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Subject: Travel Games Contest - 1000+GG & physical prizes! rss

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Jake Staines
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Welcome to the Travel Game Design Contest!

Think of all those holidays people take in caravans, motorhomes, tents, chalets and so on with nothing but those rubbish little portable-magnetic-chess-set games (and the beautiful untamed wilds and/or sun-kissed beach) to divert them from mind-numbing boredom. Now imagine that those people could actually be playing fun board games instead! And/or on buses, trains, back seats of cars or even at home during Richter 3+ tectonic movements that scatter the pieces of ordinary games!

This design contest has been set up to promote (and reward!) the creation of portable, travel-safe games that offer a bit more than the traditional Chess/Draughts/Ludo/Backgammon. Any kind of game that doesn't violate the all-important Front Seat rule is welcome, including card games, games based around magnetic sets, or any other option that doesn't rely on gravity to hold game pieces in place.

The magnetic sets in particular hold great potential to be repurposed into an easy-to-craft PnP that people outside of the normal PnP circles can make and enjoy!

The goal: design a game that can be played on the back seat of a car, on a train or aeroplane or outside - a game that can resist a bit of vibration or tipping, and doesn't rely on gravity to work properly.

[In compliance with BGG rules, administration permission has been sought and granted to run this contest.]

Dates:

Earliest point contest entries may be made public: December the 13th, 2014
Submission deadline: March 31st, 2015
Voting period: 1st to 11th April, 2015

The Front Seat:

The worst thing that could possibly happen in a travel game is some important component of the game falling off while playing in the car on a long journey and rolling under the front seat. From there, the players cannot access it and have to wait until the end of the journey before they can finish their game!

Accordingly, any piece which is "involved" in the game (representing information about the game state) must be secure at all times. This could mean that the piece is secured in a player's hand, or magnetically attached to the board, or concealed in a pocket (although this is discouraged).

Two caveats here:

• You may assume that all pieces which are not presently part of the game are stored securely somewhere. Pieces are not part of the game either because they haven't been introduced to the game yet, because they have been removed from the game, or because they are only used sporadically (e.g. dice) - it's safe to assume that the players have - say - a resealable bag or similar which they can keep these pieces in which is placed back in the box when the game is over.

• Speaking of dice, it is fine to use dice in your game, and rolling them is the one real exception to the Front Seat rule. One of the benefits of a folding magnetic board is that you can flip it over at any time, roll dice in the tray formed by the insides of the box and then flip the whole thing back over again to continue the game. Dice which maintain state (e.g. the doubling die in tournament Backgammon) are, however, barred from the contest unless you can find a way to keep them secure during play.

Categories:

There are two categories of prize in this contest:

Purist Magnetic

Components:

Games must be based on a single-board or two-board magnetic travel game set (see below) and may use any combination of pieces from any number of these games. The board/s may be replaced with new graphics, but no pieces not found in existing magnetic travel games may be used.

Examples:

If it didn't exist already, an example of a purist magnetic game might be Take-Back-Toe. It could use a die from a Backgammon set and a number of pieces from a couple of Backgammon sets to move around the spaces. The pieces wouldn't stack as poker chips do in the original but having them in the same spaces would work just as well.

Another example could be a Tiny Epic Kingdoms-style area-control game, where players use the pawns from a Chess or Chinese Checkers set for their armies, and the region, resource tracks and action-selection tableau are printed on the replacement board label. (This could also qualify for the Single-Source prize)


Prizes:

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in this category will receive prizes of 300, 150 and 50 correspondingly.

Additionally the winner may choose three games (up to a maximum of four magnetic boards) from this contest to have a 'nice' PnP version made and sent to them as a physical prize.

Freestyle

Components: Games may be based on a single-board or multiple-board magnetic travel game set (see below). The boards may be replaced with new graphics, and your game may use as many of the boards as you feel is practical.

Games do not have to use a magnetic board at all, however, and could consist entirely of other components. Multiple magnetic boards could be used if necessary so long as all boards could plausibly be secured by players at all times and conform to the Front Seat rule - this realistically sets the limit at one per player.

