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Subject: [WIP] Nano Mechs: Entry for the 9-card Nano game contest (Component Ready!) rss

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Robin Armstrong
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I've been kicking around ideas for the 2016 9-card Nanogame Contest for some time now, and even threw out a prelimiary idea in a previous thread. With the contest deadline looming, I've finally decided to post what I've got so far and build from there. I'm hoping to get it completed in time; if not, I'll likely still work on this.

Cards: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6pkwny8qv05X1BXTmJVeTlUSDg...
Rules: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6pkwny8qv05OGwzYTVuX2FYSUU...

Edit: slightly updated rules for clarification

Components:
9 grid cards (from file)
4 d6 dice (best if two different colors)
8 cubes (4 of 1 color and 2 each of 2 different colors)

At this point, I'd like to be entered in the following categories:
Best New Designer
Best 2-Player Game

Working Title: NanoGames
So, here's my idea: the game itself will consist of 9 cards, 4d6 dice (of two different colors), and 8 cubes (2 each of 2 different colors and 4 of a third color). Players will provide the dice and cubes for the print and play. The idea is that this is a game kit that can be used to play several different 2-player games, rather than a single game. Think of it like a deck of cards, in that the games that can be played using it vary. So far, I have three ideas for "mini-games" (NanoGames?).


Mini-Game 1: NanoMechs
In this competitive game, players control 2 tokens each (representing battle mecha) and defend their base while gathering Power to become the dominant force on the field.

Mini-Game 2: NanoQuest
In this co-op game, players use a d6 dice as a token (representing a Hero) to destroy or contain a d6 Monster dice. Tokens are used to provide weapons against the Monster, and 4 tokens can be used to trap the Monster.

Mini-Game 3: NanoTrade
In this competitive game, palyer control 2 tokens each (representing sailing cargo ships) to transport cargo from one side of the map to the other, racing and fighting against each other to deliver the cargo first.


At this point, I have very basic ideas for rules for each game, which I haven't even playtested myself yet. I'll include different posts for each "mini-game". I'm also still tweaking the cards themselves, so nothing right now to post as far as files to download. As I progress, I'll get something up.

EDIT: Preliminary cards and rules are available for printing. Haven't checked the page size for the rules yet. The rules are for NanoMechs, which is the game I'm moving forward with for this contest.

Edit 2: Enhanced rules (with pictures of the board and the logo) are now available. I will be asking for my entry to be updated.
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Robin Armstrong
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NanoGames: The cards
As I mentioned, I'm still working on the cards themselves. Currently, they consist of a simple grid that's made up of 1" squares, making 2 1/2 columns and 3 1/2 rows for each card. The idea is to tesselate the cards so that the half-columns line up to form complete squares. At first, I thought that would necessarily leave holes in the center of each 4 cards, but experimenting with prototypes has shown that such is not the case.

My biggest concern is that 1" squares may not create enough spaces for interesting moving around. I want them to be flexible enough that both cubes and dice can be used as player tokens, so reducing the squares to an even 1/2" makes them a bit too small for dice (but not for cubes, so maybe using dice as tokens needs to go away?). I keep hoping that I can strike a balance (like 5/8 inch squares?) that can makethe squares big enough that dice will work without resorting to half squares. Still working on it.
 
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Robin Armstrong
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NanoMechs
NanoMechs Mini-Game
Setup: Set out the cards to form the board. Start by using 4 to create a central “plus” area, and then add 4 more to expand the area (so only 8 of the 9 cards are used). Have each player choose a set of dice and two cubes of the same color. Each player places one of their dice at opposite ends of the board, with the 6 showing on the top. The dice represents their base. Losing the base (taking damage or spending power that reduces its power to 0) loses the game. Each player places their tokens next to their dice. Player tokens are war mechs. They can be separate or combined (stacked one on top of the other). Place two of the remaining four cubes (all the same color) on opposite sides of the board between the two players’ dice. Cubes of this color are power crystals collected and consumed throughout the game. Decide who goes first.

On a player’s turn, they can have each of their mechs perform up to two actions: move one space (horizontally or vertically), fire on another player's mech or base (horizontally or vertically), collect a power crystal (must be adjacent to the crystal to collect it), or deposit a power crystal (either on the ground or in an adjacent base or mech). If the mechs are combined, then only two of the total four actions available can be move actions. One additional action can be performed by spending Power, either by reducing the base Power by 1 or by consuming a power crystal being carried by a mech (mechs can only carry one power crystal at a time; combined mechs may thus carry up to 2). Additional actions may be performed as long as the player spends power, with the exception of moving mechs more than two spaces each per turn.

