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Subject: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - contest ready rss

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Digby McWiggle
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Bomb Squad #9




Design state: contest ready

BGG database entry: Bomb Squad #9

This is my entry for 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest

Our fair city is under attack by militant anarchists and their nefarious time bombs.
In response the Police Commissioner has selected you, our most expendable officers,
to form Precinct 9's first Bomb Squad.

But it's not just the bombs you'll have to contend with. There's also the new sniffer dog
that keeps setting them off, not to mention your back-stabbing colleagues who are all
out for personal glory at your expense. Meanwhile the bombs keep on ticking down,
one slip up means disaster, and someone keeps hiding the wire cutters!


Components

9 cards
1 red "miss a turn" token
7 blue "won a round" tokens
1 six-sided "bomb count down" die

Synopsis

A game of bluffing and deduction, set against the slow ticking of a time bomb...

The nine central cards hide a bomb, plus wire cutters, a bomb sniffer dog and a metal detector.
But there's also confusion caused by an anarchist, public panic, a rat and random junk.
Your colleagues will help you identify each card, but can you trust them? Like you, they're all
trying to lay their hands on the bomb and the wire cutters at the same time.
Meanwhile the bomb keeps ticking and if nobody disarms it in time then you all lose!

Bomb Squad #9 was created as a cut-down version of Lost Legacy designed
to fit the competition constraints. Playtesters have since pointed out that the
resulting mechanics are similar to Cunning Folk, but with a wider variety of
possible actions (plus a ticking bomb and a metal detector that actually beeps!)

Files

Bomb Squad #9 v1 full colour cards and rules

Cards formatted for printerstudio.com, artscow.com etc

(NB. A low ink version is also available, but for play-testing you can just write "bomb",
"wire cutters" etc on the back of some business cards).

. .




Categories entered

Best new designer
Best 2 player game
Best 3 or more player game
Best thematic game
Best written rules
Best artwork

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Niklas Hook
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Hook says :"I can paint for you if you need artistic help with you game"
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Cool idea.

for clarification..can you say you looked at the metal detector and then fake a beeping sound?



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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Good question. Will clarify the rules on that.
Yes, if you are faking the metal detector you have to beep if the second card is metal (including the real metal detector). Though it would be a possible rule variation to have the fake metal detector never beep. Will have to explore that idea...
Thanks!
 
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Brad N
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
This looks like a well put-together game and I will definitely be trying it out. I really like how the different cards work together and cause some shuffling of the cards. The metal detector card is fantastic!

Nice work! Now, let's see how it plays.
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Thanks Brad. It could definitely use some more playtesting. So far I have only been able to play it with myself (not very easy for a hidden card/bluffing game!) and with my sons, who are really too young to get into the bluffing side of it and always tell the truth...

Any and all feedback would be welcome (good and bad!). It's my first attempt at a game and I hope it will be great learning experience.
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Brad N
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Digby_McWiggle wrote:
Thanks Brad. It could definitely use some more playtesting. So far I have only been able to play it with myself (not very easy for a hidden card/bluffing game!) and with my sons, who are really too young to get into the bluffing side of it and always tell the truth...
I just played this game twice with my 7 year old son. I think it's great! It worked well with 2 players, though I bet it would probably be best with 3 players. I've just cut and pasted your questions from the rules with my answers below...

Are the rules clear?
Yes. I understood everything. One question that came up for me while playing that I didn't see covered in the rules is what would happen if the cube distribution at the end of the game was even between 2 or more players at the end of the game? It seems to me just one person should win. I suppose you could say if there is a tie when all cubes are gone then everyone puts a cube back and you play until one player is in the lead. Or, always play until someone gets to a certain number, depending on the number of players (e.g. first to 4 with 2 players; first to 3 with 3 players; first to 2 with 4 or 5 players).

Is there the right balance of cards that reveal information and those that shuffle/swap?
I only played twice and only with 2 players, but it felt like this was just right.

Do the cards match the theme? Should some of them be re-labelled?
I think they work great. The only one I wonder about is the "terrorist" which could be seen as in bad taste by some.

Are the cards and their actions memorable enough to enable bluffing?
Yes. For our first game, I had the computer open, showing all of the cards for us to glance at and my son definitely used it. So that might be a nice thing to have printed in the rules. After one game, we didn't need it anymore.

Is there sufficient incentive to lie/bluff?
Yes. I felt incentivized to do different things like lie about the bomb or the sniffer dog or the terrorist or the tin can or whatever based on the situation. That was a nice aspect to the game.

Is there sufficient incentive to accuse another player of lying?
Probably. Again, it's situational. With the short turns, getting the red marker is painful. Yet, letting the other player do something they shouldn't is also painful. That's a good balance.