Games may use any pieces (cards, pieces from magnetic game sets, or other components) so long as the game meets the Front Seat rule.

Examples:

If it didn't exist already, oddball Äeronauts might be an example of a Freestyle game, since it's a card game which doesn't require a table and players hold their cards in their hands at all times.

Another example could be a worker-placement game played on the two adjacent boards of a multiple-board magnetic game set, where the pawns from Ludo, Chess and/or Chinese Checkers are used as workers on the action-spaces printed on the first board, while resources and score are tracked on the second board; occasionally extra action spaces are brought into play by laying magnetic sheet tiles over the top of the board.

Prizes:

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in this category will receive prizes of 300, 150 and 50 correspondingly.

Additionally the winner may choose three games (up to a maximum of four magnetic boards) from this contest to have a 'nice' PnP version made and sent to them as a physical prize.




Additional Prizes:

Single-Source - 50 extra to each category winner whose game can be made with components from a single readily-available source - e.g. a game which only uses a die and 24 counters in two colours, which can be sourced entirely from a travel backgammon set, or a game which uses only the black and white pieces from a standard Chess set. (Of course, it is still permitted to replace the board graphics.)

Tiny-Tin - 50 extra to each category winner whose game fits in and plays on the (magnetically-useful) surface of either an Altoids tin or one of those round boiled-sweet tins - or one tin per player.

Altoids tin: 93mm x 59mm x 20mm | 3 11/16" x 2 5/16" x 25/32"
Round boiled sweet tin: 40mm tall, 97mm diameter | 1 9/16" tall, 3 13/16" diameter

Solo/Co-Op - 50 extra to each category winner which is also a solo game and/or a co-operative game. It doesn't have to be exclusively a solo/co-op game, but have a viable solo or co-operative mode.

--

In either category, for any prize, any class of game is fine - be it solo or multiplayer, abstract or thematic, deterministic or random. The only important criterion is that it can be played on the back seat of a car mid-journey (and therefore in any number of other 'travel' scenarios).

Magnetic Games

For the purposes of this contest, magnetic games come in two types: single-board and multiple-board. The single-board variety looks like this:



and has a single board on the outside of a two-part folding box. The multiple-board variety is more varied, but generally looks like this:



having four boards - one on each outside face and one on each inside face of the two-part folding box (which in this case is square). Plausibly two boards could be used simultaneously, but you'd have to be clever to try and use all four boards in a single game.

In each case the boards average 12cm (4.5") square.

Common travel games from which your components can be sourced are:
- Chess: two sets of sixteen pieces (8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 1 king, 1 queen), generally in black and white
- Backgammon: two sets of 15 pieces, generally in black and red/white, plus 2-4 regular D6 and one 'doubling die', a six-sided die featuring the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64.
- Ludo/Pachisi: four sets of 4 pieces, generally in yellow, red, green and blue
- Draughts: 2 sets of 12 pieces, generally in black and red/white
- Chinese Checkers: 3 sets of 10 pieces, in different colours
- Snakes and Ladders and similar: 4 differently-coloured pieces
- Nine Men's Morris: 2 sets of 9 pieces, commonly in black/blue and red/white

These are the ones I see as the most common, and therefore the easiest for PnPers to find and make cool games from in the future.

Multiple Entries:

Designers may enter as many times as they wish, but are only eligible to win one prize in each category.

Qualifying Games:

Entries must be at least partly original. That is to say: entries may adapt existing games but may not simply be direct miniaturizations of existing games. Obviously completely-original games are also perfectly fine!

Each entry must have a work-in-progress thread created in the appropriate forum on BoardGameGeek; please place a link to this post in the first post of your WIP thread, and reply to this post with a link to your WIP thread to alert other users to your design. Please also note which category you are entering your game into!

Once your game design is finished, notify and post a link to the final files in this thread.

Game designs may be licensed in any way the designer chooses and obviously remain the property of the designer, with two restrictions. The qualify for this contest, designers agree that:
- Their design is free for others to build for the duration of the contest
- Their design may be built as part of the physical prizes for the winners, should they so choose.

