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Subject: [WIP] Ladders (18 Card Microgame Contest 2016) Contest Ready rss

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Mark Tuck
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Here's my entry for the 18 Card Microgame Contest 2016

Overview: Two tradesmen vye for business on ladders of ever increasing height.
Play cards to expand your ladder and score points, or to hinder your opponent.
A card can only be played if the number of spots on its edge matches the card that it adjoins (domino style).

Number of players: 2
Playing time: Around 10 minutes
Ages: 8+

Here are the cards:


The rules are on the back of each of the 2 character cards:



Here's a close up:




Files for both A4 and US letter format are available at: Ladders

Edit: Also now also available as low ink versions




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Mark Tuck
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Re: [WIP] Ladders (18 Card Microgame Contest 2016) Component Ready
I actually started designing this game around a year ago, at the end of the previous 18 card contest.
I then somewhat neglected it while I concentrated on games for other contests.
A couple of weeks ago, after this year's 18 card contest was announced, I revisited it and finished the design.
I took a pic of an end game:

The Painter on the left had a narrow victory over the Window Cleaner, 25 to 23.
And, yes, you do need some table space, as the ladders can end up quite tall.


The last couple of days I've been refining some of the graphics, mainly the 2 characters, (and included a couple of my, now, obligatory puns).
Here are a few of the latest cards:


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Ric White
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Re: [WIP] Ladders (18 Card Microgame Contest 2016) Component Ready
Looks great! I may need to PnP this soon...
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Mark Tuck
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Re: [WIP] Ladders (18 Card Microgame Contest 2016) Component Ready
rwhite3787 wrote:
Looks great! I may need to PnP this soon...

Thanks.
If you do then let me know your thoughts.
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Mark Tuck
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Re: [WIP] Ladders (18 Card Microgame Contest 2016) Component Ready

For those of you who prefer to play in black and white, I've also done a low ink version:


Available from the same place: Ladders
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C. L.
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Re: [WIP] Ladders (18 Card Microgame Contest 2016) Component Ready
My nephew and I played this afternoon. Near the end of the game he slipped a ladder card behind his window cleaner to, basically, win. I tried to find something in the rules to say he couldn't do that, but, well, there is nothing in the rules that says he can't do that. Can he?
 
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Re: [WIP] Ladders (18 Card Microgame Contest 2016) Component Ready
GreenTea532 wrote:
My nephew and I played this afternoon. Near the end of the game he slipped a ladder card behind his window cleaner to, basically, win. I tried to find something in the rules to say he couldn't do that, but, well, there is nothing in the rules that says he can't do that. Can he?

The rules say that: A card is placed so that it either adjoins the top card of the ladder or overlaps it half way. By overlap I meant 'placed on top', as opposed to underlap (I think that's the word for sliding underneath).

I obviously need to make this clearer.

Thanks for playing!
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G. Uitz
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Hi Mark,

before trying your game, I have one important rules question:
Creature cards cannot overlap other cards, that's clear. What about the next card placed above? Does it also have to be placed adjoining the top of the creature card or may I half overlap creature cards?

Dark.
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Mark Tuck
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DarkPadawan wrote:
Hi Mark,

before trying your game, I have one important rules question:
Creature cards cannot overlap other cards, that's clear. What about the next card placed above? Does it also have to be placed adjoining the top of the creature card or may I half overlap creature cards?

Dark.


Hi Dark

Yes, another card may overlap a Creature card. Like other cards, Creature cards have spots at the centre to allow for this. My game image earlier in this thread shows an example of this with the 'snakes' card in the right hand row.

Thanks for giving Ladders a try.
 
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Marianne Waage
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Just printed this up. Very cool looking. Think I'll need to make up a small instructions manual with larger text for my very tired eyes.
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Mark Tuck
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yamaraus wrote:
Just printed this up. Very cool looking. Think I'll need to make up a small instructions manual with larger text for my very tired eyes.

Fortunately there's only a single card's worth of rules!
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Scott Allen
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Hi Mark, just printed this out and played one game. Nice little game.

Only question: The rat creature card says "...you may replace its (opponent's) top card with this one..."

I assume that means that the dots on the card don't have to match the opponent's top card dots?

Very nice artwork / graphic design -- nice grade school flash card look to it somehow.
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Mark Tuck
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
Hi Mark, just printed this out and played one game. Nice little game.

