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:
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I've been taking part in the B4B challenge. The idea is that people sign up to back at least ten kickstarter games in September for $1 each, though I feel like a part of the challenge is in finding cool stuff that other people will like. It feels like a pretty good idea, since I'm getting exposed to games I otherwise might've missed, am starting conversations with project creators and have generally had a good time with it. I wouldn't mind seeing a few supporters this way once I'm good to go too In looking around for games to back this way I ran into something that inspired some interesting ideas:

SNAFU is a cooperative party game in which players are trying to trade effectively to build hands which will allow them to win the game. The twist is that you have a character that forces you to behave in certain ways that may impede your ability to trade effectively. This could be a physical limitation such as forcing you to manipulate cards without using your thumbs, or one that gets in the way of trading such as causing you to have to lie with every statement. Once you have a matching set of cards you can put them down and draw a new hand, if the group gets the correct sets over the course of the game then you all win.

Sounds simple enough and could be a lot of fun. It's certainly reviewed well and the kickstarter is off to a decent start when you factor in how recently they launched and how low their funding goal is. Take a look if you reckon it's your sort of thing.

When I read the kickstarter page I imagined that it might be a different game, which made me more excited. I walked away with the impression that the cards with the restrictions on were the same cards that you traded, so a player might trade away the card causing them to lie about everything, making a new player the liar. A group would have to be a lot sharper to manage the correct trades and keep track of where some key cards were under those conditions, but it'd be exactly the sort of game that suits my mentality. Here are a couple of cards from the kickstarter:

You may remember that I wrote a few weeks ago about a game called Wench in which your actions are restricted by the cards in other player's hands. I loved the mechanical effects of having changing rules based on cards in peoples hands, but didn't like the theme of the game. I talked about the various ways in which those ideas might be brought forwards, well this very much feels like it could be one of them. Sure your cards would restrict your own actions rather than the other players, but they have an impact on the others. "You can only lie" is a restriction on you, but it's also a hidden rule for everyone else "You can't be trusted".

I'd love to see that game get written, hell I'd love to write it, but I'm not sure if it wouldn't wind up being too similar to the game that inspired the line of thought. I may throw together a version for just me and my mates during a quiet time, it's fun to put random bits and pieces together like that.

In any event I'd heartily recommend looking at the B4B thread, there's a wealth of inspiration to be found in all of the projects currently running. Take a look at SNAFU too, it might not be the game of my dreams but it's still a pretty damn cool idea.
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