Gregg Jewell
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After some valuable feedback from some publishers and playtesters, the consensus was the primary team-based signaling mechanic was a pure hit but some of the other mechanics made for a disjointed and clunky game.

So, I have:

1) stripped the game of theme just while I further playtest the changes. The game only requires 32 cards from 2 standard card decks.

2) shifted the game from non-stop real-time chaos to controlled simultaneous play

3) changed it so that instead of holding 3 or 4 cards and hoping for a three-of-a-kind, you now only hold 1 card hoping it matches your face up card.

New rules: Pigeon Post Redux (themeless)


My biggest issue right now is trying to make the rules as clear and concise as possible. It makes sense in my head and is easier to understand when the cards are in front of you but seems a little wordy and confusing to outsiders.

I haven't added images yet, holding off until I clean up the wording.
 
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Jeremiah Lee
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Milan
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Re: Return to Sender - Cooperative hidden info & bluffing game played in real time (hoping to submit for ION Award by Jan 1)
Hmm, why the theme (change)?
 
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Gregg Jewell
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Re: Return to Sender - Cooperative hidden info & bluffing game played in real time (hoping to submit for ION Award by Jan 1)
I really like the pigeon post theme and will probably revisit it again someday. So then what happened? Well, some early playtesting showed high regard for the cute unique theme. However, throughout play the question most people asked was why they had to get 3 of the same bird since 9 birds were going to the same destination.

So I thought about how to re-organize or change the bird matches and destinations.

My limitation was that there isn't many distinct birds that are carriers. And I didnt want to have just the pigeon with 9 locations when the signals are based on which location. That'd be A LOT of signals to remember!

Then I started to think what if I had the players collect the pages of the message instead of the birds and then once collected the pigeons would be "sent off" thematically as you were signaling your partner.

But if they weren't really going to be the main component in the theme now, should I just go with a more benign theme for potential publishers to springboard from while preparing this for ION?

Some other minor issues with the theme.
What were points represented as thematically? Intel? Morale? Victory? Messages sent?
Going with the last one on that list, why do I get points if I intercept their message if points are message delivered? They should lose points then right. Well, if that were the case the scores quickly stagnate in "intercept" heavy games. The call outs terms were just a little off for me as well. "Intercept" although thematically correct wasn't all there.

SO far from playtesting the gameplay is pretty solid right now. Period. Some poeple love the mad dash for cards and some aren't the biggest fann but no one argues that the signaling and bluffing are great. I may even delve into 8/10 player games but I do not have the resources here in Afghanistan for that many people at once right now.

This new theme isnt a perfect fit with the mechanics either but because it is a little more braod it allows for more expansion and design.

Now:

Each of the 10 letters is unique (no ravens, pigeons, doves only) but still maintains the 4 recipients; John, Sally, Jane, Friends (the special one).
Lets look at that special letter. Chain letters are known for their silly "bad luck if not sent" pitch. This works perfectly with the bonus point for sending to all your friends but negative point if returned.

The open letter fits because it has already been published in the newspaper so when revealed the point is given to the team.

The dead letter is showing the opposing team that the letter they thought they got a point and credit for earlier actually got lost in the mail vortex..whoops!

Bottomline, I know this theme isn't as unique and interesting as pigeon post but I think the gameplay is what drives this game and yelling "Return to Sender!" as you score those glorious points is more fun anyway.


I am always open to ideas though.
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Jeremiah Lee
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Re: Return to Sender - Cooperative hidden info & bluffing game played in real time (hoping to submit for ION Award by Jan 1)
Thanks for the quick response. I do love the earlier theme, and this one doesn't strike me as strongly. That said, I'd still like to play the game because it looks like a lot of fun. I wonder if there's a better theme lurking somewhere.
 
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Daniel N.
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Re: Return to Sender - Cooperative hidden info & bluffing game played in real time (hoping to submit for ION Award by Jan 1)
I will agree with Jeremiah that the messenger bird theme was wonderful and striking to me. I printed it out and can't wait to give it a shot.

I tend to suspend disbelief pretty well when it comes to mechanic-theme dissonance, so the idea of needing 3-of-a-kind didn't bother me at all. For instance, what if it simply takes 3 tries before a message gets through the archers (camped outside the destination city, of course), and each of your bird trainers happens to specialize in one bird? It doesn't really matter to me.

But even with that said, perhaps there is some theme to be found in various intelligence / counter intelligence tactics? I'm imagining coded messages of the French Resistance or encrypted microfilms of the Cold War. Both have a strong Message/Intercept feel.

Good luck with your game!
d
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Gregg Jewell
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Re: Return to Sender - Cooperative hidden info & bluffing game played in real time (hoping to submit for ION Award by Jan 1)
They actually did send 2 or 3 out for that very reason. I think people got hung up on the raven versus pigeon versus dove all going same place but not being able to match up.

Well I kept the old rules and cards still on my site so its just a matter of linking here for now until I delve further on what I will tweak:

Pigeon Post Themed Rules: PDF
Pigeon Post Low Ink PnP Cards: PDF
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Gregg Jewell
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Re: Pigeon Post Redux
After some valuable feedback from some publishers and playtesters, the consensus was the primary team-based signaling mechanic was a pure hit but some of the other mechanics made for a disjointed and clunky game.

So, I have:

1) stripped the game of theme just while I further playtest the changes. The game only requires 32 cards from 2 standard card decks.

2) shifted the game from non-stop real-time chaos to controlled simultaneous play

3) changed it so that instead of holding 3 or 4 cards and hoping for a three-of-a-kind, you now only hold 1 card hoping it matches your face up card.

New rules: Pigeon Post Redux (themeless)


My biggest issue right now is trying to make the rules as clear and concise as possible. It makes sense in my head and is easier to understand when the cards are in front of you but seems a little wordy and confusing to outsiders.

I haven't added images yet, holding off until I clean up the wording.
 
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