Only question: The rat creature card says "...you may replace its (opponent's) top card with this one..."

I assume that means that the dots on the card don't have to match the opponent's top card dots?

Very nice artwork / graphic design -- nice grade school flash card look to it somehow.
Hi Scott, thanks for playing and feeding back.

Dots must always match up on any card placed - that includes the rats card.

So, for you to take the top card of your opponent's ladder, the one below it must have 3 dots on so that the rat card matches (and the card you take in return must match the top of your ladder).

 
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Scott Allen
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OK, thanks. That makes sense. If the dots didn't matter, you wouldn't have puts dots on the rats card (like the top/roof card).
 
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Scott Allen
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Seymour wins 25-23 (I think), thanks to the rats.


(I had to wrap the ladders around the table).

Nice game. My kids are all growed-up, but I can picture this as a great game to play with a child.
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Mark Tuck
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
Seymour wins 25-23 (I think), thanks to the rats.

Good to see the low ink version looks good when printed. Your scoring is spot on (no pun intended).

Quote:
(I had to wrap the ladders around the table).
Yes, the ladders do get pretty tall.

Quote:
Nice game. My kids are all growed-up, but I can picture this as a great game to play with a child.
I'm hoping to try it out on a couple of younger relatives over Christmas. Thanks again for playing.
 
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Hi Mark,

Just had a couple of games with my 9 year old. I must admit, he didn't take to it straight away but by the end of the second game he admitted it is a good game. I think the problem was he left his painter too late in the first game and then wasn't able to play it. He didn't think it fair that the game could end without his character being involved, but I think he was mostly sore because he lost.

I think it's a nice little filler, though I didn't get quite the buzz I normally get from your games. It may be that we were still a bit unsure about the rules. For example, if you play your character card do you then pick up, giving you 4 cards? Or is it supposed to be counted as one of the three you hold at the start? I understand you have abbreviated the rules to make them fit the contest requirements, but it did take a few reads to get the hang of it all. It would be good to state the aim of the game up front - currently it doesn't come until the very last sentence. Another ambiguity was the card - I think it's the rat - that lets you swap with the top of the other ladder - do the dots have to match still?

As always, your graphics are top notch, and my boy laughed out loud at the cheesy puns. It's the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) humour in your games that make them stand out from the crowd, at least for me. I still chuckle at the "unsavoury" crimes committed in sweet-themed Elemintary. This game is no exception.

Thanks for another cool game, and best of luck in the contest!
JK

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JohnKean wrote:

I think it's a nice little filler, though I didn't get quite the buzz I normally get from your games.
Ladders started life over a year ago, when the previous 18 card contest was running. The game, in a rough sketched form, was pretty much sorted then. I only got round to doing the graphics (and puns) a couple of months ago so it could be ready for this contest. So, in effect, it is one of my first PnP games.

Quote:
It may be that we were still a bit unsure about the rules. For example, if you play your character card do you then pick up, giving you 4 cards? Or is it supposed to be counted as one of the three you hold at the start?
Your hand is 4 cards at the start, the character card and 3 others. When you play your character, you draw another card (as you would after playing any other card).

Quote:
It would be good to state the aim of the game up front - currently it doesn't come until the very last sentence.
Good point.

Quote:
Another ambiguity was the card - I think it's the rat - that lets you swap with the top of the other ladder - do the dots have to match still?
Scott asked the same question above.
Dots must always match up on any card placed - that includes the rats card. That is the core mechanic (dominoes).
So, for you to take the top card of your opponent's ladder, the one below it must have 3 dots on so that the rat card will match (and the card you take in return must match the top of your ladder).

Quote:
As always, your graphics are top notch, and my boy laughed out loud at the cheesy puns. It's the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) humour in your games that make them stand out from the crowd, at least for me. I still chuckle at the "unsavoury" crimes committed in sweet-themed Elemintary. This game is no exception.

Thanks for another cool game, and best of luck in the contest!
JK
Thanks John (I was quite pleased with Juan Coat!) and thanks for giving the game a go.
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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Printed. Hope to play this weekend.
 
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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My husband and I played two games. He won both games with Juan Coate the painter.

