some advice on what kind of Event cards I could include. I want to have cards that keep the game interesting and promote interaction between players, and I can't think of anything good. What kind of mechanics could I include in this type of game? Should I include something more in the game in general to make it more interesting? Take something out of the game?

I appreciate any help and feedback! Sorry for the awfully long post.
(Be nice, I'm scared)
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Michael Brettell
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Hi Kellie,

Welcome to BGG I think this is the perfect forum to post these sorts of questions, so no problems there.

In regards to your theme, I can't imagine people being put off by it. it sounds pretty novel, which is generally a good thing. There are plenty of games about farming, feeding a panda bamboo, so I think finding homes for shelter pets is in the same sort of vein. Probably wouldn't want to specifically mention pets being put down if they don't find a home, though.

The game sounds fine - main thing is to prototype on some paper cards, and start testing it with yourself. You generally get a feel for what's interesting and what doesn't work fairly quickly.

I can't think of any specific cards that you're asking for, but wanted to drop a line to say Hi! . I know what its like throwing posts into the ether.

I'm sure you'll get some more (and more helpful) responses. If I think of anything, I'll respond back.

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Matt D
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Are you looking for ideas for thematic events?

If so, let's say things like this:

Breed Rescue - A breed rescue comes and claims one of the animals--you lose it and it doesn't count as being adopted.

Hoarder Found - The police locate a hoarder. X number of animals are divided up evenly starting with the current player (so if it's a three person game and 5 are found, player 1 gets 2, player 2 gets 2, player 3 gets 1)

Kennel Cough - Your kennel comes down with a case of kennel cough. You can take other actions but cannot adopt out an animal for x turns (1, 2, whatever)

Rogue Puppy Mill - A puppy mill opens up in a nearby shopping center. Adopters are harder to convince to adopt.

Maybe you can incorporate an event where an animal runs away/escapes, but it can be countered if you previously microchipped them.

Just sort of throwing some ideas out there.

I like the general idea and think this is an untapped theme. So good luck with it!
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Bojan Prakljacic
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Here are some ideas that would maybe made game more interesting.

1. Beside good publicity, let the players also be able to gather some bad publicity, that will score negatively in the end for them or hinder them during the further play. You mentioned reputation, well players should be able then to gather some bad reputation too.
For instance, the animal shelter might be visited by some company that wants to buy animals for lab testing. You can get rid of more then a few animals at once for a lower price, but you also get some bad reputation which can hinder you in some way during the game or will score negatively at the end.

2. Thematically, animal shelters work in that way that you get new animals to tend for on the daily basis. Well, you don't need a bad events, since getting a new animal to tend for is bad enough since your goal is to 'get rid of them' not to keep them. This can be expanded further by receiving sick animals. Animals usually come to shelters mistreated or sick, that is a fact, so you would get animals that you need to heal to be able to give them for adoption. For that you can spend some of those resource cards with special abilities (like healing), which will grant you maybe some good publicity in return (but it will cost you good cards).

3. With better publicity your shelter would gather more 'crowd' (logically) so, maybe you can have a threshold on the publicity track that when you pass it you also get more cards from the deck of possible adoption visitors (good or bad). Same for reputation, if you go into 'red' with your reputation you should stop receiving more animals, but also have to spend more resources of specific kind to buy publicity from that moment on. Or dwell on this and come up with something else, might be a good idea...

4. Sometimes animals just have to be put down, that is the cruel truth of animal shelters, no matter what you do you just can't help that animal. So, think about incorporating that into your game somehow, since it is highly thematic.
You might have some animals that always came with special sickness icon on which, after you get them into your shelter, you need to roll a die. Either you pull of the miracle or you have to put them down and suffer some bad publicity / reputation for it.

Those are just few ideas of mine.
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D M
United States
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Hi Kellie,

Having spent 18 months working so similar to what you've described, I can tell you that your basic ideas and concerns are spot on. I'm working specifically with rabbits, but I'll be happy to chat about some of the specific opportunities and issues of simulating the rescue world. (Want to be a playtester?) I'm going to take some of this conversation private if you don't mind, lest this thread go too far off-topic. Happy to help.

David
www.rabbitmatchthegame.com
www.facebook.com/rabbitmatchgame (effectively the designer diary)

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Kellie Edland

Iowa
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Thank you so much everyone, I am very excited that you wanted to chime in and give me some advice and encouraging words.

You guys have a lot of great ideas and I will definitely try to work some into the game, I think right now the game is a little bare and it needs something more.

I am trying to keep the game family friendly so I'm not sure if I want any of the animals to have to be put down (I don't want to upset any kids that might play). I know it's very thematic and would make a lot of sense, but I think at least for now I'll put that idea on hold.

I do like the idea of having animals be moved around a lot more than I initially planned (with the idea of hoarders, and maybe even having new animals come in on a regular basis). It is true that rescues get new animals very often. I do still kind of want to keep the whole surprise element of when an adopter is going to show up and then have people bid on them. If that still makes sense, later on I might realize it needs to be changed.

Just in general all of your suggestions are great and I'm already thinking of ways to implement most of them, so thank you guys so much again! I guess I will just have to make some different prototypes and test what ideas would work best and make the game fun.
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Harv Veerman
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Thannon wrote:
(Be nice, I'm scared)


Don't be scared: this is a nice post, and a nice idea for a game, so I guess you are nice to.

Welcome, and keep working on this idea, I like it a lot 'cause it's refreshing.
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Matt Lee
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Thannon wrote:

You guys have a lot of great ideas and I will definitely try to work some into the game, I think right now the game is a little bare and it needs something more.


Just a suggestion, but you may not necessarily need more if it work as it is. Since you are already aiming for a family audience and a lighter gameplay style, you would also want to consider game length.

If you have enough events that allow for interaction, but keeps the game at around 30-40 mins, and you think the game works well at that length, then you wouldn't need any additional elements in the game.

Good luck! It's a unique theme and as long as you aren't too heavy handed with the moral aspect, it sounds like it could stand a good chance of doing well. The negative aspects can exist and could have negative consequences for the players, just be careful of making it too preachy vs letting it be a thematic element that people would have to consider the pros and cons before playing them.
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Freelance Police
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This is a GREAT theme.

Keep it simple, or have a simple version, if you plan to make it available to the mass public to help publicize animal shelters. You can even help organize get-togethers of local rescue groups, so they can try out your game, as well as network among each other.
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Kellie Edland

Iowa
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You guys are probably right. I think what I've decided is that I will have it be simpler and use the suggestions I've received for Event cards instead of adding new mechanisms (at least to start). I'm making a very simple prototype (paper and pencil) for me to test with to get a better feel of how it plays before deciding if it would need something more. I definitely need to figure out how long the game play is the way the game is now...

I have already used many of the ideas in this thread for event cards, so I'm very grateful for everyone's help!

So, why I'm doing this kind of game... I've always loved animals and wanted to help out rescues and shelters in "unique" ways, if that makes sense. I'm a web designer so a lot of my volunteering has been redesigning websites, but this time I really wanted to do something different. I'm hoping that if this game ever becomes an actual game that I could use it to educate and inform (without being too preachy of course). I love the idea of organizing get-togethers, will definitely try that if I get that far! I was also thinking that (and this is just wishful thinking on my part) if I would start a kickstarter for it and be able to make a lot of copies that I could donate them to rescues and have them sell it to make some extra money? I don't know if that would work, but it's just an idea. But for now, I just really want to make a nice and fun game.

I'm so happy so many of you have replied with help and kind words!
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