Andrew H
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EDIT 2/26/15-Version 1.0 Rules and Low Ink Parts More in the 2/26 post

Version 1.0 Low Ink Parts
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwslkaCO2PwUSUpueUQxcHZKNDA...

Version 1.0 Rules
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwslkaCO2PwUMkxyNUdBV0hreUU...


For the past few years, I've been craving a James Bond Villain game like the computer game Evil Genius, but I haven't found one that was quite right. I made my own a few years ago (here if you want to try), but it was pretty complicated. I had an idea for simplification last year too, but after several tests, I couldn't get a good balance between deceptive playing and simplicity, so I left my old game with its original ideas.

Still, the craving remained, and I've often looked for other games where I could retheme and have the game of my dreams. In a odd coincidence, I may have had the perfect game for 20 years, and not even realized it. Kult, designed by Bryan Winter, is a collectible card game where you play a god-like character attempting to increase your power through manipulation and magic. I first played it in the late 90s, and remember having a lot of fun, even though I only had 2 starters and a couple of boosters. Even though it was a CCG, the game played really well out of the box, it was pretty easy to learn, and it had a cool theme that worked for my friends and I. Unfortunately, that theme and the card art was a little too dark for most, plus there were a ton of other CCGs in the 1990s, and the game didn't take off like it should have. I never found any extra starters, nor did I get any of its expansion cards, so at some point I put my cards in a box and forgot about it.

Last fall, after probably 15 years, gaining a wife and 2 kids, 3-4 different jobs and 3 moves, I rediscovered my old collection and remembered what a cool game it was. I sorted my old cards and realized how it has the combination I was looking for. The god-like character was like the super powerful evil mastermind, the manipulation fit, and the magic is similar to the movie-magic technology in spy movies (jet packs, pocket lasers, etc.). It would make the perfect template for a Bond Villain game. Incredibly, when I looked at the instructions, I realized I knew who the designer was. Not only did I still have another card game he designed (Doomtrooper), but I also live in the same area. Bryan Winter now owns and runs the coolest game store in the Madison area (www.imboardgamestore.com) and he and his family are very active with my children's school. If you're in the Madison area, I would strongly recommend visiting his store, you'll have a great time and find a great game selection.

When I saw the 2015 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest was coming back, I knew what I wanted to work on. I ran into Bryan today and asked if I could steel his design, and he graciously (though probably nervously) said I could try. I love how the contests help me stay focused, and this is one game I'd really like to get done. Hopefully, it will turn out well.

I'm not sure about its name right now, but E.V.I.L. K.U.L.T will work for a while. I called my first Bond Villain game E.V.I.L, as an allusion to the acronym based evil organizations in old spy films, and I would really like to allude to the original CCG game Kult. E.V.I.L K.U.L.T. gets the allusions, but I don't know if the acronym implies a different type of organization than SPECTRE or KAOS. Plus, it's a bit of a pain to type that way. If you can help with name ideas, please let me know.

I don't plan on making this one collectible. I see it closer to the LCG system with 2-4 constructed decks (100-200 cards), with a possibility of switching cards between the decks. Ideally, I would create a good 40ish card deck that every constructed deck uses, and then people can just print up the 20ish cards they want for their own villian. For trying it out, a low ink version might be two of those base decks (80 cards), and then people can add the extra cards if they like it.

That's about all for now. I have some other ideas about it which I'll work on in a day or two, but no files yet. If you're interested in the theme, I would recommend checking out the rules to Kult, as I suspect my rules will be less clear (I usually have trouble with rules). Thanks for checking it out.
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Andrew H
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Layout

One change I foresee is the layout of each player's tableau. In Kult, each player built a mystic cross, with 4 cards around your being, and an additional 4 cards on the right in a column.

...N.......1
W.B.E..2
...S.......3
............4

It really adds a cool visual element that fit with the theme, however it might be easier to rearrange this into three rows for this retheme.

1..2.3..4
W.N.E.S
......B...

I would like to use the four regions from my last game (North America, Europe, Asia, Southern Hemisphere), so the cross layout could still work. The four regions could be arranged on a map centered around the Mediterranean, so North America is in the W position, Europe at N, Asia at E, and the Southern Hemisphere at S. However, I think it would be easier on my design ability, and save some table space (more on this later), by switching to the rows.

