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Subject: Flickin' Cars With Guns - Hot Wheels in my first dexterity game rss

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Carlo
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So I was hanging with some casual gamers over the weekend and had a bunch of Hot Wheels with the vague intent to play some version of Car Wars. But like I said...casual gamers, and I figured after a beer or two the turning key would be that little but complex. I knew I could come up with a lighter alternative that worked well in group settings.
When I got home I brainstormed up Flickin' Cars With Guns (yeah, inventive title whistle ).

I had a few goals in mind:
1. Can be played on a standard kitchen table (even one covered with plates and bowls)
2. Minimal tracking and completely paperless (no record sheets, etc.)
3. Fast and repeatable
4. Easy for everyone to learn
5. Can be played drunk

I'm pretty happy with the result, and would love to hear what people think of the game. I ended up with a 1-page ruleset.

How it Works
Basically each person gets a car, in this case little $1 Hot Wheels, which is considered armed and dangerous in the game. Everyone sets up on the table, and take turns flicking their cars.
You get 2 flicks per turn, and the flick can make contact anywhere on the car. So you could flick the left side to try to turn right, then flick the back to try to go forward. Crashing into obstacles or other cars reduces your Armor (health), which is tracked using a single six sided die.
After either flick you can shoot at an enemy. I think I came up with a nifty mechanic for this, since if you roll greater than or equal to the number of inches on 2D6 you hit. So if the target is 5" away you need 5+. 10" you need 10+. Over 12" and you can't even shoot, so accurate flicking is important. A hit reduces the targets Armor by 1. Starting Armor is 6 so between the shooting and the crashing it goes fast.
There are some extra rules for what happens if your car is flicked or get pushed off the table. Variants to make it a drinking game, or have droppable objects (like crumpled paper to represent oil).
Simple game, so simple rules.

Definitely has been fun to make though, and I really like the mass appeal of a dexterity game. I'm hoping to play it with a larger group soon, since I think half a dozen friends smashing Hot Wheels around would make for a riotous time.

Rulebook!
Now the important part, a link to the PDF! Flickin' Cars With Guns rulebook. I'm mostly looking for any feedback on the overall idea, or on specific wording/grammatical stuff in the rulebook itself.

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Jeremiah Lee
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Uh.

Dude.

This sounds super fun!
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Alex Bourne
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Technically you can play any game drunk...
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Rob Cramer
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I love this idea. Like marbles on steroids. Great work!
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DZ Woloshyn
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bournizzle wrote:
Technically you can play any game drunk...

But no one would want to go first in a drunken game of Jenga.

I'm sure that FCWG is something that all of us amateur game designers have cobbled together at some point, before moving on to something more ambitious. That said, though, I feel a nostalgic joy to see someone take it to the next level like this. A couple of my Dizzy Jr's and I were flicking Hot Wheels cars around a race track not three days ago — you get one rotation, then one flick. (Pro Tip: The American muscle cars tend to flip more readily than wide, low-riders like my Ferrari California). We may use your ruleset when they get a bit older.

If you don't mind a bit of early thought experimentation (such a system practically begs for a living rulebook), I think that the stunt bonus should be rewarded by an extra flick, so you would attempt a risky manoeuvre for the sake of going faster and not for the counterintuitive reward of becoming-less-damaged. A pit stop area might be more appropriate to regain armour points, possibly +1 per skipped flick, but only if you roll greater than your present Armour value on 1d6. You can still be shot while in the pit stop area, and each hit is worth 2 pts of damage, because you are sitting still. So don't sit there forever!

Overall, though, I like the fast pace that the rules allow. Keep the game moving and avoid a lot of fiddly little rules that bog things down. Drunken people hate bogs. Well done.
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James Hutchings
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This sounds awesome. But wouldn't the best idea be to stay out of everyone else's way?

Maybe if there were other objectives, eg if it was a race.

PS Does anyone know why the same problem doesn't seem to happen in demolition derbies?
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Carlo
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@All: Thanks for all the positive replies. Just taught and played the game twice in a four player game in under half an hour. Their kitchen table sort of tipped to one side which made it tough to flick out of!

My concern is I've sort of overwritten the rulebook? Maybe TOO wordy for such a "natural" concept? Did anyone find it clunky to read?

