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Subject: WIP - Pulp Detective rss

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todd sanders
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Pulp Detective
The Case of the Death's Door Damsel

a 36 card solitaire game of crime solving and gun play!

Play one of four detectives each with a special ability. 3 cards will track the time remaining, your stamina and clues gathered to solve the crime.

27 cards will let your character encounter informants, chase down criminals and have shoot outs. All will lead to the final encounter with one of four criminals.

Can you solve the case before time runs out?


Beta Playtest file version 8.10.17 - http://pl123.pairlitesite.com/cards/pulpdetective/
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
where i am at right now.




there is a single card with one of four detectives (two women, two men) to choose from.




3 other cards slide adjacent to the central character card, tracking time left, stamina and clues found. the time is divided into day and night hours and this will have a bearing on the game. as night falls things get tougher.



the mechanics build on things i learned last year with Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling and combine dice placement mechanics found in such games as Elder Sign and Age of War. though, of course, no dice will be used, only 13 double sided cards, giving me 26 cards of options for rolling dice values

as your Stamina goes down you will draw fewer cards. you may rest, to increase your Stamina but this takes time and time is a waning commodity in the game.

the day and night hours also determine which part of a card (Informants, Chases, Shoot Outs and one to be determined still) you must match die values for.

There will also be 2 to 4 criminals to shuffle into the deck for the final fight.
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Samuel Hinz
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
looks and sounds intriguing
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
Love the theme and artwork style. Look forward to seeing more.
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Manuel Ingeland
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
Same here!

I love it, Todd!

Never managed to develop any excitement about sci-fi themes....so this one is a must-craft
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
thanks all. planning a bigger post for tomorrow with more images and discussion of how the game works
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
updated/new images. working on the game as i do most of mine from the inside out, doing the graphics at the same time the game mechanics are being developed.


showing the rough layouts for the 3 types of cards in the game (the icons in the upper right of each card as well as in the lower section will all be randomized) you will draw cards from the deck and use the upper right icons to try and match the lower section icon sets. these get harder to match as time runs out during the day.

Informants - you are guaranteed to find a Clue if you succeed. if you do not succeed you lose Time

Danger Point - hard to solve and you may lose Stamina - may gain a Clue or an Item

Chasing a Lead - 25% of these cards contain Clues - if you lose you may lose Time or an Item


Adding some flavor text to each card to tell the story of the "Case" there will be 24 card sides (12 double sided cards) divided amongst the 3 card types.



Revised character card and trackers. New tracker allows you to gain items depending upon success during investigation phase. Items are one time use but do not wait too long or you may lose the Item.



1 of 4 Criminals will be revealed after you gain 5 Clues. You must defeat the Criminal to win the game. You will be able to gain extra card draws depending on how many hours in the day are left

Also shown here is the other side of the Character card (Character abilities are being shaped as I figure the game out)


i'd like to come up with a better name than "Danger Point". Any avid detective story fans care to weigh in?



It has been an interesting search to find images that work with my conception. I like to have both a balance of men and women in my games. Two of the Heroes are women as well as one of the Criminals. Artwork on other cards, I'd like a mix making it balance. Every gamer should be able to feel immersed in the game.

Tough though to find women who aren't blonde or anyone who isn't caucasian. But I am not going to use mages that are stereotypically racist. No Chinatown heroin dealers for instance.

Need to run these colors through my colorblind filters in Photoshop as well to make sure they are ok for those gamers who have trouble in that department.
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Val Cassotta
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
This is shaping up to be a rather interesting looking game.

For title ideas:
Pulp Noir
While the Clock Ticks (or some play on that - eg: The Clock Ticks Slowly)
Gumshoe Memoirs
Slewfoot Serial

or go kitschy with "Crime Time!"
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
no i just mean titles for the "danger" cards.

the game itself is called "Pulp Detective"

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Val Cassotta
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
Oops, sorry - dossed up on NyQuil

Peril cards maybe?

Boiling Point
Crossroad
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Gustavo Herodier
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
Wow, looking like a winner already!