I enjoyed the games and will hope to play it some more. I like the artwork, icons, graphic layout, and the puns including the "rungworm" pun. I also liked the fact that I have relatively few choices to select from each turn making it possible to analyze all my options without any AP. Still you sometimes have to make tough choices. I would like to buy this game to have a high quality copy.

My husband did not like the game even though he won both times. He does not like any game where there is even a hint of "take that" and was very frustrated when I would mess up his plans by playing onto his ladder. He does not want to play it again.

Now for some very specific comments.

The Rules

1) The font is almost too small and I have good near vision. Instead of having two copies of the rules, may I suggest that you split the rules over two cards so that you can use a larger font?

2) I was confused as to what to do with the character cards. The rules say that each player takes one but not what to do with it. It took me a while to figure out that they were part of my hand. I thought my hand was only the 3 cards dealt to me. So then I thought maybe my ladder starts with my character. But I saw on the character card that it says "Double all the scores below" but I couldn't figure out how the character could ever be above any other card if it was the beginning of my ladder. So I was hunting the rules for a way for the character to climb the ladder but there didn't seem to be any mechanism to do that and finally I decided that he must begin as part of my hand. If I'm correct that I start with a hand of 4 cards including my character then you need to make it clear in the rules. Perhaps you could say, "each player is dealt 3 additional cards." Then later, "Players play any one card ... to start their ladder."

3) We forgot the rule that you could not play the character cards on another player's ladder. Perhaps you could fit that rule onto the character cards themselves.

4) The rules say that the creature cards actions are optional. However the snake card says "Can only be played if opponent has more than 2 cards in their ladder." If this is optional, then it has no effect. We played that it was not optional and that the text on the card applied whether you were playing it on the other player's ladder or on your own. If that is not the intent, then the text needs to be changed. Also I suggest that you take the word "optional" out of the rules and change the text on the other creature cards to be clear that they are optional as I have suggested in the next paragraph.

5) It was also unclear as to when the spider and butterfly card's special actions take place. We assumed that they take place after you play the card and before you draw. May I suggest that you rephrase the text on these 2 cards so that they use the word "may" which will indicate that they are optional. I would suggest for Spider to have the text read, "After playing this card, you may play an extra card and then draw 2 cards (if available). I would also suggest for Butterfly, "After playing this card, you may swap one card in your hand with a card from opponent's hand (unseen)."

6) It was not clear that you can't use the butterfly to take your opponent's character card. The rules only say that you can't pass on the character card not that you can't steal your opponent's. So under character cards instead of saying it can't be "passed on" say that it can't be "swapped" so that it applies to both giving and taking.

7) It's not clear how the rat card works. When you use it's special action, do you still have to match dots? Does the rat card's dot's have to match the second to top card on opponent's ladder? Does opponent's top card have to match with your top card? Do you have to be able to play the rat card to your own ladder first and then do the swap? Furthermore, when you do the swap, if you don't have to have dots matching can you do an overlap? We played that you had to first legally play the rat card to your own ladder, then swap the top card of opponent's ladder with the rat card with disregard to matching and maintain the overlap conditions of the top two cards. This needs to be cleared up in the rules.

8) In the section about the sky cards, could you say instead, "A player may not compete opponent's ladder except after they have completed their own." I had to read it a few times to understand just what you meant and I think my suggest rewording would have helped me a lot.

9) When you do complete a ladder with a sky card, can you overlap the cards? The rules do not disallow it but it seems like it should not be allowed especially when completing opponent's ladder.

10) You say that, "A player may continue to add cards to a opponent's ladder until it is completed." It should read, "an opponent's." You then later say, "Once both ladders are completed, or no more cards can be played ...." I'm wondering, what if a card can be played but a player does not want to play it? Are you required to play every card that can be played or can you hold back a playable card? If you do not have to play playable cards (which is suggested by the rule that you can pass), then perhaps the endgame condition should that there have been some number of consecutive passes. I would suggest 4 passes in a row to trigger the end of the game.

11) You do not say what to do if they draw pile is empty when it is your turn to draw a card.

12) You do not say what to do in the event of a tie.

13) The rules do not say that you can't overlap on top of the character cards. I did not think that you could but my husband asked. The sky cards do not have dots which indicates that they do not have to make a match. The character cards do not have middle dots so my husband thought that that meant that you could play any card overlapping the character cards as the lack of dots meant that a match was not required.