Instead of having mechs perform any actions, a player may choose instead to increase their base's Power by 1 (up to the max of 6). Consuming a Power Crystal at the base also increases the base Power by 1 as an extra action, allowing for the player's mechs to act as normal.

Combat: To fire on another player's mech or base, roll one d6 and add 1 for any Power spent by consuming a power crystal or reducing the Power at the player's base (player may spend as much power as they can afford; spending power is optional). If the total is equal to or greater than the distance between the player's mech and the target (mech or base), then the target is hit. A mech is destroyed (if combined, only one of the combined mechs is destroyed) when hit; a base is reduced by one Power. If a mech is carrying a power crystal, it may consume that crystal to block or dodge the attack. Blocking does not require the mech to move; dodging requires the mech to move one space away from the attacking mech. A base may consume one power crystal to block an attack.

If a player has fewer than 2 active mechs at the start of their turn, they may create new mechs. Creating a new mech reduces the player's base power by 1, and may be performed as an action on the player's next turn. If a player has one active mech, it can perform its two actions normally.

If the player's two mechs are adjacent to each other, they may combine as an action. This takes up one action for each mech, leaving two actions total (not includiong moving) for the newly combined mech.

Once both players have taken a turn, if the card that holds power crystals is empty, a new crystal appears on the card if a cube is available and no mechs are on that card.

The first player to have a base with 6 Power and two power crystals at their base, or to destroy the other player's base, wins.
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Robin Armstrong
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Re: [WIP] Nano Games: Entry for the 9-card Nano game contest (Idea Phase)
Bump. Also, the very rough rules for the first mini-game are up. I know the card layout is not explained very well, but the rest, I hope, is okay. Any comments are appreciated.
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Robin Armstrong
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Re: [WIP] Nano Games: Entry for the 9-card Nano game contest (Idea Phase) Now with a file!
Another bump. Added a PDF of my prelimary version of the cards. It's very ink-friendly (one page, black only, and it's just a grid). Cut along the thicker lines. Cardstock would be best.

I think I'll concentrate on the NanoMechs game at this time for the purposes of this contest. Rules (and logo?) to soon follow, I hope.
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Robin Armstrong
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Re: [WIP] Nano Games: Entry for the 9-card Nano game contest (Idea Phase) Now with a file!
Playtesting for NanoMechs with my group went well last night. For what it is (a quick, light game), it works well.

For purposes of the contest, I have decided to focus on NanoMechs as the actual game, with the idea of adding more games later. Still working on the actual writing up of the rules, but the post of rule-like stuff above should be sufficient to give the idea a try (I hope). Any suggestions?
 
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Robin Armstrong
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Re: [WIP] Nano Mechs: Entry for the 9-card Nano game contest (Idea Phase) Now with a file!
Hate to keep bumping this, but the OP has a preliminary file for the rules as well as the cards, now. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Joseph Propati
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I've got you moved to the Component Ready Phase!

Time to test!!
 
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todd sanders
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subscribing to look at your game tonight
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Scott Allen
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Printed this out and plan to playtest it soon.

A few questions on the rules:

1) When partial squares from different squares are touching, do they become one square? Based on one of your posts, I think the answer is yes, but want to make sure.

2) What do you mean when you say "adjacent square" in parentheses in the "Collect a Power Crystal" bulleted item? Adjacent meaning a square next to the square that the mech occupies, or do you mean adjacent because they are both in the same square?

3) Stacking mechs - I don't quite understand the point of this, seems a bit unnecessary, so I'll probably not stack in my playtest(s). Must they be stacked if they are occupying the same square?

4) On the last page of the rules, second paragraph before "Winning the Game" it says:
"If the player's two Mechs are adjacent to each other, they may combine as an action. This takes up one action for each Mech, leaving two actions total (not including moving) for the newly combined Mech."

I don't understand the "(not including moving)" means in this paragraph. Does this mean they can't move in the same turn they combine?

Looks like a fun game. I may try it with my assumed rules until I hear from you.

Thanks.
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Scott Allen
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Got a partial playtest in, didn't finish it though.