I (Jake Staines/Bichatse) reserve the right to enter the contest myself; however, any entry of mine that happened to place in either category would be ignored when awarding prizes. For example, if an entry of mine placed second in the vote, the second-place prize would be awarded instead to the entry in third place, and the third-place prize to the entry in fourth place.


Tips:

If you're basing your game on a magnetic set, pieces (tiles, etc.) made from magnetic rubber sheet are particularly recommended - in my experience this sticks acceptably well up to three pieces thick, and can have regular magnetic game pieces stuck to it when only one layer is stuck to the steel game board.

If you need dice, even for a Purist game it's fine to simply turn the game board upside down and roll the dice in the tray provided.
However, if you're looking to actually build a copy of a game for use in a travel situation, I've had a lot of luck trapping dice within miniature phials: hold it with the stopper down if the bottom of the stopper is flat, or the base down if the inside of the base is flat, and give it a vigorous shake (the phial needs to be at least wide enough to allow the die to freely tumble). I've found that one of Rekinom's miniature dice in a cheap 1ml plastic phial repeatedly scores better in a chi-squared test than a 12mm Koplow die rolled on the table does. (The Koplow die also registered as 'fair' by the margins most tests I've read about on the Internet employ.)
This could potentially allow for custom dice without falling foul of the Front Seat rule, although bear in mind that it would be fiddly to construct.


For the Freestyle category, consider that it's possible to build on top of the surface of the magnetic game board if you base the things you build with magnets so that they stick, and so long as anything you build isn't so heavy that it falls off when the board takes a knock. For example, here's a card-stand that I built out of a couple of bits of foamcore glued to a bit of magnetised rubber.


While they're a little harder to craft, it's quite possible to do double-sided magnetic tokens: you'll need to find some thick card and then some magnets which are as tall (pole to pole) as the card is thick. Then simply use a pointy knife to cut a hole in the centre of the card token which is just smaller than the magnet and push the magnet in (stick the magnet to a steel ruler and press the card down on top of it). After you've got the magnet in, you can apply the label. Here I'm using a 2x2x2mm neodymium cylinder magnet and some 2mm greyboard:


Draw-bags are OK, because people can use readily-available drawstring bags to ensure that pieces don't get lost under the Front Seat. Bear in mind, however, that things like magnetic-sheet tiles will stick together and make it difficult to randomise the contents of the bag, so magnetic-Tsuro may be difficult. Randomly selecting (say) coloured Ludo pawns from a bag should work pretty well, though.
However, bear in mind the Front Seat rule: a player will need both hands to draw out of a bag, and therefore a card game with hands of cards and a draw deck wouldn't work even if you put the draw deck in a bag, because the player would need to put his hand of cards down in order to draw.

There is no specific requirement to fit all the pieces from your game into the original magnetic travel box. It's a bonus feature, and obviously for Purist games it's pretty likely that you'll be able to anyway, but it's fine to assume that people building the game will be able to find a suitable box or bag to keep the pieces in.

Lastly, remember that the easier your game is to construct, the more people will test it and give feedback; and the more people test it, the better a chance you have of getting votes at the end of the contest!


(Any tips given to this post will be added to the prize pot and handed out to the winners in the same proportion as the prizes listed above.)
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Jake Staines
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Purist Magnetic

Games must be based on a single-board or two-board magnetic travel game set (see below) and may use any combination of pieces from any number of these games. The board/s may be replaced with new graphics, but no pieces not found in existing magnetic travel games may be used.


This post will be edited as the contest proceeds with the entry list for the Purist Magnetic category.


If you wish to contribute to the prize pot for the Purist Magnetic category, then tip this post; any tips will be awarded to the category winners in the same proportion as the existing prizes.

I will award 300/150/50 to the first, second and third place entries respectively.
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Jake Staines
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Freestyle

Games may be based on a single-board or multiple-board magnetic travel game set (see below). The boards may be replaced with new graphics, and your game may use as many of the boards as you feel is practical.

Games do not have to use a magnetic board at all, however, and could consist entirely of other components. Multiple magnetic boards could be used if necessary so long as all boards could plausibly be secured by players at all times and conform to the Front Seat rule - this realistically sets the limit at one per player.

