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Subject: WIP Solitaire PnP Contest - Touchstone: Oubliette rss

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John Paul Messerly
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WIP Thread for Touchstone Oubliette
Designed for the Solitaire Print and Play Contest.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/644090/solitaire-print-and-p...


Touchstone is a violent sport played by fantasy races. In Touchstone Oubliette the game has moved from the sunny stadiums of the Braying Fields to an underground dungeon where the walls are constantly shifting and dancing around the players in an attempt to trap and crush them.



Touchstone is played with a 30 card deck made up of walls, paths, portals, and creatures. It plays in under 20 minutes.



You play the role of the individual players that must attempt to make their way through the Oubliette in order to score points for the team. These attempts are called a Drives. The deck represents the living maze and the opposing team's players that are trying to stop you. After each of your Drives the opposing team gets a Drive. The game represents the AI's Drive with a single card draw.

Core strategies:

In order to escape from the Oubliette the player must evade the creatures and shifting walls attempting to block his path, locate a key, and finally find the one door that leads out of the maze. If the player finds and escapes with the Touchstone then he gets extra points. If the player hasn't escaped before the last card is drawn then they are lost in the Oubliette and loose that Drive.

If the Drive isn't going well the players will have to use portals to buy more time. Portals shift not only the players position in the maze but they also propel him backwards or forward in time (either removing cards from or returning cards to his draw deck).

There are also 4 types of items that can be used to outsmart the creatures or illuminate the dark Oubliette.



Download links:

rules- UPDATED with advanced rules
http://mermuse.jmwebdesigns.com/post/Oubliette.pdf

uncommon cards (print 1 set)- UPDATED 7/12/11
http://mermuse.jmwebdesigns.com/post/Touchstone_U.JPG

common cards (print 3 sets)- UPDATED 7/12/11
http://mermuse.jmwebdesigns.com/post/Touchstone_C.JPG

player cards (print 1 of each)- UPDATED 7/12/11
http://mermuse.jmwebdesigns.com/post/touchstone_Oub_playersA...
http://mermuse.jmwebdesigns.com/post/touchstone_Oub_playersB...

team cards- UPDATED 7/17/11
http://mermuse.jmwebdesigns.com/post/touchstone_Oub_TEAMS.jp...

---------------------------------------------------------------

Touchstone:Oubliette official BBG page...
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/103042/touchston...
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John Paul Messerly
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Gameplay Example - a single Drive attempt





I fell 20 feet though utter darkness till the unseen floor slammed into my back. While crawling through the darkness my hands brush across a delicate metal object and a pile of bones. I stuff both into my pouch and continue crawling till I find...

Shuffle the deck and draw 3 cards into your hand.
Cards drawn: skull(path), empty(wall), key(portal)


cold stone. My hands trace the rough outlines of an arch and I stumble through tripping over something in my path. As my fingers wrap around the object it glows in response to my touch.

Explore the maze: Draw 1 card into the maze.
Card drawn: path(touchstone)
Move through path. Place path(touchstone) card in hand and discard another card from hand. empty(wall) discarded.

Hand = key, touchstone, skull


I chuckle as the strange stone illuminates the walls of the Oubliette. This is almost too easy.

Draw deck is flipped over so cards are drawn face up.

I spin around letting the light from the stone guide me. As I turn I can hear the grinding of stone against stone as the Oubliette shifts and transforms itself around me. I find cold stone walls on 3 sides and a strange glowing portal on the 4th.

Explore the maze: Draw 1 card into the maze for each direction.
Place them to form a cross.
Cards drawn: wall, portal, wall, wall


Damn! I have the items I need to escape and to score points for my team but the only way forward is a portal that will strip me of both! I hesitantly step through the portal and...

All cards in the maze and in the players hand are discarded.
The touchstone is no longer in your possession so the draw deck is turned face down.
Draw 1 card to check portal direction.


the hairs on the back of my neck are tingling and my brains go all fuzzy.The next thing I know I'm falling down the shaft at the start of the Oubliette and slamming into that cold stone floor again!

Card drawn: empty(wall) with < symbol.
Portal sends the player back in time.
All cards are shuffled back into the deck.
Draw 3 cards into your hand.


