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Subject: [WIP] The Irregular Messenger Service (9 card nanogame contest) rss

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Alex Cannon
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The 2016 9-card Nanogame PnP Design Contest!

CONTEST READY!



The Irregular Messenger Service - A nanogame for 2-4 players


9 Cards - 2 Tracking, 7 Location
8 small wooden disks (2 X 4 colours (R)ed, (Y)ellow (G)reen and (B)lue)
4 d6 dice


Players will assume the role of messengers travelling from place to place around the city. Gain money, charm and guile as you race to be the messenger of the month!


Setup - Take the resource tracker cards and place them to the side within easy reach. Players choose a pawn colour and decide who the starting player is (the fastest runner?)
In clockwise order they then place their discs on the 0,0 area to the side of the Charm/Guile trait tracker, and their other disc on 0 Victory Points (VP) and 1,2,3 and 4 money ($) respectively.

Shuffle the remaining cards and place them in a circle on the table.
In clockwise order the players may each pick one card to flip over to show the alternative actions. A card may not be flipped twice in this way.

Roll all of the dice and place them on the Market card. The game begins.


The Game is ready to play!

Resources
- The resources are displayed on the tracker cards using discs on a grid. To display a 0 value place the disc to the side of the track (also 6 Money/Charm). A player can never have more than 6 Money ($), Charm or Guile. The players discs are stackable and are allowed to occupy the same spaces.

Turn Order - Turn order is calculated in VP order from lowest to highest, with money as a tiebreaker. If both of these are tied the player of those tied who took their turn most recently goes first. This order is calculated at the beginning of the round only, and players cannot skip over each other to take multiple turns before other players have played.

Sequence of Play
- At the start of their turn, a player may spend $1 per pip to change the value of 1 unselected die. The player will then select a die, move it the displayed number of spaces clockwise around the board and then may take that numbered action on the card. If you take an action all parts of it must be completed. Move the die into the player section on the card to mark which players have taken their turn. A die can only be used once per round.

Once each player has chosen and used a die, the round is over. Move all used die back into the action area of the card, to show they are ready for selection next round. Be careful not to change the value of the dice when moving them.

Victory
- The game ends immediately when one of the players exceeds 9 VP. This player is the winner.

Card Clarifications

Market - “Move your ($) to X” - take your money marker and change it's value to X. Do not add X to your current money total.

Tavern - “Bet $2” you may only take this action if you have at least $2, otherwise this action has no effect.

Gatehouse - “$X + Move Y space(s)” - when you land on this card, take X money and move the die Y space(s): you may now also take the corresponding action on the die's new location.

Better Quality PDFs available here: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B3t6GBywOzgEcFFGaU1Y...

(Updated 13/4)



Low Ink Version


Updated from:
2957204, 2957205, 2957206, 2957207


Mid-game: It's yellow's turn

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Nate
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Good luck in the contest!

Some quick thoughts/observations:

- Looks like the cards aren't all of the same size. Specifically, the center row is larger than the other two, and the bottom row is smaller. That will make printing and playing more difficult than it needs to be.
- The discs will have to be really small to fit on the grids on the Tracker cards. That might limit the number of people who willingly playtest the game.
- There is no (0,0) on either grid. But the instructions say to place the discs there.
- Have you tried leaving the dice as they are in between rounds? It might add a little more strategy to the game.

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Alex Cannon
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kungfugeek wrote:
Good luck in the contest!

Some quick thoughts/observations:

- Looks like the cards aren't all of the same size. Specifically, the center row is larger than the other two, and the bottom row is smaller. That will make printing and playing more difficult than it needs to be.
- The discs will have to be really small to fit on the grids on the Tracker cards. That might limit the number of people who willingly playtest the game.
- There is no (0,0) on either grid. But the instructions say to place the discs there.
- Have you tried leaving the dice as they are in between rounds? It might add a little more strategy to the game.


Thank you! I've updated the Pnp image: hopefully it's bit roomier and uniform now.

My intention for the tracker cards was that the spaces around the card would be able to be used for the extreme values: hence the 0,0 space referred to in the rules would be diagonally adjacent to the tracker card. I'll try and make this clearer on my next write-up. I've been using small looney pyramids and they are actually a bit big: not sure how to resolve it at this point but I'll keep it in mind.