Games may use any pieces (cards, pieces from magnetic game sets, or other components) so long as the game meets the Front Seat rule.



Entry List

Catacombs of Mu (George Jaros / gjjaros)
WIP Thread
(1-4 players | Solo / Competitive / Cooperative)
In Catacombs of Mu each player takes on the role of a character exploring the mysterious labyrinth that is the Catacombs. Buried deep within the winding passages are ancient relics from the prehistoric lost continent of Mu. Players race to discover these priceless treasures and escape to the surface. But without a map the treacherous journey may result in you getting lost forever!

Frogess/Salmoness (Donald Cleary/BigD145)
WIP Thread
(2-4 players / Competitive)
Subtext: Why did the frog/salmon cross the stream? To get to the other side.
subSubtext: Egon Spengler might be unhappy, but I did it to save the world.


Octagon (Guido Albini/guizzo)
WIP Thread
(2 players / Competitive)
This abstract game involves players placing randomly-drawn pegs onto an octogon to fulfil a hidden goal.

--

If you wish to contribute to the prize pot for the Freestyle category, then tip this post; any tips will be awarded to the category winners in the same proportion as the existing prizes.

I will award 300/150/50 to the first, second and third place entries respectively.
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Jake Staines
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Three observations to kick the contest off:

Firstly: there's no need to make an actual magnetic version of every version of every game that's based on a magnetic board to test stuff out - if you can stick to the measurements and restrictions above, then the thing that's really important is the game design itself. I know I won't be magnetising every entry that I try just to see how the game plays!

Keep in mind the Front Seat rule when you consider components or arrangements on a board and so on, and you should be fine.



Secondly: I know some recent contests have had a requirement for giving feedback to X other entries to validate your own entry. I have to be honest: I did consider this! However, I think ultimately it's more likely to put people off entering - or leave them with a sour taste in their mouth if they don't notice the requirement until too late - and I wouldn't feel right rejecting an entry just because the designer game really good feedback to only X-1 other entries, while simultaneously probably validating another entry the designer of which left only cursory or unhelpful feedback to the correct number. Ultimately I'd rather trust the entrants to enter the competition with a community spirit than to try and force behaviours out of people - so please do recognise that feedback is important to every game designer and leave feedback for others the same as you'd like to get it yourself... but it's not a strict requirement.



Thirdly: It's already the 13th of December in plenty of parts of the world, so by all means get stuck in! ;-)
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George Jaros
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Woo hoo! I've been waiting for this contest to start! Ever since you announced the game I've been working on an idea that I have for the Freestyle category. Now I can get a WIP thread up and make the game public!

[WIP] Catacombs of Mu (Travel Game Contest)

Here's a quick description of what I've been working on:

Catacombs of Mu
1-4 players
60 minutes
Solo, Competitive, & Coop Variants
Ages 8+

In Catacombs of Mu each player takes on the role of a character exploring the mysterious labyrinth that is the Catacombs. Buried deep within the winding passages are ancient relics from the prehistoric lost continent of Mu. Players race to discover these priceless treasures and escape to the surface. But without a map the treacherous journey may result in you getting lost forever!

The game is played on 4 square boards that are each divided into 6x6 grids. 148 square tiles are used throughout the game (drawn from a draw bag) to create paths through the catacombs and to represent relics, items, encounters, and more. 4 pawns are used to represent each player's character. 33 tokens are used to track health and ammunition on character boards.

I have been designing and testing the game on larger components (1.25" tiles and a 20"x20" game board), but it was designed with scaling down to a 10"x10" playing area (4 5"x5" boards clipped together). Also, only a few components are on the board at any time, so hopefully it'll work well with magnetic components.

Here's a picture of the first playtest:

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Ghislain LEVEQUE
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Bichatse wrote:
In each case the boards average 12mm (4.5") square.