For the danger cards - playing on the serial nature of pulp detective stories, how about Cliffhangers?
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
How about squealer or stoolie for informant and Jam for danger point as "in a jam"
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Gene Haas
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest

I think that is a new record for icons on a card though.

Looks great!

A friend of mine said anything older than 50 years is public domain. Is that true or is that only books?

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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
public domain depends on many factors.

thanks Gene. there may be fewer icons on the card as i progress in the design. early days still


for those new to the way i work - i work on the graphics at the same time as i do the structure of the game. i am a graphic designer by day so i start graphics early because they are often meshed with the mechanic development of the games i make.

while it may look finished, it is far from it

there are still some major structural issues to solve. right now the game is too randomized. there aren't enough strategic choices for the player to make other than deciding which of two cards to pick next and when to use Stamina and Items
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
leifericson wrote:

I think that is a new record for icons on a card though.

Looks great!

A friend of mine said anything older than 50 years is public domain. Is that true or is that only books?



That is definitely not true, except in some very specific cases (for instance photographs here in Scandinavia only are copyrighted for 50 years).

That is seriously off-topic here, so have a look on wikipedia for an explanation instead:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain

Many old pulps are in the public domain because of weird old US copyright laws that required registration and re-registration of copyrights. Some publishers of pulp magazines and/or authors never re-registered their copyrights, so the stories/graphics are in the public domain (in the US, which usually means they are so in other countries as well).

I read Robert E Howard's detective stories just 1-2 weeks ago. Great stuff. And available for free legally thanks to the lack of copyright. Anyway because of that I am very excited about getting to play this game. Theme is important and this theme is just right for me at the moment.
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Janine Viglietti
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
dumarest123 wrote:
no i just mean titles for the "danger" cards.

the game itself is called "Pulp Detective"



The movie "The big Heat" comes to mind. They could be Heat cards.
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
Thanks Pelle and Janine

still some big structural issues to work out but i am feeling pretty good at this point with the design and hope i can meet your expectations.

was working out earlier in my head the means of 'persistence'. i am looking at a way to save some portion of the info (an investigation icon) from one turn to the next for its strategic value.

my next order of business though is a spreadsheet to determine the randomization of icons and die rolls and such
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
more tests tonight of a new layout scheme to reduce the number of icons and visual clutter while providing more space for the pulp artwork



i think this layout is working much better. the divisions at the bottom between the 3 actions the player has to deal with (depending upon the time left in the game) are more subtle but still quite clear

names for the 3 types of cards are better too i believe

in the game you will be drawing from the bottom of the deck. edging 2 cards up to just see the types of cards they are and then you will pick between option A and B which provide different rewards

again a reminder the icons and numbers will be different on each card. just testing the layout
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Chad Russell
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
Once again you are creating a must print solitaire game. Love the theme and design, following!
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
thanks. just hoping i can make it work the way i want it to
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
tonight's focus is on two things

finalizing the layout of the investigate cards to maximize the icon size/readability and balance against the pulp artwork



the layout on the left allowed me to make the icons 20% bigger than the last iteration

the one on the right takes up less real estate and i think allows the icons to read better as 3 distinct section.

working to with making the icons gray down below since the black icon in the upper right might be confusing to some as to what the relationship is.

the only thing i don't really like at this point is the rainbow set of stripes


secondly i have created a spreadsheet to randomize all icons and make sure there are no biases towards any one. there are a lot of information pieces to juggle on each card.



currently the main issue of the game is autopilot. cards are randomly drawn to allow the player to match the icons required on the chosen investigate card. there isn't any strategy there. it is just randomizing matching randomizing

so how do i begin to fix this and add strategy and decision trees into the game?

there are three types of investigate cards and each has a different goal/failure state which matches the thematic idea of the game

Informant cards predominately give you clues which you need to end the game. talking to informants burns your time and this is the failure result if you do not match the icons on the task. A player chooses this card type if they want the best chance at clues

