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Gavin Kenny
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Game Name - Nut Collectors
Designer - Gavin Kenny
Overview Between 2 and 4 pairs of Squirrels are all competing for nuts to store into their nests to tide them over during the winter. However competition is fierce and often the best way to get nuts is to steal from your neighbours. Nut Collectors is a dexterity based game of marking nut trees as your territory and collecting the nuts that fall from them.
# of Players - 2-4
Suggested Play Time 15-30 minutes
List of Components
2 small cubes of each colour (red, green, blue, yellow)
2 small squirrel tokens of each colour (red, green, blue, yellow) - some minimal assembly required.
1 first player marker
1 fold over measuring ruler
2 Nutfall flowers
15 Nest Powers on mini cards and one central Woodland Essence Store
16 Trees (4 in 4 different colours) on mini cards
4 Nest Cards for storing nuts
4 Nest Cards for tracking Woodland Essence
7 Control markers in four colours for marking territory on trees
1 Rules sheet
Picture(s) - To be determined
Link to Files (Rules & Components)
Components (v6) - http://link.gavken.net/Nut%20Collector%20Componentsv6.pdf
Rules (v0.7) - http://link.gavken.net/Nut-Collector-Rules.pdf

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Jim Parkin
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Stow
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Re: [WIP] Nut Collectors - 2016 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
Subscribed!
 
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Swampy Crocker
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Re: [WIP] Nut Collectors - 2016 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
What about using mini-chop sticks to try to steal the nuts? If your goal is dexterity, those might work, assuming you can get them to fit in the tin. Then use some sort of small tokens to be the nuts.
I love the idea, so I am interested to see what you come up with.
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Gavin Kenny
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Re: [WIP] Nut Collectors - 2016 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
The nuts will fall from the trees using a helicopter like device. The squirrels will leap from tree to tree as tiddlywinks. I have done most of the components now, which I think will be ...

2 small cubes of each colour (red, green, blue, yellow)
2 small tiddlywinks of each colour (red, green, blue, yellow)
1 large squidger tiddlywink
1 first player marker
1 fold over measuring ruler
2 Nutfall flowers
16 Nest Powers on mini cards
16 Trees (4 in 4 different colours) on mini cards
4 Nest Cards for storing nuts
4 Nest Cards for tracking nest power
7 x 4 control markers

I need to finish writing the rules down which I hope to do tomorrow and then I will post the version 1 rules and the P&P files.
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Gavin Kenny
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Alright the first version of the rules is now up and a slightly modified version of the components.

My limited playtesting this morning has revealed the following issues.

1) The Tiddlywinks shoot very flat across the table and don't jump as I'd like. It maybe I'm just not very good at it, or it may be a deeper issue. I'm exploring alternative ways of getting the squirrels to jump.

2) The nutfall flowers seem to be off centre and don't fly true. I suspect my inner hexagons are wrong and I need to get the weight distributed evenly across the petals.

3) Need to update the rules slightly to state that you cannot gain more that 7 nest power. Any excess gained is lost.

I'd really welcome comments as to how easy people find this. The one thing I want to avoid is the game lasting forever and never finishing because people can't perform the dexterity parts of the game.

I'd also welcome any feedback on the powers and how balanced people think they are.

Gavin.
 
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Gavin Kenny
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I think I've worked out a solution for the squirrel issue. I have now made tokens in the Print and Play components that have stored kinetic energy in a concertina back that lets you flick them really well. They even go roughly where I want them and are starting to achieve what I wanted for representing the squirrels leaping from tree to tree.

Let me know what you think!

Gavin
 
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Gavin Kenny
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My Mint Tin arrived yesterday and I got my wife to eat all the mints. Rally it didn't take much persuading there. As a result I did my first (proper) play test today as a 2 player game (see photo below for the game in progress). The things I learnt from it:-

1) Flicking the new Squirrels is really fun and works pretty well. It's easier to flick at distance than close up though. The new Squirrel to replace the Tiddlywinks will stay.

2) It really sucks giving up both flicks for a nest power. I soon changed the rule to giving up one of your flicks to gain a nest power which works much better and gives you a choice whilst still having one Squirrel to flick.

3) Some of the powers may need looking at for balancing purposes and one needs changing completely as it doesn't work as written.

4) Flicking into the tin is possible (I did it fairly early on). However the tin itself is a problem as it is hinged and doesn't sit well in the middle of the board. I think I might need to replace the tin with a card, but I'll think on how I can do this.