I guess you mean 12cm, right ?
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Jake Staines
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Yep - thanks for the catch!
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Jake Staines
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Here's my musings on an entry:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/17744381#17744381

Just some mechanical thoughts so far - I'm hoping to be able to keep within the Purist limits, but I keep having thoughts involving magnetic-rubber-sheet tiles...
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Pelle Nilsson
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Another tips: My magnetic boards have a non-magnetic raised plastic border around each half of the board. That means along the fold between the halves there is also an area a few mm wide where it is not possible to glue a new board. If you make a custom board I would recommend not putting anything important along the center and opposite edges, and make it slightly longer than square. That way we can trim away a bit in the center and along the two edges before gluing, and it will look much better. I tried with a board and if I just make a square board and split in two it looks odd along the fold. It looks much better if I cut away a bit so that it looks like a bit of the board is covered by the plastic along the fold.

It will be impossible to make boards that fit all magnetic boards, but if you leave some margins to cut away along all edges and where the fold will be in the center it should be possible to make nice print'n'play versions.

Also I did an inventory here and found I have 12 magnetic travel sets waiting to be converted.
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Pelle Nilsson
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There is nothing in the rules limiting the size of the rulebook for either type of game (pure or not)? I'm thinking of a design involving a quite thick rulebook with lots of scenario-content in, but other than the rules booklet it will only use the components of one specific travel game, so I assume it qualifies for pure single source?
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Jake Staines
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pelni wrote:

It will be impossible to make boards that fit all magnetic boards, but if you leave some margins to cut away along all edges and where the fold will be in the center it should be possible to make nice print'n'play versions.


Good tip!

Not to mention: if a game is intended for any fold-in-half set where the label is going to be applied in two parts, it would be wise to try and ensure that no critical content is right on the join between the two boards. It's going to be difficult for a lot of people to apply the label precisely enough that the two halves line up perfectly anyway, even without ridges and so on.



pelni wrote:
There is nothing in the rules limiting the size of the rulebook for either type of game (pure or not)? I'm thinking of a design involving a quite thick rulebook with lots of scenario-content in, but other than the rules booklet it will only use the components of one specific travel game, so I assume it qualifies for pure single source?


Indeed! So long as players aren't expected to leaf through the scenario booklet at the same time as holding game components, because otherwise it would violate the Front Seat rule. ;-)
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Donald Cleary
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My entry could be made Purist but I'll just settle for Freestyle. I don't think I've ever seen this game made before but I certainly could be wrong.
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gaid whitenan
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Hi

here is my entry

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/17818970#17818970

It's not a magnetic game

thank
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Jake Staines
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(Sorry, between Christmas preparation and a chest infection I've been a bit behind on following up on some of these entries; I have all the tabs open still, hopefully I'll have a chance to look at some of these in more depth soon!)

BigD145 wrote:
My entry could be made Purist but I'll just settle for Freestyle. I don't think I've ever seen this game made before but I certainly could be wrong.


I don't think I've seen anything like that before either, if I got the gist correctly from your notes - at a guess maybe The Battle at Kemble's Cascade is similar? I've not played it, mind, just read a bit.

guizzo wrote:
here is my entry

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/17818970#17818970

It's not a magnetic game


It looks interesting, too - clothes-pegs are definitely not a component choice I was expecting, but it should be even easier to build than magnetic-game re-skins!
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Konrad Anft
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Freestyle

I haven't had a lot of time lately to delve into board game design, but I have an idea for a freestyle game.

It will use around 36 cards (while only 34 will in use), and can be played with two players.

It will not need a playing surface at all (which is a first! for me), and will - as all cards will be held in one hand each.

Each turn a player will draw a card, and choose whether to keep it (as a bonus) for oneself, or if you want to use the action text, to attack your opponent.

A version for 3 to 4 players would need double as many cards...
but 72 sounds so much... Maybe I can find a way to downsize it to 14 cards per player (as in... maybe my ideas run out)...

