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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Works in Progress

Subject: [WIP] Space Farm - 18 card microgame contest rss

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Chris Nash
United Kingdom
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Hey guys.

So - apart from entering the odd GDS competition at BGDF, this is the first game design contest I am entering. I like the challenge of designing a game using 18 cards and literally nothing else!

The game is: Space Farm.

I am not an artist by quite literally any stretch, stride or even movement of the imagination, so the art will be very basic - I'm glad I have 2 and a half months to tighten it up!

I also need to work out how to get the rules sharp and succinct enough to fit onto a double-sided 2.5"x3.5" card.

Rules and initial art designs to follow - any feedback is greatly appreciated!
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Chris Nash
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Rules
Space Farm

Game idea: The year is 2214. Humankind, having spread its influence across the stars, seeks to make the most of the extra space afforded by habitable planets. In ‘Space Farm’, players are small-time farmers living on such a planet, trying to make the most of limited space while sharing the planet alongside one another.

Setup: Remove the ‘Rules’ card and the ‘First Player’ card, and shuffle the remaining 16 cards.
Deal a number of cards to each player according to the number of players:
2-players = 4 cards each. Set the remaining cards to one side for later in the game.
3-players = 5 cards each. Remove the final card from the game without looking at it.
4-players = 4 cards each.
Randomly determine the first player, who takes the first-player card.

Gameplay:
Each player looks at their hand of cards, and selects one card to play. Without showing the other players, they remove this card from their hand, and set the rest of their hand to one side.
Then, beginning with the first player and going clockwise, players play their selected card face-up onto the table. Cards must be placed so that they are within a 4x4 grid of cards. The first player need not specify where in the grid their card is situated, but other cards must be placed such that all cards are within a 4x4 grid.
Cards need not be played adjacent to other cards which have already been placed.
Once all cards have been placed, players pass their hand of remaining cards to the person on their right. The first player card is then passed to the left.

Scoring:
When a player plays a card, they check to see if they have scored any points:
When an animal card is played, the player scores the number of animals on that card, plus the number of identical animals on any cards which are orthogonally adjacent.
When a barn card is played, the player scores the number of specified animals on any card in the same row and column as the barn card.
When the farmer card is played, the player scores the number of cards which have already been placed adjacent (orthogonally or diagonally) to the farmer card.

Game end:
The game ends when all 16 cards have been played into the 4x4 grid, except in the 3-player game, in which the game will have one missing space. The last player to play their card will decide, by virtue of which space they do not play their card into, which space this will be.
In a 2-player game, when the first hand of 4 cards has been used, deal out the remaining 8 cards to each player and play through a second hand of 4 cards using the same rules.

The player with the most points is the winner, and the owner of the best ‘Space Farm’!
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Chris Nash
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Initial artwork
 


 


 


Here is the very first basic attempt at some artwork - as I said, I'm no artist nor am I a graphic designer!

The barns and farmer are free public domain clipart from the internet, and the animals are all from this site:

http://www.horseclipart.com/horse_clipart_images/cartoon_dra...

(They have asked that acknowledgement is given to the site if the pictures are being posted online).

The pictures are, at the moment, devoid of any space theme. The game originally came to me as a general farming game (with a very light touch!) but I like the name Space Farm, as the game is about packing your cards tightly with the other players and making the most of limited space, so I think the theme fits the name better.

Again, any feedback is more than welcome!
 
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Chris Nash
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Very first playtest with the missus yesterday evening.

We played 1 round, which took about 5-10 minutes including setup.

Her verdict - she enjoyed it! Woohoo!

But I felt like there was a lack of meaningful decisions - it was a little bit 'pick a card and hope for the best'.

I quickly came up with some amended rules for the Farmer, which we attempted, and seemed to improve the game slightly. Will post the amended rules now, along with some thoughts for further improvement.
 
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Chris Nash
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Amended rules for the farmer:

When the farmer is placed, he does not score.

Instead, the player may pick a card adjacent to the farmer, and move it elsewhere, scoring that card for it's new placement.

If a player later plays a card adjacent to the farmer, they have a choice. They can:
Score their card as normal and leave the farmer where he is, or
Choose not to score their card, instead taking the farmer and playing him face-up in front of them.

After any later round (all cards selected by players have been placed), including the round in which the player took the farmer, the player may play the farmer as an extra card and use the farmer's power as above.

We played the game again with this rule - again the game took 5-10 minutes, and again my wife beat me!
She said she enjoyed the farmer rules and could see that it does give more interesting decisions.

I think coming up with extra powers/abilities/movement rules for the other cards could be the way to go.
 
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Julian Anstey
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Barry
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Have you tried writing up the rules onto the cards yet? Since you've only got one card to work with, I'm worried that you might not fit in your new farmer rule.

I know it's not meant to be final artwork, but your cards would look a lot better if you were to remove the white backgrounds from the clip art. It should be pretty quick, easy (and free) to do it in Gimp.
 
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