The Cards

13) I'm not certain that the game is perfectly balanced. I think you may have an advantage if you have the painter because of the different ways in how the paint roller and sponge cards interact with the painter and cleaner respectively.

14) On the painter card you misspelled "decorating."

15) The use of the paint can, bucket, paint roller, and sponge icons is perfect. They make it easy to remember how those cards interact with the character cards.

16) I like how you used the arched windows on the bucket and paint can cards to help remind us that they can't be rotated.

17) If you have both the sky cards, of course you will play the 3 point one on your own ladder and the 2 point one on opponents. However the art does not help you know which card is which. If you are a painter or a window cleaner, you don't want a bird above you because he might drop something on your head or onto your clean windows or freshly painted wall. So the undesirable card (the 2 point card) should be the bird card and the desirable card (the 3 point card) should be the airplane card.

18) The creature card icon seems to just be an unrecognizable squiggle. Perhaps a more meaningful icon could be found such as this one from game-icons.net.
 

Also, I'd like the icon to be on both ends of the card in the lower left as well as the upper right.

19) Both the snakes and the rats cards have a requirement that has to do with 2 cards on opponent's ladder. The fact that there are 2 rats and 2 snakes helped me remember that. But then, the butterfly card also has 2 creators, a butterfly and a caterpillar. Perhaps take off the caterpillar so that the cards with 2 creatures go with the cards that have the "2 cards on opponent's ladder" rules. And the cards with only 1 creature do not have the "2 cards on opponent's ladder rule." Furthermore the caterpillar looks similar to the rungworm which is confusing.

20) All the creatures are very cute and the rungworm too. He is adorable.

21) I love how the rungworm cards have missing rungs eaten by a rungworm. The -1/1 card has 1 rung eaten; the -2/2 card has 2 rungs missing and the -3/3 card has 3 rungs missing all next to the negative number. Maybe the snakes card should also have some missing rungs.

I loved your game. Hope my feedback was helpful. If so, please check out my WIP thread. Thanks
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Mark Tuck
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rainbowrose wrote:
My husband and I played two games. He won both games with Juan Coate the painter.

I enjoyed the games and will hope to play it some more. I like the artwork, icons, graphic layout, and the puns including the "rungworm" pun. I also liked the fact that I have relatively few choices to select from each turn making it possible to analyze all my options without any AP. Still you sometimes have to make tough choices. I would like to buy this game to have a high quality copy.
Great to hear you enjoyed playing it.
Quote:

My husband did not like the game even though he won both times. He does not like any game where there is even a hint of "take that" and was very frustrated when I would mess up his plans by playing onto his ladder. He does not want to play it again.
Yes, there is certainly the opportunity to mess up your opponent's ladder plans!

Quote:
Now for some very specific comments.

The Rules

1) The font is almost too small and I have good near vision. Instead of having two copies of the rules, may I suggest that you split the rules over two cards so that you can use a larger font?
Good suggestion.

Quote:
2) I was confused as to what to do with the character cards. The rules say that each player takes one but not what to do with it. It took me a while to figure out that they were part of my hand. I thought my hand was only the 3 cards dealt to me. So then I thought maybe my ladder starts with my character. But I saw on the character card that it says "Double all the scores below" but I couldn't figure out how the character could ever be above any other card if it was the beginning of my ladder. So I was hunting the rules for a way for the character to climb the ladder but there didn't seem to be any mechanism to do that and finally I decided that he must begin as part of my hand. If I'm correct that I start with a hand of 4 cards including my character then you need to make it clear in the rules. Perhaps you could say, "each player is dealt 3 additional cards." Then later, "Players play any one card ... to start their ladder."
Yes, you played correctly. With more space I can better explain.

Quote:
3) We forgot the rule that you could not play the character cards on another player's ladder. Perhaps you could fit that rule onto the character cards themselves.
If there's room - or, with the additional space, on the rules cards
Quote:

4) The rules say that the creature cards actions are optional. However the snake card says "Can only be played if opponent has more than 2 cards in their ladder." If this is optional, then it has no effect. We played that it was not optional and that the text on the card applied whether you were playing it on the other player's ladder or on your own. If that is not the intent, then the text needs to be changed. Also I suggest that you take the word "optional" out of the rules and change the text on the other creature cards to be clear that they are optional as I have suggested in the next paragraph.
The snakes card is one you really would not want to play on your own ladder, although you can. The text on the card was meant to refer to the condition of playing it onto your opponent's ladder. I'll make that clearer.

