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Subject: WIP - Mintball (2015 Mint tin competition) rss

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Douglas Rees
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So I decided to try my hand at game design with a lighthearted sports game for two players. Each player controls a team of 6 mintball players.


Update I have made some pretty big changes, older files are in a specific old folder in google drive. The game should be playable, and I will be really appreciative of any feedback .

the files can be accessed here

The main design goals are to make a game that is:

Simple, I'd like to be able to show it to someone and play it pretty much straight away (not to mention being able to explain to someone who is not a native English speaker)
Fast, I see this as a game you might pull out of your bag and play in 10 minutes between classes
Strategic, I'd like for all sorts of different approaches to the game to be viable.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Ok some questions.

The O and D are the opposite sides of the token? The 1O to the 1D?

The Hexes are the movement points and the diamonds are the passing points right? The circle is just the unit number?

When a unit is flipped it is the players choice?

Suggestion: The chance to spend extra movement for better kicking accuracy. Such as 2 or 3 points reducing the actual landing point to the forward 3 hexes?
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Douglas Rees
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Quote:
The O and D are the opposite sides of the token? The 1O to the 1D?
Yes, these player tokens are super rough, but O = offensive stats, and D = defensive stats.

Quote:
The Hexes are the movement points and the diamonds are the passing points right? The circle is just the unit number?

Yes, these icons aren't particularly clear, but that is pretty much correct. The diamond is the unit's force (brute strength) affecting it's passing, kicking and tackling abilities. The actual values were just thought up somewhat randomly and are probably not balanced.

I'm not happy with the general token layout, so it will certainly change (hopefully to contain some character artwork).

Quote:
When a unit is flipped it is the players choice?
Ah, probably not so clear, but the units can flip in two ways. Randomly (as a result of an event roll) or deliberately at the start of the turn. If the player rolls 1 or 2 on the event dice, the flipped unit is random (roll the dice again, flip that unit) units flipped from events can't be re-flipped that turn.

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Suggestion: The chance to spend extra movement for better kicking accuracy. Such as 2 or 3 points reducing the actual landing point to the forward 3 hexes?
That makes sense, you're taking your time to set up a good kick. When I get around to printing out the board I'll give both a try. I'd be a little worried that it may make it too easy for bulky units to score points from the back of the field, but it may work well.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Yeah. I suspected it might be a random roll. But it was not stated.

As for using movement for accuracy. Make the cost high. Perhaps 3 or more? Such that either only one or two units can perform it. Or it is so costly it does not happen very often.
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Chad Russell
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Neat to have a sports entry in the contest, each entry is very different so far. I can see the ideas flowing here on your first board game.

I don't quite understand the dice chart on your file yet without the rules, how many dice are being rolled for example?

The variety in the player powers is a good idea and should give some strategy. Let us know how they work on the board, looking good so far!
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Nate
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Hi DR! Thanks for participating in this design contest.

What sport most closely resembles mintball? Good luck to you!
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Douglas Rees
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Omega2064 wrote:
As for using movement for accuracy. Make the cost high. Perhaps 3 or more? Such that either only one or two units can perform it. Or it is so costly it does not happen very often.
Yes, I think you're right, 3 seems a reasonable cost

trunked wrote:
Neat to have a sports entry in the contest, each entry is very different so far. I can see the ideas flowing here on your first board game.
Thanks I'm not really a sports fan, but the idea seemed simple enough, and it seemed the sort of game I could give my nephew to keep in his school bag. As for the variety of entries, I'm pretty surprised, and I can't wait to try them all out.

Quote:
I don't quite understand the dice chart on your file yet without the rules, how many dice are being rolled for example?
At the start of your turn you roll one dice and consult the chart for the effect. It may be that a player on either team gets 'flipped' or 'tripped', or that you get some extra discretionary movement. So if you roll 4, one of your players will 'trip' and not be able to make any moves this turn. To find out which player your roll the dice again.

Quote:
The variety in the player powers is a good idea and should give some strategy. Let us know how they work on the board, looking good so far!
Thanks for the praise, I'm a little worried if it will actually work. I've printed out everything and already have found several holes to fill. I'll try to get a more comprehensive working rule set soon.

