Harry-Pekka Kuusela
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Kingmaker
Design state: contest ready

There was no king in the serene republic of Venice, but every year one was chosen. During the carnival at the Doge`s palace the masked ball of the false king was held and at the ball a courtly game of blind man`s buff was played where the winner was crowned king for the evening. The players position character cards around one card in the middle of the table and guessing each others play try to become the Kingmaker. The Fool will jest, the Minstrel will dance and the Courtisan… erhm prefers touch.

My entry for the 2016 9 Card Nanogame Contest

The card game is for 2 to 4 players. Players must provide 4 yellow plastic disks. The game plays in about 15 minutes

Components
9 cards with different characters and their information.
4 victory tokens: round yellow plastic disks used to keep score among the players



Downloadable Files:
Rules:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0EqcgWQGidTXzY4RkZxbXFUWDA...
Cards:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0EqcgWQGidTTURmX2h4bTBEajA...
Card format rules:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0EqcgWQGidTOFNQWHdaZXprWlE...

FAQ: Q:About the Guard Character. The special power for the Guard gives themselves a +1 for touch and also +1 touch to characters on left and right. Does that mean the Guard already positioned on the left takes plus 2?
A: This means left and right from the viewpoint of the guard, so the cards on top and under, from the center card, and the guard itself get +1 touch. In the rules i use the term "side" to mean the side positions from the center card and not left and right.

Q: your example of the Queen, did this card get to use it ability because it has the mouth as a special icon and the Queen card was resting against the side of a card that had the identical icon next to it?
A: No the icons are on the same sides on all the cards and identical ones next to each other do not mean anything special. They are like the hands of the person to the sides, mouth forward and scents floating from behind. The surrounding cards special power activate if the color of the the cards own picture, showing the preference of that character, is the same as the symbol, and its color, on the side on the middle card they are next to.


I would like to enter the following categories:

Best 3 or more player game
Best 2 player game
Best thematic game
Best artwork
Most Innovative Mechanic Category

Link to the contest:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1491476/2016-9-card-nan...
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Joseph Propati
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Neat idea and nice use of card special abilities based on position.

I do have a question in that with your example of the Queen, did this card get to use it ability because it has the mouth as a special icon and the Queen card was resting against the side of a card that had the identical icon next to it?
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kingspud wrote:
Neat idea and nice use of card special abilities based on position.

I do have a question in that with your example of the Queen, did this card get to use it ability because it has the mouth as a special icon and the Queen card was resting against the side of a card that had the identical icon next to it?

I second that question.
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kingspud wrote:
Neat idea and nice use of card special abilities based on position.

I do have a question in that with your example of the Queen, did this card get to use it ability because it has the mouth as a special icon and the Queen card was resting against the side of a card that had the identical icon next to it?

Oh! I think I got it.

A card's preferred sense is its color. The blue faces prefer smell, the red prefer talking, and yellow prefer touch.

So in the example, the queen (with her red face) is sitting on the mouth-side of the fool, so her power activates. Same with the yellow-faced princess on the hand-side of the fool.

What I don't quite get is why the Lady In Waiting doesn't activate. I'm also not sure why the Fool does activate. What does the center card compare to in order to activate?

Well.... I thought I had it.
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Harry-Pekka Kuusela
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kungfugeek wrote:
kingspud wrote:
Neat idea and nice use of card special abilities based on position.

I do have a question in that with your example of the Queen, did this card get to use it ability because it has the mouth as a special icon and the Queen card was resting against the side of a card that had the identical icon next to it?

Oh! I think I got it.

A card's preferred sense is its color. The blue faces prefer smell, the red prefer talking, and yellow prefer touch.

So in the example, the queen (with her red face) is sitting on the mouth-side of the fool, so her power activates. Same with the yellow-faced princess on the hand-side of the fool.

What I don't quite get is why the Lady In Waiting doesn't activate. I'm also not sure why the Fool does activate. What does the center card compare to in order to activate?

Well.... I thought I had it.

You had it completely correct from the rules text. And thank you for noticing this. The example picture text had two of the card names still from an earlier draft, the queen was the main example and correctly in the text. The Princess card mentioned in the text is not now even in the picture. Just the fool in the middle and Queen, Courtesan, lady in waiting and knight. Corrected the typo mistake. and thank you for your interest.
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Harry-Pekka Kuusela
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kingspud wrote:
Neat idea and nice use of card special abilities based on position.