There is no WIP thread yet - I hope to get around to it on Sunday.
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Jake Staines
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Reminder: there's a month left on the clock for the Travel Games contest - the submission deadline is the end of the 28th of February (wherever in the world the last place to have a 28th of February is)!
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Leo Dip
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Ugh, I hadn't seen this. Luckily, I already have something that fits the standard and just have to tune it up. Is there anyone who would want to do the arts for my game? I'm not interested in neither the physical prizes nor the GGs, so you can have them as compensation if you win.
It's not anything complicated, it's a card game (I think I could even do this on my own if I went with essential arts and text, but it'd look neater with a bit more elaborate graphics, wouldn't it?). The main graphics would be in the rulebook.
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George Jaros
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This site has some really cool, unique dice. Check out the Unique Dice page for some interesting designs, including a D60. Or their page of Non-transitive, Sicherman, and loaded dice! They even have dice inside a die, which would be perfect for this contest! They're smaller dice inside a clear larger die, or three small dice inside a clear cube. Cool stuff!

http://mathartfun.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/DiceShop.html
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Jake Staines
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Leodip wrote:
Ugh, I hadn't seen this. Luckily, I already have something that fits the standard and just have to tune it up.


I'll look forward to seeing it, then!

Leodip wrote:

Is there anyone who would want to do the arts for my game? I'm not interested in neither the physical prizes nor the GGs, so you can have them as compensation if you win.
It's not anything complicated, it's a card game (I think I could even do this on my own if I went with essential arts and text, but it'd look neater with a bit more elaborate graphics, wouldn't it?). The main graphics would be in the rulebook.


As a word of advice, you would probably have more luck if you:

a) Mentioned exactly what you want - how many illustrations, of what, for what theme of game, that kind of thing.

b) Posted in a thread for your game, or perhaps on the art & design forum, rather than the general contest thread; random people who only do art and not game design are less likely to be reading this one!


(My partner is an artist, and she's often mentioned that it's difficult to judge whether she wants to get involved with projects when the creator doesn't mention what they actually want - she's worried that expressing enough interest to ask about the details gets someone's hopes up, but it might turn out that it's a subject she isn't interested and/or confident it, or more work than she expected, or whatever.)
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Damjan Miladinovic
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I know it's a late entry, but i will probably finish it (and playtest it) by the due date.
I believe it's a purist game, because it only needs board printed, and it can be glued over any map (but probably chess size), but it uses components from chess, ludo and backgammon.
it's a game for 2-5 players with worker placement and area control
Battle for the cookie hill

i included in the topic all the rules i thought of, i will include updates there.
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Jake Staines
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roverbre wrote:
I know it's a late entry, but i will probably finish it (and playtest it) by the due date.


On that note: considering that the dexterity game contest (3 days left to vote!) extended a month into the start of this one, and the two big high-profile annuals (solo and two-player) kicked off and inevitably distracted everyone, would anyone appreciate a month's extension to the Travel Games contest?

By this I really mean: would a month's extension allow anyone who was on the fence about entering and/or being able to finish their entry manage to enter and finish their entry? There's no point extending if it's not going to benefit anyone, and I wouldn't want to go more than a month extra to avoid overlapping with the exciting bit of the 2-player contest.

Poll
Should the Travel Games contest be extended a month?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Yes
100.0% 7
No
0.0% 0
Voters 7
This poll is now closed.   7 answers
Poll created by Bichatse
Closes: Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:00 am


(This poll runs for the next week; if there's interest in an extension I'll extend, but I don't want to run the contest out longer than it needs.)
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Damjan Miladinovic
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for me it's the same, if we got one more month it would give me more time to playtest, and improve probably, but i think i could do it till the end of month...
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Jake Staines
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Grantham
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Bichatse wrote:

(This poll runs for the next week; if there's interest in an extension I'll extend, but I don't want to run the contest out longer than it needs.)


The 'Aye's have it! The contest deadline shall be extended by a month, the new entry deadline is the final day of March.



(In other news, I have actually been working on a game myself - just in such fits and starts in amongst a sudden busy spell at work and car problems that I've not had the chance to document any of it yet; I hope to rectify that over the weekend.)
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Donald Cleary
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It's good to hear about the extension. Work has been killing me, or at least causing me a great deal of physical and emotional pain. Now I have more time to formalize my game.
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Damjan Miladinovic
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good to hear...i had some work, and difficulty finding actual magnetic games O.o
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