Quote:
5) It was also unclear as to when the spider and butterfly card's special actions take place. We assumed that they take place after you play the card and before you draw. May I suggest that you rephrase the text on these 2 cards so that they use the word "may" which will indicate that they are optional. I would suggest for Spider to have the text read, "After playing this card, you may play an extra card and then draw 2 cards (if available). I would also suggest for Butterfly, "After playing this card, you may swap one card in your hand with a card from opponent's hand (unseen)."
Yes, that will make things clearer.

Quote:
6) It was not clear that you can't use the butterfly to take your opponent's character card. The rules only say that you can't pass on the character card not that you can't steal your opponent's. So under character cards instead of saying it can't be "passed on" say that it can't be "swapped" so that it applies to both giving and taking.
Another good suggestion.
Quote:

7) It's not clear how the rat card works. When you use it's special action, do you still have to match dots? Does the rat card's dot's have to match the second to top card on opponent's ladder? Does opponent's top card have to match with your top card? Do you have to be able to play the rat card to your own ladder first and then do the swap? Furthermore, when you do the swap, if you don't have to have dots matching can you do an overlap? We played that you had to first legally play the rat card to your own ladder, then swap the top card of opponent's ladder with the rat card with disregard to matching and maintain the overlap conditions of the top two cards. This needs to be cleared up in the rules.

The spots on any two joining cards must always match up. To play the rats card onto your opponents ladder: take the top card from their ladder, placing it on the top of your ladder and play the rats card on top of their ladder. To play the rats card in this way, the spots on each of the swapped cards must match the card they join. Again, with more space I'll be able to explain this better (and hopefully in less words!).

Quote:
8) In the section about the sky cards, could you say instead, "A player may not compete opponent's ladder except after they have completed their own." I had to read it a few times to understand just what you meant and I think my suggest rewording would have helped me a lot.
Much better!

Quote:
9) When you do complete a ladder with a sky card, can you overlap the cards? The rules do not disallow it but it seems like it should not be allowed especially when completing opponent's ladder.
No, you can't. I'll add this to the rules.

Quote:
10) You say that, "A player may continue to add cards to a opponent's ladder until it is completed." It should read, "an opponent's." You then later say, "Once both ladders are completed, or no more cards can be played ...." I'm wondering, what if a card can be played but a player does not want to play it? Are you required to play every card that can be played or can you hold back a playable card? If you do not have to play playable cards (which is suggested by the rule that you can pass), then perhaps the endgame condition should that there have been some number of consecutive passes. I would suggest 4 passes in a row to trigger the end of the game.
You don't have to play a card if you prefer not to. So having an end game condition is a good idea.

Quote:
11) You do not say what to do if they draw pile is empty when it is your turn to draw a card.
That's true (I think we are rapidly filling up that second rules card!).

Quote:
12) You do not say what to do in the event of a tie.
How about the highest ladder wins - if the same then the player whose character is highest on their ladder wins?

Quote:
13) The rules do not say that you can't overlap on top of the character cards. I did not think that you could but my husband asked. The sky cards do not have dots which indicates that they do not have to make a match. The character cards do not have middle dots so my husband thought that that meant that you could play any card overlapping the character cards as the lack of dots meant that a match was not required.
No, you can't overlap the character cards - otherwise you'd only see their bottom half! Another addition to the rules, just so it's crystal clear.

Quote:
The Cards

13) I'm not certain that the game is perfectly balanced. I think you may have an advantage if you have the painter because of the different ways in how the paint roller and sponge cards interact with the painter and cleaner respectively.
The painter can be joined to both the paint pot and the roller in 2 ways, as can the window cleaner to both the bucket and the sponge.

Quote:
14) On the painter card you misspelled "decorating."
He was originally a 'painter and decorator' and the uniform embroiderer obviously got confused when finalising his logo.

Quote:
15) The use of the paint can, bucket, paint roller, and sponge icons is perfect. They make it easy to remember how those cards interact with the character cards.

16) I like how you used the arched windows on the bucket and paint can cards to help remind us that they can't be rotated.
That's good to hear.