R4D6 wrote:
Hi DR! Thanks for participating in this design contest.

What sport most closely resembles mintball? Good luck to you!
Thanks . Mintball resembles pretty much any sport with two teams simultaneously trying to score goals, but I guess I was hoping for the speed of handball, the team dynamics of soccer or rugby, and the 'you can just tackle whoever you want' of American football.
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Douglas Rees
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UPDATE:

I've made a working version of the rules, this is now in the folder. I've also almost finished a full-colour field (however inkscape doesn't love me)

After a small amount of single-player playtesting (not really more than a turn or two, I'm not so good at playing against myself) I've made these observances:

- The number of hexes seems about right. It could be a little longer though.

- The physical size of either the units, or the field should change, but I'd rather not shrink the units now. At the moment, the field is around A4 size, I could enlarge it to fit a rough B4 or even A3 size and include all the reference material on the board rather than separate cards. Of course this could be done with two separate pages.

- The game is fast. With some of the faster players, you can get well into opposition territory in the first turn. Though these players aren't really strong enough to do much when there.

- I like the idea of flipping units to reveal different stats, but I'm not sure if it actually adds very much.


Anyways I'm (of course) interested in any feedback about the rules and all


(hopefully I'll get a chance to print and play the other entries soon btw)
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Douglas Rees
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Playtesting photo.

I wonder if there should be a way to tackle players running past...
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Chad Russell
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Just curious how many points or turns to determine the game end. I guess the rules are not yet finished? Have it ready to play though.
 
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Douglas Rees
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trunked wrote:
Just curious how many points or turns to determine the game end. I guess the rules are not yet finished? Have it ready to play though.

Excellent, I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes cool. I've been weighed down with uni, childcare, and work so I haven't had much time to play (not to mention the fact that I suck playing against myself).

I haven't yet worked out the ending conditions. I think it will be best as a fairly quick game so probably the first player to, say, five points will be sufficient.
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Douglas Rees
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I've made some pretty major changes to the game, available in drive:

1 - The default tokens are now single-sided. The event roll has been updated to remove flipping between offensive/defensive stats.
1.1 - flipping tokens is used to show tripped players.
1.2 - Double-sided tokens, and flipping is now an advanced rule (I didn't want to do away with it entirely, but it seemed to be needlessly complicating things).

2 - Interception can occur whenever the ball passes through a hex adjacent to an opposition player (through either passing or movement of a unit possessing the ball)

3 - Made the stats customisable. Each unit can distribute 7 points between movement and force. If you want a slow team of pure muscle, or a superfast team that can't throw, you can do it.

4 - A few small other changes that I forgot the specifics of.


Hopefully this simplifies the game enough without loosing the strategy aspect. I'm really interested in hearing what you think
 
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Nate
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How have the playtests gone recently? Is there any areas in which you are looking for feedback?

If you think the flipping is making things needlessly complicated, it might be worth removing the rule.

I like the idea of the customizable stats for each player.

Keep up the great work!
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Douglas Rees
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R4D6 wrote:
How have the playtests gone recently? Is there any areas in which you are looking for feedback?

Unfortunately I haven't had much time for playtesting, and no one wants to play with me cry

I'd be happy with feedback on anything, however I guess these questions may serve as a guide:

1 - How does the game feel to play (is it unbalanced, do the turns last too long, does the event roll improve or detract from the game, etc)

2 - How are the rules (both the content and explanations)?

3 - I'm not sure what to do after scoring a goal. There are two contending options: re-set the board as in the beginning, or just continue (possibly with a rule that only the defending team can touch the ball straight after a goal.

4 - Ending conditions: how many points would be right for a satisfying game.

Quote:
If you think the flipping is making things needlessly complicated, it might be worth removing the rule.

I like the idea of the customizable stats for each player.

Keep up the great work!

Yeah, I like the idea of flipping, but it just seemed to bog down the game...hopefully the customisability will be a good compromise.
 
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Nate
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Hi Douglas.

Have you considered using an icon such as a boot for movement, a body or boxing glove for force, and maybe even a ball in case you run out of mints?

During the movement phase, is it limited to 1 unit per turn? Perhaps allow up to 3 units to move and perform an action (passing, interception, kicking, tackling, tripping).

