The players are bandits who use rubber bands to attack local towns and rob them of their loot and weaponry. The town itself will be destructable (think Rampage) and contain either wooden or standee type sheriffs defending the place. Game will likely be semi-cooperative, allowing players to rob each other to some extent to complete weaponry upgrades and/or shift point totals slightly to secure the win.
The game will feature rubber band guns making use of the players' hands in various forms. Players will be facing the town from the same side of the table, so should be little to no risk of players shooting each other (unless you play with an ornery bunch). Will probably need a higher age rating regardless just to be safe.
Revolver - This will be the staple weapon that each player starts the game with. Upgrades include larger clips (can load up to 3 bands on 1 hand) as well as dual wielding.
Rifle - This is a more traditional style of firing that allows for a single, high power shot. Cannot be dual wielded.
Shotgun - With this formation the player loads 3 bands simultaneously and fires a less accurate, lower power shot that's likely to spread out and hit multiple targets at once. Can be dual wielded.
Game will likely be played in rounds that revolve around 3 phases:
Construction - Players simultaneously build one of the town's buildings and place a sheriff/deputy around town. As soon as a player finishes building they grab for a player token in the center of the table that will determine player order for the next phase. Structures include both the panels that shape it and placement of some figures that reward the players who knock them over.
Raid - Players take turns in player order firing at the town. As building sections collapse players loot items shown on the backs of the panels IF there are no remaining officers left standing. A single turn consists of firing once from each hand (if dual wielding). Players continue alternating turns until they individually pass (out of ammo or simply not wishing to spend further ammo on remaining items). Once only 1 player remains they have 1 last turn to fire on the town before the citizens revolt and chase the bandits out of town.
Black Market - Player collect their bounties for defeating the sheriff and his crew and in bounty order are able to buy a single item from the black market consisting of ammo and/or weapon upgrades. Alternatively there may be a small draft where players select a card from their hand to purchase and then pass the remaining until all cards are drafted. Players with higher sheriff/deputy values could have larger draft hands for better options or select multiple cards on the first pick.
The game will include a small deck of cards depicting the various gun types, ammo, clips as well as money in the form of bounties and straight loot. At the start of a round a single card of each icon type will be dealt to the center of the table face-down and a face-up card for sheriff/deputies. Should an icon become revealed during the round without being claimed, its matching card is flipped face-up. As soon as a figure is knocked over the player who did so is rewarded:
High Value - Figures with an icon on their body reward the player with the matching card, offering weapon upgrades or large amounts of loot. Loot can be spent between rounds for buying ammo or weapon upgrades.
Low Value - Even common citizens carry small sums of money or a few spare bullets that can be looted!
Sheriff/Deputy - Only the player who defeats the sheriff may claim his card. The deputy cards are claimed in descending order as they are knocked over. These cards depict both a bounty amount and a priority order number for use in the black market phase.
The game is played over a set number of rounds. Once the players have finished robbing the region of its loot they compare their remaining coin to see which has emerged the most successful. Ties are broken in favor of the player with the most weakest weaponry and then with the least ammo remaining.