Chase a Lead cards give you clues and items, weighted towards items. in the game items give you bonuses and wildcards on future turns and can help raise your stamina (i.e. heal you) the failure result here is a roughly even mix between losing time and stamina. A player chooses this card type if they want the best chance at items

Cliffhanger cards raise and lower your stamina depending upon success or failure. you are less likely to lose time in the game with these cards. thematically a cliffhanger happens all of a sudden. these are the shooutouts, the shocking phone calls received, the aha! moments. A player chooses this card type to raise their stamina which is key. the more stamina you have the more cards you draw to complete the task

in a given turn a player will expose two cards from the bottom of the dec, raising them upward enough to see the card type. they will then choose one of these as the card they will focus on solving.

as time passes and it gets closer to the deadline the tasks have more icons to match so it becomes more important to keep your stamina up which solving clues so you do not run out of time. time as a resource n the game also determines the number of extra cards drawn once the criminal is revealed and you have the big showdown


a second level of decisionmaking is one concerning the items. i've worked out a method for allowing you to bookmark an item you have received in the game. the choice is one of push your luck. you may save your item but failure to complete the task can result in the loss of an item.

this is where my thought process is currently.
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
upon further reflection i think a merging of the two investigate cards yields



and where i am at now in the tracking cards (the criminal card will act as the tracking card for stored icons until the end of the game)

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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
What about dealing out 'plot lines' instead of 2 randomized cards?

So instead of completely random, perhaps you deal out a more linear story progression.

Maybe mix all the leads and informants (or color code them by story group) and deal them out in rows of 3-2-3-2-3 or some other pattern to allow a choice of progression.

Alternatively, each card can have a draw option on the bottom - maybe Leads give you more cards to choose from, like 3 instead of 2.

Just some ideas.
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest
Hey Todd,
I certainly like how the art is developing. It always amazes me how quickly you develop the end product, but I suppose since that is your profession, it comes naturally.

dumarest123 wrote:
the only thing i don't really like at this point is the rainbow set of stripes.


What do you think about making the bottom edge of the main image like a torn piece of paper, with an aged or darkened look. Keeping the drop shadow and then making the two bottom most stripes straight across the card. That may help enhance the thematic of the cards, while getting rid of that arch or chevron. Just a thought.

Also I do like how you coordinated the three distinct sections below, that confused me at first. I think making them in muted colors (contrasting from the main image) with a darker circle of that same hue above the three circles may create an even greater distinction that there are three sections which would remove any doubt at a glance. Again, just a thought.
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Gene Haas
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Re: WIP - Pulp Detective - 2015 18-Card Contest

Maybe the cards should be landscape. That gives more room at the bottom for all the icons. And also the icons at the top right can be moved up to the header listed out sideways. The art would then be thinner but wider. Does the contest say the cards have to be portrait?

I'm not a big fan of the white splatter affect on all the cards. I'm not going to say what it looks like. I guess it looks okay on the top and bottom of the card. Maybe just take it off the artwork.

After playing 19th hole with stick pins, I can say that your set up of 5 plus cards all dependent on each other in position is going to be difficult to manage. If a player has to move the card on the left up from 2 to 3, then the card to left of it is going to have to move also and keep it on the footprints while doing so. And you'd have to slide it without moving the Pulp Detective card. I'd probably be getting the stick pins back out again.

What if the two cards that are largely blank on both sides of the main column were independent off to the side. One card could have both sets of icons on each side and the other card could slide up and down diagonally over the top to mark where you are. So if the gun side was 2 and the right side was 5, then the overlay card would be at a steep diagonal to the right. I don't know what you would put on the overlay card. Plot lines? Maybe just have three plot lines and let the player just pick one. Easy, moderate and hard.

The gray icons don't seem to match the color scheme of the rest of the game. Slate blue?

All that said (with no graphic design ability of my own at all), they look awesome.

I think there needs to be a 'BANG' card. I don't know what it would be for but I would have fun turning over a card that said 'BANG' over and over. Maybe that will be my entry in the contest, a Pulp Detective accessory set of 18 'BANG' cards.

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