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Subject: WIP - Centeotl (for 2016 Mint Tin Contest) rss

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mike heim
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Centeotl
(SEN-tayo-tul)

2016 Mike Heim v0918
3-4 players 20-30 minutes

A poker-like casual card game of resource gathering, bluffing, and stealing.

You are a small family of farmers in a rural Aztec village trying to get as much corn from a farm as possible. However, your opponents are doing the same thing. You can only issue one order per round and it will exhaust the farmer (card) until you rest. But choose your actions wisely because your opponent might get the corn before you, or even steal the corn you have already farmed. You’ll have to bluff, intimidate, and make or break side deals in order to win.

Components Needed

40 white popcorn kernels
40 red/blue popcorn kernels

40 yellow kernels
(This corn can usually be acquired at your local Whole Foods or hippie store. However, you can also make these with generic white popcorn kernels and food coloring...just search for how to make colored popcorn kernels on youtube.)
Of course you can use any other small components as a substitution.

11 small cubes
(10 red and 1 black)
1 mint tin

These two downloads v0920:
PDF of Centeotl Rules
PDF of Centeotl Cards (5 pages)


How to Win
Have the most points at the end of the game--once all cubes are purchased.

Sample Page (Blue Monkey's entire hand of cards)
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mike heim
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VERSION CHANGES

V920
* Rest Card removed. There no longer is a detriment to playing the Quetzalcoatl (Initiative 1) Card.

* Setup starts with one pinch of about 12 random kernels (and then the first pinch in the Turn Order will bump the amount up to over 20).

* Sacrifice Card removed. Visits to Tenochtitlan to buy sacrifices is now resembled by cubes. 10 red and 1 black. Once all cubes are purchased, the game ends.
 
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Gavin Kenny
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Do you have to use popcorn kernels or could you substitute another small object like a small cube in those colours?
 
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mike heim
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gavken wrote:
Do you have to use popcorn kernels or could you substitute another small object like a small cube in those colours?


Use whatever you want/can for components. I chose popcorn kernels because it fits the theme and fits the tin.
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Eric Miller
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kzinti wrote:
gavken wrote:
Do you have to use popcorn kernels or could you substitute another small object like a small cube in those colours?


Use whatever you want/can for components. I chose popcorn kernels because it fits the theme and fits the tin.


Oh. I thought the popcorn would be sacrificed at the end of the game...
 
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mike heim
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govmiller wrote:
kzinti wrote:
gavken wrote:
Do you have to use popcorn kernels or could you substitute another small object like a small cube in those colours?


Use whatever you want/can for components. I chose popcorn kernels because it fits the theme and fits the tin.


Oh. I thought the popcorn would be sacrificed at the end of the game...


That sounds delicious.
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B C Z
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Though it would make this game pop, it would probably result in hot oil getting all over the cards.
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Brian Compter
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This game sounds amaizing. Best of luck in the contest!
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B C Z
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So I'm intrigued by this because of the popcorn kernal thing.

I have some concerns.

Players have 4 potential actions before they *must* refresh. Refeshing costs points, so you probably want to delay that action as much as you can, since each time you refresh you lose potential delaying time (by playing the other non-refreshing actions).

Those actions are fairly straightforward:

(2) Get 1 color of corn - and do it "fast", so you might snipe rank (3) cards.
(3) Get 2 colors of corn, but do it "slow", so those pesky (2)s might have sniped you out.
(4) Steal 1 color of corn from someone else, effectively negating someone else's (2) or (3)
(5) spend points to get "end game" points (and protect from later theft). The schedule of points is remarkably harsh though:
8 -> 5
16 -> 10
24 -> 15
32 -> 20
40 -> 30
48 -> 40
56 -> 50 * (and end the game)

Basically, if you're not the one to get to the top of the sacrifice ladder, you will have lost overall points across your sacrifices.

Also, the cost to refresh is similarly harsh.
1st: -2 pts
2nd: -1 pt (more)
3rd: -2 pts (more)
4th: -2 pts (more)
5th: -3 pts (more)
6th: -5 pts (more)
7th: -10 pts I(more) * (and end the game, and probably lose)

In play testing, I'm curious how frequently players who attempted to get "off cycle" from everyone else with an early REST action ultimately took the game.

Otherwise, the existence of the REST action makes no sense, since players will likely play their 4 other actions and then all REST simultaneously.
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mike heim
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byronczimmer wrote:

Otherwise, the existence of the REST action makes no sense, since players will likely play their 4 other actions and then all REST simultaneously.


I've only game tested once with friends and this was true. Your feedback and the practice of waiting until the last card to block/refresh is super helpful. There no longer will be a detriment for refreshing your hand.
The Rest Card is removed from the game.
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B C Z
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Look at Bomb Squad Academy and their action rotation method, as this seems similar.

In that case, you were prohibited from recurring the last X actions.

There were also some 'one use' cards that were usable once per round.
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B C Z
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kzinti wrote:
VERSION CHANGES

V820
* During End of Game scoring, one kernel is blindly drawn out of the tin. All collected corn of that color is worth double points.


Hmm..

Based on the schedule of points for sacrifice, I always lose points if I sacrifice, except if I manage to get to the end of the sacrifice card, where I make a measly 56 points for a total investment of 50 kernels...