Quote:
17) If you have both the sky cards, of course you will play the 3 point one on your own ladder and the 2 point one on opponents. However the art does not help you know which card is which. If you are a painter or a window cleaner, you don't want a bird above you because he might drop something on your head or onto your clean windows or freshly painted wall. So the undesirable card (the 2 point card) should be the bird card and the desirable card (the 3 point card) should be the airplane card.
That makes sense - I like it.

Quote:
18) The creature card icon seems to just be an unrecognizable squiggle. Perhaps a more meaningful icon could be found such as this one from game-icons.net.
 

Also, I'd like the icon to be on both ends of the card in the lower left as well as the upper right.
That was meant to be a 'C' donee in a graffiti style. I'll see if I can come up with something clearer.

Quote:
19) Both the snakes and the rats cards have a requirement that has to do with 2 cards on opponent's ladder. The fact that there are 2 rats and 2 snakes helped me remember that. But then, the butterfly card also has 2 creators, a butterfly and a caterpillar. Perhaps take off the caterpillar so that the cards with 2 creatures go with the cards that have the "2 cards on opponent's ladder" rules. And the cards with only 1 creature do not have the "2 cards on opponent's ladder rule." Furthermore the caterpillar looks similar to the rungworm which is confusing.
I quite like the caterpillar - it's looking up at the butterfly and thinking 'I'd love to swap places with that flying creature'!

Quote:
20) All the creatures are very cute and the rungworm too. He is adorable.
Thanks!

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21) I love how the rungworm cards have missing rungs eaten by a rungworm. The -1/1 card has 1 rung eaten; the -2/2 card has 2 rungs missing and the -3/3 card has 3 rungs missing all next to the negative number. Maybe the snakes card should also have some missing rungs.
Glad you spotted that.

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I loved your game. Hope my feedback was helpful. If so, please check out my WIP thread. Thanks
Amazingly useful and detailed feedback. Thanks. What is your WIP called?
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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tucky60 wrote:
rainbowrose wrote:
My husband and I played two games. He won both games with Juan Coate the painter.

I enjoyed the games and will hope to play it some more. I like the artwork, icons, graphic layout, and the puns including the "rungworm" pun. I also liked the fact that I have relatively few choices to select from each turn making it possible to analyze all my options without any AP. Still you sometimes have to make tough choices. I would like to buy this game to have a high quality copy.
Great to hear you enjoyed playing it.
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My husband did not like the game even though he won both times. He does not like any game where there is even a hint of "take that" and was very frustrated when I would mess up his plans by playing onto his ladder. He does not want to play it again.
Yes, there is certainly the opportunity to mess up your opponent's ladder plans!

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Now for some very specific comments.

The Rules

1) The font is almost too small and I have good near vision. Instead of having two copies of the rules, may I suggest that you split the rules over two cards so that you can use a larger font?
Good suggestion.

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2) I was confused as to what to do with the character cards. The rules say that each player takes one but not what to do with it. It took me a while to figure out that they were part of my hand. I thought my hand was only the 3 cards dealt to me. So then I thought maybe my ladder starts with my character. But I saw on the character card that it says "Double all the scores below" but I couldn't figure out how the character could ever be above any other card if it was the beginning of my ladder. So I was hunting the rules for a way for the character to climb the ladder but there didn't seem to be any mechanism to do that and finally I decided that he must begin as part of my hand. If I'm correct that I start with a hand of 4 cards including my character then you need to make it clear in the rules. Perhaps you could say, "each player is dealt 3 additional cards." Then later, "Players play any one card ... to start their ladder."
Yes, you played correctly. With more space I can better explain.