I crawl across the floor once again looking for anything that might be of useful. A torch smelling of Turpentine and something cold and bony... wait, it just moved? I light the torch and come face to face with the most lovely lady I've ever laid eyes on. She smiles mischievously and the torchlight glints across her red lips and sharp fangs. The torch goes out. Claws, Fangs, Please God no ... its just a game! Just a game.

Card drawn: empty(wall), torch(wall), vampire.
With no defense against the vampire the player is trapped.

Now one of your opponents players will face the Oubliette, but you won't get to see the outcome. You will never see anything again, in the depths of the Oubliette.

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John Paul Messerly
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Background and history:


Touchstone:Oubliette is a total redesign of my last game, Touchstone. After working on the game for almost a year I realized that I was making a type of game I no longer play anymore - a 2 player card game. The more I thought about it the more I realized I almost exclusively play solitaire or coop games these days.

This is a total reboot of the Touchstone world. I knew I wanted to do a solitaire version and I knew I wanted to make he experience more personal and cinematic. The current card designs are missing art but the overal graphic design is meant to mimic a tarot deck... The art and symbols used in this game should make it a strong storytelling medium.

Here's a link to the original design for anyone curious...

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Aleksandar Saranac
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Printed and played your card game yesterday evening.
For me, player has too little control over it's destiny. Almost any time the monster card is drawn into the hand it is end of the drive... Luck plays too high role in the game.
To avoid it and make a game more tactical, I would suggest adding more cards to the deck, and then using at least 5 cards hand....
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Nate K
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The concept sounds really good, but I agree with Aleksandar, it's probably a wee bit too luck-based at this point. Could you play up the push-your-luck idea that seemed to drive the original game?
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John Burnson
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I tried your game. Am I right that creatures attack even when they are drawn into your starting hand? If so, this is the rare game in which you can lose before even properly starting!

Consider adding a "Run" action: You discard all cards in your hand and draw three new cards. Discarded items are lost, discarded creatures are shuffled back into the deck. That way, the dungeon becomes more perilous, but at least you're alive. If you have to take three consecutive Run actions, you collapse and are devoured.

The Torch & Touchstone seem swapped in power. I think the Torch should have the ability of the Touchstone (to light the way), and the Touchstone should have the ability of the Torch (to foresee and avert danger).

I don't enjoy that the game ends after one pass through the deck. I think that it would better fit the theme if the deck got progressively slimmer (via Run actions and the like) & with a rising ratio of dangers to escapes.

One thing that I really like, and that I've never seen before, is the ability to turn over the deck and work from the other side, face-up. If I had thought of that mechanic, I would jettison everything and try to build a game around it. Possibly you could "seed" things at the bottom of the deck and then call on those things when you turn over the deck.
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John Paul Messerly
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Thanks for the feedback...

I have tried the game with more item cards and a hand of 5 cards but it seemed too easy. One of the main design goals is to make the Oubliette feel very dangerous and threatening as well as a race against time. Each Drives is meant to be short and violent like in football rather then one long drawn out dungeon crawl. Yes, if you draw a creature in your starting hand and don't have the correct counter you basically get "sacked" immediately but the game keeps going with Drive after Drive. This contrast in timing and rhythm is important to keeping the player uneasy.

I feel like I may have failed in setting the correct mood for the game. Maybe the Oubliette setting creates too much expectation of a dungeon crawl. I agree that the outcome can be too luck based at this time and I'm still looking for that sweet spot.

Jburnson-
I'm not sure I understand your touchstone/torch comment. I made the torch have a powerful ability to look at three cards because you use and discard it while the touchstone allows you to flip over the draw deck because it's an item you keep in your hand and that ability works better as a persistent power. Did you mean their power descriptions should be flipped from a thematic standpoint.

I'm still not sure how to resolve the overall criticizen off it being too random. In football there are so many elements out of your control and that is what makes it exciting. The one fresh idea I have for this is to open up more meta game...

Team management:

One of the exciting ideas in this concept is that you are sending players into this dark hole and few of them ever return. So managing those players and picking which ones you will send and how they get stronger when they survive might add more control and depth without making the Oubliette a joke.