I also like the rows, because I thought "Front" and "Underground" work as good descriptions and thematically fit with the game. The front would be the 1234 row, which is most exposed to the other player, and is most in front of your own rows. The underground would be the WNES row, which is under the front row, and typically contains more powerful cards.

I also wanted more room to add a new row which both players can use. This would be a "World" area, with monuments, weapons or heists that both players can attempt to dominate the game. Players would set up on either side of the world, so if their cards are in the same column as a world card, the players cards would be considered to be in that general area. I like that players would be able to easily see if they are in the same region as their opponent, but this creates a small issue.

Sitting on either side means the 1234 order for one player becomes 4321 as viewed by the other. While I think this would be ok as far as the spacial nature of the board, I'm not sure how to make the card layout clear. In the original game Kult, not all cards can go to every location, and they had small marks which said where they could be played. I'd have to choose one of the two layouts (1234 or 4321) when designing, but this could be confusing.

So I see three options right now. I could keep the original cross and column layout, and add my world cards in a cross shape off to the side. I could do the row layout above, choosing an order that one player has to mentally reverse. My last option would be to adjust the locations where cards could be played. For example, instead of limiting a card to North America Front (spot 1), I could adjust it to Any Front (1,2,3 or 4). The world card would still determine the location, but players would have more options.

Each of these has their own positive and negative points, so it's something I might have to just discover through playtesting. If anyone has tried something similar before, I'd love to hear what you found.
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Andrew H
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Resources/Suits

Kult has 5 resources (called suits) similar to mana in Magic. They are Death, Dreams, Madness, Passion, and Time and Space. In general, cards tend to group together around each suit, and different characters tended to favor certain suits. I really liked this mechanic, but I think it needs a different name with the villain theme.

My thought, was the suit could represent a reputation. Playing cards to the table represents a recruiting of new henchmen, or a building of new secret lair. The henchmen want to work for a leader they see as ruthless or extravagant, and in a similar way those traits motivate construction crews to build rooms quickly. What I would need to do then is find 5 types of reputation that are common with super villains.

Using the two above, here's what I can think of.

Ruthlessness
Extravagance
Brutality
Power Hungry
Political Ambition
Anarchist
Psychotic
Genius

Another way would be be to have it just be abstract resources that are common in spy movies. Brainstorming ideas here, I come up with this list.

Money
Businesses
bases
Technology
Secret information
Political Clout
Weapons
vehicles

A final way, could be to have it represent various generic workers. For example:
Scientists
Assassin's
Builders
Karate Masters
Femme Fatale
Minions
Moles

I am leaning towards using the reputation version, but I'm not sure what terms I like best. I also would like to figure out some more terms that touches on technology, gadgets, moles and politics areas, and I'm not sure what to use. If you have ideas, please let me know.
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Andrew H
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I made my first prototype, played it with my son, and it went pretty well. I decided to start with a 36 card base deck for each player with the same cards for each. I created five 18 card decks, one of which gets shuffled in with the base deck at the start of the game. This makes each player play with a 54 card deck, and the game has 162 cards in total.

For the layout, I did the 3 horizontal rows, and cards specified to which row and column they could be played. While it was the most similar to the original, I felt I should change it, both due to the backwards regions and the lack of in game justification. I'm going to try it again and just specify which row(s) they can be played on.

Since this makes the game a bit easier, my hunch is I will need to add in some restrictions to maintain some tension. My first experiment will be with limiting how the tokens move towards the player, and/or how the region cards can be drawn. I think I will also have to add in some rules that allow movement of some cards.

I hope to take it to a designers meeting at a local store this week, which may adjust it further. If I can't make it, or if no major changes are suggested, I may be able to upload the prototype this week.

Finally, I have to mention that I had great luck using the Card Maker program by Tim Stair to make this prototype, which I learned about onto this thread Card Maker 1.0.0.0 (Updated 6/6/2017). It let me make the game in about 1/10th the time it would have with Photoshop alone. I would highly recommended it.
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Tanner Griffin
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You are my hero. I have wanted to play Kult for a very long time. The two things stopping me are theme (nobody would play it with me) and cost ($60 for two starter sets? No thanks). I'm totally on board for this.

One thing I'd request. I really like the reputation suits. But if you go with that route, make sure they're all the same part of speech, because it drives me nuts when things like that are different. Make them either all adjectives or all nouns. For example, change Power Hungry to Power Hunger, as the rest of them are all nouns too.

