Short Thoughts & Sketches

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Game Design Roulette

David Short
United States
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I'm not normally a designer that juggles a magnitude of game designs at one time. I know of several designers that do that (and do it well). Instead, I tend to focus on a select few, even as narrow as one design at a time.

However, I'm currently in the midst of a game design watershed. My microgame Enqueteur is signed with a publisher and we are actively working on finalizing it. Bomb Squad is being reviewed by several publishers and we are fielding comments from blind playtesters across the country. Ground Floor: Middle Management is developing nicely and is a priority for me. And of course, my new idea Clone Lab is my new design focus. BUT...

...apparently, that wasn't enough for me. A new idea has thrust itself into the mix and garnered all my design effort in the last week or so.

Here's some back story. My friend, Mike Tunison and I are flying together to BGG.con this year (oh yes, that's happening!). The downside is that the travel will be around 8 hours each way. Mike came up with a solution to the time sink though.

A little over a week ago, we got together to play some games at lunch and he mentioned his idea to spend those 16 hours designing a game together. But not just any game. A game about traveling by plane that could be played on those small trays on the backs of seats. I immediately was excited about the idea.

Later that day I found I couldn't stop thinking about it. By the end of the day, I had the main mechanism and storyline worked out. By the next morning, I was piecing together a prototype. The day after that we were playtesting it. Whew. Talk about a flood of design (unfortunately, this flood blew past Mike and thus we'll be pursuing two designs separately... but he still deserves props for providing me such great inspiration).

From gallery of dshortdesign

So, here we are. Round Trip is a set collection and pick up & deliver game for 2 to 4 players. It's euro goodness in a small package - both in duration and footprint.

Each player controls a small party of people attempting to finish tasks and make it to their assigned gate in time for departure. Utilizing a very twisted iteration of the mancala mechanism, players move their party thru the airport while completing goals and avoiding blockages. The simple ruleset and high player interaction keep the fun coming.

Replayability is handled in two ways. Cards that double as both goals and actions. And boards that depict the airport setting. The changing of the airport has the same effect as changing the map in Power Grid. Same rules, but different experience. Here are two of the boards so far:

From gallery of dshortdesign

From gallery of dshortdesign

I expect to provide the full print'n'play soon.

Suffice it to say, I still don't know how to juggle... but I'm learning.
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