5) I need to make the control markers stand out a bit more.

6) The nutfall flower is hard to aim at the trees. I think I managed to do this 3 times on each side and the game was dragging. I also noticed I was regularly landing Squirrels on the trees that were already marked, so I think I will make a rule change.If you land on your own marked trees you get a nut. I am also going to lower the victory condition to 11 nuts in store to make the game short enough.

Hopefully I will be revising the rules and components tonight. Any suggestions for better names than Nest Power are also appreciated!

 
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Gavin Kenny
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Components and rules now updated to the next version.
 
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Gavin Kenny
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With the new components made up last night, I set about my second full playtest today with two players (Red and Blue). The game was hard fought over the course of some 15 minutes and eventually blue came out the winner 11-5. First of all the components all fitting nicely in my tin. The squirrels squash down nicely and do fit, they just tend to expand out when they can.



Things I learned from the game.

1) I am still not 100% happy with the nutfall mechanic. I want this effect, but they don't spin round well enough. Having said that on a couple of occasions I managed to land the spinner and get two nuts.

2) The new nest power 'table' seems to work well. Its hard enough to get up to, but I did manage it on one occasion as red. I'm thinking I might want some more things in the forest that squirrels could land on for extra fun - any thoughts?

3) My wife (who is a non gamer) when I was showing her the game last night came up with a brilliant solution to an issue I was thinking about. It was easy to flick the squirrels a long way, but difficult at short range. Her solution was brilliant. Flick it using the middle part of the concertina at the back rather than the top. This works really well as does the pseudo control you have over squirrel flicking.



4) I used the power of the nest ability to respin the Nutfall flower to good effect in the game. Red had the one that could steal 2 nuts from an opponents nest, but never got near enough to use it. I still think I need to balance abilities.

5) The game length was about right this time with the rule changes, maybe even a little short. This may go up with higher player counts and I need to test a 4 player game next.

6) Moving 1st player marker in a 2 player game really didn't work. I will introduce a rule that this only rotates in a 3 or 4 player game I think.

Here is a picture of the game in its final state.



I would really love to see what people think and get some feedback.

Gavin
 
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Gavin Kenny
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I revised the rules last night as I wasn't happy with the fact that the nest powers were outside the main element of the game (the dexterity component). I therefore revised the components to reflect that these powers were things in the wood and have a number of them laid out behind the trees as powers you can use if you land on them. I removed the rules around untapping the powers and now you land on them and pay nut power. This keeps you doing the fun things of landing on objects with your squirrels.

So today I play-tested with 3 players (Yellow (first player), Green and Red). Things I found out with the play-test. The result was that red won (Red 11, Green 11, Yellow 7) within about 20 minutes. Green got to 11 first but did not control the correct coloured trees, see red pipped green at the post.



1) The game works just as well with three players as two.

2) Players do not really want the option of not flicking squirrels to gain nest power. The fun is in the flicking and I was not so bothered about gaining nut power, so when I landed on the powers I was unable to use them. I will therefore amend the rules so that a player who doesn't get a nut on their turn gains a nest power instead and see how this works out.

3)The turns flowed much smoother by cutting out the powers in the nest and untapping and all that malarchy.

4) Squirrels occasionally knocked the trees and powers. I think this might just be something that I have to live with.

5) Not rotating the start player worked out well and keeping turn order made things flow.

6) The yellow player went on a raid to the green players nest and successfully stole a nut to try and stop green winning.

Hopefully this weekend I will get to test a 4 player game with real live playtesters! I will post the new rules / components later. Please let me know what you all think and whether anyone else has playtested this!

Gavin
 
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Gavin Kenny
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Components and rules now updated to v5.
 
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Scott Allen
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I'll try to look at this game more this weekend, but at first glance it's gotta be great with flicking squirrels and nut power, right?
 
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Gavin Kenny
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I hope so. Your feedback will be appreciated!
 
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Scott Allen
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Initial feedback on components:

I think you have a couple grammar errors on the cards:
PILE OF LEAVES
When may pay (3) to gain two more nutfall attempts this turn.

ENCHANTED POOL
If you control two trees of the same colour and you may pay 1 to gain a nut.

I think the words I bolded are wrong.