Why is a *random* color worth more at the end of the game?
Why can't this information be forecast?
Why can't this information be influenced (perhaps by what has been sacrificed)?
Why sacrifice at all if hoarding can yield more points (because sacrificing always loses points, and now potentially loses MANY more points)?

Thought:
Sacrifice values are based on what has already been sacrificed, either rewarding diversity or rewarding similarity (both have their game play implications).

Then final kernel values are then based on what was sacrificed throughout the game.

Details of math left up to the Designer.

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mike heim
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V920 changes made, see above.

Also,
* Sacrifice Card removed. Visits to Tenochtitlan to buy sacrifices is now resembled by cubes. 10 red and 1 black. Once all cubes are purchased, the game ends. (Cubes cannot be stolen.)

No more random extra points. Increased pressure to Visit Tenochtitlan.

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B C Z
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How much are cubes worth?
 
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B C Z
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Quote:
The Black cube is taken once no other red cubes are left and when no other players have played this card. If more than one person plays this card and can buy the last (Black) cube then nobody gets the cube and the card’s action is lost.

The game immediately ends once the Black cube is bought.


4 player game.

Anne and Bob both attempt to sacrifice to gain the black cube. They bounce. Game continues.

Charles and Dave both attempt to sacrifice to gain the black cube. They bounce. Game continues.

Because Anne and Bob are not fools, they both RESTED while Charles and Dave were attempting to sacrifice.

Because Charles and Dave are also not fools, they both RESTED while Anne and Bob both attempt to sacrifice.

Endless loop.
__

4 player game.

There is one red and one black cube left.

Everyone has their sacrifice card and uses it, and all have 8 corn across 2 different colors and sacrifice.

Who gets what?
__

Same Situation with 2, 3, 4, or 5 red cubes and 1 black cube left, and with 3 or 4 players all attempting simultaneous sacrifices.

Who gets what?

Why?
 
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mike heim
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It would not necessarily be an endless lock. Somebody could steal the required corn before he cashes it in.

If it seemed like the lock was heading in this direction, I would probably try to break it by Stealing. Then, the other player could not sell next turn. He could either Steal back, or Refresh. However, if I Sell and am successful, the game ends. But if I think a steal is coming on, I might do a block/refresh.


 
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kzinti wrote:
It would not necessarily be an endless lock. Somebody could steal the required corn before he cashes it in.

If it seemed like the lock was heading in this direction, I would probably try to break it by Stealing. Then, the other player could not sell next turn. He could either Steal back, or Refresh. However, if I Sell and am successful, the game ends. But if I think a steal is coming on, I might do a block/refresh.


Quote:

Red Cubes are worth 10 points and the Black cube is worth 12 points.

Good point.
It will need clarification.

Maybe, any attempt, successful or otherwise to purchase the black cube ends the game.


I think I caught you mid edit. whistle
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mike heim
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In the next update I'll add that any attempt--successful or otherwise--ends the game. This can happen even if there are still red cubes left.
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Benjamin Wack
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Very interesting challenger for this contest !
Seems like a good mix of the strategic mechanisms from Raptor and the "resource" flow from Crossing, while still keeping things clear and simple.

I understand why you removed the Rest and Sacrifice cards, based on the remarks made in this thread. However, I was a bit disappointed, because the tension between recycling/protecting and losing points seemed interesting.
Did you try to simply reduce the penalty for Resting, to see if players used it more often ?

Same goes for the Sacrifice mechanism, the idea of securing part of your score but at some cost seemed to fit well with the remaining of the gameplay.
Maybe it would be more appealing if it paid off all the more as you go up the ladder (something like n*n points for n sacrifices performed, which makes it rewarding only once you've made enough of them). A flat benefit rate for Sacrifices feels a bit dull (though I like the idea of having to compete with other players for the limited cubes).
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Lucas Gerlach
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Just doing the rounds, proofreading rules! Mike, you have another very well put-together rules document and another intriguing game.

Your rules are clearly written and give the appropriate amount of detail. I only have a couple of picky comments.
-Consider capitalizing "up" in "Set up" to be consistent with the rest of your titles.
-In your "Initiative 4" explanation, you use "big horde" and "hording" in the same sentence. Consider varying the vocabulary.

Also, I liked that you included the pronunciation of the Centeotl. It might be nice to include how to pronounce the other Aztec words, but that's certainly not necessary.

Good luck with the game!
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C. L.
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OK! So ... I figured out how to playtest this solo with a very rudimentary a.i. (two handed anyway). I decide the rabbit, then place differently colored cubes on each hawk initiative card that would be a reasonable choice if I did not know rabbit's choice. A random cube draw then selects the hawk card to play. Alternate a.i. animals each turn. Very fun so far. (Dice would work, too.)
 
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mike heim
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Very interesting. I'm trying to wrap my brain around it.
 
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Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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I love the theme - there needs to be more games that use Aztec mythos - that said, how do the gods you chose fit with the cards they have? After all, Tlaloc, used for card 2, is the god of rain - did that affect you choice for the colors of the corn taken for that card?

Also, did you know the Aztec god of rabbits (Macuiltochtli) was the also the god of drunken overindulgence? So rabbits were not just some cute animals.
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C. L.
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Just a quick rules check: on set up you add corn to the farm and on beginning each turn you add corn to the farm. So do you begin play (choosing cards) with 12 corns (i.e. first turn is different) or with 24 corns on the farm?
 
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mike heim
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24 on first turn.
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