I'd go with

Political Ambition or Power Hunger
Brutality
Anarchism
Psychosis
Genius

I'd love to test it out. Post the files and I'll give it a shot. I don't know the rules to Kult, though, and it's the middle of the semester, so it might be a while before I get feedback to ya, but I'm extremely excited about this.

Thanks!
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Version 1.0 Low Ink Parts
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwslkaCO2PwUSUpueUQxcHZKNDA...

Version 1.0 Rules
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwslkaCO2PwUMkxyNUdBV0hreUU...

I also worked on a version with color backgrounds to keep the card types easier to recognize, but figured a lower ink version would be best for now. I anticipate some changes on the cards (this is more of a 0.8 version than what I would normally call a 1.0), so a second version is very likely. I thought a low ink version could help save some money if you want to test it.

The low-ink works ok in black & white, which could also save some money (it's about $2 to print a b/w version at our local copy shop). The upper corners end up being a very similar shade, but with the balance right now, there isn't much difference between the two sides (red and blue). If you print in black and white, you can ignore the affiliation rule without changing much currently.

What I'm hoping to do first, is figure out if the basic 36 card deck works well with the other cards. I think it would be best if people could play the game "right out of the box," and I felt the 36 cards gave a good balance between being able to do most of the game, and not having too print too much. I also wanted the deck to mimic the common/uncommon mix of cards in a traditional ccg, and limit how much someone could "buy (print) the winning deck."

I realize that some cards may not have any use (for instance if your opponent doesn't use scientist or research cards). If you do try this game, please let me know if there are any cards in the 36 card deck you almost never use. When I discard cards I don't use, I turn them 90 degrees, and then write down the number (lower left corner) at the end of the game. If the same pairs keep appearing, I suspect I will switch them out for other cards.

If you do switch out cards from the other 18 card deck, I would be interested in learning what numbers you always switch there as well. I didn't do much for themes with each deck, though I did try to have the Heists match the eventual status of the Organization.
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Andrew H
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Friff14 wrote:
You are my hero. I have wanted to play Kult for a very long time. The two things stopping me are theme (nobody would play it with me) and cost ($60 for two starter sets? No thanks). I'm totally on board for this.

One thing I'd request. I really like the reputation suits. But if you go with that route, make sure they're all the same part of speech, because it drives me nuts when things like that are different. Make them either all adjectives or all nouns. For example, change Power Hungry to Power Hunger, as the rest of them are all nouns too.

I'd go with

Political Ambition or Power Hunger
Brutality
Anarchism
Psychosis
Genius

I'd love to test it out. Post the files and I'll give it a shot. I don't know the rules to Kult, though, and it's the middle of the semester, so it might be a while before I get feedback to ya, but I'm extremely excited about this.

Thanks!


Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions. I like your list and will probably use it, but I was 90% done with a low ink version, and uploaded it with different terms. A lot of the theme will need to be cleaned up, but I'm trying to balance out the cards first. If you don't mind different terms and Webding icons, the files should be available on GoogleDrive (see the links above).

Thanks again for checking it out.
Andy
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I took this to a game design group yesterday, and got a lot of good ideas. I will be tinkering around to see if these work:

Add Power Token bonuses to each world card. The players said they didn't feel a huge incentive to go after the world cards when they just increased your reputation. Perhaps a bonus of 1 or 2 power tokens would make it more competitive.

Add a way to bring in more World Cards. Especially if the decks could be more customized, the players would have liked to plan and attempt some specific missions.

Have a hidden resource on world cards. This would allow a collection mechanic, where after the players get certain resources (i.e. 3 nukes, or 3 businesses) they could reveal a hidden agenda they had in their deck.

More deceptive cards in the custom deck, possibly harder to deploy. Again there wasn't enough incentive to go after World Cards that just increased a reputation, so harder to deploy cards could provide more incentive. If they are more deceptive (like collecting X resource, X Reputation, or take over X Region), the game could play faster and keep the Evil Genius theme.

Fewer Contingency cards in the base deck. The players felt they were too situational, and tended to crowd the hand. Some preferred to just play them (even if not needed) to free up space for the next draw.

All of these were good suggestions, and I'll be seeing how well they work.
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