The colored game board looks nice, but it's a little too much and the colors clash a little. I'm a fan of the Dreadball game board. Might even be worth it to check out the rules for some ideas.
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Jessey
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Some preliminary thoughts after reading the rules:

1. Customizable stats is interesting, but only if you've played before. You should include a recommended team set up for a brand new player.

2. Set up -- you need to define the deployment zone (I guess it's the spaces behind the red line?)

3. Having never played before, the random event at the start of the turn is going to frustrate me to no end. It's a purely chaotic event that can lead to game swinging outcomes (a surge of movement for me, followed by my opponent rolling a 4 and having their own player trip - for example). I would remove it entirely. It is not clear to me what it adds other than 1) a step (slowing down the game) and 2) chaos.

4. I would put the scatter diagram on the board to the side. That way, players don't have to "agree before hand" what hex is what number, instead the compass is already on the map providing orientation.

5. The rules don't specify how you score, I assume you Kick the ball into the purple hex on the opposing side?

6. On your turn do you activate your whole team (except tripped dudes?)

Sounds interesting. I can already see how there's some strategy to it (and even strategy in picking your team's statistics). I might like it if "intercept" was a statistic you could put points into (that defaulted to 0) and each point gave a +1 to an intercept result that isn't a 1.
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Douglas Rees
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Sorry I haven't been super active...work, uni, and child have been eating up all my time. Hopefully I'll have time and people for playtesting in a few days when I start at my new school.

R4D6 wrote:
Hi Douglas.

Have you considered using an icon such as a boot for movement, a body or boxing glove for force, and maybe even a ball in case you run out of mints?
That's a great idea. I had kept it pretty sparse as I'd been hoping to convince my wife to do some character artwork for the tokens (didn't happen).

Quote:
During the movement phase, is it limited to 1 unit per turn? Perhaps allow up to 3 units to move and perform an action (passing, interception, kicking, tackling, tripping).
I'm glad you asked. I had originally thought of moving the whole (untripped) team, but when I gave it to my nephews to play (with vastly different rules as they don't speak English, and my Korean's not very good) they naturally just moved one at a time. I'm leaning towards

Quote:
The colored game board looks nice, but it's a little too much and the colors clash a little. I'm a fan of the Dreadball game board. Might even be worth it to check out the rules for some ideas.
Thanks, I'll look it up. You're right, I probably shouldn't have uploaded the coloured board yet, it's not very good.

Candi wrote:
Some preliminary thoughts after reading the rules:

1. Customizable stats is interesting, but only if you've played before. You should include a recommended team set up for a brand new player.
There is a suggested setup in the tokens file, I'll move that into the rulebook.

Quote:
2. Set up -- you need to define the deployment zone (I guess it's the spaces behind the red line?)
That's right, I'll put it in the rules

Quote:
3. Having never played before, the random event at the start of the turn is going to frustrate me to no end. It's a purely chaotic event that can lead to game swinging outcomes (a surge of movement for me, followed by my opponent rolling a 4 and having their own player trip - for example). I would remove it entirely. It is not clear to me what it adds other than 1) a step (slowing down the game) and 2) chaos.
Chaos was exactly the reason I put it in, but I agree that it may need to go.

Quote:
4. I would put the scatter diagram on the board to the side. That way, players don't have to "agree before hand" what hex is what number, instead the compass is already on the map providing orientation.
Yes, that would be better.

Quote:
5. The rules don't specify how you score, I assume you Kick the ball into the purple hex on the opposing side?
Kicking it, or moving it into the hex. I'll make sure to clarify it in the rules

Quote:
6. On your turn do you activate your whole team (except tripped dudes?)
I've managed to get myself really confused on this one. I started off with the whole team thought, but I'm having second thoughts. I'll try to get a few games with both in and see how they play.

Quote:
Sounds interesting. I can already see how there's some strategy to it (and even strategy in picking your team's statistics). I might like it if "intercept" was a statistic you could put points into (that defaulted to 0) and each point gave a +1 to an intercept result that isn't a 1.

