So this is the first card game I've ever worked up to a playable state. The premise is that the players are siblings being accused of doing crazy things by their parents, and they have to string together a series of lies into stories that, provided the other players don't pick away at them, become worth a lot of points at the end of the game if their parents "believe" them.
At this point, the work that needs to be done is:
* make the manual as clear as possible -- with more injection of humor and theme where I can * finish card artwork for a few of the base game cards and most of the expansion cards * redesign the place action icons to be a lot clearer * prepare the marketing for the eventual Kickstarter run of the game. A lack of good marketing was my big problem when I was doing comics, and I'm trying my best to not have it be the same problem with this project.
The base game has 108 poker-sized cards over 12 sheets of paper. The print'n'play PDF also has the expansion cards in it, but you would just need to print & trim the first 12 pages for the base game. Right now I have a PDF of the rules that is just single sheets (assembled with ImageMagick, nothing fancy), but I can also post a duplexed digest-size version that, if you have a long reach stapler, can be assembled like a book.
The materials are on the game site, the rules are here if you just want to look at those, since those need the most work right now, and I'll cross-post any updates I send out elsewhere here, too. I'm trying to follow the format that others seem to use for these posts, but if I've screwed something up, let me know.
After feedback from Facebook, the almost-complete card icons:
I ran two playtests last week, one blind and one with some 10-12 year old kids. The blind playtest went as well as I expected (as in, a little badly), so I ended up redoing the manual. The kids who played the game loved it, picked up the rules fast, and even started getting the strategies of the game.
Finally, I have only four pieces of artwork left for the base set of cards. This is the piece for the "Saved the comic store!" card:
I've finished the artwork for the base game, and ordered away for a few decks from TGC to see how they come out. I'll end up doing another run through the art, just to clean things just and make it look a little better. Then it's on to finishing the expansion cards. Here's one of the last pieces of art from the base game, for the card "Emu Stampede!"
Also, the instructions are in the hands of a writer friend, and I plan on getting them in front of a few other writer-y folks to get them cleaned up and ready to go.
Took some time this weekend to throw together a simple gameplay video. It also gave me a chance to assess the current state of Linux video editing software, with Kdenlive being the big winner.
This week, I'm starting on the artwork for the first expansion, Superstar Fibber. This expansion features cards whose values are much higher than the base game's, but are distributed linearly instead of having a lot of low cards and tapering up to only a handful of high cards. You'll be able to draw cards from either deck once the game starts, and with the few playtests I've done, it doesn't slow the game down, but it does make the press-your-luck aspect a lot stronger.
I've started on the Superstar Fibber expansion cards. Here's one of the lower level ones:
Right now, one of the issues I'm having is defining where the exceptions to the turn order should occur, and trying to tighten up the definitions of certain parts of the turn order. For example, there's an Embellishment in the expansion that will essentially force a story to complete immediately, provided you can get enough lies onto it for it to be considered complete-able. For gaining this amazing bonus, you have to discard your hand. I'm trying to decide at which point all this should occur:
* Since you're discarding your hand, it shouldn't matter if it occurs before or after the point where, if you held over the card limit, you discarded. * Since a story has completed, first player selection should occur again. Obviously, the player who played this embellishment has no cards, so they don't participate anyway. * There may be future effects that will have to be wedged into the process. Wink wink.
So I may just need to break down the points where all the possible effects can occur, simplify them where I can, name those points, and then stick with those.
I watched the video and while the artwork looks appealing I can't say the same about the gameplay. This is how I understand it: on my turn I play a card to one of the stacks in front of me. It must be higher then the top card on the stack. Once I have 5 cards in a stack then that stack is complete. . . That's it right? ( Other than some icons that allow drawing or removing cards.)
Roughly, yeah. The card you play has to be higher, but no more than three higher, than the story's value. The story with five lies is exposed to other players for at least a turn per player, who can potentially knock cards off of it and prevent it from completing at the beginning of your turn. This is more likely to happen if you have higher valued stories, since the remove action targets higher valued stories. Chaining card placements is also important for protecting stories and getting cards out faster.
There's also the betting aspect for selecting the first player, which used to only occur at the beginning of the game. I tried using that at other parts of the game, and having it occur again after a story completes gave the players a bit more opportunity to control the game flow and work to slightly slow down other players' progress.
The Lost Cities increasing numeric mechanic was a small part of the inspiration, but not entirely. My goal was to design a lighter game with just a little bit of strategy, so I tried to get a feeling similar to what I get playing a game like Gloom. This is also the first one I've brought to a finished product, so I wanted to keep it simple.
Haven't updated this in a while. The base game is complete, and I've tuned the card powers of what will be the first mini-expansion, Your Go-To Lies. The idea behind this expansion is that these are the lies that have always worked for you, so you can easily rattle them off and come up with more. It's a 54 card deck with the rule that, if you don't have one of those cards in your hand, you draw one.
Originally, I just had them be slightly more powered, but I wasn't going through that deck fast enough (the end game condition of "deck running out" applies to any deck, and I wanted the danger of running out of this smaller, more powerful deck to be imminent). So I've decided to change it so those cards always have a draw power, so you're always drawing another one of those cards into your hand right when you play one. More power, but twice as likely to run out that deck. I'll re-label the powers on those cards (with stickers!) and see how well that works out before I print any more decks.
Also, other Kickstarter marketing work and video production and all those other bits of game production that I'm trying to be better at.
I'm working on cleaning up existing art and creating some new art for the mini expansion. This piece is going to be the card backs and box front for the mini expansion. The idea is that these lies are the ones that have always worked for you - your go-to lies - so you've been developing and using them throughout your life: