Greg's Design Blog

A collection of posts by game designer Gregory Carslaw, including mirrors of all of his blogs maintained for particular projects. A complete index of posts can be found here: https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/58777/index
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Room Wars

Greg
United Kingdom
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Original Post

I know what you're thinking:

"Greg, I've been reading your blog forever. I've been here for a week and a half and it's been ages! I know designing games is intricate and a lot of work, but I want one now! When are you going to make something I can play?"

Well it's going to be a while before one of the boxed games gets finished, so I threw a microgame together quickly a few days ago. I've had a chance to do a very little bit of testing with it and already have some corrections to make, but if you fancy having a go I uploaded version 0.1 as a free print and play over at boardgamegeek.



The rules follow this paragraph. Let me know how it goes if you manage to play some games. Maybe if this does well, we will get some nice art on it (instead of the current blank boxes) and include it as some kind of bonus or reward when the main game gets released.

Components

48 cards, 6 rule cards and 42 object cards.
From top to bottom rule cards contain a title, picture and rules text.
From top to bottom object cards contain a title, picture and comparisons box.

Setup

Shuffle the deck, place it where all players can reach it.
Each player draws three cards from the deck.
If any player has drawn three rule cards they discard their hand and draw three new cards.

Objective

Have the most cards in your score pile at the end of the game.
You can either play until the deck has been used, until a player has achieved a certain number of points or until a time limit is reached.

Rules

The player whose turn it is plays a card.

If the card is a rule card it goes into play and affects the game from now on. If a rule card enters play while an existing rule card is in play, the existing rule is discarded. After playing a rule card, the player immediately draws another card and plays another card.

If it is an object card, the player selects one of the comparisons from the comparisons box. All other players select an object card (Any object is permissible, it need not have the comparison printed on it). The player whose turn it is gives a three second countdown and cards are revealed simultaneously. Look around the room for the objects on the players cards and compare them using the comparison selected.

The player whose object came first in the comparison wins the trick and takes the cards to keep score. These cards are not added to the players hand or to the deck, they are not playable, they are just for keeping score. In the event of a tie each tied player wins a partial trick and adds one card to their score pile. Excess cards (if any) are discarded.

Once the trick is over, all players draw a card. If this leads to a player having three rule cards they immediately discard one and draw a new card. This process is repeated until the player has at least one object. Play then passes to the next player in a clockwise direction.

A Few Details

If there is more than one object in view the player of a card determines which object it references.

In the event that the comparison is "most" or "least" every object that can be seen counts. For these comparisons any player may point out an object that has been missed and have it count.

The "closest" and "furthest" comparisons are based on whether the selected object is the closest or furthest to the player playing the card. Distance is measured to that player’s right eye to the closest point of the object, should it matter.

Only objects that the players can see from where they are sitting may be counted.
Objects are considered as they were at the time that the cards are revealed. Thus moving an object once the cards have been revealed has no effect on the winner.

In the event of a tie divide the cards between the scoring piles of the tied players.
If the cards cannot be divided evenly discard the excess.

A trick may not be won by a player who could not find even a single instance of their object. No, not even "least". A good "least" card states an object of which one is present.

Some cards allow the object names to be manipulated to make new objects. Only concrete nouns are permissible as objects, manipulations to other types of word are not valid.

Philosophy of Play

This is a light game about observation, manipulation and blagging - spurious claims are encouraged and should generally be accepted.

Example of play

Bob, Sam and Jo are playing a game in a cafe.
Bob plays "Cup" and chooses "most", Sam plays "Hat" and Jo plays "Foot".
Looking around Bob can see four mugs and three glasses, which broadly count, giving him seven cups.
Sam can see three people are wearing hats.
However Jo can see twelve people, so with twenty-four feet, Jo wins the trick.
Sam plays "Chair" and chooses "largest", Bob plays "Model" and Jo plays "Stone"
Jo indicates the largest stone that she can see, but it's smaller than the chairs.
Sam indicates the largest chair in the room and with no miniatures coming close to its size is confident of victory.
However Bob proudly points out that he has appeared on the cover of Example Players Monthly and is therefore a model.
He chooses himself and as he is larger than the chair Sam indicated he wins the trick.
Jo plays a rules card "Players may change one letter of their objects name before comparing"
She then draws a card to replace the rules card and then plays "Toy" selecting "Nearest"
Sam plays "Net" and Bob plays "Pie"
There is no net in the room, Sam was just ditching an unusable card.
Jo uses the new rule to change "Toy" to "Boy" and selects a boy sitting at the next table, closer than the pies behind the counter.
However Bob also uses the new rule to change "Pie" to "Die" and pulls a six sided die from his pocket.
Jo points out that the die was not in view when the cards were revealed so it does not count.
Had Bob produced it during the three second countdown (or earlier) he might have won, as it is Jo does.
The players each have three cards each in their scoring pile, with everything to play for the game continues.

Well, that's it for rules, I hope you enjoy the game. It's served me fairly well as a short game to fill the time spent waiting for late players to arrive for more involved games. Let me know how it works for you.
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