I love games where your players can both progress and can die because it makes you appreciate them more. Games like Hornet Leader or even Bloodbowl. I was trying to make this a lite game with no stat tracking or counters but this may be worth pursuing. I suspect having a player you are attached to die because of a random card draw will still be frustrating.

I will continue to think on this it's a very hard balancing act. A solitaire game that you can only loose if you make a glaring mistake seems challenging but it also seems slow paced. Every time I play shogi or hive with my girlfriend I can always pick out the exact play that won/lost the game... But I want his to be a much liter game then that.

I have been playing Onirim a lot lately and this game takes a lot of inspiration from it. I played the game wrong for my first 20 play throughs and actually liked it better that way. In Onirim you can reach a point where you can't play any cards because all the cards in your hand are suns and you are required to vary suits. I used to think that meant I had lost which made me get really worried anytime I had more then 3 suns in my hand. Later I learned you can always discard a card to draw a new card so you can never get trapped... This discovery totally killed the tension and sense of danger for me. The nightmare became less scary becausevi could only loose by running out of cards... No surprise early defeats.

My favorite card is the Portal because it gives you so many difficult choices. It's totally a gamble but it can get you out of even the worst situations.

Is it "OK" to fail a drive because of a random draw but not to win with one? Is that really the real complaint that if you win you feel like it was luck more than skill? At this point maybe I'm not playing the game competitively enough. I like to just drop into the Oubliette and see what adventures await. I'm treating it more like a storyteller device (like the tarot) rather than a competitive game. I think I understand now... Interesting.
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Nate K
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As a story-telling device, the game in it's current form definitely has merit. As a game, however, we players want a little more control over our fate. We like to feel as if we won/lost because of the choices we made.

If you see this more as a story-telling device, maybe you should play up that aspect of it. Create characters and teams for which we can root. Create a way to keep track of scores from game to game. I've been playing a lot of Zed Deck recently, and while the game is incredibly random, there is a bit of decision-making in how far to push one's luck when make Run or Fight draws. Even more importantly, in terms of replayability, the game encourages you to keep track of your score and try to beat it the next game. (I finally made 18 points on Friday. Didn't think I'd ever manage that.) If you could incorporate that sort of feature into the game, it would improve the game for me.
 
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John Paul Messerly
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Simple solution-

My favorite idea so far is to add player cards. You would start with a set of player cards (maybe 6-10). Any player that survives the Oubliette gets a star token. Each star token raises the players hand size by one so as the players progress they give you more options. The max hand size may need to be capped at 5 or 6. Players that escape can keep going into the Oubliette and have a better chance of surviving each time.

Any player card that fails to escape is turned face down. After the game you roll (pull a card) to see if he was recovered or not. Each player card has either a < or > symbol, if the symbol on the drawn card is a match the player is recovered from the depths of the Oubliette. Star points are only lost if the player is not recovered.

The current player is played into the center of the table at the start of the drive and then maze cards are played around him in a cross formation. This gives the player a name/face and having the cards surround him could increase he sense of the walls closing in!

Kurthl33t-
That sounds more like what I'm going for. I'll have to check out Zed Deck and see what I think. If I go that direction I would need to remove the point cap of 14. With player cards I could simply say you play till you have no more players but it would be nice to be able to keep players alive for future games. Could limit the game to a set number of drives but I hate keeping track of turns.

Lots to think about.
Thanks for all the great feedback!
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John Paul Messerly
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Results of play testing new team rules-

I played a few games with some new team rules.

I Kept the team size at 6. I draw 7 player cards and then discard one to get down to the limit of 6 players. 1 in every 10 players starts with a star icon (meaning they can have an extra card in their hand). Every time a player survives the oubliette he earns another star. Players that are lost in the oubliette have a chance to return after the match. Draw a card for each... if the symbol matches they have returned from the depths to play in the next match. I used some slapshot cards I had laying around to test with...