I do have a question in that with your example of the Queen, did this card get to use it ability because it has the mouth as a special icon and the Queen card was resting against the side of a card that had the identical icon next to it?

The surrounding cards special power activate if the color of the the cards picture is the same as the symbol of the side on the middle card they are next to. So Queen, courtesan and Lady in waiting all activate positionvise, but the knight does not.

Didn`t want to put any more symbols or text in the cards so the cards main pictures color and the rules tell the preferred position for power activation for that card.

The thematic division, wich might help remembering automatically, between the characters is that there are the three nobles: Queen, Princess and Masked figure who prefer information and thus hearing. Three wannabes: Knight, Lady in waiting and the minstrel who want to seem noble and prefer good fragrence as most important and three commoners: Guard, Fool and Courtisan who are down to earth and prefer touch.
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Garry Hoddinott
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This game is really something. All the intrigue of a court in 9 cards.

Its likely the designer, who has done wonders with this, has other languages ahead of English so rules are hard to read in places and concepts are quite different to what we expect to see. Another positive! The game suffers from barely readable text on the cards and PNP is not so easy. However I suggest playtesters persist.

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Garry Hoddinott
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A question about the Guard Character. Since it is yellow (touch) it is likely this card will be placed on the side (left or right), matching touch on the middle card. The special power for the Guard gives themselves a +1 for touch and also +1 touch to characters on left and right. Does that mean the Guard already positioned on the left takes plus 2?
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Harry-Pekka Kuusela
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GarryHoddinott wrote:
A question about the Guard Character. Since it is yellow (touch) it is likely this card will be placed on the side (left or right), matching touch on the middle card. The special power for the Guard gives themselves a +1 for touch and also +1 touch to characters on left and right. Does that mean the Guard already positioned on the left takes plus 2?
No this means left and right from the viewpoint of the guard, so the cards on top, under and the guard itself get +1 touch. In the rules i tried also to say this in a different way to explain the meaning. In the rules i use the term "side" to mean the side positions and not left and right.
 
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Harry-Pekka Kuusela
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GarryHoddinott wrote:
A question about the Guard Character. Since it is yellow (touch) it is likely this card will be placed on the side (left or right), matching touch on the middle card. The special power for the Guard gives themselves a +1 for touch and also +1 touch to characters on left and right. Does that mean the Guard already positioned on the left takes plus 2?

A Thousand thanks Gary for your help in making the card format rules and your help in making the rules more understandable.
 
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Harry-Pekka Kuusela
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The first play testing prototype. The very thematic bag is from the game Monarch
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Second prototype, less playtesting with this and more testing for graphic functionality of the cards.
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Cards contest ready
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Leif Carlsen
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I played with Rachel the other night.

The rulebook definitely needs more work. I started by reading the card-sized rulebook. I prefer such things. Unfortunately, it was confusing and contradictory. Once I finished, I turned to the full-size rulebook. That was better, but still not good. Some examples...

With two players, each player plays two cards. It is unclear which card can be swapped for the center card at the end of a round. Here is one such scenario where it is not clear to me.
* The center card prefers smell
* Alice plays cards with smell 3 and smell 0
* Bob plays two cards with smell 2
* Alice wins the round (no fool)
* Does Alice have the option of trading her smell 0 card for the middle card?
* Can Bob trade either of his cards for the middle card?

The rules contain at least a few misspelt words... wich should be which, loosing should losing, etc.

The illustration is too small on page 3.

The paragraph describing power activation is written awkwardly. It reminds me of Mike Selinker's rule #6 for writing rules - discard rules that cannot be written. I think this one can be written. It just needs to be rewritten.

Use of the phrases "side direction", "up direction", and "down direction" were generally confusing at first. I think using the theme would help here - instead of mentioning directions, say "holding hands", "speaking", and "farting". Or whatever the smell sense indicates. Using theme in the rulebook can be dangerous, so maybe just a straight rewrite if incorporating the theme does not improve the clarity of writing.

For the game itself, I think the minstrel's power should be on the #1 card and the fool's power should be on the #2 card. Doing otherwise makes the power activations difficult to track and evaluate. Reviewing cards, this is half-right already.

The text on the VI Guard card contradicts the rulebook. Or not. I see this is discussed earlier in the thread already. The current text is confusing. Please add an errata section to the end of the original post to explain issues like this so people don't need to read through the whole thread.