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3) We forgot the rule that you could not play the character cards on another player's ladder. Perhaps you could fit that rule onto the character cards themselves.
If there's room - or, with the additional space, on the rules cards
It's already in the rules. Just wanted it on the cards so I wouldn't forget. Seems silly that we would forget it but when you are new to a game sometimes obvious rules still allude you. But thinking about it again made me think, can it be stolen by the rats? If so, with the requirement of matching dots, you can steal the painter but not the cleaner.
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4) The rules say that the creature cards actions are optional. However the snake card says "Can only be played if opponent has more than 2 cards in their ladder." If this is optional, then it has no effect. We played that it was not optional and that the text on the card applied whether you were playing it on the other player's ladder or on your own. If that is not the intent, then the text needs to be changed. Also I suggest that you take the word "optional" out of the rules and change the text on the other creature cards to be clear that they are optional as I have suggested in the next paragraph.
The snakes card is one you really would not want to play on your own ladder, although you can. The text on the card was meant to refer to the condition of playing it onto your opponent's ladder. I'll make that clearer.
Of course it would be dumb to play it on your own ladder but there was the question of the endgame requirement of playing cards if you can which might force you to play it on your own ladder. But now I see that you aren't forced to play a card so that is a mute point. Still, my main point was that it's not optional but the rules suggest that it is optional.
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5) It was also unclear as to when the spider and butterfly card's special actions take place. We assumed that they take place after you play the card and before you draw. May I suggest that you rephrase the text on these 2 cards so that they use the word "may" which will indicate that they are optional. I would suggest for Spider to have the text read, "After playing this card, you may play an extra card and then draw 2 cards (if available). I would also suggest for Butterfly, "After playing this card, you may swap one card in your hand with a card from opponent's hand (unseen)."
Yes, that will make things clearer.

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6) It was not clear that you can't use the butterfly to take your opponent's character card. The rules only say that you can't pass on the character card not that you can't steal your opponent's. So under character cards instead of saying it can't be "passed on" say that it can't be "swapped" so that it applies to both giving and taking.
Another good suggestion.
This would also make it apply to the rats card as well.
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7) It's not clear how the rat card works. When you use it's special action, do you still have to match dots? Does the rat card's dot's have to match the second to top card on opponent's ladder? Does opponent's top card have to match with your top card? Do you have to be able to play the rat card to your own ladder first and then do the swap? Furthermore, when you do the swap, if you don't have to have dots matching can you do an overlap? We played that you had to first legally play the rat card to your own ladder, then swap the top card of opponent's ladder with the rat card with disregard to matching and maintain the overlap conditions of the top two cards. This needs to be cleared up in the rules.

The spots on any two joining cards must always match up. To play the rats card onto your opponents ladder: take the top card from their ladder, placing it on the top of your ladder and play the rats card on top of their ladder. To play the rats card in this way, the spots on each of the swapped cards must match the card they join. Again, with more space I'll be able to explain this better (and hopefully in less words!).

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8) In the section about the sky cards, could you say instead, "A player may not compete opponent's ladder except after they have completed their own." I had to read it a few times to understand just what you meant and I think my suggest rewording would have helped me a lot.
Much better!

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9) When you do complete a ladder with a sky card, can you overlap the cards? The rules do not disallow it but it seems like it should not be allowed especially when completing opponent's ladder.
No, you can't. I'll add this to the rules.

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10) You say that, "A player may continue to add cards to a opponent's ladder until it is completed." It should read, "an opponent's." You then later say, "Once both ladders are completed, or no more cards can be played ...." I'm wondering, what if a card can be played but a player does not want to play it? Are you required to play every card that can be played or can you hold back a playable card? If you do not have to play playable cards (which is suggested by the rule that you can pass), then perhaps the endgame condition should that there have been some number of consecutive passes. I would suggest 4 passes in a row to trigger the end of the game.
You don't have to play a card if you prefer not to. So having an end game condition is a good idea.

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11) You do not say what to do if they draw pile is empty when it is your turn to draw a card.
That's true (I think we are rapidly filling up that second rules card!).

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12) You do not say what to do in the event of a tie.
How about the highest ladder wins - if the same then the player whose character is highest on their ladder wins?
Sounds good. By highest do you mean the most cards or most 1/2 cards showing? I'm even okay with ties but some people don't. In such a short game, "If tied, play again," seems reasonable. Or as a last ditch effort after your other two tie breakers. But I do like the height of ladder followed by height of character as the tie breaker. It's a good idea.
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13) The rules do not say that you can't overlap on top of the character cards. I did not think that you could but my husband asked. The sky cards do not have dots which indicates that they do not have to make a match. The character cards do not have middle dots so my husband thought that that meant that you could play any card overlapping the character cards as the lack of dots meant that a match was not required.
No, you can't overlap the character cards - otherwise you'd only see their bottom half! Another addition to the rules, just so it's crystal clear.