1. In the first game I had one star player and five rookie players. I lost several characters to the oubliette (most to early sacks) but my star player and two other players scored points and earned stars. The final score was close but I had three very experienced players still on their feet. None of the players lost to the oubliette were recovered.

pros- limited # of players added to the tension.
cons- the larger hand sizes of the star players made them easier to sack!

2. In the second game I started over with a new team none of which had a star. The opponent scored early on as I kept loosing more players. Eventually one of my players scored and I sent him in again to make the final touchdown. Once again I ended the game with 3 lost player but this time 2 of them recovered.

Pros- I felt like I really was looking forward to playing more games with these players. even though the recovered players were rookies and no better then the replacements I would have received I was still glad they made it back.
Cons- all the players were too much the same... They need more to differentiate them then just art and names.

Player card idea-
In the next week I will make some player cards. They will have 1-3 stars. Most will be light grey representing star slots (potential for growth as a player) and some will have a bold star as well meaning that they have already earned a star.

I like the idea that most of the rookie players start off with the same abilities but each have different levels of greatness that they can reach. I have expirenented with ways to remove the starting hand sack but honestly I don't thinks it's a problem. Even though it happens a lot, with 6 players it's never caused me to loose a match.
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John Paul Messerly
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More play testing feedback...

After a dozen games with the new character rules I'm finding that they really add more of the time crunch/press your luck tension but they don't solve all the balance problems. The character leveling actually destroys the game balance.

I have reduced the number of character to 5 and I've actually started loosing games more often which is a good thing after my last 6 game winning streak.

I have tested shifting the number of each type of card and the best results have come from increasing he number of creatures or empty walls. More creatures tends to make the game more frustrating but more walls seems like a good fix. Loosing to a creature feels cheap but loosing to the walls closing in feels more thematic.

Overall I feel like the theme is starting to fall away. I used to feel uneasy about my chances in the oubliette but now it has become predictable.how do I continue to surprise myself... How do I maintain the sense of danger and mystery.

There are only a few points in the game where you have to take chances and risk everything on a card draw. This creates a nice contrast between quiet moments and hectic moments but I feel like I'm still missing something. I also feel like the characters are not memorable or likable... No matter how much they level up I never feel anything when they die. I have experienced many games (even solitaire games) where the loss of a character was dramatic. Unique skills of flaws might help but hey would also complicate matters.

I had a blast tonight playing the game in a bracketed tournament format. If the AI opponents had put up a better fight if might have been perfect. Next play test will be with more empty walls (so player will fail more drives) and more cards with scoring numbers (so opponents can score more often). I would also like to create unique traits for a few AI opponents so each opponent feels different and you actually dread facing certain teams!


Handycap
I keep lowering the number of players on the team to make the game harder for myself and increase the time crunch. I don't want to make the game too difficult for new players so I need to find the best beginner vs expert difficulty settings. The number of players, their skill level, and the opponents traits all seem like great ways off offsetting the difficulty level.
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John Paul Messerly
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Juke

I received some fresh ideas and new perspectives on the game while discussion it with a friend over the 4th of July.

I was trying to justify adding a mulligan option for the initial card draw but didn't like how this idea didn't connect with the theme and slowed down the game (by adding another unnecessary shuffle action). He suggested allowing the player to discard a threat from their hand into the Oubliette. This way you aren't skipping the threat (sending it to the discard) you are dodging the threat but it is still blocking your progress.

I'm starting to move away from the concept of star points and leveling because tracking such things ( even with little star stickers) goes against the quick to play and quick to setup design philosophy.

The next phase of testing will revolve around player cards and the innate abilities some players have. The concept above is my first skill concept...

Juke - is the ability to dodge around a creature that is trying to tackle you. It allows you to place a creature that you have just drawn into your hand into the oubliette instead.
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John Paul Messerly
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Player skills-

1. Juke- dodge around tackle attempt
Discard vampire cards into maze. If you draw a vampire card into your hand you may move it to the oubliette and draw a replacement card.

2. Stiff arm- hold off tackle attempt
Discard beast cards into maze. If you draw a beast card into your hand you may move it to the oubliette and draw a replacement card.

3. Spearing- break through block by charging with spiked helmet
Move past blocking creatures without needing to play an item card.