The theme is unique. I like themes that aren't all about fighting or sacrificing slaves to djinns. The mechanic and art work with the theme. Fixing up the rulebook and improving the cards would go a long way toward polishing off the theme.

We used colored cubes to track who had played what card. Remembering who had played which card was too much effort with an unfamiliar game. Especially with cards played upside down and the minstrel moving cards.

I think there may be a good game hiding behind these difficulties. I'd need to play a few more times to become familiar with the cards and see how things play out. I'm concerned that the game may be a bit too random by giving too much advantage to the player with the better hand; they can win the first round and then continue to win because they haven't lost any cards from their hand. I haven't played enough to say it is a problem, but definitely something I'd be mindful of for future play testing.

If it did turn out to be a problem, I'd give the losing player(s) more chance to take different cards at the end of a round. Having the losing player choose any card(s) from the tableau instead of the card(s) they played and the center card would give them a chance to improve their hand and do better in the next round, and also solve the problem of remembering which cards you played.
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maldrak wrote:
I played with Rachel the other night.

The rulebook definitely needs more work. I started by reading the card-sized rulebook. I prefer such things. Unfortunately, it was confusing and contradictory. Once I finished, I turned to the full-size rulebook. That was better, but still not good. Some examples...

With two players, each player plays two cards. It is unclear which card can be swapped for the center card at the end of a round. Here is one such scenario where it is not clear to me.
* The center card prefers smell
* Alice plays cards with smell 3 and smell 0
* Bob plays two cards with smell 2
* Alice wins the round (no fool)
* Does Alice have the option of trading her smell 0 card for the middle card?
* Can Bob trade either of his cards for the middle card?

The rules contain at least a few misspelt words... wich should be which, loosing should losing, etc.

The illustration is too small on page 3.

The paragraph describing power activation is written awkwardly. It reminds me of Mike Selinker's rule #6 for writing rules - discard rules that cannot be written. I think this one can be written. It just needs to be rewritten.

Use of the phrases "side direction", "up direction", and "down direction" were generally confusing at first. I think using the theme would help here - instead of mentioning directions, say "holding hands", "speaking", and "farting". Or whatever the smell sense indicates. Using theme in the rulebook can be dangerous, so maybe just a straight rewrite if incorporating the theme does not improve the clarity of writing.

For the game itself, I think the minstrel's power should be on the #1 card and the fool's power should be on the #2 card. Doing otherwise makes the power activations difficult to track and evaluate. Reviewing cards, this is half-right already.

The text on the VI Guard card contradicts the rulebook. Or not. I see this is discussed earlier in the thread already. The current text is confusing. Please add an errata section to the end of the original post to explain issues like this so people don't need to read through the whole thread.

The theme is unique. I like themes that aren't all about fighting or sacrificing slaves to djinns. The mechanic and art work with the theme. Fixing up the rulebook and improving the cards would go a long way toward polishing off the theme.

We used colored cubes to track who had played what card. Remembering who had played which card was too much effort with an unfamiliar game. Especially with cards played upside down and the minstrel moving cards.

I think there may be a good game hiding behind these difficulties. I'd need to play a few more times to become familiar with the cards and see how things play out. I'm concerned that the game may be a bit too random by giving too much advantage to the player with the better hand; they can win the first round and then continue to win because they haven't lost any cards from their hand. I haven't played enough to say it is a problem, but definitely something I'd be mindful of for future play testing.

If it did turn out to be a problem, I'd give the losing player(s) more chance to take different cards at the end of a round. Having the losing player choose any card(s) from the tableau instead of the card(s) they played and the center card would give them a chance to improve their hand and do better in the next round, and also solve the problem of remembering which cards you played.

Thanks for the great input.

To answer your question: The card with the loosing attribute is the only one that can be changed to the center. So only Alice's smell 0 has the option to go and next the winning card must go to the center. In a two player game if you play both the worst and best cards it does not matter what you do with the worts card switch power, then again your opponent cannot yse it this round either.

Points made are wery good about the Guard card left/right ect parts and I did not have time to fix them to the final rulebook before deadline. The idea about doing an errata/faq is a must and thank you for reminding me of the possibility.

The numbering of the minstrel and fool would be simpler as you said but there are situations where i feel the balance between cards is better as it is.

With two players the issue about the starting hand luck can be a bit like you say and your solutions are good for the two player game. Even while the combinations you can make with two cards give possibilities of play.

With more players than two there is a reason, when someone has already won once, why the game is called Kingmaker...
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