Thanks for the suggestion re: keeping dice the same. I hadn't considered it but it sound interesting! My worry would be that it could slightly break the game because you need to have a 6 showing to score any points. I guess you could still do this with gold/gatehouse. I'll do a couple of playtests to explore this idea.
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Alex Cannon
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UPDATE: (@Nate) I've played it through and I'm going to remove rolling the dice between rounds. I've also changed the pip-changing requirement down to 1 gold, to make that action a bit more accessible and to mitigate against being stuck with horrible numbers a bit more.

I've also changed the Theatre card to it's proper actions: it was previously a copy/paste error of the Market card, and now has it's own Charm boosting actions.

---------------

PLAYTESTERS WANTED

I'll be offering geekgold as a reward/incentive for anyone who takes the time to look through my rules and playtesting the game: 1GG for any comments/suggestions on the rules/game and 10GG for a short playtest report. I'll also be donating 50gg to all the playtesters in the competition. Thanks in advance for your time and help!
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Alex Cannon
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Update: added a bit of colour to the cards and increased starting money.

Please if you have a couple of minutes spare to read through the rules, I'd really appreciate any comment you may have.
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Joseph Propati
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Which categories are you submitting your game into?
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Alex Cannon
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kingspud wrote:
Which categories are you submitting your game into?

2 player
3+ player
New Designer

Thanks!

Update: loosened up the dice manipulation: the game was suffering from bad rolls too often and it was more fun with more choice. I will have to test more though as there may be more of a runaway leader problem.

I'm also planning on having reversible cards with a different array of actions on each side to add more variability.
 
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Douglas Eichenblatt
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You have a promising idea here, but I think there are a few clarifications that may help.

1) It wasn't immediately clear from the directions that RYGB are initials for Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue. If these are your token colors it might be helpful to explicitly note that.

2) Is the 'VP' related to the word Victory written down the right side of the center card?

3) Is the 'G' reward in the market and Tavern supposed to be gold? Guild and and Charm are written out, yet 'G' is not and it is not defined in the rules.

4) Might it be easier to track Gold, VP, Guile and Charm in a single bar chart with a column for each. Moving along the Cartesian coordinates is not immediately obvious. You might be able to present them all on a single card, freeing up the plate for another location?
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Alex Cannon
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VyroIngo wrote:
You have a promising idea here, but I think there are a few clarifications that may help.

1) It wasn't immediately clear from the directions that RYGB are initials for Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue. If these are your token colors it might be helpful to explicitly note that.

2) Is the 'VP' related to the word Victory written down the right side of the center card?

3) Is the 'G' reward in the market and Tavern supposed to be gold? Guild and and Charm are written out, yet 'G' is not and it is not defined in the rules.

4) Might it be easier to track Gold, VP, Guile and Charm in a single bar chart with a column for each. Moving along the Cartesian coordinates is not immediately obvious. You might be able to present them all on a single card, freeing up the plate for another location?

Thank you for your queries and suggestions, they've been really helpful. I'll try and clarify those points. I might change Guile to Skill or something to remove any ambiguity.

I've used the Cartesian coordinates because I need to maximise the amount of information each counter can track: the contest specifically limits the games to 8. The game plays up to 4 players and has 4 different "resources" to track, so for the purposes of the contest I'll need keep this element the same. If I can develop the game afterwards I will definitely consider a less fiddly resources tracking method!
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Douglas Eichenblatt
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In that context, the point tracking does make more sense.

Good luck with the contest.
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Alex Cannon
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Update: lots of things have changed: the cards now all have alternative actions on each side, to change the dynamic of play and add to the variability. The rules have been somewhat clarified and the game is now contest ready!

P.S. I'm still allowed to make minor corrections so if anyone has time to read through my rules and spot something please let me know!
 
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Alex Cannon
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Update / shameless plug:

I'm still offering 20 as an incentive for anyone who is up for playing my game, and giving me their thoughts (don't mind if it's solo.)