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The Cards

13) I'm not certain that the game is perfectly balanced. I think you may have an advantage if you have the painter because of the different ways in how the paint roller and sponge cards interact with the painter and cleaner respectively.
The painter can be joined to both the paint pot and the roller in 2 ways, as can the window cleaner to both the bucket and the sponge.
I'll look at it some more.
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14) On the painter card you misspelled "decorating."
He was originally a 'painter and decorator' and the uniform embroiderer obviously got confused when finalising his logo.
I did think maybe it was spelled wrong of purpose with just that backstory. I thought it might be one of your jokes. It's so small you have to look very closely to read it anyways.
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15) The use of the paint can, bucket, paint roller, and sponge icons is perfect. They make it easy to remember how those cards interact with the character cards.
You of course can't rotate the paint can or the bucket! And of course it's best to keep those things near you when doing one of these jobs. Anyone who has done either of these jobs on a ladder would know that.
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16) I like how you used the arched windows on the bucket and paint can cards to help remind us that they can't be rotated.
That's good to hear.

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17) If you have both the sky cards, of course you will play the 3 point one on your own ladder and the 2 point one on opponents. However the art does not help you know which card is which. If you are a painter or a window cleaner, you don't want a bird above you because he might drop something on your head or onto your clean windows or freshly painted wall. So the undesirable card (the 2 point card) should be the bird card and the desirable card (the 3 point card) should be the airplane card.
That makes sense - I like it.

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18) The creature card icon seems to just be an unrecognizable squiggle. Perhaps a more meaningful icon could be found such as this one from game-icons.net.
 

Also, I'd like the icon to be on both ends of the card in the lower left as well as the upper right.
That was meant to be a 'C' donee in a graffiti style. I'll see if I can come up with something clearer.
I see that now. No reason to change it then. I've never been able to read graffiti; always looks like a messy squiggle to me and well that's just what your icon looks like so it's good. We can't all get all your jokes and references.
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19) Both the snakes and the rats cards have a requirement that has to do with 2 cards on opponent's ladder. The fact that there are 2 rats and 2 snakes helped me remember that. But then, the butterfly card also has 2 creators, a butterfly and a caterpillar. Perhaps take off the caterpillar so that the cards with 2 creatures go with the cards that have the "2 cards on opponent's ladder" rules. And the cards with only 1 creature do not have the "2 cards on opponent's ladder rule." Furthermore the caterpillar looks similar to the rungworm which is confusing.
I quite like the caterpillar - it's looking up at the butterfly and thinking 'I'd love to swap places with that flying creature'!
Ah yes, and the butterfly/caterpillar card has a swap action. Well, you weren't going to take everyone of my suggestions. And the caterpillar is very cute. If every creature card had two creatures I would never have noticed the 2 card requirement going with 2 creatures. Maybe the spider card could have a fly or something and looking at them more closely they all have something to do with 2 cards so my mnemonic doesn't really work anyways. Okay, you have convinced me, the caterpillar must stay.
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20) All the creatures are very cute and the rungworm too. He is adorable.
Thanks!

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21) I love how the rungworm cards have missing rungs eaten by a rungworm. The -1/1 card has 1 rung eaten; the -2/2 card has 2 rungs missing and the -3/3 card has 3 rungs missing all next to the negative number. Maybe the snakes card should also have some missing rungs.
Glad you spotted that.

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I loved your game. Hope my feedback was helpful. If so, please check out my WIP thread. Thanks
Amazingly useful and detailed feedback. Thanks. What is your WIP called?
Here it is: Etchings in Ice. Thanks for taking a look. I'm just in the beginning stages and your input will be highly valued.
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Mark Tuck
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The contest results are in....

There were just 4 categories and Ladders achieved:
3rd place =: Best Art
2nd place: Best Theme

I'm happy with the results - there were some great games in the contest.

A big thanks to all of you who printed, play tested and fed back, and to everyone who voted.

I'm in the process of refining the rules (and components as necessary) of my various games from all the recent contests, so will post here once Ladders is done.
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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Any news on adding this to the BGG database?

Is it similar to Backyard Builders Treehouse also know as Yardmaster Express?
I like your game but my husband not so much and I'm wondering if we should try Backyard Builders Treehouse.

I still think there is a little bit of unbalance. I could write some software to check. Would you use the result if I went to the trouble?
 
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Mark Tuck
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I am just waiting for all my recent games to be approved for the database.

I am not familiar with Backyard Builders Treehouse.

I did attempt to balance the 2 characters - so I would be interested in checking if this is the case - but I would want to create too much work for you!
 
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