Game start. Blue vs. Red, with white crystals. (I don't like rolling just 1 die, so I used 2 1,1,2,2,3,3 dice instead, I know this messes with the probability a little, but to me, it's worth it.



During game:


It's a fun game. It starts a little slow until the two sides get in range of each other.

Another question: Can a mech shoot over another mech?

I'll try to play some more.

Thanks.
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Scott Allen
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One more rules clarification. A mech can take two actions per turn, can ittake the same action twice: move-move,or attack-attack? I assume yes,but just want to make sure.

Thanks.
 
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Robin Armstrong
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
Printed this out and plan to playtest it soon.

A few questions on the rules:

1) When partial squares from different squares are touching, do they become one square? Based on one of your posts, I think the answer is yes, but want to make sure.

2) What do you mean when you say "adjacent square" in parentheses in the "Collect a Power Crystal" bulleted item? Adjacent meaning a square next to the square that the mech occupies, or do you mean adjacent because they are both in the same square?

3) Stacking mechs - I don't quite understand the point of this, seems a bit unnecessary, so I'll probably not stack in my playtest(s). Must they be stacked if they are occupying the same square?

4) On the last page of the rules, second paragraph before "Winning the Game" it says:
"If the player's two Mechs are adjacent to each other, they may combine as an action. This takes up one action for each Mech, leaving two actions total (not including moving) for the newly combined Mech."

I don't understand the "(not including moving)" means in this paragraph. Does this mean they can't move in the same turn they combine?

Looks like a fun game. I may try it with my assumed rules until I hear from you.

Thanks.


First, thanks for playtesting my game! I was beginning to think no one would... Anyway, to answer your questions:

1) Yes, partial squares that join are meant to be seen as one square. The whole mechanic of the half-squares seems clunky to me, but that was the best I could figure out for making the grid even for both rotations of the cards.

2) "Adjacent" is meant to mean the square next to the square the mech is in. You don't have to be in the same square as a Crystal to pick it up.

3) The main idea for this is to be able to effectively double your available firepower, as well as adding a "hit point" to your mechs, as a combined mech takes two hits to destroy rather than one. A combined mech can also carry 2 Crystals instead of one. Mechs cannot occupy the same square without combining.

4) Yes, the intent of that rule is that mech that combine can't move during the turn they combine.

Thanks again for giving my game a try!
 
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Robin Armstrong
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Thank you for playtesting my game! This is great!

Narrow Gate Games wrote:
Got a partial playtest in, didn't finish it though.

Game start. Blue vs. Red, with white crystals. (I don't like rolling just 1 die, so I used 2 1,1,2,2,3,3 dice instead, I know this messes with the probability a little, but to me, it's worth it.

One small problem with using 2 dice: it's impossible to roll 1, and part of the way combat works is that you always miss on a 1.

Narrow Gate Games wrote:
It's a fun game. It starts a little slow until the two sides get in range of each other.

Another question: Can a mech shoot over another mech?

I'll try to play some more.

Thanks.

Glad you like it. It's really meant to be a quick, fun game. To answer your question, I hadn't really thought about mechs shooting over each other, but I would say that they cannot, as shooting is line of sight. Thanks for your thoughts.
 
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Robin Armstrong
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
One more rules clarification. A mech can take two actions per turn, can ittake the same action twice: move-move,or attack-attack? I assume yes,but just want to make sure.

Thanks.

Yes, you can move-move or attack-attack on one turn. Note that a combined mech, with four total actions, can only move twice on one turn, but can attack up to four times. Thanks for the question!
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Scott Allen
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Defcon64 wrote:

First, thanks for playtesting my game! I was beginning to think no one would...


I'm a sucker for mechs, and simple games. And to be honest, I'm a little lazy and several other 9 card games take 8 dice of 3 different colors and 30 cubes in 4 different colors, etc..., so I wanted a simple game to test.

Thanks for the answers, they all help.

This is a fun game, and one I could see expanding with terrain on the cards maybe. That would make the 9 cards more useful if you would shuffle them and get different terrain set-ups each game. I can envision just a squiggly diagonal line on random squares that would act as walls. (I may do that on my cards).

In reality, this card could be played on a checkerboard. So, all you'd need to bring (assuming there is a checkerboard at your destination) to play this game would be 8 cubes and 4 dice. Or, just draw out a grid map freehand on a sheet of paper, or in the sand on the beach, etc.