I'm also very grateful to anyone who can take the time to read through my ruleset, as there are a few days left to make minor adjustments/corrections. Because of that I'll offer 5 for any comment on the rules over the next few days (up to the 15th of April)


The major thing I'm learning about game design is that it's really helpful to get feedback, and a fresh perspective on my design. If anyone can help it would be greatly appreciated.


p.s. If you like the look of the game or would like to see others in the competition you can find them here
 
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Joseph Propati
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AlexCannon wrote:
Update / shameless plug:

I'm still offering 20 as an incentive for anyone who is up for playing my game, and giving me their thoughts (don't mind if it's solo.)


I'm also very grateful to anyone who can take the time to read through my ruleset, as there are a few days left to make minor adjustments/corrections. Because of that I'll offer 5 for any comment on the rules over the next few days (up to the 15th of April)


The major thing I'm learning about game design is that it's really helpful to get feedback, and a fresh perspective on my design. If anyone can help it would be greatly appreciated.


p.s. If you like the look of the game or would like to see others in the competition you can find them here

I'll definitely be playing this but no need to give GG!
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I'll try to get to it soon. You can keep the gg -- in return just check out my game as well.
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Garry Hoddinott
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Your cards are not the same size on both pages. Please check for yourself update as appropriate. Suggest you use the date in the filename.
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Alex Cannon
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kungfugeek wrote:
I'll try to get to it soon. You can keep the gg -- in return just check out my game as well.

Haha already half way there - all ready to go just need to sit down and play it
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GarryHoddinott wrote:
Your cards are not the same size on both pages. Please check for yourself update as appropriate. Suggest you use the date in the filename.

Thanks for noticing, I've updated the files. I'm not in the "Best Artwork" category (for obvious reasons) so hopefully that's all above board. Still getting to grips with graphic design and PnP so sorry if it's still wrong! blush
 
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Hi Alex!

I just read through the rulebook and here's my feedback (sorry to be so curt -- it's late and I have to get to bed):

- Noticed that you took my feedback about keeping the dice the same in between rounds. Sweet!

- Rulebook mentions players choosing a "pawn" color, but later on they're referred to as "discs". Might want to be consistent.
- I'd suggest mentioning in the setup that, when you're dealing out the cards in a circle, they can come out either side up.
- Maybe move the "Resources" section up above "Setup", since you mention a lot of those items in the Setup. It would be nice for the reader if he had already been introduced to them.
- In Turn Order, it says "with money as the first tiebreaker", but it's unclear whether that means the wealthiest or the poorest goes first or last.
- Rulebook uses the term "money", but the resource card says "gold", and on the cards they have the "$". I'd suggest just using one term in all cases. The cards have "Charm" and "Guile" spelled out on them. Hopefully there's room for "Gold" or "Money" there, too.
- I do think it's a little weird to go outside the grids, especially at the start of the game. Just feels wrong.
- Rulebook mentions "traits" but you might want to define that term. Probably not a deal-breaker.
- I'd suggest including a diagram showing the different parts of a card. Specifically the player vs action areas.
- Rulebook talks about the "player section" and the "action area". Might want to use "section" in both cases. Or "area". Just don't use both.
- I was a little confused about whether Betting at the Tavern was compulsory or optional. Suggest making that a little clearer.

That's it for now. Strong start. Good luck!
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Joseph Propati
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Beyond what Nate already suggested, you have the rules setup for a 4 player game but you don't mention anywhere how to modify for a 2 or 3 player game. You should make this clearer because while I decided to play a 2 player game I unknowingly setup the game as a 4 player with the dice yet still unsure if I am suppose to use 2 dice for a 2 player game or 4 dice for a 4 player game!!

You mention placing the discs on 0,0 yet there is no reference to 0,0 on the tracking cards. You shouldn't reference something that isn't there and instead should just say place discs above or to the left side of the cards to referent your starting amounts 0 as you do under resources.

What does "Take $1 per Guile" mean? and do I have to do this and/or do I have to use all Guile?

You might want to state somewhere that your specific traits are: Charm and Guile!

So if I am to understand this correctly, once you roll the 2,4??? dice for movement, these dice never get rerolled again they just sat the original numbers the whole game? If this is true this just doesn't make any sense!! You should be able to reroll the dice and start the next turn so you can hit different values on the cards. If you don't reroll then in a two player games assuming you only use two dice, you will only one value on each card if you happen to roll doubles!




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Thanks for the feedback: you guys have been so helpful! I'll try and straighten out all the terminology so there aren't any conflicting definitions (schoolboy error!)