Cut a ton of obstacles out tonight and got in some basic playtesting with kids. They LOVE it. So here's where I'm at so far:
- 4 buildings consisting of 3 sides and a flat roof with walls being 1 door, 1 window and 1 solid wall (1 building is twice as long with double-wide door and extra window) - 4 other obstacles = tree, fence, water tower and pair of horses - 16 bandits = 4 each of 4 colors labeled A thru D - 8 setup cards = 4 building and 4 obstacle - 4 player cards = 1 of each color - 32 bandit cards = 16 for letters A thru D and 16 for numeric value - Boat load of thick rubber bands
* Players are dealt 1 building card and 1 obstacle card * Players take turns tossing 1 of their cards face-up onto the playing surface * After all 8 cards have been tossed the players setup the structures where the cards landed. If multiple building cards overlap the players may opt to stack the buildings for a multi-story building * Players take turns placing 1 of their bandits in a hard to hit spot * Once all bandits have been placed players place their value cards (1,2,3,5) face-up underneath their letter cards (A,B,C,D) in any order they wish * Each player takes 10 rubber bands and they take turns firing a single band at an opponent's bandit * If a bandit is knocked down the shooter claims the value card as points for the matching letter * Play enough rounds for players to each be starting player same number of times (2,4 players = 4 rounds; 3 players = 3 rounds) * Highest point value wins - tie breaker goes to player with most 5 point targets, then 3 and so on (taking out high-value targets)
* Players take turns placing a building and one of their bandits using that building for cover * Then place an obstacle and another bandit using it for cover * Take turns placing their remaining bandits without cover * Assign point values to bandits via overlapping matching lettered cards with point value cards (1,2,3,5) * Take turns shooting a single rubber band at town trying to knock over opponents' bandits * When a bandit is knocked over the shooting player collects the bandit * Once all bands are shot or all bandits collected the players compare letters with value cards to add up their points (shooting your own bandits results in negative points)
Repeat so that each player has a turn as 1st player and add up scores from rounds for final score. With 2 players can either play 4 rounds as above OR 2 rounds with each player controlling 2 colors of bandits and alternating turn order.
In my prototype I have a single double-width building that the 1st player always places and for obstacles I have a tree, fence, water tower and a pair of horses.
Got in one last playtest with the kids and a couple of their friends who hadn't yet played. One of the kids suggested that any bandits left standing score their points for their player, which we all agreed was a good addition to the rules. Also ruled that when placing your bandits with cover they must still be visible (none completely hidden in the corner of a building).
I've submitted files for a quote for a better prototype, so hopefully will have something nicer to present here soon
I shot some bands at these to compare to the foam and they were able to take a bit more abuse before falling (good thing). Going to try to finish cutting out all the bits tonight. Here's the print file I used:
Me and my best friend, long a go, had Daisy air rifles. We would go in the back yard and each set up army men in trenches, behind rocks, just a good battle scene. His guys and my guys would be both facing us as we lay in the grass about ten yards away taking turns with our rifles, shooting at each others men.
We always seems to have Blackcats, so each round we were both allowed two Blackacats to explode. Old Vietnam era airplane models (F-111's) and the cheap plastic army men jeeps and small artillery were part of the props.
We would spend hours out there doing this. Of course there were rules in setting up and firing. Basically the winner was the first one to knock all the other guys men down.
Being stuck at home this weekend due to snow/ice has me tinkering, so what better to work on than some rubber band guns? After browsing images of various designs on Google I found that I really liked the step-up and other multi-shot types, though they're too complex for me to make with the tools that I have access to.
I did find a rather simple design made from metal wire that I attempted using some old hangers laying around. The first attempt, matching that style, didn't stretch the bands enough. Maximizing the barrel length with the wire I had was still too weak and I found that to have a barrel long enough would just result in the wire bending (I'm using thick bands that stretch to about 15"). Fortunately I had some 3/4" dowel rods left over from a previous project that I used to replace the barrel and just used the metal wire to create the handle and trigger mechanism:
These work fairly well, though they don't quite stretch the bands fully so some potential power is lost. They also tend to shoot a bit to the left due to the position of the wire. I did research bulk ordering standard rubber band guns, but they tend to either be too expensive to include in a game like this or else have barrels or bands too small to work well with this type of game design.
Before and after pics of final round of a game using the hybrid wood/metal guns:
The thought occurred to me that perhaps a satisfactory gun could be made from layered chipboard. I have some excess 8.5 x 11" sheets left over from making the latest prototype above, so got to designing a basic gun, printing out templates and cutting out parts. After gluing the layers together and attaching the trigger with a small screw... it worked great! Here's the design I went with:
The accuracy on this is MUCH better than the others, though I don't have enough spare chipboard to make a full set of these. Due to the size of my chipboard I had to make each layer into 2 pieces and due to thickness I had to use 6 layers of chipboard. I think some really stout 3-4mm chipboard would work great at 3 layers thick and a few plastic snaps to hold it all together.