@James Hutchings: My understanding of demolition derbies is it's point based, so to "win" you need to hit more. Sort of like boxing. But yeah, the best strategy might indeed be to cower in a corner...I just haven't seen a player yet who doesn't go full throttle into a big mess in the middle
Definitely having an outlined race track would work though. I just wanted the more open arena style that a square kitchen table naturally lends itself to. That and I think guns work best when you aren't always shooting the leader.
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Carlo
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@Woloshyn: I went the opposite way and circled back to a lighter game after a heavier dip into miniatures skirmish scale.
I definitely find the one rotation + one flick you're talking about to be the best balance. FCWG uses two total flicks, but they can be from any angle. Had a smooth move tonight where the person rolled forward, shot, then flicked backwards to try to escape the retaliation.

I like the idea of the Stunt bonus being extra speed. I was also playing with the idea of rewarding going off ramps, but that's pretty terrain specific. The reason I went for +Armor was to represent some kind of cheering fans on the edge of the board that inspires the driver or something. Mixing in a pit stop that achieves the same thing is cool too. I could see putting down a napkin or ziplock bag to represent the pit

One of my friends was talking about the idea of racing for "pink slips", so that the winner gets to keep the losers car. Then you are basically trading around Hot Wheels with the same group of friends, which could make for a fun time.

Definitely moves fast and simple though, and with the right crowd has the perfect amount of tension.
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Tanner Griffin
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I can only think of one thing I would change. I'd say you can't shoot back at someone who just hit you. Then you avoid the nonsense dice rolls that inevitably happen in games where you can just exchange shots back and forth. My idea for this mechanic is you could make it so that when you hit them, you get to flick them out of the way. Maybe to balance this, if you flick their piece off the table, they get to put it back on anywhere. So you just get to flick it somewhere where they'll have a hard time getting you back.

I remember trying to make something like this as a kid, but dice never even occurred to us. We'd just flick our cars closer to each other then argue about whether or not we would have been able to hit the other guy. I'll tell you right now, my nephews and I are playing this as soon as we possibly can.

Edited to add:

We tried to base it around Twisted Metal, the video game. So we'd give each piece a "special move," but that basically meant we'd argue a little louder about whether it actually hit.

If you wanted to include some kind of special moves, you could give each player a card that has a one-time use bonus shot, like "This shot ignores obstacles once," "Add 6 to this roll, to a maximum of 18 inches for this shot," "This shot reduces armor by 2," "Move this piece to any spot on the board," "Shoot twice this turn," et cetera. Of course, this is the fan expansion or something, I wouldn't recommend you actually add this into the base game.

However, put it into the database! I want an entire forum dedicated to this game. It sounds fantastic!
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Carlo
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Friff14 wrote:
I can only think of one thing I would change. I'd say you can't shoot back at someone who just hit you.
Although I like your thought process behind this, in practice I don't think it would work as it would favor turn order way too highly. I'd say every car is shooting 75-85% of the time, so the first player would be at a huge advantage since he could stop an opponent from shooting back just by hitting him.

Friff14 wrote:
I'll tell you right now, my nephews and I are playing this as soon as we possibly can.
Definitely let me know how it goes!

Friff14 wrote:
If you wanted to include some kind of special moves, you could give each player a card that has a one-time use bonus shot, like "This shot ignores obstacles once," "Add 6 to this roll, to a maximum of 18 inches for this shot," "This shot reduces armor by 2," "Move this piece to any spot on the board," "Shoot twice this turn," et cetera. Of course, this is the fan expansion or something, I wouldn't recommend you actually add this into the base game.
I was mulling the idea of choosing a weapon at the start of each game, so some people could go Rockets, Machine Guns, Shotguns, etc. The problem is with a minimal combat system it's tough to differentiate the guns in a meaningful and balanced way. It also adds a bit more book keeping, whereas I envision players being able to kludge together the components just from junk lying around the house (since I have yet to go to a house that doesn't have at least one six-sided die).
I like the idea of special powers though, and I think I might do a big book of "advanced" rules, with different combat resolution mechanics, a thin campaign system, etc.