4. Audible- change tactics at start of the drive to confuse opponent
May mulligan on initial draw of a drive. Reshuffle initial draw and draw again.

5. Illegal substitution- substitute player during drive
swap this character with another character.

6...

Leverage- desperate trick to stop opponent from scoring
Sacrifice this character when the opponent has just drawn a score card to make them redraw their result for that drive.

Or

Unnecessary roughness- desperate foul to stop opponent from scoring
Sacrifice this character when the opponent has just drawn a score card to make them redraw their result for that drive.

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John Paul Messerly
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Play testing results:
Played 3 quick games with these new player skill rules.

Overall feeling - so far this is a huge success. The skills really give a lot of flavor and personality to each player. This is really the ultimate flavor text because it effects the gameplay yet also says so much about who the players are.

Other notes-

Spearing is very overpowered but its cool. This ability should be very rare.

Using portals while you are holding the touchstone allows for an interesting cheat. The touchstone allows you to see the next card so you know in advance which direction in time the portal will send you!

Play test results-

1st game

Players:
-Spearing/unnecessary roughness
-spearing
-stiff arm
-no skill
- illegal substitution

---- spearing - scores 3
Opponent - x
---- stiff arm - x
Opponent - x
---- no skill - x
Opponent - x
---- spearing - x replaced by illegal substitution
Opponent - x
---- spearing - score 7
Opponent - x
---- spearing - score 7

Win 17-0




2nd game

-no skill
-audible
-stiff arm
-no skill
-illegal substitution

---- no skill - scores 7
Opponent - x
---- audible - x
Opponent - x
---- stiff arm - x replaced by illegal substitution
Opponent - x
---- no skill - score 7

Win 14-0




3rd game

-no skill
-leverage
-stiff arm
-no skill
-illegal substitution

---- no skill - x
Opponent - x
---- stiff arm -score 7
Opponent - score 3
---- no skill - score 7

Win 14-3





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Nate K
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So is the game a bit too easy, now? And are you okay with that, or do you want to pull it back just a bit?
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John Paul Messerly
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The quick answer is yes, it's too easy.

Many play testers have found it too hard so it's mainly too easy because...

- I have played it enough that I know some great strategies that increase my odds of winning.

These are some other balance issues...
- There are not enough scoring cards for the opponent.
- All the current player skills are positive.


My main plan for balancing the game upfront is to give the opponent more scoring cards and add at least one negative player skill BUT this doesn't solve the problem of The gamers skill increasing. For that Im planning on using a simple handicap system where gamers reduce the number of players they have on their team as their winning rates increase.

Once I make these changes I need to do a serious play testing session with a group of gamers who have never played the game before. I'm afraid that if I focus to much on making the game a challenge for myself it will be impossible for new players to enjoy or win.

I definitely feel like the game is reaching critical mass, there is no more room for extra rules or skills if I want it to be fast and fun to learn.
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Nate K
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Well, if you post the updated files, I should be able to print the game and test it on Monday.
 
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kurthl33t wrote:
Well, if you post the updated files, I should be able to print the game and test it on Monday.


Done. I added the advanced rules, updated the card balance, and created some player cards.

I didn't change the core cards so you can keep the majority of your cards as they are. You should only need to reprint the page of uncommon cards and then the 2 NEW pages of player cards.

UPDATE: oops. I just realized I forgot to put the "< >" symbols on the players. So until I get around to doing another pass you won't be able to attempt to recover players lost in the Oubliette. I guess for now you can consider evens player numbers as < and odds as >.

---
I'd hoped to get this done sooner but between getting adicted to Pocket Civ and discovering Ascension for the Ipad I've found it hard to focus.
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John Paul Messerly
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Play testing results:

The Oubliette has become a little too deadly. I thought it would be interesting to make the maze more of a threat but loosing by getting surrounded by walls too often is frustrating.

I suggest removing the 3 empty walls with the ">" symbols for optimal play experience.

Rules clarification- the touchstone does not allow you too see the outcome of using a portal. When you use a portal all cards are discarded ( and their effects lost) before the card is drawn to check teleportation direction. Torches can still be used to anticipate the portal direction by stacking the deck.