Thanks . I'll think about the intercept stat...I'm not sure about having a third statistic, but it could possibly be 'technical skill', improving intercepts and kicking accuracy perhaps....
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Jessey
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I'll be the first to admit, I really dislike chaos for chaos' sake. It takes away player agency, and I'm a designer (and a player) whose ALL about player agency (I want to control my fate, not have my fate control me). So the whole chaos table thing is naturally something I will rally against, pretty much in any form.

Some thoughts on team activation:

The reason why whole team can be bad is because it can lead to situations where one player wins and the other player had no opportunity to intercept or block the goal (because the other player had 5 pieces in the right position to use a series of passes and moves to get the ball around the other team). It doesn't feel very "sports" when one team stands still while the other passes around them like static posts.

Now, a Technical stat that you can improve could offset this. Then I could have a player with 2 Tech who acts as a goal keeper. She hangs out near the goal and relies on her 2 Tech to have a high chance of intercepting a kick, and can accurately boot the ball down field (a good goalie would be something like 1 Move, 2 Tech, 4 Force).

That said, there would still be a 'static' not 'reactive' feel to the game and maybe that's not what you want.

One player at a time, on the other hand, has its own drawbacks. For one, I could just have the same player move all the time, and its doesn't give you a sense of 'teamwork' between your players (since I move a guy up, then you move a guy in between him and his teammates so he can't pass, so I move him again etc). It becomes very chess-like. Also not what you want (I assume).

Here's a middle ground: On your turn you activate up to 3 players, then "trip" them. Then, you can't use those players on your next turn (since they are 'tripped' or 'exhausted' is more like it, or 'busy') and so you have to use all of your players. Being able to activate more than one lets you do interesting passing strategies, and strikes a balance between chess and static opposition (I think).

Also, I REALLY like the idea of the Technical Skill. Maybe increase player build value to 8 and add the Tech Skill (so 8 points, distributed between Move, Force and Tech). Also, Move is probably better called Endurance or Actions because it is used for Moving, Kicking, Tackling... more than JUST moving.
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Douglas Rees
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Candi wrote:
I'll be the first to admit, I really dislike chaos for chaos' sake. It takes away player agency, and I'm a designer (and a player) whose ALL about player agency (I want to control my fate, not have my fate control me). So the whole chaos table thing is naturally something I will rally against, pretty much in any form.

I understand, and I'll probably just drop the event roll (it was more interesting with the double-sided players, giving more possible outcomes). However, I think we have very different play-styles. I feel some chaos gives the less-experienced players a bit more of an even playing field, and it's especially fun to have to adapt.

Thematically, mintball is not a sport of the elite, but people basically forced to play mintball, or have everything they own sold to pay of their debts.

Quote:
Some thoughts on team activation:

The reason why whole team can be bad is because it can lead to situations where one player wins and the other player had no opportunity to intercept or block the goal (because the other player had 5 pieces in the right position to use a series of passes and moves to get the ball around the other team). It doesn't feel very "sports" when one team stands still while the other passes around them like static posts.
Yes, this has certainly been a concern of mine, that was why I tried to strengthen intercept rules, but I agree that limiting the number of players moving is stronger, faster, and certainly better.

Quote:
Now, a Technical stat that you can improve could offset this. Then I could have a player with 2 Tech who acts as a goal keeper. She hangs out near the goal and relies on her 2 Tech to have a high chance of intercepting a kick, and can accurately boot the ball down field (a good goalie would be something like 1 Move, 2 Tech, 4 Force).

That said, there would still be a 'static' not 'reactive' feel to the game and maybe that's not what you want.

The extra skill stat should be okay, but I'm worried about ending up with a strategic wargame rather than a light and slightly erratic 'sports' game.

Quote:
One player at a time, on the other hand, has its own drawbacks. For one, I could just have the same player move all the time, and its doesn't give you a sense of 'teamwork' between your players (since I move a guy up, then you move a guy in between him and his teammates so he can't pass, so I move him again etc). It becomes very chess-like. Also not what you want (I assume).
Correct

Quote:
Here's a middle ground: On your turn you activate up to 3 players, then "trip" them. Then, you can't use those players on your next turn (since they are 'tripped' or 'exhausted' is more like it, or 'busy') and so you have to use all of your players. Being able to activate more than one lets you do interesting passing strategies, and strikes a balance between chess and static opposition (I think).
That sounds pretty good. I'll start exploring down that direction

Quote:
Also, I REALLY like the idea of the Technical Skill. Maybe increase player build value to 8 and add the Tech Skill (so 8 points, distributed between Move, Force and Tech). Also, Move is probably better called Endurance or Actions because it is used for Moving, Kicking, Tackling... more than JUST moving.
Yes, I think I'm warming up to it

Thanks a LOT for your feedback. I really think it's helping to get the game onto a steady footing. I'll try and get a new draft of the rules out soon.
 