Is the six round limit before the bomb explodes too long or too short? Should it depend on the number of players?
It worked for our 2 player games and felt just right. I suspect it may be okay with more because each player will still get the same number of turns. It's possible you may want it longer with more players, but I don't think I'll know that unless I try it with more players.

Does the game play well with different numbers of players? How would it go with five or six players?
I don't know because I only played with two players. I suspect 5 or 6 would be too many, but I'd have to try it. Three seems like it would be the best number.

Could there be a solo version?
This doesn't look to me like a game that would work solo.

Are the suggested age limit and game duration reasonable?
Yes.

Is the game fun?
Yes. I was excited about the idea after reading your rules and I have to see that the game surpassed my expectations. I figured, like many games that sound good in an idea phase, it may fall flat for reasons I couldn't guess. We had a lot of fun playing and my son won the first round after bluffing about the location of the bomb and then cutting it shortly thereafter. The smirk and look on his face was priceless when he realized he'd tricked me.

Here is a picture of the cards I whipped up (instead of printing them) and components I used for my playtest...
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Hi Brad. Thanks for the detailed feedback. I'm glad it played well for you and your son. I will take on board your suggestions and clarify the winning conditions. I'll also change the terrorist into a less touchy anarchist. Thanks for pointing out that sensitivity.
Good luck with your own entry. I'll definitely give it a whirl once it is component ready.
Cheers!
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
PS Brad - love your cards, especially panic. I notice you had an x marked on some of them. Was that some sort of player aid that I should implement?
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Brad N
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
digby_ wrote:
PS Brad - love your cards, especially panic. I notice you had an x marked on some of them. Was that some sort of player aid that I should implement?
Yes, the X on the cards indicates that the card has no action when you pick it up. I did this for my son so it would be easier for him to realize right away if he should be doing something with the card or not and maybe have a quicker idea of how to bluff about it. I'm not sure if it helped or not, but that was the idea.
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Have just updated the files to include suggestions by testers (thanks Brad and Niklas!). Changes are all superficial, and don't alter play. Also added a pocketmod version of the rules.
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Just uploaded new versions of the rules - cosmetic changes only.
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David Iezzi
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
This is a pretty fun game! It reminds me of the game "Cunnging Folk" from Kickstarter which I haven't played but have seen it played. The bomb timer is a nice twist.

One thing we noticed when playing, unless we were doing something wrong, is that the if the bomb goes off a few times in a row it can feel a bit defeating. Having 3 or 4 tokens and then losing most or all of them can make it seem like the rest of the game will take forever. I'm not sure the solution to this.

In that same vein, we both agreed that 7 felt like too many needed to get and thought 5 had the right 'feel' to it. After some more run throughs that could change though.
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Hi David. I appreciate you trying the game out and posting feedback. I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

I have been thinking about your comment about the bomb exploding unduly elongating the play time. The idea was for the bomb countdown to add some tension and provide a bit of a disincentive for players to overdo the anarchy card thereby preventing players from learning the layout so that the outcome comes down to luck. And there also needs to be a disincentive for overexploiting the sniffer dog, but that could be something less drastic like losing a turn.

What about each time the bomb explodes players lose counter but one counter is also removed from the game? Then after your three explosions you'd be down to four counters to compete for. I haven't yet tested this but suspect it might do the trick.

Thanks again for the feedback!
 
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David Iezzi
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
That actually sounds perfect. I'll try it and let you know!
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Benjamin Ng
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
This game is pretty similar to Cunning Folk, check it out if you're interested.
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Hi Benjamin and David,

I just looked up Cunning Folk, and yup, it's pretty darn similar. Crumbs! (insert juicier expletive here).

I'm pretty devastated to see this. I was actually quite proud of my little game and it's quite gutting to see that it's turned out similar to something that's already out there. So much for being original...

Am currently feeling like I should probably withdraw from the competition, but will sleep on it before doing anything drastic.

Thanks for pointing this out before I made too big a fool of myself.

 
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David Iezzi
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Oh, no need to feel that way. Sometimes we just have convergent ideas. There's nothing wrong with that! It's a fun game, even though it's similar in some ways. My girlfriend who isn't a gamer likes it, which is a challenge.

So I tried out the idea of the tokens leaving the game one at a time when the bomb explodes and that definitely helps. However, one thing that we noticed happening to us is that one player could win a token, bomb goes off, win a token, bomb goes off, etc. And then right before there are no tokens left, the other player could win the last token and just win the whole game.