I'm going to playtest it a bit more, since I specifically want to try it with a big group, then I'll try to add it to BGG.
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Mars
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A quick idea to balance longer range weapons (as someone mentioned adding 6" inches to the roll) might be to reduce it's firing arc to 90 degrees. You could use the corner of a piece of paper as the firing arc template.
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DZ Woloshyn
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I love the groupthink that a game like this encourages. As long as we all keep the five Goals in mind (from the original post), we can prevent this game from turning back into SJG's Car Wars.

'Cause that one's been done.

It's called Car Wars.

By the by, Bosky, I'm not sure that I like the Defensive Driving variant rule. ("But it's a variant! If you don't like it, don't play with it!" "Shut up, you!") It seems to eschew the well considered and thematically appropriate range rule for some Matrix-esque bullet dodging. I dunno. Eliminating chaff is just as important as rule-tweaking.

On a more positive note, I think that the weak-hand-flick rule is brilliant. Did you come up with that one, or did it come from another dexterity game?
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Carlo
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Dizzy is Calm wrote:
By the by, Bosky, I'm not sure that I like the Defensive Driving variant rule. ("But it's a variant! If you don't like it, don't play with it!" "Shut up, you!") It seems to eschew the well considered and thematically appropriate range rule for some Matrix-esque bullet dodging. I dunno. Eliminating chaff is just as important as rule-tweaking.

On a more positive note, I think that the weak-hand-flick rule is brilliant. Did you come up with that one, or did it come from another dexterity game?

I actually hadn't played any non-family dexterity games before I started on this one, so I have no idea if the offhand approach is used elsewhere. I figured it was a handy way to handicap someone.

As for the variants I basically put in a few simple ones because I had the space. If I could somehow compress the rules to fit on a single page (by dropping Variants) I'd do that approach instead. But as it stands I'd have a half full second page and I think that'd look worse than the back-to-back sizing the rulebook currently has.
 
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Carlo
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So my train ride this morning was pretty productive, and I brainstormed a lot for Flickin' Cars.

I'm thinking of creating a separate "expansion pack" document with all the Variant rules, weapon rules, and card rules. Right now I'm tending towards naming it "The Scenic Route". Any suggestions on names for an expansion?

Weapons
Some rough ideas on weapons. They aren't fully balanced, but the idea would be that they are all equal. I tried to keep some important rules in mind when thinking these up, namely that I still don't want to have to track anything (so no applying damage-over-time or other negative effects to enemies).
Names are just pulled out of a hat and not set at all.

Machinegun - 2D6, 1 damage, <2 jam, 12+ crit
Shotgun - 1D6, 2 damage, <1 jam, no crit
Railgun - 2D6, 1 damage, <2 jam, no crit, hit all in forward fixed
Flamer - 2 attacks, 1D6, 1 damage, <1 jam, no crit
Buzzsaw - 2" range, 3 damage, no jam, no crit
Rotary - 4D6 pick highest 2?
Precision Rifle - 1D6, 1 damage, no jam, 4+ crit
Turret - 2D6, 1 damage, <4 jam, no crit, 360 degree arc
Catapult - 2D6, 1 damage, <2 jam, no crit, leave rock where target was hit
Lightning - 2D6, 1 damage, no jam, 10+ crit, can only shoot after second flick (charge up)
Rocket - 2D6, 1 damage, <2 jam, 12+ crit, hit all in 3" (roll for each? or all based on one roll?)
Sniper Rifle - 2D6, 1 damage, <2 jam, 10+ crit
Rifle - 3D6, 1 damage, <6 jam, no crit
Slugger - 2D6, 1 damage, <2 jam, 12+ crit, knockback 3"

Another option I'm considering is non-D6 dice, for all the RPGers out there. Adding in D4s, D8s, D20s, etc. would give a TON of variety to how weapons feel. For example:

Chaos - 1D20, 1 damage

Cards
The other idea is to use a standard deck of playing cards to spice up the game. Each card corresponds to an effect in a chart, so 4 of Diamonds would mean you look up #4 in the chart.
This would give me 10 options + face cards + aces.
The other approach is to split by number AND color. So you have Red 5 and Black 8. That gives 10 options per color, for 20 total + face cards + aces.
You might start with a couple of cards in your hand. No hand limit. Cards can be played at any time. Maybe I'll do different types for when they can be played, like "Interrupt", "Your Turn", "Opponent Turn".
Otherwise you put a few cards face down on the table. If you drive over them you add the card to your hand. Alternatively maybe you can draw a card if you get a critical hit, or kill an enemy, or even just 1 per turn.
I could see eventually having custom printable cards available with the name, type, effect, and flavor text. Saves having to look up on a chart, but means the game is that much more of a hassle to put together and get going.
Below are some preliminary card ideas. Some are overly powerful and are meant for the rarer aces or face cards.
Names are again pulled out of a hat:

Blessed - Make enemy re-roll 1 shooting dice
Big Shot - Add 1D6 to next shot
Nitro - Free flick in your turn
Scanner - Look at one opponent's hand
Heal - Recover 1 Armor
Espionage - Discard random card from one opponent's hand
Heatseeker - 1 damage to any car on 2+ on 1D6, regardless of arc or range
Stunned - Opponent must offhand flick
Slow - Only 1 flick by opponent
Suicide - Double damage to opponent if you crash your car into them
Malfunction - Opponent cannot shoot
Shell - Enemy with highest Armor takes 1 damage, cannot be used when there is a tie for highest
Ebrake - Put your car facing any direction at the start of your turn
Quickdraw - Shoot before either flick instead
Plate - Take no damage from a crash
Lucky Shot - Next shot has +2 crit chance
AP Ammo - +1 damage on crit
Thief - Steal 1 random card from opponent
Governer - All opponents must discard to 4 cards
Override - Flick opponents car
Close Shot - +1 damage at 3" or less (could also be a Variant?)
Uppers - Free extra turn
Downers - Skip an opponents turn
Safe - No opponent cards can be played this turn
Draw - Draw 2 cards
Draw All - Everyone can choose to take 1 damage to draw 1 card
Big Hand - Anyone with a hand size over 4 takes 1 damage
Stop That - Prevent enemy interrupt card (a further "Stop That" can be played on this "Stop That", etc.)
Rapid Fire - Shoot twice this turn
Slick - Move enemy D6" forward
Gearbox - Move enemy D6" back
Boost - Move yourself up to 3" forward
Brakes - Move yourself up to 3" back
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You had me at Hot Wheels.
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Eric Etkin
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I love this.

devil And now I have an excuse to buy Hot Wheels for my daughter.

Have you thought of adding a facing/firing arc template to this? And blast radius on certain weapons?

So... Flicking isn't just about distance, but also which direction, how far, trajectory, etc.

Seems like it'd be an easy way to add additional complexity without rule bloat.
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Eric Etkin
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Blarg. Shot my mouth off without looking at the PDF first. Apologies.

Ok... you have firing arcs, but it's the same for every car.

What if cars had simple (simple!) character sheets and you could swap out/customize weaponry, add/subtract armor, etc.?

So not every car has a 180 degree frontal firing arc. Some might have a back gunner, 360 turret (but lousy range), extra plating, droppables, etc.
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Carlo
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MOTHDevil wrote:
What if cars had simple (simple!) character sheets and you could swap out/customize weaponry, add/subtract armor, etc.?

Noooooooo, the slipper slope! And them maybe a light construction system, and maybe armor per location, and and and...laugh

Look at my post a couple up to see the weapon options I'm brainstorming. You'd just choose one though. Some have different arcs, and there is a turret option.

Also I'm right there with you for using this as an excuse to buy Hot Wheels. I always say "for the nephews!" when I buy them, then squirrel the cars away in my own collection.
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Eric Etkin
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bosky wrote:
MOTHDevil wrote:
What if cars had simple (simple!) character sheets and you could swap out/customize weaponry, add/subtract armor, etc.?

Noooooooo, the slipper slope! And them maybe a light construction system, and maybe armor per location, and and and...laugh


Yeah.... I felt a little dirty typing that.

But this idea more or less works great around my design maxim 1, which is easy concept; scalable complexity.

There's definitely nothing holding this game back from being played by drunks or gameier game gamers who want to trick out their rides.

 
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Eric Etkin
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Work + Boredom = brainstorming.