I don't think an attack from 1 square away would happen much in the game, so I'm OK with rolling my 2D3 rather than the dreaded (to me) 1D6.

I like the attack resolution of just using distance to weaken the attacks. No need for pesky attack strengths, defense strengths, etc.

Overall, I'd say the game is fun and simple. It's a keeper.

P.S. Shameless plug: If you have time to return the favor, please check out my entry, [WIP - Contest Ready] "Iron & Brass - Duel" - 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest Entry. Just add 4D6, and 8 cubes, and about 15 minutes of your time. I'm starving for playtest feedback as well. Thanks.
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Scott Allen
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Played again with my "house rule" of terrain (squiggly lines on some squares). Red getting ready to win by delivering second crystal to its base:



It's a good game. Blue looked to be winning, but left the bottom of the board unprotected, so when a crystal appeared there (on the card that the other red mech is on, red had an easy time getting it.
 
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Robin Armstrong
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Thanks again for playtesting my game! I am curious, though, how much of a difference the terrain makes to the game. I'd been toying with similar ideas (gray areas that indicated where crystals came up, possibly also columns for standing on that broke up the level of the field), but nothing seemed to click. And, of course, now that the game is essentially "locked in" for the purposes of the contest, I've got all kinds of ideas on how to change up the game. I fully intend to move forward with this game (and its variations) once the contest is over, so any feedback on alterations is fantastic.
 
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Scott Allen
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I only played one game with the terrain, but it definitely added to the game. I plan to keep it on my cards. It adds variety to an otherwise wide open gameboard. I think it also adds to replayability.

 
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Robin Armstrong
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So, I will definitely consider this (terrain of some kind) for the "post-contest" version of this game.

Question: how did you determine where to put crystals when they regenerated? It sounds like you put one next to a Red Mech? The rules are supposed to say that crystals can't appear on the same card as a Mech or Base.
 
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Scott Allen
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The last crystal was placed on the card to the left of Red's base. It was open at the time.

The card to the left of that had a crystal, and all the cards on the top half had crystals or mechs. So, it was just a bit of a lucky placement since Red had a newly spawned mech (at it's base) close by.
 
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Robin Armstrong
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Awesome; that means the rules work. Thanks again for playtesting!
 
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Robin Armstrong
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Okay, it's been a long time since I've said anything about this game, mostly because the contest has shifted into the "no more changes allowed" portion preliminary to the voting (which is open now). I'm also not really pushing my game, partially because I don't know how and partially because I don't want to be extra pushy about the whole thing. Try my game, or not, it's all good.

But I've also come to realize that, while I finished a game for this contest and got it entered, I didn't finish it. My game barely has any theme and, to be honest, has a few glaring holes in it. It's basically a few mechanics shoved together to make a skeleton of a game.

So, why am I posting this? Mostly to let everyone know that, yeah, I'm beginning to realize that my game isn't finished the way it is in the contest. But I'd still love fore people to try it out, so I can really get a good stress test on the mechanics that are there. I am working on expanding the game (better theme, new title and logo, more mechanics, some actual art on the cards) and will be posting on what I've got after the contest is over. I will likely expand a bit on the components (or not, depending). I do plan on having a few different ways to play the game (competitive, co-op, maybe even solo), just like my original idea, only with a tighter theme.

TLDR: please play my game, and vote. It will get better in the future, as soon as the contest is over.

Special thanks (and shout-out) to Brilliance (formerly Zoopers -- 2016 9-card Nanogame PnP Design Contest) new PnP for continuing to work on his game and thus inspiring me to post my efforts to continue to work on mine.
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Scott Allen
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I like your game, especially with a little "terrain" added to the cards. So, don't be too hard on yourself.

If it were my design, I'd ditch the 9 cards, and maybe go with 4 or 6 board pieces that can be arranged in slightly different ways. Or, even make it a 1 page game board.

I could see this game as a great "entry level" wargame. Print out a few copies at the game store to keep the kids busy, etc.

Sure, it would be cool if the "mechs" were more than just cubes.

I wouldn't add complexity just for the sake of complexity though.
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Robin Armstrong
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Thank you for your kind words, and for the reminder of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly) method for game design. It's so easy to add way too much to games and overwhelm the simplicity that the original design needs. I'll keep all that in mind as I move forward.
 
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