Abilities and flaws

Juke and stiff arm were a great success- They allow players to survive surprise attacks yet also increase the threat of getting blocked off In the maze. This abilities also allow you to draw more cards into your hand.

Injured and spearing were frustrating to deal with. Spearing sounded like a good skill but it means you almost never draw cards into your hand. These might be good cards for adding difficulty later on but for this stage of development they stand in the way of the "fun factor". The game needs to be fun before it can be super challenging.

Skill ideas- an ability that allows you to discard certain types of cards and draw new cards would be nice. The biggest challenge In the game is often timing when you use items and torches so you can get a key in your hand.


Games:

1- lost (full deck)
2- lost (-2 walls)
3- won 20-7 (-2 walls)
4- lost (-2 walls)
5- won 17-7 (-3 walls)

The last game was the most satisfying...
-Lost a player on the first drive
-The opponent was about to score for 7 points so I used one of my players unnecessary roughness skill to stop the score. (now I'm down 2 players)
- the next 2 drives result in lost players for both sides
- finally I score a touchdown (7) with my last player but so does my opponent
- it's 10-7 but I only have I player left. He makes another run and barely gets out with his life unable to locate the touchstone (3) In all the chaos
- my remaining player is dropped into the Oubliette one last time. Once again beating the odds and scoring a touchdown (7).

The exciting thing about this game was how close the scoring was. The opponent would have won on turn 4 if I hadn't sacrificed a player to stop his first turn touchdown!

I would like to see more games end with the opponent beating me rather then me just running out of players.
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John Paul Messerly
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More play test results:

Game

1- won (6 players, -3 walls)
2- won (6 players, -3 walls)
3- lost (5 players, -3 walls)
4- lost (5 players, -3 walls)

Games played with a team of 6 players seems too easy but playing with 5 players is too hard. 6 players gives the opponent more chances to out score you. In this set of games the opponent never outscored me to win... Once they came close but I stopped the game winning point with "unnecessary roughness".

The next pass of balancing will be to add more opponent touchdown results (7's) to the cards.

Notes: I also realized in this play through that the placement of opponent scoring events "3,7,11" and portal direction results "" are inconsistent in the cards uploaded to the site. I fixed this locally but forgot to upload the new core card set.
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Nate K
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mermuse wrote:

Notes: I also realized in this play through that the placement of opponent scoring events "3,7,11" and portal direction results "" are inconsistent in the cards uploaded to the site. I fixed this locally but forgot to upload the new core card set.


That's good to know. Although I've had downtime when I could have tested the game, I haven't actually had an opportunity to print the cards out. Are the current files good to go? Because I anticipate being able to print the cards later today.
 
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John Paul Messerly
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kurthl33t wrote:

That's good to know. Although I've had downtime when I could have tested the game, I haven't actually had an opportunity to print the cards out. Are the current files good to go? Because I anticipate being able to print the cards later today.


The info is correct on the cards... its just not always in the same spot. sometimes the number is in the bottom left corner and other times is the bottom middle.

I have a big list of updates to do to the files tonight so by tomorrow everything should be fixed and updated.



More play test results:
the big change this time around is that I added three more touchdown (7) results to the cards. This makes the enemy more of a threat to outscore you but its still not enough.

Game

1- lost (5 players, -3 walls)
2- lost 7-14 (5 players, -3 walls)
3- won 14-0 (5 players, -3 walls)
4- won 17-0 (5 players, -3 walls)
5- won 14-6 (5 players, -3 walls)


added back in one of the walls I removed early and added a touchdown result to that card (7). So for the record there are 4 empty walls with touchdown results... three have < and >.

6- lost 9-18 (5 players, -2 walls)
7- won 14-7 (5 players, -2 walls)


UPDATED ALL THE SOURCE FILES!

You can now play the game as is without needing to remove cards...
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John Paul Messerly
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I played 5 more games tonight. Won 3 and lost 2.
In the last set of changes to the game balance I added another card with a value of 11. This finally showed up in a game but it was cancelled by "unnecessary roughness".

Overall the player skills really add a lot to the game and give more flavor and strategy BUT it still seems to be missing something!