I tried to do a quick arc template grid in Excel, based off the guesstimated size of a Hot Wheels car. This is nothing ground breaking.

There'd be some scissoring/assembly involved here, but the cannon side of the car would always be parallel to the red line. Anything within the vector is a hit, and different weapons might have different spreads and/or range. Additionally, you could maybe even mount a cannon on any side of the car, but at the sacrifice of armor for that side.



Anyhow... love the game idea. At least one of the guys in my group is interested in trying it. If we give it a whirl, I'll play it RAW before trying to mod it.
 
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Carlo
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Hot Wheels are 3"x1" as far as I know.

The template definitely takes the game in a new direction. I think it's a question of whether the players want a pure reflex game with very little measuring that you can play in 10-15 minutes. Or a more bucklin' down, strategic experience where the flicking is less of a focus compared to car design and angles.
To me mixing physical dexterity with too complex of mechanics is a bad fit. It'd be like having flicking rules in a tabletop miniatures game (mass battle or even skirmish)...it just seems out of place as you get into more exact arcs and pre-game equipment choices.
Plus the intent was to have a pretty easy to setup and organize game, where you don't have to bring special components around. Cars, dice, plates/glasses for terrain, measuring tape.

But like you were saying trying it RAW should be an enlightening experience. Definitely let me know how it goes!
 
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Eric Etkin
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Agreed - what I'm suggesting isn't exactly within the parameters of your original vision, but might be worth playing around with just as an exercise in making a minis/flick hybrid. Hrrm... yeah. I need to play your RAW before I shoot off more "suggestions."

Seems like what I'm proposing is similar only in terms of using Hot Wheels cars (which... is brilliant).

bosky wrote:


But like you were saying trying it RAW should be an enlightening experience. Definitely let me know how it goes!

I absolutely, positively will. To be honest, I MIGHT try this solo just to play it out if I can't get my group to maybe squeeze it in at some point I the next couple weeks.
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Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the suggestions! And yeah I agree that the similarity is flicking + Hot Wheels and little else. But the more games using Hot Wheels the better! Still one of the better modern day deals in terms of price. $1-$1.50 per "mini" is awesome. Can't even get that good of a deal with Lego minifigs.

The upside of dexterity games is they are quite playable solo, especially if you try your hardest with all cars involved. I'd recommend attempting two cars per "player" solo as well, since then it's less like a WW1 dogfight and more like a desperate street battle.
Oh and like I said the game is short enough and easy to setup that we've been playing it as a precursor to the "main event" at our boardgaming nights. Have dinner -> don't clean up dishes -> play Flickin' -> cleanup -> play X-Wing or something Definitely get a more organic terrain setup if you just play around dinner plates and half finished Coke cans.

I'm not much of a video guy but I'm hoping to eventually record a gameplay session (maybe 3 games in a row) to give people an idea of how it plays. I find the combination of "Ooooooh how did you not crash into that!" with "Haha I can't believe you just rolled double 1s!" to be great fun.
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Also anyone got comments on the weapons and card powerup ideas I talked about a few posts back?

Also some other random ideas I had:
- Variant to leave dead cars on the table
- Add some different Stunt bonuses
-- Maybe can choose when the Stunt is done
-- Maybe even have different types of "Stunts"
--- Like close to table edge, end up 1" away from enemy, less than 1" from obstacle, etc.
- Add some Features
-- Pitstop, heal 1 Armor if driven over
-- Each feature would have effect and recommended household terrain
- Variants should have a list of "incompatible" and "well synergized" variants
-- Maybe if there are enough variants have some preset options combining good variants to give a unique play experience
- Remember to put checkboxes by variants so players can note which are used each game
- Variant to flick/roll marbles at each other to represent shooting
 
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Eric Etkin
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bosky wrote:
But the more games using Hot Wheels the better! Still one of the better modern day deals in terms of price. $1-$1.50 per "mini" is awesome. Can't even get that good of a deal with Lego minifigs.

Amen, brother.

Have you guys tried custom painting them up? I could totally see toy cars getting the royal minis treatment... and then smashed. devil

This game really does hit all the sweet spots for me. Solo + flick + Hot Wheels? Done.
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