Graphically for the player cards, it would be nice to differentiate the "Nut Score" and "Nest Power" - they are both 2 word things that begin with N, so they already sort of sound similar, don't make them look similar on the card. Don't have them both be same color same size squares on the card. Maybe make the nut score spaces in the shape of nuts and the nest power in a different shape? It's not mandatory, but I think it would be easier for new players to remember and avoid confusion.
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Gavin Kenny
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Hi Scott,
Thanks for the feedback. The powers cards went through a re-do recently so I guess the errors came in there. Those are easily fixed. I was looking for a better phrase for Nest Power (as I was never really happy with it). The cards originally came back to the nest, but they no longer do as I wanted players to land on them. I'd welcome ideas for a better name for this. I will probably change the nut store to have nuts on it rather than squares.

When you have played it let me know how do you feel the game plays?

Gavin
 
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Gavin Kenny
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Minor component change and a change of Nest Power to Woodland Essence (to make it seem different from Nut Store). Version 0.6 rules updated.
 
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Alex Cannon
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Just read your rules and made a couple of notes:

Typos(?)
in the Game End section:
"AND has marked the sufficient trees of the
colours indicated on their nest as their territory." Should there be a 'number of' in there somewhere?

"a small cube of the zero" should that be 'on'?
"woodlnad" - woodland
"chose" - choose


General questions as reading through.

What is a squirrel? It's not explicitly mentioned (not a real squirrel I hope!) Maybe it could be in a component list?

How do you collect/store nuts and mark trees? Giving a brief description as part of the overview of the game would be useful.

The phrase "Turn order" seems to mean two different things 1) who goes next and 2) what happens on your turn.

Do you have to move off a card when flicking or can you flick from one part of the card to another to count that action?

Why am I gathering woodland essence? When would I use the ruler?

General thoughts.

Love the theme - nice to go somewhere different, and the tree-climbing/dexterity marry nicely in terms of theme and mechanisms.

The squirrel pieces are really interesting. What material are you using for them? have you tried different papers/cardboard/plastic etc? I can imagine it being difficult to get something consistent in terms of print-n-play going without specifying how far the squirrels should jump on average and how easy/hard they are to direct.

Squirrels like to bury their nuts (I think?) Maybe you could incorporate that concept to safeguard nuts against theft etc.

I look forward to taking this for a whirl!


 
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Gavin Kenny
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Hi Alex,
Thanks for the feedback. I have updated the rules sheet to correct the typos and make a few things a little clearer.

To answer a few specific questions ....

> What is a squirrel? It's not explicitly mentioned (not a real squirrel
> I hope!) Maybe it could be in a component list?
Updated to state Squirrel Token ... alas a component list won't fit in the 1 page rules.

> How do you collect/store nuts and mark trees? Giving a brief
> description as part of the overview of the game would be useful.
These are described in the detailed rules.

> Do you have to move off a card when flicking or can you flick from one
> part of the card to another to count that action?
Generally if you land on a tree or a nest ability card the Squirrel token goes back to your nest (reset), but there are a couple of exceptions to this.

>Why am I gathering woodland essence? When would I use the ruler?
Woodland essence is used to power Nest abilities. The ruler is used to determine the closest to the central essence store (for first player) and for one of the nest abilities - to move one Squirrel leap.

> The squirrel pieces are really interesting. What material are you using
> for them?
Thin card - about 200 gsm that I can print on. This gives them enough spring to jump.

Hope you enjoy playing!

Gavin
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Alex Cannon
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Good stuff. I think most of the points I made were pretty much made clear by the end of the read through, but I felt the concepts were being introduced without context.

Maybe a small paragraph describing the game overview would help? Something like 'in the nut collector players move their squirrel tokens around the playing area landing on cards to collect nuts, mark territory and gain woodland essence, which is used to purchase player powers.

When you say one page rules is that both sides? I was hoping to keep my rules down to two sides and if that's not allowed I'm going to struggle!
 
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Gavin Kenny
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Yes it's 2 sides of one page. I have a picture at the end that I can remove if I need to add a little more, but I'm really trying to keep it to those 2 sides so I use a single piece of paper. I enhanced the opening paragraph to give a bit more of a description.

Gavin
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Caroline Berg
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I love how you have three different starting set-ups depending on the number of players.

(I'm also glad you dropped the need for tiddlywinks - since I don't have any!)
 
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Gavin Kenny
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Caroline - the tiddlywinks just didn't work at all well. I found this out in the very first playtest. The new tokens that you make seem to work perfectly for the level of control I was hoping for. With a good flick you can control them to where you want to go, but they also can go where you don't with a bad flick.
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