I picked up the new edition of Slapshot today and I really like that they added a board to track progress through a season. This system isn't perfect but it shifts the setting into something more epic... It's not just about a few random games it's for a chance to win the playoffs. That's what my game is really missing the sense of what is at stake!

I have toyed with similar ideas over the last month (ideas for tracking league progress and simulating other teams progress) but the results are always clumsy and result in to much stat tracking and bookkeeping... The goal is for this game to have no bookkeeping! Even tracking the score is something I don't like dealing with.

So my next challenge will be to come up with ideas of how to raise the stakes!

- this might be a series of games leading off to a very prestigious final game or it might be just finding ways to get more storytelling and team rivalry into the game.

- I'd like to add a card or two to the deck when you play against certain teams. His would allow me to shift the difficulty of teams and give each a unique flavor. In the original Touchstone each team was made up of different races but I prefer the idea that all teams are made up of the same mix of races and that certain races are just better at certain positions... Much like in the Scott galactic football leave books.

Ideas- 2 event cards for each team. Add one to the deck when you play them. If you beat them then you get to keep that card as a trophy. If not it is removed from the team deck. You must defeat each team to go to the playoffs. Since there are two cards for each team that means you get two chances to beat them during the season.

These cards would be a chance to add unique power or flavor to each team
!

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John Paul Messerly
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tested new rules this weekend for handling playoffs and playing unique opponent teams.

http://mermuse.jmwebdesigns.com/post/touchstone_Oub_TEAMS.jp...
These are three of the teams designed so far. You play each team twice and then the two teams with the best records face off in the playoffs.

The Unique team skills add a lot of flavor and re playability without adding complexity... they only modify the existing rules.


I will post the new rules and a session report later this weekend...
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John Paul Messerly
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Rules -
Draw a team card at the start of each game. The card effect will be used for all drives that game. If you beat the opponent keep the card face up in front of you. If you loose place it face down in front of you.

Phases:
Pre game phase - before drives begin
Drive phase
Scoring phase
Post game phase

Teams with the best records go one to the playoff game.

The first time you play against a team it's an away game. Opponent does score tests before players attempt a drive. The second time you play them it's a home game... You do drive attempts and then check for opponents scoring.

Teams and team plays


Cold Ember Peaks : Fearmongers

Dark sphere - drive phase - cancel all light effects. (Torches and Touchstones loose their special powers).

Fear Freeze - drive phase - cancel all player powers.


Lone Wolf Wastes : Tricksters

Bribed - scoring phase - draw 2 cards when checking to see if opponent scores. Use the best result.

Drugged - before each drive - discard 3 random cards before starting each drive. The only way to get these cards back in the deck is by using a portal.


Kingdom of Thorns : Believers

Savior - post game - players lost in the oubliette are returned after the game. No players are lost to the oubliette this game.

Too Muchness - drive phase - hand size increased to 5 cards. Increases chance of getting both good and bad cards.


Tier one - fall season
4 teams are competing for the chance to go to playoff game.

1st - believers vs me
Win 3 - 17 (savior play)

2nd - me vs believers
Win 14 - 7 (too Muchness)

The believers were a pushover but the fear mongers are a real beast of a team. The 3rd game is ruthless and bloody and the next is even worse.

3rd - fearmongers vs me
Win 13 - 14 (fear freeze)

4th - me vs fearmongers
Loose 0 - 14 (darksphere)

5th - me vs tricksters
Loose 3 - 14 (bribe)

6th - tricksters vs me
Win 0 - 20 (drugged)


4 wins gives me an easy in. I'm guaranteed a position in the playoffs and the tricksters and fear mongers play a quick game to see which will oppose me in the final game.

Final game - fearmongers vs me

This was a long drawn out game with lots of casualties. My final player held out for a while and even scored once but once he disappeared in the oubliette we had to forfeit the match. The opponents magical ability to smother us and all light sources in a field of impenetrable darkness made it impossible to take on the dangers of the oubliette.

Loose - forfeit (darksphere)
Getting to the playoffs was exciting and the opponent was definitely a good challenge. Look forward to next season!
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