The game always uses 4 dice so I'll try and clarify those points this evening.

kingspud wrote:
So if I am to understand this correctly, once you roll the 2,4??? dice for movement, these dice never get rerolled again they just sat the original numbers the whole game? If this is true this just doesn't make any sense!! You should be able to reroll the dice and start the next turn so you can hit different values on the cards. If you don't reroll then in a two player games assuming you only use two dice, you will only one value on each card if you happen to roll doubles!

In the sequence of play section there is this rule:

rules wrote:
At the start of their turn, a player may spend $1 per pip to change the value of 1 unselected die.

This should mitigate getting stuck with useless die rolls, and allow players a bit more control on their turn (and a chance to hinder an opponent.) This is quite an important rule so I'll try and emphasise it. I never came across it but in theory there might be a game state that results on a stalemate. I'll look more closely at this possibility!

Joseph would you say adding a diagram explaining the cards (as Nate suggested) would be too much of an addition?
 
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kingspud wrote:

So if I am to understand this correctly, once you roll the 2,4??? dice for movement, these dice never get rerolled again they just sat the original numbers the whole game? If this is true this just doesn't make any sense!! You should be able to reroll the dice and start the next turn so you can hit different values on the cards. If you don't reroll then in a two player games assuming you only use two dice, you will only one value on each card if you happen to roll doubles!

I thought the dice got re-rolled when the cards told it to. Like the Tavern, Circus, or Gatehouse.

Alex -- that might be another point for clarification. When a card instructs the player to roll the die, does the die keep the new result for the next turn or is it supposed to revert to the value it was when it landed on the card?
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AlexCannon wrote:
Thanks for the feedback: you guys have been so helpful! I'll try and straighten out all the terminology so there aren't any conflicting definitions (schoolboy error!)

The game always uses 4 dice so I'll try and clarify those points this evening.


rules wrote:
At the start of their turn, a player may spend $1 per pip to change the value of 1 unselected die.

This should mitigate getting stuck with useless die rolls, and allow players a bit more control on their turn (and a chance to hinder an opponent.) This is quite an important rule so I'll try and emphasise it. I never came across it but in theory there might be a game state that results on a stalemate. I'll look more closely at this possibility!

Joseph would you say adding a diagram explaining the cards (as Nate suggested) would be too much of an addition?

You can't add any of these update to your rules any longer till after the contest "just spelling and grammar" BUT you can add diagrams, images and text update to this thread as often as you like. Then, after the contest you can take all these suggestions/comments and update your rules.
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kungfugeek wrote:
Alex -- that might be another point for clarification. When a card instructs the player to roll the die, does the die keep the new result for the next turn or is it supposed to revert to the value it was when it landed on the card?

My intention was that the re-rolled die would retain its new value next turn instead of reverting to the previous value. Partially to prevent people getting a run of VPs and partly to prevent a player having nothing to do on their turn.

This design business is hard!
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I've started my rules re-write. I've linked it to google docs so I can easily edit as I go along.

Here's the link:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eGZagA_YYDD7jQxQoILD8B1V...
 
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Joseph Propati
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AlexCannon wrote:
Thanks for the feedback: you guys have been so helpful! I'll try and straighten out all the terminology so there aren't any conflicting definitions (schoolboy error!)

The game always uses 4 dice so I'll try and clarify those points this evening.

[q="kingspud"]So if I am to understand this correctly, once you roll the 2,4??? dice for movement, these dice never get rerolled again they just sat the original numbers the whole game? If this is true this just doesn't make any sense!! You should be able to reroll the dice and start the next turn so you can hit different values on the cards. If you don't reroll then in a two player games assuming you only use two dice, you will only one value on each card if you happen to roll doubles!


rules]At the start of their turn, a player may spend $1 per pip to change the value of 1 unselected die.[/q wrote:


This should mitigate getting stuck with useless die rolls, and allow players a bit more control on their turn (and a chance to hinder an opponent.) This is quite an important rule so I'll try and emphasise it. I never came across it but in theory there might be a game state that results on a stalemate. I'll look more closely at this possibility!

Joseph would you say adding a diagram explaining the cards (as Nate suggested) would be too much of an addition?
Yes, totally agree!!!
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