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Douglas Rees
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So I finally have what I think may be a working update of the rules to include a skill stat. I'd really appreciate any feedback on it, because I'm a little worried I may have started an overcomplication train (I stopped myself from having players calculate differences between stats to then roll under to see if a unit trips...).

Key changes:

- Units have 3 stats: actions, power, skill, and 8 points to distribute (I feel that more points may be needed though)
- Skill is used to intercept the ball (you subtract skill from 7 and roll above it), and make it cost less to do big kicks more accurately (1 point less per 2 skill)
- Taking possession of the ball is a free action.
- I cleared up rules for scoring.

You should be able to leave comments on the file if you wish.

Rules:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JwTQA4ceZN80S1aBnBBWPBpG...

Board:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CaUkid9CW1U18zXzhTNHdjZDA...

Components (The unit chits are done, but more work on reference cards, etc needs to happen):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CaUkid9CW1RjM5ZkRwRG9fZGs...
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Jessey
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Quick suggestions to ease the mental computations:

vialick wrote:

- Skill is used to intercept the ball (you subtract skill from 7 and roll above it), and make it cost less to do big kicks more accurately (1 point less per 2 skill)

For Intercept, I'd make it Roll + Skill > 7 (instead of roll greater than 7 less skill). It's easier to do mentally (addition than subtraction), and is the same outcome. It's also easier to appreciate how adding a skill point affects the probabilities of an intercept when the roll is expressed that way (1 skill is a 1/6 chance of intercept, each additional skill point adds 1/6 to the odds).
 
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Douglas Rees
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Candi wrote:
Quick suggestions to ease the mental computations:

vialick wrote:

- Skill is used to intercept the ball (you subtract skill from 7 and roll above it), and make it cost less to do big kicks more accurately (1 point less per 2 skill)

For Intercept, I'd make it Roll + Skill > 7 (instead of roll greater than 7 less skill). It's easier to do mentally (addition than subtraction), and is the same outcome. It's also easier to appreciate how adding a skill point affects the probabilities of an intercept when the roll is expressed that way (1 skill is a 1/6 chance of intercept, each additional skill point adds 1/6 to the odds).

Yes, that seems much easier to process . Thanks
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Douglas Rees
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Eeep, deadline approaching and I'm really not sure what kind of state the game is in...I doubt I'll get a chance to have a propper playtest of the new rules. I'll still try and have it all as ready as possible.

That means:
- Re-do the board a little to include reference information (kicking charts, do-able actions, play sequence)
- Make some reference cards I guess
- Tidy up the rules
- Any other suggestions???

I'm pretty sure I have holes in the rules, and that there are things that are not quite balanced. I just realised that I haven't added rules for how many units can move per turn. My current thinking is:

Turn part A:
- player 1 moves units 1, 2, 3
- player 2 moves units 1, 2, 3
Turn part B:
- player 1 moves units 4, 5, 6
- player 2 moves units 4, 5, 6

I'm not totally sold on this way. I like the idea of 3 moving per turn, but would prefer something that let the player choose (without making things too complex).
 
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Nate
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Could you just allow the players to select any 3 units they wish to move per turn?
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Douglas Rees
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R4D6 wrote:
Could you just allow the players to select any 3 units they wish to move per turn?
Yes, that is another idea. I'm really not sure how to go about things. Which leads me to another announcement: I'm withdrawing the game from the contest.

It looks like I can't get this game into something I would be happy to give other people to play in time for the competition. My original idea was for something quick and wacky, but without the resources to carry that theme it just didn't work. I ended up going much more complicated than I can handle, and at the moment I'm too much of a n00b to know where and how to simplify and streamline.
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