$10.00
Michael Robertson
Scotland
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Smasherinos

Components
- Rondel based game (at present)
- 1 Game Board
- Various Tiles

==========================================

This is another entry for the 2 Player 2013 PnP Contest

Ok, so I may very well be crazy, this being my 3rd entry into the contest but I feel I have to follow up this idea with some development.

I must first mention that this game has been inspired by Elements: A Game of Alchemy. You should definitely check it out.

One of my games is super light and won't require much more development. The other is much heavier and will take a long time to complete, so this represents a middle ground kind of game.

Two groups of particle physicists are vying to become the first to discover various exotic particles. The team who discover the most exotic particles will win the game.

This will be a card based game, and the main mechanic involves combining different cards together to create new cards. For example if you smash together positively and negatively charged blue particles (using other cards as input energy), this produces a neutral blue particle of a smaller size. This smaller particle will eventually decay into an even smaller particle and eventually disappear. There will be different colours of cards which can create new particles of different colours.

The challenge will be to work out how to combine positive, negative, and neutral particles together to create new particles and keep them alive long enough to score points.

A picture tells a thousand words:

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Michael Robertson
Scotland
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Site is back up! Did some more brainstorming. I like the idea of using face down cards as an energy source, and possibly even having 'mana bases' like in MTG. I'm thinking that players may even need to use all of their available energy. Energy is good for colliding particles together, but this means that high energy particles will take longer to decay, which may be both good and bad depending on the particular particle combo you're trying to create. A base rule may be that you can always add energy to particles but never intervene to reduce it.

This could just as easily be a spell or magic system, I suppose, but I'll stick with the physics theme as I'm a science fan.

I am also considering having heavy, normal, and light particles which will affect how much energy is required to collide them.

Check out some concepts:

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Michael Robertson
Scotland
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Brainstorming continues. I'm thinking about making the game rondel based, as including some kind of rotational mechanics seems interesting.
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Michael Robertson
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So it looks like this is going to be a rondel based game, which is a bit of a departure from my original brainstorming. My primary design goal for this game is to explore more about rondel mechanics and how to produce a game that has a relatively low number of components. It will probably come in at 3 pages of components - 1 game board and maybe 1 or 2 sheets of tiles.

I'm viewing this development as highly experimental. I am note sure that there is a fully working game in here. At present my thinking is leading towards it being a deterministic, open information 'system'. I can see how various mechanics blend together but it doesn't seem very 'gamey' yet.



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Michael Robertson
Scotland
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Translated my design notes into a rough graphic mock up, which illustrates many of the game concepts that I have been considering. I think there's some kind of game starting to come out.



edit: typos
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Andrew H
United States
Wisconsin
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I'm a bit of a science geek too, so I love this idea for a game. I do think 3 games makes you a little crazy, but your loss of sanity is our gain.

If you are still interested in ideas, these popped in my head from reading your notes.

The scoring system could be like a game of roulette. For example, players could predict (bet) that the particle would be positive or negative for 1 point, large medium or small for 2 points, color for 5 points, and combinations could add bonuses. The game play is in part about seeing those predictions come true.

A whole other scoring system could be with funding. For example, the players could get victory points for finding/predicting new particles, but could get funding/research for finding valued particles. The funding could allow more energy cards, or more starting particles.

I really like the particle size using more energy to move the larger ones. You could also include spin or path. For example, if there were two circular tracks with the particles, players could adjust the speed (spaces moved around the track), direction (clockwise or counter clockwise), or path (inside or outside path). The programming mechanic from Roborally could be interesting with these options.

Whatever you do, I'd definitely be interested in trying this. Keep up the good work.

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Michael Robertson
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Already with you on the thinking with funding and spin directions. What you describe is very much in line with how I see it panning out. I think the game will be open information and face up, so there will be no surprises. Players should be able to calculate the charge and colour combos. It might get a bit crazy with secondary colour combos e.g adding purple to green etc.

I am very much open to any and all suggestions, so thanks for the feedback. I realize that I need to build a play test version ASAP due to much of the game being moving stuff around. Rules will likely be relatively short.
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Michael Robertson
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Drafted up the basic particle tiles (sample below). There's no need for fancy graphics, simply something clean and clear that shows the required information. The only thing that may need changed is the dense / light/regular particle indicator. I'm not going to spend any more time on graphics for this game - actually total time spent on basic creation and visual prototyping examples is about 30 minutes so far. I'm finding visual prototyping a great way to translate my scrawled design notes into something much more coherent.



I think around 30 to 50 basic particle tiles will be enough to cover all the tile spots on the board, so I will be able to stick to my low paper build requirements. The game engine feeds in fresh particles from those discarded from collisions, so there's no needs to have loads of basic particle tiles. Need to have red, blue, yellow in positive, negative, and neutral charges and a spread of regular, light and dense weights. Twenty 27 tiles is required for all combinations of the above.

Playtesting will likely change the balance of tile values but the total number shouldn't change. I would like to include a few weird particles that break the rules of the game as particle physics is full of a lot of mind bending concepts.

I may need to increase the physical size of each pizza slice of the board, but hopefully that will not greatly increase the page count. It has struck me what while board game design is really all about the rules, I'm having to pay a lot of attention to the layout and physical size / design of components. It's all very well to knock up a very quick and dirty prototyping play set with paper and pen, but sooner or later you need to seriously think about usability and 'user interface'. A good game may well be spoiled by poor physical construction. It needs to be comfortable to 'use'.
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Jack Neal
United States
Liverpool
New York
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Looks very interesting so far... anxious to see what you come up with!
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Michael Robertson
Scotland
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I hope I'll be able to come up with something moderately interesting and fulfill my design goal of making a rondel game. If anyone else plays it, I'll regard that as a bonus outcome.
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Michael Robertson
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My wife recently had an accident and suffered a minor head injury (not serious in the long term), so I'm going to have to call a halt on the development of all of the games that I've been working on for the contest while I deal with what's happening around here.

I look forward to getting back to Smasherinos at some point later this year.
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Andrew H
United States
Wisconsin
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mjrobertson wrote:
My wife recently had an accident and suffered a minor head injury (not serious in the long term), so I'm going to have to call a halt on the development of all of the games that I've been working on for the contest while I deal with what's happening around here.

I look forward to getting back to Smasherinos at some point later this year.


Glad to here she'll be ok.
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Michael Robertson
Scotland
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Thanks, it's not something to be hugely concerned about, there won't be any lasting damage or anything but right now she isn't able to do anything at all. The doctor advised that the best thing is to have complete rest and avoid any and all forms of stress, extertion or effort. It's also kind of traumatic as it's the head and it's a bit different from injuring an arm or a leg etc.

Anyway, not to worry, it'll all be fine in the end. Keep up the good work with Jekyll and Hyde!
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