My thought now is that this could be marketed as an add-on to the base game:
Base game includes everything you need to play I usually picture. Add-on pack includes 4 chipboard guns and some alternate bandits (give immediate one-time ability when shot)
Special rule for add-on: any player using a gun must use alternate bandits to give their opponents a more fair fight.
Should all players choose to use guns (or none use them) then they can agree to all use standard bandits or all use alternate bandits.
Could also mix and match bandit types to allow for various handicap levels.
Had some more free time to drew up a thinner model gun with a slightly longer barrel (nearly maximum stretch for rubber bands) as well as a modified trigger mechanism that fires more reliably. Also purchased some thicker illustrator board which let me use just 2 pieces of board for the barrel vs. the 6 I had to use on the thinner stuff. Would be great if a manufacturer could produce these at full thickness in a single piece and only require assembling the trigger.
This gun (made two) were assembled with spray adhesive for the barrel / handle bit and then a couple screws I had laying around for the trigger:
Made a couple more today using leather working rivets to simulate what it might be like assembling a gun in a retail copy of the game such as those that use plastic snap-together rivets:
At this point I'm very happy with the gun models and can certainly see a set of these being included with the game.
I have some more chipboard and standees on the way for testing a couple other ideas and then will write up a more formal copy of the rules and begin pitching to publishers.
- Bandits that have cover (within buildings or behind obstacles) must be knocked down without also knocking over their cover. Should a bandit's cover be knocked down along with the bandit, that bandit "escapes" instead scoring no points for any player. Should an obstacle be knocked over on one turn and the bandit that was using it be knocked over on a separate turn then the bandit is scored normally.
- During each round, the values of bandits knocked over are totaled with first player scoring 5 points, 2nd player 3 points, 3rd 2 points and 4th 1 point.
I'm having some more bits made today to test a few other options such as having a back wall to buildings and smaller bandits for those that are exposed (simulate them crouching or turned sideways).
Finally got to bring the game to my local game store and test with friends both new and experienced with gaming in general. My primary game-breaker from way back during Nightfall development made it out and tried his best, creating this monstrosity we dubbed Bandito Bunker:
The four of us playing collectively fired several rounds at that cluster and there were still a few surviving bandits. Most likely will be adding a rule for how close structures can be to one another when placing them (perhaps bandit height for buildings and bandit width for obstacles) unless stacking on top of something existing.
This was also the first test with a new building design where the front and sides of the building were a single piece of chipboard that I had scored and folded, leaving only the roof loose and collapsible. This definitely improved the building stability, but I'm not 100% sure that the buildings are quite as strong as they should be.
Enter building version 3!
Made this one tonight where all 3 walls AND the roof are a single piece of chipboard scored and folded. I also widened the door and windows to make it a bit easier to shoot into the building since it's going to be near impossible to knock one of these over (took 5 direct hits without moving more than a couple inches total). I plan to make a few more of these tomorrow and get in some more testing.
Version 4 of the building design is stronger than ever and with an added sign on top they not only give a bit of cover to snipers on the roof but also stack extremely well making multistory buildings truly feasible in a competitive game:
Tonight I plan on upgrading the obstacle design with similar improvements and if they play as well as I suspect, this will likely be the final prototype version.
Each of these is VERY sturdy, especially compared to previous versions. They can be moved around the table if hit squarely with enough force, but I don't see these being knocked over like previous versions.
Finally sat down and wrote out the rules now that the design is stabilizing. Got in a great playtest a couple days back which I tried to record, but my software decided to fail on me, so... no footage this time.
This is coming along very nicely. I know that my brother and I would have been all over this growing up. We would often setup our Joes on opposing sides of the living room and fire at each other's troops w/ rubber bands from the perspective of our own units. ^__^