I've been trying to think of a solution to this problem of the more successful player not getting the rightful victory and am having a hard time coming up with a smooth solution. Either the bomb doesn't remove the tokens at all (which I don't think feels right) or the bomb can only remove X tokens from a player in a game (which is a bit finicky).

Also, we both still tend to prefer 5 total tokens instead of 7. So maybe you can have different game length variants?

I'll keep thinking on it.
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Digby_McWiggle wrote:

Am currently feeling like I should probably withdraw from the competition, but will sleep on it before doing anything drastic.

OK, after receiving advice and encouragement I have decided to stay in, but have tweaked the WIP above accordingly. Thanks.

Will forge on with some rule tweaks (as per suggestions) and upgraded graphios...
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
David,

I have come to the conclusion that the best winning condition is simply the first player to amass three counters. That fits your preference of five counters for two players and eliminates all the complexity and problems you identified! It also makes seven counters the maximum needed for a four player game, so fits the competition constraints perfectly.

I'll implement this in the next version of the rules, in a few days.

Thanks again for the feedback and encouragement.
 
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
I have just uploaded a MAJOR refresh of the game components.

The changes are mostly artistic, but the rules have been tweaked and are now presented in line with the theme. PocketMod rules have not yet been updated - watch for these coming soon...

I would love feedback on the art (too dark?) and on the new presentation of the rules.

Thanks for your interest!
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Hi all,

I've made a few minor edits to the rules sheets (cosmetic only) and put together a rules booklet for the more adventurous. This replaces the former pocketmod rules, but works on similar principles (i.e. some minor assembly required).

I've also lightened the cards slightly to make the pictures clearer.

And I have withdrawn from the Best Greyscale category - after playing around with greyscale versions of the cards I couldn't get them to look anything other than flat. Note that there is still a low ink greyscale version available for playtesting with.

The link at the top of this thread has all of the new components.

I'm also working on some enhanced components (bomb count down card to replace the die, and player prompt cards) to release after the end of the competition (since these would violate the comp restrictions).

Ciao!
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Garry Hoddinott
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
Enjoyed the first play. 2 player, set of 4 games. Simple to learn, and play and simply fun to experience. The card art made the game. Thanks for going to so much trouble.

Edit: Pocket mod really suits, these card based games. I make a little paper envelope for each game. I do a screen capture of the logo or some art to paste on the front and a few notes about what is needed from my box of tricks - like 1 die, 7 blue 1 red counter; number of players - time etc. etc. Pocket mod is the same size as the cards - so works well except where the print gets so small my 4 eyes go to water trying to read it.
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
GarryHoddinott wrote:
Enjoyed the first play. 2 player, set of 4 games. Simple to learn, and play and simply fun to experience. The card art made the game. Thanks for going to so much trouble.
Really appreciate you trying the game Garry. Glad you had fun with it too.
If you have a chance to try it with 3 or 4 players I'd love to hear your feedback on how well it scales up.
Cheers!
 
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Digby McWiggle
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Re: [WIP] Bomb Squad #9 (for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest) - components ready
I've just uploaded a new photo of the game components



Please note that the download page also has a file of additional components (tuckbox, prompt cards, bomb counter to replace die, custom tokens). You are welcome to use these, but please remember they are not part of the competition package and should not be considered when evaluating the game for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest.

Cheers!
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Mariusz Kosecki
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Hello,

I'm really intrigued by the idea of the game, I plan to pnp it soon! Some late feedback:

1) Wire cutters and Sniffer dog say to reveal another card but the reference card just states "reveal 1" - later in the Clarifications chapter you say "When pretending to have the wire cutters or sniffer dog you might reveal that card" - what does it mean? should "another" be present on the sniffer dog/wire cutters cards then?Disregard this, I read "you might reveal that card" as "you are allowed to reveal the viewed card" instead of "it might happen that you reveal the real card"

2) What can you say during the game - are you only allowed to discuss what's on the cards in Declare phase? And it's not really a discussion, just a statement? In a game like this, it should be clearly specified in the rules what's allowed and what's not in terms of discussion. If I cannot tell anyone of my findings, can I at least point them to the right card (they still have to believe that I'm not lying)?

EDIT: 3) When a player accuses you of lying, you should show the card only to that opponent but if your opponent is wrong, then you are both really admitting that the card depicts what was declared so in other words, you could show the card to all players, right? Did you consider including a card that allows you to always bluff? E.g. a rat could allow you to declare any card - if someone accuses you of lying, you show them the card - if they take the disciplinary token, other players now know that the spoken card is the one you declared or a rat (so they are never sure); if you take the disciplinary token, others are sure that the spoken card is neither the one you declared nor a rat.

Other than that, it seems like a complete game and a fun one too!
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